24 hours???

really? they need to be open 24 hours a day? their poor employees... yes, i know, tough economy... someone is going to say "they should be happy they have a job"... but are toys really that important that we need to shop 24 hours a day? i mean, who needs a set of legos at 3am? a light saber at midnight? don't answer that - i know you are out there, no need to call attention to yourself.

people have been holiday shopping since OCTOBER, for crying out loud. except for you, mom... i know you are panicking about how christmas just "snuck up on you"... again.


In my rear view mirror…

I had the windows rolled down, enjoying the crisp autumn air that I so love about this time of year. A peel of giggles escaped from the backseat, prompting me to reposition the rear view mirror. In my view, I saw a little face beaming with pure enjoyment.

The wind was blowing his blond hair back from his face, reminding me that he is still just a baby, although he often acts like a little boy. He turned his face left, then right, experiencing every angle of this new sensation. When the car picked up speed, and the wind came stronger and faster at his chubby cheeks, he gasped with surprise – as if he forgot how to breathe with the surge of air pressing against him.

I saw a foot come up into view, and a shoe fly onto the floor… then a sock stretching and stretching, not quickly giving in to the hands that tugged it, but finally meeting its fate on the floorboard. One lesson the little dude has learned so far in his short life is the great outdoors are best enjoyed with bare feet.



Mother's day morning with Little Dude (I know, posted late, but he was late, too, so maybe if I apply the laws of cascading time, this delay is actually on time?) Eh, it was worth a shot.

Raspberries on a rock at Folsom Lake. Grey skies overhead, but we managed to get the whole fam out for a quick walk at the lake before the sky opened up. We had to get inside before the raindrops started falling on our head.... might melt, you know.


enjoying the moments

Every night, I sneak into Little Dude's room after he has fallen asleep. To admire my creation. To watch his little being fill with air. To stroke his soft cheek. To check if he is hot or cold. To discover what position he has curled into. To see how far he has burrowed into the corner of the crib.

He looks so peaceful. Quiet. Resting. Re-energizing for the tomorrows filled with growing and learning. Am I that peaceful when I sleep? Or is my mind filled with things that clutter it even when I am resting?

Some nights, he is so irresistible that I am compelled to take him out of his crib, and hold him close. My arms reach out for him before I can stop them. I draw him into my chest, and his warmth covers me like a blanket. I stand in his room, rocking back and forth in the shadows cast by the hall light. I have even been known to take him into my room, sit in our chair, and fall asleep with him in my arms. Usually I can return him to his crib before Scout catches me. But sometimes he finds us there, and I just give him a dreamy smile and say, "I couldn't help it."

Everyone always says to enjoy these moments, that he will grow up too fast. Just so you know, I do. I am enjoying these moments. And when the day comes when I can't hold him as he sleeps, I will enjoy the memories.


he's got the moves

Every day, a new move. Of course we like to name them all...

so last week:

The kickstand - Lie on stomach, push up on hands, get ready to look like you're going to sit up, but not quite... swing one leg around to the side. Leg remains there propping the body up... like a kickstand.

The escape - Roll and roll and roll and almost making it out into the hall ('cause mom and dad didn't realize that they need to keep the door shut at all times), but get stuck on the door frame.

currently debuting:

Butt in the air sleeping - Cutest.Move.Ever. (disclaimer: on babies only). I've tried it. It is no longer comfortable as a sleeping position. Or an awake position, for that matter.

The drag - Not quite an army crawl, no grace, just power. On stomach, put both hands in front of body, and pull/drag body across the ground. Carpet. Tile. Whatever. Aim for anything electrical or shiny, ensuring identification of all childproofing yet to be completed.

The Base Jump - Lean out over the edge of anything (changing table, lap, chair, couch) and wriggle to the edge. Attempt to loosen the grip of those ever watchful parental hands. Drop body down as far as those hands will allow.

The Faceplant - Pop up on all fours, rock back and forth, and back and forth and -- SPLAT! faceplant! Follow with laughter.


come on down!

Mark your calendars, people! Today is "Bob Barker day" around these parts. That's right - we are getting our pet spayed! Can't you just hear him in his crisp suit, holding that ridiculously skinny mike with the old fashioned wire, showcase showdown winner and loser in the background, pointing at the camera saying "and remember to spay and neuter your pets." I can, and man, he looks good - sorry, Drew, I'm sure you're doing a fine job as host, but it's just not the same.

This morning, Scout hoisted all 146 lbs of the beast (that's right, we LIFT her) into the car, cause she can't won't jump in. She is there for her procedure today, and stays overnight. Which means... (drum roll, please)... that I have a dog free night! Which also means that I'll have to listen to Scout moan and groan about how he misses his girl.

Why are we only getting around to this now, when most people get their pets fixed around 6 months old? Well, Scout did some research on large breed dogs, and there is some evidence that if they are fixed at too young of an age, they may not reach their full size. Now, I'm not exactly sure how that falls in the "con" column when one has a dog that is expected to reach 170(ish) pounds. But I agreed to wait until she is 18 months old so that she can grow GROW GROW.

After experiencing 2 heats, I hit my limit. I informed Scout that I can take no more. Her first heat started the day I got home from the hospital with Lil Dude. Yep. Uh-huh. In case I needed something else to worry about in my house. The second one was about 6 weeks ago, and I used an entire Costco sized package of Swiffer Sweeper wet cloths in 2 weeks following her around our downstairs, along with creating makeshift barriers around the area rugs (thank goodness for strollers, pack n plays and changing tables).

And best of all, now I don't need to worry about teenage pregnancy! (For about 15 more years). Just need to survive my husband's temporary depression whilst his girlfriend is gone.


typical guy

Do you see the toys on the car seat? You must... they are brightly colored, and I put them in your lap so you have something to do when I plop you in the back of the car, or swing you over my arm like an Easter basket, or set you on the floor while I frantically search for the car keys before we leave the house.

So WHY WHY WHY do you insist on chewing the long strap used for tightening your buckle? Do you not see that it trails on the ground, and has touched every nasty, dirty surface that I have ever set your seat down upon? It catches the dog hair on the floor in our house (my nemesis), picks up germs from the parking lot, snags anything that anyone's shoe has left on the ground. I take great care to clean your toys, washing them after they drag on the ground, after you yak all over them, after the dog takes an interest and gives them a big lick. But you don't care about cleanliness, do you? Typical guy.


can i?

"Hey, mom! Can I launch myself off this changing table? How fast can you get over here after taking this picture? I would make a great paratrooper!"

editor's note: no babies were harmed in the taking of this picture, and he did NOT launch himself off the changing table, much to his disappointment...


snow day

LilDude and I are home today. But it's not snowing. In fact, it is 70 degrees and sunny! What a great snow day. Not so great is why we are home...

Day Care called me at work yesterday around 1pm - I had one hour to pick up the LilDude, because he had goopy eyes, and they thought it was pink eye. He was banished to quarantine in a high chair so he didn't contaminate the entire center by rolling his goop around the carpet, or smearing it on the other munchkins. I left work, and called the doctor's office to get an appointment, and instantly starting thinking how itchy my eyes were. I thought to myself (for the first time of many): don't touch your eyes!

Upon arrival at day care, I saw my little king ruling his dominion from his high chair. He was having a good ol' time in quarantine - just sitting on the edge of the play area, chatting away, issuing commands to his minions: "Antonio, pick up the red ball, now roll it to Tommy... you, over there, yeah you, Carlo, chew on that orange toy... Madison, you've been busy rolling all morning, take 5 - you deserve a nap." Okay, fine, it sounded like babbling, but I swear that is what he was saying. I swept him up (taking his crib sheet and blanket for phase one of decontamination) and took him home. He played on the floor of my bedroom, and was only allowed plastic toys that could be sanitized (seriously, I am good at decontamination).

As the hours ticked by, the goop multiplied. By the time we got the the doctor (7:15pm was the first appointment available - at the after hours clinic), his eyes were just GROSS. But he didn't care - he was smiling and happy as could be. Which is interesting, since his usual bedtime is 7:30. The doctor came in and commented on how happy he was, and noted that his eyes didn't look very pink... just goopy. A quick look in the ears, and she diagnosed him with a double ear infection, not pink eye. Phew... wait? what? A double ear infection? That doesn't sound good! He is one tough LilDude - he has been acting like his same old happy self, eats fine, sleeps fine, no temp, doesn't even rub his ears. How are we ever going to know if he is sick?

Off to play in the snow... um, I mean... SUNSHINE!



My mother recounts the story of how I used to wish for blue eyes with laughter in her deep brown eyes. When my little sister arrived, with her bright blue eyes, I was taken by them. I would gaze into the mirror and ask my mother when I would get blue eyes.

It only took thirty(+) years, but FINALLY... I got my blue eyes:


TWOoth fairy

The TWOoth fairy made a visit to our house at 3am on Saturday night/Sunday morning (doing a drop-off, not a pick-up). I know she was there, cause LilDude started screaming, and he is generally a fabulous sleeper (which we thank our lucky stars for every night). So when the monitor began transmitting his screeches, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but two miniature teeth on my sweet little dear. That nice TWOoth fairy must have been saving on gas, since she did a two for one by launching them both on the same night. Which meant I only had one night of interrupted sleep... I'll take it!

You can sort of barely almost but not quite see the little white specs popping through. We only tormented him for about 17 pictures before I gave up and called this one the best. Just squint, use your imagination... and try to picture them straight so I don't have to spend every other Tuesday at the orthodontist in 13 years.



What a mess. But would you expect anything else from me? Organization, planning - definitely on my list of strengths (or obsessions, whatever). But neatness, not so much. I love making a mess.

This is how we feed our child. We'll have to unlearn this sitting on the table business. Hopefully, he'll be so young he won't remember that we used to let him do this. Don't tell him!

If you had the previous 30 minutes on video, here is how it would look:

Scout and I sitting on the end of the table that opens to the hallway, LilDude sitting on top of the table furthest from the hallway. Two plates on the table, sitting just out of LilDude's reach. With his ever expanding wingspan, we underestimate his powers about twice a week, and have to use our catlike reflexes to block him. Or, we use our catlike reflexes to go get a towel and wipe up the spilled water, thankful that the glass didn't break, and make a mental note to use plastic cups tomorrow.

LilDude tells us he is ready for dinner by groaning and pitching forward toward his food bowl with his mouth wide open. He will lean and lean and lean until finally, 3.2 seconds later, he is satiated with a tiny glob of sticky rice goo or vegetable puree from the hand that magically delivers the spoon to his mouth. Which will hold him over for 2.7 seconds. Mark this as the beginning of the feeding frenzy. LilDude has modeled his dance moves from the 'Hungry Hungry Hippo' 4-man group. He starts sitting up, then lunges forward, head tilted back, mouth hinged open until he meets with the spoon, then he CHOMPS down, whisking away the deliciousness into his hollow leg. Repeat. And do not stop, else he will cry. Yes, we have had real tears. Do NOT get between him and his food... you will be sorry. Scout and I eat our dinner with the "one rubber tipped spoonful for you, one metal utensil spoonful for me" approach. Of course we are eating different things. I have tried a speck of baby food, and honestly, it's just not that good. I much prefer lasagna. In between the dual spoonfuls, Scout and I also take turns defending our feast from the dog. She paces the hall, attempting to invade our space with a not-so-sneaky sneak attack. With her size, there is really nothing subtle or sneaky about her. Thankfully, she is not persistent, and after a few deflections, she tires, sinks to the floor in defeat, and gives us her sad eyes (which are her everyday eyes) from the hallway. She sits and waits, until we vacate the table, then she circles her spoils, and licks the floor clean of whatever fell beyond the edge of the table. Mess removed.


the day after

I can't hear out of my left ear.

My feet hurt.

I am exhausted.

But it was all worth it... cause look at our seats! Jon Bon was RIGHT in front of me! I could see the beads of sweat on his face, and his gorgeous smile, and the pixels on the big screen that I didn't even need to look at, cause LOOK HOW CLOSE WE WERE!

I have Bon Jovi songs stuck in my head.

I'm not sure how that is different than any other day.

Fabulous people watching place - the young (a 10 year old in the pit who got a high five from Richie Sambora), the old (60-somethings in front of me with their glow in the dark earplugs, a man in a wheelchair who was no less than 80), the mulletted, the lace and leathered, and of course, the hoochies (statistically prevalent in the first few rows).

* full disclosure: i stole this pic from
TrailMomma... because I am lazy, and didn't feel like uploading mine... also, i think mine are blurry... or my vision is blurry... did I mention I'm tired?


rock on

Whooooaaaa-ooooaaaa... we're halfway theeee-eere... that's right, ladies and gents (or whoever it is that reads this thing)... I am going to the Bon Jovi concert tomorrow night. I am a Jersey Girl through and through (mellowed with a heavy influence of a decade of California living), and there is nothing more Jersey than Jon Bon. Except for fake nails. And the Shore. And malls. And Bruce. But tomorrow, it is all about Jon. He's so dreamy. And he totally has nicer hair than I ever will. And have I mentioned that I love him?

TrailMomma (formerly known around these parts as RunnerGirl) and I have been waiting to rock out to Jon forEVER. At least, we have been waiting to rock out to Bon Jovi in person - we are very serious about our dedication at weddings (whilst my husband takes cover behind a plant in the corner and pretends he has never met me), perhaps requesting Livin on a Prayer from an unsuspecting DJ; and any other time their music fills the air (say, every time her phone rings). I am so excited! Yes, there are other girls going, too. And I love them, too, even if they aren't from Jersey. Nobody's perfect.

But I am also a little bit sad that tomorrow night, I will miss bedtime. When I get home and peek in on my LilDude, he'll probably look like this:

Suzi - this pic is for you... I know you just can't resist a sleeping baby for the perfect chance to snap the camera.


daily routine

After a wonderful 4 and a half months home with the Lil Dude, I am now back at work. The best part of the day is when I pick up his smiling face and take him home (with second place awarded to the moment before I drift off to sleep). After we get home, this is what we do:

We have wonderful trails in our neighborhood (one of the reasons we moved to our current house), and with the extended daylight hours, walks have become part of our new weekday evening routine. It was pretty easy to take the dog for a walk when I was home... mid-afternoon, perfectly timed to pass the elementary school so the dog can get lots of love and attention from the ogling kids - most of whom are shorter than my giant four legged puppy. But it has been difficult to make time for everyone (including me) with the new "working mom" lifestyle. I have been trying to get back into running jogging, and in the name of efficiency (walk the dog, get in run, nap for the kiddo), this is my running jogging group. I can only imagine what people think as they see us barrelling (at the speed of molasses) down the trail - what a sight! The dude doesn't (currently) mind riding in his personal limo - sometimes he naps, sometimes he laughs at the dog, sometimes he just babbles on and on. A good time is had by all.

**Crush: 13 months, 135+ lbs; Lil Dude: 5 months, 18+ lbs


5 months of fun

Lil Dude is five months old today. He has many skills for his resume: You need someone to roll over? You need someone to giggle hysterically when you make ridiculous faces? You need someone to nap at noon? He's your guy!

One of the jobs I hired him for is my grocery shopping partner. Don't call the child labor union, he is generously compensated for his work with milk whenever it strikes his fancy. He is so portable (see picture), and just smiles at everyone we pass. The lady at the deli counter loves him, and it is a good minute or two before I even place my order after she is done oohing and aahing over him. But how can I complain? She is smiling when she looks at him, he smiles at her, and I am beaming the whole time... win-win-win.

Since he can't walk, I carry him in the Baby Bjorn (aka, frontpack). I can tell when he is excited by a swift blow to my left lung, appendix, or muffin top - he looks like a little marionette driven by someone who just stuck their finger in an outlet, still pulsating from the stun. Since his wing span is still fairly small, and he has no idea what cookies are, he is a cheap date. I'll have to reevaluate him as my shopping partner once he starts asking for things, or dropping miscellaneous items into the cart.

*pic taken from my phone (in the frozen pizza aisle) on our Valentine's morning date - I'm still testing the best way to post pics here


now what?

What do I do now? Do I write random posts about things I notice each day that make me smile or cry or want to throw something? Do I go on and on about how wonderful the LilDude is? Do I start posting pictures (okay, I know you all want pictures) and daily activities... I'm trying to figure out how this blog fits into my life at this very moment... I sure do wish the Magic 8 Ball would come up with some new answers, 'cause the generic answers that worked in earlier years of my life just aren't cutting it these days. Answers in essay form would be most helpful right now.