Monday, October 31, 2005

Noah is having apple juice and Original Goldfish crackers for snack today.  Posted by Picasa

Would you care for one? Posted by Picasa

At first Noah was not fond of the hood of his costume. So for two days straight I put him in hoodies so he'd get used to having something over his head. I'm such a dork.  Posted by Picasa

Beware fair Townsville! Posted by Picasa

About as short as Mark

This week is going to be light on the blogging, I think. I have a lot of work to do around the house in prep for Noah’s bday party on Saturday. I’m thinking maybe one day I’ll post the letter I wrote to Noah before he was born and the letter I wrote afterwards which details my labor. They may be interesting from a nostalgia perspective. To someone. Maybe? Oh and I promised to write a little something about the importance of family for the neighborhood newspaper, so maybe I’ll post that too. It's sort of like a sitcom clip show kind of week.

So let’s sum up some stuff that’s been going down. We spent a happening Friday evening organizing the basement a bit. Saturday morning Julie dyed my hair back to it’s natural color, a sort of dark blonde or light brown depending on your view, so no more of the neopolitan look of three shades of hair for me. The color isn’t stunning but it’s mine and there is something to be said for that. Then I went to Old Navy to buy a pair of jeans that fit since all my pants are either too big, too small or too low rise. After trying on 15 pairs of jeans I ended up buying two. I could not decide between the tighter pair that makes my legs and ass look skinnier but did not camouflage my love handles and therefore requires a baggy shirt and a baggier pair that causes less love-handleage but doesn’t look as flattering everywhere else.

While I was out gallivanting Mark and Master Noah cavorted about the house mom-less. It’d been awhile since I’d been apart from Noah for a few hours while he was awake – but this time was a lot easier than it had been in the past. Mark and Noah are obviously more comfortable with each other and as Noah is nearly a boy now and not a mewling infant I feel better about being apart from him for awhile. Shortly after I got home Mark’s best friend Ed came to help set up our old computer in the basement so that Mark can do some digital recording with it. And to reward Ed for his efforts the two of them went out on the town in the evening. They hit Deuce, The 700 Club and The Tap while I put the boy to bed and watched a documentary about Hollywood Cemetary on HBO OnDemand.

Sunday we trucked it to Ldale to partake in the glorious celebration of Bellaween. Beer, food, friends, babys in costumes – what more needs to be said. Afterwards we went to my mom’s for two hours to brighten her spirits by allowing her to chase after Noah as he ran in circles and pulled everything out of her cabinets. My step-father Larry is starting hospice care on Tuesday, and I’m very glad Mom will be getting some help.

This morning SEPTA went on strike, the Market Frankford El isn’t running and I drove Mark to the Temple University train stop so he could catch a train to 30th Street Station and get to work. In the afternoon we went to the grocery store – but not our regular store… Oh WAIT. This was supposed to be a short post! God, I suck at short posts. Sorry. This morning Noah discovered spinning himself in circles until he gets dizzy and this afternoon I spotted the emergence of his fifth tooth. Oh and have I mentioned that my son likes to hide himself in the closet? Anyone surprised? Over and out.

Little Ms. Bella was a bit worn out from her difficult journey.  Posted by Picasa

Mark tried to imagine what it was going to be like to go home with something THIS small. Posted by Picasa

The sweetest treat

One year ago today, little Ms. Bella was born. From what I recall Patrice’s labor wasn’t pleasant, but it was short. And there is plenty to be said for fast labor. Mark and I hightailed it out to the hospital to greet the little Ms. on her first day out in the world. Everyone looked sleepy and happy. Mark and I held Bella and asked questions, trying to gage what it might be like when Noah was born. (Little did we know he’d already begun making preparations to arrive on November 4, over two weeks earlier than his November 19 due date.) After we left the hospital we went to the Hatfield Applebees and talked about how amazingly tiny Bella was and how much all our lives were going to change. We were excited and scared – trying to anticipate what life was going to be like but really having no idea. But one thing was certain – we were incredibly grateful to be greeting the new challenges of parenthood with comrades. Not only would our closest friends be sharing the new baby experience with us, but Patrice had practice. In Patrice, Sean, Trent and Bella we have an extended family to share in birthday parties, zoo trips, teething tales and weening challenges – and regardless of the future of our nuclear unit, in many ways it already feels like we have a baby girl too. We love you Bella.

Check out Jen O’s site for pictures from yesterday’s Bellaween party.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Here you see Noah standing without pulling himself up and also carrying the little felt candy bag that came with his Halloween costume. I'm dying to post pictures of him in his costume but I don't want to ruin it's impact at Bellaween.  Posted by Picasa

Run for your lives or prepare to drown in cuteness and drool.  Posted by Picasa

Noah and Parker engage in heavy petting - and by heavy I mean Noah whacks Parker forcefully. Posted by Picasa

I'm thinkin about my doorbell and when you're gonna ring it

So a couple of weeks ago Dr. Robert gave us an estimate on fixing our roof. Because we’re ever paranoid of being cheated by a contractor/mechanic/handy-knowledgeable-dude-that-charges-money we decided it best to get a second estimate. Last week we waited all week for Affordable Roofing to come to our beckoned call – but they screwed us around all week and never showed. Yesterday morning I called John Tinney Roofing and he said he’d be by sometime during the day. He didn’t give me any indication of a time frame so all day long I worried about when he would arrive. There are two issues when expecting someone to our home. The first is the doorbell. It’s on the inside of our doorframe and hard to see so often people just knock on the door – which I can’t hear if I’m upstairs with Noah. I’m constantly getting pissed off at the UPS and Fedex guys for leaving package notices on my door when I’ve been home all damn day. If I catch them on their second delivery attempt I scold them for not ringing the bell. And then there is the reliability of said bell. Though every time I have ever tested the bell it has been in perfect working order, occasionally someone will tell me they DID ring the bell and that is why they have been standing outside our door for five minutes. Maybe I just have the magic touch. The second issue is Noah. I worry that someone will arrive when I am in the middle of putting him down for a nap – which can take anywhere from 5 – 20 minutes, or that they will in fact see the bell and ring it while he’s napping. So waiting for anyone entails all this bell and nap worry. Yesterday I held off putting Noah down for his afternoon nap for two hours because I was worried about the roofer coming while I was upstairs nursing and unable to answer the door. At 4pm he called and said he had been too busy during the day and he’d come at 9 am this morning. I was frustrated but since he said specifically what time he would arrive I said okay. Of course 9 am passed this morning and no roofer. At 10 am I left him a voice mail message. Well it’s nearly 4 pm and still no roofer. And no call either. I’ve been trapped in the house, staying in the front rooms, afraid to put the baby down for a nap and generally irritated for two days straight! I guess we have to go with Dr. Robert because he’s the only damn guy who shows up.

On the great curtain calamity – I placed the order again with The good news is that I found a coupon code that saved me even more money than that stupid 10% discount they would not give me. The bad news is that in the few days since I placed the first order the backorder dates have been pushed back even further. I’ll be lucky to get all the curtains before Christmas. If thermal curtains are so popular why can’t I find them anywhere?

So enough of my petty complaining – especially when those close to us are tackling real sadness. My mom is having a hard time with Larry. He’s getting very weak, very confused, and harder to care for. It’s not uncommon for ill people to misdirect their anger about the pain and the illness at their caretakers – but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. I wish we could do something more for them. And Mark’s Great Aunt Spodra died last night at the age of 84. I met her once when Mark and I went to visit her and her son (also a Mark) in Brighton, England. Spodra was quite the character. She was a singer, an artist, a dancer – known for her endless quirkiness and her habitual lateness. She dealt with her illness by means of a spiritual healer for a long spell before enlisting the aid of the medical professionals who were unable to help her. Mark’s Dad was close to Spodra so I’m sure he’s feeling the loss, and 95 year-old Laima is very sad about outliving her younger sister. She says that Spodra had the softest heart and kindest soul of anyone she met. I was struck with sadness when she told me that the worse thing about living to 95 is having to watch so many of your loved ones die.

And because I like to try and end positive I’ll share another Noah tidbit. For the first time today Mark and I noticed that Noah is now able to stand up from a sitting position without hauling himself up on something. He’s been just sitting and standing all day long. Every day I am overcome by how much he learns and grows. It’s the circle of life.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

"EECE?" "Drafty window." "EECE?" "Alarming water damage."

The boy is just walking around in circles. Practicing his balance. Squatting down to get things from standing. Turning around in mid-walk. It’s super cute. And he’s pointing at EVERYTHING and saying “EECE?” A couple of people have assumed he’s saying “This?” but I think it’s just a coincidence that it sounds similar. He’s pointing and inquiring about all he sees. Our house sounds like: “EECE?” “Daddy’s pajamas.” “EECE?” “Potato.” “EECE?” “Car.” He’s also started finally making use of the signs for eat and more. Of course he’s also close to saying them so I don’t know that the effort to teach him some signs has been a success for us.

Yesterday was busy. We went to Walmart, Marburn Curtain Warehouse, Target and Home Depot over the course of the day. We were searching high and low for insulated curtains. Let me explain. Mary was good enough to send a link to a Boscov’s sale on insulated curtains, but then I found them cheaper at On Monday I meticulously placed an order for 12 curtain panels in varying lengths and shades. It wasn’t until I was finalizing the order that I was notified that 10 of the 12 were on backorder and were not expected until mid-to-late November. I was frustrated but I went on with the order because they were so reasonably priced and because I was expecting a 10 percent discount. As a result of our kitchen table debacle I have an unused JCPenney credit card and a coupon that gave me 10% off my first purchase, but when I placed my order the coupon was not applied. I called JCPenney online and was told that the discount was not applicable on backorder items. This made me livid. I tried to stay calm while I told the girl that I didn’t WANT them to be on backorder, in fact I nearly cancelled the order since they were on backorder so it didn’t make any sense to penalize ME for the fact that they didn’t have them in stock. She said it was policy. I thought their policy was SO dumb I cancelled the order. Which is why we were searching the area for insulated curtains – unsuccessfully. We went to a Curtain WAREHOUSE for God’s sake. They had nine billion kinds of curtains. And they had ONE kind of insulated drapes - in lavender. And it was a WAREHOUSE! So now I either have to place that order again or we have to haul our butts out to the Cherry Hill JCPenney to see what they have at the store. And in the meantime – I’m COLD!

Of course though no curtains were found we were still able to get rid of some of our cash – because there is obviously far too much of it laying around. Oh- and did I mention we have a leak in the middle of our bedroom wall? Inexplicably water is pooling in bubbles along the wall behind our bed. We’ll just add it to the list of things we need to have a contractor repair. Why do I have the feeling that our house is starting to fall to bits? And just in time for guests. Well, at least the three of us are in good health.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Hats off!

Last night Noah, Mark and I found ourselves in the seldom used guest bedroom. To occupy the boy I opened one of the hat boxes I use to stash mementos. Over the years I’ve saved ticket stubs, cards, programs, letters and more. As Noah got further into the box I began to relive things as I retrieved them off the floor. I was struck by two things. Firstly, that since the invention and popularization of email the letters we send and receive are few and far between. Aside from printing out the pivotal email exchanges of our lives, there is no way to preserve them for our future reference. That’s sad. And secondly, I realized that I’ve lost track of so many people in my life. I found letters from friends from high school, University of Pittsburgh, and my London exchange program with whom I am no longer in touch. And these people really meant something to me, but now it’s as if they disappeared. High school friends don’t seem so pronounced because I’m still connected with a few high school friends, Patrice in particular. But I’m not in touch with anyone who I met when I was at Pitt or a single soul that I met on my London exchange. It makes those times in my life feel as if they happened to another person, or in a dream. What happened to Johanna, Jamie, Katie, Darrin, Stefanie, and Q? The only evidence of their existence in my life are stuffed in a hat box. Even sadder still. I’m tempted to Google a bunch of people and see if I can find anyone’s email addresses.

I have been intending to print out most of this blog so that I can save it for Noah to look at one day, at least the posts that are pertinent to him. I guess I better get on that. I need to start his hat box.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The hours are a killer but the food is divine.

I can’t seem to convince Noah that I would be a much better mother if I just got more sleep. It’s honestly the only complaint I have about him – he still has problems sleeping through the night. I could continue making excuses for him – he’s cold, he’s teething, he’s over-tired, or he’s got to keep on walking – but whatever it is, the fact remains I’m tired. This morning he woke up at 4 am and for an hour and a half I tried to get him back to sleep. It sucks to be completely exhausted, feel like “AH… finally he went back to sleep, I’ll just lay him down now” and have him pop back up like a Jack-in-the-box. In those moments I feel completely shattered. At 5:30 am I gave up and left the bed so Mark could get some uninterrupted rest. Noah and I went to the office where he tore around the room like a man on fire while I sat on the floor with glazed eyes and a sagging head, trying to fold laundry. We both went down for a 2 hour nap at 9, and I’m feeling a bit better. Of course any time I share one of his naps is a time I could have been getting something done. That is if I wasn’t a sleepy zombie mother.

The house is so chilly already. Our house is not very heat efficient and we’re anxious to rectify that rather than piss away all our money on the gas bill. The problem is we haven’t a clue where to start. Am I really supposed to be sealing off the windows with quilts and plastic? Should we be living in a cave for the next five months? That seems a bit extreme. I think a small improvement both for heat efficiency and décor would be to put curtains on every window, but would you believe we’ve lived in this house five years and only two windows are covered – and covered with sheer panels. Brilliant – right? I can never quite get myself to spend the time and money needed to find and hang the right drapery, so we have none but the cheapy shades that were on the windows when we bought this place.

Saturday we went to Mark’s Dad’s place for dinner to celebrate his birthday. It was a nice afternoon but we didn’t get a damn thing done with the house all day. This morning I can honestly say that the house looks worse than it did last week. I can only explain this by saying that it gets darkest before the dawn and sometimes you have to pull things completely apart before you can put them back together again. Any other cliché you want me to throw in there to explain why there are now boxes, brooms and a hamper full of shoes sitting in the upstairs unvacuumed hallway? Despite the new mess, we did clean out the closet in the kitchen, the kitchen cabinets, and the middle bedroom as well as moving my nuisance shoe shelving, doing the laundry and cleaning up our bedroom. So some things got accomplished though we also created a lot of other work for ourselves that has yet to get done.

Yesterday while we were moving things around and turning mess into chaos Noah mostly toddled around carrying things. I’ve heard tales of Dermot and Bella carrying things but this was a tad different. Noah is obviously concerned with storage and volume – and therefore has taken to carrying around bags. In the bedroom he was walking around in circles with a paper handled shopping bag from Ten Thousand Villages, in the middle room he was carrying an ornamented fabric gift bag that closely resembles a purse, and in the kitchen he changed it up by carrying a sand pail with a teddy bear in it. It was so funny watching him walk around with such purpose with a bag clutched in his hands – like he was on his way to the market. It cracked me up all day long. He’s also started doing a lot of pretend eating. Not only does he pick up anything remotely cup-like and pretend to drink out of it, he also has taken to picking up anything bowl-like and start to stir and scoop imaginary spoonfuls of “soup” into his mouth. All the while making little “Mmm” noises and offering to share. It’s just about the cutest thing ever. I get so excited when he starts new schtick and we can play new games and encourage new learning. That’s what makes the lack of sleep totally worth it. Because nothing will perk you up at 5:30 am like a spoonful of imaginary soup.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Best laid plans.

I’m doing Noah’s laundry. I went downstairs to put the load from the washer to the dryer only to discover that all of his clothes are covered in weird clear soft plastic-y pellets. I can’t for the life of me figure out what the hell they are until I see it. Somehow I put a disposable diaper in the damn washing machine. It must have been wrapped up in some dirty clothes that I took out of the diaper bag. It is now the size of a pumpkin and hemorrhaging plastic pellets. They’re on everything. Not having a clue what to do I just started the washer again. I'm hoping some of them will wash away in the second wash. What a mess.

It’s been a busy couple of days – which is what I will blame my brainlessness on. Tuesday night we celebrated our anniversary yet again and went out for Indian buffet, picked up a bottle of wine and bought Mark some much needed new dress shoes for work – the third anniversary gift is leather. Mark got me a lovely pair of gloves and some slippers to keep my housebound feet warm. On Wednesday afternoon Noah and I did our grocery shopping extravaganza and in the evening the Milliceccobachs stopped by for baby wrangling, pizza and LOST.

Yesterday the boy and I went to visit my Mom. She was originally intending to come see us this Sunday but my stepfather is not doing well and it’s best that she not leave him at home. She started three months of unpaid Family Medical Leave last week so that she can be home with him. He’s been deteriorating drastically both physically and mentally and we don’t hold out much hope for him to hang on for very long. His bone marrow cancer is taking quite a toll and unfortunately it’s a battle he can’t win. I don’t think he’s ready to go, and I know my Mom isn’t ready to let him go, but unfortunately he’s reaching the stage of his disease where the longer he lasts the more debilitating and painful his life will become. I can’t really be of much help except to bring the boy around to raise their spirits, and that is actually quite helpful.

This weekend we will start the two weeks of cleaning and organizing I hope to do prior to Noah’s birthday party. My to-do list does not just include necessary things like ordering food, dusting and vacuuming, it also includes plans to straighten the basement, reorganize the cabinets and hang things on the walls that I’ve been wanting to hang for a YEAR. The obvious result of this will be that I get so stressed out by the sheer size of my list and spend so much time doing unnecessary things that I will cause myself a nervous breakdown in the two days prior to the party because the house is still a sty. And you would think that in recognizing the outcome of making said list that I would change my plans? Nope. I’m a stupid, untidy and lazy woman who MIGHT get around to doing the very basics of house cleaning before the uncaring and unfazed guests arrive wanting nothing more than beer and cake. It’s good to have a plan!

Thursday, October 20, 2005


10 years ago - October 1995
While attending classes in Journalism, Public Relations, and Advertising at Temple University, I was writing entertainment news and interviews for two student newspapers, doing an internship at Philadelphia City Paper and working PT at HMV Records. I was in a very unhealthy and misdirected relationship with an Irishman, racking up an insane amount of unpaid parking tickets and living with my rail-thin, depressed and attention hungry friend Jen. It was the best of times and the worst of times - fun and yet chaotic and sad.

5 years ago - October 2000
I was working as a Quality Specialist in CDNOW's Customer Service and was as always desperate to get transferred to another department. In the Spring I had finally graduated with my bachelors degree after quitting school in 1996 and finishing up part-time and on the pay as you go plan. I no longer needed the flexible schedule that Customer Service allowed me for classes and I was very excited about a job opening as a Copy Writer. I got the job! Of course it was a kick in the ass a few months later when I was laidoff in one of the first rounds of layoffs because I was the last person hired into the department. Had I still been in Cust Serv I'd most likely have had a job for another year and a half. Thems the breaks.

1 year ago - October 2004
I was expecting a bouncing baby boy! I was as big as a house due to quitting smoking and constant sweet cravings, but otherwise I had a pretty pleasant pregnancy. That is if you don't count the looming Down's Syndrome worry.

5 snacks: Sourdough pretzels, french fries, BBQ potato chips, cheese, dip

5 songs I know all the words to: GOD! I can't stand these sorts of questions since I have such a bad memory when it comes to thinking of things on the spot. So once again I'll modify the question to suit me. I know all the words to several songs by Dexter Love, Jane's Addiction, INXS, Nirvana and PJ Harvey.

5 things I would do with $100 mill: Start a business whose profits would go solely to disadvantaged children's charities - the Paul Newman model, travel the world with a large group of friends and family (Pack your bags!), upgrade our current home, employ a personal shopper, and save for the heirs

5 things I would never wear: a sports jersey, a country music tour Tshirt, spaghetti straps (damn boobs!), an athletic supporter, sumo underwear

5 favorite TV shows: Lost, Amazing Race, Survivor, Deadwood, ER

5 biggest joys: My baby, my husband, my family, my friends, and my cats

5 favorite toys/games: Email, Blogger, digital camera, Balderdash, Yahtzee

Was it everything you hoped it would be?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Greetings from Todd Tharpe!

Over the weekend we had a lovely time in the sleepy little hamlet of Jim Thorpe. We arrived in town on Saturday afternoon and checked into the Lantern Lodge – which was a reasonably priced motor lodge motel just past Jim Thorpe on 209. We then headed into town to get a glimpse of the Fall Foliage Festival. Though town was overflowing with traffic and visitors, the Festival itself was none too impressive. It consisted of a bunch of craft vendors, carnival foods and a grandstand featuring mostly country and polka performances. We breezed through there in a heartbeat and then headed on to tour the town. The quaint section of Jim Thorpe consists of three streets – Broadway, Race and High Streets, so it didn’t take us long to get the lay of the land. We spent many hours just walking up and down the streets on Saturday, looking at the houses, commenting on the restaurants, shops and architecture. We took a break to eat a fast and greasy meal at the Sunrise Diner and then continued to walk around until the sun went down. We found a small park with toddler sized playground equipment and we returned to it for a bit of every day on our trip so Noah could work off some energy after being carried and strolled around for most of the day. We headed back to the motel, let Noah bounce himself from bed to bed for awhile before putting him to sleep in the Pack n’ Play. The Lantern Lodge was attached to Macaluso’s Italian restaurant and Lounge. After testing out the baby monitor for reach we headed the three doors down to have a few gin and tonics at the bar before an early bedtime. An older couple at the bar were friends of the chef and raved about the food at Macaluso’s, so we were glad we had made reservations for Sunday night. The couple also gave us patchy directions to two diners in Lehighton where we could get a decent breakfast in the morning.

Thank God we got to bed a little early because Noah woke up shortly after 3:30 am, remembered he was in an unfamiliar place and decided he would prefer to play until 6 am before returning to sleep. We all got back up at 8 am, still a bit tired and very, very hungry. So off on a magical quest for breakfast we went and in no time we realized there was no way in hell we were going to find the diners to which the couple had directed us to the night before. Please note that the only downside of any vacation that Mark and I go on is the period when we are starving and wandering aimlessly looking for food with no end in sight. We both get real testy until food is found – and this excursion proved no different. This is just one of the reasons we do so much research on a vacation destination before we go – to prevent this sort of debacle. In the midst of us snapping at each other I made Mark stop the car so that I could ask some people hosting a yard sale where we could go for breakfast. Would you believe they sent us to the Lehighton American Legion? And even more bizarre is the fact that we WENT. There we were surrounded by war memorials and chain smoking oldsters gumming scrapple. Surreal and totally entertaining. The food was pretty poor but for only $5 a person and the added bonus of experiencing the sights and sounds of Lehighton, it paid off big. After breakfast we went back to Jim Thorpe and boarded a train for an hour long scenic ride into Lehigh Gorge. We had to let Noah walk up and down the aisles a bit because he was getting punchy about halfway through, but he seemed to enjoy the ride for the most part. Then we headed to the Old Jail Museum to learn about The Molly Maguires. Three quarters through the tour Noah was tired of being held and when I put him down on the floor he kept trying to scoot into the jail cells. I decided to take him outside and let him move around a bit while Mark toured the dungeon without us. We went back to the hotel for a nap, returned back to town for some more walking around and then went to Macaluso’s for dinner. The food was pretty good and the staff was really nice and after dinner we put the boy to bed, got a beer at the bar and then went to sleep.

On Monday we had a lovely breakfast at the Switchback Family Restaurant which we had spied driving around the day before and then went to tour the Asa Packer Mansion. This where I fell in love with Kathy Long. Kathy was our tour guide in the Packer Mansion. It’s her job to relay the historical narrative of the Packer family in an entertaining way while pointing out their heirlooms. And at this she was wonderful – but that is not why I love her. The tour of the Packer mansion takes just short of an hour and even the best one year old in the world would not be content being held still in a series of rooms, not being able to move around or touch anything, while someone drones on about the furniture and the stained glass windows. By the time we got to the Butlers pantry Noah wanted to get down and he started wiggling and chattering. I was about to leave Mark to complete the tour without us when Kathy intervened. This wonderful woman not only commented on how well behaved he had been thus far, when he started getting frustrated she TOOK him. Kathy Long completed the next half hour of the tour with Noah in her arms. And boy did he eat it up. That boy is a sucker for attention and in the tour guide’s arms he got it. She pointed out things just for him while he pulled on her necklace, played peekaboo with her scarf and even tried to put his hand in her mouth. He was all smiles for the remainder of the tour. Kathy not only entertained our son so that we could finish the tour, she didn’t miss a beat telling tales of Mary Packer’s trips around the world and the fight for her family fortune. I love you Kathy Long and I fully intend on writing a letter to the folks at the Packer Mansion expressing my appreciation. After the mansion and more time on Noah’s playground we went to see a model train display and then had lunch at Café Origins. The vegetarian food was good, but pricey and the place was just a tad too zen and quiet for a boy who had been sleep deprived and restrained for three days. We ate quickly, scooted out even faster, got icecream at Rainbow’s End and hit the road for home.

All in all it was a lovely trip. When traveling with a baby you have to be willing to go their speed and work within their parameters. As a result we were in a tiny town for three days and still didn’t see a couple of the very few sights the town had to offer. But we got out of the house, enjoyed each others company and took in the sights and sounds of beautiful fall days in the mountains. So it was a very lovely anniversary indeed.

After we got home I called my mom and was recounting our weekend. She was shocked with as “cautious” a mother as I am that I was fine with leaving Noah in our room and going to the hotel bar for a drink – she thought I’d be worried about him being baby napped. I was really puzzled by this actually because though I would worry about Noah waking up alone in a strange place and getting scared (which is why I would never have gone if the monitor didn’t work), the notion that someone would break into our locked room and steal him would have never occurred to me. Plus the fact that the distance between our room and our stools at the bar was a shorter distance than Noah’s crib to our living room so it felt perfectly safe and not inappropriate to me. And thank God for it because had we not been able to go to the bar for an hour we would have had to go to bed with Noah at 9pm or risk waking him up. What do you think? Am I wrong?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Caution: very mushy post ahead

I didn’t date much. I could never get my head around casually seeing people. I don’t much like the “getting to know you” phase and I hated the pressure of feeling like I was being judged on every word, every eye lash. From the moment I started being interested in boys I was looking for “the one.” And I had a very clear idea about what I wanted – I wanted to date my best friend. He had to be smart, funny, and interested in the same things I was – music, books, movies, theater, and dining. And he had to want to share the things that I wanted out of life– travel, conversation, commitment, a family. Because I didn’t consider myself the kind of girl you would see across a crowded room and pursue and I wasn’t fully comfortable around a guy until I felt I knew him, I figured the best way to find him was to befriend him and then fall madly in love. I have to admit I had a few missteps on that one. I pursued a couple of guys that were great friends but horrible boyfriends and I had a lot of difficulties overcoming the seemingly impossible obstacle of converting a successful friendship into a successful romantic relationship. Even the first year with Mark was a mess – a storm of mixed emotions, crossed wires and hurt feelings. But luckily the ends justified the means. In February it will be ten years since I first met Mark and today is our third wedding anniversary. He is everything I ever wanted in a man and more. He is my best friend, my husband, and the father of my child. He’s the only person I could spend a zillion hours with and still enjoy his company and the only person I can imagine chit chatting with every day for the next 50 plus years. Even the best marriages are hard work – dealing with the daily pressures of life is difficult as one, and sometimes it can be harder when you have two sets of expectations. But on the most difficult days I know that my life is immeasurably better because I can share it with Mark. And I can say without a doubt that there is no one better suited to be my partner.

Mark, thank you for marrying me.

Details on Jim Thorpe later.

Noah and Mark take in Jim Thorpe's fall foliage and the mighty river.  Posted by Picasa

Noah takes a break from studiously examining the Packer Mansion stained glass windows.  Posted by Picasa

My men hover above the mighty burg of Jim Thorpe.  Posted by Picasa

We're ready for our mugshot. Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 14, 2005

Back to nature

In the middle of my fifth grade year my mom and I moved in with my now-stepfather Larry. We had been living for a few years in an apartment in the old town section of Souderton. I had been able to walk from our apartment to school, to the movies, to a friend’s house. My step-father’s house is in the woods – up a half mile driveway on a thickly wooded sparsely populated rural road. From there I couldn’t walk anywhere. On the rare occasion my neighbor David and I would bike the half hour to the Trumbauersville General Store, but that wasn’t very safe because people would speed carelessly down those shoulder-less back roads. As a result of my seclusion I was never a big fan of the forested locale – even after getting my drivers license. I felt isolated and suffocated by those trees and often thought if I never saw a damn tree again it wouldn’t be a loss. I made up my mind to live in the city even before I had any idea what that might be like.

Tomorrow Mark, Noah and I go to spend a few days in the Poconos. Prior to planning this trip I haven’t really had much interest in visiting “the wilds.” My tree-hating teen rebellion has everything to do with my lack of interest in the great outdoors, but I’ve been living in the urban jungle for over ten years now so it’s high time I branch out. I don’t plan on going camping any time soon, but enjoying a nice fall festival weekend in Jim Thorpe is just about my speed. Plus I want Noah to appreciate and experience nature’s skyscrapers as well as those made by man. Someday he might think it’s really neat to camp out in Grandma’s backyard.

We’ll be back on Tuesday with tales and photos. Have a good one.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

That is one sneaky snack.  Posted by Picasa

Naturally scared

Thanks everyone for the activity suggestions. I particularly like the painting with pudding suggestion and the link that JenO sent. I do occasionally draw with Noah but that normally becomes a battle to keep him from eating the writing utensils. He’s not completely art ready yet but hopefully that is coming soon. On the art link Jen sent it suggested giving the infant stamps to lick and stick for art. Am I the only one who thinks I would be insane to have my child licking all that glue? Gross.

Of course I have to admit I’ve been getting pretty chemical phobic lately. And it has everything to do with the work I’ve been doing for my friend Julie’s new organic salon. (Well that and multiple childhood viewings of The Incredible Shrinking Woman.) In preparation for working on press release and ad copy for the salon I had to do a lot of research into organic personal care products and their benefits – and it scared the bejezus out of me. I’ve been reading countless articles and studies about the toxicity and health risks of many hair products – specifically the high cancer causing effects of repetitive hair dye use. In the past I’ve dyed my hair nearly every color in the book – often on top of each other and I’ve used anything I could get my hands on. I don’t think I’ll be going back down that road. I’m gonna have Julie use an organic and non-toxic dye to take my hair back to an approximation of it’s dull yet natural shade and see how long it takes me to feel overwhelmingly compelled to dye it purple. But it isn’t just the hair dye I’m worried about. I’m now concerned about the safety of everything - our cleaning products, the candles I burn, the products I use on my face and most importantly anything I use directly on Noah. I’d love to go out and buy Simple Green, soy candles and natural baby care products but they don’t come cheap and there’s no way we can afford to upgrade to that level of spending right now. As a result I’m not really making any changes, just worrying about everything. So nothing new there.

The one completely natural thing I give to Noah is breast milk – and I’m once again thinking a lot about the future of that exercise. My friends and family seem to not only be encouraging me to give it up after his birthday, but almost prodding me about it. I don’t know why everyone is in such a hurry for it to end. Why are people so wierded out by it? In other countries people nurse until their kids are two and three but Americans think it’s peculiar. Anyway – back to the idea of weening the boy. I no longer feed Noah on demand. In fact, except for the feeding he gets when he first wakes up in the morning (so I don’t have to jump out of bed to feed him breakfast), all his other feedings are used as devices to put him to sleep. Though he’s not always completely asleep by the end of a feeding he’s really drowsy and it normally only takes me a couple of minutes of rocking before he’s out. This will be the biggest hurdle in weening Noah when I decide to do it. Without breastfeeding I don’t know how I will get him to sleep because I have NEVER been able to lay him down in his crib even vaguely awake without him standing up immediately and start rattling the crib railing. I really, really dread the weaning process. Not only will it be breaking a bond that only Noah and I have and eliminating one of the few times when I can just cuddle him close to me and not have him squirm off to do something else, but the change to his sleep routine will likely cause a lot of tears. Probably for us both.

And about Walmart – I agree they should be boycotted for many reasons and I hate going there, but the reality for us is that they are cheaper on many things, carry items that Target does not, and employ my Grammy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Because we ripped enough newspaper today.

Noah is fun and active. He wants to go, go, go and do, do, do. But the trouble is that I’m running out of interactive things I can do with him. I think we’re both tiring of the repetition. We read a lot, listen to music, stack blocks, rough-house, sing, and play with cars, buses and trains – but we need MORE. I don’t need more toys – because we’ve got too many of those. I’ve consulted my baby books and have come up with squat. So tell me, people - what can I do with my nearly one year old?

Spent all my nap-time doing stuff for the salon today so no more time for blogging. God this place is a sty. Please send reinforcements.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

HELP indeed.

Noah and I made a trip to our local Walmart this afternoon. The Columbus Blvd. Walmart in Philadelphia has to be among the most insane and chaotic places to visit in the continental US. It’s always crowded with people who are yelling at, striking and/or can’t find their kids – the ones that are trying to crawl under your moving cart. The lines are always long, the cashiers always rude and the stock in a shambles. If you don’t take it in stride and view it with an air of amusement you won’t make it out alive – or at least not emotionally whole. The highlight of today’s trip was when a group of customers decided that the best solution to the crowds and lack of open cash registers was to yell “HELP” at the top of their lungs and get others to join them in their protest. Seriously. Noah and I were surrounded by about 20 people complaining and sending out distress calls. Nuts.

The wait in line was made all the more amusing by Noah. I had given him a biter biscuit to mollify him while I painstakingly looked for long sleeved onesies in his size – which of course were out of stock. By the time we were in line he was COVERED in gooey, crusty biter biscuit slime. It was on his clothes, his hands, his hair, and the cart handle. I went digging in the bag for a life-saving wipe and came to the realization that I had forgotten to pack them. Stupid Mama. Then Noah decided the most fun game ever was to allow me to share in his mess so he began pulling at my shirt, my jacket and grabbing my hair. I guess I got what I deserved.

Mark was like a kid in a candy store last night with the DVR remote. I’m sure I’ll be more excited when I actually use it to record something I want to see or to rewind a clue I missed on Lost.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Bella got wild at Oktoberfest and paraded around the party in nothing but diapers and Uggs. Not even Mark could restrain her.  Posted by Picasa

These kids really know how to party. Is Noah sampling the Dogfish Punkin brew? Posted by Picasa

He walks almost as well as he slobbers. Posted by Picasa

It's raining - water, paint and bills.

On Friday I planned to do some blogging during Noah’s afternoon nap. Neither happened. The boy was awake for 8 and a half hours with no respite for either of us. Don’t know if this patchy sleeplessness is due to teething, the excitement of learning to walk, the outgrowing of two naps a day or just a test of his mother’s patience. It isn’t that he becomes unhappy or unmanageable when he doesn’t nap; it’s just that I can’t get anything done all day. On Friday I had planned to make vegetable curry for dinner which takes quite a bit of prep work and cooking time for which I also expected to make use of naptime. Instead I allowed Noah to completely and shamelessly ransack the kitchen while I cooked. The meal was completed but it looked like the kitchen had sustained a direct hit. He was so tired by the end of the day that he fell asleep in the midst of eating a biter biscuit in his car seat during our return from our maiden voyage to BJ’s wholesale club.

But Friday was nothing in comparison to the mayhem of the day prior. On Thursday afternoon Noah and I drove down to Queen Village to visit our friend Julie’s new shop – she just opened juju salon & organics across the street from Essene. I’ve been doing some marketing work and consulting for her and her new endeavor and we had to talk some bidness. The boy just marveled at the cute and comfort of Julie’s new digs while we got some info quickly out of the way. More on that later. After our meeting I went back to my car, deposited some of my work product in the car, put Noah in the hip hammock and then headed to South Street to look for a bookstore that no longer exists. Of course all that happened after I realized that our driver’s side rear wheel, hubcap, quarter panel and bumper were spattered with lilac paint. I have no idea how it happened or when it happened but I did rule out driving through something since the front wheel was untouched. As I type Mark is taking the car to a detail shop to find out what it’s gonna cost to get them to take a stab at scrubbing off the paint. Anywho – so with the knowledge that my car had unexplainable paint on it I went for a useless walk on South Street to find a bookstore. When I returned to the car I couldn’t find my keys so I started dumping the contents of my bag on the hood of my car. Noah was starting to squirm so I took him out of the hip hammock and placed him on the sidewalk. Just then the panic alarm on my car started honking – loudly and repeatedly. I assumed I had bumped it looking for the keys though I had not yet located them. A woman in her fifties stopped to comfort Noah because he was obviously frightened by the horn and his mother was occupied insanely throwing things around on the hood of the car. All of the sudden I guy came out of nowhere and handed me my keys. At first I thought he saw them on the car and picked them up but in the midst of the horn still honking I said “Where did you find them?” and he said “You left them on the roof of your car earlier” and walked away. I just about died. Meanwhile this woman is standing there and I keep hitting buttons on the keys to make the honking stop but it just keeps on going. And the woman is saying “Just hit the panic button again and it will stop.” And Noah finally goes from looking shocked and dismayed to crying – and so I literally throw the keys at this woman and say “YOU do it!” And she does. I was still so freaked out that I don’t even recall what I said to her before she walked away – but I think I muttered paltry thanks. It was a pathetic display all around. I'm so ashamed - but glad my car wasn't stolen since it would have been about the easiest theft in the world.

Saturday also did not start out so great. For the first time in the almost five years since we bought our house we had some water coming in from our roof. Dr. Robert the contractor (yes – that is why we called him) looked at it and said it’s gonna cost us $500 to repair the damage and silver coat the roof. He also talked to us about the possibility of doing some other house stuff we’ve been neglecting- and what it all amounts to is cash. Luckily we were able to put the sucky morning behind us when we headed to the Milligans for Oktoberfest. The hosts were incredibly hospitable, the babies were ADORABLE, the company was entertaining, the food was delectable and the beer went down smooth. It was a fun evening. Afterwards we slept at my mom’s place rather than trek back to the city.

On Sunday morning Mom enjoyed some time with Noah before we headed over to my Dad’s place to celebrate both his birthday and my Oma’s. We had an AMAZING lunch at Il Garda Italian Restaurante. It’s a really tasty family run BYOB that was damn impressive especially since it’s located in a strip mall next to the Walmart. We brought a nice bottle of Chianti, ordered steamed clams, bruschetta, chicken cutlets doused in wine, veggies and seafood, a rack of lamb, and tiramisu. Mmm. I wish I was eating it all over again. Yum. And Noah was an angel – incredibly messy but amazingly sweet and well behaved while he dropped bread all over the floor. I apologized to the busboy for the mess and explained that the mess was an easy trade off for a happy boy. In the evening the Eagles annihilation was background while we watched Noah scoot about until we hit the road.

This morning Mark went to Comcast to fetch our DVR box. We finally caved. We’ve been holding out on THE FUTURE because we couldn’t warrant spending the extra ten dollars a month when we don’t watch all that much TV anymore. But we recently decided that the ability to pause live TV and watch a show from the beginning after it already started would be huge benefits to us since Noah isn’t always on the same page with our TV viewing schedule. We resolved on a budgetary compromise to curtail our Netflix expense by decreasing our movie allotment to two movies at a time with a max of four a month – because we realized we haven’t been keeping up with the films we have been receiving.

Noah’s napping and Mark is downstairs playing with the DVR. He has off for Columbus Day. Of course he just came home and told me that the detail shop said that the paint was body work and needed to be sanded out and clear coated and then the body shop told him that it was an expensive job and we should report it to our insurance if we have a $250 deductible. GREAT. When it rains it POURS. And this weekend was a drencher.

OH – and the very happy and exciting news is that Noah is making regular walking attempts since Saturday – after a halt in walking operations since his first steps a few weeks ago. He is now well on his way to running around the house. And he's such a happy boy that it's hard to stay pissy about an apparent run of bad luck we're having - because obviously he still makes me feel very lucky.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Rub a dub dub. A Noah in the tub. Posted by Picasa

Not everyone looks good in the bath. Posted by Picasa

Shake that ass. Wash yourself. Shake that ass and show me what you workin wit.  Posted by Picasa

Why do you blog?

Yesterday Jen sparked an email discussion about blogging etiquette (for lack of a better word) and it got me thinking about how blogging can have very different intentions. And WHY do I blog.

In short order it’s no secret I blog about and for Noah. The primary function of this blog is to communicate to interested friends and family members about Noah’s growth and development and the goings on in the House of Eggerts. It’s a way I can keep in touch with a bunch of people at one time – whether they be in a different state (Aunt Heide), different country (Great Uncle Wolfgang) or closer but just like to see and hear about Noah daily (my Mom and Dad). The funny thing about this is that these folks don’t really comment on the blog for the most part – but they read it and talk to me about it in person and via email. The secondary function of this blog is to preserve the memories both for myself and for Noah. I have an awful personal memory and I want to make sure I can tell Noah what he was like at 11 months old. A third function that developed is that the blog has become a means to obtain advice and support from other women and mothers about dilemmas and concerns. Some of these women became friends in the “real world” (Patrice) and some I have met through blogging (The Smith sisters) – and reading their comments on a daily basis is a huge help in battling the loneliness one can feel when they are home alone with an infant.

Several months ago Patrice sent out a questionnaire via email to a handful of friends. The idea of it was that you were supposed to answer the questions FOR your friends based on how you thought they would answer them. I was quite surprised when Patrice put that when I grew up I wanted to be a famous blogger. I’m not a fan of the spotlight and don’t really want to be a famous anything – but the real reason I was surprised was because I don’t write this blog as an outlet for my creative writing or a means to entertain the masses. In fact I wouldn’t expect anyone who didn’t know us to find it the least bit interesting. Why would Jo Schmo be interested in what in essence is Noah’s baby book? Of course he’s more than welcome if he is.

WHY do you blog?

So – on to Noah. Naturally. He isn’t the least bit interested in most of his toys. He’d rather play with the potatoes in the potato drawer (where else do you keep them?), the telephone or the cap to an empty water bottle. It’s kind of frustrating in that there are a billion toys scattered all over this place. And now that Noah has top and bottom teeth he has begun grinding them. My GOD – it’s an awful sound. I hope it’s a very short-lived phase that disappears when the novelty of his new teeth wears off.

And now I must begin preparing for our busy day. I have to start a crockpot meal while keeping Noah up so he’ll be awake for our 3pm appointment downtown. More on that tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Quizo, KSNAC and teeth

Last night was fun. I got to Fergies at 8:30 and met up with Patty and Kristen who had been at the bar since 6 and were already a bit tipsy. Kristen in particular. Patty is still peacefully cohabitating with Larry the Physicist and Kristen is still on the hunt for a new man. Luckily for her she didn’t come home from her summer trip to Japan with a Japanese husband for a souvenir, like she did when she came back from her Mexican vacation with Pablo the bartender. She lamented that she spent all summer going to other people’s wedding and bachelorette parties and wasn’t meeting anyone new. Coworkers of Patty’s showed up and though Patty wanted the one guy to sit next to Kristen so they could chat I thought he was an ass. He actually said “I live to harass people.” Um, can I ask when that sort of mentality was cool? GOD – how I don’t miss being single. We crushed at Quizo with a whopping 47 out of a possible 50 points – in large part because Patty is a Quizo fiend. I parted ways with the group when they headed to The Lyon’s Den for more drinks – I was ready to get back to my boys.

In my harried post-grocery shopping state yesterday I forgot to talk about the meeting of the Kensington South Neighborhood Advisory Committee we went to on Monday night. Everyone doted on Noah before the meeting. He was smiling at everyone, crawling all over the place and cruising from chair to chair. About a half hour into the meeting I decided to whisk a chattering Noah away because I was worried the neighbors could barely hear each other scream. It was a nasty meeting – about nothing other than neighborhood politics. It made a Northern Liberties meeting look like a love-in. (We live on the crossroads of three Philadelphia neighborhoods and have attended meetings having to do with each.) Mark stayed for the duration and came home absolutely flummoxed. What a mess. While I think it’s really important for us to become informed and active in our neighborhood and its development I don’t know what difference we can make if all neighbors do is argue with each other without ever trying to compromise or understand other points of view. It’s like a battle to the death between the people who want nothing to change and those who want to change everything willy-nilly. Frustrating. And the board should really work to reel people in – but they are completely incompetent. Glad I had a reason to leave.

You can see both of Noah's top front teeth now. He's definitely got my gap. Lonna asked what I've been doing for Noah’s teething. I’m giving him the occasional dose of infant Ibuprofen when he needs it to help him sleep – but mostly I’m just letting him chew, chew, chew. He particularly enjoys chewing chilled apple slices to bits. He doesn’t swallow the pieces but spits them out as he rips them off. Well, not so much spitting as lets them drool out of his mouth. This is now happening with other foods too.

Nothing else comes to mind. Later gator.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Groceries and Teachers

Grocery shopping took over four hours today. Only an hour and a half in the store – but when you include making the list, picking out the coupons, packing Noah’s bag, unloading the bags from the car to the front door, moving the bags from the front door to the kitchen and then putting everything away – it was over four hours. I wish someone gave me a biter biscuit to pacify me.

Tonight after Noah goes to bed I’m going out to drink beer and play Quizo with my friends Patty and Kristen. I met them both the year I taught first grade in North Philadelphia. They had the balls to stick with it – while I bailed after one year. Mostly because I felt like crying for my kids every day. The situations many of those children are living in are absolutely heartbreaking. Poverty. Drugs. Violence. Abandonment. I just couldn’t hack the challenge, the sadness of it. And the worse thing I could imagine was becoming as desensitized as many of the teachers became out of necessity. But Patty and Kristen preserve, and with heart – and for that I admire them greatly.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Stayin' Alive

I’ve had a teething sleep-deprived baby situation again today. Noah finally went down for his first nap of the day – at 1:20pm. Nuts. And he’s sleeping very restlessly too, poor thing, so I don’t know how long my respite will last.

On Saturday I nearly had a heart attack when Noah slammed his head on the lever that adjusts the height of the office chair. When I finally calmed down about the possibility of him having a concussion, I was able to fixate on the swelling bump in the corner of his left eye. It seemed certain he was going to have a massive shiner, but amazingly the swelling went down quickly and left just a small pink mark. Thank goodness. Then we went to my mom’s place for a lovely dinner and got a chance to see my Great Aunt Aunnie who was visiting from Northeast Pennsylvania. I have only met her a handful of times in my life but she seems like a very nice woman who puts a great deal of priority on her children and grandchildren – which I totally respect. The funny part of the evening though was when Annie was giving me an update on my 95 year old Great Grandmom who lives in assisted living in Florida. I never see Great Grandmom or keep in touch because I’ve never thought her to be all that nice of a woman. The last time I saw her was several years ago when my mom held a picnic at our house because Great Grandmom was visiting Pennsylvania. And even though it was attended only by my Grammy, aunts, uncles and cousins – my Great Grandmom carried her purse around everywhere she went so no one could steal it. I wish I could say that was a sign of senility, but unfortunately it was just a sign of mean distrustfulness. Anyway, Annie was telling me that Great Grandmom refuses to watch any television because it’s all “fornagraphic.” She even thinks the commercials are “fornagraphic.” I had a hard time not chuckling because though “fornagraphic” isn’t a word, it totally should be.

And on Sunday we discoed. Baby Disco was super cute and fun. There was music, bubbles, juice boxes, snacks from Whole Foods, silk scarves, shaker eggs, and a chill out room with books, animals and a tent. (Oh and beer. Can’t forget the beer.) Noah and Bella really enjoyed listening to the music, scuttling around, and watching the other kids. I’m sure they will enjoy it even more when they can walk. The event is such a great idea and very well done. They should totally have these everywhere.

Oh and I won! This month the profits from Baby Disco are being donated to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In addition to the door charge they held a raffle and amazingly I won. We got gift certificates to The Latest Dish, Morning Glory, Whole Foods, Baby Disco, and a local coffee shop as well as a scarf, pillow, T-shirt, Teddy bear and shaker eggs for Master Noah. Upon Patrice’s suggestion we made a deal that if either of us won her and I would make a date for dinner at The Latest Dish – so we got ourselves a hot momma date. I feel bad for the poor men though, especially since it was Mark’s $10 that bought the raffle ticket. Maybe they can come too?

When we got home the men watched the Eagles while Patrice and I watched the monkeys. I was SO beat I wanted to just lay on the floor and let the babies crawl over me. Which is much how I felt this morning when Noah decided it was time to rise at 4:30 am. Maybe he wanted to go out clubbing.

When your disco'n baby is still a crawler Baby Disco looks alot like this.  Posted by Picasa

Check out our disco crew - minus Mixmaster Mark who is manning the camera.  Posted by Picasa

Those Milligans really know how to get down.  Posted by Picasa

It is seriously time to chill out.  Posted by Picasa