Friday, November 28, 2008

Jonas discovers Norman Rockwell

During my mom's Thanksgiving visit we took a scenic ride out to West Stockbridge, MA, to check out the Norman Rockwell Museum. Mom's a huge N. Rockwell fan and thought that it's never to early to start imparting some of her passion for Mr. Rockwell to her grandson.

Grammie and Jonas by the miniature train village.

It's a great museum, although truth be told, I didn't get to read all of the little write-ups next to each painting or frame. I was bouncing, shushing, and rocking a very gabby and bubbly baby through the galleries. He didn't seem as interested as I was in reading all the good work of the curatorial staff, but he sure caught the eye of one complementary docent. :-)

Mom and Jonas took a break downstairs in the "art zone" where Jonas could blow off some steam and play with the blocks.

After I had a chance to go back and see a few more paintings, I joined them.

We thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I'm sure we'll be visiting again soon. Maybe then I'll have a few more minutes to read the descriptions.

After our excursion to the museum, we stopped off at a terrific little deli-cafe in Great Barrington, called Bizalion. I struggled to decide on just one sandwich as I drank in the site of a hundred delectable French and Italian goods--a huge collection of cheeses, saucissons secs, aromatic olive oils, condiments imported from France, and on and on it went. I finally settled on a prosciutto panino with mozerelle, tapenade and pesto. It was glorious. A perfect way to end a fun and educational (??) trip.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Warm wishes go out to everyone for a happy and hearty Thanksgiving holiday. We started our turkey day with a brisk run in Schenectady's Cardiac Classic 5k.

For years, I've done a good run on Thanksgiving morning, be it a bona fide race or just a nice training run, just so that I could indulge guilt-free in an obscenely large piece of pumpkin pie with an equally obscene amount of whipped cream. I love all the tastes of this holiday meal, but the pumpkin pie with all it's warm and earthly spices is the best.

Joe went out for his pre-race trail run, nice and early. Way too early for me, thank you. He returned at 8:30 to round us up: me in my running tights, which I haven't worn since the early months of 2007 when I was training for the half marathon, and Jonas bundled up like an eskimo and "stuffed" into the baby jogger. Jonas was about to "run" in his first race.

My goal was to get through the whole 3.1 miles without walking. I've been running off and on, and for up to 30 minutes, but it hasn't been a continuous 30 minutes with an additional 15 minute warm-up. Seems so funny to think that getting through 3 miles with no breaks was my goal, when just over two years ago I was aiming toward pushing up my mileage from 6 miles to an unfathomable 13. Well anyway, all of that was B.C. (before child). I was just so thrilled to be out there doing my first race since having Jonas. Joe ran with me while pushing Jonas. Our moms cheered us on from our street corner and near the finish.

I'm happy to report that I did finish the race with no stops and in 35 minutes and some change. I also enjoyed every bite of two slices of pie! Hey, I deserved it.
The problem is that now that the holiday season is here, I'm going to have to up my mileage, so that I can enjoy more than just a slice pie. That's ok, too, though. I've been itching to get back into the habit of running. Who knows, I may even have a special announcement about that after the holidays, but I'm going to keep you in suspense on that one for a bit.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Nine months doctor visit

Jonas' nine month doctor visit went well. He's getting over his cold and things are on the up and up. He's still in the upper 90th percentile for his age in weight and height. He's 30 inches long and weighs nearly 23 pounds. I've finally come to grips with having to put away the baby bjorn. We've got to get a backpack, or I'm going to end up with major back problems.

We discussed at our appointment how we're entering the phase where the child begins to act up, throwing some little tantrums. Our doctor said that during this period the child starts to "develop an opinion about how he wants things to go" and when they don't work out, begins to protest a bit. It becomes more challenging to just divert their attention when you direct them away from something you don't want them to chew on or play with. Hearing this was timely, because only a week before this appointment we noticed the beginnings of this behavior. We redirect Jonas away from Ginger's food bowl and he throws a fit in his walker, screaming, crying, crashing his walker into everything. It's kind of amusing, but we try not to laugh, of course. My friends tell me that the silver lining in this phase is that the earlier it starts, the faster you get through it. So, here we go...

Jonas' hair has really filled in over the last two months, as you can see above. I had always thought that getting the first trim would be one of the rites of passage once he reached his first birthday. I have to say, though, I think we may need that trim sooner than 1 year. His hair's gotten a little unruly--it's pin straight, except when wet, has a mind of its own, and is growing so long that I think in another month it'll hang down into his eyes. You can't see that so much in the first photo, because I've "fixed it", but most days, despite my efforts to comb it, he crawls around sporting this napoleonic coiffe (you know the look--those grand tableaux with Napoleon and his windswept hair?).Not exactly an age-appropriate look for our son--or, at least, not the look I really want him to have. My friends with girls have the option of using a barrette to keep that renegade hair out of the eyes. I don't foresee utilizing that one, though. So, we'll see what happens.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bugs, bugs and more bugs

This is how I found Joe and Jonas when I came home from work yesterday.

Our little guy has been tackling teeth issues and a couple of orny viruses for the last two weeks. He's been working on three (we think) teeth. Two of them came through last weekend, the two upper ones. There's a lower one still to come. Last week we learned first hand about baby fevers, then it went away for the weekend, only to return at 104 on Wed. That was a little frightening.

Yesterday we split the day so that both of us could go to work for at least half the day. Jonas couldn't nap well. After I left, Jonas only had two 10-minute naps until he finally conked out while lying on Joe. We're on day 3 now, and as luck would have it, Jonas' 9 month appt. with the pediatrician is today. Between the doctor visit and Auntie Sarah's visit this weekend, I think his spirits will perk up.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Finding Grace

I'd like to share with you a story of hope and inspiration. My dear friend Marlena started a blog recently and I wanted to share it with my friends and family because it's a testament to the human spirit. It's called Finding My Grace. Check it out.

This is Marlena. (Ha ha, Marlena, I stole your work head shot!) Among the many labels that characterize her identity (mother, wife, friend, comedienne, colleague, aspiring runner, Martha Stewart protege, among many others), she is also waging her own war on the thyroid cancer that was discovered last year. After undergoing countless diagnostic tests, multiple surgeries, low-iodine diet regimens, and a course of radioactive iodine in a span of just 14-15 months, Marlena has just embarked on year two of her assault on the 'highly differentiated' cells. (We share an office at work, so I've even learned a thing or two about thyroid cancer in the past year.)

She told me that she wanted to start a blog to chronicle her adventures as she navigates her way through dealing with cancer, while facing the challenges and embracing the joys in all the other facets of her life. This is not a blog that recounts all of her medical procedures, providing a blow by blow descriptions and unpronounceable scientific terms. That's not Marlena's style. Hers is a blog about life, living it to its fullest, and as you might guess from the title, finding grace along the way. It's funny, honest, endearing, real, moving and inspirational. You don't have to be a cancer patient to enjoy it, although if you know of someone who is dealing with some heavy medical issues, perhaps you might share this with them. Please take a visit.

Our story

Let me tell you a little more about Marlena.

We met in 2005, when she returned to Emma Willard to work in my department. I liked her from the moment we met. Effervescent and spunky, Marlena has an infectious, good-natured, high pitched cackle of a laugh that resonates throughout the old walls of our building. I sensed a devilished streak in her early on from the twinkle in her eye.

She and her partner in crime, Ariana, injected daily laughs into my life at a time when I really needed it. We all celebrated her joy at the birth of her son Owen and marriage to sweetheart Jeff. Then, at the age of only 27, Marlena was diagnosed with a somewhat rare form
of thyroid cancer. I was stunned by the news. It was even more disturbing because I knew that Marlena had lost her mother to cancer at a young age, although it was a different form of cancer altogether.

For the next year I would be continually amazed and inspired by Marlena's courage and determination. She has really taken life by the horns and grown tremendously. When I start to get overwhelmed with the petty, minutiae of life, I take a moment and think of Marlena and the challenges her family regularly faces. It puts things back into perspective for me. I am moved by her optimism and resilience and humbled by her wisdom. And though it may be difficult for her to believe, I even find my own grace through her.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Teething woes

I'm so happy to report that Jonas cut his first (upper) tooth today. It's taken 3 months for this one to come through and it's been no picnic for him. This week was especially challenging. We were all up most of the night for a few days. And one night Jonas developed his first fever. From what I've learned, the high fever was due to a coincidental viral infection, not a direct cause from teething. In any case it was kind of scary. It was 102.
Everything's good now, though. He's happy since the tooth broke through. TBD on whether the other will come through right away. He got the bottom two at the same time. Here's to hoping to get another night of uninterrupted sleep.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Jonas Tries Raw Bananas!

I had to put this up because Jonas' facial expressions are so funny. Here he is trying raw, mashed bananas for the second time. The first time was not a success, and, as you'll see, I don't think Jonas would give them a rave review the second time either, judging by his reactions. (He does like bananas in a jar.)

What I don't understand is if a food a so repulsive that it nearly gives you a convulsion, why eat more?? It's a question to which I'll never have an answer--at least not for several years.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Nice relaxing morning

I took these photos yesterday, just playing around. They turned out so cute that I had to share them.

Sometimes I like to reject the hustle and bustle and just have a nice relaxing morning.

I'm a big fan of pbs kids shows. Like to ease into the day. Even though Jonas doesn't watch them with half the interest that I do, it's fun to snuggle and talk to him about what's going on on It's a Big World or Arthur. I always want to call "Snook" (the sloth), "Sloth". I guess I can't get Goonies out of my head.

Looks like Jonas is actually interested in what's going on.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

8 months already!

Here's a much over-due update on Jonas, who is already 8 months old. Short and sweet.

Teeth: two bottom teeth. two razor-sharp choppers. these came in a few months back. he goes through teething spells, but so far no new teeth.

Hair: is really filling in now, and as it does, it's becoming darker and more unwieldy. it's pretty straight like joe's hair.

Temperament: continues to be very expressive. there is no ambiguity in reading jonas' feelings. he's quite inquisitive. lights up around other children and animals. i'd say he's pretty patient except for once he's run out of patience, and there is never any advance warning on that. all in all, jonas is a 'good baby'.

I was so excited to use this little gadget with the netting so that Jonas could try some fresh fruit. I served up some nice fresh banana. You can see that it did not go over so well. First, there was the grimace. Then, the banging of the holder on the tray of the walker and ultimately the chucking of the holder onto the floor.

Weight/height: Jonas is a burly 23 pounds. no idea on the length. he's pretty tall.

Favorite toys:
1) WALKER -- this one's been a fav since he first sat in it. what's changed is that he went form cruising around nicely to playing Autobahn Bumper Car. He slingshots around the kitchen slamming into walls, doors and cabinets, bounces off them and runs in the opposite direction. we laugh ourselves silly.
2) WOODEN PULL TOY (chicken) -- even though it's wooden and weighs a couple fo pounds, he still treats it as a chew toy. there are little teeth gouges in the wood now on chick's head.

Eyes: still bluer than blue. I've come to accept they are not going to change.

Size: He's in 12 mos. clothing, in some brands we're moving toward 18 mo., particularly for pants. Jonas is l-o-n-g. So for some things even if it's not too small, per se, it's definitely too short. Looks ridiculous. This weekend I absolutely have to go and get him some larger onesie undershirts. I have been trying to "stuff him" into the 9 mos. ones, and now the grommetted snaps are beginning to come loose. That's a sign, wouldn't you say?

Communication: the 30-second ahhhh's and ohhhh's of six months have been replaced with ba-ra-ra-ra, vvvvvv, ah-ba-ba-ba, and ma-ma-mama sounds. we definitely feel as though he thinks he's communicating with our words. i hope to start signing with him soon.

Cutest sign of affection: when jonas is picked up he often "hugs" the person who's holding him and pats them on their arm or back.

Chase mode?: no, we're not in chasing mode, yet. jonas sits and rolls very well. i've seen him working on the beginnings of an army crawl. he's not up on his hands and knees yet. i think it maybe awhile before he crawls. But, he LOVES to stand up near structures like the bathtub wall. Maybe he'll skip the crawling and opt for the cruising instead.

Jonas and Ginger are dear pals. They sit together in the office.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Anniversary - 5 years

Five years ago today on a brilliant late autumn afternoon like today we were exchanging wedding vows among friends and family. How time has flown. In some ways it seems like just yesterday and in others like it was many chapters ago, but always it remains a momentous day, filled with beautiful memories.

Leading up to this big weekend we both had ambitious plans on how to celebrate this special anniversary. There was a trip back to The Birches Inn in Connecticut, where we got married, but then we learned it had closed. There was a trip to Lake Placid, another to New York.

In the end we took Jonas to a small little Japanese restaurant, one of our preferred sushi places. A flashing light on Jonas' toy rattle replaced the flickering candles. And the heart-warming tones of Jonas' squeals replaced nice background music. We ate lots of sushi and laughed at our son.

For the record we have a babysitter for tomorrow so that we can spend some time alone.

But all told, it was a really nice anniversary. I couldn't be happier.