Monday, December 23, 2013

The Incident at the Alamo

I need to preface this story by saying that Orion has been coughing a lot the past week but only at night. During the day he is fine and happy but will have a runny nose (which is clear) and no fever.  I wouldn't say he has been sick but maybe dealing with allergies.  A few times this week he has been coughing so much at night that I brought him a sippy cup of water. This seems to happen about 3 in the morning. Last night he got me up at that time, and I brought him his sippy cup. I went into his room he was not in his bead but hanging out by his closet. He seemed happy to see me then wanted to show me his sheets which were sodden. There were two large spots of what I can only assume was mucousy vomit that came up during a coughing fit. I changed his sheets and his jammies and he was happy to get back to bed and we both slept till 7:30.

I was very excited to take Orion to the movies today to see Walking with Dinosaurs. He loves “dinoroars” and frequently runs around like a dino roaring and stomping. He also loves popcorn so I was excited to take him to the movies and splurge on our date.  We went out on this grey, rainy, Monday to the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. I had never been there before and was a bit confused when I couldn't find the concession stand. Once I got into the theater I began to understand that it was more like the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse. You order from your seat and everything is brought right to you.

We got in our seats and our server started his schpeel.  He got to the part about children under the age of 6 and I was all whaaaaaaaa. Children under 6 are only allowed in the Theater on Tuesdays before 2 pm, which it wasn’t and if my 2 ½ year old got loud, we would be asked to leave. I could feel the pressure mounting to ensure that Orion was a good and quiet toddler.  We ordered popcorn, a trio of cookies, and milk.

Before the movie started, they showed many dinosaur related clips like the trailer for The Land Before Time and the music video for Walk the Dinosaur which was my jam back in the 80’s while listening to Kid’s Corner on WXPN.  They also showed the opening clip from The Muppet Movie when everyone is getting into their seats in the theater. This was followed by the warning that if you do not behave “we will blow you up”. So that was really fun AND we got to see the preview for the new Muppet movie Muppets Most Wanted and The Lego Movie. (F.Y.I - I love going to the movies, worked in movie theaters, and went to film school for a few years)

This all made me very impressed with Alamo and the service was great. I asked for a booster and was given one in a timely fashion. The seats were comfortable and there was plenty of leg room. Orion did have a few things to voice so I was really looking forward to the popcorn arriving to fill his mouth and keep him quiet. I was happy that there were only 2 other people in the Theater (both adults) but worried about getting kicked out.

We were watching the movie and Orion was being pretty good. The popcorn was delicious and Orion was very excited.  He wasn't silent but the movie was loud and he wasn't being too disruptive. The trio of cookies were freshly baked and hot. They were so unbelievably delicious!  A nice crust on the outside, soft and gooey inside. The trip consisted of a Peanut Butter Banana, a Chocolate Chip, and a Double Chocolate. At one point, I noticed Orion had chocolate all over his face and I thought “how cute, I will have to take a picture of his messy mug once the lights come up.”

I gotta tell you that my heart swelled with pride and my eyes filled with tears of joy because I was out at the movies with my son. He was being good and really seemed to be enjoying himself.  He sat in my lap for a bit and it was so comforting to have my arms around him and feel his head under my chin. A few times during the movie he turned to give me hugs. It was so sweet! But, all good things must come to an end.

The check had been dropped off which happens 30 minutes before the end of the movie. The server came by to pick it up but I hadn't been able to deal with my bag of stuff to get to my wallet. I was going to wait till the movie was over and the lights were up.  Orion was in my lap and started coughing, I reached for his milk, empty. I had a water bottle in my bag but before I could reach it, or grab anything, Orion threw up all over me. So. Much. Vomit. Then I grabbed the empty cookie pan and he threw up into that. I felt horrible for the two people sitting behind us. The smell was bad but I am fairly impervious to that smell after working in movie theaters for a number of years.

I got the water bottle out of my bag along with the wet wipes to clean us up as much as I could. I got my wallet out and paid the $15 bill and left a $10 tip. I raised up an order card so someone would notice we needed assistance.  This took a while since checks had already been handed out. I was content to finish the movie because I have only walked out of a movie once because it was awful and my date was really hot. But Orion had other plans, he wanted to walk around and I was powerless to stop him. He got into the first row and wanted me to chase him. Instead, I sat on the floor and waited for him to get distracted and then I pounced. I was able to grab him and get him in my lap while I sat on the floor. Then he noticed the row numbers and started calling out “1 2 3!” and I knew it was time to leave.

I got him into the “family” bathroom and washed up a bit more before we put on our coats. We went out into the rain and played for a few minutes on the grassy square in front of the theater.  I was hoping that some air and rain would wash away some of the vomit smell. Once we got in the car and hit the road, the smell was overwhelming. I cracked a window and struggled to obey speed limits.

Once we got home, we both stripped by the front door and I tossed everything into the wash. We took a shower together. I cleaned up first, then got Orion all soaped up which made it hard to pick him up to rinse off. I was kind of amazed at how small he felt with his arms around my neck and his legs clinging to my sides. He is in the 95th% for height and 75th for weight so we are usually talking about how huge our baby has become.  And the cherry on top would be that he peed on the bathroom rug upon exiting the shower.

I got Orion dressed first then retreated into my pajamas giving up on the day.  I made him a PB&J, took him to his room for nap, read a few stories, and tucked him in on his nap mat. This Saturday we are going to The Kennedy Center to see Elephant and Piggie are in a Play, wish us luck, I think we are going to need it!   

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How I met your Father

Eight years ago today, Patrick and I were married. The week before and after our wedding was such a crazy time in our lives, as were our first few years of marriage. On the anniversary of our wedding, it can be hard for me to not think about all the craziness that happened during that time. That thought train can easily take me to sad crazy town which is a real shame since I do love my husband and am overjoyed to be sharing my life with him. It is not him, our love, and our marriage that can make me sad but what we had to deal with at a time that should have been nothing but joy. So this year I wanted to focus on the time before we were actually married and think about how I met my husband and how we fell in love.

I met Patrick in March of 2004 in Brigantine, NJ. I had been living in Philadelphia with my dear old friend and this super awesome Aquarius fashion student for a few months.  I had moved there in January after a nasty break up with a live-in breakdancer boyfriend.  The location of my new place was awesome enabling me to walk to my new job in Center City, some cool bars, and friend’s houses. This was great since I no longer had a car but also because I was looking for a fresh start. I was meeting lots of new people and living the single city life. One of the new people I met was a guy we will call Grrrr who was a friend of my roommate.  That March, Grrrr invited me to his friend’s beach house in Brigantine, NJ.

My memory kind of sucks and I wasn’t keeping up with my journaling at the time but what I clearly remember from that trip down the shore was meeting a man, sitting at a table, wearing a Massive Attack shirt. I think he was playing cards and smoking a cigar. I saw him and thought to myself “Heyyyyyyy, who are you?” My attraction was immediate and I knew I wanted to get to know this person more. He was, of course, Patrick. One of my fondest memories (aside from meeting Patrick) from that weekend was a group sing along in the kitchen to Fugazi's Waiting Room. The next morning, Patrick went for a bike ride. I remember when he came back, we were alone (or maybe it just felt that way) in the living room, and he took off his bike jersey in such a way as to intentionally show me the big ass tattoo covering his back.  I also remember flying a kite on the beach with Patrick, he always had a kite and Frisbees in the trunk of his car.  Always ready for fun!

Right before we told my parents about our engagement
Soon after that beach weekend, I started going to a bar around the corner from my house called Tritone. Grrrr’s friend with the beach house played washboard in a blues band Monday nights and I would usually head straight there after work. The band was so much fun, I loved the male singer’s voice and when the guitarist busted out his steel guitar.  Often, Patrick was there and it soon came to feel like my bar.  I knew Rick the bartender who always wore his black leather vest (rest in peace) and Tuesday the waitress.  We would usually order dinner and have a few drinks.

We were there one Monday, had enjoyed dinner and drinks when the place started to fill up for whoever it was that would be playing later that night. A friend of mine came in who was in major need of my bathroom. My place was right around the corner, so we quickly left. When we got to my place and upstairs, I realized that hadn’t paid my bar tab. Once my friend was done dumping out, I went back to the bar and told Tuesday that I was so sorry that I forgot to pay my bill. She informed me that Patrick had paid assuming that was the way it was supposed to go down.

I was mortified! I had no intention of getting a free meal that way and felt awful for leaving so abruptly and sticking him with the bill. I did not have Patrick’s number or email, so I found him on MySpace (this was a time before Facebook). I apologized for my faux pas and asked him if he would like to go out to dinner so I could repay him. It was decided we would have dinner at Doobie’s, a bar similar to Tritone. We enjoyed a decent meal (stuffed pork chops?) and afterwards I invited him back to my place to watch Fraggle Rock. Such a great pick up line, right? And we totally made out that night.  My roommate’s friend was sleeping on the couch and when I walked Patrick out, I slipped down the stairs causing my skirt to fly up. I was so embarrassed and got a nice bruise on my ass. But that did not stop Patrick from returning my calls. I think our next date was a First Friday art gallery crawl followed by food shopping and Patrick cooking dinner at his place (he definitely cooked pork chops which is funny because I didn’t really like pork chops but I do remember this meal being very delicious).

That May I moved into a place with 2 girlfriends and Patrick helped me move. He also helped assemble my Ikea bed with the aid of another one of my girlfriends. I did not have the right tools and suggested they use what I had, a pair of toe nail clippers. I totally suck at assembling furniture but Patrick loves it and does it well. Somehow they got the tools they needed and put my tiny bed together. This bed was a full sized bed with shelving underneath. It was narrow and tall, you had to climb up to get into it.

I can remember sharing that bed with Patrick and waking up in the night to find him pacing around the room because he couldn’t sleep in such a tiny bed and hot room (I had the middle room, the only window was a skylight so there wasn’t much air circulation).  To avoid sleeping in my bed, Patrick spent a lot of time driving from Temple to his place in Lansdowne, to my place in South Philly to pick me up and take me back to his place.  The traffic getting out to Lansdowne was often hellacious. We were both seeing other people and not looking for anything serious but he really went out of his way to spend time with me.

In August, Patrick went to Michigan for a friend’s wedding. He was to come back Friday and then we were spending the weekend at my friend’s cabin in the Poconos. During our time apart, I realized that I really wanted to only be with Patrick and had fallen in love with him. I’ll never forget that Friday, I had to go out to the distribution center in Gap, PA to help move some orders along (I was an internet correspondent for Urban Outfitters) and rode up with a coworker and two of our big bosses. I talked to them about Patrick and how we weren’t boyfriend/girlfriend and then came into work on Monday engaged. 

Patrick picked me up from work that Friday and we drove up to the Poconos in his little blue Tiburon. I really wanted to tell him that I loved him that weekend but we were in a cabin with 6 other people and sharing a room so it was hard to find any privacy. We managed to get some alone time in our room and out of nowhere, as if it was a total surprise even to Patrick, he said “Marry Me”. We had never talked about marriage and I honestly never thought I would get married (or have kids). But, marrying him made so much sense so I said yes without hesitation and professed my love.

We did not tell our friends that weekend. When we got back to Philly, I went to see Cirque de Soleil with a coworker and said to her “I think I am engaged”. I was in such a state of disbelief that I had to call Patrick to make sure we were really doing this.  When we told our cabin owning friend that we were engaged, he did the most incredible dance of joy, screaming and jumping up and down. He was (and still is) a drag queen and prone to a bit of drama but it was the best reaction we received. We asked him to be our flower girl and he was so excited to be involved in our big day. (Seeing a drag queen with a 6 foot beehive walk down the aisle on my crazy wedding day added a touch of desperately needed comic relief. My mom was so surprised and happy when she saw our flower girl!)

Patrick and I went ring shopping at Henri David’s which is the most amazing jewelry store I have ever visited. Once the rings were ready, Patrick was ready to propose again. He told me we were going back to Brigantine to visit our friends at the beach house where we met. We drove down the shore and when we were near Patrick got a “phone call” that our friends were running late. Patrick figured we could go to the beach (it must have been September) and wait for them at the wooden fort. While we were there, and I had no clue anything was fishy, Patrick pulled out a small felt pumpkin who was sporting a mustache and opened it to reveal my engagement ring. He asked me to marry him, I said yes, we had lunch nearby, then headed back to Philly.

That Halloween weekend we moved in together to a super cute place on Iseminger St. It was right around the corner from my old place, which I was going to miss terribly and felt bad for leaving. I had never imagined when I signed that two year lease back in May that I would soon be getting engaged. I hate moving and that was my 5th move in 15 months.  Also, moving is not really something you want to do Halloween weekend anyway.  A friend of mine, who lived the next street over, was hosting a Halloween party and we went totally exhausted. I wore a cardboard sign around my neck that said Lame and Patrick wore his Canada track jacket and went as “that famous Canadian athlete, you know the one”.

When we announced our engagement to my extended family at my Grandmother's birthday August 2004
It was kind of amazing when we first moved in together because all of our stuff seemed to merge together without much friction. We both had a passion for music and had very few repeating albums in our collection. I owned some Tom Waits he did not have and he had a few Ani DiFranco albums I did not have. Since Patrick had been living on his own for so long, he had all the necessities and I was able to add a touch of color and whimsy (cause everyone needs a 5 foot inflatable Screamer from Edvard Munch’s painting).    
That first place was really nice, exposed brick wall, nice grey carpets, a decent kitchen, and we really made it our home. We set up a tree for Christmas (but I think we may have opened our presents in bed). New Year’s Day we hosted an open house. We lived right off Broad St., so anyone checking out the Mummer’s parade was welcome to stop in for food and drinks.  Patrick and I really enjoyed having friends over at that house. Patrick was (and still is) a great cook and I was (and still am) a great dishwasher.

I have a random happy memory of Patrick from our time before getting married (at least I think we weren’t married yet) when I visited him on campus at Temple University. Patrick handed me an inter-office envelope which had another envelope with a fake postage stamp and mice drawn on the outside. Inside it was stuffed with white chocolate Reese's Big Cups. They were a limited edition and he must have bought out the store because they were my favorite (I wish I could still find them!).  One of the things that made me fall for Patrick was the fact that he was really one of the good guys, nice, smart, caring, patient, and thoughtful.

Patrick would read me bedtime stories, he read me the entire Harry Potter series or he would make up stories about the adventures of Sir Prancealot who was a Pomeranian with a heart of gold. I always joke that Patrick is the nice Midwestern man and I am the Philadelphia bitch. Patrick got to know the names of the shopkeepers in our neighborhood while I never bothered. I married a man with great intelligence who never makes me feel dumb even when I tell him I have no clue what the hell he is talking about. Patrick also has a great sense of humor and understands my twisted sense of humor. Making him laugh is one of my favorite things. There have been nights in bed spent giggling that have brought me to the point of laughing and crying.

I love my husband, our marriage, our family, our son. I feel so lucky to have him and Orion in my life.  Everything in my life lead to me meeting and marrying Patrick and for that I am grateful and everything that happened after we got married lead me to Orion. Patrick and I are often amazed at this life we created. The feeling of love we share for our son is truly amazing. I am sorry that our wedding day and honeymoon did not happen as we had planned them and that our first couple of years were so hard. But those experiences brought us closer in the end and strengthen our love.  Together we can face whatever comes our way and it is you, Patrick, (and Orion) that I always want by my side.   

Bridal Shower August 2005

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My best Mother's Day yet

This is my 7th Mother’s Day since my mom died and my 3rd Mother’s Day since becoming a mom.  I spent 4 years avoiding Mother’s Day and trying really hard to not lose my shit while seeing anything regarding Mother’s Day.  After spending so long avoiding Mother’s Day, it really snuck up on me this year.  I had been so focused on Orion’s 2nd birthday and then was so exhausted after that I did not see it coming.  Last week I called to make brunch reservations, but my top 3 choices were already booked (this also happened last year and next year I will make the reservations early, like maybe next week). 

My mother and I at my Bridal shower August 2005

My first Mother’s Day was the most difficult ever since Orion wasn't even 2 weeks old. I was still recovering from a Cesarean section and adjusting to being a mom while missing my mother more than I had since her death. I wasn't sure I could be a mom without a mom.  While I was in labor and stuck at 3 centimeters for about 5 hours, I really wanted my mom. I remember crying for her and thinking there was no way I could give birth to this baby without her. That was when I asked for the epidural and soon after there was a tingly party inside my body and I relaxed.  I never progressed beyond 3 centimeters but at least I was feeling better, thanks drugs! 

about 2 weeks old

Those early days, I had so many questions I wanted to ask my mother that I had never thought to ask her while she was alive.  While she was living, kids were nowhere to be seen in my future.  Once I met Patrick, I thought that maybe I could have kids because I would have them with a man who would be the best dad ever.  But it wasn't until after her death that I really wanted to start trying to have kids but my health problems and eventual M.S. diagnosis put it off for a few years.

maybe 6 months old or so
almost 2!
Being a mom without a mom is one of the hardest things I have ever done especially after losing my father when Orion was only 6 weeks old.  I do not have them to call to complain/cry/question/wonder/brag about being Orion’s mom. I can’t talk to them about what I was like as a child to see if Orion is like I was as a baby.  I do wonder if I would be a better mom if I still had either of my parents to guide me through being a parent. I lost a piece of my history and part of my future self with their death. And Orion lost really incredibly awesome grandparents. I could always see my father as a grandfather but had a hard time picturing my mom as a grandmom.  My mother would have knitted the most adorable things for her grandchildren. I get jealous of other kid’s hand knitted things and it reminds me of a missing piece. 

It took me this past year to realize that what I do have really outweighs their absence.  I have all of the important things they gave me during their life.  I share the same sense of humor, fearlessness, honesty, and directness my mother had.  I can still hear her voice in my head telling me “what goes around, come around” and “shoulda, woulda, coulda”.  I have her example of doing kindness for people in need and caring for them. She showed me such strength which I only have a fraction of but what got me through some really difficult time. I am who I am because of my parent’s love for me.  My relationship with my mother was never perfect but it was ours and we honestly loved and respected each other.  My parents also instilled in me a deep love for enjoying books, music, and food which I am passing down to Orion.  He will never met them but he will know of my mother’s love for The Rolling Stones and Mick Jagger.

I am not a perfect mom and sometimes I get frustrated but I am always trying to do better. I am also trying to stop comparing my life to those around me and what I see portrayed in the media.  I see my life and home as perfect when it stands alone but when compared to others I see shadows of doubt that grow larger the longer I look. Since I cannot compare my current life of being a mom to the life of my mom, I look around me and see the life of other moms in my community and online.  Then I remind myself that what I see of their lives is only the tip of the iceberg and comparing each other is all apples and oranges.  Our commonality is that we are all moms trying to do the best for our children and our family and (hopefully) our community and world. 

Even though life is filled with so many conveniences these days, it seems harder than ever to be a parent.  There is so much information on what you should do and not do and how this thing will change your life and you really need 2 of these in case you lose one of them.  It is so overwhelming and super easy to get caught in a downward spiral of reading article after article instead of doing what is really important, like paying attention to your child and, oh, I don’t know, sleeping. It is so easy to question yourself and wonder if you are feeding your child the best food and avoiding all of the toxic chemicals that seem to be in everything.  I remember that PSA catch phrase “The More You Know” and it makes me think the more you know the more insane and agoraphobic you become.  So, I just take a breath and a break from the flood of information and advice and focus on what matters. I parent with my gut and my heart. If I give all my love to this wonderful, special boy, he will grow up to be a loving compassionate person and that is what I value most.

1st visit to the doctors office, not yet a week old
3 months old
 I think this will be my best Mother’s Day yet because I am so proud to be Orion’s mom and I am finally feeling confident as his mom.  I feel like I do deserve to celebrate being a mom and not just on Sunday.  We started our celebrations early on Friday.  We went to Family Meal in Fredrick for a delicious lunch and in the afternoon took a nice walk with the dogs and Orion on his Joovy.  We got a babysitter for Friday night so Patrick and I could go see Iron Man 3 (this was the second movie we have seen together in the theater since Orion was born and the first one at night).  Saturday I went to the movies alone to see The Great Gatsby, I love going to the movies alone in the middle of the day. Today we are having my dearest mom friend and Orion’s best buddy over for dinner. I let Patrick get up this morning and deal with Orion and the dogs while I laid in bed and read The Marriage Plot.

Mother’s Day has given me license to let go of all my mom guilt this weekend.  I didn’t feel bad about holding up in the office to write this and print out about 50 pictures from Orion’s 2nd birthday photo shoot to send to family.  I also did not feel guilty about lying in bed to finish Everything Is illuminated (loved the movie, LOVED the book!). I even let myself enjoy a nice long shower yesterday without worry about what Orion was getting into.  It is these small simple things, hot showers, reading, and time alone that you really miss as a mom of young children.

Being a parent is not getting easier but he is sleeping thorough the night most nights which means I am getting more sleep which is magical.  We are weaning and only nursing twice a day for nap and bedtime (and if he wakes at night).  Now that the weather is getting nice, we spend as much time as we can outside before the dogs days of summer descend. We had a hard week but it was amazingly rewarding. Patrick was out of town for 4 bedtimes and I was exhausted being the only caregiver.  But I am also really happy that I was with Orion instead of sleazy Vegas at a conference.  Even though there were tears from both myself and Orion, there was a lot of cuddles and laughs.

almost 2!
My baby is growing up and I can see that he is developing into a wonderful person.  It is crazy to look at pictures of him from when he was born, last year, and now.  The baby fat is melting from his cheeks but the sweetness is still their in his smile. He is becoming his own person who loves cars and Yo Gabba Gabba and Gustafer Yellowgold. I love Orion with such an unimaginable strength that I really do not know how I ever lived without him.  I am amazed at the boy he has become.  He is so loving, happy, and outgoing. I love to watch him dance and point excitedly and speak new words.  He brings me tears of joy on an almost daily basis.  Since working on weaning I was afraid he might become cold but he has become more affectionate.  He will climb into my bed when I am reading after dinner and before his bath and just snuggle with me. His head fits so perfectly below my chin and against my chest.  It is nice to get this closeness without being a source of food.  I love his frequent hugs and his occasional kisses.  I love being his mom and our silly little family. 

almost 2!
This will be a happy Mother’s Day and I will think of my mom with sadness and longing and pride that she was MY mom.  I wonder if the way I feel about Orion even comes close to the way she felt about raising my brother and me.  When Orion is older, Mother’s Day will be another opportunity to tell him all about my mom and how his grandmom was a wonderful person. I want to wish a very happy Mother’s Day to all the past, present, and future moms in the world.  I know how hard this day can be for those who have lost their mom, lost children, or haven’t had their dreams of becoming a mother be reality. I want you to know that I am thinking of you and sending you love. I hope you can find some positivity and comfort today. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Gustafer Yellowgold Live!

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of seeing GustaferYellowgold perform at Jammin Java. At almost 2 years old, this was Orion’s first concert. I wasn't sure if he would be too young to enjoy the show but this doubt soon turned out to be unfunded even though he did seem to be the youngest of the mobile babies (there were one or two infants).  We paid $39 total for 3 tickets and then I spent $20 on a plush Gustafer and a plush Slim the Eel and it was worth every penny.

When we arrived, Orion was asleep in the car so we hung out in the parking.  Doors opened at 10am with the show starting at 10:30am.  I have been to many a show and know they never start on time. We woke him up at 10:30 and went inside.  I had never been to Jammin Java before which has a coffee shop up front with tables and benches taking up about ¼ of the space.  Behind a heavy curtain is a large room with chairs, a stage, a small merch nook, and an area with table and chairs.  Orion wanted to explore and quickly decided that up front climbing on the benches was the place to be.

I noticed the merch area and the plush dolls which I never knew existed.  Even though I was very much in the not going to buy Orion anything because his birthday is coming up, I had to buy him a Gustafer and then Slim looked so cute, so done and done.  Orion was happy to hold his new friends, one for each hand.  It wasn't until the gentleman who sold me the toys got on stage that I realized he was Gustafer, Morgan Taylor.

Orion wanted to explore and ended up climbing the stairs all the way to the top to say hello to Jimi. The show was about to start and I did not want to miss anything. The last two rows were empty and some tables as well, there was also space to sit on the floor in front of the stage.  Patrick took a seat in the back, I attempted to get Orion to sit on the floor with me but he would not be contained.  When the music started it seemed to startle Orion.  He sought comfort in his father’s lap clutching his new friends until he figured out what was going on.  This made quite a cute sight!

I have lost a bit of hearing during my early concert going years and have a hard time hearing a person if they are not facing me.  The volume was not too loud and the sound was really quite good.  I have to say I think he sounded better live that day than when we listen to him on Pandora.  I really like his voice and you could hear the texture it had, good job sound guys!  The music is mellow and he asked who was “ready to soft rock” which I thought was very cute.

One reason I thought Orion would enjoy the show aside from his love of music and dance is that Morgan Taylor is an illustrator and all of the songs have very cute illustrated videos.  Orion loves TV almost as much as he father does and if a TV is on he will usually watch it. We have watched the Mellow Fever DVD a few times (checked out from our local library!) and it has held his interest.

The music is very cute and sweet with a great sense of humor. Mr. Taylor did a great job interacting with the crowd, asking questions, waiting for replies, telling little anecdotes, and even did a live commercial for eel chow (so cute!).  It did not take very long for Orion to warm up and climb down from daddy’s lap.  He started to walk closer to the stage and then I was able to sit on the floor with him in my lap.  Eventually he got out of my lap and stood closer to the stage and danced a bit.  He also wanted to explore the cables on stage and the tall tripod with the projector on top.  Thankfully is was easy to redirect him away from these things and he did not cry about it.  He was the only kid who wanted to explore these items, I was amazed by how good everyone acted!

The show was about 45 minutes (or so) which was about the perfect length as lunch time was fast approaching.  Mr. Taylor raffled off an original handmade GY drawing which yours truly won!  Which Orion immediately creased and I still need to get framed.  Orion seemed very energized after the show and since the place was emptying out, I let him run around. I wanted to get a picture with Mr. Taylor and wanted to wait for the line to be nonexistent.  He was really nice about getting a picture and apologized for butchering my name and Orion’s when he announced the raffle winner. 

It really was a wonderful outing which I highly recommend.  Orion might be too young to remember this outing but I will and we have pictures to prove it! He is playing tomorrow in McLean but we will not make it because we have the great Cloth Diaper Change and I do not want to come off as a Gustafer Groupie (even though I am).  I hope we get to see him again when Orion is a bit older and might remember the experience.  Now I really need to own all 5 of their DVD/CDs which might become my standard birthday gift for a while.     

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A good day of nothing much

Today was a good day. Nothing special happened, nothing exciting, and actually it was pretty boring. But I felt good today, I had energy and managed to get a few things done. I got an undisturbed night’s sleep last night which may be responsible for my good feelings. It was one of those days where I was all “OMG, almost 3pm already!” instead of “Blarg, it’s not even 3pm yet?”.   As I write this, my husband is attempting to get our son to sleep (after I spent about 50 minutes nursing him), so I might be a bit premature in saying that today was a good day.

This morning we woke up around 6:30 and I made French toast for breakfast as that is the only way Orion will eat eggs.  I folded laundry while he watched Sesame Street, there was a lot of it and baby laundry takes forever to fold. By the time that was done and I was washed and dressed, Sesame Street was over.  We headed out just after 9am to run a few errands. While getting on 28, I noticed a fox in a patch of woods along the highway. I saw a fox in this same spot a few days ago so I will assume it is the same one. I shall name it Fanny (after Fantastic Mr. Fox). I know where he lives and am thinking about bringing him a snack. If I see him again I will stop and take a picture.

We went to Joann Fabrics so I could pick up a few things. I need to finish Orion’s 2nd year photo album before his birthday next week. I also needed to fix a necklace he broke which I was able to do while still in the store. I forgot to buy elastic for the birthday party masks. I also avoided all the fabric because the last thing I need to do is buy more fabric. I didn't save as much money with my coupons as I had hoped (always seems that way).  But Orion was a very good boy while we were in the store.

So I decided to push my luck and hit up Ross in the hopes of finding some shoes for Orion.  Didn't see anything I liked but picked him up a pack of 2 no spill snack cups to replace the one we have which is so stiff I can hardly get anything out of it.  I also got him a puzzle because I am a sucker and it had sprockets on it with construction vehicles. With his birthday being next week I might return it, we shall see. I keep saying that I am not going to buy him anything else and then I go and buy him something.  (Our recent trip to Ikea was 80% stuff for Orion which he didn't technically need but….) Since I was already at Ross I figured I would try to find some pants because nothing seems to fit anymore, found nothing.  Then I went looking for new dress to wear at Orion’s party. (Why is it I feel like I can only wear a dress once for a special occasion?)  I headed into the changing room with 8 items and was only able to try on half of them because Orion was pitching a fit.  He finished all his little cremes, did not want his chips, and ate half the pouch I brought. The good news is I did find one dress that I really liked for $16 and we did manage to make it to the check out.

On the drive home while listening to Das Pop, Orion fell asleep. I pulled in our driveway, rolled down 3 windows and read in the car while he slept.  He has had a little cold with a runny nose and congestion so he did wake up coughing a few times but slept for almost an hour.  During that time I was able to read and am less than 200 pages away from finishing A Dance With Dragons.  I want to hurry up and finish the book to see what happens but I also want to read just one page a day so the next book might be written and available before I finish this one.

We went inside and I made lunch. Brazilian beans and rice for Orion, I had potato salad and mashed up those same beans with chèvre and guacamole.  I enjoyed my lunch while Orion did not eat a single bite. He did play with it and dumped his plate all over the table.  I gave him a popcake which is like a rice cake but taste more like nothing with a whiff of blueberry cinnamon. It pretends to be food but I had picked them up a few days ago while shopping so he could snack on something after he dumped all his snack in aisle 8.

After lunch……we….what did we do? We played, I did the dishes, and he watched an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba.  We listened to some music, we danced.  About an hour or so after lunch I made a smoothie with carrot juice, coconut water, lemon juice, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, and mango. It was a bit hot and humid but not so bad that I had to turn on the air conditioner so I wanted something cold to cool off.  Orion and I shared it, he seems to be on a juice fast these days. Then we went outside and played in the backyard with the dogs.  

I played fetch with Fizgig while I walked around on poop patrol.  Orion ran around and played with his soccer ball.  I blew some bubbles for him much to his delight. Then suddenly he had his head stuck between 2 posts of the railing on our deck.  I had to help get his head free and then he had a bit of a cry. He attempted to stick his head in that same spot a few more times and got very upset when I thwarted these dreams.  (Update: Orion finally seems to be asleep after an hour and 25 minutes of almost being asleep!)

We needed a change of scenery so I took Orion outside in his Joovy tricycle and put the dogs on leashes so we could all go for a walk.  We did not get far.  Orion likes to drag his feet and was wearing new fake clogs (bought earlier at Joann) which I worried he would ruin.  We made it down the street, which took forever.  The dogs seemed happy to be out to mark their territory and there was a nice breeze.  No one seemed too upset when I turned back for home.

Back inside the fun and games continued. I gave Orion a little green machine smoothie because I knew he would drink it all down.  Then I set him up to put some foam stickers on paper which I was excited about but he only wanted to eat them. When I wouldn't let him eat them and he couldn't take the stickers off the paper once they were stuck on, he cried so that came to an end.  We read a few stories while he sat in my lap.  We got a bunch of new books from my super sweet Aunt and he only wanted to read the new books, none of his old favorites.

Then it was time to cook dinner.  I put on an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba and got to mincing shallots.  Next thing I know Orion is trying to climb up on the dog food bin.  He does this, a lot. This is why all of our chairs live in the laundry room until they are needed along with his art stool.  He likes to carry that stool around so he can get into trouble anywhere he wants.  So I had to strap him into his highchair.  I finished cooking (Soba noodles with shrimp and sugar snap peas) just a few minutes after Patrick walked in the door.

It felt nice to sit down to a yummy dinner (and a glass of wine) and be finished well before 6pm.  Orion was offered what we’re eating and a bowl of yogurt.  He likes to eat yogurt with his hands so dinner is usually messy but tonight he managed to keep his hair yogurt free so I call that a win.  Then I offered Orion a popcake and Patrick ate one too and was disappointed as they smell way better than they taste. Patrick and Orion played while I feed the dogs. Orion did manage to eat a piece of dog kibble, I bet if I served him dog food for dinner he would eat it up. They all went outside so I could empty the dishwasher without Orion trying to climb on the dishwasher door or wiggle between my legs to come between me and the counter to push me away from the dishes.  I washed the dishes and then it was time for Patrick to get Orion ready for bed.  (I would actually love to do the dishes every night just to do something without Orion.) 

Bedtime took forever but we only nursed 3 times today for about an hour and a half total which I see as a very big win. I do hope the end of nursing is in sight.  It was fun while it lasted but he is such a big boy and it will be getting too hot to have a little heater all up on me. I also did not get done all the things that need doing.  I managed to put away Orion's clothes but not my own. I am also in the midst of packing up outgrown clothes, switching over to summer clothes, and getting rid of all the things which no longer fit.  

Dude, I am exhausted but it was a good day even though nothing really happened  We all survived, nothing blew up, and I saw the universe in the swirly carrot colored curls on the back of my sons head.  This little days matter as much as the big days out. I was there for my family today and they were there for me, we all felt loved and that we matter.

Epilogue: Just a bit before 9 I put a pin in writing this to watched SNL and was in bed just after 10. I have now spent close to two hours writing this post.  Orion ended up waking up around 9:30 so we saline sprayed his nose (which he hates, he used to lean forward to put his nose on the nozzle) and we nursed for about 15 minutes. Then he woke up again around 1:30 we nursed for about 15 minutes. It is now 7:13am and it sounds like he might be waking up, I hear him coughing but no crying. Shame I did not wake up a bit sooner so I could get a cup of coffee in me before baby wrangling.  But I was sleepy, and so starts another day…

Sunday, February 24, 2013

When to spill the beans and the fear of miscarriage

Currently, I know a dozen or so pregnant women. I have never known so many pregnant women. I have only known about 4 or 5 pregnant woman at any given time.  But now that I am a mom, I am hanging out with more moms than ever before. Some of these expecting ladies will be first time moms and some are having their second child. Some ladies announced their pregnancy as early as 6 weeks and some waited till 14 weeks.  I remember when I was pregnant Goggling, “when can I tell people that I am pregnant?”.  As if there was some law or hardline rule about when to share happy news with the people you love.

We told my father as soon as we knew I was pregnant because that was my father’s request. He had been excited for a while to have a grandbaby finally living on U.S. soil.  I am pretty sure we told a few other close family and friends but I really cannot remember. Thanks to Facebook, I found this wall post from October 20th 2010:

“Yesterday I got to hear the heartbeat of my baby. And it is starting to look like a baby instead of a squiggle. It was too cool! So it is really official, I am 12 1/2 weeks pregnant, we expect our bundle of joy May 1st. Can't wait to find out if it will be a boy or girl.”  

So why did I wait to announce my news? Part of me wanted to keep the news to a very select few people so it would just be us sharing an exciting secret. Another part of me was afraid that I might lose the baby so I wanted to wait until the first trimester was over. This is an extremely common fear and one of the main reasons people wait to announce their pregnancy.

According to , the likelihood of a miscarriage is 70% in the first week, then drops to 30% in the 2nd week, 10% in weeks 3-6 and 5% in weeks 7-12, 3% during the 2nd trimester and 1% during the 3rd trimester. says that “Approximately 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage; some estimates are as high as 1 in 3. If you include loss that occurs before a positive pregnancy test, some estimate that 40% of all conceptions result in loss.” I know of women who have had miscarriages and my heart goes out to them. I am sure we all know someone who has had a miscarriage even if we are unaware of the miscarriage.  It is something people do not talk about even though it is fairly common.

I have not been through that experience and hope I never do so I can only speculate how I would handle such a loss. I am a person who is very open and honest. I think I would talk about it and I am sure I would write about here to help me work through my feelings. I always feel better after talking and writing about issues. I think it would be helpful for women who experience this type of loss to talk openly about it in a safe environment. That might not be your Facebook wall but maybe it is if that will help you deal with your emotions. I find it can be easier to write something that is too say to say out loud.

If you have never been pregnant, you might not understand that as soon as you know there is a life growing inside of you, you begin to bond with that life and think about your future together. If you lose that baby before you even knew it was there, you will still think about what could have been. It is hard to grieve and morn any death. I can imagine it is more difficult to deal with the loss of someone who never lived outside of your own body because people might not understand and won’t know what to say.  People might not understand how you can be so upset over someone who never saw the light of day and people in general don’t know what to do when a person is dealing with death.

I try to never let fear hold me back from doing something.  Announce your pregnancy when you want to, in a way you feel comfortable whether that be phone, text, email, or Facebook. If you just got a positive pregnancy test and want to tell someone, go ahead.  If your pregnancy ends in loss, I really hope you will tell someone and talk with supportive people. You may find that you know other women who have been through miscarriage and can support each other

Did you know that October 15th is National Miscarriage and Infant Loss Remembrance Day?  It was started by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Here is a great site to learn more about it

While writing this post I found many websites dedicated to breaking the silence surrounding miscarriage.  I thought it was very well put on when she wrote: 

"I was angry because I am expected to carry a triple burden: the burden of fertility; the burden of pregnancy itself; and perhaps most of all, the burden of silence if a pregnancy is lost."

Let's try to make our burdens as light as possible.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mom’s Day Out

I recently enjoyed my very first day away from my 21 month old son. Last summer I had hoped to get a weekend away but I also did not expect him to still be nursing. In the fall of 2011 I did spend about 5 hours away but that was the longest we had ever been apart until this past weekend. When I left him for that 5 hour stretch I was worried about him and how my husband would cope, this time I was all “Peace out suckers!”
That morning I woke up before the baby, excited as if it were Christmas morning.  Once he got up, I changed his diaper (my husband usually handles the first diaper change if he is home) and nursed him for as long as he wanted. That turned out to be about 15 minutes which is half as long as our normal first feed.   He had breakfast and I got ready. Then I offered him some boob and he nursed for a really short period of time much to my surprise.  Yo Gabba Gabba was on, Orion was mesmerized in his little chair, and I ran out of the house around 8:45 as if I was on fire.

I jumped into our cute little impractical Fiat 500, turned the seat warmers on, scraped the frost from my window and got my CD selection together.  I was ready for the 2 hour drive to Richmond to meet up with a girlfriend (who has a 10 month old) and see the Chihuly exhibit (awesome!), enjoy a leisurely lunch, and some shopping.  If you saw anyone bombing down 95 south in the left land on Saturday with a huge shit eating grin on their face, it was probably me.  It just felt good to be driving the fun car and not the mom car (Scion XB which I do love) and listen to my music (not children’s music) as loudly as I wanted.   

As we walked around Carytown, I noticed some stroller parking signs and was so happy that it was not currently applicable.  I was able to go into a vintage shop without fear of grubby little hands destroying lovely expensive things. I could stop in every store if I wanted without worrying about a small man’s behavior or needs. Yes, I did have a milk box, peanut butter sandwich, and veggie chips in the car but they were in case I got hungry.

I was in the mood for big sloppy burgers so we walked down to Carytown burgers and fries. I would have been impossible to order a burger there while navigating a stroller, the place was super packed when we got there around 12:15. My girlfriend and I both ordered the Kojack with guacamole, fires, and a beer. I rarely ever drink while the sun is out but this was a celebration and I enjoyed 2 beers without worry of getting my baby drunk on my boob juice. How nice to not have to rush through a meal and to be able to eat my food while it’s still hot instead of feeding Orion.

Someday I look forward to taking Orion to all sorts of museums but he is at the age now where if he can’t touch it and run around he is not interested.  The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was crowed which usually drives me insane but I was in such a good mood and just happy to see people out supporting art and enjoying Chihuly’s wonderful glasswork.  We were able to take our time meandering through the museum and exhibit up to a point as I did have a 2 hour drive home and one could spend all day in that museum. At 4, we chatted over a hot cup of coffee without fear of it burning fresh baby flesh. Then it was time to go even though we did not get to talk as much as we wanted or see everything there was to see.

For the first time all day, I began to get nervous while driving home. How are my boys doing? What if I get a speeding ticket, or get into an accident or the car breaks down.  I played out each of these scenarios in my head. When I got near Fredericksburg, a light flurry of snow began to fall and most drivers in Virginia are clueless about driving in snow so there was always a slow down if we were driving downhill.  I was running a bit late so I called Patrick when I was about 30 minutes from home to let him know where I was.  I got home around 7pm and was very surprised to find that everything was perfectly fine

I walked in the house and Orion came running over to the babygate with a small toy mouse in each hand. He really wanted to show me his mice but the TV was on so he soon returned to his chair to finish watching his program. I was able to have a civilized conversation with my husband, tell him about my day, and show him the cute things I purchased. Then I asked Orion if he wanted to nurse. There was no reply until I turned off the TV and he was all “when did those boobs get here?”.   I nursed him and he was asleep in no time and slept through the night.

I was expecting to walk in the door to an upset crying baby and a husband at the end of his rope. Orion would run over to me, claw at my shirt and nurse for hours and be up a few times in the night. I was so happy to be wrong. That day we had 3 nursing sessions and nursed for just over an hour.  Since then he has nursed 7 times a day for 3-4 hours per day. This supports my theory that if I want to wean him I will need to leave him.  Working full time is starting to look pretty good. Now I just need to find a job that will pay me enough to cover the cost of daycare or even better has daycare available. Meh, I would rather be with my baby even if he loves my boobs more than me.

I made Patrick tell me all about their day together repeatedly so I could imagine it all in my head.  Patrick was also surprised by how well Orion did without me all day long. Orion napped in the car, then they went to the indoor playground. Keeping busy and having snacks is important to keep Orion happy.  But if there are boobs, he will want them and I have a hard time saying no but we are working on it.  Maybe in another 21 months I will be able to have a night away.  I hope it doesn't take that long but maybe once a month I can have a day away. I came back refreshed and excited to see my baby, I recommend it highly for every mom!