Friday, June 22, 2007

One damn fine Father

Still treading water here

Next week is a big one. We leave tomorrow for a week in Ocean City, NJ with my Mom. We’re all looking forward to it – though I’m a bit daunted by the idea of waddling around in hot sand. Normally my favorite thing to do is just walk around – but this time, not so much. Hopefully this year we’ll get some actual beach weather – the forecast is looking good. Last year we didn’t get a lick of sunshine.

The past week was busy as usual. Mark worked overtime to ready the University for Commencement. Friday I had Susan babysit Noah for a few hours so I could mop my kitchen floor – fun, fun. Saturday morning I took Noah to his last swim lesson because Mark had to work. It was really cool to watch him interact with his instructor. Saturday night we had some friends over. It was a long overdue visit and sort of bittersweet for me because I just kept thinking about how it’d be quite a while until we can host again. On Father’s Day we went to a neighbor’s third birthday party at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Though I think the party would have been more ideal for five year olds, it was really well done. It not only included admission to the museum but also a guided tour. Afterwards we headed to The Bards for Mark’s Father’s Day brunch – and the Mr. indulged in not ONE but TWO Guinness. This week flew by with the normal busyness. One the exciting side I went out for fish tacos, killer salsa verde and fine conversation with girlfriends at Cantina Los Caballitos on Tuesday. The only disappointment is that they wouldn’t make me a virgin margarita so I couldn’t even pretend to get loaded on deliciously salty, limey tequila. BAH! And now we’re packing, packing and packing. The packing list I made has over 100 things listed on it – and yet it still contains large categories like TOYS. Insane.

Noah has been regressing a bit as of late – obviously in anticipation of the baby. He keeps curling up in my lap, gurgling and telling me he’s a tiny baby. He’s been waking up more in the middle of the night and wanting me to come sleep with him in his bed. And he’s often saying “I want to cuddle you.” Sometimes he says it in the middle of dinner and he wants to finish eating in my lap. It’s some hardcore clinginess going on. I’m trying to indulge him a bit but not too much. It’s hard to reach a balance. He’s also doing a lot of role playing with stuffed animals and dolls – telling us that one animal is the big brother to a smaller baby animal. And acting out playing, holding, feeding and caring for the baby. It’s really sweet. He also likes to say to me “I love your big belly” and hug it and kiss it, to feel for Baby Ray to move, and to poke at my overly sensitive protruding belly button.

Seems babies are popping up all over. My friend Wendy is being induced on Sunday. A thirteen year old neighborhood girl that would come over to our house to color when she was 6 just had a baby. And I just found out that my little sister’s Mom is expecting her fifth child in the winter. Once we get back from the beach we’ll finally REALLY start getting ready for Mr. Ray Konrad Eggerts to make an appearance. I may be way off base but despite my due date of August 1, I am expecting to give birth mid-July. Some things NEED to get done by then – moving our bed and the co-sleeper, cleaning the double stroller and the breast pump, getting the baby’s armoire and clothes in order, and packing a bag. I’m sure there is MUCH more I could do – but I have to be realistic and know just to let some things go. Ya know – for the next six months or so.

Well I best get back to packing slavery. Tonight I have to figure out a way to clean up my bikini area while not being able to see a trace of it. And I’ll leave you with that.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Another info upchuck

The biggest news is that last week I signed Noah up for preschool. Starting mid-September he will go to school for two hours every Monday and Thursday. I’ve been wrestling with the school question for months now. I wanted him to start going only a couple of hours a week but all the city preschools I had knowledge of had 18 hour minimums. And I didn’t want, need or want to pay for that much time. Finally I had heard from someone at playgroup about a preschool with limited hours they ran at the Bridesburg Recreation Center – and then when the woman across the street from us told me her granddaughter had been going there and loving it for three years it sealed the deal. Bridesburg is a very old school blue collar neighborhood just to the northeast of us. The preschool has been run for years out of the rec center which is across the street from a string band headquarters and a VFW post. They have two huge green fields, a pool, a large and lovely fenced in playground, and a full gymnasium. And in addition to the preschool they offer swim camp, dance lessons, tumbling lessons, and sports camp. Noah’s class will have 5 instructors for a maximum of 28 children. And while the instruction might be a lot more traditional than the very artsy preschool center in my neighborhood – I’m actually quite pleased with him playing, drawing and singing for two hours under the tutelage of a few older neighborhood ladies. And best yet the program costs about $50 a month. I just hope it works out as well as I anticipate it to. Of course with only two hour days I’ll most likely be dropping him off and going grocery shopping and then heading back to pick him up – but it’s a good start. For us both.

My only real disappointment is one that I will always wrestle with when it comes to Noah’s education. I know everyone thinks that their kid is advanced, but I SWEAR – Noah is smarter than the average bear. He’s SO verbal and the things that he comes up with sometimes amaze me. But the problem is that Noah was born in the beginning of November, far past the September 1 cutoff and therefore he won’t start kindergarten until Fall of 2010. In his preschool he will be one of the oldest in the class. Intellectually I think that the toddler class won’t be very challenging for him, but socially I guess he could use an extra year. But it doesn’t really matter since I don’t have much choice in the matter.

On the baby front – I’m huge. I’m starting to get people asking me if I’m having twins, and balking when I tell them that I have SEVEN more weeks before my due date. Granted, I’m an Amazon of a woman to begin with and I’m not by nature a small pregnant woman. But still, people could be a little more couth. I’m finally starting to get my butt in gear and think about what needs to get done before Baby Ray arrives. Last week I bought a used Graco Duo Glider off Craig’s List for $50. Now granted, that is one fifth of the normal price so I wasn’t expecting it to be immaculate and untouched – but what killed me is that the woman gave it to me with the wheels absolutely CAKED with mud. I’m pretty sure I would have cleaned it up a bit if I was giving it away for free so it kind of kills me that she had no qualms of selling it in that condition. It’s nothing a little water and elbow grease won’t cure – but of course I still haven’t gotten around to it.

We had a really good time at Hershey Park this past Saturday. My Dad’s company has their company picnic there every year and since my Dad gets sick on the carousel he’s happy to hand over his tickets to us. I was a bit wary of the trip what with how tiring an amusement park day can be – but exhausted though I was after being in the park from 3:30 til 10 pm it was totally worth it. Noah enjoyed every variation of a train ride the park had to offer as well as the carousel, ferris wheel, track cars and big rigs. But his favorite thing was the Chocolate Tour ride outside the park that shows you how they make Hershey’s chocolate. He rode it twice and has talked about it nonstop since. Last year he was afraid of the animatronic singing cows but this year they were a huge hit. He keeps pretending to be a singing cow.

Yesterday my Mom and her fiancé came to spend the day with Noah and I while Mark went to New Jersey to visit his ailing 97 yo Grandmother who is laid up with a broken ankle. Noah and I had a lovely lunch with Mom at the Tap and then some playground action at Liberty Lands. Mark got lectured by his Grandmother about his need to get his Master’s degree. Have you been recently told by an ancient woman with two doctorate degrees that your children won’t respect you unless you have an advanced degree? Me neither. I guess every family is kind of crazy in their own way.

For the last couple of weeks we have been really enjoying the food we have been getting from our CSA. I’m both daunted and excited by the challenge of trying to figure out how to cook what we receive. But so far so good. I think my kale was pretty kick-ass and the fresh whole wheat pasta last week tasted pretty damn good with the spinach, tomato, garlic and fresh mozzarella we received. My biggest cooking challenge however is always seasoning. I wish I had a better knack when it came to using herbs and spices. I just don’t know what to use or how much.

My new favorite Noah thing is the fascination with the road. When we’re in the car now he constantly asks what road we are on and has started identifying them. He’s even asking if we are going to make rights or lefts and for a complete flight plan of our trip. It reminds me of my little sister Jessica who was able to identify landmarks and tell you how to drive to her house by the age of four.

Today was a challenging day. I’ve come to realize that Mondays often are. It’s a combination of a slow typically uneventful day on the heels of a very busy weekend and the fact that Noah (and me too) has just gotten use to having Mark at home for two days when suddenly he’s gone again.

So this is another too long jumbled mess – but since this seems to be a once a week thing lately I can’t help it. I have too much I want to say but not enough focus to say it well. Forgive my scattered head and lack of planning. For today’s post and all the one’s to follow. Adieu.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

A red thumb

Though we did indeed bag the Music Festival, we still had a grand time at the Strawberry Festival. I wouldn't recommend that legions of pregnant women pick strawberries in 90 degree heat, but it was fun nonetheless. I'm new to the whole pick your own fruit thing - but since Noah enjoyed picking apples in the Fall I think it's an adventure we'll keep up. Plus I think it's a fun way to get him to think about how food grows and where our food comes from. And he was just so proud to pick them himself. We picked over two pounds of strawberries and ate almost all of them when we got home. Yum.

Hot child in the city

No personal time. Seriously. From 7:30 am to 9 pm I’m on duty. And then I’d rather chill with Mark on the couch rather than sit at the computer. In less than two months I’ll have even less personal time – you know the time I currently use up sleeping. Don’t get me wrong I’m very excited to have this baby. But I’m not fooling myself – the first three to six months are tough with one. I’m scared about managing two. Especially when I talk to my friends who have two kids. And I’ve said more than enough about the demise of napping at our house, so I won’t go there again.

Right now Mark and Noah are at swim lessons and it’s the one hour a week I can count on getting something done. I really should be cleaning the kitchen, but I woke up real achey and can barely get up and down the steps. That sort of puts a damper on my big plans for us to go the Linvilla Strawberry Festival and then check out the Northern Liberties Music Festival before coming back home to babysit for a neighbor for a few hours. I think I’ll have to miss the Music Festival this year – maybe Mark and Noah can go check it out.

It seems we have been on the go constantly. I plan things to do every day so we have things to look forward to, to keep us busy. But as a result I feel like I’ve been running nonstop. On the plus side we are having a really good time. Swimming, picnics, playgroups, birthday parties. Who could complain?

Oh – the heat! The past week was a scorcher. And we refused to turn our AC on until June. I was one giant sweaty pregnant woman. The night before last I was so hot I barely got any sleep. I kept changing rooms trying to find a place where I felt more comfortable. It was a major relief when I woke up in the morning and Mark had turned on the air before he went to work. Now I may never leave the house.

Oh- and we bought a car! It took a lot of internet research and three dealerships, but we got it done. I’m not a car person. I like cars with CD players that take me from point A to point B without breaking down. But I was rather serious about finding the perfect car for us at the best price. I got downright single-minded – and I was surely not any salesman’s favorite customer. I nearly laughed in the face of the guy who suggested “Have you thought about buying a new car?” “I don’t BELIEVE in new cars,” I countered. Though Mark does assure me they exist. But our search was a success. We got a beautiful silver 2004 Subaru Forester – certified, low mileage and still under warranty. It’s so exciting to drive it. It’s not hugely roomy compared to our little old wagon – but it’s just big enough. That’s what I wanted – a bit bigger but not ginormous. I still have to parallel park this thing. And Noah loves it – though at first he preferred we buy one of the new cars on display in the showroom because they weren’t hot. I had to explain all cars get hot when they sit outside in the sun. He finally seemed satisfied with our decision. On the way to Reading for Jules second birthday party on Thursday, Noah drifted off for about twenty minutes. As soon as I got off the highway and stopped at a light he popped his eyes open for a second and said sleepily to Wendy (and Victor who were accompanying us) “You like our new car, Wendy?” and then drifted back off.

And now it’s June – and it’s another busy month. Our big plans include going to Hershey Park, having a very small get together at our house, and heading to Ocean City, NJ with my Mom for a week. And then there’s all the little plans in between – more lunching, picnicking, playgroups, and fun. It’s going to be lovely. Tiring and sweaty for a giant pregnant woman – but lovely. Too bad speed isn’t good for the baby. Oh yeah – the baby. We MAY have to do a few things to ready for his arrival. We’ll see if we can pencil them in.

And I’m sure I owe you an email, and a million comments – every single one of you. I promise you’ll hear from me soon. If only just a HEY. I’m thinking of you, really I am.