Thursday, January 31, 2008


One of the things I miss most about Florida is the Indian River Fruit. The Honeybell Tangelos are only available in January, and they are definitely worth waiting for. My mom just surprised us by sending us a box of tangelos, and bibs she had sewn for us. These tangelos are so juicy that bibs are a necessity!

Here is George modeling his new bib and enjoying a tangelo. I think this picture is funny because our kitchen light almost looks like a halo over his head. Eating tangelos is a heavenly experience!

Olivia is really enjoying the tangelos too. She would eat them all day long if I let her. Thanks for the fruit Granny!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Siblings are a Gift

The other day Nate fell asleep in the swing right before Livy's nap time. I was corraling her down the hall when she backtracked toward the swing. No! Don't wake up Nate! I immediately became irritated and horrified that she would wake him up and I would miss my chance for a shower. Boy did she prove me wrong. Olivia had a few little stuffed animals in her arms (I've written before about the migration of animals to and from the living room upon waking and before napping) and she carefully and lovingly placed Curious George in Nathan's arms, then picked up a blanket from the floor to cover him. "There you go Nate" she said quietly before proceeding down the hall.

Later that day, while ago I was putting Nathan down for another nap. He really hadn't slept much (despite Olivia's earlier efforts LOL) so he was pretty wound up. I took him in to lay him down in the pack and play, and while I was in there rubbing his back, I could hear Olivia coming down the hall. Again, panic! She entered the room quietly, carrying one of Nate's chewy toys. "Here you go mommy. For Nate." I guess she heard him crying and figured that would make him feel better.

I never imagined how the joy of parenting is magnified when you bring a second little soul into the house. It makes my heart swell to see Olivia caring for Nate, and to see how his eyes follow her around the room. You know, I got very emotional right before Nathan was born. I guess I was feeling like Olivia was still such a baby and still needed me so much. I worried that she would be missing out by having to share me. George was great. He said that I was giving Olivia a gift by bringing her a little brother. They would always have each other, he reminded me, no matter what.

It made me think about how dull my life would have been without siblings. Even though my brother and sisters are much older than I am, they were still very much a part of my life. My sister Liz took me to try out for the swim team, and was often my taxi driver to the roller rink or a friend's house. My brother got up early every Saturday morning to take me to my saxophone lesson. My sister Patti would buy me a little toy at Fry's department store every time she got paid, and comforted me after Liz kicked me in the kidney with her clog because I was taunting her while she was getting ready for a date. I'm sure that there were times they didn't think of me as a "gift" but looking back I certainly think of them that way. I know that there'll be fights over toys and there'll come a time when Livy won't want Nate tagging along and they'll both need their own space. At some point, they'll probably even think they hate the other one for some silly reason. In the end though, I hope they appreciate each other, stay close, and know that they can always count on each other.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tales from the Crib

Recently, we got a crib put together for Nate. It's in Livy's room. He's not sleeping there yet but oftentimes I will lay him in there when I'm attending to Miss Olivia's needs. Queenie is fascinated with her brother's crib. She is constantly hanging off the crib railing pleading, "Help!" She wants to get in the crib, play with his mobile, and jump around like a monkey. I guess his mattress is boingier than hers. It's actually really cute to see her in there, examining the mobile, and naming all the animals dangling precariously from it. "Turtle, alligator, lion (which sounds like lie-non), monkey, giraffe." All spoken in that sweet little Livy voice. So, it's hard to resist, and more often than not, I indulge her and lift her in to play.

Recently, Olivia has also decided that all the things she likes to have in her crib with her while she's sleeping, should also accompany us to other areas of the house when she's not in her crib. After all, these are some of her favorite things. Why not bring them along? When she wakes in the morning, before she'll get out of her crib, she hands me these things, one by one, naming each, "Turtle, Elmo, Elmo (yes there are two), Rocket (from Little Einsteins), puppy, Jesse blanket, elmo blanket, Ernie...this can go on and on depending on which other items have migrated into the crib. Before long, my arms are so full that I can barely lift her out. When it's time for her nap, we carry all the items back into her room and place them back into the crib.

Anyways, I guess she decided when she was in the crib with Nate that he needed her special items around him since they make HER feel so good. She placed them all around him and in true Olivia form, named each one as she lovingly placed it by her "brother Nate." What a sweetie!

The other thing she's doing lately which is funny is orchestrating this scenario. She tells George to sleep in her tent. She has him lay down, she tells him to close his eyes, she brings in all of the aforementioned animals and items, one by one, naming each as she lays it next to him. Then she leaves the tent only to return one moment later screaming, "Daddy! Wake Up!" George pops his eyes open and jump with surprise, which gets her really giggling. It's exciting to me though, to see the beginnings of all the pretend play that toddlers are so famous for. She got a tea set from Nanny for Christmas so she's been pouring us cups of tea. I'm sure the extent of these tea parties will expand exponentially soon. I better start making some crumpets.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Man Cave

One of the reasons we wanted a three bedroom was so we could have a spare room, for guests of course, but also to house George's computer. He likes to retreat in there after the kids go to bed to decompress, listen to music, and play some games. I *lovingly* call it, "The Man Cave."

Here is Nate laying on the bed in the man cave.

He likes to hang out in the exersaucer while daddy plays on the computer. I think they also do "man things" in there that us women aren't supposed to know about, like fart and scratch themselves. Here he is cooking one up, or maybe it already happened? He looks proud of himself though, doesn't he?

Either he just got gassed out by daddy, or he's had about just enough fun for one afternoon.

Unfortunately for George, he is about to lose his man cave. We have decided to put Nathan's crib in there until he is sleeping well enough to move into Livy's room. I keep trying to reassure him that it's only temporary and one day soon he'll have his man cave back. I'm not sure he believes me though. I asked him the other day to get the computer moved into our bedroom before his folks arrived on Friday, and he admitted that he's holding on to his man cave for as long as he can. He's trying to delay the inevitable. Poor guy.

Now that I look at it again, maybe the picture above was taken right after Daddy told Nate that THEY were losing THEIR man cave...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Yummy or Yukky?

We've been feeding Nate rice cereal during dinner every night. We're trying to teach him how to eat, and make him feel included. Plus, he longingly eyes all of our food as we shovel it in so we know he's interested in the whole solid food thing. Not to be left out, Olivia has been asking for rice cereal too. She must think he's getting something special. Tonite I finally agreed that after Nate was finished, she could have a spoonful. I wish I had a picture of the face she made after taking that fateful bite. She, as all people do when they realize that what they have just put in their mouth tastes like absolute sh*t, stopped chewing, swallowed *gulp*, and then stuck her tongue out and spit whatever remnants were left out onto the table. When asked if the rice cereal was yummy or yukky, she emphatically replied, "YUKKY!" Duh.

On the other hand, her new favorite thing to say is, "I love it." You've seen in a previous post
that she loves deer. Today we were watching the baby channel and different colors were flashing on the screen. Red. "I love red. I hold it." Blue. "I love blue. I hold it." And so on. I guess it's good that she knows that we need to hold the things we love. She just hasn't figured out that you can't actually hold a color...or a deer for that matter. What a character!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Pretty Toes, or Salamanders and Moles?

I finally got the chance to paint my toes during one of Olivia's naps last week. She woke up, noticed my toes, and wanted pretty purple toes too.

I haven't always been a girly girl. I was actually quite the tomboy when I was younger. I had pet salamanders in our window wells, climbed trees, and played football with the neighborhood boys. I tried to nurse a sick mole back to health in a shoebox, and even wrote that my favorite thing was a "rubber snake" in a booklet I made in kindergarten. Somewhere along the line, however, I transitioned to a girl who was a bit more concerned with her hair and makeup than the welfare of random rodents in the yard. Even though these days I sometimes don't get even a shower until late in the afternoon, and it's a big deal to actually do my hair and makeup, I'm still a girly girl at heart. If Olivia decides to follow in my girly footsteps, then great. If she decides that she'd rather climb trees and wrangle snakes and salamanders, I'm down with that too. Won't it be fun to watch her take the journey of self-discovery?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Precious Gift

I am the youngest child of four. My closest sibling is 10 years older than me. When I was old enough to wonder why there was such an age gap between my sister and I, I asked my mom, "Mom, was I an accident?" She replied, "No, you just weren't planned." Little did I know then, how much I would be able to relate to that answer many years later.

Many of you know that us getting pregnant with Nathan was a big surprise. Olivia was only 9
months old, I had just stopped breastfeeding and was waiting for my birth control pills to arrive from the mail order pharmacy. I guess we weren't careful enough. Nathan was conceived sometime during November. George says it happened around Thanksgiving when, according to him, he was under the influence of tryptophan from all the turkey he ate and I took advantage of him. Funny...I don't remember it quite that way.

Once we knew we were having a boy, it didn't take us long to decide on the name "Nathan" which in Hebrew means, "Gift from God." We couldn't think of a better or more appropriate name.

The bib says it all.

Call of the Wild

This elephant bath towel was one of Olivia's Christmas gifts.

Check out those lips. Can't you just hear the elephant trumpeting?

Ok, what is this on top of my head?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Happy Feet Cake

Livy's 2nd birthday is coming up and we are planning a Happy Feet themed party. I decided to make her cake this year when I found a penguin cake pan on clearance at Target. I want it to look like the movie's main character, Mumble, so I figured I better do a practice run before the big day. George and I messed around with food coloring trying to get the colors just right. The grey turned out a little dark, but other than that, I think it looks pretty good for a first try.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Baby Care

Olivia looks a little perturbed that I have interrupted her to take this picture. She likes to feed her baby doll. I've even caught her trying to shove her dolly's bottle into Nathan's mouth when he's fussing. Now she is adept enough at this baby care thing that she is instructing me how to take care of MY baby. If he's crying she'll say, "Nate crying!" (As if I didn't hear the screeching.) "Pick Nate up" is another one of her new faves. I really don't know where she got this bossy thing. LOL

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Buns and Rolls

Daddy getting Nathan ready for his bath. How cute are those little buns and rolls?

Nathan had his 4 month checkup on Wednesday. He is now 27.5 inches long and weighs 18 pounds. That puts him above the 97th percentile for height and in the 95th-97th percentile for weight. He also got 4 shots which he was not at all happy about.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I Love Deer

This morning before Olivia had awaken, I saw a herd of whitetail deer walking in the alfalfa field behind our house. They are regular visitors around here and the evidence of them visiting our yard is abundant. Did you know that deer poop looks like little berries? LOL Maybe that was TMI. We can also see where they have pushed away the snow to get to the grass underneath. Despite the frequency of their visits, I still get excited when I see them. I knew Olivia would be sad she didn't get to see them so I took some pictures for her. When she got up, I told her about the deer and showed her the pictures. She said, "I love deer. I hold it." One nice thing about living outside of town is that Olivia has really gotten to enjoy the wildlife. While she was eating breakfast, we looked for birds outside. We didn't see any, but it's just a matter of time before the doves come looking for something to eat. Maybe we'll get a picture of that too!

We're supposed to get a winter storm here today. They are predicting a foot of snow over the next two days. At least now I have a vehicle that won't get stuck in my driveway. Nathan has his 4 month checkup tomorrow and we don't want to miss that!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Yum Yum

Rice cereal. Yum.

Curious George's toes. Yum.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Battle of the Binky

I am officially waving the white flag. The Battle of the Binky is over. I am *so* relieved.

I caved. I couldn't take it anymore. She wore me down. I don't think that was her intent, but she did. Clearly she was trying to tell me that she was not ready to part with her binky.

Tonight was the first night since the battle began that I didn't dread bedtime. It was a peaceful time, like it used to be. She laid down in her crib and went to sleep without a peep. She was probably exhausted from her struggle the last four days. I know I am.

So, thank you, everyone, for all your support and advice. It was really helpful. Even though I decided not to follow thru with my original plan, I don't consider it a failure. I consider it a success because I listened to what she was trying to tell me, and I was able to admit that I was wrong. Not the easiest thing for me to do.

Happy New Year!

Friday, January 04, 2008


I am hoping that writing these entries will help me work thru the myriad of emotions and doubts I am plagued with over this binky issue. So, bear with me. And feel free to offer your opinions on the matter. My f*ing space bar is not working worth a darn which is adding to my level of frustration. Sorry to digress.

Olivia finally fell asleep after two hours in her crib. The first hour was a lot of babbling, some laughing, some singing, and a little semi-fake crying. The second hour was pure hell, for both of us I'm sure. She really got upset, hysterical, sobbing, gasping for breath. I would go in there periodically and try to offer some comfort, to no avail. Nathan got a Twilight Turtle for Christmas that projects the constellations onto the ceiling. I had that in her room hoping it would preoccupy her. It didn't really help. After I got Nathan to sleep, I went in again. Her poor little face looked all puffy from the crying. I stroked her head and rubbed her back. She wanted me to wind up her Elmo and her lullaby teddy. She was really fighting sleep. She would look up, groggily, and say, "Hi momma" in the sweetest little voice. I could hear the exhaustion. It just broke my heart. She asked me for a pickle. LOL After about 15 minutes, she told me to go then finally fell asleep.

So, here is my dilemma: I have always wanted bedtime to be a positive experience for her. She's always been such a good little sleeper. She tells me when she's ready for her nap and runs down the hall toward her room. All she wants is her binky to soothe her to sleep. These last few days are making me seriously question whether or not she is ready to let go of her binky. Well actually, now I KNOW she's not ready. Do I continue to move forward with the plan simply because I need to finish what I started, as a matter of principle? Or do I listen to what my dear little daughter is trying to tell me and give her the binky back? It just breaks my heart what I am putting her through. And for what? What's the point? Sometimes I forget she's still a baby, mostly because she's such a bright little girl. She's not a little adult. She doesn't understand why all of a sudden, just because it's the New Year, that Mom has decided she can't have the binky anymore. She must be so confused. I just feel terrible.

I can't let this turn into a battle of wills. I'm a pretty stubborn person and it's really hard for me to admit when I'm wrong. I don't think I'm doing right by Olivia by pushing this issue right now. I think I'm wrong. I just hope she will forgive me. I haven't talked to George about this yet, but I'm hoping he'll support me. I'm sure he will. I think it's time to bring binky back.

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Nathan is on the Move!

Well, it's happening regularly now, so I know it's not a fluke. Nathan is rolling over from his back to his front with ease. A few times last week I'd put him on his play mat and come back a few minutes later and he'd be off the mat by quite a distance. I guess I figured he just squirmed his way off. Nope! He's log rolling! He's about a month ahead of when Olivia rolled over the first time. I guess he's just a bigger, stronger baby. Now I get to worry about him rolling off the bed, etc. He's even trying to roll over when I'm changing his diaper. This afternoon, I had him laying on the floor, and he rolled over, started sucking his thumb, and fell asleep. How cute is this? He also does not like to be in the Bumbo seat or the bouncy chair. In the Bumbo, he arches his back and tries to eject himself from the seat. He does a combination arch-squirm thing to get out of the bouncy chair. If I didn't have him strapped in, he'd wiggle his way onto the floor. This boy is going to keep me on my toes. Fortunately, he is really enjoying the exersaucer and the jumperoo. He can't really make it bounce yet, but he enjoys the lights and music. Hopefully Olivia won't give him whiplash. She just can't keep her hands off him when he's in it. Today she was swinging him back and forth pretty hard. I didn't like what I saw, but he almost looked like he was enjoying the ride. Anyhow, George said I needed more pictures of Nathan on the blog so now that he's more interactive, I promise to post more tidbits of our big boy!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Just Shoot Me

Okay this is the entry where I get to be honest and blow off some steam. Finally, I admit that this parenthood thing is not all light and happiness. Today was George's first day back to work after about two weeks off and I was really feeling his absence. He is such a big help to me when he's home. I had a hard day. My back has been hurting. I'm in physical therapy for it and I think I'm getting better but I still have bad days. Today was one of them. Nathan is teething and though we've seen no sign of teeth, I know they are the cause of his crankiness and it seems that no matter what I do, he's not happy. Unless of course I sit in the chair and nurse him all day and/or let him use me for his pacifier. The minute I unlatch him, even if he was dead asleep, the screaming begins. I did get him to take a few short naps today which allowed me a little one on one time with Olivia. We got outside to play in the snow for about a half hour. The rest of the time, Nate wants to be packed around which is hard enough when I'm feeling fine, much less when my back hurts to begin with. I hate to leave him in the swing crying but I had to do that today just to get a GD shower. He's such a sweetheart most of the time, but today, he gave me a run for my money.

George went to bed as soon as we put Olivia down. She layed in there crying, calling for mommy, and her binky for at least 45 minutes before she settled down. I would go in every 15 minutes or so and try to calm her, but I still feel like such a bitch for deciding that 2008 would be the year without the binky. How cruel of me to take away her main source of comfort. Is it that big of a deal? After all, she's not even two yet. If it was just a matter of her using it at nap time and at night, I wouldn't have pushed it. But lately, she wants it more and more during the day, especially when she's been scolded for misbehaving. She also wants to walk around and try to talk with it in her mouth, which annoys me to the nth degree. So tonite, when I don't have the energy to deal with her upsetedness, I am kicking myself for taking the damn binky away. If I would just give it to her, she'd go right to sleep and maybe I could have a moment's peace myself. However, it wouldn't serve her in the long run, and I know that the longer we wait to say bye bye to the binky, the harder it will be on all of us. I still feel bad though, the whole parental guilt thing, and am I scarring her for life? I'm not sure what had her so upset tonight. The last two nights weren't this bad. Which I guess, is a good thing, because if it had started off so difficultly, I might not have stayed the course. George tells me not to think too much about it. I asked him if that was his nice way of saying, "Stop talking about it." I really don't want to torture myself about it. I just want to do right by her. Give her the tools to be successful in life. Self-reliant. Independent. Self-assured. Life is a series of difficult decisions. I am realizing that more and more now that I am a parent.

Well I'll end on a high note. Nate is sitting in his Bumbo on the kitchen table as I type away on the laptop. He has been gracious enough to cooperate and let me get thru this post without fussing, even though he hates the Bumbo. Maybe he knew in his infinite infant wisdom, that mom needed a break to vent. He just smiled and showed me his dimples when I tickled his chin. It made tears well up in my eyes. Just that chubby little face with that sweet expression made my day worthwhile. And, I think he made a poopy. HOORAY FOR POOPY!

The Biggy Car

Gosh, I feel like I've been playing musical cars this last year. This will be the third car I have driven in the space of one year, but I think we finally got it right. After our sledding debaucle, and the cramps George gets in his butt when he squeezes himself into the Passat, I decided we needed to get a BIG 4x4 with third row seating. We were lucky enough to find something we really like and it's not costing us much more per month. Olivia calls it the "Biggy car."

So, my new "baby" is a 2003 Ford Expedition XLT with a 5.4L Triton V8. Watch out soccer moms! Va-room!

Apple or Candy?

As you know, we spent the weekend with George's family in Livingston. The visit got off to a fabulous start when, within 30 minutes of arriving, we realized Olivia was awfully quiet, then we heard a crunch. Olivia comes into the living room with a broken glass ornament in her hand, shards everywhere, including in and around her mouth. We rush over and get her to spit out as much as she can, then take her to the sink to try and rinse more of the glass out. There's blood, though fortunately, not a lot. She had a small cut above her lip and probably some small ones in her mouth. My father-in-law works at the hospital so he calls the ER nurse and she tells him to send us down in an hour so we don't have to wait. Long story short, the doctor didn't see any cuts in the back of her mouth to indicate that she had swallowed any of it, and the x-ray didn't show anything either. The ornament was coated with a red aluminum so it would have shown up if she had swallowed any. Except for the x-ray, Olivia was very cooperative. To get her to open her mouth nice and wide for the doctor, we told her to open up like Mumble on Happy Feet when he sings his heartsong. It worked! She opened as wide as she could. Good girl! We were told to watch for any signs of internal bleeding, like vomiting blood, stomach pain, refusal to eat, or black stools. We haven't seen anything like that, thank goodness! I still wonder what made her bite into that must have looked like an apple or candy?