Monday, April 30, 2007

Now reading

Grace (Eventually) by Anne Lamott
Will review at completion
She's one of my favorite authors.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday adventure: Bird and Monkey

First off, my birthday was wonderful. I arrived at home to find a bouquet of tulips, a stem of sweet William, and spray roses, the same orange color as our wedding flowers. Jim told me that the Tulips represent how we bloom like a new spring every day. Some days I get more blatant reminders that I married the right man than other days... He had arranged for Jenny and Joe to watch Willa while we had a relaxed dinner out. After a terrific Indian meal, we went back to Jenny and Joe's, had brownies and visited. It was a wonderful night.

Yesterday we made a new friend:

This little guy was one of three babies from the house finch nest. They hatched last week. Yesterday I found the nest strewn across our front deck and the babies on our patio furniture. This is the only one that made it. The house finch nest was replaced by some sparrows. Mom and dad house finch were no where to be seen. So... this baby spent the night in our basement under a reading lamp. He (Jim keeps calling it a she) was well fed on soggy dog food from an eye dropper. Knowing we aren't equipped to care for a baby bird, Jim looked up and found a wildlife rescue shelter. A mile from our house. He called and a nice woman named Peg agreed to care for our friend.

We dropped him off on a street that we had visited before. We eyed a house there about 6 months ago. When we pulled up, there were ducks on the lawn across the street, and a gathering of neighbors. One of which was holding a monkey. For real. We took the bird to Peg who was talking with the monkey lady. Turns out she is a rescue worker too. I asked permission to do this:

We gave Peg a $10 donation for her organization and thanked her for taking care of our little buddy. And then left to walk around the Meijer Gardens for an hour.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Last night's conversation

"So... what's the big plan for tomorrow?"
"Marky Mark AND the Funky bunch will probably drive up in a Yaris."
"I hate that car."
"I know. They'll come, and then the car will stomp all over little gas nozzle spiders."
"Yuck. Did you know Marky has a third nipple?"

When I was dropping Willa off at day care this morning, I overhead a mom telling someone that her son was 26 months old. It's a matter of person taste, but I think at this point Willa is just over a year, soon she'll be almost a year and a half, and beyond that she'll be nearly two. When do we draw the line for age in months?

I almost called my mom today to tell her that today I am 384 months old. I'll save you the division. Today I turn 32. I hope Willie Nelson and Jimmy Carter swing by with the funky bunch.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

As Seen at Cool Mom Picks

Nice suggestions for gifts for the Female Parental Unit.
My first adventure into advertising earns me entry into a contest for free goodies.

Sunday's adventure: Riverside Park picnic and walk

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Odd Jim dream

"I must have fallen asleep for a minute there. I just drempt that you were really tall. I laid you down and your feet went to 44th street."
"My feet were all the way to 44th street, and you could lay me down?"

Another instance in which on command vomiting would have been useful

Willa and I are really going to have to work on some kind of system that will punish people who do not have her best interest in mind; like doctors who think we should sit at home with a 106 fever. Vomiting on command is the best idea I have now. I thought of asking her to lean over and bite her "friend" on their arm, but that's unnecessary pain inflicted on people who aren't familiar with the strength of her jaws or sincerity of her will. Teaching her to flip people off would probably only backfire on us later. I am taking suggestions.

Yesterday when I picked Willa up from daycare a fully formed adult employed by the day care to tend to the safety and needs of the children mentioned to me that Willa ate the charm off of her (the adult's) shoe. Uh... what? My kid ate something off of your shoe? Last week? And you're only telling me about it now? In her defense, she is a moron. Also, her voice is like a 3rd grader's.

Generally I'm a nice person. Really. Ask around. Oh, Amy? Yup, she's nice. I tried to draw on my strengths in the face of adversity. "You really need to let parents know if something like this happens. That's pretty harmful, and we need to watch to see if it passes through her system." She said, (really she did this, could I even make this up?) "if you see a dinosaur in one of her diapers, could you clean it off and bring it back?" She totally wasn't getting it. And this is when I wish that Willa could have taken over and vomited all over her now dinosaurless shoes. But no. Slacker.

I got in my car, which was a difficult feat when considering that I was feeling roughly what a mother lion feels when some other beast messes with her cub. Oh, I thought, so this is mother rage. I dialed the phone and spoke with the center's director. The director was equally shocked and disturbed. She told me she'd get to the bottom of this. 20 minutes later there was a message on my phone from the director who was letting me know that this didn't make it any better, but spacey girl's dinosaur was a small piece of foam, and not sharp, pointy tetanus-carrying metal that was, at this moment, puncturing her bowel. Also, it may have been swept up and thrown away instead. Spacey girl was mentioning it to me because she thought it was funny (and because she wants her freakin' dinosaur back). She's now been written up and properly educated.

[I need to insert here that with the exception of this one employee, I fully trust and adore the staff at the center Willa is at. They are wonderful, and particularly not spacey or moronic.]

Willa, by the way, is fine. Last night I put her to bed while she was fully awake and laughing. I heard her play for a minute, then the music from her crib toy that she turned on herself. When I went to check on her a few minutes later, she was sleeping on her knees with her butt in the air. I covered her up and patted her head. "Goodnight sweet Willa. Goodnight foam dinosaur."

Monday, April 23, 2007

Good morning

The sun was not up this morning when I heard Willa stand up in her crib. It was 6 am. I felt well rested. I hopped out of bed, went to her room, being careful not to trip over the toys that made her giggle last night. She held her arms out for me. I picked her up and brought her to me. She wrapped her arms and legs around my body, laid her head on my shoulder and hugged me. An honest, for real hug. My kid likes me, and that's pretty neat.

I took her back into bed where Jim was dozing. The window had been open all night, and the room had a great spring morning scent and slight chill. I nursed Willa and Jim rolled over to put his hand on her back. She laughed.

We invited Arlo to join us. Greta followed. The sun was starting to rise, and the whole family was snuggled together on the queen sized bed. It was one of *those* moments.

Willa finished eating, and started playing. She moved Jim's hand to my stomach to get him to tickle me. She blew raspberries on both of our stomach's and my shin. She stretched out on Jim, and rolled off to get the dogs.

We all got up and took a family walk.

We have a good life.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Don't hate us because we're beautiful...

If we didn't have a digital camera, we'd probably miss a lot of good shots. Here are some out-takes, too funny to immediately delete:

Aren't we pretty?
In other news, Willa's daycare incident report: "Willa was sitting on the floor next to a friend. Her friend leaned over and bit her arm. Willa cried." She's fine - no broken skin. I'm just imagining the shock on her face when a "friend" bit her.
Also, happy birthday to my mom! Hope you enjoy your gift.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

In spite of this, she woke up this morning laughing and with a normal temp.

"Well, you put the thermometer under her arm, wait until it beeps, take the measurement and add one degree."
And then, on command, Willa vomited on him.
No, she didn't really, but if there were ever a time that I wished my kid could vomit on command...

At 3:40 yesterday I got a call from day care letting me know that Willa (who was fine in the morning after a weekend of fever we blamed on the shots) had a fever of 103.2. I left work, picked her up, called her doctor's office talked to the nurse and made plans to go straight to the After Hours care office. This being Michigan and moderately nice weather, all major roads are now under construction. So we were stopped for a while, and when we started moving again, Willa began to throw up in the car seat. All I could do was watch her while soothing her verbally, "I'm so sorry you don't feel good, but if mommy stops right now, that semi will run us right over." We got to the office, I stripped her and cleaned her up.

We got into the office, nurse calls us back, blah, blah, blah... Doctor comes in. Starts talking to Willa as "buddy" and "little guy" whatever. Tells me he thinks she has an ear infection, and perscribes antibiotics. I start asking questions. You know, I'm partly in charge of my kids life and like to be informed - and he had the information. I know we're not his normal patients, and I know there's a whole waiting room full of people with injuries and illnesses, but...

So I was trying to ask one question and he kept interrupting me to answer what he thought I was asking. I don't know, maybe he took a speciality in mindreading too. Or maybe he was just a pompus jerk. Willa was clinging to me, eyes glazed over, and whimpering, which is why she didn't get the "vomit now" cue. I stopped him in the middle of telling me how to take my kids temp - uh... thanks, after a year, I consider myself a seasoned veteran - and demanded that he listen to my full question. And finally I learned that it takes about 8 hours for fever reducing medicines to leave the system (see what I went through to pass this info along to you?). Also, if her fever gets to 107 degrees, we should take her to the ER - because it means her brain is on fire.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Tragedy today

This morning someone woke up, picked up two guns, travelled to Virginia Tech, and shot 50 people. At this time there are 31 people dead, including the man who was shooting.
I'm so glad that Willa's not old enough to ask me why.
No words.

Friday, April 13, 2007

1 year, 1 week stats

31 inches long. 24 pounds.
Head size consistent with her genes.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

But wait, there's more.

Apparently my awesome husband had 1% even more awesome in him than I knew. He called to say he went to get a cable at lunch. And uploaded 226 photos to Snapfish.

Extra minutes on a neck rub tonight for him!

So, here we are:

Willa being "dainty" note the pinky is up.
Monkey cake, and her own banana cake

MaKenna, Willa's cousin turned 3, the day after Willa turned 1.

4 Generations of April b-days. All of "the ladies" in my dad's life were born in April, mom, wife, 2 daughters, 2 grandaughters.

And finally, proof that having a cute daughter has made me soft; Willa in a purple frilly dress, hangin' with uncle Brian:

Topsy turvy

So, here's the thing. We left some things behind accidentally when we visited my family over the weekend. Willa, Arlo, Greta and the pita bread I can't find here all made it to the car (phew). Jim was driving and I had the keys, so we both got back okay too.

On Sunday night my head felt like it was hosting an elephant rock band, and we were looking at getting home near midnight. We had done a decent job of gathering and packing most of our stuff into the car ahead of the Easter dinner rush, but. Some things didn't make it. So far, we've noticed a lack of: the big bowl I cooked the birthday cake in, the specially formed ice pack for my breast pump (lucky for us, breast milk stays cool with non-specially formed devices also), and the USB cable that lets our camera talk to our computer. Mom, if you find these things, please put them in my drawer. What? Don't you all have a special drawer at your parents houses to collect credit card offers, newspaper clippings and other items of note?

Two nights ago Jim and I had every intention of uploading the birthday photos to Snapfish so I could share some here. "I'm a terrible mommy blogger if I delay her first birthday party photos any longer..." But nope. And we have 3 others somewhere - though I think we've checked every somewhere - in the house, so we're not anxious to go buy another one for this "emergency."

Last night I looked at the photos again on the tiny camera screen. They're cute, and you'll see 'em soon. In the mean time, here's something to tide you over. Willa's birthday was on Friday. She tripped over her Easter basket as we were packing the car for the weekend. So, she played with her Easter Sunday basket on Birthday Friday and we celebrated her Birthday Friday with my huge family on Easter Sunday, at which point she also got to play with her Easter basket for the second time. Now do you understand why we've been feeling hung over?

Anyhow, she loved shaking the eggs filled with animal crackers for her and jelly beans for Jim. She's also been carrying the wind chime around like Linus carries his blanket.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

One chance - no pressure

Because of the recent milestone, I'm been somewhat sentimental so far this month. Yesterday I was having a daydream about how much I'm in love with Willa while listening to NPR at the same time. The dichotomy got me philosophical. I started thinking about how every person - ever - used to be a baby. Every person used to be a fetus and, if they were lucky, their mom would rub her belly at night dreaming of holding her newborn, and helping that baby take shape into an adult. Even the guy who went to his office this week and shot and killed the mother of a family I grew up with. Even the president of Iran. Whoever ran that red light on the way home had a mom. She probably would have been terrified to see how he drove. My daycare nemesis mom probably took her mom's breath away when she first rolled over, first took steps. Then she probably disappointed her mom when she became a self-centered bitch (I'll have to tell you about her a different time). So... everyone had a mom, and everyone was a baby and cue Elton John singing "the Circle of Life" and/or DUH! I know, I know...

It's in the face of its common experience: how mundane pregnancy and childbirth and parenting is, that I'm amazed at how sacred this motherhood thing is. Why is my experience any different - why do I feel the need to write about it for myself as well as family, friends, and folks who stumble on this accidental? Because so far this is the most important do it yourself (not myself, ourselves - Jim and I, and hey, thanks village) projects I've been a part of. I get one chance with Willa to raise someone who will be a good person, someone who will be on NPR for positive reasons, someone who I am trying to be. I want my kid to do better than me, but not just financially. And because it's one chance with one person, it's huge!! And we all feel that, in different ways, us moms. It's an important job, and I'd like that not to be a cliche.

I guess if we really screw her up, we can rely on our other (not yet in production) kid(s), but then they'll be all new and precious and exposed to a bad seed. See, it's big doin's.

Also, if it doesn't stop snowing I might just over think myself to crazy. It's physiologically time for me to be in the garden. All this time indoors is making me nutso. We might be done throwing parties for that groundhog!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Back from the tour

I know that as co-president of the Willa fan club, I really ought to have photos here by now of Willa at her birthday party and Easter. I know folks are looking for "the cake photo." I'll warn you now, it's not going to be that exciting. I think someone called her dainty when she stuck one fingertip in the frosting, and then another fingertip. Dainty is not a word I'd use to describe her: this is our tornado who likes to ensure that all of our table tops are cleared of paper and other clutter by throwing everything over her shoulder to the floor. I think the big audience of well wishers gave her stage fright. We'll see what happens this weekend when we celebrate with Jim's family.

I promise photos and some better thoughts will be up soon. We've been in a fog. A weekend away - with 2 birthdays and Easter and not getting home until midnight on Sunday has us in a stuppor. Even the dogs were tired.

After last night's rest and today's sunshine, we are on the road to recovery.

In other news, under the awning of our front porch is a small nest that a finch couple in love built. I checked it yesterday with a mirror: 4 teeny eggs. Hope we don't scare them away.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Day after the birthday

Friday was Willa's first birthday. She and I went to visit a mommy-to-be in St. Mary's. It was strange to walk the hallway a year later with my one year old. Turns out that Amanda is in the room next door to where we were. Passing the ice and water machine, I felt nostalgic.

Later, Jim, Willa, and I went to the Meijer Gardens to be in plants that weren't heavy with ice and to see the butterflies. When one passed near her, Willa would turn very earnest, point and say, "wow!" over and over. We let her out of the stroller so she could test out her new walking skills. It was crowded, but we found a corner tucked away.

Then we went to visit Jim's parents for a little visit with the birthday girl. And then back home to pack to come to visit my parents where we are now. In all the rush, we left no time to give her presents from her parents. So... we snapped a few photos of her with her presents, some were left behind. Some she'll open tomorrow.

Tonight was a celebration with my parents (and Bill and Jackie) and Willa got a whole new Spring wardrobe.

Tomorrow will be my family to celebrate Willa and MaKenna's birthdays, and then my extended family over for Easter.

I have made my first birthday cake for my child. That was fun. Photos to follow, along with a more thoughtful entry. It is now 1:08 am on Sat. Jim and I are headed to Wallgreens to pick up photos to give to everyone tomorrow.

So tired, and we're not done yet!

Friday, April 06, 2007


365 days with the best person ever! Our celebrating has made me one tired mommy. Tomorrow, I'll write a low-down.
Today kicks off a weekend of celebrating.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

"Ummm... I don't think I'm going anywhere. I think my water just broke." I spoke those words a year and a few hours ago to my doctor who was discharging me from the hospital. I was 39 weeks pregnant and was sent to the hospital to be monitored for high blood pressure, swelling, and possible protein in my urine. The concern was that I was developing pre-eclampsia. After a night in the hospital my blood pressure went down and my doctor was telling me to go home after my 24 hour collection time was over.
Apparently Willa had other plans. Because the water broke in a very messy gush, I was happy to be in a hospital bed (and not at work or my car or in a store...) talking with the woman who would, 19 hours later, place brand new beautiful and slimy daughter on my chest.
This was one of the longest, mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging days of my life. And the next day, at 2:51 am, there she was. Tomorrow we will celebrate Willa. But today, I celebrate myself and every woman who has gone through the miraculous yet mundane process of pregnancy and childbirth.
Here is a photo of me in the small pocket of time between relief that my water broke and it was time to get the show on the road, and the devil Pitocen (labor inducing drug) was wheeled into the room. Notice the Sudoku book and journal. I have a few notes from early in the day written down in the journal and did 3 puzzles. Both lasted to about the time I entered a phase where I also wanted to maim Jim for standing in front of a screw on a electrical outlet. Visual confirmation of the screw's existence and my ability to stare at it with intensity that would have lit sticks on fire gave me comfort that I would most likely make it through the next contraction.
You can also see that I was wearing purple slipper socks which stayed on during the entire labor and delivery. I now call them my warrior socks. When I wear them, I feel the strength and focus I drew on that day.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"The Feminine Mistake"

It might have been yesterday morning that the Today Show had a woman on talking about her new book, "The Feminine Mistake."
For info, look here:
Basically, she's writing about how women are making potentially crisis-producing decisions when they make a choice to be a stay at home mom. The mistakes are financially based: what happens if the husband is injured, or suddenly finds himself unemployed or there a divorce or worse, death? Also, what company, in this environment of plenty of applicants to select from, would want to hire someone who's been "off the market" for a period of time?
I've been wrestling with this since I listened to her. I want to tell her to shut up, because who the heck is she to say that staying at home with your family's most precious resource is wrong?! But she's right. Financially, a lot of families are taking risks if one adult sacrifices work for raising a child.
We take a lot of risks, financially and otherwise. Adding a child to a family is a risk. Getting married to another person, tying your fate to theirs, is a risk. There aren't a lot of buses going down our street, but we all know we can step off the curb and... well, you know.
This book makes me uncomfortable and angry. I want to chalk this book up to just another way to cash in on the media driven "mommy wars," I want to rail against the sexism of the assumption that "the feminine mistake" isn't being made by a lot of modern stay at home dads.
But I'm glad she has people talking... and thinking.
Your thoughts?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Dancin' dancin' dancin' machine

Watch him get down...

Dear sweet Jim, I know you told me not to put that photo here, but I couldn't resist. Your mad skills need to be shared with the world!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Tiger's opening day

Willa's not sure what happened to her team today - heck, she barely understands the infield fly rule - but she's looking forward to a whole season of Tiger baseball.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Willa's 1st 2nd Holiday coming up

This will be Willa's second Easter. Last Easter she was all of a week old when we propped her against a stuffed bunny she received as a welcome gift, and took her photo in a very sweet dress than might fit her big toe these days.
Today we took her to the mall to meet the Easter Bunny. We both think it's weird to have a kid sit on the lap of a stranger dressed as a rabbit who doesn't speak (no, "were you a good litlle girl this year?" or "what would you like the Easter Bunny to bring you in your basket this year?"). But, hey, we're kind of into weird.
And she sat on the lap of the most raggidy bunny I've ever seen and took it all in stride. Like we do this every single day. "Sure mom, I'll sit on the lap of this giant bunny who is wearing a bow tie and smile. I love this kind of weird crap you guys make me do. What's next weekend? I vote that you two let me eat my own cake while smearing frosting into every facial cavity I have. AND I want to wear nothing but a diaper."