Friday, July 31, 2009

I sure would love it if...

...I had all of my couch cushions on the couch instead of in the washing machine at some point this week.

On Tuesday Calvin had a blowout that left three couch cushions, a throw pillow, my shorts, his outfit and his changing pad covered in poop. I washed everything.

On Wednesday, my seemingly incontinent dog leaked pee on the couch while she slept. (As of Wednesday, she is on medication for this problem.) I washed the couch cushions.

Today, as my dog was barking manically at something outside and I was trying to shut her up while breastfeeding Calvin on the couch, my child had yet another blowout that got my arm, his outfit, the blanket I covered the couch with to prevent further cushion washing, and two couch cushions, which were left uncovered by the blanket in my mad attempt to grab my barking dog before she woke up my sleeping husband, who had just come off a night shift at the hospital.

Two more couch cushions and the blanket are washing now. The dog is outside barking at whatever it was that caught her attention. Calvin is cleaned up, redressed and fed. Nate is sleeping soundly.

But I still have traces of poop on my arm.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cute ones.

We had a really busy, really fun weekend with friends. But my favorite moments were those at home with my sweet baby.

I can't even believe how much I love being a mom.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lions and penguins and antelope, oh my!

I've been antsy to get out of the house now that we have a stroller again (We left Calvin's stroller in IL two weeks ago. Thankfully friends of ours have the same stroller and let us borrow theirs. Yay, I am no longer housebound!), so today we took Calvin to the Como Zoo and Conservatory.

The Como Zoo is smack dab in the middle of a park in St. Paul (you'd never know it was there if you didn't know it was there). It's small and cute and free (well, a suggested donation of $2 per adult and $1 per child, but no one is turned away), and a really great way to spend an afternoon.

We saw a hugely pregnant lioness, a giraffe who kept licking a wall, a zebra shooing an antelope away from its food stash, and some very cute penguins. Calvin was enthralled.

(Okay, Calvin was sleeping. But we were enthralled on his behalf.)

Attached to the Zoo is the Conservatory, which is home to some really incredible tropical plants. We toured the bonsai room, visited the flower show going on inside the greenhouse, and then took a stroll through the outdoor Japanese garden. We finished off the afternoon with a ride on the carousel (weird light in the picture, but couldn't skip posting a picture of Cal's first carousel ride!).

It was such a fun day. While Calvin slept through most of it, Nate and I were so thrilled to be there with him. Before leaving for work tonight, Nate said "this has been my favorite day of being a dad so far."

It was definitely up there for me, too.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Eight (nine) week checkup.

We took Calvin for his eight week checkup today, though he's actually nine and a half weeks old. His original appointment was a week ago, but I got scared about taking him for his shots by myself, so I rescheduled so Nate could come with me. (Yes, I am a huge wimp.)

Besides allowing a stranger to inflict pain upon my child (sniff, was so hard to watch him get those shots for the first time), it was a great appointment. I was so excited to find out how big he is, since his last weight check when he was only a week and a half old. As suspected, he's going to be tall. He was 24.5 inches long (95th percentile). His head is 16.25 inches (75th percentile) and his weight...well, that was a surprise. He's 12lbs, 6oz. He's gained less than three pounds, and is only in the 50-75th percentile for weight! Given that most babies are born weighing about two to three pounds less than he was, I figured he'd be at the top of the charts. Guess he's not going to be stuck driving a bulldozer after all.

We're so thankful for our happy, healthy, growing little boy. He's perfect.

Eating my words.

There were quite a few things I said I'd never do when I had kids, but there's one thing I have always been adamant and very outspoken about: taking a baby to a wedding.

That's a BIG no-no in my book.

There is nothing worse than someone's kid screaming during wedding vows, or crying while the bride and groom have their first dance. Weddings are not kid-friendly events (well, except for one I went to a few years ago where the DJ was also a clown who made balloon animals). By the time you make it to the reception it's bedtime, so the kids are tired and cranky and overstimulated. And it's no fun for the parents, who can't drink and dance and do what everyone else is doing, because they're too busy trying to console their tired, cranky, overstimulated children.

I know some people want kids at their wedding, because they consider it a big family affair. And I can appreciate that, but I was not one of those brides. We did not invite any children to our wedding (though a few attended anyway, much to my chagrin). My sister took it a step further and added "adults only, please" to her invitations.

I really never understood why parents wouldn't just get a babysitter and enjoy a kid-free night out. It's not like you don't have enough time to find one, invitations typically go out months in advance. And then you don't have to worry about your baby spitting up on your dress, or your kid running around the reception like a maniac. You can get dressed up and go out with your spouse for a civilized, worry-free night of fun.

But then we had a baby and found ourselves invited to three weddings within two months of his birth. Two of which were weddings Nate's entire family attended, automatically eliminating our babysitting options.

So, we've taken Calvin to two weddings (he was invited to all three). The first was an outdoor wedding, and he slept the entire time. He was only two weeks old at that point, so we skipped the reception. The second was for friends of ours and Nate's parents kindly took him for the night. The third was last weekend and we took him to the ceremony and reception.

It went fine. I wasn't excited about toting a diaper bag around instead of a cute purse, and he nearly had a blowout during the reception so I ended up changing him on the sink in the bathroom next to one of the bridesmaids. And we didn't get to stay long enough to dance because the music was so loud we were worried about his ears. But he was quiet and well-behaved and there were a million other kids there, so it wasn't a big deal.

Would I do it again? Not unless I had to. And I certainly wouldn't once he gets older, louder and more mobile. But I humbly eat my words about how people who bring their kids to weddings are inconsiderate and inappropriate...because sometimes you don't have a babysitter and therefore you don't have a choice. (Though I stand by my statement that bringing a child to a wedding they were not invited to attend is inexcusable.)

I fear this is the first of many word-eating episodes for me.

(The cake was minty. I love mint. Nate hates it. Evidently Jon does, too.)

Deal of the century.

During our visit, my dad and Nate went to the grocery store. When they came home, my dad was super excited about the amazing deal he got on lunch meat.

Over TWO POUNDS of assorted meats for TWO DOLLARS.

Why was it so cheap, you ask?

Because it was a pile of random leftovers from the deli. The ends of the deli loaf. You know, the parts that had been in the case for at least a week, handled again and again by the deli employees as they sliced chunks off for customers.

He wasn't excited for long, because we rained on that parade...hard. But I snapped a picture before he lost his bargain-hunter glow:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Birthday surprise.

Since there is nothing my mom loves more than having our family all together (except maybe Christmas, she REALLY loves Christmas), Jordan, Jill and I plotted a surprise visit to Illinois for her birthday.

She was surprised all right, though I'm not sure why. We were trying to be quiet and hidden out of sight when she and my dad returned home from church on Sunday, but Calvin was screaming bloody murder (sick of the car seat after six hours, I guess) and my parents came in through the garage, where my brother's Suburban was parked. Somehow neither of these things registered in my mother's brain, because she was genuinely shocked when she walked in and saw us.

It was a quick trip — we got there at noon on Sunday and left before noon on Tuesday — but it was so great to be together to celebrate our beautiful mom on her birthday. We spent the day eating, laughing, playing games, and just hanging out together. Oh, and we threw her a spectacular birthday dinner, complete with party hats and crepe paper.

I love my family.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Balancing act.

I feel like this blog has become pretty baby-centered. Which is all fine and good — I've got a beautiful little boy and I want to show him off. But this has been my personal outlet for the past year, and I miss it.

Actually I don't miss it. I miss having something interesting to say on it.

I had every intention of continuing to write the way I had been — about my life, my thoughts, my adventures, my rants and raves — once Calvin arrived. I didn't want this blog to become all about me being a mom, because I vowed I would always be more than that. I would still be ME — with my own interests and hobbies and a life outside my baby.

But my life is different now. Right now I don't have many thoughts that don't revolve around my son. I'm home with him all day, every day. I'm not working. I don't have a lot of adult interaction, unless you count Ellen Degeneres, Ina Garten, and the detectives on Law & Order.

It's like I'm living in a mommy cocoon, where all I see, hear, smell is baby.

It's not who I wanted to be. But it's who I need to be, right now, for my family. I need to be here with Calvin, because he's still small and I'm his source of comfort, of entertainment, of food. I need to be totally engrossed in my baby's every movement, because soon he'll be spending his days in childcare with a stranger, while I'm at work, missing out. I need to be home so Nate, who is working hard so I don't have to, can get a break once in a while. And I need to be this person, because I want to be this person. I want to be a mom. His mom. The person who knows him better than anyone else on earth, who loves him more than anyone else ever will.

I fear this makes me irrelevant to some. And I don't want to be irrelevant. I don't want my friends who don't have kids to think I've gone off the deep end, that I don't remember what it was like to not have children. Because I do. It was two months ago, and I loved it. How could I forget the freedom I had before I had a baby? (Seriously impossible. I dream about it daily.)

Every time someone becomes a parent for the first time, you hear about their new set of priorities. But I don't think I have a new set. I think I have a bigger set.

Of course Calvin is my number one priority. But that doesn't mean the others fall away. My faith, my husband, my family, my friends, myself — all still priorities. I refuse to give up my quiet time, regular dates with my husband, trips to see my family, long dinners with my friends, or weekend afternoons shopping alone. Those are things I need to do to be whole.

I can't teach my children to have a balanced life if I don't have one myself.

So, while I don't have much to say right now, I know I will again. I won't be cocooned up in mommyland forever. Don't get me wrong, I'm a permanent resident. I love it here.

But I will soon venture out, because it's not enough. I'm still me.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Roll.

Probably the hardest thing for me to deal with over the past two months has been my body.

It's not good. My hips are wider, I'm flabbier from months of decreased activity, and my stomach...oh, my stomach.

While I haven't been skinny in years, I still try my darndest to keep from having a fat roll hanging over the top of my pants. At least while standing up.

Mind you, this is tricky. When you don't work out and have a penchant for french fries, there's bound to be some flab around the middle. Which means you have to dress for it. Either by wearing jeans that hit at a good spot, or wearing shirts that are a little flowier, or dressing in layers. I haven't quite mastered this skill, but I've been trying really hard. Which is why one of the highlights of wearing maternity clothes was the waistband of my pants. It lays flat — no rolls. Plus my belly was hard and smooth and cute...not something to hide.

But now, post-baby, I feel like one big fat roll. It didn't matter that I lost all 30 pounds of my baby weight within two weeks. I still couldn't get into a single pair of my pants until four weeks, and those were my fat pants. At nearly eight weeks I am now wearing my regular pre-pregnancy clothes. However, I cannot avoid the roll.

My stomach is like a separate entity, a striped blob just stuck on my front. (Striped because I suffered what is quite possibly the most extreme case of stretch marks ever in the last few weeks of my pregnancy. I thought I escaped them, but then at 30 weeks one popped up...then at 32 weeks about 40 more popped up. It's not pretty.) And dressing for it is not as easy as I'd hoped.

When I went to my six-week checkup, my midwife asked if I'd started exercising yet (yes, I try to get an hour-long workout in daily, what with all the time I have these days) and then advised me to tie something like a towel around my waist before doing my "ab work" to help bring those muscles back together.

My question is this: Who said I planned to fix this roll situation with ab work?

My only plan is to begin searching for new pants. Maybe some with a stretchy waist...

He's going to drive a bulldozer.

That's what the Panera employee said to us today when we told him Calvin was only 7.5 weeks old.

Officially the weirdest comment someone has made regarding the size of our child.

While Calvin is obviously not small, just the other day I took these pictures detailing the width of this 0-3 month outfit vs. his actual body size. It's not like the kid is enormous. Long, yes. Big boned, probably. Super chunky, not so much. (Minus the cheeks, of course.)

To be clear, I have nothing against him driving a bulldozer. I'm just hoping he'll put his size to good use with, oh, I don't know...a multi-million dollar contract with a professional sports team.

He has parents to care for, after all.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hiking, Breyer style.

My friend Ali takes her babies hiking. This is mind-boggling to me, as I can't even take myself hiking. Climbing hills with a kid strapped to my back? It's enough work carrying my own weight around all day, thank you very much.

So today, instead of hauling our child up the side of a mountain in some back carrier thingy like our impressively active friends, Nate and I went to the park. We had a yummy lunch outside at Sea Salt, then pushed Calvin around in his stroller and checked out the Minnehaha Falls from afar.

And that's about as much hiking as you'll find us doing...ever. But I'm giving myself bonus points for reading and then taking my son's picture near some sort of historical plaque. We may not be outdoorsy, but we are dedicated to learning.

Head control.

Oh, the torture that is tummy time.

Calvin's been working hard to get his head up. He does a great job of it when laying on fact, he practically climbs up my chest. But he's not so fond of it when we lay him on his activity mat, as you will see in the video.

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