Friday, July 18, 2008

Want to feel helpless? Take care of a sick child.

Spunky Baby is sick.

Rewind six weeks: he got a stuffy nose 5 days after he entered daycare. Ah...three weeks later, it hadn't gone away so I brought him to the doctor: sinus infection and double ear infection, plus an abscess in his mouth where a tooth was coming in. Lucky him! So a round of antibiotics and voila! he's better three days into his ten day medication. I finished the meds as the doctor said, but near the end, he relapsed. So I called his doctor and the nurse said that it was most likely a different cold. That was three weeks ago. Over the next 10 days I called three times. Without a fever, it's not an infection so it's just a cold and will go away. OK...

He woke up Wednesday with a fever. I made an appointment and brought him in - to find out his ear infection (most likely) never went away and he needs to go on a different medication.

But this is the first time I've had to deal with a fever.

No fun. Limp, lethargic, moaning little boy with his head on my shoulder day and night. Even Children's Motrin isn't touching this thing. Poor little man.

The only thing that helps?

Freeze Pops with Pedialyte! No joke! I had no idea they made these. When I was little and was sick, my mom used to buy me popsicles. That helped replace some of the fluid lost. Years later, they came out with this Pedialyte stuff that helps with the electrolytes and other stuff lost while you are sick. NOW they combine them! Spunky Baby won't touch yogurt, crackers, or fruit. But he will eat his pops and reduce his fever. YIPPEE!

I just wish there was something I can do to make my baby all better...

Monday, July 14, 2008

First Steps: Where Were You?

Where were you when your baby took his/her first steps? Holding out your arms waiting for him to fall into them in a fit of giggles? Clapping with her as she smiles and holds her head up proud as a peacock?

I was in Manhattan. Five hours from my son.

At least I think I was. I'm not sure. I mean, I know where I was today, but I'm not sure they really were his first steps. So, I have to ask my mom friends: what, exactly, qualifies as first steps? One? Two? Three? Across the room? To an object?

Spunky Baby took his first real step on Thursday, July 10th. One step. Then, boom, down on the diaper. But a major first step! Then this weekend, he stood up on his own - without holding onto anything - for longer than he ever had before - maybe 30 or 45 seconds total.

Yesterday we had a house full of guests, so distractions were all around. He literally had 8 adults and 2 kids cheering him on as he stood there (see videos below) and took not one but TWO steps! Is that considered walking? If so, sweet! I was there and I even got it on camera.

Step one...(click photo or here to launch video)


Step two...(click photo or here to launch video)

Step two and a half...(click photo or here to launch video)


This morning I woke up at 4:00 and was on a 6:30 flight to LaGuardia - NYC. We had meetings all day for work. Spunky Daddy is doing a great job playing Mr. Mom while I am away (I'll be home tomorrow night). It's my first time away from Spunky Baby overnight (aside from the night me and Spunky Daddy left him and went out to dinner...) and the first time that Spunky Daddy is in charge for a full 48 hours.

He called as I was driving out of the city: Spunky Baby took three steps tonight.

Sigh.

My little man is growing up. So, all you parents out there...what did you use as the benchmark for "first steps" in the baby book? I'm curious to see if I was there and didn't pay much attention (one step), there and took video (two steps) or hundreds of miles away (three steps).

As guilty as I feel about being away from him tonight, I know he will be waiting for me with a big smile and open arms for a mommy-hug when I get home tomorrow. I hope traffic cooperates and brings me home before his bedtime...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Where was this when I needed it? Wishpot Delivers.

If you've read my blog for awhile, you'll know that I don't typically dedicate a whole post to a product or service endorsement. Bash? Yeah, guilty. But it's gotta be out-of-this-world for me to retreat to a quiet spot alone before or after Spunky Baby is in bed and Spunky Daddy is chillin' on the couch to write this...



The back story is a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (hmmm...or maybe it was on twitter a couple of months ago) I met an amazing woman. Her name is Jessica Smith and we seem to have a lot in common so it was an easy cyber-friendship. When I announced I was making a career change, she confided that she, too, was making a major move just days later.



Her major move: Chief Mom Expert for WishPot.



How cool is that?!?!



Do you know what WishPot is? In a nutshell, it's an online registry where you can aggregate items into a wishlist without restricting visitors/purchasers to retailers in particular. But, Wishpot was primarily a wedding registry site. This is where it gets cool: since the baby registries were not yet live nor announced, Jessica recruited several of us to be "Mom Experts" for Wishpot - we created wishlists as guides for other new or soon-to-be moms to use as resources for building their own baby registries and wishlists. That way, if you want a gorgeous custom layette from a boutique, you can register for just that without "making" a registry at the store, and still use Target, Babies R Us, etc. to register for other items. It also helps gift-givers bargain shop (if one store has your registry item on sale, you aren't locked in to get it at the other store).






I made several lists and was sure to add in comments - an important differentiator from other sites and registries. So, even though something is on the list doesn't mean it's a must-have. In fact, I am quite honest about my product reviews and some things were not wise in retrospect. So, hopefully the knowledge I have will be passed on to OTHER people via this wonderful service!



Want to see Sarah the Spunky Mommy's Mom Expert lists on Wishpot? Click here!



Yesterday, Jessica and Wishpot issued a press release (ah, my other life!) which was an uber-cool announcement titled "Wishpot Delivers a Baby Shopping Space with a Social Twist and Announces Partnership with TotSpot." Check it out - it features a quote by yours truly! WHOO HOOO! Here's the quote:



"It's like having a bunch of moms holding out their hands to help figure out what's worth it (and what's not!). I am happy to offer my own lists to make recommendations for all the moms-to-be so they can learn from my experience, and I look to moms of toddlers to help me make smart purchases for my son as he grows." -- Mom Expert, Sarah LaLiberte of Spunky Mommy



Oh, and make sure to also check out the Wishpot Baby Blog.



So anyway, I feel extremely privileged to be part of the elite group of Mom Experts for Wishpot. If anyone wants me to review their products on Wishpot or Spunky Mommy, I'm open so please let me know! I have to say that the last 12+ years as a PR gal make me extremely curious about the OTHER side of the business so fire away. Spunky Baby is 10.5 months now and we are having the time of our lives!!!



Congrats, Jessica, on a job MORE than well done. BRAVO and KUDOS to you! If you are reading this, you KNOW you can use this or you know someone who can so what are you waiting for? Go check it out!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Then and Now

Similar photos taken 10 months apart:
Age: 6 days old VS 10 months, 6 days old.
Weight: 7 lbs 5 oz VS 18 lbs 9 oz.
Length: 21 inches VS 30 inches.


Quote of the Week: Geography Lessons


Quote of the weekend:


"Guess what? I leave for Austria on Saturday! I can't wait - I'm so excited - I've never been to Germany before!"


- 12-year-old Spunky Kid about his upcoming baseball exchange trip...



We have a lot of work to do...I'm buying him a geography book to take on the plane.


(Editor's note: Actually there were TWO funny quotes this weekend...click here to read the other one on my "Chick on a Boat" blog)

Three brothers are we (plus Dad)


Check out the three brothers and Dad! Ages 22, 10 months, shall-not-be-told, and 12. What do you think? Who looks like whom? (Is that correct? I'm off grammar duty...)


Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Summer!

The guys on the radio said today is the first day of Summer. WOOT! Happy Summer!

Spunky Baby has a terrible head cold. He's wheezing and sneezing and all sorts of other 'zing things that are yucky. It's not fun for him. But it's amusing to hear a 10-month-old talk when his voice is hoarse. Yes, happy Summer...

He saw a woodchuck in our yard yesterday and totally freaked out - trying to climb out of my arms to go down and pet (what I assume he thinks is) the kitty. Uh, no...bad kitty.

And, now that Summer is here, his love of watermelon continues. Thank goodness! I swear he's one big watermelon lately!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Here a snip, there a snip...

...everywhere a snip snip.



How much cutting is required to qualify as "first haircut"? If a snip here and there - bangs and over ears specifically - qualifies, than yesterday (Father's Day, June 15th 2008) Spunky Baby had his first haircut!




Before, with major bedhead...


After, with kinda crooked bangs but a smile.


Who knew a baby could be so squirmy??? But we have a few tufts of light brown hair in a ziplock baggie to keep forever!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Location, Location, Location

When we decided to start a family, I never put much thought into the state in which we live. I don't mean mental or physical state - I mean "New Hampshire." Our house has an extra bedroom for our child, it is in a nice neighborhood on a dead-end street, there are decent public schools and tons of affordable private school options nearby, etc. I focused on the small picture.

Little did I know, the decision to relocate to New Hampshire in 2005 was actually a very wise move!

Today's headline: New Hampshire rated No. 1 for kids

Huh! Yeah, I knew that. I agree for the most part - no place will ever be ideal - but overall, it is a wonderful place. I'm happy to call New Hampshire "home". Now, if we can just get rid of the "Live Free or Die" license plates...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Tribute to New England's Heat Wave

The EXTERNAL air thermometer reading in my car at 4:06 p.m. in Bedford, MA on 6/10/08 (the good news is it was down to 104 when I got home an hour later!)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

You can call me "Flower" if you want to...

When you see an orphan animal, your heart aches and you just want to help.

This weekend, we made an unlikely friend: a baby skunk.



You can call me "Flower" if you want to...from Disney's Bambi

Flower joined us for a day at camp - he was calm, friendly and didn't stink! The kids got a kick out of seeing a baby skunk, and the adults were very cautious about letting the kids come close to a wild animal.






The skunk will do quite well in its new home although we will miss seeing him.

Who knows what new adventure next weekend will bring!?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mini Furniture Is Just Plain CUTE

Work With Me Here

Camping.


Well, if you call spending our weekend in a 35 foot long fifth wheel with central heat/air, a bunkhouse for three in the back room, queen bedroom in front, kitchen/living area, 27" HDTV w/ DVD and surround sound, and even a central vac "camping." But, we are on a lake in a small campground in Vermont, so camping it is.

Spunky Baby has been camping since he was two weeks old. He doesn't remember much about camping though, nor the rides to camp which run us about three hours. He slept for the first 2 hours of our trip. Then he woke up and couldn't understand why the heck he was 1) still in the car and 2) hungry. The last hour was very, very long...

But, we opened up camp and settled in for a gorgeous weekend. The weather forecast told us that it was going to be "one to remember" with sunny skies, summer temperatures, etc.

Reality: mid-50s and rainy with wind.

And the boat and the truck both broke (that's a whole other story).

So, while the others braved the weather, I turned up the heat and popped in Disney's Ratatouille while I made dinner.

Uh, oh...

I have a booster seat...but nothing to strap it to (there are padded benches but no rungs to attach the booster straps to avoid tipping - and he'll tip!)

Hmmm...

Well, I have a step stool.

TA-DA!

Instant high chair.

Spunky Baby does dinner and a movie in style...

A high chair where once was none.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Happy Provider Appreciation Day


Today, May 9, 2008, is Provider Appreciation Day. Timing is perfect - just before Mother's Day! I know I couldn't have gone back to work in November when Spunky Baby was just 10 weeks old unless I found a great babysitter - and I was lucky to have found her. Next month she moves far, far away and we are going to miss her. I've lined up childcare, but life without her won't be the same. She's like family. Thank you for all that you do!!!!!!!! I had planned to give her a little Mom's Day gift, so learning about this day of recognition and the timing of it is ideal!
To that end, anyone have any ideas on going-away gifts? I already have a few in mind (and a couple ordered) but I'm looking for something nice to give her as a lasting memory - always remind her of her time with Spunky Baby.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

You are getting sleepy

I thought MY little one was the only one who did this!


Note: click on the photo to launch the video on cnn.com

Traveling Man (with crib issues)

Spunky Baby will never be the same.

He's mobile. Truly mobile.

Crawling forward and backward. Falling down, rolling over, sitting up, and pulling himself into a standing position. He's trying to "furniture cruise" but having a difficult time walking sideways. He's mastered forward-walking-holding-Mommy/Daddy's-hands. He's getting faster every day.

And we are tired. So tired. I know we were lucky and never experienced sleep deprivation. Now that he's so active, we never stop moving as we are literally following him around as he attempts to terrorize our house.

Nothing is safe. Baby-proofing (an ongoing process) has begun in earnest.

Sigh.

But here's my delima: Spunky Baby is having trouble going to bed now. If he's extremely tired, he fusses for a bit and falls asleep. But if he's just tired and it's time for bed, forget it. We've always put him in his crib awake so he's learned to put himself to sleep. Now that he's so active, I put him down on his back and he rolls over, sits up, pulls up on the crib bars and looks like a prisoner in jail as he yells at us "GET ME OUTTA HERE! I WANT TO MOVE AROUND!!!"

I always thought that if we got to this point that we would just "wait it out" and he would eventually fall asleep. I believed that children are "safe" in their cribs. I didn't realize the dangers...

So, try to picture this: Spunky Baby is standing on the edge of his crib mattress looking out through the bars. One foot slips under the breathable bumper and out between two bars and he falls. Now his one thigh is caught between two bars and one entire leg is outside the crib. But, because it wasn't both legs, his other leg is inside the crib (doing the splits) and his poor little face bangs the crib bars and he's squished up against the bars and immobile. So he SCREAMS and I run to help - it's actually quite a challenge to dislodge this little leg with a hysterical child flailing around. That's why I don't have a photo to show you what actually happened.

A view of the slats on his crib...with the breathable bumper. See the problem?

And it didn't happen once. Twice. No - three times in ONE DAY.

I've moved the bumper down to try to stop this problem and now, because it's lower in the front, he is stepping on it to try and push it down or, if he's lying down, he gets his leg up over it and out of the crib: stuck again.

Do any baby product companies have a product that will remedy this problem? I'll try to get some photos next time he does it - because I know he will - but when he screams I rush in to help and think about photos after the fact.

Double sigh.

He's at the stage now where he's falling asleep in funny positions. His latest was sitting up (the photo doesn't do it justice - he's sitting up, slumped over onto blankets on his lap, sound asleep. Awww....


My sleepy little boy gives in and falls asleep sitting up, slumped over.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ode to Lemons

A fellow mommy-blogger and tweeter (twitterer?), Simbaco, contacted me last week.

TAG! I'm it! Here's the inside scoop project Lemonade Meme.

I had to do some soul searching to find just the right topic. She posed the challenge (below) and offered the perspective: "I believe sometimes the worst in life can become the best in life."

Rules:

* Copy and paste these rules to your blog post.

* Link back to person who tagged you.

* Write about an incident in your life you first thought was really bad, but ended up being a blessing.

* Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.

* Let each person you tagged know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

(* And if you want some extra good karma - link back to her original Lemonade Meme post too.)

To preface, one of the things that this meme made me realize is just how good my life is. I have a wonderful husband who loves me more than anything in the world, an adorable, perfect little baby boy who is happy and healthy (and sleeps through the night), an extended family who would do anything for me, a wonderful home, comfortable job...all the things I would ever want or need. It was really a challenge to move beyond the daily ups and downs and find a true defining moment.

I had several personal events floating in my head, but they seem so distant. So, I am opting to write about something I am going through right now. It may not be as major as some of the other Lemonade Meme bloggers' events, but I think the message is important so I will say what's on my mind.

I have a lot of changes on the horizon. Suffice to say that I may be turning my life upside-down in the near future (and stay tuned to hear about all these wonderful new developments!). However, in looking at the bigger picture, last week my husband brought me back down to Earth.

Reality Check: None of these things matter!

Who cares where we live or work or what car we drive. Seriously? Should I care? Do you think my son cares? No one who is important in my life really cares. What matters is that my family is together and happy and healthy. That's all that matters.

And because I have them, I am whole.

Sometimes life gets in the way and overshadows what's really important. I have a smiling little boy to remind me why I am here: I'm the best Mommy in the whole wide world to him. And a loving husband kisses my cheek and wakes up beside me every day: I'm be best wife in the world to him. Sure, other women may be better moms or wives to their family, but to mine, I'm the best and that's all that matters.

So, the lemons I've been experiencing these last few months while stressing about making big decisions gave me a big, tall, cool glass of lemonade this weekend - just in time for the warmer Spring weather. I am blessed and I am grateful.

Other decisions? Well, they still are on the horizon. Maybe closer. Who knows? I need to take a step back and realize that fate has a hand in everything that happens. I offer the world my best and if it's meant to be, then it will be. Otherwise, it wasn't right and the invisible hand was guiding me away, telling me to be patient as something better will come along.

Promise?

Promise.

Now, I have to tag a few other bloggers...some are friends, some are my favorite blogs! Don't think I can keep it to six...this is too good not to share.

Chicky Chicky Baby

Three Dogs and a Baby

A Mommy Story

Mommy Needs A Cocktail

Playgroups are No Place for Children

Ladybug's Picnic

Petroville

Mommy Bits

Adventures Of Monkey Mama

A Deaf Mom Shares Her World

Mom To Two Scouts

Trendy Mommies

I will leave a comment on you site to let you know you've been tagged. Make sure to let me know when you post! If you aren't on this list and want to join the lemonade meme party, leave a comment below and just follow the rules.

Peace. Happy Earth Day everyone.

Monday, April 14, 2008

CompUSA: Customer Service 2.0

Well, they came through. Amazing what a blog post can do.

CompUSA - I hand it to you. You are doing things the RIGHT way. You listen, respond when appropriate, and make things happen. A very frustrated customer last week is now (almost) a happy customer. All I have to do is fax you a copy of my original agreement and things will be handled appropriately. Happy customer achieved! And I'll get a check for $330!

Thank you, CompUSA and Lonny, for listening.

We've been customers of TigerDirect for years and now that CompUSA and TigerDirect are together, you'll see more of us.

If only...

Last night the movie "If Only" was on when we turned on the TV, so we pressed "rewind" which brought us back to the beginning (ah, the joys of DVR) and watched it. Well, I have to say, Spunky Daddy watched it, while I juggled an octopus on my lap and caught every fifth word before finally letting him fill his belly with Cherrios and putting him to bed. However, I've become very good at this and therefore was able to take in the movie with the ease of an octo-ped handler.

I have refrained from doing a google search - I have no idea if the movie was a blockbuster or bomb, and have no idea what other people thought.

My comment - huh?

WARNING: Spoilers Ahead

I watch movies for the feel-good effect. I love comedies and avoid dramas. I like sci-fi but hate horror. "If Only" is a drama with some comedy - a great love story. I thought I was going to walk away filled with love and appreciation. Sigh....

Summary: Jennifer Love Hewitt's character Sam is a budding professional musician living in London. She is in love with this corporate-type guy Ian. Ian is constantly focusing on "me" and forgets about the biggest day of Sam's life - her graduation concert. So, they have an argument before he leaves for his big work presentation. He flubs the presentation, goes to her concert, ignores her music students, takes her out to dinner where (with prompting) he tells her he "adores" her and thinks they should "soldier on", then he informs her he isn't going to her mom's wedding next week in the US because he has work to do. She is very upset, tells him she may not come back, gets in a cab and the cab gets in an accident - she dies. bring out the tissues.

The next morning, Ian wakes up and in "Groundhog-Day" style (minus the comedy), he finds he's reliving the same day so he decides to try to either 1) change fate or 2) make today the best day ever.

The love story of that day is awesome! So awesome that I thought it would have a happy ending!!

WRONG.

(Here's the spoiler)

HE DIES! Instead of her, HE dies! But he tells her how much he loves her and appreciates her and shows her the best day of her life in the meantime. But, did I mention, HE DIES!?!?!

I dreamt about this all night after the movie was done. Umm....aren't these things suppose to have a happy ending? The guy realized the error of his ways so give him a break! Now Sam has to live with the death of her love! I understand lots of good came out of the day they spent together, and she knew how much he loved her when he died, but seriously?! How could they do this?!?!

I needed a warning.

"THIS IS NOT A WARM AND FUZZY LOVE STORY MOVIE!"

No. I was blindsided.

My husband always says to me (while we are squabbling over stupid stuff) "What if something happened and we were upset about this? Would you want this to be the last thing you remember?" No. You are right. It's not worth getting upset over so many little things. But if the moral of the story is "Do the right thing and instead of someone else dying, you will!" I may have a harder time internalizing it.

Now, I'm exaggerating. The love story did make me smile. I just wish I hadn't watched the end. I liked it better that way. Lesson or no lesson - I don't want to watch anyone die and the people that they leave behind have to carry on with the pain involved.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Another Customer Service Catastrophe: CompUSA

What is it with bad customer service lately?

Twitter complaints are up and things are getting done, so I figured since the *telephone* isn't doing me any good, I would tell you about my experience.

CompUSA sold us a television back in 2005 - one of the big-screen LCD TVs that you can't easily put in a car and move around. We are not usually ones to purchase extended warranties, but after talking to friends and the rep at the store, we realized that if even a BULB goes on this thing that it will be a several hundred dollar repair. Much more than the cost of the extended warranty. OK...sign us up! Paid, TV came home, everyone was happy.

Until this week.

I've spent HOURS on the phone with poor customer service people at "Assurance Solutions" in Atlanta, GA - the person I spoke to (Mia) wouldn't give me her name or number (WHY?!?!) to contact her directly and said that the warranty I had with CompUSA was transferred to them with the specific exclusion to NOT cover TV bulbs (A $330 repair) - that the physical CompUSA stores used to cover bulbs so yes, my original contract had bulb coverage, but now that there are no more CompUSA stores, bulbs are no longer covered.

Does this sound like breech of contract to you?

I'm furious. Going to try to get in touch with CompUSA corporate. How absurd!!! I'm going on day 4 - faced with a long, rainy weekend - with NO TV because these guys can't honor a contract I paid A LOT OF MONEY FOR back in 2003.

If anyone knows how to help move this along, please email me at sarahlaliberte@yahoo.com. Thanks.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Say Cheese...that's not what I had in mind

Spunky Baby is learning that when I hold up the shiny silver box, make faces, and beg "say cheese!" it means a really bright light is going to blind him in the immediate future and he might as well just ham it up because it's beyond his control.

WARNING: Ridiculously cute and funny images below - proceed with caution...

Here I am, cute as can be, a normal baby...

Mommy says "Say Cheese" so I start to ham it up...

This is fun - maybe I should do this all the time now?

If I pucker up and add a "grr" maybe they'll laugh...


Now I'll just look like I'm holding my breathe until she puts that camera away.

WHERE DO THEY LEARN THIS STUFF?!?!?!

It's (going to be) A GIRL (in August)

No, not my child. I'm not expecting. Sorry.

I'm going to have a new niece! We just found out - it's a girl - child #3 for my little sister. We haven't shopped for girl things in 7 years. Oh, where to start!!!

I have a few more months before being a new Auntie - again! *BIG SMILES*

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Childcare: Good help is so hard to find!

I'm picky. Sometimes I can't even put my finger on why I like/don't like something, but I have an opinion. And I second guess it. all. the. time.

I admit it!

I'm also pretty lazy when it comes to certain things - it's not unusual to hear me say "please don't ask me to stop at the grocery store on the way home" and "I sure hope my car has enough gas so I don't have to fill up before my commute this morning."

Last night, my wonderful (add every good adjective you can think of here and it'll describe her) sitter called. She is moving - out of the country - and gave her notice for June 1st.

I knew this was coming - she was honest back in November when she took the gig that she would not be staying more than a few months. She even told me in January she thought it would be sometime in July. I nodded and said that I would start working on a replacement. I didn't. I was in total denial.

June is two months away. I don't want to let her go! She loves Spunky Baby (almost) as much as we do. She has watched him since he was 10 weeks old. She is at my house 50 hours a week. She comes over on snow days to watch him while I telecommute. She babysits overnight once a month when we have a date night and get home super-late. She never minds me being 15 or 30 minutes late because I had to *grumble grumble* stop at the grocery store or if traffic was bad. She's always on-time, dependable, caring, etc. - all the things I look for in a sitter. And she is affordable - a rare gem these days. Plus she lives three doors down and walks to our house! How spoiled am I? We love her and she's a part of our family. I know this has been a difficult decision for her as well. But I'm selfish. She's great and I don't want to lose her.

Now, sadly I must find someone else. Daycare? Sitter? Nanny? My house? Someone else's? Center? Other kids? Ages? Location? Cost? Licensed? I issued a plea to friends and family for assistance in finding a suitable replacement - I really would like a personal recommendation rather than resorting to Craigslist or online sites. (Here's where the picky and lazy problems arise.) I have a list of qualities I would like in the next sitter. Yep, I'm being picky. No matter what list I put together, I'm confident that "I'll know it when I see it" once again when the fit is right. I just started looking today and I'm already in a panic about finding someone.

I do believe that beyond the emotional separation, childcare is the hardest part about being a mom working outside the home.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Songs about children, pregnancy, twins?

When I was expecting Spunky Baby, there was a song on the radio that made me cry every time I heard it - The Riddle by Five for Fighting. It's a happy song - a song about the relationship between a parent and a child. I still cry when I hear it!

A good friend of mine is about to have twins - a girl and a boy. WHEEEE!!!!!!!!!

So I am putting together a basket of baby gifts. Aside from the usual stuff, I am compiling a list of songs I need to download and burn to a "Welcome Home Babies" CD for her. Over the last month or so I've heard songs and thought "I need to put that song on the CD!" Did I write them down? Of course not! Now I only have a couple of weeks before the little ones arrive.

I'm issuing a plea for help.

Help!

Here are the songs I have so far, plus some other ideas that are either “older” children songs (as they get married or move away), songs about unconditional love that make me cry, or songs about children, pregnancy, etc. I found through google searches:

  • Let Them Be Little, Billy Dean
  • Handprints on the Wall, Kenny Rogers
  • In My Daughter’s Eyes, Martina McBride
  • One Boy, One Girl, Collin Raye
  • American Child, Phil Vassar
  • Butterfly Kisses, Bob Carlisle
  • Two People Fell In Love, Brad Paisley
  • My Wish, Rascal Flatts
  • My Front Porch Looking In, Lonestar
  • When a Man Needs a Woman, Beach Boys
  • Baby Mine, lots of people such as Bette Middler
  • Daughters, John Mayer
  • Miracle, Celine Dion
  • Beautiful Boy, John Lennon
  • Thank Goodness for Kids, Kenny Chesney
  • Baby Mine, Dumbo
  • Daddy’s Hands, Holly Dunn
  • Real Life, Jeff Carson
  • Baby Shoes, Clint Black
  • Lily’s Lullaby, Clink Black
  • Baby of Mine, Alison Krause
  • Creed, Arms Wide Open
  • I Loved Her First, Heartland
  • Stealing Cinderella, Chuck Wicks
  • There Goes My Life, Kenny Chesney
  • All American Girl, Carrie Underwood
  • Ready, Set, Don’t Go, Billy Ray & Milley Cyrus
  • Father & Daughter, Paul Simon
  • You Can Close Your Eyes, James Taylor
  • When Your Love Someone, Bryan Adams

Does anyone have any other ideas? Not all of these are appropriate for her, and most are country (it's what I tend to listen to...but she listens to a lot of other stuff so I want to include a good mix.)

My goals is to make her a wonderful gift. I know a side effect will be lots of tears from a postpardum hormonal mom, but she'll still love it, right?

You know there are songs that made you cry when you were about to become a parent...and songs that make you teary today as a parent! What tugs YOUR heart strings? Please leave a comment with your suggestions!

Wooden Block 1, Baby 0

I never believed it existed until I became a parent, but yes, there is such as thing as parenting instinct. I am a pretty laid back (albeit Spunky) mom, and I tend to let my little guy explore and learn on his own. As long as he's not in real danger, he's free to explore if he bumps his head, then hopefully he'll learn "the dinosaur is hard - remember not to headbutt it next time I am playing."

At 7.5 months, he is VERY curious. He's been sitting for 2 months and is bored with just sitting, so now he leans forward onto his two hands and moves his legs/feet into classic crawl position. Then he rocks back and forth. He was content (and proud!) with this for about a week. We thought, "oh, he's getting ready to crawl!" That changed this weekend. Just getting into the crawl position has become "so yesterday." Now he's determined to move forward. He just hasn't figured out how to do that part yet, so he typically move one hand and lunges forward about a foot. He flops down on his belly and wiggles like a fish - all four limbs flailing. Of course, this gets him no closer to his final destination, but it makes for an enjoyable "how cute?!" experience for us, his parents.

Last night, Spunky Baby was performing his latest little tricks. There he was, sitting up playing with his wooden blocks (all 26 letters are scattered around our family room). I was sitting arms-length away talking to him and encouraging him. He dropped his block and leaned forward. Nothing new, right? Except this time, when he lunged forward, he didn't have a clear runway. Nope. The "H" wooden block was in his landing zone. Direct connect with the upper lip.




Surprisingly, there were very few tears. It looks worse than it really is - it's just a triangle-shaped scrape (exactly where the block's corner connected with his face).

So, Spunky Baby received his very first "war wound." Wooden Block 1, Baby 0. Time to plan revenge...


Darn you, "H" block!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

I'm happy to report that your happy thoughts worked. My uncle, who was admitted to the hospital on March 6th, came home late last night. He spent more than two weeks in the ICU and a few extra days on the regular floor before being released last night. It'll be nice having him home again - and I'm sure he's happy to be home. Thank you for all your words of encouragement and understanding. I appreciate it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter! No naps!

Spunky Baby decided to stay up ALL DAY yesterday. This is the same kid that snoozes for 4-5 hrs a day during his naps. Nope - not on Easter! People to see! Places to go! He made it without too much of a fuss and slept to/from dinner in the car.
We had a nice Easter with Spunky Daddy's family, and Spunky Baby ate mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, mac and cheese, and turnips and carrots. Yum! No ham...unless you count him.

Oh, and we found him an Easter outfit. Thank you, Sears.

Friday, March 21, 2008

My (Guitar) Hero


Daddy, is this is G-chord?


Yes, I am right handed. Thanks for getting that straight. Duh, Mom...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Finally. Hot Water.


Spunky Baby thanks you, furnace guy #2, for his nice warm bath last night.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

So $150 wasn't a bargain

We woke up this morning without hot water. Again. After it was "fixed" yesterday. Sigh...

Plus it was snowing.

And, to top it off, Spunky Baby was showing "sick" signs.

So...

Call furnace guy first who tells me he can't fix it but maybe his buddy can. So call furnace guy #2 who agrees to come over around 10:00.

Call pediatrician second. After waiting on hold for 15 minutes I get an appointment for Spunky Baby at 2:00.

Call into work. I work about an hour or so from home, depending on the traffic. With those appointment times there's NO WAY I can go to work and juggle this schedule. Plus, did I mention, it's SNOWING again?!?! I explain I have a dead furnace and a sick baby (make sure not to incite panic by mixing those two up.)
There goes my day.

The sitter watches a very cranky fussy baby while I work from home on my laptop. I feel guilty that she's dealing with him in such a foul mood and I think he just has an ear infection or something not contagious so she's OK watching him, but still... I break to talk to the furnace guy (very nice guy - Pete - he ended up being here 1.5 hrs so this isn't going to be cheap and I still have to pay for yesterday too - ugh), work again, eat lunch, work again, go to doctor's office (Spunky Baby is fine, no ear infections or anything, probably just a bug or little virus, if it gets worse call...), work again while he naps because I sent the sitter home, and then Spunky Daddy calls to tell me he's working late and will see me around 11:00 or so, so I give Spunky Baby dinner, bath, playtime, bottle and put him to bed, then check in with work email one more time just in case something came through (I try to do more when I have to work from home - I am an excellent telecommuter and I don't want anyone to think I'm slacking off...). Finally I throw in a load of laundry, do the dishes, clean up the playroom, and collapse on the couch.

Now it's 9:45 p.m. and I'm ready to fall over from exhaustion. What the heck did I do today that wore me out?!?

Goodnight, all. Hope tomorrow is better. If I don't have a hot shower in the morning, you'll hear me in San Francisco...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I Need Hot Water

Do you have any idea how many times a day you use hot water when you have a child? Let me tell you, in the last 24 hours I learned it's a lot. Laundry. Dishes. Rinsing things in the sink. Using a wet washcloth to get the carrots and cookies off Spunky Baby's face and hands (he HATES cold water). And when you don't have hot water, things get tough. Sure, you can microwave a cup for some uses, but what about his bath? Or MY shower? Or the supplemental heat for the upstairs (we heat primarily with a wood stove ducted to the first floor...but it was 13 degrees last night...we need some extra heat to help warm us!)

Yesterday morning we woke up to very little hot water. It's happened before and to fix the problem we just go down into the basement and manually fire the boiler. That's what I did. Many times. Even waking up at 2 a.m. to go down and fire it to make SURE I could take a hot shower this morning. Fast-forward to 6:00 a.m. No hot water. Darn.

So the furnace guy is coming out to look at it this morning. I'm just thankful the sitter is at home and can let him in. Right now I can't imagine trying to take a morning off of work to deal with this.

"Dear Furnace Guy: Please don't call and tell me that I should come home and say goodbye because it lived a good life. I don't want a $6,000 replacement bill. Not this week..."

I'm still not out of the funk from yesterday.

Update: It was a $150 fix. No new furnace needed. Whew! I'm taking a hot shower when I get home. And Spunky Baby will get his bath. Good times!

Monday, March 17, 2008

So You Had a Bad Day

Queue the old music from "American Idol."

I'm having a bad day. A "down" day. I'm just not happy today. I'm on the verge of tears and I need to go to work. A bunch of things all got together and ganged up on my emotions to train wreck me today. Every so often they do that. One at a time I can handle, but when they all decide to come in together, then things get ugly. Also, today is the 19th anniversary of my grandfather's sudden death. Anniversaries like that drudge up memories and make me even more teary-eyed.

But Spunky Baby just smiled at me. He makes me feel better. Of course, soon I'll be at work without him and missing him will make it even harder. Stop focusing on the bad and focus on the fact that soon you'll be home again with him! Sigh...

Oh, I hate days like today.

At least the sun is shining.

I'm going to go read other people's blogs. They make me smile.

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Like a Mommy Bird Feeding Her Baby Bird

Spunky Baby likes to EAT.

A lot.

He is still skinny even though he eats a lot. That could be because his little legs are always moving. Even when he sleeps! But that's OK. Maybe he has Spunky Daddy's fast metabolism and not my turtle-slow one (which is why Spunky Daddy sneezes and looses 10 lbs but I diet, exercise, and do everything "right" but still gain).

So at his six-month well-visit three weeks ago, he pediatrician starts by saying some kids don't take to solids for several months after they are introduced. She gave me the go-ahead with cereals and purees at 4 months, and we found out immediately that he likes to eat. So, she asks about a typical day. I tell her the truth and I don't think she believes me. After talking with her about what is normal for him, she give me the "thumbs up" to feed him whatever he can handle (of course, within reason), so I thought I'd share...

Spunky Baby's schedule:

7:00 - 7:30 a.m. - wake up, play until Spunky Mommy and Daddy go to work

8:00 a.m. - 8 oz bottle (formula)

8:30 - 9:30 playtime

9:30 a.m. - 3 oz pureed fruit (or sometimes fresh fruit - kiwi, watermelon, banana, etc. cut up very small), 3 oz oatmeal, 2 oz cottage cheese or yogurt, and a crunchy biscuit cookie plus a 4 oz sippy cup with water and < 1oz.

10:00 - 12:00 - naptime (2 hrs or so...)

12:00 p.m. - 8 oz bottle

12:30 - 1:00 playtime

1:00 - 4:00 - naptime (2 hrs or so - sometimes 3 in the afternoon)

4:00 or 4:30 p.m. - 8 oz bottle

playtime - Spunky Mommy gets home around 5:00ish.

6:00 p.m. - 3 oz pureed or finely cut up soft veggies (avocado is a favorite right now), 3 oz rice cereal, 2 oz cottage cheese or yogurt, and a crunchy biscuit cookie plus 4 oz sippy cup with water and < 1oz.

7:30 p.m. - final 8oz bottle

8:00 p.m. - bedtime

Lately we have a new problem with feeding Spunky Baby. I swear we cannot be in the same area code and put a bite of food into our mouth without also putting something edible into his mouth. He throws a fit and wants whatever we have. Did he hear the doctor say it was alright? What gives? Case in point: last night I was eating leftovers - Pork Chops with Onion and Mushroom Sauce. Not the type of thing I would feed to a six-month-old. I was alone with Spunky Baby and he was playing, quite contently, on the floor with his toys. The microwave buzzed and I grabbed my dinner.

He smelled it before he saw it.

His back was to me. His head was down and he was leaning over playing with blocks. When the dish came out of the microwave, I swear he sat bolt upright, whipped his head around 180 degrees and let out a pitiful whine.

I managed to get the food cut into bite-size pieces so I didn't have to go Neanderthal on my dinner, ripping meat off in chunks. But no sooner was the knife set down and the fork lifted to my mouth then I heard a terrible noise.

"Eh eh eh eh eh eh eh... WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

Translated from baby-speak, that means "I want a bite too Mommy right... NOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!"

Spunky Baby is quickly scooped up and propped on the couch next to me (yep, multi-tasking at its finest - I DVRed both American Idol episodes and managed to avoid hearing who got kicked off so I was watching them, eating dinner and trying to keep Spunky Baby entertained. Not easy.)

"Eh eh eh eh eh eh HMMMMMMMMMMMMM...."

I really wanted to finish my dinner (it was good!) What can he eat here? Not pork chops. But sauteed onion? Sure, why not? And I'll dip it in the cream of mushroom soup.

I put a tiny little bit on the fork and turned toward him.

Spunky Baby looked like a starving baby bird with his mouth open wide enough to drive an 18-wheeler through.


I put in the bite.

Close. Chew. Chew. Chew. Swallow. Mouth open WIDE again with "AH AH AH!" sounds emanating. My baby bird calling for his Mommy bird to feed him. Oh, how sweet.

Now, Spunky Baby has no teeth. But he has "accidentally" bit me (many times) and his jaws are STRONG. Small pieces of soft onion? No challenge there, Mom.

So, before he ate the REST of his dinner last night, Spunky Baby had about 15 bites of COM soup and onions. One bite for me, one for him. And he loved every one of them. Before I put him in his high chair to eat his real food, I gave him one last bite. It was no bigger than the size of this "0" - a piece of pork chop. I don't think he even knew it was in his mouth. Swallowed. Gone.

This kid likes to eat. Who am I to complain? Feed me, Mom, I'm yours.

Maybe I'll try beef jerky next week. Or not.
"Hey Mom, you gonna eat all that? I can take it off your hands...here, gimme that..."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Feel-good news story: You have a friend in me

Every so often you hear about a beached whale and it's sad. Yesterday I heard a news story on the radio about pygmy sperm whales in New Zealand that were saved - rescued - by an unlikely hero.

Moko.

Moko is a dolphin. He's well known by locals and seen often swimming in this particular area.

The human rescuers had all but given up - the two whales weren't budging and from what I understand the sandbars were so numerous that even if they were freed from one, chances are they'd beach again unless they knew the way.

Enter Moko.

He knows the way out.

The whales were about to give up when Moko the bottlenose dolphin came in, did all his dolphin chirps and squeels, and all of a sudden, both whales "woke up", listening to him for a minute, and made one last valiant effort to save themselves. And they moved! But, the sandbars were still a problem. So Moko, the good little dolphin, showed them the way out! I guess he literally swam this way, took a right, swam that way in between two sandbars, etc. until he was out to sea with the whales right on his...heels (flippers?). AMAZING!

This quote is great: "I don't speak whale and I don't speak dolphin," Mr Smith told the BBC, "but there was obviously something that went on because the two whales changed their attitude from being quite distressed to following the dolphin quite willingly and directly along the beach and straight out to sea."

Moko, the altruistic dolphin.

Now, don't you just feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

In return for his help, Mr. Smith went into the water and gave Moko a nice pat. Awww...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

In Search Of...Easter Outfits!

Quick! What's the first thing that comes to mind when I say "cute Easter outfit?!?!"


I bet you thought up something like this:
I admit I did too. But I am dressing an adorable (so says I) little boy for Easter this year. So what are my options? The selection for boys stinks, the sale prices aren't as good, and you have to buy multiple pieces (pants, shirt, sweater vest, jacket, tie, etc. vs. girl dress and maybe hat.) My friend Melissa and I were discussing this little problem this morning.

The other day I went to one of my favorite second-hand children's clothing stores. I walked by three big displays of little girl Easter outfits - with all the frills, lace, flowers, hats, etc. How adorable! But I couldn't find the boys outfits. So I said to the clerk, "Could you please tell me where I can find boy Easter outfits?" and she said "Oh, they are mixed in with the girl outfits on those racks..."

I went through all the clothes on the rack from 0-12 months and I swear there had to be 100 girl outfits. How many boy outfits? 2. TWO! And neither were 1. in his size or 2. something I would put on him.

There are very few options for boys unless you want to dress them as a sailor, a bunny, or in a full suit. Plus, most Easter suits for boys have shorts. Um...in New England there's still a high degree of chance that it'll SNOW Easter day therefore he needs PANTS. Either way I'm betting I have to bundle him up in his snowsuit to head out to Easter Dinner. Poor little boys...I'm off to find something cute and appropriate for my Spunky Baby...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Melt Down

It was bound to happen.

This weekend it did.

Spunky Baby was due to eat at 5:00. We went to a store and there were VERY long check-out lines. Thinking we were still safe, we entered the check-out line at 5:15 with a very happy baby.

Queue the theme from Jaws.

Du-duh...

Fast-forward to 5:40. We are JUST checking out now, with a not-so-happy-but-still-okay baby who is pulling at his Mom's hair and trying to grab everything in site like a 17-lb octopus (how many hands does this kid have?!?). I am juggling Spunky Baby with one arm and trying to sign the sales slip with the other. After the cashier hands me the sales slip I take a close look at it.

"Did you take off the 10% from my coupon?"

"Uh....."

Oh, no.

"I'm sorry but you'll have to go to customer service and they'll immediately credit it back - it's a two-second fix. I am unable to do it at this register."

Du-duh....


Grumble grumble grumble.

So, we trek up to floor #2 and find the customer service desk. I send Spunky Daddy out to get the car because it's in the next zip code and the wind is howling. I figure we'll be out in 5 minutes and we can get into a nice warm car.

Fast-forward another 20 minutes. It's 6:00 and Spunky Baby is STARVING and BORED. He is also overtired and the more tired he gets the cuter and louder he talks until BANG he's throwing a tantrum. He's shrieking like a banshee and I'm trying desperately to calm the natives. We are quickly entering tantrum territory - one I have only seen a handful of times and I know it can be avoided so I am doing everything in my power to head this off. No such luck with the customer service reps. Can they not SEE the melt-down in progress?

"I need your frequent buyer card."

Huh? I don't think we used it....

"It says on the sales receipt there is a credit from your frequent buyer card and we cannot fix this until we have the card."

Well, it must be with Spunky Daddy who is out getting the car. I'm on the cell with Spunky Daddy trying to keep my language PG as I'm in public: "GET IN HERE. NOW...." Spunky Daddy comes in. He says he didn't use the frequent buyer card. ?????

Du-duh...

So I say, "Listen, I need to leave. Now. I'll just take the stuff and call customer service tonight from home and we'll take care of this later on."

"We can't let you leave the store - we canceled the original receipt/transaction and have to ring you up again before you can leave with your things. In order to do that we need your frequent buyer card."

(through clenched teeth) "BUT I DIDN'T USE A FREQUENT BUYER CARD...."

So the customer service rep hands me a sales slip for $75 MORE than I paid originally which now includes the 10% off but charged me $100 more because she can't find said frequent buyer card. WHAAAAAAAAATTTTTT?

Du-duh...
Du-duh...

It took at least another 15 minutes to realize that the first cashier rung up the sale under frequent buyer card when he should have rung it up under trade-in (long story short). If they had simply asked the right questions I would have been on my merry way!

Now Spunky Baby has lost it. Arched back, big tears, wails that could only mean that monkeys are pulling out his fingernails. Kicking. Hitting. Me.

Spunky Mommy wasn't far behind - I had tears welled up in my eyes and I was D-O-N-E.

Here's your receipt, have a nice day.

Yeah, nice day. Have a nice day.

Did you every try putting a screaming six-month-old in a five-point harness car seat while he's having a tantrum because he's hungry and tired and wet and you should have been HOME by now? Nice day.

Du-duh....

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Everyone needs to think happy thoughts...

We received some very sad news this morning - my closest uncle was rushed to the hospital overnight and when they realized how serious his condition was they brought him via ambulance to UMass Memorial Hospital. He is in for emergency surgery right now and we are all holding our breath. It's the type of call no one ever wants to receive. Things like this really make you realize that "you never know" - he went to bed feeling fine and woke up at three a.m. in a world of hurt. I talked to my aunt and she's hanging in there but just requested "happy thoughts" to get through this. I may be heading to Worcester later today. Please please please send all your good thoughts his way and I'll update when I can...

Update one day later: Good news. They seem to have caught the problem in time and he is on a long road to recovery. I didn't go to the hospital yet - visitors aren't encouraged right now - but hope to see him in a couple of days. Just the other day he said he hadn't seen my little munchkin in awhile and so I was looking forward to seeing him soon. We'll make sure we see him REALLY soon now. You just never know. Thanks for all your kind thoughts and well wishes. It worked!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

You'll give me how much?


I have one child. One. A boy. He's pretty easy. So far.
Of course, I have friends and relatives who have more than one.

Two seems do-able.

Three, you seem to be entering "challenge" territory.
But do I know anyone who has four or more young children? I would have to really think about that.

Then tonight on my commute home listening to the radio I hear that Turkmenistan is offering a one-time cash bonus to families who have lots of kids. Isn't that nice. So, how many kids do you need to have?

Oh....EIGHT or more.

WHAAAAAAT?!?!?!

Eight kids!? 8? That's a handful. That's more than the Brady Bunch! Oh, to sweeten the deal the government will not only give you $250 they'll also pay your utility and dental bills and let you ride public transportation for life.

AH! Well, if you put it that way...

Nah. Still not desirable from my standpoint. Throw in a lifetime of our household income, adjusted for inflation, health insurance, mortgage payments for the house I would need to support all those kids, food and clothes, paid vacations at exotic locations for mom and dad, a live-in nanny, butler and maid, and a college education for each child and MAYBE we might be closer to a deal. Maybe.

Disclosure: I had to look up where Turkmenistan is...I don't remember it from fifth grade geography. I don't think it was called that when I was ten. Well, it's north of Iran and Afghanistan.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Goodbye, Mommy Tummy

I still haven't lost the baby weight. Yeah, I know...give it a year...blah blah blah. Well, Summer's coming and I want my body back. I look at photos in my first trimester and I looked so thin and healthy! I miss those days. I feel like a dumpy mommy and I don't want to be that way. Plus, I haven't exactly WORKED at losing the baby weight either and with Spunky Baby about to become REALLY active he needs a mommy who can keep up with him.

I gained (gasp!) 60 lbs from the time I found out I was expecting until I was admitted to the hospital when he was born. I remember coming home from the hospital with my brand-new 7 lb 15 oz baby boy and thinking "I must have lost 25 lbs!" So, two days after he was born, I did it. I stepped on the scale.

Now girls, if you haven't had a baby before and think, like me, this sounds like a good idea - I warn you, DO NOT DO THIS. Almost all the post-baby endorphins and happy thoughts were wiped away in one fell swoop when the scale came back and told me I lost...6 pounds. SIX POUNDS?!?? I just had an eight pound baby and all that other stuff fell out of me too! My stomach looks like a deflated balloon, complete with the stripes and crinkles - how could I possibly only lose six measly little pounds?!?!

It's true. I swear. I have witnesses (a house full of people and a sleeping baby who heard me bellow from the upstairs bathroom while standing on the scale). I guess I was "retaining water." Yeah, right. More like a swimming pool.

The good news is that one week after my son's birth I was down 20 lbs.

The bad news is that six months after my son's birth I am still only down 20 lbs TOTAL.

I have not lost a single pound more in that time. (Actually, this isn't true. I lost about 10 more lbs, gained it back, lost it, gained it...my normal weight fluctuates about 10 lbs so this wasn't abnormal to me. The HIGH number of my weight is the 20 lbs loss...)

Now, Spunky Daddy decided about three or four weeks ago he wants to tone up. So he joined a gym and works out an hour every day at lunch. He's already down 10 lbs.

Then there's me...

So what am I going to do about it?

First, I'm going to find and actually READ the book my doula loaned me. My tummy still has folds. Yuck. So, I'll figure out what I need to do. Then I'm going to pop it in the mail back to her. Six months is too long for me to borrow a book, especially a book I should have read when my son was born.

Second, I am going to go out this weekend and buy a few things: a new pair of sneakers and a nice sweatsuit for me to wear when I walk at lunchtime while at work. It has been really hard for me to find the time at work but I need to. This is important.

Third, I am going to walk at least 3 times a week. I figure realistically I could do more but if I aim low I won't be disappointed. Then when the weather gets better, I'll "up" the number. When it's nicer I can pull out that wonderful jogging stroller that our dear friends gave us and put it to good use. I figure by Summer I'll be jogging 2-3 miles a day again 3-4 times a week (like I was when I got pregnant).

Fourth, starting on Monday, I am going to dedicate myself to eating better. Not a diet. Just eating less food and making better choices. I don't do well on diets. I do do well with guidelines - and gray edges. And I'll start to use my favorite food-tracking website again. HUGE help.

I've done it before and I can do it again. When I was in grad school I put on about 70 lbs over three years. Ugh. I committed myself to losing the weight and had a great doctor who helped me meet my goals - I lost 65 lbs in 6 months and would have kept it off had I not found out ON THE DAY I HIT MY GOAL WEIGHT that I was pregnant. Not that I'm complaining. It's going to make losing the baby weight that much easier.

I'm already 25 lbs closer to my goal than I was when I started losing weight last time.

I want to look at family photos and of photos of me and my baby and smile, not cringe. I'm not happy with how I look and I need to do something about it. I don't want a double chin. It's a me thing.

Also, I'm following a fellow mommy-blogger, Susan, and her husband on their weight loss journey and I am inspired. When she posts bikini photos, I'll be right behind!

I just hope I'm not too disappointed that when I reach my goal weight my skinny jeans still just don't fit because of my mommy hips.

Nah....

My mantra: Nothing tastes as good as being thin and healthy.

Anyone want to join me? Leave comments and we'll connect! Maybe we can start our own community blog and all contribute. Tell me if you are game!

Monday, March 3, 2008

A Bridle Shower

There are many occasions in life when a "shower" is held to celebrate something - a marriage, a baby, etc. A bunch of friends and family, typically female, get together to eat cake and give a small token or gift for the next step in the guest-of-honor's life.

If you know my family, ANY reason is reason enough to have cake and party!

But recently my aunt gave us a great excuse for a party...she adopted a horse! "Sammy" is set to arrive in April and my aunt is SO EXCITED!!

So the rest of the family decided to throw her a surprise bridle shower (I'll put puns in RED - ha!) We told her it was just a brunch with the girls to celebrate my sister's baby number three, and she believed us.

First we had cookies made that look just like her horse. At the restaurant, we had the cake inscribed "May the HORSE be with you" and we made her a carrot corsage. I made up a baby book for Sammy (a page with his pedigree, photos and info on his mom, dad, sisters and grandparents, fill-in pages for how they met, his homecoming, etc. and a TON of horse treat recipes in a cookbook). We all chipped in for a feed bucket with treats, a lead, brushes, and all-things-horse. She has new decals for her car that say "My Morgan Sammy" and another that says "My Best Friend is a Morgan." Plus we gave her a gift certificate for a local store where she'll be buying most things for Sammy once he arrives.

When she walked in, we all neighed rather than yell "Surprise!"


We heard all sorts of strange horse laws and then played a horse trivia game (Aunt She won, of course.)

IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!

And we all were able to celebrate that she is Getting HITCHED.

Come to find out, this isn't an original idea. I know other people must have horse showers - it was nice to see others ideas too!

Also, I guess there's a song with the title "May the Horse be with You." You can read the lyrics by clicking HERE or hear part of the song HERE.

Maybe next time someone adopts another animal we'll have a shower!!! To see the rest of the photos or video of the actual surprise moment, click HERE.






Saturday, March 1, 2008

I knew I wasn't going crazy

At least about this. Other things are still up for discussion.

New Hampshire nears all-time snow record

Friday, February 29, 2008

There's a first time for everything

Spunky Daddy and I had a wonderful dinner out together last night with 11 of our friends and then stayed overnight near the restaurant rather than driving 1.5 hrs home just to drive back this morning. Our first baby-free night since his birth! Spunky Grandma offered to watch Spunky Baby overnight, so when I left for work yesterday morning, this was the last thing I saw...


Does this hat make me look fat?

As Paula Abdul said "You are ridiculous. I want to squish you, squeeze your head off, and hang you from my rearview mirror."

Well, not really, but you get the point.

SEE YOU TONIGHT AFTER WORK PEANUT!!!!!!!!! I miss you. XOXO

Don't say I didn't warn you

So, if you read my next post, we spent the night last night at a hotel near the restaurant where we ate dinner. I spent two days agonizing over whether the room would be nice. I'm afraid of dirty hotel rooms (thanks, mom...) and just wanted a safe, clean room to spend the night - from 11 pm to about 6 am. That's all.

Today I open up my email and TA-DA! I wish I had this yesterday.

Here's a resource for others out there like me.

It gave my hotel (Wingaersheek Motel) a thumbs-up and I agree.

And if you ever are on the North Shore (Mass) and want an excellent dinner, I can't say enough good things about The Windward Grille in Essex. I've eaten there twice and had two of the best dinners of my life - very reasonably priced and excellent.

Now I know where to look to find out about hotels - and if you want to cringe, read the reviews of the hotels that made the naughty list. Yikes.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Workaholics? Check.

According to a new study by Men's Health Magazine, and published by WebMD, my city is the most overworked "in-need-of-a-vacation" city in the country.


Bravo, Manchester, bravo. (you can read the study here, here, or here)


Summary: We are a bunch of workaholics who are overstressed with high blood pressure and long commutes and desperately need a vacation.


But what I want to know is why the subtitle is "Where men work too hard"?


Ummm...what about us working gals?! OK, I'll cut them some slack since it IS a men's magazine. Just know that it SHOULD apply to both genders!


On the brighter side, my reporter friend noted that Men's health also says Manchester men are in great physical shape, have great credit, and meet lots of women for fun dates. So, it's not all bad.


Vive La Manchester!





Innocence

Few things in life are as happy or innocent as a baby and his first balloon.




If you have trouble viewing this video, the direct link is: http://picasaweb.google.com/myjezi/February2008PhotosVideos/photo#5171849668466872514

and if you want another laugh, you can see the sequel...

http://picasaweb.google.com/myjezi/February2008PhotosVideos/photo#5171851833130389714

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Does you child drink bottled water? Important!

This week 6-month-old Carter is staying with his Auntie Rachel while Mommy works (our sitter is on vacation). Auntie Rachel runs a daycare and is in-the-know on all things kid-related (she has 2.5 kids - 7, 5, and one on the way).

I dropped Carter off yesterday morning and told her that she can use filtered tap water or bottled water to prep his bottles. She asked what I use at home (filtered from the fridge door). Then she asked a question which surprised me:



Does your city offer water with fluoride?

Huh? Um...I don't know.

A visit to the city water works page, click on FAQ and it's the first question. I confirm that the city began fluoridating treated water in December 2000 at a dosage rate of 1 ppm as recommended by the NH Department of Environmental Services and Centers for Disease Control. OK...

But then she says, "OK, but does your water filter remove the fluoride from the tap water when it filters."

Sigh...

Google search that one, and I find out that the fluoride is still there.

Double OK...so what?



Come to find out, this is important!!

She explains that her doctor and dentist told her that children need fluoride and that bottle-water babies have problems with their teeth because they are deprived of this fluoride (I think breast-fed babies get some via mom, but formula kids don't).

Carter has had a little of all three: breast milk for a couple of months, bottled water for a couple more, and now filtered tap for some time.

IS HE SAFE!?!?!

Call the pediatrician...

The nurse says that coincidentally they had a meeting with the dental association just yesterday (timely question!) and YES YES YES! It is recommended that ALL formula-fed babies drink fluoridated water for dental health (regardless of whether they have teeth yet or not). And that they recommend starting babies on water with fluoride at six-month but if you are using it earlier, even better. If your child drinks only bottled water or well water, you should consider giving him/her fluoride supplements.

Her pediatrician agrees and we live in different states.

However, this is not a universal recommendation. There's a huge debate out there about what is recommended!

I would be interested in hearing what your child's doctor says! Please post comments and share.

I understand there is controversy over this though. With my family's history of bad teeth, I figure this is a good thing, so Carter will continue to enjoy filtered tap water (bonus: it's cheaper!) However, all ideas are welcome...