Monday, October 30, 2006

Gunpowder Treason! Gunpowder!! Treason!! Yay!
Sunday, Nov 5 is Guy Fawkes Day. I would guess that few of you (except LeBon, of course) are familiar with the holiday, unless you recall the discussion this time last year. This year our annual bonfire/backyard burn-a-thon will be open to kids. I figured it was only fair, since our own little burninator will be present at the festivities.

We're having the party on Saturday so we can get to bed on time Snday night. Yes, we've become That Old That Quickly. In fact, I try to start getting into bed around 9pm. That way I'm usually able to nod off to sleep by 11:30 or so.

The bonfire will again feature hot dogs, s'mores, burgers, and anything else you can cook over flame. Aluminum cans, gummy bears, plastic army men, the usual stuff. At the end of the evening we burn the scarecrow effigy of Guy Fawkes to much native dancing and fanfare. A lot of beer is spilled.

One small point continued to irritate the proverbial skin, however, like a minor case of diaper rash: We and most of our friends are Catholic, and it's a little weird that a bunch of Catholics would celebrate Guy Fawkes Day by burning his effigy. Since, you know, he represented the Catholics trying to assassinate the Protestant government officials and all that jazz. We were bothered by this dissonance last year and resolved it by just burning more stuff and spilling more beer.

This year, the Catholics will have a voice. The Burninating Committee determined that we need a little cardboard model of Parliament, frosted and decorated with gumdrops like a gingerbread house. That will be a fun project for the kiddies, don't you think?

Then we dig, in the backyard, a teeny little basement underneath our sugar-sweet little Parliament and Big Ben. The kids can play out a puppet scene of a teeny little man in period clothing transporting a little miniature keg filled with gunpowder while old gentlemen in powdered wigs sip Brandy upstairs.

For the play's climax, a cleverly inserted match (GROWNUPS ONLY HERE, PLEASE!) will blow the place to smithereens.

The only question that remains is this:
Should we use
this one?
this one?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Biker Chick
It should come as no surprise that e-baby had her first bicycle before she was born. My parents found the world's smallest mountain bike, used, and snapped it up for her. Our plan is to teach her to ride (when she's a little bit bigger!) without training wheels. We 'll take the pedals off of the bike and let her cruise around with her feet for balance, learning to steer and roll, and then when she's ready, put the pedals back on and she can ride like a big kid. The idea is not ours; it's the same thing that Rolli-Riders do.

Anyway, here is e-baby modeling her riot-red mountain bike.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Mom went back to Austin yesterday, but I think we'll be OK. She left us enough frozen meals to get through three winters, and I learned a number of baby-soothing tricks from her along the way. Right now, my favorite one is to pat-pat-pat the baby on the toosh to settle her when she is frazzled. It works really well, but you have to do it for about 4 hours before you can walk away from her. She appears to sleep but as soon as you stop patting the toosh, she wakes up and roars. She's a lot like a baby lion cub. When she's mad, she growls and roars and opens her mouth big to show you her big, scary teeth, but all she has are gums, and she stomps her tiny feet and no matter what she does, she can't be scary, but she sure as heck tries. Like this:

See? Just like a baby lion cub.

I've posted 2 more sets of pictures on Flickr. I went ahead and got a real account because I decided to eventually put other pictures up there too, like vacation pictures and such. But for now, it's all about e-baby.

e-baby, week 2

e-baby, weeks 3-5

Friday, October 20, 2006

Two updates from yesterday:

1. The La Leche League meeting was really fun. It was a group of moms with babies between 4 weeks and about a year, as well as 2 LLL leaders who had a few semi-structured conversation starters, and we basically spent the 2 hours asking and answering one another's questions about adjusting to the new baby, nursing problems, etc. No weirdos, no militant judgemental booby-police. Just a bunch of women like me who probably get as much out of the "we've had the same problem you're having and here's what I did" as from just getting out of the house and being social. Only thing special was that it was not at all weird to feed the baby right there in front of everyone without any kind of cover-up. I will definitely go back.

2. e-baby SMILED AT ME! She's not real confident in her smiling abilities yet, but she did it 4 different times. NOT GAS! A REAL SMILE! She's so beautiful. It made me into a complete babbling goon. I tried to catch it on film, but haven't been successful yet.

SNG and I just got home from a 12-mile mtn bike ride, about an hour. I know it doesn't sound like much, but it's the most my hiney has done since June. Since I outgrew my bike and all. It felt really good, and I could've definitely done more. But, I was worried about a hungry baby at home and wanted to get back to her. Did I mention? She smiled at me? As if I could stay away from that for more than an hour.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Next Sunday e-baby will be 4 weeks old! She's so cute. Soon she'll learn to smile. For now, she only smiles when she poots.

I'm still jogging just short distances of about two miles at a time. The distance is too easy now, but the longer I stay out, the more I feel like I need to get back to the baby. It doesn't matter whether she's with my mom or with SNG or with a band of gypsies. It's not the quality of the child care that is pulling me back home. It's just her little face and squealy gurgly voice in my head. I put on my iPod and listen to an audiobook and can't follow the plot because I'm thinking about e-baby too much. I really do want to get away and run for maybe 5-6 miles-- that would be perfectly reasonable and would take an hour, maybe 75 minutes. But the teeny supermagnet won't let me go that far.

If it's this hard to go running by myself for 30 minutes, what will the first business trip sans bébé be like? Oh, I hate to even think of it.

Anyway, so here's the skinny (haha) on recovery. I dropped 20 pounds of pregnancy weight in less than two weeks. And since then, nada. That leaves five pregnancy pounds and another five vanity pounds and my weight hasn't gone anywhere for the past two weeks. They say nine months to put it on, nine months to take it off, but Bah! eight more months for 10 measly pounds? It'll be well into triathlon season by then.

The problem is that nursing makes you HUNGRY like nobody's business. It takes a lot of calories to make all those calories, but I'm mostly jonesing for sweets. I think I'm hungrier than I was pregnant! At least with mom here it's harder to make bad food choices because she's doing all the shopping and doesn't buy boxes of rice krispies, bags of marshmallows, and a stick of butter which is really all I need to make a little something to tide me over until dinner, honest I won't have to snack on anything else.

Oh, and add a bag of butterscotch chips while the marshmallows are melting.

I went to a "Moms in Motion" fitness class on Tuesday. It was nice to meet other new mothers and be somewhere that a screaming baby was not a nuisance. But I get more exercise diapering e-baby than I got in that class, since my house has stairs. Just how bad off do you have to be, how rough was your delivery, that after your OB gives you clearance to recommence exercise, you need to keep it that low-key? But, I might still go back to the class because like I said, I enjoyed going somewhere that e-baby could yell and holler without any dirty looks and I enjoyed meeting other new moms.

Tomorrow I'm going to try a La Leche League meeting. At least I won't have to pretend I'm getting a workout. I might have to pretend to breastfeed, though. E-baby will have had her breakfast and 2nd breakfast already, but it'll be too early for elevensies yet.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

False Starts

So we are supposed to do announcements, right? OK, I've been working on that, with all my spare time. Ha. Ha. Ha.

I've been doing this little project one bit at a time since, well, before e-baby was born. I started by checking out the cute little stationary store nearby, and their announcements, while beautiful, were going to run us about $3.50 apiece after photo, printing and stationary. Which would be fine if I only had 10 (or 30 or even 50) to send out. But I have a big family. My and SNG's parents have a lot of friends. SNG and I have a few friends of our own. We're looking at many, many announcements. Not quite wedding-invitation-many, but still about 150 or so.

Mom kept offering to hand-write them for me. I told her that this solution would not be optimal. It would not even be minimum variance. Besides, her time can be spent on better things. Like washing another load of stuff with poop and spit-up all over it.

I decided that the best approach is a simple one: have little cards printed with a color-graphic design on the front and the announcement text inside or on the back (depending on the type of card). Then, insert perfect-wallet-sized-baby photo with custom border, seal envelope, and voila, annonce accompli. We even already have a box of 150 little announcement-sized envelopes! What could be easier!

Staples is just around the corner. That was easy (sorry, couldn't resist). I found a moment to over there while e-baby was sleeping peacefully with my parents watching her. I was on the lookout for the right cardstock and to price the printing. Then to Wolf or Eckerd's for the picture.

Went to Eckerd's first: "Wallet sized pictures are $1 per print."
Went to Wolf: "You can't put a border on wallet-sized pictures."

Went to Staples: "We cannot print on non-standard paper sizes. Must be legal or letter sized."

Went back to Eckerd's: Their machine cuts of part of the cover design graphic without my permission. Got to have cover graphic printed because cover will have to be color photocopied. Went back home, edited the cover design graphic to have a border so that it would only crop the border.

Then at Staples the copier kept jamming and we were gone for over 2 hours and when we got home the baby was howling with hunger and anxiety and I was a wreck and

(pant, pant, pant) here the story has to stop. Because that only accounts the first 2 days of a 2 week epic saga in which I faced obstacle after obstacle to having the announcements done, not even the way I wanted them, but done at all.

I was going to write all about it here for you to feel the pain along with me, but as I started, I felt my blood pressure soar dangerously high. And just a moment ago, as SNG sat here next to me and slurped a spoonful of soup RIGHT NEXT TO MY EAR, I reflexively smacked him in the teeth. Well, not really, but in my mind I did. So, it'll be safer for all in my sweet little household not to tell you of the epic saga of Getting Announcements Made.

It suffices to say that they're done now, and if I have your address, and if I remember to do it, I'll send you one. I hope you enjoy it, because it nearly cost us a few thou in orthodondist bills for SNG. He is about to try his hand at a bowl of cereal. I will go to another room and find my center. Oohhhmmmm.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Daily Vitamin E(-baby)

It's hard to get pictures of her awake and alert, since she sleeps a lot, so here are a few gems from the
"I had a bath today and now I have cool Zoolander hair" file.

"Powderpuff Magnum"

"Pink Steel"

Monday, October 9, 2006

Two Week Update and Lessons Learned

Because you know, I've been a parent for 2 weeks so obviously I know everything now. Ha.

e-baby had her 2 week appointment when she was 10 days old. I'm so proud of her: she can track sounds and sights with her head, she knows my voice from other voices, and she's as strong as a teeeeeny-tiny ox. When the doctor put her down on her belly to see whether she could lift her head, ... she... DID A PUSH-UP! The doctor was so impressed and said that she is ahead of her age on all the tests. What a clever baby. She's going to be ready for the Iron Kids series before too long.

What have I learned in 2 weeks? Well, for anyone who might be having a baby, here goes:

1. Take help from anyone willing to give it. Assuming, of course, that it's someone you trust. It's surprising how hard it is to grab a cup of coffee or a glass of water when you're nursing, diapering, and rocking the baby for 2 hours, only to rest for an hour and start the cycle again. For the first week, all you do is feed, diaper, and rock the baby until she's well asleep and then you get an hour or 2 to get that cup of coffee. If you have someone to help you, like bring you an apple or whatever, use them. They don't even have to hold the baby, but if they have very clean hands and aren't sick, you could let them do that when she's crying inconsolably and you have to go to the bathroom.

2. Same goes for getting out of the house. OK, maybe I'm worse about this than most people, but I hate idleness. Being in the house too much makes me bonkers, and so having someone who could watch the baby while I go outside and walk or go to Eckerd's or even just go put gas in the car is a big help.

3. Get a rocker or a glider for nursing and rocking the baby to sleep. Make sure it is sized right for you. Make sure it has a high enough back that you can lay your head back and fall asleep. Because you're gonna be tired.

4. Get a Snugli. Hopefully someone will give you one as a present because they aren't cheap.

5. Shower every day. There will be some time of day when you are certain the baby's sleeping well, so put a monitor in the bathroom and get cleaned up. Why do I say this one? Because you will get inexplicable depression. You'll start crying for no reason at all (the reason is hormones, but that doesn't matter because you're still crying) and your brain has to find a reason for the sadness. If you can rule out things like personal hygiene and lack of nutrition, then you're less likely to spiral into self-pity. Self-pity will lead to more depression, which is not just the hormones, and you really don't need that. The baby doesn't need that either. If you can keep the perspective that you and the baby are both clean, well-nourished, and getting at least some sleep sometimes, then you can also keep the perspective that the sadness is just hormones and that it will eventually pass.

6. When you do get weepy, know that it will probably be at the same time(s) of day most days (mine are mid-morning and in the evenings, which happen to be e-baby's fussy times of day. Awesome.). Talk to someone if you can, or write about it in private, to keep you from getting too inwardly-focused. Or take a walk. You won't be mad at the baby: she's too perfect. But you'll redirect your frustration at everyone else because that's the only safe thing to do. And that's OK. Just try not to leave a trail of blood and tears behind you because it'll probably be the people you love who you take your frustration out on.

So if you read between the lines, you'll have a clue what my week has been like. She's the most beautiful and charming person n the whole world to me. But even though she's less fussy than the average baby, and things could be much harder as far as sleeping (she takes 2 hours to get to sleep on a good night, and she wakes up once or twice to eat, and sleeps otherwise), we're so tired. I'm cranky a lot of the time, although some things will cheer me up right away, like taking a walk or...


I jogged yesterday! Yay! Hooray! I did 2 miles and it felt SO GOOD but I didn't try to run further than that because I wanted to stop while it still felt good. I'll work on adding real distances after another week or so. For now, the muscles have to remember the motions. But yeah, it felt great. No pain. Up until the end of last week, bouncing felt pretty bad so I walked. Little by little, the walking felt better and easier, and finally got too easy so I knew it was time to run.

And so we begin week 3. Here's a new picture. Cute little froggy, isn't she?

Monday, October 2, 2006

SNG and I have been parents for just over a week. How has it been?

No joking, it's really much more fun and exciting than I thought it would be. I've never been much of a "kid person," and I've certainly never been a "baby person." If anything, I'm more of a Jr high/ High schooler person. In college I had a job tutoring jr high and high school kids, and it was one of the most fun and interesting jobs I'd ever had. I also worked as a 2-yr-old day care teacher, and it was the worst torture I've ever endured. And babies? Never really my thing.

This one is certainly different. Perhaps it's the knowledge that we're her primary advocates in the world, and that if everyone in the whole world were to turn their backs on her someday, she'd still be able to count on SNG and me. It's a funny feeling to be in love with someone with no strings attached at all. She's charming, beautiful, funny, cute, captivating. As Tita said, she's got SNG wrapped around her finger. Well, that goes for both of us. Actually, I think it goes for every single person who has held her so far.

OK, enough sentimental stuff.

I decided to try to jump back on my fitness bandwagon right away, since the doctor told me I could. Last Wednesday mom and I took a 40 minute power walk. I hadn't moved that fast since probably April or May, and it felt great. But by the end of the walk, let's just say I felt like I was turnng inside-out. And the next day I came down with a cold. Probably my body saying "WHOA, Nellie, put on the brakes! I gotta get some sleep before you can sign up for the next triathlon!" So I've been taking normal-speed walks, doing abs in the living room (which feels SO GOOD after not being able to due to distatis erecti (SP?)). By some stroke of luck, e-babe hasn't caught my cold or SNG's (different) cold or anyone else's... yet.

Yesterday SNG went back to work. He doesn't get paternity leave, only vacation, and he didn't have a whole lot of that. He misses her, she misses him.

I might get out of the house long enough to hit the BabiesRUs for some essentials, and if I'm lucky, I might even get around to designing the birth announcements! Imagine that! And, if that doesn't impress you, I've taken a shower every day since last Wednesday. Uh, huh! That's impressive, isn't it? Go me.

Actually, none of that would even be possible if not for the fact that my mom is here doing everything. EVERYTHING. She makes dinner, she makes the veggies for my breakfast omelette, she does our laundry, she takes care of the baby when SNG and I need to go take a walk alone or get out of the house, and on and on. I think she's having a good time, even though she is doing stuff that nobody likes to do. She's been getting to the movies, taking walks in the woods, and sleeping all night long in exchange for her hard work during the day. Don't tell her, but I think I've got the better end of that deal.

Perhaps in a few months I'll have more exciting things to blog about, but at least for awhile, it'll be mostly Adventures In Parenthood (And Frogs In The Woods) around here. I hope you'll keep reading!

I'm confident that everyone likes to stare at her as much as I do, so if you would like to see some live-action baby action live and action-packed, here are some videos... Action-packed!
NOTE NOTE NOTE: If you are on a phone line, these will take a long time to download. Also, it is going to have to download, so you might have to modify your security settings to allow downloads in order to view them.

VIDEO 1 in the hospital

VIDEO 2 at home

VIDEO 3 at home

VIDEO 4 at home