Thursday, February 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jonas!

Dear Jonas, We can't believe a whole year has gone by! You're an absolute delight. We're the luckiest parents. We love you so much. Happy first birthday, Baby V. Love, Mama & Dah-dah

Here's a look at Jonas' first year in 20 seconds.

One month

Jonas still has a bit of a cone-head at one month. He still grimaces exactly the same way, today.
I can't believe how big that sleeper is on him here. He grew out of it so quickly.

Two months
He went through a phase in which he lost all of that beautiful hair he was born with.

Three months

He's finally got most of the new hair in.

Four months
The discovery of the walker was akin to man's discovery of fire.

Five months
Jonas learned all the finer
points of overhauling a bike.

Six months
The signature arched eyebrows.

Seven months

Eight months
Don't all firemen eat leaves?

Nine months
What a ham.

Ten months
"Reading" the Thomas the Train pop-up book.

Eleven months

One year!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Plans foiled

I had planned to write an entry on cupcakes tonight. I was all ready to turn the kitchen upside down (according to Joe this is part of my "baking method") making cupcakes for Jonas' birthday celebration at daycare.

Unfortunately, I got a call today in the afternoon saying that he had come down with a stomach bug. There was no speculation about it. He spelled it out, nice and clear, for everyone at daycare. I'll leave it at that. :-)

So tonight, there will be no making of cupcakes. We'll save that for tomorrow night--hopefully. Instead I'll probably spend much of the night consoling an unhappy little guy. He's been up twice already since I put him down.

Not exactly the festive way to usher in the first birthday, Jonas. I'm optimistic that tomorrow will be much better. It better be, or I'll have to eat the whole cake myself.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Time to move on (a bit, anyway)

As difficult as it is for me to admit, I think it's time to take down the 1-hr.-old baby photo of Jonas that has been on our refrigerator since the day we came home from the hospital. It's faded and "wavy" and the edges are beginning to curl.

Our wonderful neighbors had left that photo and a nice note in our kitchen, beside a magnificent flower arrangement from Joe's mom, to welcome us home from the hospital.

At various points during the year, I've said to myself, "You know, Liz, I think the baby photo can come down now. Jonas is already X months old!" But, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. It felt treacherous, somehow.

As we are nearly upon his first birthday, I'm coming to grips with it, and seeing things in a whole new light. That little boy in the photo is now this little boy:

He's active, and cuddly, and inquisitive,

sometimes willful, demanding and mischievous,

often exploring and observing,

and adorable.

And that is what you can't see in the photograph of Jonas in his first hours "on earth", because he's grown into the little person he is today over the course of this year.

So, I feel better now about taking it down and putting it into this baby book. Every time I look at it, I'll always remember the day we first welcomed him to the world and brought him home. I'll always have that memory. But life moves on; kids grow up; and so I guess it's time for me to take a step forward, too. Jonas sure isn't wasting any time.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Poem for Jonas' birthday

I came across this poem while reading a book about raising boys. I found it poignant and moving and I thought I'd share it with others. It's by Gen. Douglas MacArthur for his son.

A Father Prayer

Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.

Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a son who will know Thee--and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.

Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the weakness of true strength.

Then I, his father will dare to whisper, "I have not lived in vain."

-by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, 1952

Sunday, February 22, 2009

In honor of Jonas

In honor of Jonas' birthday week, I'm going to put up a posting every day this week. Just for fun. Happy day!


As the date of Jonas' first birthday nears (it's coming up on Thursday!), I have grown increasingly sappy and nostalgic. I've been ticking down the weeks until this first anniversary, and in doing so, I've been getting lost in reminiscing about just what it was that I was doing at this moment in time last year.

It's fun to think about our present "routine" compared to that of a year ago. Despite all that has changed, we have managed to keep the things that are most important to us. Like so many other Sunday afternoons of last year, today we sat together on the sofa in the tv room watching another episode of LOST, while Jonas buzzed around on the floor flitting from toy to toy. From time to time, we'd need to turn up the volume, or re-play a segment that we missed, due to Jonas's latest outburst of "a-DAH"s and "guy-guy-GUY-guy"s. The constant flurry of movement at our feet made it a little harder to concentrate, but I've learned to adjust to that since becoming a parent. It feels so familiar, as if it has always been this way.

Then, I think back to this weekend last year. I remember it well. We were gearing up for the "big day". I was due the next day. To celebrate my last week at work, Joe and I treated ourselves to take-out from Five Guys Friday night. I figured I'd be burning off those extra calories soon enough, anyway.

Here I am that Friday night. Can you believe it?? Yikes!

And, yes, the rumors are true that Barnum and Bailey were calling me to see if I wanted to join "the show".

This is before my Five Guys' burger and fries. Just in case you're wondering.

Saturday, I walked and walked and walked. Nothing. I kept "checking in" with myself: do you feel any different? Anything going on there? Nope. Sunday we continued our afternoon ritual with popcorn and LOST. In fact we had a LOST marathon to wrap up the third season (on dvd) before Baby arrived. We ate a sumptuous pasta dinner with homemade sauce and lots of garlic bread. I've no shame in admitting that I chowed down--big time--and prayed that the red raspberry leaf tea and evening primrose oil that I'd been taking would start working their "magic"--soon! I was eager to just "get it over with" and be able to resume all the things that I'd not been able to do for so long. Simple things like getting up from the sofa without assistance, taking a full inhalation of breath, and eating more than 5 bites without feeling suffocated and bloated. I was no longer scared; I just wanted to move the show along and get to the good part.
As I sit here typing tonight, it feels surreal to put myself back to where I was last year on Sunday night. I have to confess that I'm glad that I had no idea of what exactly was in store for us for the next 48 hours. I remember that one of the last things Joe said to me before he went to bed was, "Liz, do whatever you can to have the baby tomorrow. I really don't feel like going to work." I laughed it off, as though there were anything I could do about it. Five hours later my water broke.

It doesn't seem possible that a whole year's gone by. Why does it go by so quickly? Not that I'd want to go back to last year and re-do it. In any case, one thing's for sure: we're definitely in the good part now. I can't imagine how it could be any better.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Eating by myself

Our little boy has begun to flex his independence muscle. I knew the "easy days" of feeding wouldn't last forever. Meals are so simple in the first months of feeding. Fast and convenient. There are only three options:

1) Pop open a jar of food, find a spoon and shovel food into bird mouth,
2) Throw together a bottle, insert in mouth,
3) Nature's own "food delivery system" (by far the cheapest and most convenient).

The biggest challenge from 4 mo. to now was to remember what he ate so that I could ensure a balanced diet.

Just as Jonas was turning 11 months, I noticed he was getting fussy during meals. At first I was confused. Why doesn't he want to eat? Why's he turning away? He's normally a chow-hound, like his parents.

Then, I discovered that when I offered him a few Cheerios that he could pick up off the table, his orneriness abated and the happy, satisfied Jonas returned. "Fine, then," I thought. "Are you trying to tell me that you want to feed yourself?"

To the seasoned parent, his signaling may have been obvious, but I'm still relatively "green." So, I started cutting up suitable food and gave it to him. Surprise! He loved it. He's so much happier now.

Now, this does make things a little more tedious on the time-scheduling end. For one thing, it requires cutting everything into tiny pieces. If I were a sushi chef and had mad chopping skills, it'd be no problem. But, my skills are entry-level at best, so it takes me far too long. Second, I have to think a even more about food options to ensure he's still getting a balanced diet, because while he's eating more and more, he still can't chew a lot of vitamin-rich foods like raw spinach and other things you have in a salad. (We have salads often.)

That said, it is so exciting to witness his growth and development. We are so proud of our little stegosaurus each time he takes another step toward independence. But I wouldn't be completely honest if I didn't say that with each new development, I don't have a (brief) bittersweet moment as I acknowledge one thing: our little guy is leaving babyhood.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Pick of the month

Like many shoppers these days, I find myself at the grocery store trying to figure out where I might be able to trim back. Do I really need that $4.50 jar of jam, or could I possibly make do with this nice, but not great, brand of marmelade? I came to conclusion that I can and will be more deliberate in my purchasing decisions. I'm willing to buy generic, or a less expensive alternative, so that I can still "treat" us to a few other products. These are things that either I can't live without, or that are so wonderful, that I'm willing to shell out a few extra clams and make concessions elsewhere.

So that got me thinking, if these products are so wonderful, maybe I should share my passion for them with others! And that was the genesis of my idea for a new monthly feature, Liz's Pick of the Month. (Yes, I realize that the name is not especially clever, but I opted to spend more time on my photos than trying to brainstorm a catchy name.)

January's pick (well, actually there are two) is Burt's Bees Tear-Free baby shampoo and wash, and Burt's Bee's Apricot Baby Oil. I love the combined wash/shampoo. It smells so nice--sweet, like a baby should smell, but not "chemical sweet". What I'm especially excited about is that it contains no parabens, phthalates, or sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate.** Many baby washes that have been around for years have one, or several, of these ingredients, none is which is really ideal for baby's skin.

You can find the "B.B." wash pretty easily. Most big groceries carry it, as does Target. It's a little more expensive than the $2.50 jumbo bottle of soap, but the price point isn't so high that I deem it "out of reach". Besides, it lasts awhile; you really don't need that much soap to wash a baby.

The apricot oil is perfect for locking in that moisture after the bath. I like it because it goes on easily, smells nice and is free of any petroleum-based oils, another huge plus in my book.

**If you're curious about parabens, phthalates and other unsavory ingredients that make their way into our children's products, I have found Dr. Green's Raising Baby Green to be a great resource.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Update on the teeth

Because some kind souls have inquired, here's a very quick update on the teeth situation.

The good news:

*I still have all my teeth (with a caveat, see below)

*I do not have to get a handsome set of false teeth like George's... yet.

*My new dentist is awesome. Two things in life every woman needs: a great OBGYN (or midwife!) and a great dentist.

Here's the bad news:

*I will have to have a tooth extracted within one to five years. (I'm counting on 1 since my "dental luck" is sh!t.)

*I will need an implant, which I've heard is fairly painful. Super...

*It'll cost a small fortune. Maybe we can sell our house and just live in the station wagon. I think it'll fit all of us.

So, there you have it.

A few other things worth mentioning:

*I endured three procedures and the cacophony of multiple drilling instruments for two and a half hours, a "p.r." for me.

*Did I mention that the different sounds of the drills are like a constant scraping of fingernails down the chalkboard, only worse?

*At this point, I can even distinguish the assortment of drill bits by sound. I feel like that should help me win a talent contest.

*I lost all circulation in my hands from squeezing them so hard.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Valentines in 2009

As I turned into the parking lot of the grocery store, amped up with excitement to buy Jonas' first box of valentines, several thoughts crossed my find. "I hope the envelopes will be big enough. Will they meet postal regulations, or will I have to pay extra? Will I have to lick the back of the envelope still?"

It's true that Jonas is only one (or nearly so), and that he doesn't know a valentine from a $1,000 bill, but I still wanted to send these sweet cards to a few of his "friends" and family. Last weekend, I had elaborate plans of making them all from scratch. But then Monday arrived, I hadn't even started them and had no materials. Boxed ones it is.

Back in the store... we arrive in "seasonal" aisle. It's a sea of red and pink. We make our way through literally yards of shelving showcasing their boxed chocolates and other candies. Finally we reach the valentine "section". Are you kidding me? There are only six choices, and most are not appropriate for kids under 6. There's some crap (excuse my French) like Hannah Montana, Speed Racer and probably a Twilight-themed set. What happened to Micki and Minnie, Scooby-Doo and the like? I settled on these "cute" little animals with the googly eyes. Good enough. They're kind of cute, in an odd way.

I couldn't wait to rip into the box at home. Jonas helped. Ripping boxes is good fun. We dumped out the contents on the floor. What the hell?? Where are the envelopes?! What the hell is this--perforated cards?? They're a quarter of the size they used to be (yeah, in the good old days of the 80's). Time have changed, I guess. Valentines are "greener" now. That's a good thing, I suppose. (I'm not sure whether the manufacturers' intentions were to get "greener" or just cheaper, but let's not let my cynicism ruin the festivities.) I'm finally over the missing envelopes now, and the fact that they only provided us with a quarter of the decorative stickers that we "needed".

All of these troubling changes aside, I still thoroughly enjoyed myself as I wrote out the valentines for Jonas' friends at daycare. And, I'm so glad I get a few more years to enjoy this. Maybe next year, I'll even get around to making them from scratch. Hopefully, he won't think it's "dumb" for at least another 8 Valentine's Days, just in case next year doesn't work out either.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

"A Day in the Life"

I began this blog in 2007 to chronicle the adventure of my first pregnancy. "Waiting for Baby V." served mostly as a fun way to update friends and family. I had no plans for keeping it up after the baby arrived; however, I found that I loved writing the posts and hearing readers' thoughts and reactions.

Nearly two years later, it's time for a format update. Life has changed dramatically with the arrival of "Baby V", and I felt that the look of this blog could use a little updating, as well. I actually considered ending the blog all together recently. No doubt it's more challenging to keep up now that we have Jonas and since I've gone back to work. But, I've decided to keep it going. It's the one creative outlet that I have, and it keeps my brain from turning to mush.

I'm going to add a couple regular "monthly features". And, you'll still be able to find new photos and updates of Jonas, as well as the occasional rambling, rant or musing. I'm going to try to be a little more regular in my postings, although I can make no guarantees.

Thank you for reading and I hope you'll continue to stop by often. And, of course, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, February 6, 2009

False teeth... already?

While Jonas has surely had his fair share of teething woes in the past few months--this week's no exception--he's not the only one. I've had some serious issues of my own, making me eager to get to the dentist very soon. "Eager" and "dentist" are two words that I never put together in the same sentence.

Months ago I scheduled a big dentist appointment for this coming week to address a major problem. Ironically, it's just in time, since I developed another problem with a completely different tooth last week! I'm guessing that by the time the dentist's through with me, I'm going to be outfitted with these handsome gems.

(A replica of George Washington's teeth)

One of the many costs of motherhood is the toll that the new little bundle of joy exacts on your teeth! It's not hard to see how this happens: you're exhausted, you barely eat, you fall asleep mid-sentence, so maybe you skip a flossing every now and again. Is it really that bad? I mean, in light of all the other demands on a new mother, this one doesn't seem like it should be at the top of the list.

Or, maybe it wasn't the flossing that caused my misfortune, perhaps there's another explanation. Could it be that every last trace of calcium has been leached from my pearly whites thanks to a year of breast-feeding? I suppose, then, we come 'round to my being negligent in taking my vitamins regularly. I know they say this is important, but, honestly, there were two months when I was eating 4 bowls of cereal a day, and maybe dinner. Vitamins were secondary among my priorities.

Actually, I suspect the cause goes back much further, and that this is just the latest round of dental penitence that I have been ordered to suffer through. To be honest, I've had issues with my teeth most of my life. In addition to thanking my parents for giving me soft teeth, I'd really like to thank my childhood dentist for ruining them. He filled my teeth with so much amalgam back then, that I can't get through the metal detectors at that airport without setting off the alarm! It's fabulous. And, did I mention that my childhood dentist was arrested for cocaine possession? Yeah, no joke. That makes me wonder if my parents actually ever saw his dental school diploma with their own eyes... I promise, Jonas, we'll do a thorough background check for you.

To make matters worse, as I'm aging, I'm encountering more complications as a result of having had my teeth drilled out like swiss cheese and plugged with fillings. Nice little problems like my teeth cracking or breaking. Why the hell did I suffer through all those fluoride treatments in the elementary school cafeteria? Was that really fluoride? Were they secretly testing something on us?

Well, at the moment, all I can do is wait... wait til it's my turn to sit in that chair (medieval torture device). In the meantime I'll try to think "sunny thoughts", something my mom used to tell me as a child. So, my sunny thought is to think about Jonas. Right now, Jonas has 7 healthy, white, whole teeth. All he has to do is work on sprouting more. Hopefully, he'll be lucky, and he'll inherit the genes for the hardness of Joe's teeth and the straightness of mine. If's he's got rotten luck, then he'll get soft, popcorn teeth. I'll cross my fingers, Jonas, for the former.

Meanwhile, I'd better say a few prayers for my own and go take 3 more tylenol.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

More here soon...

Good grief, Charlie Brown, it’s February already!

I was on a role there for awhile with my posts in January, but then got side-tracked. Ok, I’ll be honest. It’s been in part because I’ve been hanging out a lot—too much—on Facebook. It’s so addictive! But, that’s only one half of the picture: we all spent the latter half of January battling two formidable bugs, one respiratory, the other intestinal. It was ugly. Let's just leave it at that.

I've been thinking about content for new posts. Jonas has grown so much and developed new tricks in the last 30 days. I just need to get these updates and other various musings out of my head and onto the screen. There is certainly no shortage of topics (mostly banale; on the rare occasion, interesting) on which I could pontificate. And, since Joe has set a weekly quota for Liz's soapbox speeches (read: ramblings), and he's begun to enforce it, it makes this forum all the more important.

Anyway, all that to say: I will not go quietly into the night, Joe. Oh, and for everyone else, stay tuned. You'll be seeing more here soon.

Thanks for checking in.