Thursday, March 29, 2007

Friday Photoblogging

Last Friday's playdate winds down:

Bathtime (Ellie's totally into showers lately):


Ellie's brand-new big girl haircut:

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Ellie can't make an "f" sound, so she turns lights "osh" and she loves "Ralsh."

We're all big Ralph's World fans around here (thanks for the long ago tip, Moreena). He's all kinds of a big deal now that he's on Playhouse Disney, but we love him anyway. We went to see him (twice!) at Disney World last fall, and are still bummed that we missed his last St. Louis show, which was at Blueberry Hill.

So there was no way we were going to miss his latest show, this time at The Pageant. That's a big move! A few blocks and a few thousand people.

The "nosh pit" at the Ralph's World Disney-MGM Studios show was fun and silly.

The kiddie mosh pit at The Pageant? Still good wholesome fun. But different, surely? I mean, I've seen Ani Difranco at The Pageant. And Lewis Black. And they have real mosh pits there! Though not during Ani or Lewis.

I stayed home with Ada while Paul took Ellie to the Ralph show on Sunday. We figured that 2 months is perhaps a bit young for a first rock concert. I dressed Ellie for the occasion: ponytail, snug jeans, tennis shoes, layered t-shirts with a classic Wonder Woman T on top. She looked like a 3-foot-tall teenager. Where is my baby?

She had a fabulous time.

Pre-Show warm-up:

Enjoying the music:

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Snore . . .

I like to write after the kids have gone to bed, and Adelaide hasn't gone to bed for the last couple of nights, so . . . no me, no blogging. Also, I am pretty tired! I hear myself faltering in conversation, sharing oddly boring stories, interrupting rudely, and generally being unable to function as a normal adult.

But that doesn't keep me from trying! I hosted one of my book clubs last night (and even had some--quality, I hope--discussion points prepared). Sadly, no one had read the whole book, but I had fun, anyway. This morning we went to a friend's for a playdate. Yesterday was the mall, and tomorrow Ellie gets a haircut. Spring break flies by.

And how, oh how did I manage to stay home so much when Ellie was a baby? Poor Ada has a cold right now, but fortunately she's cheerful as ever. It was 6 months before Ellie got her first cold. Far be it from me to speak for Ada's discomfort, but in my opinion an earlier cold for the baby is so totally worth my sanity. I love being out and about with the girls instead of cooped up, bored, inside.

Ah, baby's up, and Ellie's attempts to soothe her can get a little violent. Adieu.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


The stereotype is that all the stars must be perfectly aligned for a wife to want to have sex.

That's an exaggeration, of course, but there is some truth to the fact that some people (including some wives) do need or want an emotional component to sex.

For me, physical intimacy is often connected to emotional intimacy. Lots of examples come to mind, but it turns out that there are some things that I don't want to share here! Even if they are good stories. At least, not tonight.

If I feel fat, or have had a bad day, or am tired, or angry with my husband, I don't feel much like having sex. Probably, I don't feel very sexy, either.

That said, once Paul and I really confronted the changes in our relationship, once we started honestly discussing how very wrong things had gone, our physical relationship improved dramatically.

That seems odd to me, but I am beginning to understand that sometimes it's good to be connected, one way or another. And once I realized that the emotional connection I'd always thought we'd had was at best severely damaged, then the physical connection became much more important.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

World Down Syndrome Day

Hola, today is World Down Syndrome Day. March 21, 3/21, Trisomy 21, get it?

Gifts: Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives. I have an essay in there, and the above photos are of the other contributors and their children. There's also a blog.

Edited to add credit where it's due: Rebecca created the lovely photo montage.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


I finally met my niece last weekend, and today is an appropriate time to write about her, on the eve of her 8-week-birthday.

Ellie enjoyed much of the 7-hour trip to my parents' house in the "cool car,"* and Ada did remarkably well too. Both girls slept wonderfully while we were there, which was critical given that we all shared a (very large) bedroom.

For the trip, I made Ellie a map with a picture of Map (Backpack's friend from Dora the Explorer, dig?) in one corner and our route marked with actual photos of sights we'd see along the way (the St. Louis Arch, the Exxon Refinery at Joliet, etc.). It is pretty cool, if I do say so myself.

*Funny story. Paul took Ellie to school in the Passat Monday, and they parked behind a blue Honda Odyssey that was probably a few years old. As she got out of the car, Ellie looked at the nearby minivan and said, "Cool car." Hilarious.

But back to the babies.

My sister, a stressed out first time mother, tends to talk about how fussy her baby is, and how she never sleeps. I didn't find this to be true, in my limited acquaintance with my niece. I think a lot of it is perception. Being a second time mom is so much nicer. It is true that Arria is a little harder to soothe than Ada, mostly because you have to be more energetic and creative.

Ada likes to be walked about while being patted on the back, or nursing. Arria gets bored of nearly anything after a few minutes, so the soother must have another creative and vigorous trick up her sleeve at all times. And she doesn't like to sleep on her own, which can be a bit suffocating. No pun intended, gasp.

Arria's adorable, and looks so very different from her cousin! Ada, who is of course absolute perfection, looks like my dad - everyone agrees. Except when she looks like a baby picture of my mother's. She gets her height and feet from Paul's mom, but the rest of her is my family. Arria, on the other hand, doesn't look like anybody. She has my sister's lips, which are full and adorable. And she has an amazing nose that turns straight up. Too cute.

OK, I've gotta go pump (and sleep!) but I wanted to include a picture of the two newborn cousins together. Ada's on the left, wearing one of her favorite expressions. Ditto for Arria, on the right.

Monday, March 19, 2007

It is begun

My confidence in my wonder parenting skills took a major hit last week, when I couldn't convince the girls to nap at the same time all week long. In fact, I couldn't convince Adelaide, usually such a great sleeper, to sleep at all. Oh, she'd take little cat naps, but only in my arms, and only when I'd hold her just so, and only for short periods of time.

But Friday, glorious Friday, brought both girls a nap at the same time. Alas, I was unable to take advantage of the opportunity to sleep myself, but I did have some things I needed to take care of.

On Friday, rather than putting Ada to sleep in her crib, or the beside co-sleeper, or her swing, or the vibrating seat, or in my arms, I laid her down on one of my t-shirts spread over Paul's pillow and pulled the sheet and comforter up to her shoulders. Yes, I know, she shall surely die. But she does love it so. And I do so love for her to be happy and healthy and occasionally sleeping.

As usual, I went in to check on the baby periodically. And on one such check, she wasn't where I'd left her. In fact, I couldn't see her at all. I walked a little closer to the bed, and found her. She'd wiggled her way down off the pillow and was lying sideways on the bed. I readjusted and recovered her, acknowledging the bittersweet realization that I won't be able to leave her unattended in an unrailinged bed for long. Already, she's beginning to try to move!

Tonight, she had her first bottle and she absolutely loved it. Then she had her first cocktail, when I got home from a one martini dinner out with a friend. Now she's sleeping.

Tomorrow she'll be 8 weeks old. Wahoo!

As a celebration, I'm urging my body to finally quit the lochia.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Monday Morning Poll

1) Do you have sex with your partner when you're visiting your parents? His/her parents?

2) Is it worse to eat the booger, or to wipe it off and leave it for someone else to find later and inconveniently?

3) Do you always use your turn signals when changing lanes? If not, why not?

4) As you age, do you find yourself becoming more understanding of what you used to think of as silly and trite platitudes?

5) Eleanor Roosevelt is said to have said, "Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people." Agree or disagree?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Friday FCC

Frustration: I can't convince Blogger to remember me for longer than an hour or so, meaning that I have to log in every time I sit down at my computer to blog, edit, or comment. I have no problem with cookies from other applications . . .

Confession: It was the confession I started with, but by the time I sat down and logged in, I'd lost it. As my mother would say, if it's important, it will come back to me. And then I can log in and edit. I'll confess this instead. I didn't shower today. Or yesterday. I'm feeling pretty gross just now.

Cute Story: As we returned home from a delightful pizza dinner outing this evening, Paul pushed the button to automatically open the sliding doors. Ellie watched her door opening, and said, "Cool car." So true! So adorable! And also such a lovely leap for her, to make a spontaneous comment including an adjective. Wahoo! (Though Ellie might be the first person to ever call a minivan a "cool car.")

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Grown-Ups for Real

The first time we went minivan shopping, Ellie was very disappointed when we went home in our Passat. After we'd decided on the Honda Odyssey* we went in to decide on a color, and Ellie sobbed when we left in the Passat. She also told us what color to get. "Ellie, should we get red or black?"

"Red!" Dark Cherry Pearl, to be precise. She rarely answers a direct question, unless with "No," or "OK," so this was significant.

Today we could hardly keep her from the parking lot while we signed papers inside. She loves the new car, and she hasn't even been introduced to the DVD player yet.

So, here we are loving our new car almost as much as we're loving our awesome 3.9% interest rate.

With one child, we could almost kid ourselves that we were the same people we used to be. But with two children and a minivan, well, I guess we're all grown up now!

*There's no debate about the top two cars in the minivan market: Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey. I know that Consumer Reports chose the Sienna over the Odyssey this year, but there are some features on the Odyssey that won me over.

One of the main things I wanted with a new vehicle was a quick and easy route from the front seats to the back. With the Sienna, there are two options: no center console or bulky center console, not easily removed. With the Odyssey, there's a center console that folds down against the passenger seat with the push of one button.

Honda also has this cool feature called Variable Cylinder Management, VCM, where some of the cylinders turn off at highway speeds, improving fuel economy. This is apparently as close as I can get to a hybrid minivan in the U.S.

Finally, there's the 8th seat. Sienna offers an 8 seat option, but only on its lower-end models, and the middle row captain's chairs are far less comfortable in the 8 seat configuration than in the more luxurious 7 seat model. Odyssey has incredibly comfortable captain's chairs in the middle row, and a nifty little middle seat that seats me comfortably, or folds down easily to make a handy console, or is entirely removable like the Sienna console. Perfect! I can even nurse Ada while sitting in between the two car seats. While parked, of course!

Also, the sales guy at Toyota was phoning it in, while I liked the sales guy at Honda a lot. And he looked like Taye Diggs.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dream Vacation

Have I mentioned that we're going to Scotland this summer?

Well, we are. My whole family: my parents, my sisters, their husbands, Paul and me, and the three grandkids (at the time, that will mean one 3-year-old and two 4-month-olds).

We'll be flying over together and touring much of the country, skipping The Borders in favor of spending most of our time in the Highlands and Islands.

I've been madly devouring literature set in Scotland, Scotland guide books and coffee table books, and a book of Scottish nursery rhymes that came with an accompanying audiotape. I am getting psyched.

So. What do I wear?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Well, You Never Know Until You Try


And that's about all I'll say about that.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


They don't tell you . . .

They don't tell you that the weight you gain during pregnancy won't disappear immediately. They don't tell you that all the edema/swelling might take 2 weeks or more to subside, and that you'll sweat it out in bed at night.

They don't tell you about the hemorrhoids, except perhaps as a brief aside like this one.

They don't tell you about how your organs feel like they're sloshing around and banging into each other for a while. How you feel like you should hold your abdomen when you move, or perhaps invest in a snug girdle.

They don't tell you about the bleeding. Oh, you might hear mention of "the lochia." But they don't tell you that you could bleed through diaper-like giganta-pads hourly the first couple of days. They certainly don't say that you could still be bleeding 6 weeks later - 6 weeks! - and pads only, ladies. No tampons or anything else inside your vagina for those first 6 weeks. That includes bathwater, for those who like to bath and swim: you must wait.

No sex, either. But do you really want it?

Lack of sleep, bleeding, and hormonal vaginal dryness aside, at 6 weeks even relatively minor tearing will only be "about 80% healed." The stitching material won't fully dissolve for another month or so.

And your wonderfully sensitive doctor will give you the OK to resume "all normal activity," including exercise, tampon wearing, baths, and sex. If you're ready. Unless you'd like to wait some more. But it's OK with him - as long as it's OK with you.

So many disclaimers! Perhaps he's had patients laugh at the very suggestion. Or throw things at him.

Pregnancy is not for the faint of heart and neither is what comes afterward.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Crash the Second

Paul is out of town, so I'll take this opportunity to tell you that he totalled his Jimmy last weekend. This is the second Jimmy he's totalled on black ice, not to cast aspersions on his winter driving prowess. That would be a nasty thing to do to a Wyoming boy! In his defense, last time - the first Jimmy's demolition - was not his fault. This time, though - the second Jimmy's demise - was a one car accident.

It's no tragedy, fortunately. Paul is well, aside from a stiff neck and back. Also, the Jimmy was about 8 years old and fully paid off.

My Passat will be paid off in May, and we'd hoped to spend a few months tossing the amount we're used to spending on car payments at some of our massive credit card debt. We're not big shoppers but we're really really bad with money.

We have to buy a new car right away. With very small children and Paul working 25 minutes from home (without allowing for traffic) one car just isn't easily feasible for us right now.

Fortunately, March is the month for bonuses, and the insurance company will be sending us a check too. Down payment!

We went car shopping last night. As I whipped out my wallet to hand over my driver's license for the test drive, Ellie got excited. "Shopping! Shopping! Car!" She loved the very first (and only) vehicle we've looked at so far. "Ready! Ready!" she cried, pulling the shoulder belt across her chest. I'm sure she'll be crushed when she learns that she has to ride in her car seat in the new car too.

Paul will get the Passat, and I'll drive the new vehicle. He's rather jealous about that, but the Passat is a great car in great condition, and we both agree on what we need in a new vehicle: room for at least 2 car seats and 3 adults, with flat space for diaper changing and convenient access to the back seats from the front seats without having to get out of the car. Plus all the luxury features we crave.

I wonder how I'll adapt to seeing myself as a minivan mom.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Did I Mention?

Ellie loves to put her hand up beside her mouth and "call" for one of her parents. She often does this in public places, sometimes when she's holding daddy's hand and mommy's only a few feet away. She thinks this is hilarious (and she's right).

Lately the game has a new twist. She now calls her daddy "Paul" when she's calling for him. And there's nothing more adorable than Ellie at church, calling down the long aisle for, "Paul! Paul!"

Oh, also, I didn't get into my first choice grad school. Alas.

More Thumb

This is the two-week anniversary of my thumb problems, and I'm happy to report that things are starting to improve.

I had made an appointment to see my doctor about the thumb on a Friday morning, but by Thursday night the pain was so bad - the constant throbbing would have kept me awake - that I went to the ER to have it lanced. "Do you want to do a culture?" the nurse asked the ER doctor. "Why bother?" he replied. "It's staph." So scary! But I asked about transmission and he was unconcerned. "I have staph, you have staph, she has staph . . . " I was just very unlucky.

Last Thursday marked the end of my 10-day course of amoxicillin, which didn't cure the infection.
From 2007-02

I've now had 2 days of my new antibiotic, Omnicef, and it seems to be helping! Wahoo!
From 2007-02

I'm thinking that this at home mom with two kids gig will be a breeze (hah!) once I can do it with two functional thumbs and no constant feminine bleeding. More on that later, perhaps. For now, I'll spare you. But childbirthing is not for wimps.

Friday, March 02, 2007

I Love Ellie

I've been writing a lot about Adelaide, but there's so much to say about Eleanor too.

Ellie's hair is interesting. It's a dark blond. As I look at individual strands, I can't name their color. Not yellow, gold, or brown. But along the hairline, Ellie's hair is white blond. When she'll let me, I love to brush the hair gently back off of her forehead, temples, the nape of her neck and look at that soft, surprisingly bright hair.

Her skin is perfection. It's usually chapped and not nearly as soft as it was when she was a newborn, but Ellie's complexion is indescribably gorgeous. Her skin is perfectly fair, white without a hint of yellow. (I could be charitably called an autumn. Or just yellow.) Her cheeks are always rosy. I've never seen skin coloring as perfect as Ellie's.

And her eyes! Ellie's eyes are her most amazing feature. I could stare into them all day, if she'd stand still for it (which she wouldn't). So bright! So clear! Such an amazing blue! Ellie's eyes are not as piercing as, but even more compelling than Peter O'Toole's as Lawrence of Arabia.

I love Ellie's wide-legged walk, and her developing run. I love her sturdy little body, even though her round belly and tiny bottom mean that she can't keep her pants up (I recently bought her suspenders).

Ellie is three years old, 36 inches tall, and 33 pounds. She loves to weigh herself on the bathroom scale, and I don't know where she gets that. (Daddy, you're so busted.)

I love the way Ellie's been fighting sleep much less for the past couple of weeks. I love the way she's been stringing words together more, and her language is becoming easier to understand.

I love the way her mind works, and I love watching her figure things out. I love the way she's starting being specific when she tells me what she wants. Not a drink, but milk or water. Not a snack, but pretzels or cookies. Not "Mama! Mama!" but requests to go to her room to "Play dishes," or blocks or tea party.

I love the way she wants to drag her "I tall" stool into the kitchen to help with whatever I'm doing there. I love her passion for books.

I love the way she cares for her younger sister. I love the way she tells me especially who she wants to pray for at night. I love that she still loves music so much, the way she did long before she was even born.

I love the baby she was, and the little girl she's becoming.

I love Ellie.

From 2007-01

From 2007-02