Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Oh how she toys with my heart. Posted by Hello

I like a man who isn't afraid to spend money on his shoes.  Posted by Hello

That song sung by that old cat in that wierd musical

Mark and I were in need of some sheering so Saturday morning we set out with Noah to get our haircut. After Noah was born I was lucky enough to meet Julie - who cuts our hair in her home for a nominal donation. Though we loved our former stylist Amanda, her price is now a bit above our means so a switch was in order. And at Julie’s place I play with Noah on the floor while Mark gets cut, and then we switch. Plus Julie has two adorable little girls of her own. We hope to become better friends with her and her family.

After we were shorn, and Noah took a nap at home, we went for a stroll to the park. While lounging in the grass we observed that a storm seemed to be on the horizon. In a heartbeat the sky turned gray and the wind whipped up with a fury. We chucked Noah in the stroller and RAN all the way home. Trash and grit were blowing around in the wind as Mark jet-propelled Noah towards home with his baseball hat pulled down over his eyes. I could barely keep up – running in flip-flops, out of breath and trying to support my damnable breasts. I was not made for running. After that adventure we tackled the Home Depot and bought some flowers and grilling equipment. That junk adds up. And then soon to bed with us all.

Sunday morning while Noah napped I planted some flowers in my sad attempt at a container garden in our concrete slab of a yard and bought a case of Heffeweissen – a perfect beer for warm weather. Mark installed the new car seat. Well – the second new car seat. The first one we bought had a factory defect so Evenflo sent us a replacement. In his efforts to get the replacement seat in the car Mark ripped off a part of the seat cover. Why do they make this stuff so damn difficult? I’m going to call and bitch and see if they will send us a replacement cover. In the afternoon my mom arrived and watched Noah while Mark and I went to a new breakfast/lunch place in our hood called Honey’s Sit n’ Eat. We sat and ate. I had two scrambled eggs, bacon, a potato latke, and toasted challah bread. Mark had sausage and biscuits AND bacon – because you can never get enough pork products. The food was good and the place is adorable. Oh- and they had high chairs there – so next time we can take Noah.

After our meal we returned home to Noah and my delighted mother who could not stop gushing about how adorable he was and did not want to return him to us. So we all went to the park. I was excited for my mom to see how the park is normally overflowing with small children and parents – of course there was virtually no one there. Figures.

Yesterday Patrice, Sean and Ms. Bella graced us with their presence. We memorialized Memorial Day by gnoshing on burgers, potato salad, cherry pie and beer – while watching the wee ones ooze adorable-ness. They stared and poked at each other. There was nearly a cute overload. After many unsuccessful rounds of Phase Ten, Sean came back to eek out a victory and to make Mark eat his words – “Anything is possible in this game, except of course Sean winning.” It was a lovely day.

We are very excited to welcome Janette’s son Jules into the world. Noah and I made a trip to Toys R’ Us this morning to pick out a welcoming gift. Of course they didn’t have the book I wanted to give Janette or Bella’s fish bowl that Noah was coveting over the weekend – but we got some stuff for both of the boys. Mark should never let me go to a Toys R’ Us alone – it’s too dangerous to the check book. It all looks so fun and educational.

We must now prepare for a hike to Reading Hospital. Wish us luck.


Jules Wolfgang Fertig was born at 6 am on Tuesday, May 31.
Weight: 8 lbs 4oz
Length: 20 inches
Characteristics: Curly hair and blue eyes

24 hours after her water broke Janette had to have a C section. Though she was having strong contractions and was fully effaced, she was not dialating. Though a C section was not in her "birth plan," giving birth to a happy, healthy baby boy by any means necessary certainly was. Cheers to the new arrival and his joyous parents.

Noah and I plan to visit the hospital this afternoon so pictures will be soon to come.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Park it.

The weather is breathtaking today. Master Noah and I went to Liberty Lands Park to sit under the tree and enjoy the afternoon. It was lovely. Even the stroller ride was good. For the first time Noah sat in the stroller like a big boy – and not in the infant carrier. He seemed to much prefer it this way because he could better see the world go by. At the park I laid down a blanket but he kept rolling off of it. Hewanted to be in the grass. He was all smiles. And so was I.

I'm ready for my close up.  Posted by Hello


We watched Hotel Rwanda last night. It was incredibly moving, heartbreaking and aggravating. This sort of violence and fear is unfathomable to me. I’m very thankful that my life thus far has been so safe and so sheltered in comparison that I can’t even imagine such atrocities. And I hope that Noah’s life is equally as blessed.

Hotel Rwanda did not portray actual gruesome acts of violence. The director explained he took great pains not to give people a reason to avoid seeing the film. On the special features section of the DVD they showed footage of Paul Rusesabagina touring a mass grave memorial site. When they were about to enter a section dedicated to children, I had to leave the room. As a new mother the thought of innocent children being tortured and slaughtered is the most painful. But of course we are all someone’s child.

Normally movies of this nature cover wars and atrocities that are more removed by the passage of time. It is stunning to realize that not only did the Rwanda genocide take place only ten years ago, but that similar carnage is taking place in Sudan. And again the US hesitates getting involved.

Check out Amnesty International.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

And Martha thought her jail was pretty sweet... Posted by Hello

Every once in awhile I actually get something in my own mouth. And when it happens my mom acts like I was nominated to the Supreme Court or something.  Posted by Hello

Yes. I have indeed covered myself in drool. What of it?  Posted by Hello

Spic n' Span

The house is cleaner. Though far from perfect. I should really mop the kitchen floor. And do more dusting. Since I was worried about the entire house being clean I just did a cursory run through of every room. Patrice says she has never seen my house dirty – but that is because we clean when we’re expecting visitors. If no one ever came to visit, we’d be tangled up in enormous dust bunnies. Plus I never feel like my place is REALLY clean. Some things I can’t fix like the awful stains on the carpet that make me cringe or how the kitchen tile never looks clean because the former owner did such a horrible job with the grout. But my biggest concern is what should I be doing to clean house? Do you wash your walls? I have noticed dirty spots on my walls in some spaces and I think maybe I should be scrubbing down walls. Also I should probably scrub down all the fronts on my kitchen cabinets and go around the edges of the kitchen floor with a handheld scrub brush to get the parts that are unreachable with the mop. The baseboards could also use a really good cleaning in every room. The windows too. And the basement is an organized shambles. But this stuff never gets done because I’m just trying to make it look mostly clean for guests that I hope aren’t looking too closely.

Despite my crazed attempt at last minute cleaning, we had a lovely visit yesterday with Mark’s Aunt Marilyn, Uncle Phil and their daughter Lizz and her husband. They drove two hours from Jersey, stayed about two hours and then headed back. That is a lot of driving just to see little old us. Of course Noah is the draw. Marilyn and Phil (Mark’s Godparents) haven’t seen Noah since he was a month old and Lizz and Bill hadn’t yet met him at all. It was nice to catch up and Noah was pretty chatty and sweet. He makes us look good. We ordered pizza because I can’t fathom cooking dinner for six people with one days notice. I think that means I am a bad person – but so be it. At least my baby is cute.

The most harried part of the day however was the hour prior to our guests’ arrival. Noah was near nap-less all day so when he finally went down I wanted to allow him to catch enough rest to be bright eyed and bushy tailed for the company. However I needed to dust in the bedroom he was sleeping in, clean him, change him, nurse him and run to the corner store to buy some snacks. He woke up a half hour prior to their arrival time. I gave him a toy to keep him entertained while I swiffered quickly and hunted any noticeable dust bunnies. Then we headed to the nursery for his preparation. I decided to take Patrice’s advice and forego the bath and just wash him from head to toe with wipes. I changed his diaper, suited him up, and bjorned him. I put a note on the door saying I would be right back in case they showed up early and I ran to the market for snacks – ginger ale, cheese, crackers, shortbread and pretzels. When I returned and the guests were nowhere in sight I nursed Noah and put the snacks out on decorative plates. And I was SO proud that all that took me exactly a half hour and we were all set on time. Of course I felt like I had been a maniacal rushing idiot for nothing when they showed up almost a half hour late and we ended up just sitting on the couch staring at the door and waiting. But at least we were ready and I had enough time to look almost calm when they got here.

Oh! Here is one for the stupid file. We have a Graco Pack n’ Play (play pen). Have had it since before his birth. We have used it as a changing table and even as a bassinet one or two times. However it wasn’t until Tuesday that I actually realized “Wow! I could sit Noah in that with some toys and I could actually clean up a bit WHILE he plays. Eureka!” You see now why I never accomplish anything.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Can’t blog much. Must clean. Visitors this afternoon who’ve never seen our house. Which means tour. Which means must make attempt at cleaning EVERY ROOM. And Noah didn’t sleep peacefully last night. And isn’t sleeping peacefully for naps either. Cleaning with teething awake but tired infant is ridiculous.

I think that is it for today.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

What ails ya

Teething must really suck. Dull pointed objects slowly pushing their way through your tender gum flesh does not seem pleasant. And Noah isn’t particularly enjoying it. He’s a bit whiny and short tempered as a result. I don’t blame him a bit. I’m hoping that the outright rejection of the bottle and cup are related to his gum pain – and therefore will pass.

As you may or may not know, Master Noah has been on Zantac for acid reflux since shortly after his birth. Prior to his diagnosis we thought we had a miserable baby who was always unhappy, but it turns out that his stomach and esophagus were constantly irritated. I am all too familiar with that feeling because I have had stomach problems since college and have my own prescription for Zantac. However the doctors said that Noah should outgrow his reflux as his esophageal muscles become fully developed. For awhile there we had to steadily increase his dosage as his symptoms would resurface and his weight increased but in the last couple of months we haven’t seen the symptoms. This is a sign that he might be outgrowing the reflux. He was getting Zantac once when he woke up in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once when Mark and I went to bed. To test the waters we eliminated the afternoon dosage last week and so far so good. He isn’t a horrible caterwauling mess. Soon we will see how he reacts to eliminating the morning dosage, and the night dosage will be the last to go. I’m anxious for him to be off the prescription because it doesn’t feel right to have an infant on constant meds. Though there appear to be no side effects – one never knows.

I went out for drinks with friends last night. It was the third time since Noah was born. I snuck out after he went to bed and was back in time for his 11 pm feeding so he never even missed me. I had a few beers – oh how I have missed the Belgian whites – chatted with birthdaying, newly engaged, and always charming folks and played Quizzo. I was a good girl and didn’t smoke. It’s been over a year since I quit and I still worry about going to a bar and not being able to resist the temptation to have a cigarette. I just have to remember that I don’t want Noah to have a smoker for a mom. I don't want to set a bad example and I don't want him to lose his mother to lung cancer.

Many kudos are deserved by Papa Mark. Not only did he encourage me to go out last night, but on Saturday while Jessica and I made ninety trips to the dressing rooms and argued about shoe styles – Mark just patiently bjorned about (I’m making this a verb) entertaining Noah. He didn’t utter a peep about what a long day it was or how long we were taking. Both of my boys were true gentlemen.

I better go straighten up. We might have visitors tomorrow – and I want to be able to find them in the mess.

Are you mother material?

Monday, May 23, 2005

But where is MY poncho? Posted by Hello

On clicking, avoidance and bacon

Two new things in the Noah file. One adorable and the other not so adorable. Last week Noah began clicking his tongue on the roof of his mouth and its earth shatteringly cute. He loves the sound it makes so when he does it he breaks into a huge smile. On the less adorable front – yesterday Mark tried to give him a bottle of formula and he wouldn’t take it. This wouldn’t be too surprising since he’s never had a bottle of formula – except that Noah didn’t even taste the formula. It was the bottle he didn’t want. It’s been about a month since the last time he had a bottle of breast milk. I don’t use them because I hate pumping and since I’m always with Noah there is no reason to give him a bottle. Since his birth Noah has had bottles fairly infrequently and never had any problems taking them when offered – or taking anything offered to him for that matter. So yesterday when he kept scrunching up his face, whining and moving his head back and forth to avoid the bottle it was a bit of a shock. Mark thought maybe he could smell the formula and didn’t want it – but that doesn’t quite make sense because he eats formula every day in his cereal. So I tried to give him a little bit of water in a bottle. Same avoidance. I tried to give him a sippy cup with a little bit of water. Same avoidance. I tried to give him back his pacifier. Same avoidance. It was like he said “Screw you guys, I’m not letting anything in here.” Except of course when I tried to breastfeed him. I guess I’ll have to just keep trying to give him a bottle until he takes it. I don’t know what made him decide to get so finicky all of the sudden.

It was a nice weekend. Friday after we put Noah to bed Mark and I watched The Woodsman. I didn't think it was as good or as shocking as I had heard, but it wasn’t bad. The taboo could have been a bit more taboo - they were a bit too safe to have real resonance in my opinion. To make it more enjoyable Mark kept saying “It’s BACON!” like that dog in the Begging Strips commercial. Oh how we laughed.

Saturday morning we loaded the whole clan into the Saturn wagon and headed to Lansdale to pick up my ten year old sister Jessica. Before we left her house we met her new cousin baby Dante who at 3 and a half months already weighs 18 pounds. At six and a half months Noah weighs less than 16 – so you can tell that Dante is amazingly enormous. They should sign him up for football in the fall. Then we took Jessica shopping with birthday money from the family. We hit Old Navy, Sam Goody, Borders and a few shoe stores – with a break at the TGIFridays in the mall. It was exhausting for a few reasons. First and foremost is that at only ten years old Jessica already has a bit of a weight issue coupled with the fact that she is also a bit short for her age. So finding clothes that fit is a problem. I think this made us both feel a bit sad – probably me more than her since she doesn’t seem to have much of a physical self image yet. I just felt horrible for her but tried to stay positive. I just said “This is what shopping is about – taking a million things into the dressing room and maybe only a handful turn out right.” Of course shopping is like that for thirty year old mothers with giant pendulous breasts but it should not be like that at ten. Even shoe shopping was aggravating since Jess and I clearly had different ideas about what shoes she should get. I wanted her to get a cute pair of fashionable sandals that would go well with some of her new outfits and she wanted sneaker-like slip-ons. I was ready to yield in the end but they didn’t have the shoes she wanted in her size. So she decided she would rather have nothing. I wanted to say “I’m trying to spend money on you – why are you making it so difficult.” Is ten considered pre-teen? It sure felt like it should be. After the Ciara CD and some Nancy Drew mysteries we were all beat and went home. I made tacos for dinner and after Noah went to bed we watched Fat Albert. It wasn’t as horrible as I had expected – but it is painfully obvious that plot in a kids movie is an afterthought – or no-thought as it were.

Sunday Mark manned Noah while Jessica and I enjoyed breakfast at Silk City Diner. For some odd reason I was starving for bacon. In the afternoon we all took a “fancy soda romp” (sparkling pomegranate for me) and then walked to Penn Treaty Park to look at the river. Noah got tons of attention from his Aunt Jessica – and then it was time to take her home. She really seems to enjoy playing with Noah – but I know it’s a far cry from how much attention she got from us before Noah was born. Pre-Noah we would play a lot of games, watch TV and have unlimited money for recreational activities. But I think Jess had fun anyway. She’ll probably stay with us again during some weekdays this summer after school lets out.

After the weekend I’m beat. And the house seems even more of a sty than before. I better go do some laundry at least. I’m out of clean washcloths.

Is Deadwood on? Posted by Hello

Friday, May 20, 2005

Why you gettin' all up in my grill? Posted by Hello

What are you?

My nap juggling worked beautifully and Noah slept both to and from Collegeville. I am a nap planning genius. At least this time.

We had a nice afternoon yesterday visiting my cousin Tammy and her kids Aelan (2.5 y.o.) and Evan (8 m.o.). And Evan scared the bejezus out of me. At about 7 weeks older than Noah, Evan is completely mobile. He was cruisin’ all over the damn place. And when he took off on his own I asked Tammy what I should do and she said “He can go wherever he wants. This place is totally baby-proofed.” Crap! I’m going to have to do that baby proofing thing, aren’t I? It seems like such an insurmountable task. I’m sure our house is like a pit of death for a grabby, moving infant. Our three story city row home is all steps. First and foremost we have 3 large staircases and two small ones – only one of which has a railing. And most of the staircases are difficult to gate because the walls are cut away from the tops and bottoms– so you can’t use a tension gate. Our house is predominately furnished with rickety Ikea which can easily be pulled on to oneself because we never bothered installing the wall anchors. Our coffee table is a sea of pointy angles and glass. Our upstairs toilet doesn’t have a lid. And some of our outlets (including some in the nursery) don’t have proper covers on them. Not to mention the dust bunnies probably lurking in the corners. Maybe if we all live in one large rubber room together we’ll all survive. I’m ready to move in now.

Evan can already pull up to standing. When he wakes up from a nap and Tammy goes in to get him he is standing in his crib. I’m certain it would not be safe to keep a child in this stage in a bassinet – and I reiterate that I am not ready to move Noah to his nursery. Supra-genius me decided to make one of the rooms farthest from us into the nursery. In my defense I thought it was a quieter room – away from our noise and some of the street noise. And I thought in the long run it would grant Mark and I more privacy – but I hadn’t realized what a clingy biatch I was – or that I wouldn’t want to traverse the distance at 4am to nurse the baby.

Noah probably won’t be as mobile as soon as Evan – who had to learn fast so he could escape the clutches of his big sister Aelan. She is apparently beating the crap out of him. Tammy kept telling Aelan to be gentle with Noah because he wasn’t used to her. She kept telling Aelan to stop touching him – and I kept saying “It’s alright. He’s fine.” On the way home I remembered that contradicting a mother’s orders in front of a child is improper – so that was poor behavior on my part. I had good intentions - I just wanted Aelan to enjoy playing with Noah and didn’t think she was being too rough. Until she punched him in the stomach. Terrible twos indeed. But Aelan is really adorable. When we got there she kept pointing to Noah and saying “This is a Noah.” And then she asked me what I was. Because she is my cousin’s child I’m never quite sure what she should call me – so I just told her I was a Nicole. She asked me what my nose ring was. I told her it was jewelry just like my necklace. She said “Is it nice?” And I said “I think so.”

Aelan was a bundle of energy and sang, jumped and danced for me. It’s obvious she is working overtime to regain some of the attention that has gone to her baby brother. If Mark and I have another baby we have that to look forward to. Two seems like a challenge – but so is one and I’m loving it.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

No sleep til Brooklyn. Or the car ride to Collegeville.

Anytime I take Noah on a car outing I must do very precise nap calculations and maneuvers. Noah WILL nap in the car but only if he needs a nap – so since anytime I get in the car it means about a 45 minute drive I’m always juggling his nap time in the mix with our trip planning. On Tuesday when we went out to lunch with my mother I put him down for his 9 am nap and woke him up after an hour (instead of his normal two) so that when I had to leave at 11:45 that he would be sleepy again. Today we head to Collegeville to visit my cousin Tammy and her children Aelan and Evan. It’s about an hour ride and we’re supposed to be there at 11 am. If we leave at 10 am then I have to prevent Noah from falling to sleep at his normal 9 am time. This means that for the next hour not only will I be trying to get together the diaper bag, dress him and pull myself together – but also preventing a sleepy, cranky baby from taking a nap. He's already moaning and rubbing his eyes. Should be fun.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Do you really think you're going to stop me from putting some of this grass in my mouth? Posted by Hello

Food? No. Grass? Yes.

Noah and I took a walk to Liberty Lands Park this afternoon. We should take walks often but I’m always putting it off for some lame reason. I’m expecting a return call or a package. Noah needs to eat/sleep soon. I need to start a load of laundry, or god forbid blog. And sometimes it just seems overwhelming to have to get the stroller and a bag together to just take a short walk. But I need to do it more often. It feels good. For the most part.

It is a lovely spring day. Sun is shining. Birds are singing. We got to the park with little intrigue. I found a spot of grass under one of the little trees and put down a blanket before unleashing Master Noah from the stroller. And his reaction – “This green stuff is phenomenal! Must pull out every strand and hoard it for myself.” He just went wild for the grass. And this boy who loves to eat but won’t put any food into his own mouth began stuffing grass in there. He was like a determined grass eating machine that I could not defeat. So I decided to feed him the pureed carrots I brought. He gobbled them down as usual. I needed desperately to wipe his mouth with something wet. So I used a wipe. The ones for his butt. I doubt they are intended as face wipes but I was in need. And then I returned to his attempts to eating the grass. All the while smelling the distinct odor of dog excrement – and wondering how many dogs wiped their butts on the grass he has in his hands. But I tried to put those thoughts aside because it was really a nice little trip. And we should do it more often.

And then it was time to come back. That was not so nice. On the walk home Noah started caterwauling because he didn’t want to be in the stroller. This boy can not stand being in restraints. After several attempts to pacify him in the seat, I took him out. So now I'm carrying him with my tendonitis hand and trying to steer our monstrous stroller. It was painful and difficult. And then I almost saw a two year old get run over by a car because her mother let her wander out into traffic. My heart just about stopped for a second. It was such a close call that people at the intersection were screaming in their cars. Thank the gods that little girl hadn’t taken one more step. And then I forgot about my aching wrist and how the stroller sucked and I got my prized Noah home.

We definitely need to get out more often. It’s good for both of us. But next time I take the stroller I think I’ll also bring the Bjorn, a bigger blanket and some face wipes. And I’ve discovered that if I cover the floor with Gerber Puffs and sat Noah on top of them he might actually try to put some of them in his own mouth.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Already experiencing empty nest

Noah has been doing a little less groaning and a lot more chattering in the last couple of days. He puffs out his cheeks, puckers his lips and goes “ba da da da ba ba maaa.” I can’t even express how adorable it is. And he looks as though he is speaking with such purpose, and maybe he is but he can’t seem to make himself understood.

It will be a long time before first words and though I don’t want to rush one moment of his childhood I’m excited for him to learn to communicate. Not to mention have some of those “Kids say the darndest things” moments. At four years old my nephews James and Julius were all sorts of precocious and funny on Sunday. When James told me Noah had a “tornado head” it took me a moment to realize that he was referring to the way Noah’s hair emanates from an eye of the storm circle on the back of his head. When Julius got a Darth Vader popsicle he told Mark that Darth Vader was on “the dark side of the flowers.” I so look forward to the funny little comments Noah will some day make.

Ofelia’s boys at 4, 14 and 20 got me thinking about all the stages Noah will go through. The 14 year old twins were completely in their own world. They preferred being off on their own skateboarding in the development to hanging out with the family. And they are already in that teen eye-rolling phase where you can tell that anyone older than them is SO uncool. Fourteen seems like a tough age. But to me the scariest stage is the one that 20 year old Joe is in. He’s in the Marines and Ofelia says almost every time she gets to talk to him on the phone that she cries afterwards. She said it’s hard to remember that he’s a grown man now, that he’s less communicative, less sensitive and has his own thing going on. She said she wants to tell him she is worried about him and that he should be careful, but she has to tone it down because is he sees how much she worries about him and wants to protect him that he’ll pull away.

One of the things that concerns me about raising a boy is what our relationship will be like when he’s grown. I don’t think boys are as good about calling their moms, about talking with their moms about their lives. Of course I’m just generalizing and I don’t have much real evidence to make those assumptions on. It’s just another thing to worry about because I never have enough. Not even with Mark suggesting this weekend that when Noah stiffens up sometimes that it might not be gas or his temper as I had supposed but could be some kind of muscle spasm or seizure. We both realize this is absolutely preposterous and have dismissed it, but it doesn’t stop me from getting worried again every time he does it.

On the invitations to my baby shower Patrice included a quote about how hard it is to have your child/your heart out their walking around in the world without you always there protect it. And GOD is that true. Hell – even when I’m here to protect Noah I’m worrying about what might go wrong in 20 years time.

Anywho – Noah and I have a lunch date with my mom today so we better get a move on.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Four year old James wanted to hold "Little Noah" all day.  Posted by Hello

Noah chills with Pro-Mommy Ofelia.  Posted by Hello

We all waited on him hand and foot. Posted by Hello

We are family!

Yesterday we spent the afternoon having a picnic at my Dad and Oma’s place. It was just my Dad, grandparents, us and my brother Jim’s family – but Jim’s family is an instant party. It came as quite a shock five years ago when I found out I had an older brother. Jim contacted my father claiming he was his son. Not your every day occurrence. Jim looks so much like my Dad that a DNA test wasn’t necessary – plus we all figured if someone WANTS to be related to us, he’s automatically in. And with Jim my father’s potluck family grew exponentially. Not only did my Dad have three daughters from three different women in three different decades, he now had an older son and grandkids. Jim and his girlfriend felia have seven kids total – Joe and twins Dominic and Christian from Ofelia’s prior relationship, Amanda and Jessica from Jim’s prior marriage, and soon a product of them both - twins James and Julius. So many kids are a sight to behold, especially since they’re such a great family – Jim and Ofelia get compliments all the time on how well the kids behave and how well they all get along. Not only am I proud to be some small part of their clan – I am overjoyed at Noah having such a great Uncle Jim, Aunt Ofelia, and a handful of doting cousins. It was a really lovely afternoon – beautiful weather, BBQ, badminton, volleyball, and water guns galore. It felt like summer – and like family.

The rest of the weekend was pretty low key. Noah and I spent all Friday afternoon comparing kitchen tables in Cherry Hill. I checked out the JC Penney home sale and found two sets I liked – and then went to three other furniture stores to compare, but Penney’s sale prices could not be beat. So we decided on the less expensive and more modern of the two sets. Of course it’s on back order and won’t be here until next month, so Mark and I will continue to eat on TV tables in the middle of our large kitchen. Noah was as always adorable and patient with our shopping expedition – except for the car seat bits. That night Mark and I enjoyed The Incredibles and a bottle of Shiraz after Noah went to bed. Saturday morning we hit SuperFresh – where Noah sat in the shopping cart for the first time. We used the Floppy Seat – but still had to prop him up with large bottles of prune juice halfway through our shopping experience. That afternoon what was intended to be a short walk to the mailbox to drop of Netflix movies turned into what Mark called “a fancy soda romp” when I suggested heading to the coffee shop Canvas to get designer sodas. My grape soda was lovely as was the walk - but of course we forgot to mail the movies. Duh. There was nothing on TV that night and we weren’t awake enough to tackle Hotel Rwanda yet so we watched poor music videos on the MTVs. And yesterday morning before heading to Dad’s picnic we stopped in to see my mom and took a hike in the woods.

Last night of course we watched Survivor. I was disappointed. I know you can probably be shot for saying you don’t LOVE every NYC fireman – but honestly I wasn’t a Tom fan. I thought he was a cocky bully and I didn’t want him to win. I still wanted Ian to win – and still think he is a nice guy, if a bit of a wuss. What killed me the most about the finale is that there were all these references to Katie’s sense of humor – how she was funny but mean – however we didn’t hear her crack a joke all damn season. What kind of character-less editing is that?

Friday, May 13, 2005

Seeking fun SAHM for long walks in the park

After a walk, two glasses of French Syrah and a night of reality TV, I'm feeling a bit better. Yesterday I was feeling a little lonely. Though I phone, email and blog with friends and family every day, it isn't exactly the same as sharing your day with other tangible people. When I mentioned it to Mark he said "We knew that would happen, I'm surprised it took you this long." And he's right - I had anticipated some loneliness when I decided to stay home. I had also anticipated moments of feeling intellectually unchallenged, under-appreciated and judged by others. But when we decided to have a child we also decided that if we could swing it financially that it would be best for me to stay home for at least the first year. And since we didn't have any debt other than our (pretty low) mortgage and Mark was able to sketch out a budget that we could live on, I decided that I was willing to make some sacrifices - budgetary, careerwise, and emotional - so that I could be at home. And amazingly I was cruising along for most of the first six months. Just so in love with Noah that I didn't even glance at the downside of being home. But now that Noah and I are in routine and just cranking along, all of a sudden I'm remembering some of the things I miss about work. Other people being first and foremost. It's not regret, because I'd rather be with Noah than anywhere else, just acknowledgement of the other side of the coin.

So the bottom line is I need company. Mark is fantastic when he's home, but I could really use some mom & baby companionship when he's at work. My friends with babies and expecting babies live far away, and no one who lives nearby is available during the day. I think I need to make some SAHM friends. I'm sure there are some neighborhood mothers groups, but the Northern Liberties moms seem so perfect and untouchable that I fear I'll feel like a total outsider. They're all about cotton diapers, composting, home schooling and organic everything. And while to a degree I agree with all that stuff in theory - I can't get it together enough to execute any of it. It might be tough for me to find someone I can really connect and identify with - a mother who is staying home that seems just as unsure as me - still looking to figure it all out. But maybe I'll meet a mommy mentor or something. The bottom line is I need to get out there.

One thing I hadn't anticipated about motherhood is how I'm physically falling apart. From all the baby toting my neck, shoulders, back and arms hurt. But the worse is my left wrist. I have had a horrible throbbing pain in my left thumb and wrist. I figured it was probably carpal tunnel or arthritis since my mother has arthritis in her thumbs. Mark said it was probably tendinitis from overuse. Luckily the new issue of Parents magazine precisely diagnoses a pain in the wrist near the base of the thumb that intensifies when you twist your hands as De Quervain's disease - a form of tendinitis common to new mothers caused by keeping wrists locked in the same position for too long. The solution - pop pain killers. Brilliant, right? Here's two Ibruprofen to your health - cheers!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

No picnic today

Feelin' kind of blue today. No big deal really. It'll pass. Just don't have anything too much to rap about today. Noah needs routine - but this can be a bit dull for me some days. I'm enjoying being home but it's not all roses every minute. But what is? And it's even harder when you know that some people think anyone that stays home is just plain lazy. Stupid people.

Tomorrow I might go to Jersey to check out the JC Penney's home sale. We need a kitchen table that isn't so rickety that Noah could easily topple it on to himself. We have to baby proof soon. It seems like SUCH a huge task. Maybe I can just convince Noah that he'd prefer to be carried for the duration of his life.

Anywho. I guess that's it for today. We're going to go for a walk when Mark gets home. To the liquor store. I feel like there is a lovely bottle of red there with my name on it. And Survivor is on tonight. I'm not sure who I want to win this one. Ian, maybe. I like a man who trains dolphins.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Sleeping Arrangements

Noah is a fairly good sleeper. He keeps to his normal bedtime schedule of 8pm to 6 am on most nights. When he wakes up for night feedings he always dozes back to sleep as soon as he's done eating. And he has begun occasionally dropping the 1 am feeding which allows me to sleep uninterrupted from my bedtime until around 4 am - heavenly. His napping is normally good too. On a routine weekday he gets between 3 and 4 hours of naps total. So for the most part he's a good little sleeping boy.

But the issues I have to concern myself with now are how he goes to sleep and where he goes to sleep. I get Noah to sleep by nuzzling his head in close to my chest and bouncing about like a crazy woman. Then when he's nodded off I put him down to sleep. According to the pediatrician I should begin putting Noah down to sleep when he's tired and before he's sleeping. The few times I've done this he's gone instantly from a sleepy baby to a clubbin' fiend gung ho for a night on the town. I don't foresee that changing too easily. Noah now sleeps in the co-sleeper bassinet that we keep next to our bed. Unfortunately it won't be long until he gets too long and too heavy for it. But I can't imagine moving him to his own room yet. Not only do I feel he is too little to be SOOO far away, but also since he still wakes up for night feedings I'll have to make the journey in the middle of the night. I don't want to have to leave my warm snug bed to go downstairs and feed him. What is an overly clingy and lazy mother to do?

Oh, so remember several posts ago I was both celebrating and lamenting the fact that Noah was now putting things in his mouth. Well, the boy faked me out. He has done this maybe five times total in his entire life. In fact he won't even put food in his mouth. I'll give him a piece of apple and he really wants to chew the crap out of it - but ONLY if I hold it for him. If I give him the piece of apple in his hand he plays with it and never even gets it near his mouth. The same goes with those Gerber melt in your mouth puffs. Noah seems to enjoy them when I put them in his mouth. If I put some on the tray in front of him he just chases them around the tray with his little hands. If I hold up the puff in my hand - he opens his mouth wide and puts his hands up -far from his mouth and the puff - like he is surrendering. Once in awhile he'll palm a puff and then put his hand in his mouth - but with the puff facing out away from his mouth. It just happens to be hanging out there while he enjoys chewing on his hand. This boy LOVES to eat - but for some reason it hasn’t occurred to him that he could try and shove things in his own gaping maw. The pediatrician said this wasn't uncommon for babies that rarely feed out of bottles. I guess because a bottle fed baby will learn early on to wrap their hands around the bottle - therefore gaining control of the food source. So it also occurs to them to shove other things into their mouth. While a strictly breastfed baby doesn't get as handsy. I'm sure Noah will indeed find his own mouth some day, until then I guess it's kind of funny hearing him grunt hungrily for food while holding it in his own damn hand.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

What? Me? Worry?

I'm certain that Noah is powered by a diesel engine. There could be no other reason for the constant hum and grunting he's been doing lately. And bystanders without fail say something about him trying to dirty his diaper. While that too is accompanied by grunting it is paired with a beet red face and his mouth stretched into taut straight line. A mother knows these things. I was a bit worried that all his grunting was a sign that his Reflux symptoms were bothering him so I asked the advice nurse at my pediatrician office. She asked if he seemed happy otherwise and I said yes, so she quickly dismissed my concern saying that then he was obviously fine. And one of Mark's coworkers said all three of her sons went through a grunting stage - so I guess all is well. Must come up with something else to worry about.

How about Autism? Mark and I saw a snippet of a show on TLC on Sunday night about amazing mothers. They profiled a woman who had three autistic sons. The symptoms for Autism are not normally recognized until age 2 - so by the time this woman's first son was diagnosed she had already had a set of twin boys who were also later diagnosed. Just learning that kids are diagnosed later and that the cause of Autism is unknown got me worrying about it. I spent an hour yesterday doing research online. I learned that though most kids aren't diagnosed until later there are some early foreseeable signs that are not recognized. For instance autistic infants typically avoid eye contact and show little interest in animals, people and social interaction. After the research I felt very relieved because Noah is very engaged by animals, people and the world around him. Must come up with something else to worry about. The plague possibly.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Alot of young blood at our family shindigs now. Clockwise from top left - Grammy, Cody, my Mom, Alec, Noah and Aelan. Baby Evan at 7.5 months is missing from this photo.  Posted by Hello

On Mothers, Costco, Carseats and Yogurt

A mother gives - of her time, of her heart, of her resources. She is willing to make sacrifices so that others are happy. And her fount of love seems boundless - there for those who need it when they need it. I hope every woman who mothers - not only children (biological, adopted, borrowed) but also family members and friends - enjoyed a beautiful Mother's day.

I've probably said it a hundred times before, and I'll say it a million more - I never fully understood how much my mom did for me until I became a mom. She shaped the woman and mother I am today - and the Grandmother that I one day hope to be. Her strength, love and generosity are inspiring. I never feel that my thanks to her are an adequate repayment - but I'll just keep trying. Thanks Mom!

Okay - so on to my babbling about the goings on of my clan.

Don’t' fret. We did indeed survive the in-law invasion on Thursday. In fact we had a lovely evening despite all my maniacal fretting. They were kind and pretended the house wasn't a wreck and then we walked to Azure to have a lovely meal. And not only was Noah not the only infant there, the waitress called him "the quiet one." Excellent.

Friday morning my mom called and offered up an impromptu visit to Costco in Montgomeryville. Having never actually been in a Costco, I was blown away by the size and magnitude of the place. They sell everything in there. Computers, jeans, steaks, deck furniture and toothpaste. And some of the deals are amazing. We definitely need to get a price club membership of our own for things we purchase a lot - like granola bars, soup, and vitamins - not to mention baby amenities. I think the closest one to us is the Sam's Club by Franklin Mills Mall. But I have no idea if a Sam's Club is as good as a Costco. And I don't think you can get in without joining so we might just have to bite the bullet.

Once we made it past all of the Noah-gawkers (grown men could only dream of getting this much attention) and out of the wonderland that is Costco, my mom headed home and Noah and I decided to brave the Babies R' Us. They have a mothering room in which I knew I could change and feed him before heading home, and I also wanted to take a gander at car seats. The feeding was sort of a mess. Two other mothers came into the room with their infants while I was trying to nurse Noah. He's easily distracted now which means whenever the other mothers made a move Noah would pull away suddenly, not only revealing my nipple to total strangers (HATE when that happens) but also sending sprays of breast milk shooting across the room. How is that for a show?

And now for the excitement that is car seat shopping. At 27 inches Noah exceeds the 25 inch recommended length limit for his infant carrier car seat - so it was time to cough up more money for a different kind of car seat now that he can sit up better. The convertible car seats ranged in price from $59 to $259. My theory on this is to always count on spending somewhere in the middle of the range - so no luxury purchase, but one also not made of spit and bubblegum. I had already done some research with Consumer Reports and ended up purchasing the Triumph 5 by Evenflo - as well as baby hangers, a toy cell phone, pacifiers, saline nose drops and a few other accoutrements. Oh how it all adds up. Easier to not spend money when you never leave the house.

The car ride home was packed with some drama. Noah was cranky - short on naps and wanting to be out of the damn car seat. Because our car is pretty tiny I can easily reach my right hand behind the seat to comfort him when I'm driving - but I had put the new boxed car seat there and couldn't reach him. And he just kept crying - and I hate when he sounds so upset. So I pulled off the side of a busy road to reorganize things so I could reach the ailing boy. Of course this was no easy feat. My hatchback was filled with stuff my mom so generously purchased us from Costco - who doesn’t bag your stuff so it was going to be a bitch to move it all from the back. So I tried to move the new car seat box to the passenger seat. It wouldn't go - no amount of pushing or pulling or screaming would make it go. So then I had to take out the stuff in the hatchback, put it in the passenger seat and then put the new car seat in the trunk. All while traffic was whooshing by and Noah was fussing. I was having a meltdown on the side of the road. It wouldn't have been so bad with an extra set of hands - which again makes me marvel at how Patrice is constantly on the move with Bella on the weekends while Sean is at work. By the time I got home I felt completely burnt out.

Saturday was exquisite. I could not have asked for a nicer day - both in weather and in content. Our friends John and Laurel Frazier came down from NYC to attend the Dali exhibition with us and John's mom Lorraine at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Noah was Bjorned and happily slept through most of the exhibit. After which we walked to The London Grill for a delightful lunch, including two Bloody Marys for moi. And Lorraine went above and beyond generosity when she picked up the tab. Noah was not only being cheerful and entertaining but he sat like a big boy in the high chair. The only misstep of the day was when Noah nibbled off a piece of the pickle I had given him to suck on. I flew into a panic and tried unsuccessfully to fish it out of his mouth with my finger. He swallowed it fine - but I had SO freaked him out by sticking my finger in his mouth and whacking him on the back that it took him a minute to calm back down. Poor kid's mom is a head case. After lunch the Frazier clan took off but Mark, Noah and I walked around a bit enjoying the Water Works and the wonderful spring sunshine.

And then it was Mother's Day! My very first. Noah and Mark gave me the gift of music - two CDs and a gift certificate to itunes for future downloading. In the afternoon we went to my Aunt Jill's house for a family picnic. My Mom, Grammy, Cousin Tammy and her family, and Uncle Jim and his family were all in attendance. We ate fattening picnic food and played with all the little ones. And then home in time for Deadwood - after another Noah car tragedy. That boy is all sunshine and light until you strap him in a car seat. He's a natural born subway rider. He cried inconsolably almost all the way home from Souderton. I even joined him for a moment because I couldn't figure out how to help him. I finally asked Mark to get off the Schuylkill early and pull over so I could take Noah out of the seat. Noah let out a huge burp upon his release and promptly fell asleep when I locked him back in. Poor kid.

Noah has been chomping on all kinds of new things lately - and still seems to enjoy it all. I thought he would wrinkle up his nose at the pickle but he really enjoyed it. At his check-up the Pediatrician said we could give him baby yogurt and those melt in your mouth Gerber puffs they sell now. He seems to really enjoy the Yobaby Stonyfield Farms organic baby yogurt with apple and cereal puree at the bottom. In fact even I think it's pretty damn tasty. The Gerber sweet potato puffs however are bland as bland can be.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Frantic franticness

The in-laws are coming! The in-laws are coming!

Mark's Dad and his wife Sylvia are coming to visit us this afternoon. We are very excited to see them however whenever they are about to visit I fly into a tizzy. The house is not clean enough. I don't know what to make to eat. Factoring in what everyone won't eat eliminates everything that I typically make - so I'm screwed. But if we order food I look like a bad wife and mother who never cooks. We could go out to eat. But will the baby be okay? Where can we go? What places have good food but are still family friendly? And for the love of God I don't want to go to another chain restaurant - though I know they have highchairs and changing tables.

And the crazy thing is that they know their visit throws me into a tailspin. When they call they tell Mark that I shouldn't clean just for them, and that I don't have to make dinner for them. It is very considerate and thoughtful of them but that almost makes it worse. Because they KNOW I'm incompetent. I so badly want to be a good cook, a good host, a good daughter in-law. But I really stink at it.

And I should be cleaning right now, but I'm blogging instead. You see how bad I suck?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

My mom SAYS she's doing this so she'll have a time marker in her photo album, but I know she's just nuts. Posted by Hello

To Noah at 6 months


Happy six month-aversary of your birth! The last six months seem to have flown by and I am astounded by how much you've grown and how much you've changed. When we brought you home you were a mere larva, and now you are like a real little boy. In the last couple of months you have started making consonant sounds, sitting up with support, and eating solid foods. And you are quite an eater! We haven't discovered anything you won't eat and every meal ends in whimpering because you would prefer to eat until you explode Though you haven't started creeping yet you love to roll around on the floor and reach for things in your vicinity. Your favorite toys are your Exersaucer, linking rings, water bottles and granola bar wrappers. You like your picture books and being read to but nothing is quite as exciting as watching Daddy play guitar. And I can't forget the cats! You LOVE to get your hands on Parker and Spy. Sometimes you will squeal, chatter, and stomp your feet just because you have caught sight of one of them. And though they do their damndest to say out of your grasping claws, they are still fond enough of you to always want to be where you are.

We had your six-month check-up with Dr. Ronin today. You HATE that crinkly paper on the exam table. Every time we had to set you on it you started to cry - and you cry so rarely now that I knew you meant business. I have to admit I'm not a big fan of the feeling of it on my skin either. You are 27 inches long, which puts you in the 60 percentile for length and you have a 17.5 inch head. At only 15 pounds even you are only in the 20 percentile for weight - which means you are long and lean like your Daddy. You carry all your pudge in your chin (like me) and in your doughy thighs. Dr. Ronin said you were right on developmentally and gave us some suggestions for getting you to fall asleep on your own without being rocked, giving you more finger food and introducing some formula into your diet.

My developmental guide says that you should be able to recognize your name soon but I fear that isn't possible - because we rarely use it. You get a new nickname everyday. But most commonly I call you Schmoo, your Dad calls your Boobert and Gram calls you Beebop. Your father and I were feeling a bit of regret about your name recently because we found out that Noah had become such a popular name lately. I have never met a Noah so I had assumed it was quite rare - but we have since learned that isn't the case. We hope you aren't one of three Noah's in your class.

The last month has been a tough one because we have been back and forth to Gram's house (or whatever we decide to call my mom) because her husband Larry has been quite ill. You spent a fair bit of time in the hospital cheering up your Gram and everyone who caught a glimpse of you. I couldn't believe how calm you stayed despite spending hours in a hospital room - but you're always so taken with new sights, sounds and people that you were mesmerized just to be someplace new. Your gigantic eyes try to take it all in.

I didn't think it possible but I know I love you more today than on the day you were born. Your easy smile and hearty laugh bring such incredible joy to my life and I love watching you as you discover the world. I had feared that not returning to work would be hard for me but I have to admit that my most challenging day at home with you is far more fun and fulfilling than even my best day doing pointless office paperwork. Thank you for spending your days with me!

With undying unconditional love today and always, Mom

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Epicurean Intrigue

This morning Noah is crusted over with cereal, slobber and snot. And yet still cute. Where did we get this kid from? He can't possibly be related to me. I don't even clean up well.

So Noah had his first green beans this morning. I had been putting them off since they look so nasty. I like actual green beans - but something about green bean puree seems so very wrong. And it is. I tasted it and it was gross. Noah ate it all but he made a wrinkled up face with each spoonful. I'm not sure he realizes he can actually refuse to eat something. I think he gets that from his father. Mark eats almost everything but cheese. While it is freakish to not eat cheese (he will eat mozzarella thankfully) I don't consider him a picky eater at all. Maybe that is because there is so much stuff that I won't eat. I'm pretty adventurous about trying different ethnic foods but they have to be approved for ingredients. Various meat products are at the top of won't eat list - no sausage, no chicken on the bone, no veal, no lamb, no hot dogs, no meatballs, etc. I also don't like super processed food. Most frozen dinners gross me out and I can even get the willies about canned soup. So hopefully Noah's palette is more like Mark's - but with a love of cheese.

Every time I go to the grocery store I get in a tizzy about baby food. My inner self wants to be the kind of mom that buys organic produce from a local farm and makes my own baby food. But that just isn't reality since I can't even efficiently get the damn laundry done. So I buy packaged baby food. And I've been buying those Gerber two packs because they seem price friendly and handy. But I'm sure I SHOULD be buying organic baby food. I feel guilty because I don't. Both Beech Nut and Gerber have organic lines but the prices are significantly higher and we're on a budget here. So am I poisoning Noah with chemicals to spare a few cents? Do you think the organic is that much better for the tots? And if so - why do they keep selling the other stuff? Help me. I'm in a brightly colored pureed goo shame spiral.

Monday, May 02, 2005


I have a question about comments. Maybe YOU can help me. When someone leaves a question on the comments page or I want to reply to something someone said in comments - should I be replying to comments on my blog? I haven't been doing this - mostly because after I write a comment on someone else's blog I never return to the comments page again and therefore I assume that my reply would never be seen. In the event I know the email address of the commenter I normally reply to them via email but I fear this might not be proper blogtiquette. So the question is do YOU return to comments to see if the blogger has commented on your comment?


It was another busy weekend. Saturday morning the whole clan went grocery shopping at the crack of dawn. I just didn't have the stamina to do it all by myself on Friday night, as is my usual. It was nice to do it with company on Saturday. Mark wore Sir Noah in the Bjorn - which gets him out of bagging and loading the car, so it's a pretty sweet deal. Soon Noah should be able to sit up well enough for the Floppy Seat - a large mushy fabric contraption that sits in the cart seat and protects infants from grocery store coodies. It should be of no surprise that Mademoiselle Bella has already mastered the Floppy Seat.

Saturday afternoon Mark and I cleaned while taking turns manning the baby. Mark tackled the living room/dining room and I worked on the kitchen. Of course the house still seems like a shambles. A couple of hours spent cleaning this place is like spitting into the sea.

Sunday we traversed the countryside to Qtown to visit with my mom and Larry, who is again out of the hospital. It was a lovely day and we spent a couple of hours watching my stepbrother Brian and his son Nathan move around old cars and scrap metal with the backhoe. My step-father is a general contractor so I grew up in a home with our own paver, backhoe and dumptruck. Not too impressive for a girl - but the little boys in the family think it's marvelous. Nathan spent a whole year saying only the word "truck" and my Uncle Jim's kids would spend an hour just sitting behind the wheel of each piece of machinery making "vroom" noises. Noah was already transfixed by the backhoe. I guess the color, the noise, and the movement are quite a spectacle to behold. I made sure to tell him however not to get too strung out on testosterone because I intend on raising a bookworm. Books, movies and music are fair game - but cars, sports and hunting are not on the agenda here. At least not on my agenda. Which means of course that Noah will be a sports-playing, deer-killing Nascar fan.

Then we went to a baby shower for Janette thrown by her sister Jacquie. Three infants and two pregnant ladies attended this shindig. Talk about population explosion. Janette looked radiantly pregnant and is due in three weeks. I predict we will be welcoming another bouncing baby boy - red haired, blue eyed and weighing 7 pounds 14 ounces on May 19. I can't wait to meet him!
Noah woke up this morning with a cough, congestion and sneezing. Nothing is quite as adorable and sad as an infant cough. He's been pretty clingy in the last week with little patience for playing independently, but he's still a smiley little trooper though he's not feeling in tip-top shape. He's been doing a lot of groaning when he plays lately and I'm not sure if it's related to not feeling well or if it just his new thing. There is a dull hum emanating from his direction and it could be his lack of patience from not feeling well or he could be testing out his voice. His mumbly-grumbly little voice. I have to remind myself that it isn't strictly a negative sound because he'll be groaning away, playing with a block and then look up at me with this big grin on his face.