Saturday, December 29, 2007

Her Kaiju Phase

On Christmas Morning when Baby Girl woke up, Jason and I had decided that we would feed her breakfast before we took her out to see what Santa had brought her, a Fisher Price Farm with REAL barnyard sounds.
However, in my early morning stupor, I took her into the living room to turn on the tree and open the blinds, a normal morning activity for us. Her eye immediately honed in on that farm set up and all of its accessories. She didn't say a word, but as we walked to the kitchen, I could feel those steely-blue eyes burning into that fascinating new temptation that had appeared overnight.
I put her down in order to make her milk and then lift her up to eat, and she took off like a shot, heading for the tree and that new sight.
We followed her; what could you do?
She circled it for a moment, in awe, and then she threw up her arms to the sky and preceded to shout out like Godzilla. She then started walking forward and then fell upon the barn, knocking it over, scattering the animals, and generally wreaking havoc. Seriously, I kept expecting Raymond Burr to appear at any time.
Needless to say, there was so much excitement, I haven't quite let her know yet that there is a switch on the bottom that turns on the animal sounds. Hmmmmm, that might wait until the new year.

We're in Kansas City right now, visiting family, so Happy New Year to all!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas!

May you find His light when all other lights go out.
Happy Christmas!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Holiday Analogy

Jason had a funeral this weekend, so yesterday, in order to be out and about, do a bit of shopping, and get out of the house, Baby Girl and I went to the mall. I had to do a Trader Joe run, so we went to Orland Park. This is one of the big malls, which means they have a full array of stores, including Williams-Sonoma.
As I was wondering around, eyeing the All-Clad roasters, the Chocolat Chaud pot, the Le Creuset line, the various mandolines, I realized that Williams-Sonoma is to me what Best Buy is to Jason.
Oh, and if you've not tried their Hot Chocolate, get yourself to the nearest store. It is really very lovely. In fact, they have a complete line of Hot Chocolate products for the whole liquid endorphin experience. I think I know what I'm going to be looking for at the after-season sales.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Author Announced to Finish WOT

In a follow-up thread, Brandon Sanderson of Mistborn fame (no, I haven't read it either, but I've put it on hold so I can!) has been chosen by Harriet Rigney to finish the Wheel of Time.

Tor's Press Release
Sanderson's website Press Release
An interview on with Sanderson

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Baby Girl is learning how to lay a big one on you.
She is starting to recognize that Jason and I give her kisses as signs of affection. Being the quick and precocious Baby Girl that she is, she wants to emulate what we do. However, she hasn't quite got the kissing thing down yet. She doesn't really understand that you give someone a kiss with your mouth closed. This means that she heads toward you with her mouth wide open, her little teeth shining up at you.
It is really hard to see all of those pearly whites headed for your upper lip without flinching.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

We've been on hiatus

Because I know you have all been missing out on you hit of Roslyn-goodness.
More pictures with the jump to Flickr

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I Think Virginia Would Have Been Appalled, Too

On Wednesday, when I brought Baby Girl home from daycare, part of the papers that came home with her was an offer from the center for her to receive a letter from Santa. The gist:
"Do you remember receiving a letter from Santa acknowledging your every wish? Well, we're offering 'Letters from Santa' this year for the cost of $3.00 per letter."
When I saw this I rolled my eyes, but I left it on the kitchen table just in case Jason would be interested in doing this (because apparently now that we've had a child, writing a letter from Santa, forging a signature, and using the United States Postal Service is beyond us).
He wasn't (thankfully I called that one). But, we're sitting at the breakfast table, ruminating over our apparent and acknowledged lack of talent with stamps and envelopes, he scanned the form which allowed the letter to be "personalized". One line was a toy the child really wants and will probably receive. Jason commented that if you really wanted to mess your child up, you should list a toy that they really wanted but would have a snowball's chance in hell of getting, and then when Christmas came just explain that Santa misrepresented himself. I looked at my husband, appalled, and exclaimed that I can't believe he spends his time laboring over these types of hideous schemes. He assured me that he was able to come up with that child-scarring one on the spur of the moment.
Oh, Baby Girl, he's your dad; there's no help for it. We're stuck with him.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cue Music

Jason got the first disc of season six of Scrubs from Netflix yesterday. On the first disc is the Scrubs: the Musical! episode. We couldn't resist staying up to watch it.

So, a little Guy Love shout out to all my peeps (you know I'm talking about you, Won).

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

So, About the Drool on the Granger's Poetry

Jason had a Session meeting tonight in Wilmington, so he brought Baby Girl to the library as he has to do on these nights in order to make it to the meeting in time. When they got there, I was still finishing up with a cart of books at my desk. They were all reference books, and I didn't want to leave the evening staff with the whole lot of them, so Baby Girl and I headed out to the shelves to put them up. She had a great time out in the Stacks discovering that she could see people's shins though the holes in between the books.

It was such a pleasure to be able to put her down and to walk around with her behind me, something which has been in short supply for the last couple of weeks. I see her personality changing, and I often wonder if it is a function of her growing brain development, or if her personality is genuinely changing, or if she just has a head cold. Regardless, it was nice to see again the one who I have come to think of as Baby Girl, and not the devil-spawn, some-whine-with-that-cheese-?, laugh-riot She-Ra that she parades about as from time to time.

God, I love this kid . . . I must do. She's the only one allowed to shriek at me until--for the love of all that is holy--I get her a graham cracker.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

And What Will the Robin Do Then, / Poor Thing?

I got up this morning to look out at the back yard to see that all of our leaves have fallen over the last weekend, that frosts are laying upon the land like sugar topping, and that winter is merely a gentle breath away from the North Wind.

It is a good day.

Yesterday I lazed around sleeping and trying not to be sick (it worked, yeah!) and I ended up at one point watching high school football on the television. I should be clear, I don't watch sports. I wouldn't know a bull from a bear, and when presented with sports questions I tend to be more interested in things like, why the American and National league? What's the difference (I have yet to find anyone that can tell me, including someone I know who did a cruise-by with the Minors)?
So, that being said, let's suffice it to say it was odd that I watched this game. But it was the State 6A championship game between Joliet Catholic Academy (JCA) and Lemont High School. JCA is a private school (parochial) in the area and their football teams are well known. Obviously there are parents who choose the school not only because of its excellent academics, but also because their child shines in some particular way in a sport. What I am saying is that by sheer will of choice and demographics, of course JCA has excellent players. That aside, however, these young men are phenoms. I watched an organization of men that played like those three or four years their senior. It was spectacular.
Needless to say, JCA won (trounced Lemont is more like it). During the game the newscaster on the scene in Champaign (the games for the championships were played at the Illini stadium) talked to various parents. One thing that really resonated with me as she asked her mundane but well-meant questions was how awe-inspiring it is to watch your child do these amazing things when they are on the cusp of adulthood. Right now, Baby Girl is so little and she will be dependent on us for some time to come, but there will come a day that I will look at her and see her as a full human being, someone who is no longer a part of me, but has become someone unto herself with her own talents and gifts graced by God. I find myself as excited to meet that person who she will become as I was to meet her initially.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Oh, the Irony ...

The day after the Day of the Celebration of all that is Food I could not keep any food down.

Ah, at least the flu has a sense of humor.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

We Gather Together . . .

It's Thanksgiving and it's been a lovely day. Baby Girl was the most chipper I have seen her in over a week. She seems to be getting her groove-thing back on.
We had a stupendous day, and it went so smoothly, that I just sat back and enjoyed it. I must admit, I didn't get a single picture, not even of Baby Girl sitting on the lap of her Uncle Ian while he played a video game. But we did have a good meal and a really enjoyable day with, of course, Pepto Bismol Pink Cranberry Relish because it just wouldn't quite be Thanksgiving without it.
So, since I don't have pictures to commemorate the day's accomplishments, I'll leave you with the menu. I had just as much fun making it as I think everyone did eating it.
Grace be with you.

Starters and Mid-Day Snack
Butternut Squash Soup
Smoked Salmon Pate
Baked Camembert with Pecans
Artichoke Bruschetta
Baguette Rounds and Crackers

Autumn Vegetable Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
Roasted Turkey with Horseradish Cranberry Relish
Walnut-Cranberry Corn Bread Stuffing
Spinach and Gruyere Cheese Puff
Roasted Green Beans with Vinaigrette
Potato and Squash Mash
Cloverleaf Rolls
Apple Butter

Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Brandied Whipped Cream

Ruby Port

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I have never needed a worm that much ...

Black Friday: I think it must be called that because we're in mourning for our conscience.

It's wrong; it just feels wrong.

Friday, November 16, 2007

This House be Infected with the Plague

We have a Sick Baby Girl.

In the course of the last few days she has had a fever, copious amounts of nose goo, vomiting, slight diarrhea, and general lethargy and clinginess.

This has inspired in us slight bouts of nausea, worry, lack of sleep, and we've watched lots of Scrubs and Simpsons while we hold her and she stares absently out of the window.

She's doing better, but the ol' Blog has suffered a little in this process (as has all of our Social Networking sites).
So, we won't be clogging the internet tubes this month. C'est la vie.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Like a nice Tillamook Cheddar

I just finished watching a movie Jason got from Netflix, The Librarian: Quest for the Spear. It turns out that it's a franchise, and there is already another one on DVD.
It was the most ridiculous, obviously over-the-top, Indiana Jones wanna-be.
I think I need to go adjust my Netflix queue; excuse me.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

At the Twilight's Last Gleaming ...

In order to help fulfill my patriotic duty on this Veteran's Day, I watched the presidential debate from the end of October. I have a personal appeal to the participants of the presidential candidacy process:
Please, please, please, please, for the love of all that is holy, find new metaphors, ok? No more carrots, sticks, thorns, sticky situations, big challenges, drumbeats, red-line, crystal clear, inches and miles, and, please, no more saber-waving. Just a few new analogies. You're all college educated; break out and find a way to talk about these things like you're not trying to teach a room of third graders about who you want to be when you grow up.
(oh, and if it's not too much trouble, could we ditch the vigorous diplomacy, tell the truth mode, abundantly clear, responsible manner, actions have consequences talk? Thanks so much.)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

O that the earth which kept the world in awe / Should patch a wall t'expel the winter's flaw.

On WBEZ, the repeated This American Life wasn't the episode of Harold Washington, as on their website, but the one about Shakespeare done by a prison community.
I think I've heard this episode about half a dozen times and I never get tired of it. It's a good listen. I always learn something new and revelatory.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Near the Edges of Meaning

I read several blogs , and while a couple are industry things and technology things that I aggregate in my Google Reader, there is a whole section of blogs that I check in with personally to see how they're doing (btw, writing this post has inspired me to update my blogroll down there, something I hadn't done in a while, so you may see some new things).
I got turned on to Sweet Juniper! recently. It was Dutch's post about a certain online parenting mag that drew me in. Dutch has a great sardonic wit and I enjoy finding out what this self-extracted-from-the-rat-race, stay-at-home Dad née Lawyer is up to.
Today I stumbled upon him to find this, and, well, you just have to go have a look, because it would be unethical of me to just stick the picture up here.
As I got to looking, its part of a whole series he sticks under the label Friday Morning Street Urchin Blogging. These are pictures that just tear at me in the most exquisite sort of way. There is a deep repository of humanity, story, and meaning in each moment. If you don't feel up to exploring the whole series, let me just direct you here and here.
Now, I have no idea why he posts these, I don't understand what the point is. I mean, maybe there is no point. Maybe he, like me, just thinks these are fascinating, beautiful things which deserve notice. I don't really know, and it's that ambiguity of meaning that I'm most ok with. Life doesn't have to present itself for answers. It doesn't need to. After all, we're human; finding and assigning meaning--especially where none exists--is part of what humanity does. But there is that space before we assign meaning that life is ambiguous, and I relish that moment.

We have a friend who is part of a non-traditional ministry for the Presbyterian Church (I don't think it's untoward of me, so I will pop a little link in to it here for those that are interested). Lately, our friend has been getting some flack. There are those in our Presbytery--which is one of the principal suppliers of his funding--who take issue with how he finds meaning in this whole exercise known as the Church. See, I like Won because he, too, is comfortable with ambiguity. I believe that the journey to meaning is just as interesting as arriving there. There are those in our Presbytery who don't want to be on the journey; they have 'arrived' and seem to believe that if you haven't arrived with them you walk treacherously close to heresy.

But then I look at the Urchins that Dutch has posted and I remember that living on the edge is what humanity, God's creation, does most. I also happen to think it is one of the things that we do best. On the edge, when we are facing our own failings, and looking square into the face of ambiguity . . . that is the journey I am interested in taking.

We have some friends and acquaintances who are in transition right now. I so desperately want to be able to look each one of them in the face and tell them, it will be ok, it will get better, surely it will get better.
But I can not, I dare not, because I do not know that. What I do know is that being unsure and feeling like you're floundering is not a symbol of failure or a cause for reticence: it's a sign that you're human.

I don't know why Dutch puts up his street urchins and maybe some day he'll describe what it's all about, but I hope not. I don't need or want someone else to assign the meaning for me, I am so content with finding it on my own, I am so in love with the journey. My dear friends, I wish I could give that to you. The journey is hard and the journey is long, but along the way there is so much joy.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Ring Around the Rosie

When she got home tonight from daycare, after dinner she was playing at her cabinet in the kitchen. I looked over and she was carefully spinning around and around in place with a look of fierce concentration on her face.
Obviously she's working on a new skill set.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

So, The Big Day Came ...

Last week, as you may know, Baby Girl turned 15 months old.
This week, because she is ready for the Toddler Room, she started daycare two days a week.
Today is her first day.

Now, originally I wasn't at all worried about her heading off to day care. When we went to tour the facility a couple of weeks ago, all three of us, when we went into the toddler room, she got down and played with the toys, enjoying all of the new things to interact with. The kids themselves were outside at the time, so she didn't understand that there would be other children. Then, after I picked her up and we were heading to the door, all of the kids, who had been outside playing, came in. She took one look at that line of kids coming in the door and started waving and saying, "hi!" like they were coming into her house.

This morning was no exception. When we got there, she squirmed to get down, wanting to see what these other kids were doing, wanting to see how she could join in the play. She barely gave me a second glance and, even after I reached over and gave her a brief hug and a quick peck, her cry of indignation at my departure was short lived. By the time I got to the front of the building, I could see on the closed circuit television that she had hopped down off of the lap of one of the caregivers and was already moving on to the next thing.

It was an odd thing moving down that hallway, heading out that door, getting in my car, and driving away. I've always left her with people we know when she isn't with Jason. That walk down the hallway was a long one, and definitely one that signaled a juncture, for all of us.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

All Re-Hydrated and Ready To Go

Last night Baby Girl didn't sleep so well. It would seem that she is definitely working on some tooth options. She woke me up at 1:30 and I didn't get back into a deep sleep until 5:20, about a half an hour before my alarm goes off.

Jason asked me if I was ok before he walked out the door this morning. I told him that I was just frazzled from the poor sleep. I explained that I was a frazzled, dried husk. He told me that at least it was my night to go swimming at the Y, so I could get all nice and re-hydrated.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Can't Trust That Day

Baby Girl was particularly cling-y this Monday Morning and I was happy to send her off in her father's arms at 9:30 so I could go to work (even if the day proved that the Mamas and the Papas called it back in the 60s).
Later in the day Jason observed that she was biting, a lot, so maybe there is method to the madness that was her disposition this morning.

Work was fixing all of the little things that had either 'broke' or limped along since I was there on Wednesday. It was kind of an excruciating sort of day, but that's Monday. It made me feel called to share this picture on Flickr, because I think someone wrote it after a day like today:

(click on the picture if you can't read the signs)

While the days may be tedious, at least I don't work in passive-aggressive Library Land. What's up with that? I mean, if you want to give me money, and it's cash, then I'm going to take it.

It's like today I had another library call me because they had a patron who came in and wanted to pay for a book that she had damaged. The library called me because they wanted to know why I told the patron she could pay for it at their library.
Ummmm, because she wants to give you money? Wait, is this a trick question?

Oh, and I have discovered that in addition to saving the environment one mailer and plastic bag at a time, I apparently am also doing it one gear at a time ... but only if I'm a good driver (which I am on Tuesdays).

Sunday, November 04, 2007

One of these things is doing its own thing

I think, when you have a baby, there is a special hormonal thing that happens to your ears.

We went to the grocery store today and, when it was time to leave and get her bundled back into her coat, I put away her snack cup and her drink cup (we go prepared to the grocery store; we don't want to get the munchies in the middle of the cookie aisle). But she wanted them--now--and she spent the walk from the cashier to the door letting everyone at the front of the store know about it.

I have discovered, though, that these little whines, shrieks, grunts, pathetic whimpers, and indignant snorts seem to bounce off of my psyche. In fact, if you were to watch the two of us, it's like she and I are having two different conversations:

(Melissa puts lid on snack cup and puts it into bag)
Baby Girl: ehhhhhhhh ...
Melissa: It's time to get your coat on.
Baby Girl: (pointing) ehhhh-ehhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Melissa: (pushing Baby's Girl's arm inside of coat) It's time to go outside and it's cold so we have to put on our coats to go outside.
Baby Girl: (insistent, forgoing the pointing as obviously Mom is as thick as a brick) uuuueeeeeeeeehhhhhhhuuuuuuhhhhhhhh.
Melissa: (in a hushed tone of voice) Yes, I know that you want more snacks, but it's time to go outside and you have had plenty.
Baby Girl: (shrieking now, arching her back, and wailing for the happenstance passerby to get her the hell away from this Lady, Call DCFS, and give her back the goldfish) uheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
Melissa: (zipping up Baby Girl's and her coat) Ok, we're all ready.

What I really don't know how it has happened is the fact that this doesn't faze me. I don't even have the foggiest clue as to whether other people are derisive of our scene or sympathetic. Instead of noticing how other people are regarding us or even rising to the occasion (as I would have done pre-Baby Girl), I get quieter and quieter until one of us has effectively had a time out. Granted, it's not usually the one of us that needed the time out, but I feel better for it.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I wouldn't say I was fastidious, but you might ...

Today was our open house, which went very well. It never ceases to amaze me how much fun I have throwing these little events considering the fact that I really don't like talking to people very much.
Of course, Jason would want it to be pointed out that it's not actually the party, itself, that I like so much, but the planning of the party that I enjoy so immensely.
Then to prove his point, he would want to bring as evidence a couple of pictures that I took of the day's events:
100_6381 100_6393

You'll notice that there aren't any people in these pictures. That's because I took all of these before the people arrived, when all of my preparations were still pristine and untouched.

I suppose he's known me long enough it is possible that he just might be right.

So, it was a good day, and Baby Girl is down for bed. Daylight Savings turns off tonight, so Jason is in playing video games like his life depends on it and I'm snuggled up in my pristinely clean house with a cup of coffee and one of my pumpkin bars.
See you in the morning.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Spidey Sense

I took off of work yesterday and decided to treat myself to sleeping in until she slept. You see, over the last two weeks since we got back from KC, she has taken to sleeping until 7:30, sometimes 7:45 (I think she suspects that Daylight Savings Time is getting ready to end, so she's resetting her clock).

Well, she decided yesterday that 7:05 was a wonderful time to wake up. The first time that she had done that in well over 10 days.

This morning in anticipation of needing to get moving early, I got up at 6:30 to shower, make coffee, and start laying out the baking order of the day. I think you see where this is going; she slept until 7:50.

I'm beginning to think she has a camera trained on my pillow and a vaguely maniacal sense of humor.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Writing my way through the next 30 days . . .

I have rather erudite readers out there, so I imagine most of you have heard of National Novel Writing Month. Well, there is a counter-point movement, National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo. You may have noticed my little badge over there on the right.

When I started this intellectual exercise (is that what the kiddies are calling self-aggrandizing behavior on the internet these days?) back in April, I mainly did it as a way to share the verbal story-type stuff of living with Baby Girl that I never managed to capture on film, still or otherwise. Some of our honor roll of these moments, if I may say so myself, are here, here, here, and here.

However, as time has pushed on, and I've managed to get more sleep, I have found that it is good to be writing again. I miss the grumpy nitpicky-ness that really shines out of my soul when I write (this is made all the better as it is directed inward). So I've joined NaBloPoMo. You can cruise on over to the site to read more. Suffice it to say you're going to see a lot more random blurts from my blog in order to fulfill my post-a-day quota. I have been toying with some additional 'rules' for myself, but those are still a-bubblin', so we'll hold those off for another time.

Oh, one more housekeeping type thing; I've changed how many posts appear on the front page, as I know some of you are occasional visitors. It'll make it a bit easier to see the last couple of blurts without all of the cumbersome action of clicking on the archives.

Ok, we good? Excellent. Let's begin.

Homina, homina, homina

I want one.

Eye-Fi SD Memory Card via Photojojo

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Welcome to Middle Earth

Well, it has been an eventful and peaceful All Hallow's Eve.
From the moment Baby Girl walked into the house this afternoon and I was unexpectedly in the kitchen, she knew something was afoot. She bedded down for an afternoon nap while I carved the last pumpkin and made Shepherd's Pie for dinner and slept for almost two hours.
When she got up, she was chipper as could be and, without much further ado, may I present Roswyn Brandywine, Frodo's cousin:
There are more pictures on Flickr, and there are way too many of them (especially if you have contact clearance) because I am exceedingly proud of this little foray into a skill I don't actually have.
As for skills I do actually have (me and Napoleon, baby), I was giving out Chocolate Graham treats to the parents of trick-or-treaters and, they were so well received, I had one person (who I didn't know) come back to the house later in the evening to ask for the recipe.

I know whose house is going to be on the candy circuit next year.

I watched Young Frankenstein while cooking the pie for dinner (it was tasty), saw part of Charlie Brown with Baby Girl after we'd gone to the bonfire, and after she'd bedded down, we watched The Village.

All in all, a good Halloween. I'm looking forward to the weekend as it is our annual Open House. I go shopping tomorrow for ingredients for pie and cakes. It'll be on Saturday from 1-4, if you're interested (and you know how to get a hold of me to ask me where we live ;)!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


This past weekend we had our very first airplane excursion. We went to go and visit Grandmas and Grandpas.

Breakfast aeroplano al fresco
She was a remarkably good flyer (especially as, on the way out, she slept until within 10 minutes of Kansas City) and even though I had chosen the busiest business flights of the day (I think my decision-making skills may need a little bit of work), she appeared to charm those around her by force of her sheer good will.
I really got to experience her separation anxiety full force this weekend, however. With no Dad bounding after us, I became the only connection to home. In fact, while we were at my parents, a picture of Jason and me near the fireplace would illicit long conversations, either with or about, the man in the photo. I think she wanted to make sure that we knew he was missing.
Well, I certainly felt that. She was highly opposed to letting me too far out of her sight, and I have to say, God bless the Maya Sling people. Without them, my sanity would not still be with us. I would just kit her up, and off we would go.
She saw and charmed lots of people, tried to move her way more definitively toward that illusory one nap a day, and generally had a good time being the center of attention. Grandma Porter took us to her work and we had a great time going to the park. She had never been on a merry-go-round before. It was always one of my favorites as a child. When I went on it this time, it made me nauseous. *sigh*, I guess it may be time to put away childish things.

I know I'll get there soon, if I just keep following this path
When I brought back pictures from the mall where Granny Carle had put her on the mechanized toy carousel and told about how we went on the big carousel twice, well, Jason wondered who I had gone to visit, because surely these weren't his parents. Since his siblings read this blog, too, I'll just consider that my work here is well done . . .

Stimulated beyond all belief, and loving every minute
I imagine we'll be going back and forth a couple of times over the next year. One of the pregnancies that I mentioned in this previous post, well, Sister Sarah has her very own bump, so Roslyn's going to have to put in some hard work being a big cousin.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Robert Jordan, 1948-2007

I found out this weekend that Robert Jordan died last month.
For those of you who don't know, Robert Jordan was the pen name of James Oliver Rigney, Jr., and was the genius responsible for The Wheel of Time saga.
Jordan was diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis about a year and a half ago. On his blog, he and his family described the struggle that they spent over those 18 months fighting against the insidious disease.
Working in a library, I don't know how this didn't manage to make it onto any of the lists or blogs that I frequent. The Wheel of Time books are some of the most magnificent epic tales created in the 20th century (I say this taking in Tolkien's vision, August Wilson, Anton Chekov, and William Faulkner) and stands a great chance to be the most magnificent epic tale written in the 21st. It is for this reason that I am aghast that not more note was taken at his passing. Robert Jordan embodied the art, the skill, and the charisma of the Bard; Virgil would have listened.
But The Wheel of Time is unfinished. Book 12, tentatively titled The Memory of Light, is yet to be published and, it is widely thought, is not even remotely finished. Twelve was intended to be the finale that would pull the world of the Dragon together.
While I do lament that the book is not finished, and may not be finished to Jordan's standards, I lament that such a giant is gone from us and I lament that the world, seemingly, did not give proper notice to his passing.
As humans, we need our storytellers. They do more than just entertain us: they remind us of who we want to be and give us caution as to who we might be becoming. I am saddened that I live in a world--in a culture--that the storytellers are not on the front page of the paper and are only heard in the back channels, relegated to the fringe.
Tom Doherty, the president of Tor Books, eulogized Jordan, saying: "Jim (Jordan) was a man of courage and heart and vision. He was my friend of 30 years. He’s gone ahead of us now. Beyond that last horizon to a place we cannot yet see. But I think he can see us and he’s glad we’re together and he’s already thinking of stories he’s going to tell Harriet and then the rest of us when we get there."

I fervently hope so.

May you shelter in the palm of the Creator's hand, and may the last embrace of the mother welcome you home.

For more information:

Friday, October 05, 2007

My Two Front Teeth, A Pony, and To Be A Rock Star

So today is my birthday, and I am married to the best man in the world.
Tonight, we go off to have our first "real" dinner without Baby Girl. I mean we've had a quick bite to eat before a movie, but we haven't really gone out to have a sit-down dinner without her since she was born. We're going to a place in Joliet that we discovered when someone Jason married had their rehearsal dinner catered there.
Last night he made me pancakes, as I had asked him to do. But he didn't just make me any pancakes, he made me these with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.
He also gave me my birthday present last night so that I could have a cup of coffee with my dinner.
I have been salivating over a Keurig coffee machine for some time. Well, that is, ever since we got one at work and the fact that it takes 20 minutes for our long-loved thermal coffee pot to make four cups of coffee also was pushing me a little bit in that direction. So last night, Jason and Baby Girl gave me what is the equivalent of a bag of smack for the caffeine junky, a Keurig B60.

You put in the K-cup, push the button, and 15 seconds later you have a perfectly brewed cup of coffee every single time. This may be the year of the appliances for me.
I hadn't had these particular pancakes for two years, when the last time was when we had gone to the Lake for my birthday that year at my Uncle's and Aunt's cabin. That year all I had wanted to do was cook (I find it incredibly relaxing; good food, with enough care, is something that is infinitely controllable and reaps benefits which can far outweigh the effort) and have other people clean up after me. So, I had knocked these pancakes together for desert one evening. I had forgotten how incredibly delicious, satisfying, and comforting they are.
This year, I was perfectly content to have Jason make them for me, and watch him while I flipped through the selection of coffees for the K-cups. It is odd because two years ago was such a different birthday as we hadn't quite started this adventure known as parenthood, even though we knew we intended to start it, soon.
I sit here at this birthday, contemplating my place in the world, and I find that I like it more and more. Life is settling into a pattern that I am starting to recognize again as my own. I am 32 (I will never be one of those people who turns 29 for the fifteenth time; I'm quite proud of the fact that I am still on the Earth) and I have a good job with people I like and respect (and I don't feel like I'm taking Satan's money when I get my paycheck, either), I get to do theatre every once in a while, I love my child enough to actually contemplate having more, and I love my partner. I am becoming more and more enamored with the idea that the things that are happening while I'm trying to get my life in order, well, those actually are my life, and they are good.
So, Happy Birthday, to me. Oh, and, I realize there aren't any shopping days left until my birthday . . . but, no worries; I'm sure Keurig offers Gift Certificate options on their website.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Catch-up without all that annoying spam

So, today I was uploading a new ringtone to my phone, and also downloaded a whole bunch of pictures from my phone. A lot of these were taken over the Summer, so enjoy a little bit of retrospective of the Dog Days!

Monday, September 24, 2007

One hates to brag about one's own children ...

But, if you really don't want to read it, why exactly are you here?

When Jason left for Alaska, for study leave, Baby Girl was only taking one or two steps. By the time he got back, well, she was quite mobile.
I knew she would gain confidence and skills quickly, but she is like a house afire. She pivots; she backs-up; she's *almost* running; she can walk in shoes; she can walk in socks; she can walk in socks on the linoleum; and she knows how to pluck off one sock and hide it from Mom.
I am sure she was on the way to greatness before Labor Day, but now that she's walking and seeing the world from a different perspective, I am looking at her in a new way. I know I wrote that I was the mother of a Toddler, naturally implying the end of her Babyhood, but now I see it. She's taller, she's more thoughtful, and there is a very general air about her of being more knowledgeable about the world.
It's not that she holds a secret; I don't think we have a secretive child (at least, not until puberty sets in), she's much more her father's open disposition. But now, there is a world behind those eyes. Heretofore, she had been more like a funnel than the proverbial sponge; but now things stick. Of course, to follow that analogy to its inevitable conclusion, she leaves everything a bit damp ... which is actually quite true as she is still a little drool factory. Of course, what I mean (proverbially speaking) is that her imprint is firmly on the world.
There are moments in utero that one feels the possibility of life, the overwhelming potentiality. It is the reason why Jason and I didn't want to find out the baby's sex: I enjoyed the extreme nature of possibility with no societal conclusions thrust upon it. But amidst all of that possibility and potentiality, that new life still lacks that imprint. I don't know when Baby Girl got it, but, boy oh boy, she's got it in spades right now.
There are ooodles and oodles of people around us right now having babies. Oi! I won't name them all, because I don't know if I'm allowed to do so yet, but we'll have two babies in November and two more in March. Needless to say, this turns one's minds to the next one. When I look down at Baby Girl and see her smile up at me with that wonder-filled tooth-y grin and expression of love and joy at what she has just discovered in the world, I start to wonder if maybe the time is coming. [Boy oh boy; if any of the little old church ladies are reading this, I have fueled the gossip around the coffee hour for the next month solid. Eh, just doing my bit for the unity of the church: offering up my procreative life for general consumption :) ]
I decided to post this weekend, allergies be hanged, because I had the opportunity to speak to some of our adoring public out there (adoring public in this context meaning, "not related to me in any way, yet still aggregates this blog"), and was brought back to reality that I have been slightly remiss in my duties as Baby Girl's publicist as of late. There is a real lack of videos on YouTube, a dearth of photos of Baby Girl out on Flickr, and the pickings on this particular site have been few and far between since Summer Vacay. It leads one to wonder what kind of operation I'm running here . . .
Well, I can confess to some family obligations (in addition to the one that demanded that I go put covers on all of the electrical outlets RIGHT NOW), but I can also profess a general apathy to chronicling the last couple of weeks. It's not because they haven't been wonderous; that's just it, I think they have been so wonderous that I didn't want to share it. But, that has led to feelings of guilt (after all, you need your hit of Baby Girl goodness, I get that) and lassitude at not knowing where to start. It was easy to chronicle the first year, but the second year, where my American Pediatrics book tells me that the major accomplishment of the second year will be perfecting walking, I have to wonder, well, she's got that down, what's next?
That being said, I need a new theme for the next 6 to 12 months. The first six months and the next six months are taken on Flickr, any suggestions? Do I hear any Baby Girl 2.0 takers out there . . . ? Bueller?


At the new Jewel-Osco near us, Baby Girl and I went to have a look and I found Branston Pickle!
I was so excited, I squeaked in the middle of the store in exclamation.
I'm having a Ploughman's Lunch today.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

It would be great to be this smart

This is so much fun, I'm embarrassed to tell you how much I've played with this (as if you can't tell already).

The most important meal of the day

I love breakfast, it is my favorite meal of the day to eat out and to eat in. I love the time of day, I love the food, I just love breakfast. (In fact, this is my favorite meal to try a new restaurant; if they can do breakfast well, food and atmosphere, than they have got it going on)
In that vein, I have come across two breakfast blogs. If breakfast makes you as happy as it does me, enjoy!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Myde Hed Feeds Fuddy

Will post again once I can see the screen and I stop sounding like Elmer Fudd.
In the meantime, check out Jason's new experiment:

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I'm the mother of a toddler!

Monday, August 27, 2007

White Picket Fence must be around the corner

When we got our tax return this year, we bought a brand new vacuum cleaner.
It is a thing of beauty. It is top rated by Consumer Reports (I do work in a library; when I look something up for myself, it's a reference question) and has a general air of bad-ass-ed-ness. Not to mention it has a dirt sucking sensor feature. This means that I can actually see if there is any dirt left in the carpet before I move to the next spot.
*sigh*, it's beautiful.

Then, when we got back from vacation, we were trying to do laundry so Jason could leave the next day to go to Indiana for Triennium. As the good wife, I went in to move his clothes to the dryer from the washer and stepped into a quarter inch of water.
So we bought a new washer and dryer last month.
Also Consumer Reports rated (natch) and Energy Star rated. I now do laundry in half the time and find myself ruminating over the choices of HE laundry detergent.
I woke up last week and realized that I'm living the dream . . . the 1950's dream.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Isn't your heart fonder yet?

Couple of new things to tide you over

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Our Little Life

We are back and two weeks later I thought I would write to give you an update on the summer vacay.
It was really excellent to be gone for two whole weeks. I have always loved vacations that required road trips. So much so, that when our friends visited us from England seven years ago, part of the planned activities for their time with us was to drive to Colorado because isn't the road trip quintessentially American?
While we were gone (and check out Flickr for some of the great festivities), something very strange and excellent happened. All of a sudden, we became a family. Here we were on our first 'real' family vacation, where the sole purpose was to be in each other's company and to relax, and it felt different than anything we had done heretofore that defined us as a family, that defines us as us.
Today is Tuesday, and Thursday and her first birthday are staring us in the face. This last week heading into her birthday has really gotten up in my face. I can't help but think about a year ago and remembering everything that was running through my head, wanting it to be over, wanting to have a natural birth, wanting so many things to just happen and to happen my way. I am rueful for that person that I was a year ago. I had truly believed that there was some aspect of this that I could control, that I had the power to define and shape the next couple of months in almost a god-like fashion. If you've had a child, you intrinsically know what I mean; if you haven't . . . well, let's just say, best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men.

In the months after she was born I fought hard to find my touchstone in life. It had gone from me, and I was left with this new assumption of identity that was startling and horrible and excruciatingly sweet and life-giving, all at the same time. But I felt rudderless. My sense of isolation and desolation only increased as we began to worry about her non-existent weight gain, began the process of trying to diagnose a (thankfully non-existent) liver problem, and ultimately my coming to terms with the fact that in the midst of feeling so out of control, I had made decisions that had helped put us where we were.

Then, just like that, the world changed for the better. She started eating solid foods; I began to understand breastfeeding as a relationship and not an end goal; and she turned six months old and I took a week off of work. That week was pivotal for me. During that time, I realized I hadn't been rudderless all along, but my little boat had been heading in a very different direction.

During our summer vacation to the lake we had our families come and stay with us a couple of days each. Somehow this act of having everyone around us solidified what it meant to be our own family. Jason and I have spent our entire lives being an extension, in one way or another, of our parents' families. It became solidified for me that what we started a year ago this week was the beginning of our very own family that will eventually have its own extensions and nuances, that eventually we will welcome into it whoever our children decide to love, the partners and the children.

One year ago this week, a baby girl was given to us.
One year ago this week, my definition of what it is to be happy profoundly changed.
One year ago this week, we became our own family.
Happy Birthday, Baby Girl.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Beware, herein be Spoilers!!!!

In all honesty, I finished HP on Sunday. Do not scroll down below the image if you don't want to know more than you're ready to know.

So, I thought this was an amazing end not only to this novel, but also to the whole series of HP books.

I have to say, Jason and I had a couple of things pegged, like the fact that Snape was IN LOVE WITH LILY!! (that was Jason's guess, good one, too) I had figured out that Harry would have to die, but I didn't think he would be able to come back because I thought he would die like his mother did, for love, but that who he would be directly saving would be Ginny. I especially thought this when she got left behind initially in and near the Room of Requirement on her own. I say directly, because Harry did die for love, love of the world of wizardry and the people specifically in the castle. This seemed a bit of a stretch, but no matter.
So quick breakdown:

The slowest part of the book was when they are jumping form one campsite to the next and they don't know what to do. There was about a good fifty pages there when I was like, ok, Rowling's editor knows this is the last HP book and just wants to let her have a good time. I was especially wanting something to happen when Harry started insisting they WEAR the horcrux. How insane was that? How could they not know it would be bad, especially Hermione?
Incidentally, what happened to Umbridge? Didn't like that particular loose end

The best parts, well about the last half. I read the last 300 pages or so in a morning and afternoon. It just flew and moved, like Order of the Phoenix IMHO (my favorite up to this point).
The dilemma between horcrux and hallows, very nicely done, loved the dual story plot and the need to choose that it gave Harry.
So glad that Rowling did not resurrect Dumbeldore (Albus, obviously). So glad that the blue eye was his brother. However, the King's Cross chapter did not go amiss and I thought that was a nice touch in order for us to tap into the Dumbeldore mystique, which brings me to something revealed in what I haven't talked about yet, Snape's memories.
It was so much easier to emotionally reconcile to Dumbeldore being dead since he was a doomed man as a result of the curse from the Marvolo/Gaunt ring and a beautiful touch that it was his own hubris and folly that led him to the curse (wanting to resurrect Ariana).

That being said, on to the best part of the entire book, The Story of the Prince.
Snape was a goody!!!
Thank goodness.

While the climax of the book had to be the duel between Harry and Voldemort, and here I mean the final duel not the first one, for me the climax of the entire series was Snape's memories. Oh, and that moment at the very end where Snape asks Harry to look into his eyes . . . sniff, yeah, that was good.
Couple more shout outs to Rowling and her storytelling prowess:
Luna--loved how important she became as a character and loved that Harry, upon seeing her room, was endeared to her and didn't think she was a freak. Excellent.
Neville--so amazing, because Rowling created a situation where you see and understand how the meaning of prophecy is really determined by the interpreter; simply put, Neville could have been the Chosen One, he could have been the Boy Who Lived. Oh, and Griffyndor sword pulled out of the hat, so cool! Had even managed to forget about the sword by that point in time, great surprise!
McGonnagal--beautiful little moment when she sees Harry's limp body and cries out. Can't we all just see Dame Maggie Smith on screen already in this beautiful little aside of a moment? Oh, don't let them edit it out . . .
Narcissa Malfoy--The character development that Rowling has done in this book coupled with groundwork she laid in #6 to make Narcissa a sympathetic character gives me goose flesh to think about what Rowling will tackle next as a storyteller. Fascinating character exposition. If you don't know what I'm talking about, look at all of her scenes in books #6 and 7; bravo J.K.!
Dobby--saddest. scene. ever. They buried him with clothes. I cried for Harry when Dumbeldore died. When Dobby died, I cried for me. It was like having read the Two Towers all over again for the first time and thinking that Pippin had died.

All in all a brilliant foray and I look forward to my hold coming in at the library on the audio book so I can hear Jim Dale's excellent interpretation.

For more HP discussions, go check out:

Saturday, July 21, 2007

We're back, but in all honesty, I'm a little tied up right now.
I'll return in a while.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bad Mommy

I am comforted by the fact that anyone who has been a parent has had this moment at some point in their life.
This morning Jason had a funeral. Since I had a conference call I could not get out of at work, we had asked one of our neighbors to take Baby Girl for a few hours this morning until Jason could free up from the funeral. As a result, this morning was a bit more complicated than normal as I was preparing bottles, juice cup, lunch, diaper bag, etc., all things Jason normally takes care of as he has her during the day and knows what that particular day will demand.
We're in the kitchen, and I am rushing back and forth putting my stuff in the car, unfolding her stroller, double-checking that her bag has all of the necessaries, and she is happily playing on the floor. Just as I turn to pick her up and put her in the stroller, I discover she has crawled over to the (normally closed) door leading to the garage. Just as I looked over, she was staring in fascination at the vast expanse of the two steps that leads down to the garage landing and reaching forward with her hand.
Thank goodness the kid can roll, she "gently" bumped down the linoleum-covered steps. She survived, but it left a terrific shiner.
After I got to her and scooped her up, we went and sat down to rock. I don't know if I was trying to comfort her or me.

I'll update this later with pictures of what I am sure will be her photograph-worthy head adornment.

UPDATE.See Pictures Here.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Oh the things you wil bite . . .

We went to see friends in St. Charles on Friday who are pregnant with their second (Henry is 2 and change). Henry is at that stage where the idea of sharing is intriguing, but doing so is another matter entirely. Watching Baby Girl interact made me realize that daycare in a few short months won't be all that bad. I think she'll just enjoy the other kids.

As if I had any lingering doubt from that, on Sunday we went over to the Cimarrolli's for Gina's second birthday. She was the only crawler out of six children (not counting babe-in-arms Alex) and she was so fascinated by everyone and, when we got home, she curled up on her dad's lap with a bottle and promptly conked out.
It was a good strategy to go over on Sunday as she is working on yet MORE teeth. Just as those top two are clearing her gum line, she's working on her bottom-row incisors. Just one is really giving us a run for our money, but the other I don't think will be far behind.
All in all, she was lovely this weekend. It's almost enough to make you think about more ... but not quite.

Buy stock in Tylenol and Vodka (you guess which is for which).

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages.

She's working on two (maybe even three ...? ) top teeth and, ironically, what is waking me up at 4 o'clock in the morning is the tree full of birds just outside our bedroom.

Well, that seems to be enough for today, doesn't it?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Pancakes as Big as Your Head!

Placeholders only work if you return to the place that you were holding.
I am not going to do something so ridiculous as to promise to never, ever do this again, because we all know that just . . . won't . . . happen.
It's amazing how in life that you never actually cease to have retrospection, to reflect on things. But life can get so busy that it only comes in flashes. Which, I have to tell you all, over the last two weeks I've been having a great dialog with you and the blog. The problem is you don't know about it because I've been doing all of it in my head; so, it seemed like it might be time for an update of everything.

Memorial Day weekend, Baby Girl had a couple of firsts. Her very first pancake (see Flickr for more pancake-y fun), her very first taste of rhubarb and her very first tornado siren.

It is a weekend tradition at our house--and I say tradition meaning when we aren't too busy to do it--that Jason makes pancakes. Now, a lot of families have their special weekend breakfast on Sunday morning. Well, as you can imagine, we are just a tad bit busy on Sunday morning and Saturday mornings tend to be busy also.
But on Fridays, Fridays are ours. Jason has strict instructions from me that he is only allowed to do hospital visitations, funerals, and the occasional wedding rehearsal on Fridays: Fridays are our time, the church doesn't get him.
So it is very common that on my way home from work on Thursday night I pick up sausages if I am feeling in a really frivolous mood, otherwise I'll make sure there is either buttermilk of vanilla yogurt in the fridge because Jason makes pancakes.
Now, if you have never had my husband's pancakes, you are perhaps needing to come to our house for a visit because Jason's pancakes, first and foremost, are perfect. I am not a pancake person; in fact, growing up I hated pancakes (even the really good, from-scratch kind made by our neighbor who, incidentally, would have approved of Jason). I would never touch a bite of pancake, no matter how perfect, no matter how much it fulfilled the platonic idea of pancakes, they were not for me.
Well, I got married and Jason makes pancakes. Jason loves pancakes. Over the course of time I have come to realize that when my husband makes pancakes, they are near to the best thing in the world. He puts oil in the griddle, he has yogurt or buttermilk in the batter for a bit of tang against the sweetness, he doesn't mix the batter smooth so that they'll get big and fluffy, and sometimes we have blueberries. When they have blueberries in them, he knows to put the pancake on my plate blueberry side up so that I can fill the little crevices around the blueberries with butter and syrup so that you get pockets of unbearable sweetness amidst this fluffy, epicurean delight.
As you can tell, I'm a big fan of Jason's pancakes.
This is our Friday mornings. Occasionally I let him sleep in, but more often than not, I tell him he has to make me pancakes.
So we're at the table and Baby Girl has already eaten, but she's piecing. She likes the experience of getting to sit at the table (if everyone else is eating, she thinks she needs to eat, too). So we're all sitting and I have a pancake in front of me, and she's finished her cheerios and doesn't want more, and keeps eying what I am doing so I pull off a bit of pancake without syrup, put it on her tray in little chunks and she has a good time with that. So my next one comes up, and I do a bit more for her and I discover that I am not eating, I am merely the pancake cutter for Baby Girl. So I wail mournfully to Jason to make her one so that I can eat, too.
He makes her a little pancake. Well, I say little because for Jason pancakes need to be the size of your head in order to be considered a pancake (thankfully, she has a small head). Once it's cool enough, I just put the whole thing on her tray, I didn't break it in to pieces and she reaches out and very daintily plucks a bite off of it with her fingers. Well, that goes pretty well and the next time she reaches out she gets a bit bigger of a bite and then that tastes so nice she grabs the whole thing, picks it up, and begins to chomp on it.

The tornado siren was (thankfully) uneventful on Saturday.

On Monday, we had gone over to the Fannings for a bit of a cookout, Norm had the fire pit going, and burgers on. I had retrieved a piece of luscious rhubarb pie from the kitchen. Jessie Alton (she is lovingly referred to as the General of the congregation) had made rhubarb pie with her beautiful, wonder, little arthritic hands, and I say little because she is somewhat diminutive in size, although not in formidability.
So there is the pie with its gorgeous, sugar crust, flaky, the rhubarb had been picked just a day or two before and had just started to turn to its full maturity so that the stalks were nice and dense, but not stringy, lots of sugar that had combined with the rhubarb to make a gooey, sugar-y filling, it was wonderful; I love rhubarb pie as you can probably tell. So I sit down with a pice and I am ver much of the opinion that rhubarb should not be overwhelmed by sweetness so, you only have a slice of rhubarb with ice cream--or with custard, although custard is always nice--if there wasn't enough sugar present, and this had been sugared perfectly.
So I sit down and Baby Girl is bound and determined that she should be in the middle of this: Mom is eating, why am I not eating?
So after a couple of thwarted swipes at my plate, during which I barely managed to salvage my rhubarb pie, I decided, ok, I'm going to nip this thing in the bud. So I poke around inside the filling and I find a little bit of rhubarb and I extricate it from the filling and the pulp of the chunk from the skin so I have just the pulp...the pulp that is really the tartest part. I knew that had soaked up a bit of sweetness from the sugar, but I knew it was tart and I stick it in her mouth. Surely she'll look at this and think I am crazy for wanting to eat this stuff.

I put it on the tip of her tongue, she crushes it up against the top of her mouth and sort of stops and her face screws up . . . and then she keeps chewing; and then she opens her mouth and wants more.
The kid likes rhubarb. I didn't manage to turn her off of anything. She wants more of it.
It would seem she has my predilection for things that are sour. I'm hiding the dill pickles.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend

We had a busy and filled weekend with a wedding, Pentecost, pancakes, tornado sirens, beautiful weather, and a cook-out.
Will post more later!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Industrial Lubricant

She has been sick this week.
On Monday I stayed home with her because Jason had a meeting half way across the state. She had a head cold and an incredibly runny nose. The only problem was, every time I went to wipe her nose she would shriek and twist. But, smart little whip that she is, she figured that out soon enough. Every time her nose would itch because it was starting to run, she would sidle up to me, burrow her head into my shoulder, and swab her nose back and forth on my shirt until her nose was nice and dry and my shirt was anything but.
I looked quite a fright by the time Jason got home in the evening.
She is still not entirely well. I think the head cold started out as a virus, and has now turned into a bacterial infection. The poor thing can't hardly breathe well at night.
It is getting better, and I felt so terribly for her as we had had such a splendid weekend. On Friday, we enjoyed our very first of what I hope will be many outings to the Brookfield Zoo. Jason and I had decided that we would buy an annual membership to the zoo so that we could go back throughout the year and let Baby Girl take it all in at her leisure. It was a splendid day, cool and sunny, with loads of kids for her to watch as we strolled about. We took in the giraffes, the penguins, the baboons, the polar bears, and the tiger that was stalking about (obviously inside its enclosure).

On Sunday, we had had such a relaxed and lovely weekend and seeing that it was Confirmand Sunday, Baby Girl and I bundled off to church where she was well-received and everyone made such a fuss over her. However, everyone was so excited to see her, that they just couldn't wait to get their hands on her, literally. Everybody touched her fingers and her palms and, of course, those went right into her mouth.
Which brings us to where we are at today, four days of runny nose later.
But, church was good, regardless, and I look forward even more to the summer schedule coming up in another week when we start earlier in the morning. It is such an obstacle to go in for worship when it coincides perfectly with her morning nap. But during the summer we should be able to just fit in a later morning nap. I am very glad, because I want Baby Girl to be inspired with wonder at the Creation.
When we were going through the penguin "house" at the zoo, there were water tanks all throughout with fish and small sharks and such not. In one particular tank, there were hundred of little creatures, for lack of a better description, each no more than two centimeters long, with eight tiny little legs/flippers, which were moving in perfect synchronism with each other, pushing them through the water. As we stood there and her little blue eyes focused on the fact that there was action going on behind that glass and the swirling pattern of their movement with--what? temperature current, food particles, hormonal secretions telling the group which direction to go?--I realized that this is one of the first big lessons I want her to understand about God. I want her to understand Wonder at the Creation and to know the Grace that comes with it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Protein Supplements

While we were in the bathroom brushing our teeth yesterday morning, there was a lady bug on the floor in front of her feet. I picked up her toothbrush from her and turned to the sink to rinse it off and put it in the toothbrush holder. I turned back to her on the floor to pick up the lady bug. When I looked down, the lady bug was gone and she was chewing with a concentrated look on her face.
I think she's working her way up to that five pounds of dirt before she's five.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Found Moment

Yesterday for lunch, it was just Baby Girl and me. We had just got home from a walk and seeing Dad at church and when we got in we were both starving.
I quickly put together something for her, and set about boiling some water and pasta for myself with the intention that once the pasta was cooked, I would cut some up for her to feed herself while I ate.
Well, the wheat pasta took longer than I thought I would, and I had to ply her with cheese and pears while we waited for the pasta. I finally thought it was done and I took it up, pouring it into a colander in the sink, and took out a couple of pieces to run under cold water.
I went to her tray, and started to tear off a few pieces, only to discover that I had not cooked it enough. So took those pieces to put them back into the microwave, plying her with more pears.
Finally, the microwave went off. I headed to her tray to put some on it so I could have my lunch, too. As I stood over her, Baby Girl looked up at me, barely lifting her head, looking up at me out of the tops of her eyes as I started to put more pasta on her tray as if to say, you have got to be kidding me, lady. Now, you just put more pears on this tray and I won't shrilly remind you of who is in charge here.

Friday, May 11, 2007

It's not nothing

It has been such a busy week.
My mom, dad, and sister were here last weekend, until Tuesday morning and, with one thing and another, there just didn't seem to be time to do much else.
It was a really good visit, in particular, I think, because Baby Girl was just thrilled to see them. She warmed up to each of them within minutes of laying eyes on them, even though it had been since January since she had seen them. It was a good reality check kind of visit, for me especially, as my guest/visitor mode over the past nine months has really changed.
When people used to come for a visit, I would get all hyped up about them coming, cleaning and shopping and planning, menus, activities, et. al.
Now, people are lucky if I mop the floor.
I think my family got thrown in pell mell into the flurry of our lives, which may have been a bit jarring for them. Even though Jason and I are pretty relaxed and mellow in terms of how "scheduled" we are in relation to some of our social counterparts, it was obvious that we are in overdrive in comparison for my parents. Baby Girl is so particular about her schedule, and even a 15 to 20 minute deviation can result in tears that may drag on for hours (or just what might seem like it).
This was brought home a couple of times during their stay, the most dramatic of which was Monday night, the last night they were here (and my parents' 40th wedding anniversary). We had dinner a bit later than intended, which put me a back a bit whisking her off to bed, which put her in a right mood because I skipped part of her routine, which set her up for being disgrunteled while we were nursing, which then caused the utter and complete meltdown of Baby Girl at bedtime.
Needless to say, this was followed up by the utter and complete meltdown of mom (me).
The next morning, Baby Girl's world had returned to normal and with the smiles came the glimpse of a brand new tooth poking through the gum line. It still needs to work its way forth completely, but she' s now up to a grand total of three and, no, I don't have pictures of them yet besides this one because she is very adamant about not letting anything near her mouth unless it's got food on it.
So, between the tooth and visitors, it's been a very up and down kind of week, full of inadequate naps, raging smiles, and crocodile tears.

She had a doctor's appointment on Thursday, and it would seem that our days of worrying about weight may be slipping behind us. She checked in at 26 1/2 " and 17 pounds, 4 ounces. We are almost ready for size 3 diapers, and I now have a very concrete reason as to why my back is hurting so much.
In addition to this, in the last nine days she has become an adept crawler. She will crawl to something if she wants it and is starting to cotton on to the idea that if she wants to, she can traverse from one room to the next. She doesn't seem to like to get too far from whoever is playing with her, however, and if you walk too far away (in her estimation, of course), then the gig is up.
With more crawling skills has come pull-up skills. To wit, we have had to lower her bed this week as, on Tuesday morning when her father went into her room, she was actively trying to pull up on the sides of the crib so she could stand.100_4583
It's all very exciting, as the idea that one can walk freely from room to room and she is responsible for her own locomotion is awesome.

The question came up this week from a friend about how long I was planning on breastfeeding (actually, she asked Jason, but neither here nor there). When Jason asked me what my intention were, I said that I still wanted to get to a year. But I realize that that answer is much more complicated than that. Nursing has been the source of my greatest pain since having Baby Girl and one of the sources of my most intense pleasure. From the difficulties with latching early on, to the low expressed milk output, to the weight concerns, to the general learning curve of it all, it has inspired a wide range of emotions in me, and not all of them serene.
But, over the months, we have come to a compromise of sorts. At first, when I went back to work, I would get up in the middle of the night to express, and before I went to bed, too in order to have enough milk for the day. I eventually gave that up and started supplementing with formula. Then her nursing habits changed as she got more aware of the world, and we supplemented more and my supply adjusted and now I no longer express at work. We nurse before I go to work, and when I get home, but I don't worry about it otherwise and we're in a place now where that's really ok. Now that she is such a good eater, breastfeeding isn't about giving her food or antibodies or even brain-developing amino acids. It's about this relationship. When I walk in the door after work, she looks at me and smiles and begins this half giggle, half whimper at the sight of me. That's my cue to wash my hands (shame on me for not coming with them already clean!), to pick her up, to snuggle her against my skin, and to let her hold on.
I look forward to the day when Baby Girl will walk away from me, and not look around to see if I am still there. But, that day isn't right now. Right now, Baby Girl still looks for me as she starts to crawl away and, as long as she does that, then she's still Baby Girl. So, we'll keep nursing as long as she wants to.