Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas

(Wash U Class of 1997 friends note the sweatshirts. Hope to see you at Reunion 2012!)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Season

Project Christmas Hat is 6/10 complete. On a related note, all of my nails are broken and the skin on my fingertips is extremely dry.

Still to come: Project Christmas Candle, Project Christmas picture, Project Christmas Letter, Project Christmas Baking, Project Christmas Open House, and Project Christmas Presents. (Project Christmas House is relaxingly completed.)

Baby news, in case you're interested - and of course course you're interested! - Teddy is now 8 months old. 8 months! He's a confident sitter and is starting to get onto hands-and-knees to lunge forward. He'll be crawling before long! He is also beginning to wave. Today Paul asked Teddy, where's my mouth? Where's my nose? And Teddy reached out and touched the appropriate parts at the appropriate times. So cool. He's talking, too. By which I mean that he knows, gleefully, "Dadadadada!" for his father and "Ah-duh,ada,ada,ada" for his sister. Also, angrily, "Mamamamama!" for me and, occasionally, a cheerful "Hey!" for hi.

I love this kid. So glad we added a third.

(So are the girls. They're also nuts about Christmas. But now I need to catch some sleep; Teddy has a cold, is cutting 4 teeth at once, and will have me up before long!)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

Hey! This here's Barrie Summy's monthly book review club.

For next month my book club is reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. And that was my choice. But there's another reader inside me, too. And that reader likes to read fun books that are quick and consumable and exciting and pulpy and fun. Also, did I mention, fun?

That reader discovered Harry Dresden a few years ago. What's not to love? In Jim Butcher's contemporary urban fantasy series, Chicago looks much as it does today. Except that, in the Yellow Pages, there's a single listing for a "Professional Wizard." That's Harry Dresden, and he's an old-school private investigator who solves problems with little help from modern technology (electronics don't do so well around magic).

The novels might start like classic noir detective stories but soon the missing artifact or other de rigueur case turns out to have an occult twist. To sum up the awesomeness here, so far we have:
1) Funny series novels set in Chicago
2) Classic mystery set-up
3) Magic.

What's not to love? That's harder to put my finger on. But I found that I don't want to read two Dresden novels back-to-back. Butcher's voice grates on me after that and little . . . flaws? stylistic choices? character idiosyncrasies? . . . in the writing begin to call attention to themselves and draw me out of the story.

So I read the books one-at-a-time, with space between, because I really like to enjoy each one. These stories have it all: wizards, magical politics, faeries, goblins, trolls, zombies, vampires, werewolves, angels, priests, fighting, battles, war, romance, you name it and it's probably somewhere in this world. As an added bonus, the main characters are geeks.

Another benefit to the slow-read approach is that I didn't catch up to the author for a long time.

But when I finished Ghost Story (Book 13, naturally) last week, I was stuck. The next novel isn't due until next summer! And only one per year after that! Alas.

If the above description captures your interest, let me underscore that/reassure you in two ways: Butcher's writing improves as the series progresses, and the novels are better than the short-lived Sci Fi Channel series loosely based on the books.

If you've tried just one or two of the novels but haven't gotten hooked, I'd recommend perseverance. I was shocked - shocked! - at what happened in Changes (Book 12). It sent me scrambling for Side Jobs, an anthology of short stories and a novelette set between various novels in the series, as well as a novella set immediately after Changes. Then I rushed right into Ghost Story, which left me hanging deliciously.

I'm looking forward to book 14 - and it's worth noting that the author does have a planned story arc for the entire series, including an ending - but I think the first 11 novels, fun as they were, were worth reading as prelude alone for all the changes in books 12 and 13.

Recommended light holiday reading.

Click icon for more
book review blogs
@Barrie Summy

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Weekly Menu

In December I like to eat out. A lot. I crave Mexican food, Italian food, Red Robin. I want warmth and comfort and calories. So I have to make sure that my frig is stocked with stuff I really want to eat at home or we'll be out every night.

As you may know, I make a(n almost) weekly menu and post it on the frig along with what's going on each day. Here's this week:

This was supposed to be a meat/wine/mushroom crockpot deal but due to timing ended up being a wine-free skillet hamburger stroganoff type of dish. With peas over egg noodles.

Lamb meatballs in a North African sauce over garlicy pearled couscous with glazed carrots.

Slow Cooker BBQ pork. There's a lot of Christmas prep going on here and I might wimp out and use a bottled sauce. Served on wheat buns with kosher dills, salad, and some sort of vegetable.

Paul and the girls will be out; Teddy and I will enjoy baked chicken breast. Possibly some yogurt and something in the vegetable family.

Leftovers, yo

Pizza and a movie night! Going frozen this week.

Well, I might just get my comfort food out this week, after all. :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Down syndrome is focus of new blood test for pregnant women

I thought this was a good, balanced article.

Down syndrome is focus of new blood test for pregnant women

The test (from a competing company) was supposed to be ready before I became pregnant with Teddy but was delayed. I understand and sympathize with the concerns many have about the non-invasive diagnostic test but am glad it's available, would have used it with my last two pregnancies (I had the far more painful, dangerous, and scary CVS instead) and would definitely use it if I became pregnant again. With my first pregnancy, I had amniocentesis.

Choosing to have Ellie was one of the most intense and defining moments of my life. In that moment - though I had already been pregnant and excited and preparing for months - in that moment I became a parent. I became an adult. Being Ellie's mom fills me with intense joy and devastating pain.

Similar states, of course, are common when loving and parenting any other child.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Table for 10:

Child #2 vs. Thanksgiving dinner - dinner wins!

Child #3 vs. Thanksgiving dinner - child wins! If I hadn't taken Teddy to bed, I'm relatively certain he'd still be eating. The big hits: TURKEY, mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Tonight I called 911 for the first time in my life. I was driving in the left lane down Kirkwood Road (a major street) between Target and Sports Authority. I slowed when I noticed traffic - three cars - stopped in the right lane. As I drew even with the stopped cars, I realized that there was a man lying in the street in the middle of the right lane. And the waiting cars were honking.

I don't know. Maybe the guy was playing a prank and lying in the highway for fun. But I kinda figure that if a pedestrian is lying in the street he deserves the benefit of the doubt that there's a good reason he's there other than that he's just trying to delay your trip.

I stopped, pulled out my phone, and called 911. A man stepped out from a nearby bus stop/shelter, walked up to the man lying in the road, and dragged him to the curb. Now both lanes were "clear" and it didn't seem to make sense to continue blocking all southbound traffic, so I proceeded slowly while still talking to the dispatcher. I gave her my name, confirmed my phone number, and answered her questions. She assured me that she would send police to check it out.

I stopped off for coffee at Dunkin' Donuts, and when I got back to my car I saw two police cars, two ambulances, and a firetruck. The man from the street was sitting on the curb as medics brought over a gurney. Maybe he was "just" a drunk. Maybe he was homeless. Maybe he was ill. Maybe he was struck by a car.

But for heaven's sake, why on earth were people honking their horns at him and why hadn't anyone else already called 911?!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Disneyland 2011: Privations and Pratfalls

We had a wonderful, fabulous time at Disneyland. And I'll write a more detailed trip report than anyone wants to read. But our misadventures make a funnier tale.

T-3: One child develops a fever.

T-2: Paul gets called out of town on a last minute business trip right before our vacation. By leaving his meeting early he can get home at 11:00 PM the night before our trip. We leave the house at 4:30 the next morning. Yes, 5 hours after he returns home. This sucks because, a) he's exhausted, and b) I need to do a great deal of the packing and preparing by myself with the "assistance" of three small children.

T-1: I try on the custom-designed shirt we've ordered for each of us (yes, we are a family who matches clothes each day at Disney. why not?) only to find that - lo and behold - it's shrunk at least two sizes after its custom dye job. Everyone else's white shirt is fine, but mine is thin, skin-tight, and the Mickey ears form an unfortunate ring-around-the-breasts design. So . . . I drag two children - one still with fever - out to shop for another shirt to go under the disaster shirt, figuring that if I layer 3 shirts together I can make myself into a featureless sausage casing, in this case a preferable alternative. (It works, more or less.)

Trip Day 1: "Ma'am, that beeping sound means that you've been randomly selected for additional screening." I pride myself on making it through security without slowing down the line at all, no matter how many electronic devices or small children might be in my party. Today is no exception, except that Teddy and I are "randomly selected for additional screening" on this trip - in both directions! The helpful TSA lady brings me my bin after my infant and I are cleared . . . and somehow I become permanently separated from my clear plastic baggie of lotions, medical ointments, sunscreens, etc. I don't realize the oversight until we're in the air.

Trip Day 2: Safe! While waiting in line for a map I notice Paul and the children greeting Mickey Mouse. Hooray! I skip the line and sprint across rain-splattered asphalt to rejoin my family for photographs. Oops! Slick spot. I slide LOUDLY into a metal trashcan as though I'm stealing home. Over a week later, my knee still hurts a bit. My pride has recovered somewhat.

Trip Day 3: Please don't call child protective services. Ada's on-again/off-again fever strikes and she falls asleep in the stroller. Ellie really wants to paddle canoes.(Did you know that you can do this at Disneyland? Win!) So I find a shady spot alongside a wall, Paul parks the stroller with Ada inside it, and I hop up on the wall and cover up modestly to feed the baby and let him nap on my lap. After a quiet, relaxing interval, Paul and Ellie return. Paul brushes past the stroller, whose brakes are apparently not engaged, and . . . the stroller rolls across the slanted walk and crashes into the landscaping 10 feet away. Ada (not seat-belted) tumbles out into a bush, wakes abruptly, and begins crying. We discuss the episode later that afternoon. She thinks I'm kidding and has no memory of the fall whatsoever. Whew. "That would be scary," she says.

Trip Day 4: We wake early. Eat granola bars in our hotel room and pack without incident. We check out well ahead of schedule and try (for the second time this trip) to find our way to the beach with GPS or a detailed map. (Head west! Water must be here somewhere!) We travel on deserted highways and stumble upon a Starbucks immediately before finding beautiful, deserted Newport Beach. We watch the sun rise over the water for a bit, then head to the airport. We return the rental minivan, navigate security, and arrive at our gate, still ahead of schedule. Nothing goes wrong! Uneventful trip and a perfect travel day. The only weirdness is that somehow we watched sunrise over the ocean in California.

Monday, October 31, 2011

An Angel, a Cowgirl, and a Mummy

An Angel, a Cowgirl, and a Mummy sit down on a swing . . .

Sounds like the beginning of a joke but it's the end of tonight's trick-or-treating. (The angel is my niece, Abby, age 4. Ellie and Ada are 8 and 4-1/2.)

Trick-or-treating followed a dinner of mummy dogs, grilled cheese jack-o'-lanterns, spooooky spinach soufflé, Halloween salad (including carrots, black beans, and toasted pumpkin seeds), and deviled eggs (some were "tricked" out with cayenne pepper on top).

Not pictured: one 7-month-old sea turtle who went to bed before dinnertime.

On to November -

Good luck to all my writer friends beginning work on National Novel Writing Month!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

(Carbon) Dating Myself

This afternoon, 4-year-old Ada and I sat on our front porch swing waiting for Ellie's bus as I pushed us gently back-and-forth and we discussed the relative merits of Swedish Fish vs. Sour Patch Kids.

Then Ada started quizzing me. First she spelled the names of each of my three children, checking to see if I could identify each one. Then she moved on to Biology.

"First, after the dinosaurs, a monkey had a baby and it was a human and it was you, Mommy!"

Sounds about right.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Unconnected Thoughts

Anecdote the first:

Ada and I are home together working on math: number recognition, what-comes-next, greater than/less than. Also on tonight's lesson plan: turn taking and good sportsmanship.

We're watching Big Ten Volleyball.

Anecdote the second:

I'd forgotten a few things about exercise. For example, I'd forgotten how much I hurt all over for the next couple of days after a good workout. Also, related to the first thing I'd forgotten: to stretch afterwards.

Connective Tissue:

None. My brain seems to be working in these little bite-sized nuggets lately, which is why I'm doing a lot more Facebook status updates than blog posts.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mother Drunk When Baby Vanished!

This story is all over the news today. And it's exactly the kind of story that makes me see red.

Let me be clear. I do not think it's a good idea to be intoxicated while being "on duty" as the primary caregiver of children.

(There's also an argument to be made that as a parent one is always, at some level, on duty. Even if it's Girls' Night Out and Daddy's home with the children, if disaster strikes, won't Mom be immediately back on duty, even if she's had a couple of margaritas?)

Also. I don't know the specifics of this case, and I have no idea if Deborah Bradley had something to do with her 11-month-old daughter's disappearance.

My complaint is with the way this story is being reported and with the popular response.

1) SHE WAS DRUNK! SHE IS A BAD MOTHER! Bradley admits that she might have had 5 glasses of wine after her daughter went to bed on the night in question, while the baby's father was at work. It certainly would have been far more responsible to drink when a sober adult was available to care for the child. But this response vastly underestimates how common I believe it is for parents to drink while being . . . parents.

2) SHE PUT HER BABY TO BED UNREASONABLY EARLY! SHE IS A BAD MOTHER! Bradley says she last saw her daughter when she put her to bed at 6:40 PM. This is a normal, healthy bedtime for an infant - depending on the child, of course. My 6-month-old son is often ready for bed at 6:00 PM. At this same age, his older sister liked to be asleep at 7:00. Suggesting that 6:40 is crazy early is . . . ignorant and judgmental. As parents we need to watch our children and follow their cues.

3) SHE DID NOT CHECK ON HER SLEEPING BABY! SHE IS A BAD MOTHER! I don't check on my sleeping babies every night, and I am a good mother. Seriously. I only check on them when I have reason (logical or not) to be concerned about them. Otherwise, opening the sticky bedroom door, walking over to the bed, leaning over to listen, bringing my special mama scent into the room, maybe even laying a hand on the baby's chest to make sure he's breathing . . . all of this has the strong potential to wake him up!

4) SHE IS FAT! SHE IS A BAD MOTHER! I've seen a fair amount of speculation that she must have inadvertently smothered her child since she's overweight. Likewise, since the parents have different last names, I've read a couple of comments from people blaming this on the parents not being married. These responses are examples of common, ignorant bigotry. (So glad my three children have survived thus far despite me having a different last name than their father.)

I hope baby Lisa Irwin is found. I hope she is OK. And I hope that the way the media is reporting this story - focusing on the BAD MOTHER judgement rather than on details that might help with a search for a missing child - doesn't hinder the search/investigation.

But I strongly resent the tone of this discussion.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Practical Magic

I just finished making some fabulous Boston Baked Beans (with salt pork) from scratch.

The process took 24 hours. They're delicious . . . but they're going straight into the frig.

When I realized that dinner was not going to be done on time, I had ten minutes to throw together an alternative meal. Thanks to the wonders of modern kitchen appliances and convenience food products I managed to get thick slices of oven-warmed ham, mashed potatoes, a medley of vegetables, and cheddar garlic biscuits on the table in time for Paul and the girls to enjoy before dance class.

I do enjoy from-scratch cooking sometimes. But I'm really really glad I don't have to do it for every meal!


Oh, and that nap thing last Tuesday? It was totally a birthday present. Teddy still refuses to nap during the day. At all. Even though he really needs the sleep. But at least he's a good sleeper at night!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Shared" Hobbies

Me: You'll be interested to know that Meg won Design Star.

Paul: Oh, Good! Everything she sewed had such a nice, flowing -

Me: It's a home design show.

Paul: Right! I mean, all the wood she cut had such a nice, flowing -

Me: It's more of a decorating sort of show.

Paul: Of course, I mean her curtains -

Me: Now, that just sounds dirty.

I love this man. :-)

Also . . .

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME: Teddy is taking a morning nap *in his crib* for the first time in his life. Alleluia!

Monday, September 05, 2011


Glorious world, fall weather is here! Now I'm waiting for the return of the pumpkin spice latte and my joy will be complete. Especially because I just found the Starbucks gift card my in-laws gave me for Christmas. It was tucked inside the wrapper of some new SmartWool socks that I haven't needed for several months.

"Mommy, remember when we went to Wyoming? And Indiana? And to the cabin? And stayed at home?"

This is Ellie, recapping our summer vacations. I had a great time visiting my parents and Paul's, at a family reunion in Brown County, Indiana, in Chicago, and indeed all summer long. But this weekend might have been the best vacation of all, not least because I got to shower in my own shower and sleep in my own bed. It's a blast being a tourist in my own town.

Festivities started on Thursday evening when the girls got haircuts at The Hairy Elephant. This is a real treat. The waiting room is filled with cool toys and books. They get to select their own flavored shampoos from colorful pump bottles. Then they lie on a bench while the stylist washes their hair with a long, gray trunk attached to an elephant head on the wall. How cool is this? With clean, wet hair the girls select a video and a seat. This week Ada chose Lightening McQueen and Ellie a white golf cart. The stylists - experts with kids including children with special needs - make the cut fun and follow it up by allowing the girls to choose plastic clips for their hair, then stickers and suckers. We picked up cupcakes for dessert on the way home.

Friday morning Teddy and I went to our weekly play group while Paul and the girls went on their first horseback trail ride. Ellie got to ride all by herself! Ada decided that instead of gymnastics she'd rather take riding lessons this fall. (Nope, sorry.) We met for lunch afterward then had a quiet afternoon and evening at home (Friday night pizza and a movie).

Saturday morning, one of hottest days of the summer so far, we went to Six Flags. We rode the Ferris wheel as a warm up, then the girls begged to be allowed to go on what looks to me like the most terrifying ride in the park (Pandemonium) a roller coaster that spins in 360's as it moves along the tracks. It was, apparently, fun, though Ellie does not want to repeat the experience. It was so very hot. After lunch we discovered the water rides, and much fun was had by all.

Sunday was all about the bikes. The girls and Paul rode our tandem trail-a-bike to church - I'm told this is very hard work for the lead biker - and they loved doing that. After Teddy's nap we drove downtown to the Gateway Arch and did the most touristy activities imaginable: quadracycle and carriage rides. Then spaghetti, Ted Drewes, and home.

Today was a BBQ at home with family and then one last trip to the pool for the season. Perfect weekend.

Since he comes everywhere with me, I should mention my third child. Teddy was a great sport being carted hither and yon and stuck outside in ridiculously hot weather. But he exacted his revenge in the middle of the night by not sleeping much this weekend.

Bring on Tuesday!

Friday, September 02, 2011


Now that we've got temperatures over 100 degrees, again, I figure it's time to give a photo review of our July.

Cooling off in Lake Michigan, at my parents' house, and at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago:
(Teddy was only 3 months old!)

Nature drives (rather than walks, this summer):

Swimming lessons, slip 'n' slide, park:

And a baptism, but that deserves a post of its own.

I've had babies in the winter, before, and have felt a little trapped in my house by the weather. Having this baby in the spring would have been perfect except for the fact that this summer was hot and we spent a fair amount of time trapped inside the house by the weather! I'm not complaining too much, though. After all, it's September, glorious September, and crisp fall weather is right around the corner.

Monday, August 22, 2011

First Days

Last week saw Ellie's first day of second grade (second grade!) and Ada's first day of Pre-K. Wow. People aren't kidding when they say that "it goes by so fast." I think childhood is like a glacier. At first there's so little perspective that you barely feel like you're moving and then, all of a sudden, your child is counting the moments until she's old enough to sit in the front seat (age 12 - Ellie knows she has just over 4 years to go) and talking about going away to college. Zoom, momentum.

Oh, also, another first last week:

(Other quick Teddy notes for my later reference: size 2 diapers, blowing lots of raspberries, and rolling over onto his tummy in the middle of the night, getting stuck, and furiously screaming for help. Hilarious. Three bouts this summer of clogged duct with pain and fever: less funny.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pressure To Keep Silent

On one hand are the folks who say, "Children with Down syndrome are gifts from God," and are relentlessly positive. I have every concern that any complaints I make will be met with judgement.

On the other hand are those who hear my exhaustion and think, "I would never choose this for my own family." I have every fear that any complaints I make could influence others to chose not to have a child like my Ellie.

All this weighs like a heavy load of sand pouring upon my head, pushing me down and filling my mouth, keeping me silent.

All parenting is hard work. But sometimes parenting a child with special needs is especially hard work, and this is what I want to talk about.

It's hard to talk about. Because any example I come up with - of my child pouring a bottle of water all over herself or dashing out into the street or being unable to handle a stressful new experience - a nearby parent of a typically developing child will be able to say, "Oh, my son did the same thing last week."

It's not about a specific behavior; it's about a pattern, a matter of degree, an increased frequency, an unquantifiable difference.

These two things exist simultaneously and without conflict for me: I love my daughter so much it hurts, - and - sometimes parenting her is exhausting and I just want it to be easier. Yes, even though she is a gift from God, a delight, a joy, a blessing. Sometimes the burden is heavy. Sometimes her diagnosis does feel like a burden. For her, I'm sure, and also for me.

The best compliment anyone ever paid me was when a friend told me, "I love watching you with your children; it's obvious how much you really enjoy just being with them."

My love for my children is apparent and undeniable. Recently, I've been coming to terms with the fact that parenting one of them is hard, too.

My child behaves impulsively. She might dash out into the street without looking, she might leave the house while I'm in the shower, she might reach across a hot stove if she sees something she wants above it, she might do something I've never once considered doing. It's hard to child-proof a house for a child who behaves in ways I can't anticipate, and who is tall and strong and smart enough to drag a chair over to reach whatever she needs, and has mastered the magnetically locking cabinets. Moreover, I don't want to childproof the house against her! She's nearly eight! She's my big helper! She can get her own snack, feed and water the dog, wipe down the table after dinner with a clean rag, and reach toys off high shelves for her sister. I want to teach her to be responsible with her body, to think things through, to make good choices. These are hard lessons for any kid, but - you see where this is going.

Primarily, I'm aware of this: as hard as it can be to parent a child with special needs, it's much harder to be the child with special needs. Ellie struggles so much everyday and my heart aches for her. What parent wouldn't die a little inside, seeing her beloved child hurting when things are more difficult for her, when she's constantly being corrected, misunderstood, overlooked?

Next up: Don't discount my child because of her diagnosis.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hi, Hi

I'm still here; we're just trying to figure out this sleep thing.

In the meantime, yes, more pictures. Here's hoping they really are worth a thousand words!

We are 36, 34, 7-1/2, 4-1/2, and 4 months. The girls had a shared "half birthday" special celebration day to remind us all that It's Not Just About the Baby around here. We're having a great summer with lots of day camps and swimming and family fun indoors. The heat has been terrible, though (glad it's finally relenting!).

What else for a quick note? Four months old, Teddy's chewing on his fingers like crazy, wearing 9 month clothes (!), chatty chatty chatty with the baby coos, and starting to roll over from time to time. He gets stuck in his crib occasionally and needs help rolling back the other way. The other day he wrapped himself up like a burrito in his playmat on the floor by rolling while his feet were on opposite sides of one of the arches. He thinks nearly everything is hilarious, especially his two big sisters. Off to bed with me!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Reality Summer

All that middle-of-the-night time I used to waste sleeping, all those evenings we used to go out together for family walks, bike rides, and ice cream runs? I'm now home with the baby during those moments, and I've filled the time with television.  Or, as I like to say: I've replaced sleep with TV and exercise with doughnuts.  This too shall pass. But in the meantime:
  • 1) Project Runway. Welcome back! I've missed you so.
  • 2) So You Think You Can Dance - dance - dance - dance - dance. I wish some of the costumes and routines were a little less overtly sexual, and I definitely need my volume control for Mary Murphy's enthusiastic responses, but this is a family favorite. The girls love "playing" the show as we watch it. Ellie is the host, Ada is a dancer, and Paul and I are the judges. I'll call the finale right now: Sasha, Melanie, and Marko. My vote's with either of the first two.
  • 3) MasterChef: yes and no. I love the premise of the show (home cooks competing like professional chefs!) and the challenges. The whole program is great except for the judging. Ramsay can be a bit too foul and mean and Joe Bastianich can be a bully and worse. He chose one woman who is obviously intimidated by him and he just beats her down, over and over again. Sure, you have to be tough to succeed in that business. But whatever his justification, what he does to her is way past constructive and borders on sadistic. Hell's Kitchen - hell no.
  • 5) Design Star: delightful as always, dahlings.
  • 6) Food Network Star: what fun!
  • 7-11) Chopped, Iron Chef America, Heat Seekers, Chefs vs. City, 10 Dollar Dinners: why, yes, I've finally discovered the Food Network. (While we're at it: a nod to Bravo for Top Chef Masters).
  • 12-16) But I haven't given up HGTV, either: Selling New York, Property Brothers, , Bang for Your Buck, Extreme Living, My Backyard's Gone Disney, etc. I have, however, tired of the constant marathon of House Hunters and House Hunters International. I'm also fairly certain that I'm an expert at home staging though I'm not planning a move.
  • 17) I'm not so into America's Got Talent. And I hear there's this other show like it that's all about singing. I don't watch that one, either.
I have, on the other hand, been watching Primer Impacto and Aqui y Ahora in an attempt to slow the atrophy of my brain. Spanish-language newscasts show lots more dead bodies than network English-language American news programs. The competition is fierce. The basket is no picnic. And the clock stops for no one. Your time starts now. To clarify! I watch 1-2 of these shows per "day," while I'm nursing the baby. With Ellie I watched all of The West Wing followed by the entire series of NYPD Blue. With Ada I watched a lot of Ellen.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Prepare for the Cute

Teddy, 3-1/2 months; Ada, 4 years; Ellie, 7-1/2 years. Also starring: cousin Abby, 4 years.

I love my kids, and wow, am I smitten with this baby. I won't bore you with Teddy's most recent stats, mostly because he hasn't hit his 4-month check-up yet. But I want to note some of his latest activity, so here it is. If you're not interested in drool and coos, feel free to enjoy the photos then click along!

I feel like Teddy skipped the newborn phase. I look forward to seeing this child grow up (crawling! toddling! driving?!!) but I'm not in a rush. I'll keep the middle of the night diaper change grin fests and my ability to cure anything that ails him with a single rendition of The Noble Duke of York as long as possible, please.

He's so alert and engaged, which I love. He's easy going. I spend zero time walking laps around my house, pleading for him to settle down enough to sleep. He has a schedule. He lets his sisters hold him. He's willing to tag along wherever, whenever. In short, he's a perfect third child.

A couple of weeks ago, Teddy found his right hand and began sucking it vigorously and regularly. Less than a week later, he found his left foot with his left hand, and, presto: a perfect self-soothing mechanism. One hand in mouth, opposite hand gripping toes. Good thing it's summer and he's usually barefoot.

He loves his new exersaucer dealie. (Thanks, mom!) He joins us for meals at the dinning table, frequently in his little booster chair. And I know he's my son because he a) needs some awake alone time every day, and b) already loves books. What three month old shrieks with delight when you sit him on your lap to read picture books?! He's also chatty and Paul thinks he's trying to talk.

Perfect baby.