Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Feeling much more stable these days. I’m achey but can walk without horrible discomfort – so things are good. Thanks for all those concerned.

It’s been a busy week thus far. On Monday the boy and I made our first trek of the season to Franklin Square. I granted Noah one ride on the carousel and wasn’t too surprised when he asked to sit – not on a horse, the dragon, or even the lion but – on the seat. As Noah explained “I don’t like the up and down.” Fine – the seat it is. No pressure. But the guy running the carousel was all “Don’t you want to ride on a horse? The lion doesn’t go up and down? Are you SURE???” Noah was indeed sure and very much enjoyed the ride on the seat. But as we got off the carousel operator was all “You SURE you don’t want to go on a horse? I’ll let you ride again for free if he changed his mind.” It was a nice gesture – but I was really trying to let Noah know it was OKAY to ride the seat if he wanted to ride the seat. Oh well.

Afterwards he was running around on the playground and pleading with me to chase him. I tried to explain for the millionth time that I just didn’t have the energy to run right now. To which Noah plaintively replied “I’m SO TIRED of running by myself.” I felt so sad for him. I’m just feeling so guilty for not being able to keep up with him the way I usually do. In my defense I had called around to a couple of his playmates in the morning to see if anyone was available to join us – but unfortunately noone was free. So he was stuck with his giant lumbering Mama who isn’t currently on the world’s best playmate list. At least he had someone to play with that evening when Wendy and Victor came over for dinner.

Tuesday was jam packed. We went to the YMCA with some pals. GOD does it feel good to be in the water. I’m buoyant and painfree. Then we met Janette and Jules at Freddy Hills in Lansdale. It was always one of my favorite places to go with my Dad and sisters so it was really nice to be back. The boys ran rampant on the mini golf course, checked out the animals, watched them milk the cows, and sucked down some ice cream. I asked the counter kids where the closest playground was and was sent to Park Sci Playground in Upper Gwynedd. As I approached the monstrous, maze-like wooden construction I said aloud “HOLY CRAP!” which of course was repeated by Noah later for comic effect. And Noah said “Mama, it looks like a CHURCH!” This place is CRAZY cool. If you live anywhere in the outlying vicinity and haven’t yet taken your kids – GO NOW. The only negative is that because it’s so huge and labyrinth-like I had to stay hot on Noah’s heels while he ran around in crazed glee. It was exhausting. Afterwards Noah and I met our friend Tracey at the Lansdale train station and headed over to hang with Patrice and Ms. Bella. It had been far too long since we’d visited. We scarfed down some hoagies and then took a walk to get ice cream – what more can a pregnant lady ask for, aside from to be pushed in the stroller.

And today, well we recuperated. Noah is a bit sleep deprived and all this activity had him plum tuckered. Though I can't get him to nap no-way no-how – he still is short on sleep and as a result has been having some atypical moody spells. Today I think we had ten senseless crying jags. I hope soon he either starts napping or at least gets accustomed to getting a little less rest. And me- well have I mentioned I’m giant and pregnant and tired?

Very much looking forward to the holiday weekend and some picnicking. Not looking forward to our impending car search. Have I mentioned we have to get a new car because my husband is so tall that he can’t drive our small Saturn wagon while having an infant car seat installed behind him? At least not without his knees up by his ears. It's a shame really - our little Saturn has served us well and it has so few miles on it. But it just won't accomodate a tall family of four so we must bid it farewell.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Normally I try and stay on the bright side of life. I’m happy to say I don’t think I have much to complain about and since whining rarely helps I try to keep any of my minor mood swings to myself. I attribute a lot of this to my Mom’s constant refrain of “Stop feeling sorry for yourself” when I was a teen. However sometimes you just feel like crap and you need to share it. So if you don’t want to hear it, avert your eyes.

I’m feeling pretty tapped out lately. At the core of my weariness is that Noah has finally stopped napping altogether. He hasn’t napped in a week in a half. What this means to me is that I now have NO regular time to myself. I had grown quite accustomed to filling the days from waking til two and then enjoying a little down time before prepping dinner and the joyous return of Mark – now the time between 2 and 5 pm seems to drag on for days. We’ve been having 45 minutes of quiet time – where I set the timer and lay down while Noah plays quietly. The hope was that some day Noah might be so tired that he might just lay down his weary head and snooze – but it has yet to happen. On the upside I guess I get a nice little power nap and he gets accustomed to keeping himself a bit busy. But it just ain’t the same.

Of course the end of napping was just as I predicted it. My third trimester began two weeks ago and I decided it was indeed time to finally stop nursing because some circles believe it can cause early contractions. As I’ve mentioned before I had been nursing Noah at naptime only for many, many months now. (Though if people asked me about it I lied and said I'd stopped quite awhile ago.) The only reason I kept up with it was because every attempt at getting him to nap without it failed. A friend asked me if I've been missing the nursing and the answer is NO – mostly because I know I’m going to be a full-on milk machine in just a few months. I could use the respite. So that's where we are at. No boppy – no nap – end of story.

It also doesn’t help my mood that my body feels wrecked. To compound the standard round ligament pain I’ve been having for quite awhile, yesterday I really hurt myself. Noah took off in the Ikea loading area and I took off at a run to catch him and scooped him up mid-step. The result was crippling hip pain, some contractions and quite a few tears on the way home. Even after a nights rest I was still having problems walking this morning, and the stairs were torturous. My compassionate husband allowed me to spend most of the day in various seated positions and as a result I'm feeling a bit better. But don’t expect me to go on any long treks in the near future. I’m still really uncomfortable in almost all positions and I’ve been having Braxton Hicks contractions like mad. And I’ve got ten weeks to go!

Oh and did I mention we were at Ikea to finally buy Noah’s big boy bunk bed after disassembling his crib yesterday morning. My in-laws made the trek from Jersey to fit the bed in their giant SUV – so wouldn’t you know when we went to get the bed they were out of stock. I was so hormonal and out of sorts that I nearly sat down on the floor and cried. Noah spent last night and probably the coming week sleeping on a full mattress on the floor of his bedroom. At least it will help him transition out of sleeping in the crib while being less of a fall if he rolls out. Of course he woke me up at 4:30 this morning by appearing in our doorway – but that’s to be expected either way.

But you know what gets me through – the laughter. After listening to all my complaints about having pain in my pelvis last week Noah told me his Elvis hurt. Good times. Okay. That's enough of that miserable business. I feel crappy, yadda, yadda, yadda. Back to our regularly scheduled glee as soon as I get another chance to post.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lancaster Lowdown

We returned last Tuesday night from the exotic port of call that is Lancaster County, PA. I’m happy to report that we had a really wonderful family vacation. The weather was gorgeous, the pace was busy but relaxed, and the boy was jubilant. Noah is in an over-expressive manic toddler stage – so everything we saw and did was unquestionably the most exciting thing EVER, which is a real positive on vacation. And because he’s such an appreciative audience he was even attentive on the tours. So here’s the rundown.

For those who don’t live in the area and are not acquainted with Lancaster County or the Amish – click on the hotlinks for some interesting and educational info.

The digs
* Lancaster Host Resort – It was a big, fairly clean, well maintained hotel. What made this hotel noteworthy was that they host a variety of conferences. On our first two days the hotel was flooded with contestants in a Little Miss Sunshine style talent contest. Amusing eye candy to be sure. The day after they left Noah asked “Where are the dress up girls?” Luckily they were soon replaced by attendees to a Rottweiler competition. It was insane to overhear the fervor with which these people talked about their dogs over breakfast. I’m not sure who were more surreal – the pageanty parents or the dog breeders. Of course if we could have stayed anywhere it might have been alot more fun to stay at the Red Caboose Motel or the Fulton Steamboat Inn.

The sights
* Strasburg Railroad – Noah ADORED “the big old smoky steam train” (actually since Noah struggles with double consonants it sounded more like “big old pokey team tane”).

* Amish House & Farm – I was a little put off by the fact that this attraction is located between the Target and the Petsmart, but it’s a nice little farm and the tour was really informative. Noah really enjoyed feeding the goats (here and at four other places – apparently everyone in Lancaster has goats) and riding in the buggy pulled by horses Little Bill and Big Ben.

* Lititz – Sadly the Sturgis Pretzel Factory was closed for renovations and The Wilbur Chocolate Factory was closed on Sundays – but we still enjoyed walking through the town and Noah thought the community playground was the best he’s ever experienced. He’s still asking to go back to it.

*Indian Echo Caverns – I was a bit uncertain I’d make it the 71 steps up and down into the cave, and that the 45 minute tour would hold Noah’s interest – but we all loved it. Noah cracked me up when we first walked into the darkness and he started whispering “spooky.” He was particularly captivated by the story of a dragon the tour guide pointed out amongst the cave formations. We’ve had to retell it at least a hundred times since.

* Choo Choo Barn – We decided to take Noah to this model train exhibit because it’s featured in a train video he enjoys. And though he didn’t recognize it as we thought he might, we were quite surprised at how captivated he was by the display. Mark would say “See the farmer working in the field” and Noah would say “Mama! Look at the farmer in the field!!” He was particularly blown away by the trolley that looks just like the one that runs in front of our house on Girard. “Look Mama! Our trolley!” He also just kept following the trains around as they went in and out of the tunnels.

* Hershey Farm – This place is a Christian hotel and restaurant – neither of which we patronized, but we did walk around the farm and spend a good 40 minutes letting Noah cavort in their playground Arc.

* Intercourse Pretzel Factory – Because I still had a hankering to twist pretzels even after the Sturgis Factory was closed, we headed to this little place. The pretzels, both hard and soft, were excellent. In fact I think we spent $30 on pretzels for souvenirs to bring back for family and friends.

* Kitchen Kettle Village – This place is kind of hokey and I don’t really recommend it as an attraction. We went to have lunch at The Kling House which I had read was really good, but it was overrun with senior bus trips. However while we were walking around there was a little jazz combo playing and Noah danced like a madman, and that was enough to make it a highlight.

The food
* Lapps – A decent representation of PA Dutch food and right next to our hotel. For some reason Noah was really entranced by it and repeatedly asked to go back for other meals.
Lancaster Host Resort – Luckily our hotel had a reasonably priced breakfast buffet that we ate at every morning.

* Café Chocolat – Obviously it was someone’s dream to open this little boutique café in Lititz. They feature an assortment of gourmet chocolates and a chocolate fountain in the front window. The food was tasty and well done, though not particularly cheap and one of the sandwiches was a bit skimpy. But still I’d recommend it as something different.

* Jennie's – This place is a tiny trucker diner that wasn’t particularly bad or good. We ended up here because apparently they roll up the streets of Lancaster on Sunday nights. And since we are vehemently opposed to eating at chain restaurants on vacation we traversed quite a bit of farmland to find this hole in the wall. Certainly worth checking out for the ambiance – listening to the brassy waitresses sass the trucker patronage was the best thing on the menu. Oh – and the peanut butter cream pie was good too.

* Soda Jerk – A quick find on the way back from Indian Echo. I bit like a cheesy, camp version of the diner that Jennies really is. More like a Silver Diner or Johnny Rockets.

* The Family Cupboard – THE BEST place we ate in Lancaster. Another typical PA Dutch buffet but the food quality was stellar. Eat here.

* Bird in Hand Restaurant - Another typical PA Dutch buffet but the food quality was poor. Don’t eat here.

The little details

* The Amish – For some reason it’s exciting to see every single buggy and every single Amish person. But it’s REALLY exciting to see them do something you wouldn’t expect like play volleyball in their yard, shop at the Grocery store, or wait your table at a diner. I was a bit confused when Noah referred to some of the women as bakers, until Mark reminded me that the only other time he’d seen Amish was when we bought pie from them at Reading Terminal Market.

* The Farms – Noah was excited every time we saw a horse plowing a feed, a cow, a sheep, and for some odd reason windmills.

* The Boy – There were just so many funny little things he said and did. With all our car navigating he started saying “I want to figure out the map.” We’d give him a map to look at and he’d start directing us to “Take Girard Avenue to Mascher Street to Mister Rogers to Jerseytown!” He often informed us “I’m enjoying my vacation so far.” In the hotel he repeatedly had to run down the ramp and up the steps outside our door and point out the M&Ms in the vending machine as if they were a major attraction. And my heart nearly stopped when he took a step off the seat in the hotel hot tub (the indoor pool was FREEZING) and I had to haul him up and slap the water out of him. I was possibly more shocked when he seemed unfazed by it and didn’t want to get out. All in all it was a really remarkable vacation and we all enjoyed the trip – mostly because we all really enjoyed being with each other. The morning after we came back Noah asked “Is Daddy going to work?” When I told him “Yes” he said “I want to go back to Lancasser.”

Pictures forthcoming. Oh, and tantrums too.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Today is special to me because I am so happy, so proud to be a mother. I value it more than anything I’ve ever done or been in my life. It’s felt like the most natural fit – the thing I’ve felt best at. That’s not saying I don’t have my moments of “CRAP – what am I doing?” – but they are so fleeting, so few and far between when compared to all the moments of joy.

I’ve always considered people who are very religious, who have such a clearly defined religious tenant and path to follow to be lucky in a way. They always have something to consider that is bigger than themselves, something to sacrifice for, to strive for, to humble them. And in so many ways motherhood has become my religion. I am happy to consider my family first in all things. Noah, the baby, and Mark – they are my reason for giving, for striving, for being. That may seem extreme or odd to some – but for me it’s joyous and freeing.

And it should go without saying that motherhood is not about ovulation, gestation, birthing – to me it’s about that sacrifice. The absolute interest in putting the interest of a child before your own. So to those who are mothers and those who will be, by any means - Happy Mothers Day!

More on Lancaster and the late onset of the terrible twos later!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

And these are the days of the week

*edit* I posted this earlier today in a ramshackle mess. But I guess it was shorter, so it had that going for it. Here is a version that makes hella more sense.

For Pete’s sake. Where to start? So many fun things have been going on – and though nobody probably likes to read laundry lists of activities I still want to preserve what we’ve been up to and let the interested parties know. I have to think of a good way to do this. How about bulleted daily highlights?

- Friday – Noah spent about an hour playing in rain puddles. He was soaked to the bone and covered in grit. But possibly the most excited and exuberant he’s been in his whole life.

- Saturday – Noah and Mark had a blast at swim lessons. Noah’s learning how to put his face in the water and blow bubbles. Meanwhile I went through piles of Noah's baby clothes in the basement to realize that a November baby has little to offer a summer newborn. Then we went to a ramshackle community event at the local library which was not noteworthy except they had drummers and dancers there. A Noah favorite. And then had a STELLAR dinner at the new restaurant that opened on the next block from us – Modo Mio. Amazing. (Oh – also meant to mention last week that we enjoyed a nice lunch at the new Hot Potato Café on Girard in Fishtown. But the dinner menu looks pricey – so try lunch.)

- Sunday – Outdoor fun in the AM and a trip to the Fairmount Arts Crawl in the afternoon. - The Fairmount Art Center, where Noah had taken his art class, displayed art by the children including one piece by Noah. They also had crafts out for the kids to do (Noah made a beaded bracelet) and Noah enjoyed seeing his teacher. There were also musicians playing outside around the neighborhood and Noah enjoyed the “ROCK AND ROLL!” There was a sudden downpour that we escaped by ducking in to a pizza shop for a fast but delicious dinner. Oh – and we rode the trolley. That in and of itself is always exciting.

- Monday – errands day. Blah.

- Tuesday – I had a very early very fast prenatal checkup. All is good for the most part. My body is not bonding iron properly which is weird but not unsolvable. When I asked what I could do about my near constant pain in the pelvis and hip joints my doc said “Stay off your feet!” HAAA! She’s a regular comedian. After I got home Wendy and I took the boys to the Y for some aquatic fun. Noah is already considerably more comfortable in the water. It’s great. He just kept saying “I’m having so much fun.” And in the water I didn’t even feel pregnant – like a weightless floating, painless bubble. Divine. Afterwards they came back to our place for lunch and swept away just as Janette and Jules showed up to take their place for more play and a dinner date. Followed by a jaunt to the playground. See how I stayed off my feet ALL DAY LONG.

- Wednesday – Babysat the sweet, dear Ella who laughed maniacally when I dropped a bottle of balsamic vinegar on the floor and the glass shattered everywhere. Noah however stood aside looking and acting greatly concerned. My little daredevil. More playgrounding in the evening. It seems ridiculous not to take the boy outside for slide and ladder time once a day.

- Thurday – Fishtown playroup and lunch at Wendy’s, followed by a stop at Rita’s to share a custard twist cone with sprinkles. And more playground. Tonight I leave the boys to frolic while I shop for bras. My cups runneth overs. And rippeth and poketh too.

- The future - Tomorrow is Girard Nights and we’ll probably go to Noah’s playgroup to see some Aztec music and dancing. And then pack for our exotic trek to Pennsylvania Dutch Country. We’ll have several days packed with trains, farms, horses, buggies, Amish, loads of reasonably priced cheap buttery foods, and more. And all on a budget.

And no post is complete without some Noah quotes. A very common addition and one that is causing me much consternation is “Don’t yell at me.” After which I typically explain that I wouldn’t be raising my voice if he listened the first time I asked nicely – and that I don’t want to yell and I don’t want him to yell, so let’s work together. Soon I’ll be mediating peace treaties. And “WHY?” God. I hear this 100 times a day. I thought this was more a four year old thing. Of course I could do without the even occasional “Fine! Just leave me alone.” He’s a generally a really obedient and well behaved boy – but no kid is without sass. But nothing can undo things like “You are a good Mama to me,” “We are all a family” and “I will love it forever and ever.”