Monday, December 19, 2011

It's been a long time

It's been a long time since I've written anything here. I kind of figured no one was reading anyway. But it is fun to look back on my old posts so maybe I should start up again?
My Jane is no longer a baby - she is a big girl! She is walking, forward and backward, running, talking a lot, eating big people food, and recently kicked her bottle habit. We celebrated her first birthday in October and now have our sights set toward her second Christmas. It's hard to believe that one year ago we had a little two-and-a-half-month-old Janie to bring to our Christmas celebrations. She has changed so much but is soooo much fun! She's a quirky little character and we get a kick out of her every day. Words she can say now include "puppy, kitty, mom, dad, whoa/wow, book, bubble, and apple. She took her first steps on Sept. 17 but did not start walking full-time until she was almost 13 months old. At her one-year checkup she weighed just over 22 pounds and was 30.5 inches tall. We're very much looking forward to the weeks ahead and celebrating Christmas with her. I love how every day is a new adventure for her. She will be so surprised and excited, and it makes me excited to be part of that.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

First trip to the Cabin

Here in Minnesota, people vacation in a place called "up north" at "the cabin" by "the lake." If you visit northern Minnesota, this begins to make sense to you. There is an abundance of lakes, and therefore an abundance of cabins. It's where Minnesotans go for a little R&R.
I've been fortunate to have a cabin in my life since I was little. It was first my grandparents', then my dad's and my aunt & uncle's, and now my dad's and my sister and brother-in-law's. They are kind enough to continue to let us go there, and we love it. There's nothing I enjoy more than a few quiet days at the cabin.
It was exciting to bring Jane to the cabin for the first time. Of course, she's too young to remember anything or to really get that magical cabin feeling, but I was ecstatic to share the source of so many magical childhood memories with her.
While there, Jane had her first boat ride (which she disliked because of the life jacket we made her wear), first swim in Lake Marion, and first trip to Zorbaz (our favorite pizza place). I can imagine that in a few years, she'll be spending hours playing in the sand or floating on an inner tube in the lake, just like her mom did. I can almost feel that cozy, floaty, post-swimming sensation now.

Monday, July 25, 2011

She's growing so fast!

Some months I am a little slow to update Jane's baby book. I should have done it a couple of weeks ago but I just got around to it this weekend. Early on, it seems like there wasn't a whole lot of change from month to month. These past couple of months were big ones. Jane has learned to crawl, pull up to standing and cruise along furniture, has begun to sample more solids—the real thing!, learned to wave "bye-bye," knows "so big" and "patty cake" (even if she is selective in who she shows these tricks to—she does what she wants when she wants!). She has also gotten five teeth, two on the bottom and three on top. She likes to dance. She has a favorite blanket she sleeps with every night. She's a beautiful, smart, stubborn little custard. We are amazed every day at how she has grown and changed.

This weekend I made something new for her room: a bow board. I picked out fabric and ribbon last week. It was a really simple project. The fabric just needed to be cut to size, stretched, and stapled onto a canvas frame. Then I started with the ribbon. The bow board can be either vertical or horizontal but we chose horizontal. I alternated two kinds of ribbon, measuring between them so they are the same (or close; I'm not great at these things), once again stapling them to the back. I had a third color of ribbon which I wove horizontally along the top through the vertical ribbons. That was it. I had a daisy hair clip that I used in one corner of the top. Then I attached Jane's hair bows and it was done! It's a really fun project and didn't take much time at all. We used fabric and ribbon that coordinates with the colors in her room and it really adds a lot, I think. It also will keep her bows in one spot so that we are not constantly losing them. Not that I spent a lot of money on any of them, but I still hate to lose them and have them all over the house. This way they are all in one place and look cute besides!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

9 Months

We finally got out and took Jane's 9-month pictures on Sunday. We would have done them sooner but Tim and I have both been sick. As usual, we attempted to take them ourselves. We tried a few different locations and outfits this time, and I'm pleased with how they turned out. I'm generally not a fan of the cookie-cutter, same-as-everyone-else baby pictures and these are definitely not that.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Photo Essay

On Wednesday afternoon Jane and I were playing outside when her daddy came home from work. He tried to sneak up on us and hide behind a tree to surprise us.

Here is Miss Jane, playing innocently with her caterpillar.

Suddenly, we heard a rustle in the grass. Then someone said, "Boo!"

Oh, it's just daddy!

Naughty daddy, trying to scare us!

It was quite the lecture she gave him. She really gave him the what-for. I love these pictures because it's a glimpse into the personality that Jane is developing. She is really a little character and is really enjoying life right now.
Speaking of which, our little girl is 9 months old today!

Happy 9 months, baby girl! We love you!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

She's a GIRL!

I have finally taken a step toward the prevention of people calling my daughter a boy: hair bows.
People have been assuming that Jane is a boy since she was tiny. At first, I think our navy blue carseat contributed to the problem. They saw blue, and thought "boy." Of course, I personally think navy blue is neutral and perfectly unisex. Plus, the carseat was free and for that price, I'm willing to deflect a few awkward: "What's his name?" "Jane." conversations. Apparently people were unable to see past the blue carseat to the pink-clad little girl in the seat.
Normally I'm not really the type of person to care about these things, and if I've dressed my daughter in an ambiguous outfit, it's my own fault if people are confused. But eventually I started to tire of my little girl constantly getting referred to as a boy. One day we were at a grand opening for a Menard's store and all the children were being offered free balloons. One of the employees asked which color "he" would like. I replied that "she" would like the pink one, even though I kind of wanted orange or yellow, personally.
The comments died down somewhat after Jane got into her big-girl carseat. Recently, however, they've picked up again. One on of the occasions I was particularly baffled, since my daughter was wearing a yellow and pink DRESS at the time. Another time, she was wearing a bright-pink jacket. Really, people?
I don't know what it is about my daughter that sends off "boy" vibes. I don't think she looks particularly masculine. Are girls supposed to have long hair or something, even when they are babies? Unfortunately she can't help that!
My husband and I aren't really the type of people who always put headbands and bows in our child's hair. But yesterday, I did it. I bought two packs of clip-in bows for Jane. That day she was wearing a purplish-blue dress and I could just sense that everyone thought she was a boy.
After our shopping, we went out for dinner. In the car, I took one of the bows and clipped it in her hair. Voila, instant girl!
There was something about that bow. People at the restaurant oohed and aahed over her. "Oh, she's so cute!" they exclaimed.
That's one small bow for Janie, one GIANT victory for mama.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Big girl!

Still no crawling, but I am beginning to think we may move directly from scooting to walking. Standing up is suddenly very fun! It's hilarious because Jane is so tall that when she pulls herself up onto something like the edge of her crib, she has to bend slightly to rest her hands on top. She is going to look extremely funny when she starts to walk.
This summer is turning out to be a huge disappointment. The weather is so consistently nasty that we are able to spend very little time outdoors. This is not at all what I had envisioned. I should be dressing my daughter in rompers and taking her outside every day after work, not dressing her in long sleeves and being cooped up indoors! I am really hoping it starts to warm up soon. We are hoping to go to the cabin for a few days next month. I can't wait to take Jane to the place where I spent so many summer days growing up. Speaking of summer, I've been reminiscing this week about summers past.

I know I’ll never have those lazy childhood summers back again, but once in a while something—a smell or a sound or a song—can carry me back there for a split second. Usually it is smells that trigger memories for me the most. I don’t know why that is or if it is true for others as well.

There was always excitement in the air on the last days of school. We’d often have a water fight on the last day. Already the school building felt different as we turned in our books and said goodbye to our teacher and classroom.

One memory that always springs to mind when I think about summer is rhubarb sauce. My mom would made a huge batch of it and I’d eat a ton. I believe I even ate it for breakfast. I don’t know if I was supposed to or not, so don’t tell my mom.

Other summer foods were corn on the cob and, of course, watermelon. I remember waiting for the corn to be ready and that first delicious bite. Every year we’d freeze corn and it was quite a project. We always made sun tea, too, and would make giant glasses of it. I like it without sugar now, but back then I’d load it with sugar. It makes me shudder a little at the thought.

I was a farm kid but I did get to spend time in town, playing summer recreation softball and hanging out with friends. Sometimes I’d bring my bike in to town and leave it at my grandparents’ house. I’d ride it at home, too, but gravel roads and 10-speeds aren’t the best combination and my knees sometimes paid the price.

Another vivid summer memory is of swimming lessons. I didn’t really enjoy swimming lessons, I must admit. I was fine until we got to the part where they made us dive. Eventually I just quit because I hated diving so much.

There were good memories, too. I attended swimming lessons at the college in Marshall. The bus rides were fun and afterward we’d stop by the vending machines and get a treat. Every once in a while when I was attending college at SMSU I’d get a whiff of chlorine when I was walking outside and it would bring me rushing back to those summer days.

Going to the cabin was—and still is—a favorite summer activity of mine. When I was little I’d spend hours playing in the sand or floating on inner tubes with my cousins. There was nothing quite like the feeling of spending an entire day on the lake and then coming in, getting dressed, and crawling into bed. You could almost still feel yourself floating on the water. I remember the elaborate sand castles we’d build, creating moats around them.

What I wouldn’t give now to spend a week in one of those childhood summers. Even just one lazy, get-up-when-you-want day with not a care in the world would feel luxurious.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Eight months

Miss Jane turned eight months old yesterday! I watched a video last night of her in the hospital right after she was born. It's amazing how much she has grown and changed! Her current favorite pastime is doing the army crawl. She's really perfected it and can move really quickly. She's now trying to pull herself up. It's such an exciting time!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Me time? Who am I anyway?

When I sit down to write, I find it difficult to write about something besides parenting. I’ve never done something in my life that has been as all-encompassing as parenting.

I’ve been so wrapped up in my daughter over the past almost-eight months that I often find it hard to think about anything else. I’m sure it’s a natural response to having a baby. It’s how our bodies are set up, to ensure that we properly care for our infants.

Nevertheless, I have not felt quite like myself over the past eight months. Work definitely helps, because it forces me to think about something other than Jane for at least a few hours a day. Other interests have fallen by the wayside.

I can hardly stand to watch television anymore. We haven’t watched a television show during its actual time slot since Jane was born, I don’t think. Thanks to DVR, we do still get to watch our favorites, but we are weeks behind on most of them.

Most of the time the TV doesn’t even get turned on anymore. It’s a combination of lack of interest, my annoyance, and my paranoia that my child is going to watch too much television.

We do manage to watch a movie once in a while, but we are no longer the movie-watchers we once were. We used to watch nearly every new movie that came out (at home, though we did go to the theater once a month or so).

Another favorite pastime of mine that has fallen by the wayside is reading. I really hate to even admit this, but I am going to anyway. Until just recently, I’d been reading the same book I started right after Jane was born. (Well, something other than “Baby Animals” or “Peekaboo, I See You.”) This is terribly embarrassing for me—the Lit major, the one who’s always reading something. I’m not trying to brag, but last year I read “The Count of Monte Cristo,” all 1,200 or so pages. Yet between October and May I had finished not one book.

I have now remedied that. I put aside the book I’ve been struggling to finish and started something new. I joined an online book club and read our first selection—“Half-Baked” by Alexa Stevenson (a Minnesota author)—in about a week and a half. It helped that the book we read was about pregnancy/babies, I think.

It turned out this was just the kick in the pants I needed to start reading again. After I finished “Half-Baked,” which is about a baby born at 26 weeks gestation, I started another book. This one has nothing to do with babies, yet I’m over halfway through it already. I think we’re making progress!

Suddenly I’m excited about doing something for me again. It’s hard when you’re a new mom, especially when you’re dealing with guilt over sending your child to daycare every day and feel the need to make every second count. Yet I’ve come to realize that I need some time for me, too.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Get off my lawn!

How do you know when you're getting old? I'm beginning to think it may be happening in our household.
We live in a bad spot for noise in our community. During the winter it is not bad, but in the spring and summer months, every yahoo with a motorcycle or pickup with pipes feels the need to come around the corner and rev as loudly as possible past our house. It's obnoxious, and we've always hated it. But now that we have a baby, our hatred of this behavior has reached a fever pitch.
This weekend the noise was terrible. Apparently whoever these people are have nothing better to do than drive around town all day long and burn gas. Oh, to be young again and have gas to burn!
On Sunday afternoon I took a lovely nap. Or at least I tried to. Early on I was interrupted by that familiar rumbling past my house. I did get some sleep, however, and then it was my husband's turn. I got the baby down for a nap as well, and about half an hour into her nap, there it was again. It not only woke her up, it woke up Tim, too. He was furious. He came downstairs and said he was going to drive around town to get license plate numbers. Fortunately, Jane put herself back to sleep and slept for two hours. If she hadn't, blood may have been shed.
Tim came back without numbers, but shortly after his arrival home, there they were again. Turns out there were two of them, one following the other. Tim got a license plate number for one and a good description of the other truck. He called the police and a short time later, I saw one of the trucks drive past. A few seconds later, a police car followed. Success! It was quieter for some time afterward, but later on there was more noise. I think it's going to be our goal this summer to continue to catch these guys and turn them in. We should be able to have our windows open and enjoy a nap on a Sunday afternoon, shouldn't we?
At this point in the story, we realized we were beginning to act like old fogeys. In that "you kids stay off my lawn" sort of way. Tim told me that, since he has now officially become "old," he is going to start using words such as "malarkey." I think the word for us is "crotchety."
In related news, Tim's hearing isn't doing so well, either. Last night when I said something he completely misheard. He then decided it was time for an ear trumpet. He thinks they have them at Walmart.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A tale of two teef

Further evidence that my little girl is growing up showed up this week. Just in time for my dearly beloved to be gone the entire weekend (lovely timing, dear), Jane's teething kicked into high gear. On Thursday evening I did a gum check, which I had been doing every few days, and discovered a hard spot on Jane's gum. On further examination, I finally was able to pry her mouth open long enough to see that there is a tooth coming in. Her first! Then, yesterday, I got in there again and found that she not only has one, but two toofs ... er, teef ... er, teeth coming in! Soon her toothless smile won't be so toothless anymore. I can't lie, I prefer the gummy grin to crooked baby teeth, but that's not up to me to control. There's just something about two or three teeth sticking out of a babies' mouths that makes them look like tiny hillbillies.
Teething hasn't been too terrible of a process for us so far. There's been lots of chewing, sure, but not that much drooling and she honestly hasn't even been all that fussy. A bit clingy and whiny, yes, but none of the all-night screaming I've heard about. I hope that continues as her new teeth come in.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the great moms out there. I am fortunate to have the best mom in the whole world, and I'm not just saying that because I am biased.
Yesterday we went garage saling with my family and found a ton of new toys for Jane. Then we went out for lunch and in the afternoon went to Grandma Janet's and also to Grandma Alma's. Today we mostly had a quiet day at home. I got to sleep in with my two favorite people by my side. What could be better? In the afternoon we went to the park for a little while and then went to DQ for dinner.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

No princesses here!

There's been a lot of hullabaloo over the past week (well, months, really) over the new princess. I must say it hasn't interested me that much, except to give me something to give the occasional eye roll over. Royal families are pretty ridiculous, if you ask me! I think part of the reason it is so appealing to some is that many little girls dream of one day being a princess. I was not one of those girls. Cinderella and Snow White were all right, but I had no delusions of becoming them.
We've all come into contact with the little girl who insists on wearing a tiara, gaudy plastic rings, and perhaps a pink tutu or a pair of fairy wings. Because she is a princess. Heck, I've known a few grown women who have acted this way, sans tiara. I'm not much for the princess phenomenon. What does it mean to be a princess really? Does it mean the rules don't apply to you? Does it mean you can have whatever you want? Does it mean everything is supposed to automatically go your way? Maybe I'm putting way too much thought into it. I'm sure there are some very nice princesses out there, too. I just don't want princess stuff crammed down my daughter's throat from the time she's an infant. I don't understand why there are pajamas with Disney princesses on them for 6-month-olds, or why I would want to buy them. There is no way I'm going to start raising a princess at this young age!
Now that my little rant is over, I'd like to talk about mobility. Jane is getting more mobile by the day. I turn my back for two seconds and she has rolled under the coffee table. It's like she has a stealth mode. I guess it is time to baby-proof! She is on the verge of crawling as well. Last night she actually got up on all fours and rocked back and forth a bit. I'm sure it is only a matter of time before she takes off.
Jane is also sitting up unassisted. Just a couple of weeks ago I was getting worried that she had not yet mastered this skill. On Easter Sunday, I tried to make her sit up in a Boppy and she absolutely refused. Yet just three or four days later, she could sit up for half an hour at a time. I do not understand it, except to say that I think it may have been a case of "won't," and not "can't." Ah, the strong-willed child! I wonder who she gets it from?
Solid foods are also going better for us. In the past week, Jane has enjoyed sweet potatoes, bananas mixed with oatmeal, and carrots mixed with oatmeal. I'm tempted to try peas today but I fear they'll all go to waste. I guess you never know! Our little girl is growing up so fast!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter!

Jane had a pretty good first Easter. She spent a lot of time with family and even got to play outside! She wasn't feeling terribly well over the weekend. I don't know if it was her teeth or her tummy or both, but she was a very good girl despite all of that. On Saturday we went to the Easter egg hunt and then back to Grandma Janet's for lunch. Then we went back home for a little while and Grandpa Keith and Dianne came to visit. After that we went to Grandpa Steve and Grandma Ruth's! It was a busy day, needless to say, and Jane handled it very well even though she was short on naps. She was exhausted when we got home and went straight to bed.
Sunday was a bit more relaxed. We got to spend the morning at home and I even got Jane to nap in her crib. It was an Easter miracle! We went to Grandma Janet's for dinner and in the afternoon played outside. Jane took a nice nap while the others were playing softball. She liked watching the kids run around and flying kites. Next year she will be able to fly one, too! She was exhausted again when we got home and slept really well. She was such a good girl and we were very proud of her! And of course she looked adorable as well.
To top off our busy weekend, Tim put in new linoleum in our kitchen. Last weekend he tore out the old floor tiles. We have been without our stove and dishwasher for a week! Thank goodness for the grill and the toaster/convection oven! The new floor looks amazing and I am so excited for the trim to be in place so we can put all the appliances back. We are also thinking of painting as well. I can't wait to share the finished product!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Perfect Woman

You know they're out there. Those women you love to hate. I'm sure each of us has a different definition of "The Perfect Woman." I know I do. I see them every once in a while and they always inspire envy in me. The problem with a lot of perfect women is that they're often genuinely nice as well, which makes it impossible to truly hate them.
So what's your definition of "The Perfect Woman"? Here are some qualities that usually make me jealous.
• She's always perfectly dressed, but effortlessly so. She doesn't wear a ton of makeup because she doesn't need to, and she doesn't douse herself in perfume but always smells good.
• She's great at cooking and other domestic pursuits.
• She can sing really well or has some other artistic talent.
• Her children are adorable, well-behaved, smart, and talented.
• She's got a great body and one of those flat tummies so she can tuck in a shirt and her jeans lay nicely over top. No muffin tops for this mama!
• She's probably a runner. I hate runners.
• She has a very successful career and manages it and her family perfectly. Alternately, she's a stay-at-home mom who picks up her kids from school looking adorable in a denim skirt and blouse every day.
• She's really good at "guy stuff." She hunts and fishes. She takes her own fish off the line and cleans the whole day's catch. She can field dress a deer. She shoots pool like a master and can guzzle drinks all night without getting hung over.
• She eats only healthy foods. She's probably a vegetarian. Alternately, she eats absolutely EVERYTHING. Big, juicy burgers and fries. Huge slices of pie. But you'd never know it because her body is perfect. It's probably because she's a damn runner.
• She's always bettering herself. She probably doesn't even watch television. She reads, she takes classes on how to make pottery, and she attends spinning or zumba classes 17 times a week. Or goes for 10-mile nightly runs. She's never really lazy.
• She's funny. And sweet. And thoughtful. She's always doing something for someone else. She volunteers her time at her children's school, teaches Sunday school, and organizes bake sales.
• She can do all of this on four hours of sleep every night. She's never crabby as a bear when she doesn't get enough sleep. She's up at 4 a.m. every day because she's Martha fricking Stewart.
And those, my friends, are some of the qualities I've seen in "The Perfect Women" who I've encountered in my life. I know I'm never going to be them. I'm far too lazy. I have no idea how I got to be that way, but it's how I am. I'll readily admit that I've half-assed most things in my life, from high school to college to work. I do what I have to do to squeak by most of the time, and that's it.
But there's one thing in my life I'm trying not to half-ass, and that's raising my daughter. I'm trying to make the most of every second and cherish the time I have when her when she's little because I know that, before I know it, she'll be 30 years old and I'll never be able to get this time back.
So while I'll never be the perfect woman or the perfect mother, I'll be the best mom I can be, because I'm the only one she's got. I've never done anything perfectly, but I did have her and she is perfect. That has to count for something.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Half a year

I can't believe that our darling girl is half a year old already. It still seems like just yesterday that we were anxiously awaiting her arrival. Some days I have to practically pinch myself multiple times. We have a daughter!
Jane is truly a delightful child. She is happy, expressive, curious, spirited, and oh, so sweet. Her face lights up when her parents walk into the room. She loves her toys and books and gets excited when she sees certain favorites. She adores her jumper. Sometimes I think she is going to jump right out of it! We recently started giving her some solid foods to try but so far she has not been impressed. Rice cereal is somewhat acceptable but everything else is disgusting! I'm sure someday she will change her mind. She can roll both ways and prefers to sleep on her tummy now. She can't sit up unassisted quite yet but is working on it and getting stronger every day. She can't crawl, either, but has figured out how to scoot or roll her way to something she really wants. The other day she managed to pull herself over to her toy bin, where she could see one of her favorite toys—her ribbit—inside. She was pretty disappointed by the fact that, although she could see him in there and had gotten to him, she could not get him out. Mama helped with that.
Jane has been a very vocal child from day one and I'm sure she will be quite the talker. She is already content to squeal and babble for long periods. She has lots of interesting things to say. She is still long and slender. Her long legs go and go all day long. I've had people remark to me that she is going to be a super model someday! She has almost grown out of her infant car seat and yesterday I ordered two new ones for her. I'm excited for her to try them out next week.
Jane's 6-month appointment is on Tuesday so we'll know then how much she weighs and how tall she is. We did measure her the other day when we were trying to see if she needed a new car seat yet and she was about 28 inches long. I'm guessing she weighs 17-17.5 pounds.
I'm looking forward to the summer days ahead when we can introduce more of the world to her. Trees, grass, water, and sunshine all await. I feel like she's the perfect age at the perfect time. Just when she's starting to get more interested in what is around her is the time we can help her learn to enjoy it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

This one's for Jess

This is the column I wrote for this week's paper. I'd like to share it here as well.

My column this week is going to make some of you feel uncomfortable. I would be lying if I said that wasn’t what I was trying to do. I firmly believe that sometimes, in order to incite change, we have to force ourselves to do what feels uncomfortable for us.

So this week I am going to write about breastfeeding. Now, before you run screaming from the room, hear me out. I have a story to tell you.

Last week a friend of mine, whose husband is serving overseas in Afghanistan, was asked to stop breastfeeding her 8-month-old daughter, Zoey, during a visit to Bragg Picerne Military Housing. The girl was covered and they were in a private office, but the woman helping them asked her to stop and refused to continue with her paperwork until she did. The reasoning was that they needed to maintain a “business atmosphere.” She was asked to feed Zoey in a bathroom.

The fact that this happens to moms like Jess every day is extremely disheartening. Why is it that our society has such little tolerance for this natural act? Why are breastfeeding women asked to feed their infants in bathrooms? Do you want to eat in a bathroom? Would you want your toddler or your older child to eat in there?

I think the reason this feels so unnatural to us now is because for so many years, formula was touted as the better option and so those who could afford it, used it. Now, I have nothing against formula or those who use it. I’m very glad that this option is available to families and I am sure it has saved many babies’ lives. But because formula was pushed on mothers for so long, it became the new normal. I think it is time to change that.

We all know now that breast milk is the best food for babies. The World Health Organization recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life. After 6 months of age, it is recommended that breastfeeding continue until up to 2 years of age with the introduction of appropriate complementary foods.

So why should a woman, who is giving her baby the best source of nutrition as recommended, be made to feel as though she is doing something wrong?

I know there are some who will say that they don’t want their children, particularly their sons, to see a woman breastfeeding her child. I challenge those people to ask themselves why. Is it because it is unnatural? Or is it because our society has placed a taboo where it doesn’t belong? Why is explaining it to your child necessarily a bad thing, when the explanation is that a child is being fed? Who is really the one who feels uncomfortable here, you, or your child?

Somehow, in some way, we need to get back to viewing breastfeeding as a natural act, and not as something dirty to be done in a bathroom. People like Jess are working to make sure that happens. I am proud of her for that.

Jess’s story was carried on her local news late last week. I promised I’d do my part to help spread awareness as well. I can’t say the idea didn’t make me feel a little bit uncomfortable. But that brings us back to the root of the issue, doesn’t it? If we can’t force ourselves to do what makes us feel uncomfortable every now and then, how can we ever expect there to be change?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Our little Jane is becoming more vocal by the day. The serious faces she makes when she has something to say are so funny. Sometimes she'll talk and talk and other times she opens her mouth and moves it all around but nothing comes out. She sure is working hard at it! Sometimes I will make sounds for her to try to imitate (which she never does) and she will give me quite the look. Talking is serious work, apparently.
Our little pumpkin is now rolling both ways quite well. We had suspected that she could and did occasionally, but we could never catch her at it. Last Thursday we finally did. I had been videotaping her even, but had stopped taping and was adjusting my legs when she did it. She has done it several times since and rolls both ways in her crib at night.
Now on to sitting up! Some days she does really well and others not so much. I know she is getting strong enough and that when she figures out, she's going to love being able to sit on her own. After that I suspect crawling is next on the menu. It is hard to believe she is growing up so fast and that she will be six months old in just over a week. I'm not ready to let my baby grow up but I am enjoying these milestones so much!
This weekend we will attend a benefit for a classmate of mine who has brain cancer. Of course it isn't under the best of circumstances, but I'm looking forward to seeing everyone there and showing Jane off a bit. I just hope the crowd isn't too large for her!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spoonerisms & mixed-up words

Do you ever mix up your words? I think we probably all have at one time or another. A few people in my life are notorious for this. One of them, on Monday, said, “I could have sworn I made a whole cube of ice trays!”

That got a good chuckle out of me and got me to thinking about other memorable word mix-ups. Years ago I learned about something called “Spoonerisms” in Bill Bryson’s “The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way.”

According to Wikipedia, a Spoonerism is “an error in speech or deliberate play on words in which corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes are switched (see metathesis). It is named after the Reverend William Archibald Spooner (1844–1930), Warden of New College, Oxford, who was notoriously prone to this tendency.”

My husband’s word mix-up on Monday wasn’t exactly a Spoonerism by this definition, I suppose. But it was still funny. Wikipedia gives some funny examples of Spoonerisms that are often attributed to Spooner himself:

· "Three cheers for our queer old dean!" (dear old queen, referring to Queen Victoria)

· "Is it kisstomary to cuss the bride?" (customary to kiss)

· "The Lord is a shoving leopard." (a loving shepherd)

· "A blushing crow." (crushing blow)

· "A well-boiled icicle" (well-oiled bicycle)

· "You were fighting a liar in the quadrangle." (lighting a fire)

· "Is the bean dizzy?" (dean busy)

· "Someone is occupewing my pie. Please sew me to another sheet." (occupying my me to another seat)

· "You have hissed all my mystery lectures. You have tasted a whole worm. Please leave Oxford on the next town drain." (missed...history, wasted...term, down train)

Here are some of my favorite word mix-ups and Spoonerisms. (Names left off to protect the innocent, aka my family and co-workers.)

• Coff of cuppee (cup of coffee)

• Flotting swies (swatting flies)

• Look how horsey those happies are (happy, horses)

• Kapper Troothy (Trooper Kathy)

• Beth & Setsy (Seth & Betsy)

• Oasin ratemeal cookies (oatmeal raisin)

• Friendler usey (user friendly)

Some of these happened years ago and I still giggle every time I think about them. I have a couple other favorites, but I cannot share them here because the mixed-up letters resulted in profanity, and this is a family paper.

I don’t know why I am so amused by Spoonerisms and word mix-ups, but I am. It is funny how our brains and our mouths sometimes don’t work together very well.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Moody March

I haven't been in much of a mood to write here lately. It hasn't been the best couple of weeks and I've been crabby and annoyed for most of it. I still am, but didn't want to get too much out of the habit of writing. I don't want to go into what is bothering me, just suffice it to say that I'm not the happiest person on the planet right now. Add to it that it's March and it makes matters even worse. I hate March. With a passion. It's gray. It's still cold. It's muddy. It's just all around gross and I can't wait for it to be over. I'm hoping for happier times in April.
Jane is doing well. She still hasn't rolled over from tummy to back - at least not that anyone has seen. I know she can do it, though. The past week was interesting because we transitioned her back into her crib. Ever since she developed a cold around Christmas time, we'd been letting her sleep in her bouncy seat. Every time we planned to put her back in her crib she'd get sick again. Then it came to a point that we knew it would be a struggle to get her to sleep in her crib again, plus she started rolling over and we didn't want her sleeping on her tummy. Last weekend, though, it became obvious that it was dangerous for her to keep sleeping in her bouncy seat. Early one morning I went into her room to find her doubled over, head hanging way down. She hadn't been that way long, because I had just put her back down a few minutes earlier, but it still scared me. She's too strong and can pull herself into a sitting position. So began the transition that we had needed to make for quite some time. The first night went remarkably well. Tim was out of town that night, so I put her down at about 8:45 p.m. She slept until 4 a.m. and then I brought her in to snuggle with me until morning. The nights that followed were not so great. Most nights, she woke up several times. But we stuck with it and for the past two nights she has slept through. She has also done so while sleeping on her tummy. As nervous as that makes me, I realize that I cannot stop her from rolling over and at this point she can choose how she wants to sleep. As long as she is sleeping well, I'm going to have to get over my fears a little bit and let her sleep. Last night she slept from 10:30 until 6, and the night before she slept from 10 until almost 7:30. That's great and I hope it continues.
Jane is also learning to babble. Before she mostly just cooed, but now she is exploring more sounds. It is very funny because she makes the strangest shapes with her mouth, like she is trying to mimic us. I suppose that she is. She has made both "ma ma" and "da da" sounds. She is quite the talker and also has quite the laugh. A good game of peekaboo or airplane gets her giggling really well. It is so much fun to watch her personality develop.

Friday, March 4, 2011

I never imagined ...

Before I became a mom ...

I never would have imagined that I'd have a refrigerator full of breast milk or that it would be source of major pride for me.

I never thought it was possible to see a baby grow overnight.

I never imagined I'd hope for a baby to sleep through the night and then lie awake myself, listening to a monitor, hoping she'd make a noise.

I never thought it would be more fun to dress someone other than me.

I never imagined that little conversations consisting of "Ba, ba, ba," and games of "I'm gonna get you!" could be so interesting.

I never thought 1,000 pictures of a baby sleeping could be so fun to look through.

I never thought time could go by quite so quickly.

I never knew love like this was possible.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

One year ago today ...

One year ago today, we saw Jane for the first time. I nervously sneaked out of work that afternoon and headed in for my first ultrasound. One year ago today, it became real to me that there really was a baby in there. Our little bean even looked kind of like a baby. One year ago today, I saw her heart beating. One of my greatest fears had been that we would not see a heartbeat that day. It was the first of many such fears I have felt since I got pregnant and became a mother. One year ago today, I was so excited about the future. I tried to imagine what our home would look like with a baby in it. I pictured baby gear strewn throughout our house. I imagined snuggling up to our little one on the couch. One year later, my dream is a reality.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

4-month appointment

Jane had her 4-month checkup and shots yesterday. Our big girl now weighs 16 pounds and is 26-3/4 inches long. She handled the examination well, except for when the doctor looked in her ears. I don't know why she became so upset then.
Afterward, when the doctor was talking to us and answering our questions, she had a lot of things to say to him. I have never heard her talk so much to someone she barely knows before! It was hilarious. I think she may have been lodging a complaint against her incompetent parents. Or maybe she was just lecturing him for looking in her ears.
She handled the shots remarkably well. She got two this time - one in each leg. She also had an oral vaccine. She screamed a bit, but stopped as soon as I picked her up. She whimpered as we put her back in her car seat, but had completely settled down by the time we got to the car. She fell asleep on the five-minute drive home. When we got there, I changed her and fed her, and she fell back to sleep. After a 45-minute nap, she woke up feeling pretty chipper and played as if nothing had happened for the rest of the evening.
She found a new trick to do - making a smacking sound with her lips. She laid and kicked and smacked her lips and laughed at the fish. Oh, to be so easily entertained! I'll admit, I was just as entertained by watching her.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Babies and dogs

The old cliché is that a picture is worth a thousand words. I was at a loss for what to write about this week, so I’m going to give it a shot. I might not get a thousand words, but I’ll do my best.

What does this photo say to you? To me it says one thing: Trouble.

Featured we have the always adorable Baby Jane, and the cute as ever Weezer the dog. It’s been a tough past few months for poor Weezer. His people brought home a new, tiny person that makes weird sounds and smells. They don’t pay as much attention to him as they used to, because they are busy with said new, tiny person.

Fortunately for all involved, Baby Jane is becoming more independent. She’s also becoming more curious about the furry friends she shares a home with. She has a puppy friend at daycare, too.

What I like about this picture is the eye contact between the dog and the baby. Since neither of them can speak in a language I can understand, I can only imagine what this wordless glance between them means. I have a few caption ideas.

“What up, dawg?”

“In a few months, you and I are going to rip this place up!”

“If you think it’s fun to chase your own tail, just wait until I chase it!”

“I see competition for the morsels of food on the floor in the very near future!”

“I didn’t toot! It was the dog!”

“I didn’t toot! It was the baby!”

“Let’s get this homework-eating agreement settled now.”

• • •

I’ll be honest. It’s hard having pets and a baby. There have been some “What were we thinking?” moments. But things are improving. They might get worse again, but they are improving for now.

I think it’s good for children to grow up around animals. We always had dogs and cats on the farm growing up. It taught me some responsibility and compassion. Pets are great companions and playmates. They’re always willing to lend an ear without judging, and seem to know when you’re sad and need comfort. We humans could probably stand to learn from them in that regard.

So while our pets may have been temporarily displaced, I am beginning once again to see their importance. I hope Jane feels the same way. I think maybe she is already starting to.