Monday, October 30, 2006

I always think of Noah as being a little Mark clone. People are always telling me "WOW, he looks SO much like his Daddy." But when Mark and I looked at this picture last night we were both astonished by how much Noah and I look alike in it. Or maybe that's just the flannel pajamas.  Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 23, 2006

Zero time for titles

Thank you everyone for the warm wishes. Mark and I had a lovely anniversary. Susan, Frannie and Julius came over to our place to occupy Noah for a few hours so that we could sneak out for dinner. And though it was the first time we left him with anyone other than a grandparent, it was really worry free. He sees them all often, is totally comfortable with mild-mannered Frannie, and was excited to have them over to play. He barely said goodbye. And off we went to Copper, an American bistro BYOB that recently opened in our hood. The food was tasty but kind of textbook, no stunning taste combinations that blew us away or dishes I can’t go on without eating again, and it was certainly not as warm and inviting as Aden, the restaurant that formerly resided in that space. (Thankfully I’ve heard a rumor that Aden is reopening just a few doors north in a larger space.) What was incredible was the splurge bottle of wine we brought to accompany dinner. Mark and I drink red wine on most nights and we don’t often spend more than ten dollars on a bottle – but since four years is FRUIT and flowers, part of my gift to Mark was a $30!!! bottle of wine. And luckily I went to the Premium Collection store downtown and got a really good and snooty recommendation from someone far more wine educated than myself. He sold me when he described the wine as being really drinkable – which is how I like my wine, you know, when I drink it. I have to tell you that it was bar none the best bottle of wine I ever drank and definitely a case of you get what you pay for. To follow up that delectable bottle of wine we stopped at the new Bar Ferdinand for a cocktail on the walk home. And again – tasty liquorishness. I decided to be adventurous and ordered a Granada – blueberry Stoli, orange liqueur and pomegranate juice. It was divine. All of it - a lovely two hours out of my home, toddler-free (and yet worry-free) with my wonderful husband.

So that was a pretty lengthy description. Let’s fast forward through the week. Miss Tracey stopped by for Shepard’s Pie on Friday. Mark, Noah and I met my Father-in-law, his wife, Mark’s 97 year old Grandma, my Mom and her beau at a dinner to celebrate my FIL’s birthday. Insane amounts of food were consumed – my FIL’s wife always presents 57 dishes at every meal though we’ve begged her repeatedly to pare it down to 6. I feel compelled to eat some of everything and I always leave feeling like death. On Sunday we began the mad scurry to remove everything from the second floor of our home in preparation for the carpet install that is occurring on Thursday. And by the by, Lowe’s will be doing it – the much lower price and zero financing for one year sealed the deal, much to our chagrin. We pray they do a decent job though we’ve heard many stories to the contrary.

Noah hasn’t napped for the last two days and I fear this seems to be the norm. He can definitely make it through the day while remaining even-tempered, I just have to make sure that I can do the same. I’m blogging while Mark bathes Noah this evening and it’s the first child-free moment I’ve had all day. In fact – I babysat a neighbor’s 18 month old daughter this afternoon so it’s been a particularly childarific time.

The next couple of weeks seem insanely over-planned. We have the carpet shenanigans, a Mom’s night out, a bunch of neighborhood Halloween activities for Noah, Bella’s Bday party, a Halloween party, and then the mad dash to prepare for Noah’s birthday party. Or should I say parties- he’s having one with neighborhood toddlers (possibly 10 total – SAVE US!) and their parents at our place on Saturday, and then a second one at my Mom’s place for family and friends so close they are family. I don’t know how much blogging I’ll be doing, but I hope to do some drive-bys with Noah bits and pictures. And that’s what most of you folks want anyway, so it’ll probably be a relief from all my needless blabbering. Peace out.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fruit and flowers

Today is our fourth wedding anniversary. I'm even more commited to spending a lifetime with Mark today than I was on my wedding day.

To commemorate that occasion I'm posting one of the readings from our ceremony and our vows.

The vows of Mark and Nicole Eggerts, recited in unison on October, 18, 2002
Before our friends and family, I affirm the relationship we share.
I affirm the past, which prepared us for each other.
I affirm the present, this day when we stand united.
And I affirm our future, when we will adjust to life’s changes together.
I promise you my love and respect at each step.
I will strive to be my best, because you deserve no less.
I pledge to help you be your best.
I thank you for choosing me to love, support and comfort.
I take you as my partner, to celebrate life with you forevermore.

This is a passage adapted from Still Life with Woodpecker, a novel by Tom Robbins.

"Leigh-Cheri sent this message to Bernard: 'The most important thing is love. I know that now. There's no point in saving the world if it means losing the moon. I'm not quite twenty, but, thanks to you, I've learned something that many women these days never learn: Prince Charming really is a toad. And the Beautiful Princess has halitosis. The bottom line is that (a) people are never perfect, but love can be, (b) that is the one and only way that the mediocre and the vile can be transformed, and (c) doing that makes it that. Loving makes love. Loving makes itself. We waste time looking for the perfect lover instead of creating the perfect love. Wouldn't that be the way to make love stay?'

The next day, she received this reply:

'Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words "make" and "stay" become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.'"

I love you, Mark.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I said naps not nads.

As I always say – Noah is an angel baby and I’d clone him in a heartbeat, except for the sleeping. He’s always been a sucky sleeper. His father is a poor sleeper, and so I blame it on him. I however am a championship sleeper, and boy do I miss having eight hours plus of uninterrupted sleep. Lately we started some bizarre variant of sleep training – mainly an attempt to separate nursing from sleeping and get Noah accustomed to falling asleep in his crib. I’m still not in the CIO camp – I’ve been sitting cribside doing what it takes to aid him off to dreamland. The first couple attempts at this it took nearly two hours for him to finally conk out – he’d stand up asking me to take him out, asking for hugs and kisses, for juice, tissues and diaper changes. But he knows the drill now and it’s been taking about 15 minutes or so now, which is great. One big problem though is that for the most part he still falls asleep with his hand in my mouth. YUP. That wasn’t some weird series of typos – he puts his little hands through the crib bars and into my mouth to fall asleep. He’s pawed at my face and mouth while nursing and falling asleep since he was born and it might be harder to break that habit than the nursing. But we’re taking it one step at a time. Once Noah has mastered falling asleep in the crib I will be able to finally stop the nursing – which is is fantastic. I always thought I’d like him to stop around two and it looks like we can make that happen. It won’t be easy or fast – but it will happen and in a way that makes me and him most comfortable. It’s nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Somewhat tied to the nighttime battle is the nap battle. Recently we’ve had a couple of busy family days on which Noah went napless and I was pleasantly surprised at how well he dealt with missing his nap on a busy day. But much less pleasant is that Noah has refused to take a nap this past Friday and today. Could he be ready to give up napping? How will I cope if he is? (I NEED THAT BREAK!) Is this just his way of rebelling against the evening sleep training? And if I do phase out his nap will that improve his nighttime sleeping? So many questions, so little time to myself to think about the answers.

Let’s move from quandary to cuteness. Oh wait, the weekend. Friday night the three of us went to a party. Saturday the boys had haircuts, we hung out for a bit at the chilly Northern Liberties Music Festival, and then had a lovely dinner at A Full Plate café. Sunday we went to a baby clothing swap which was less than fruitful (unfortunately most of the 2T stuff was for girls) and then took a bus ride downtown and home again just because Noah wanted to ride the bus. Okay – cuteness.

Few get to see what a chatterbox Noah is because he’s shy, but at home he talks CONSTANTLY. Here are just a few little snippets that have come up lately.

- “Mama, talk more.” I’m certain he’s the only person on the planet who has ever asked me to speak MORE. Usually people are begging me to shut the hell up and stop being so damn indiscreet with my personal life.

- “The pet store too. I love it. Little bunnies.” Noah’s response when I asked him if he wanted to go to Lowes, which is next to Monster Pets. Noah has begun saying “I love it” about everything – people, trains, food, animals, clothing, you name it.

- “Ma, that Noah plate right here, Ma.” – I had decided I wanted to be a Mama instead of a Mommy, but in the last week or so Noah has called me “Ma” almost exclusively. In fact it both precedes and punctuates most of his conversations with me.

- “Pa Joe wait in line; get on bus.” I think my best lifetime purchase has been the vintage Fisher Price 1960’s school bus and the old fashioned Little People that use it as their means of transportation. I bought them all off Ebay because I was nostalgic for the ones I had when I was a kid over the fat ones they manufacture these days. And this must be common because the Ebay sales are pretty cut-throat. We’ve given all the people names – those of our beloved friends and family members and Noah plays with them and the bus almost all day every day. The bus has to travel with us to each floor of the house we’re on and getting Noah to take a bath means bribing him with “You can bring Oma, Bella and Pop Pop with you to ride on the boat.”

- “Want something to eat? How bout that?” Most often our little family departs the bus to eat in a restaurant we have assembled out of wooden blocks. They sit at tables and a plastic Zing Zing Zingbah takes their orders for salads, soup and steaks, prepares their meals and serves up the grub. He’s the hardest working orange lump in the restaurant industry. It's also amazing to hear Noah pick up my speech patterns and catch phrases. I hadn't realized how much I say "How bout... X or Y?" but now I can't help but notice.

- “Where’s Jim, Ma? Where’s Jim? Jim lost, Ma?” My Little People brother has disappeared. We fear he has gone on some sort of bender. Please keep your eyes peeled for him. He has a silver hardhat and a mustache.

And of course there is SO much more. The dialogue of the Little People restaurant could fill a book alone. He kills me with it every day.

And one last thing – my skin is always a disgrace but it’s worse right now than it has ever been and I’m not sure why. (NOT PREGNANT - so don't even think it.) I’m sure all the toddler mouth poking and prodding has something to do with it, but it doesn’t explain why it’s gotten so much worse in the last couple of weeks. I currently have several large painful pink pimples on my face –the worse one being on the center of my nose. If I colored it in with an eye pencil it would be great start for a witch costume. Seriously though, WTF is up with my skin? I feel like I should be having horrific anxiety over my first high school dance for God’s sake. I can’t be bothered worrying about MFing wrinkles – I’m still applying CLEARASIL. It never ends with this crap.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

See my fleece shirt and puffy vest? See that cute boy in that flamin' hat? We are BUNDLED.  Posted by Picasa

See the hay! And the tractor! Hoo-wee. It was farmalicious.  Posted by Picasa

Choo choo Charlie was his name.  Posted by Picasa

Too much blabbering for one post

(Crossing my fingers) We might be free and clear from the ick. Mark is well on his way to recovery with only a pesky cough as a reminder and Noah and I never really got ill. However Noah keeps complaining that his head, eyes and nose hurt – so there is still a possibility that he’s got some sinus congestion.

The week flew by. Thursday we went to Holly’s and made trick-or-treat bags with the kids. Holly went insane and bought enough stuff for Martha Stewart to start her crafting empire from scratch. And I’m lame and just brought puffy Halloween stickers – and I only had those since they were a gift from my cousin Tammy. The kids drew, stamped and stuck happily for awhile and then we took them outside to play. This meant that Tripp and Stella played rambunctiously and Noah clung to my leg and watched. Poor guy. He really can’t handle the free play – unless his playmate is as mild as he. But though I often feel sad for him because he can’t fully enjoy his time with his friends, I have to remember that he is his own person (and a super sweet person at that) and I shouldn’t push him outside his comfort zone. So I periodically gently encourage him to play by saying stuff like “It looks like they’re having fun in the sandbox. Do you want to play too?” He’ll say “Yes” and head over there until Tripp squeals with glee at the sight of him and then Noah turns right around and reattaches himself to my leg.

On Friday we went to Marita’s for more free playtime – ie. Noah watching and hugging me. The funny thing is that he finally warmed up ten minutes before we were about to leave. He got down on the floor and started playing with the cars next to the other boys just in time for me to have to wrangle him out of there. It’s all about the timing. We had a lunch date planned to meet Susan, Holly and the kids at St. Michael’s for the Russian festival luncheon. We significantly brought down the median age of the establishment since there were no other kids there and it was mostly populated by the old folks. We sucked down perogi, holupkis, kielbasa and cookies and then went home for our nap. Our fat-consumption induced nap.

The rain on Friday caused the Northern Liberties Music Festival to be rescheduled until next week so on Saturday we found ourselves with nothing planned. So since Mark felt he lost out on our Russian feast, the three of us went back to St. Michael’s for another lovely lunch (I'm not fat enough). After nap we hopped in the car and went to Linvilla Orchards for the Autumn Moon Hayride. The place was hoppin’ and everyone was feeling super autumnal now that there was a chill in the air. While perusing the market before our hayride Mark was spied by our new pal Julie who was shopping the lovely selection of fresh produce while her husband and son frolicked happily on the playground. It’s an amazingly small world – and it was such a lovely treat to run into her. After our hayride we chugged some cider, toasted some marshmallows on a bonfire and enjoyed the playground until it grew so dark we could no longer see Noah. Then we stopped in the Memory Grill for dinner before heading home. It was a really lovely evening with one exception. Before our hayride I spotted a food booth with a really long line – and my curiosity was piqued. What amazing delicacy was being sought out by the masses? The sign said “Apple Cider Donuts.” I’ve never had one but instantly I NEEDED to eat one. So I told Mark we’d get some before we headed home. Unfortunately the fates were not with us – when we came back the booth was closed. There were no more to be had. And now here I am still jonesin for an apple cider donut though I have no earthly idea what one tastes like. I think we’ll have to make another trip there just so I can go on with my life.

Sunday was family day and we set out to Quakertown to spend the afternoon with my Dad celebrating his birthday. We went out and had a huge lunch at Gregory’s Seafood Factory (nothing sounds as appetizing as factory food?) – and though we aren’t in Europe my Dad insisted on picking up the bill on his own Birthday lunch. Dagnabit. A highlight of my lunch was that the two glasses of wine I ordered were like super glases - I swear I nearly drank a whole damn bottle. We went back to the house (me with buzz) and Noah played ball and chase with Oma and poker with his Pa Joe. It’s nice to see Noah bring some joy into their eyes since otherwise the house is pretty glum. My grandfather was in and out of the hospital again last week and though my Oma brought him home again against doctor’s orders, she seems to have finally realized that she can no longer care for him at home. He spent our entire visit slumped over sleeping sitting upright on the living room couch. At one point when Oma said she was going to get a blanket because he felt ice cold – I actually made Mark go to check that he was still breathing. While it’s certainly not a nice thought to think that your grandfather is dead on the couch in the other room, part of me knew what a relief it would be for all of them. He requires more care than my Oma and Dad can give him and certainly more care than he deserves – he was never a giving or loving man and I’m sad to say that unfortunately everyone has a lot more reason to hate him than remember him fondly. But back to the positive – it was nice to see Noah make Oma smile for a change. When we left Dad’s place we stopped over at my Mom’s since with the hour drive out to Qtown it’s always best to have a two-fer visit. Mark watched the Eagles game (they say it was a good one but I can’t say that I give a rat’s ass) and Mom made dinner though we were so stuffed from lunch that I had to force myself to suck down all those yummy pot roast onions. Like last week when we went to Tammy's place, Noah went all day without a nap. And while once again he did it with aplomb and stayed good tempered, both days his temperment suffered the morning after - like a nap-less hangover.

We decided to use Mark’s Columbus holiday to discover some fall fashion. Well more like necessary apparel than fashion. Mark desperately needed to replace some threadbare work pants and I needed some long sleeve Ts. I got a couple at the Gap outlet – and I so love the feel of them and the fact that I only paid $7 for them that all morning I’ve been thinking about going back there tonight and buying more in different colors. Seriously – I just need basics on a day to day basis and I’d daydreaming of owning one for every day of the week. Plus- isn’t it crazy that when you finally do some shopping for yourself it just starts you thinking about all the other crap you need? Instead of feeling totally triumphant that I have something new to wear I’m thinking “Well I still need a really warm jacket, a hat, some cords, winter boots, and a few cardigans.” Consumerism is SO very addictive.

I keep meaning to post about all the things Noah says now – since he talks non-stop and in complete thoughts. But he says so much so often that I can’t really think of the most impressive phrases. However I’m awfully impressed by “No, please.” Not because it’s complex – just so damn polite. “Noah come sit in your chair for dinner.” “No, please.” It’s defiance LIGHT. OH – and for the first time this weekend Noah was calling my Mom “Gramma” rather than “Ah-wee.” Even though he could say Grandma for some time he’d been sticking to his original mispronounciation until now. I knew I would be saddened when the change happened but though my Mom had been pushing for it she was surprisingly sad too. As I explained to her “There are millions of Grandmas but only one Ah-wee.” By the end of the day we were nearly begging him to go back to calling her “Ah-wee.” Silly adults.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Slipping into the future

My evil plan to keep busy seems to be working. We had a lovely playgroup on Monday, a divine visit by Janette and Jules on Tuesday and a raucous music class this morning. Tomorrow is grocery store Thursday and then we’ve got our neighborhood playdate on Friday morning. Having one time consuming concrete thing to do each day is really helping the days move along. And each day includes time outdoors enjoying one of the parks and our pristine weather – with premonitions of having to bundle up to do the exact same thing in just a few short weeks. This week is just flying by. And I just realized yesterday that Mark has a three day weekend in celebration of Columbus day. I think we might go out and discover something that’s already been discovered. That is if we are well.

Mark was overcome with illness on Monday morning – and is still battling the beast. And this time around we’re taking extreme precautions to prevent Noah and me from catching the ick. Poor Mark has had to sleep in a different bed for the last two nights and has been outlawed from having any super cuddly hugs and kisses from either of us. Sad, pitiful thing. And then there is all the chafing from the excessive hand-washing. But luckily it won’t all be for naught – though I’m a tad worried that Noah’s nose seems a bit runny this morning. But I won’t think about that now.

In music class today I sat myself down next to the two moms that looked the most laid back, the ones I thought I would have the most in common with. Turns out they were both nannies. Ha! I fit in more with the help. We’re taking the class in a more expensive neighborhood than where we live and I feel a bit daunted by all the prim and proper moms and their expensive strollers. Noah however was not feeling the least bit daunted. He LOVES that class. He sang, danced, and played instruments with abandon. His favorite part of the class is when they have to give back anything they were given to play with. He’s a big beaming joyous boy leaping up into the center of the room to put back his scarf or his shaker egg. He definitely does better in a structured class with an engaging activity than he does in a room full of kids during free play time and I will definitely have to keep him in some sort of class in the future. Maybe when music is over we’ll take an art class in the new year.

And tonight is the premiere of LOST! Hooray.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Noah is VERY serious about the Arboretum.  Posted by Picasa

Time to take a nap in the sculpture garden. Posted by Picasa

Noah and Nana are on the left - Flumpa the Frog is on the right. When I showed Noah Flumpa on the computer he said "I shake his hand!"  Posted by Picasa

Here's Noah at the "River Park," more commonly known as Penn Treaty Park. It's on the Delaware River bank and has a great view of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.Posted by Picasa

An apple a day

Absofreakin-breathtaking! The sun, the breeze, the sky. What a lovely day it is today. I’d like to put in an order for at least two more months of this please. Thanks.

So yeah – drinking with pals on Friday was divine. And best yet is that we hung at the bar for a few hours but then they were happy to join me at home so that I could put the boy to bed and then we could continue socializing – with Mark too. Lovely. Saturday at my cousin’s place was good too. Even though on the way there we realized we not only left behind the snack I was to bring but also the gift that I had painstakingly wrapped in super cool paper. We had to stop at Target and buy a new gift (luckily Noah was already coveting the shirt and hoodie I had gotten for Evan) and trail mix. Tammy had the kids decorate pumpkins with an adhesive foamie face kit – which really meant that Mark and I made a kick ass jackolantern. I don't think he's all too capable or interested in art at the moment - except for scribbling. My cousin however is way into the crafty stuff and she had made Noah a puffy-painted party favor bag with assorted novelty items that went over like gangbusters. I haven't yet eaten his pumpkin peeps, but it's just a matter of time. That is after I open them and allow them to get stale - like all good peeps should be.

Yesterday morning we were about to cancel our plans to go to the Arboretum because the weather still looked glum, but Mark’s Dad said the weather satellite said the clouds were on their way out. And it was a good thing we listened to him too. The day was picturesque and fun. Noah enjoyed the railway, the fountain, the sculpture garden and the highly annoying but educationally charged musical stylings of Flumpa the Frog. He thought that dancing frog kicked ass. All afternoon Noah kept asking “Mama, what Frog doing?” It was like he imagined Flumpa off singing and dancing somewhere else and he was heartsick about it. But oddly enough my favorite moment of the day was when he picked a flower. I explained to him that we shouldn’t pick the flowers because then everyone else wouldn’t get to see how pretty they were and though we had already started walking away he turned around and walked back to the spot he had taken the flower from so he could put it back. He’s such a sweet little soul.

And when we came home we were treated with a flying spectacular. They'd been filming "Shooter" in our neighborhood all weekend and on Sunday night we got to watch multiple takes of helicopter manuvering. One copter would get really low while the filming copter would be right behind it - flying over our heads again and again and again. We didn't spy Danny Glover or Mark Wahlberg however. And is Wahlberg's character really named Bobby Lee Swagger? COME ON.

I also bought a bunch of apples at festival. I’m suddenly obsessed with tasting every available apple variety. There are over 25 kinds available right now. My current loves are the Honeycrisps and the Jonagolds. Which ones do you like? I’m also now obsessing about the fact that we certainly do not eat 5-9 different fruits and vegetables a day – and that is what’s recommended. HOW? I mean occasionally I might fill that quota – but DAILY? Sheesh. What fruits and veggies do you normally buy at the store? Any suggestions for increasing our intake? I have to admit that my biggest problems are eating things before they go bad and more shamefully being too damn lazy to peel and chop every damn thing. HELP.