Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pitch-dark Friday

This year I decided to venture into the crazy shopping world on Black Friday. My mom had stayed the night at our house and she and I woke up at 4am to let the fun begin. We were out the door in 15 mintues flat (hello ponytail!) and made it to the shopping center by 4:30am. The line around Circuit City, which was my destination of choice, was at least 300 people long and it twisted around the building and ended in the loading area behind the building. People had coolers, sleeping bags, chairs and blankets. There was even a RV or two in the parking lot. These folks are hard core. I decided to settle for Target. I had gone a few days before and scoped out the location of said item (which will remain unnamed because it is Rob's Christmas gift) so I knew exactly where to go. We waited in line for an hour and a half before the store opened. We had a great time, talking and eavesdropping; straining to hear if there were people ahead of me vying for the same thing. We heard all sorts of crazy Black Friday stories of years past. Last year at the same Target store, people had cut in line when all of the doors opened and the police were called to settle the crowd. This year, the management had things much better organized and only opened one door to allow us to enter single file. I was pleasantly surprised at the calmness and kindness of everyone that morning. Despite the fact that my Mom and I were standing behind a group of 5 chain smokers, we had a great time and got great deals. I truly believe that the management at Target helped to calm the crowd by answering questions while we were still waiting in line and by having carts and flyers ready when we went in.

My Mom and I hit a few more stores and ended our morning at Cracker Barrell. I was bone tired but our trip was definitely worth the effort. My Mom, Ms. Ray-of-Sunshine, reminded me that if we got at least one item we were hoping for, it was a success. Also that she and I were making memories. I will remember this one for a long time.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


We're going to enclose our back porch with a dome enclosure. We've been planning on doing this since we bought our house back in 2003. We actually got some estimates in 2004 but MY GOD was it expensive and we thought we'd wait until Central Florida experienced a record number of home-damaging hurricanes and the price of screen enclosures doubled before we made our move.

We're. Stupid.

Oh yeah. And living on one income.

Sam is a full-fledged walking toddler, so we need some sort device to keep baby away from the lake. I'm sure the fancy people would frown upon us setting up a baby gate around the patio. But then again, we are the neighborhood rednecks. I mean, c'mon. We actually clean our own house and don't have a doggie-poop-picker-uper service. Rob just runs that shit over with the lawnmower.

But since we live in this fancy neighborhood where people don't mow their own lawns (we do!) or drive 8-year old Chevys, (we do!) we have to follow all the rules of the fancy people who for some reason have something against flat-roofed screen rooms. We haave to haave a dommme encloooosure (spoken in my snootiest British accent.)

We've had three companies come to give us estimates today. It is so hard to pick which one is the best. Two of the guys showed up at the same time. I was hoping they'd fight over our business and get into this great bid war while the big guy in the Chicago Bears hoodie held the small guy in the navy blazer in a full nelson. Yeah, well THAT didn't happen. Pfft. Whatever.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

October in Pictures

Where did the month go? Time is still flying by at an alarming rate and I'm waiting for it to slow down. Sam is 13 months old and I still haven't blogged about the remainder of his birthday month! So, lucky you, you get the October summary in pictures! Whoo hoo!

This is our trip to the pumpkin patch with Sam. He was only 3 weeks old when we last visited. My, how he's grown!

Here is Samuel dressed in his first Halloween costume. He was the cutest vampire we'd ever seen. Put away the garlic and crucifix; you'll want to keep this "Sam"pire around!

This was Sam's first "hands-on" experience carving a pumpkin. He tried several times to eat the guts, despite our encouragement not to.

Sam has really taken off with the walking. He opens doors with ease and keeps on going...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Life as it happens

I bought a memory foam mattress topper for our bed this week. I haven't actually slept on it yet as I had to unpack it from the air-tight package it came in and allow it to decompress for a day or so. I'm not sure if the memory foam will actually improve my memory. Maybe I'll be able to recall my dreams in even greater detail. Or perhaps the mattress topper will just say, "Oh, here comes that fat ass again. I remember..."

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Sam learned how to open a door this week. He is tall enough to reach up and grab the handle, pull down and push the door open. He tried to walk out the front door, but thankfully I was of the right mind to keep it locked. He also walked in on Rob while he was in the bathroom. Thankfully Rob was already on the toilet as he laughed so hard he likely would have peed his pants.

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Monday marked the second week of my running training. On Mondays we run on a track and we work on speed. Our coach times us and keeps track so we can see our progress. This Monday I ran a full mile without stopping. I have been working toward this goal since I started training in March. I'd be a lot more exuberant in conveying this wonderful news, except that Wednesday I ran 1.6 miles straight through, and a mile is just sooo yesterday's news.

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I made apple butter this past weekend with my mother. We peeled, cored and diced 40 apples and completed the tedious task of canning 24 jars. I hesitated in even publishing this news as the apple butter is a hot commodity and I could really do without all the internet and foot traffic the news of delectable treat will cause. I thought the public needed to know and I decided to take a chance. I did it for the people.

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While making said apple butter I noticed that my potholders are in sad shape. Not that they're worn or bearing holes - no this is much more disgusting. I don't think I've ever washed them. They have years of caked on pie filling, spaghetti sauce and God knows what else. I consider myself a clean person, but if you had to judge me by my potholders, you might think otherwise.

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I've gained 2 pounds since I started this running training. Could be muscle. I hope so. I sure do hate to see the scale move in that direction.

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This past Saturday night, I went dancing downtown with my husband and some friends. I haven't been downtown in 2 years and being there made me feel old, out of practice with my moves and generally silly. I still had a good time even though my feet took a brutal beating and I was hung over the next day. I quickly remembered why people with children don't go out and party. Kids never sleep in when you have a pounding headache.

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Grey's Anatomy is a little disappointing this season. There is too much focus being placed on the sex and he-said, she-said aspect and not enough on the medical crap. The very thing that drew me to the show was the medical twist involving young doctors with whom, in my wildest dreams, I could relate. I always wanted to be a doctor, but never pursued it. This show allowed me to live vicariously through the interns before it turned all Melrose Place on my ass. Enough with the McDreamy, McSteamy and get back to McReality. Seriously.

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My latest list of wants:

A Chicago Bears t-shirt
New bras
Brown shoes (dressy casual)
A laptop
New dish towels (even though I DO wash the ones I have.)

I'm sure I could think of more things, but these are the items that came to mind freely. This list runs through my mind and changes periodically. Don't know why I thought I'd share. This list might give my readers a glimpse into the inner me, and allow you to know my deep motivations and desires. Or not.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sam a.k.a American Bad Ass

My silly son found this chain in our office/gym room. It belongs to the home gym and it hooks up to the pulley system in some sort of fashion. If I actually used the damn thing, I'd be able to tell you. Instead it sits and collects dust along side the elliptical trainer.

Sam decided that the chain made a nice fashion accessory and wore it around his neck for the remainder of the day. Of course he was supervised the entire time, except for the 30 seconds it took me to run and grab the camera.

My little Bad Ass is so cool.

Chocolate Fu Man Chu

I gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy. I had an insatiable sweet tooth and craved chocolate like a crack whore needs a fix. Coincidentally, I made cake with chocolate frosting for Sam's birthday. He too attacked the cake with the same ferocity that I did when he was growing inside me. So, in my defense, it really wasn't me that was eating the stuff like an addict. It was Sam. He made me do it. I'm telling. MOOOOOMMMMMM!

Here is the evidence of Sam's chocolate fest.

He looks good with a fu-man-chu, don't you think?

Zoo on One

For Sam's first birthday, we took him to the Central Florida Zoo. To our surprise and delight, Sam had a ball. He pointed to his heart's content and "hoo-ed" at the birds and monkeys. Rob and I had fun as well and I learned tons of new things about the animals there, none of which I can remember now. We set our peepers on tigers, emus, elephants, llamas, snakes, birds and monkeys to name a few. Somehow Rob convinced me to enter the Insect Building where I came face to face with many of the unfortunate and disgusting creatures featured on Fear Factor. Apparently, fear is a factor for me because I was getting the creeps just looking at the Giant Screeching Cockroachs.

Sam's first outing rocked. Stay tuned for more Birthday Boy pictures!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

220 minus your age, my ass

Last night was the second night for the running group. I originally thought the loop we were running was .6 miles, but I was mistaken; it was .8 miles. After a warm-up and stretch, I actually ran the entire .8-mile loop, which impressed me greatly. I surely could have squeezed out the last bit to make it a mile. Regardless, I was jogging at a slow pace and heaving pretty heavily. I constantly checked my heart rate, which topped out at 220 beats per minute.


Holy. Shit.

Heh, that blows the whole maximum heart rate equation of 220 - your age right out of the water. In that case, I'm a newborn. Give me a break people, I wasn't born yesterday. (rimshot!)

I have no idea why I have such an incredibly high heart rate. My coach nicely informed me it is because I am out of shape, but he doesn't know that I've been exercising since March. I can definitely tell I've improved my fitness, even though my freakishly high heart rate has not changed much. I definitely have a way to go before I can call myself "in shape" but I'm not a total sloth either.

On a slightly different note:

I know this guy who refuses to exercise because he believes that our hearts are genetically coded to beat a pre-determined number of beats, and then we die. Just like a woman only has a certain number of eggs, and she will never produce more, he thinks that each of us has a number. Like numerology or your Sleep Number. If that is the case, I either hit the Heart-Number Lottery in-utero or I'm going to die next Tuesday.

Right. Moving on.

Soon I'll be able to keep up to this kick-ass cadence. Does this make you want to cut your hair high and tight and strap on some combat boots, or what?!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Run like the wind to be free again

I joined a running team which is facilitated and coached through Track Shack. We meet two nights a week for ten weeks. The program is designed to enable beginner runners/walkers to run up to 5 miles. The coach ensures us that by the end of the 10-week program, we should be able to run 3-4 miles comfortably. My personal goal is to run 3 miles without stopping; comfortably would be nice. I also have 15 stubborn pounds to lose to get to my happy weight. I'm not sure if the pounds are stubborn, per se as much as I am lazy. In any case, I paid for and joined this team of 30+ people. Yes, I know it is sad when I have to pay for my motivation, but hey, whatever works.

We met on Monday night for the first time and ran around the track 7 times. I was impressed with myself in that I could make it around the track without stopping to walk. I kept up pretty well, despite the fact my heart rate was above 195 the majority of the run. I think I topped out at 215, and amazingly didn't topple over from heart failure. I felt like my lungs were on fire too, but hopefully that'll dissipate in the coming weeks. Tonight we're meeting at a local office park to run around the parking lot. I kid you not, we're going to run a .6 mile course that is set up in an office building parking lot. Tonight we're working on endurance. Yeah, .6 miles is a long run for me.

I'm still sore from Monday's run. My quads and back are sore. I told my mom and she told me that pain is just weakness leaving the body. Then she said, "Drop and give me 20, you Maggot!"

Patrick downloaded a slew of military cadences for us to run to. They are awesome as the leader has a jazzy voice with a lot of soul. As for me, I need to run to love ballads until I can up my pace a bit. Give me some Luther or Babs. Wait. I want to jog, not puke.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sammy Mag

I have way too much time on my hands. I also have the most delicious and wonderful baby on the face of the earth, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sleeping through my insomnia

I suffer from periodic bouts of insomnia. These periods come and go and last a week or so at a time. After a few nights of crappy sleep, I tend to get a bit crabby. And on edge. Last week was one of those weeks. It was also the week of my Son's first birthday. I needed sleep and nothing seemed to work. Sunday, my mom had given me the last of her highly-coveted Ambien, one of which I took Sunday night. It worked marvelously and I woke up Monday morning refreshed and well-rested. What a difference a good night sleep makes!

Monday night I decided to forego the Ambien, especially since I only have one left and will hoard it and save it for a desperately sleepless night. I was sufficiently tired and by 10 p.m. my eyelids were feeling heavy. I put my book away, turned off the light and snuggled down into my covers for what was sure to be a deep and dreamless sleep.

I easily fell into a deep sleep. Dreamless? Not so much. I had a dreadful nightmare. The kind that scares the living shit right out of you and makes you want to hide completely under your covers for the imagined protection they provide. Around midnight, I heard Rob sneak into bed. I was awake enough to know Rob was in the room, but I just couldn't wake up. It was as though my upper and lower lashes were powerful magnets that the weak muscles of my eyelids could not wrench apart. If I stopped trying to fight the sleep, I would slip right back into my nightmare. So I kept fighting it. I concentrated hard and willed my eyes to open. At one point I felt as though I finally succeeded, but I saw only dense blackness and I knew that I had not won. My left brain was fighting my right. Logic vs. Fantasy. The left wanted to awaken to my safe bedroom with the familiar furniture and warm husband, while the right wanted to delve deeper into the frightening nightmare.

For what seemed like forever, but was probably only minutes, I fought to wake up. I finally woke and frantically scooted closer to Rob. I looked around at the things in my room which were bathed in the soft light of the hall nightlight. I took a few deep breaths and told myself it was just a dream. It was ok to go back to sleep now. That's it, relax. Settle into rhythmic breathing. Sleeeeeeep. Hm. It's hot in here. Move back over to my side. Ugh, my arm is falling asleep, turn over to the other side. Tomorrow is laundry day, I have to get that done. Sam is out of diaper rash cream; I better pick some up at the store.

On and on it went.


At least I got a few hours.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Back to work. Well, not really

I went to my old employer's office today. My two friends that accompanied me to Story Time both worked for this company as well. We decided to load our babies up and pay a visit.

Since I'd worked there, the company had moved to a new office. It is a very nice new office and makes the place seem more like a real company. The old building consisted of cube farms with mismatched chairs and yellowed monitors. The ceiling tiles were bulging and water stained and the carpet hadn't been cleaned in years. But the new place is nice.

I saw many familiar faces, smiling and warm. Everyone asked how I am doing and a few asked if I'm coming back. Of course I answered no, but there was a part of me that longed to be back at the office. I was Quality Assurance Manager when I worked there and I loved my job. I enjoyed making decisions and having input to important things. I liked seeing my ideas come to fruition and having people respect what I said. I was good at my job. I built a department and put many new and lasting policies in place. I was a female working in a male dominated field, but I held my own without having to be the hardened bitch many women are forced to become when working in management. I laughed a lot and tried to make work fun. I tried to be a good boss. I liked dressing up and feeling professional and attractive. I miss those things about work.

My new job is great. I have made a decision to stay at home with my son and I don't look back. I actively choose this role - to be here for him, not only as his caretaker but as his role model. I still make important decisions but of course I don't see the immediate reward. I would never want to put Sam in daycare, as long as we have the choice. But still, on occasion I miss being in the workforce. Ah, the classic work/stay at home conundrum. Different strokes for different folks. I know I've made the right choice for me.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Lunch for a SAHM

This week was our third straight week at Story Time. The day started of wonderfully as Sam slept in until 9:10 am, which means I didn't get my sorry ass out of bed until 9:09 am. We also decided to go to the 10:30 a.m. class this week since the 11 o'clock class is filled with all of the other slacker moms who can't make it anywhere on time with a baby in tow. Oh fear not, I sincerely belong in that group, but I was going to make a superhuman effort to get my kid dressed and fed, the dog let out and fed, my teeth brushed and hair thrown up in a pony tail while donning a wrinkled outfit and remembering to pack the diaper bag and close the garage door - all in less than an hour. Can you say ambitious? Can you say stupid? Can you say cluster fuck?

Amazingly, I made it to the library without a minute to lose. I sped through school zones and rolled through stop signs to make it happen, but hey what do you want from me? My kid needs his 20 minutes of mom-wrestling and bubbles! I found my seat on the floor, sweaty and disheveled but ready to switch to sing-along-mom mode. Two minutes in and we were singing the "Jump jump went the little green frog" song and I was lifting Sam in quick succession to simulate a jump, all the while trying not to grunt or pull a muscle. My kid has bones made of lead. About that time, I had noticed an odor emanating from Sam's direction and spotted on his shorts the telltale sign of a diaper blow out. So, off I went to the car to change his diaper and his outfit. We made it back just in time for the end of Story Time with the grand bubble finale. I was ready for lunch. And I was still sweating.

I met my two other friends at a local restaurant for lunch. The three of us were seated in a corner, each holding our children in one arm while trying to rearrange high chairs and floppy seat covers. At this point I was seriously ready for a vodka tonic, but instead broke out the Cheerios to feed to my ravenous son. Lunch was as it always is with 2 toddlers and 3 moms and a pushy waitress; a true cluster fuck. Sam was either reaching for rolled silverware, throwing Cheerios on the floor or swatting at the mouth-bound spoon filled with sweet potatoes. Frustrating to say the least. I often laugh at our efforts to be social. It is comical to me that I try to get out of the house to have some adult interaction and meanwhile I'm desperately trying to feed my distracted baby and imploring him to use his "inside voice."

Halfway through lunch, we had a surprise visit from Rob. It is always a pleasure to see my husband during the day, especially when we run into each other unexpectedly. He popped by the table to say hi before he and his coworker casually walked to their table to enjoy a peaceful, baby-free lunch. Meanwhile, I'm left with a screaming kid who WANTS HIS DADDY GET OUT OF MY FACE MOMMY YOU ARE SECOND BEST TO THE DAAAAADDDDDYYYYY!!!!! Thanks, honey. Please stop by anytime.

Lunch went downhill from there. All three of the kids were tired and antsy. My girlfriends and I had to wait in line to pay the bill at the register, hoping the cashier would hurry the fuck up, my kid is about to scream bloody murder if I don't get him out of that highchair please. Minutes later, I was reaching over the table and heaving Sam up when I knocked a glass of ice water over which spilled all over the table and floor. The restaurant was full, there was no one around to even tell that I was the culprit, so I said screw it and left. Yeah, left my friend standing at the table as she was mopping up MY mess. Nice, Shan. I guiltily headed back to help her when Sam really started to howl so I told her to leave it and did just that.

I made it to the car, popped a pacifier in Sam's mouth and headed home. Oh yeah, and I was still sweating.

It's amazing what us stay-at-home-moms will do for a little socialization. I don't think I'll be leaving the house again for a while.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Hair. Cut.

I did it. I finally broke down and cut Sam's hair. He has had quite a headfull for the last several months, which started to vaguely resemble a mullett or worse yet, Nick Nolte's mug shot.

This was an emotional moment for me. Who me? Emotional? Pfft. Seriously.

See, in my mind, there is something different about cutting a baby boy's hair than cutting the hair of a little girl. A girl can get a hair-do or bangs or a trim and she is still a baby girl. But once you cut the curls of your baby boy, he no longer looks like a baby. He looks like a BOY. All grown up and stuff. Plus, this was the hair he was born with and in it's original, untouched form. Who cares if his hair was in his eyes. Big deal if I could have easily given him a pony tail, or better yet a rat tail. So yeah, this was big.

Sam grabbed his hair with a look of desperation and willed me not to make him look like Jim Carey from Dumb and Dumber. With butterflies in my stomach and not a clue what I was doing, I wet Sam's hair and took a few before pictures for the ol' scrapbook.

During the whole event, he sat relatively still and I cut relatively straight. It was all pretty anti-climatic when it was all said and done, but Rob and I swear he looks older. The good news is, he is still my baby boy. Come to think of it, he always will be.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Because you really wanted to know this

Sam has had the runs for the past 3 days. He doesn't have a fever and seems fine except for the raging diaper rash that has resulted from the acidic feces smooshed up against his delicate skin. He cries and screams his pitiful objection whenever we change him. In fact, changing him has become a 2-person job at this point too; one to do the dirty work and one to hold his shaking hands and to try to calm him. He hasn't been eating much (well, much for Sam) for the past few days either. I thought he might be teething, so last night, I lifted his top lip to check for signs of his top teeth and WOW! His gums are so incredibly swollen and he is not just getting two teeth, but FOUR! The poor baby. Teething is like a slap in the face and a kick in the ass. Hopefully the teeth will break through soon and give our little man some relief. In the mean time, we'll let him crawl around naked as much as possible to air out that little bum and to make his Mama sigh and tear up at his amazingness.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The older we get, the harder we fall

Autumn is my favorite season. Each year around this time I begin to feel this energy stir deep inside me. I feel renewed. I dream of brisk evening walks and houses filled with warm yellow light. I love the satisfying feel of acorn tops cracking under my shoe as I walk along the sidewalk. The fall brings the start of the holiday season and good hair days. I love all fall colors: red, orange, yellow and brown. The smell of apple cinnamon candles fill my home. I hum happily to myself as I put my fall decorations up. I especially love Halloween and if I could, I'd transform my house into a mecca of mummies and vampires for the trick-or-treaters that come for goodies. I always say, "If I could bottle this "fall feeling" then I'd be a millionaire."


This fall is different. I'm experiencing one of those involuntary emotional responses to events brought on by motherhood. My baby is turning a year old this fall. This October, my first (and only) son will no longer be baby, but will embark on his journey to toddlerhood. Where did the time go? Seriously. Life has been on fast forward since October 5th of last year. I can't handle it! Oh god, someone give me some red wine!

I feel this sense of sadness and desperation as I look around and wonder how time could possibly go by this quickly. In my mind, Sam is still 5 months old. He is still sitting propped against his Boppy pillow and requires help to burp. I still haven't gotten used to the fact that Sam has and will continue to exceed the mental capacity and skills of my dog. No offense to Emma; she is one smart cookie, but she doesn't talk. Sam says "Bye bye" and he has said, "more" a few times. The baby part has gone by so fast. Does life continue at this speed from now on?

On the other hand, I feel thrilled because I made it through my first year of motherhood and I managed not to permanently damage my child or my self. I think I did a pretty good job actually, and I look forward to the celebration of the anniversary of my delivery of Sam. We're already talking about number two, but then thoughts quickly turn to the stress Rob and I went through during my labor and delivery. *Sigh* It seems so long ago and like it was just last week.

I would love for a Guardian Angel to tell me what to do. I am terrified of trying to get pregnant. What if we have fertility problems again? What if I need more surgery? I am terrified of being pregnant again. What if I get preeclampsia again? I'm certainly not looking forward to another C-section and the recovery that follows. I am terrified of gaining so much weight. I gained too much with my first pregnancy and I'm still 15 pounds away from my goal. All these things run through my mind and the biggest worry of all is the timing. When do we start? How far apart should our kids be? And on and on it goes.

I think that Sam's 1 year birthday is certainly bringing all these thoughts to the forefront for me. I love our son so much. He is absolutely perfect and when I look at him, I think that I would go through it all over again a thousand times. Sam is so amazing that I ask myself, "How can Rob and I not make another ones of these?"

The infant stage is so fleeting and so wonderful. I look forward with excited anticipation at Sam's growth and discovery. I have done the best I can to cement the memories I have of Sam's infancy in my brain. I've documented it with journals, blogs and video. I'll still miss the tender moments of holding him while he slept all swaddled up and warm.

Mama loves you, Baby. Just don't grow up too fast.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Idle Tuesday

It has been rainy today. On and off, but enough to keep me and Sam from leaving the house. We've just hung out today, a comfortable companionship, just Sam and Mom.

In the afternoon, Courtney and Eve came over for a visit which gave Courtney and I a chance to visit and the babies could play. As I type this, I realize that I won't be able to type "babies" for much longer when describing Evelina and Sam. They will soon be "toddlers" which thrills me and makes me want to puke all at the same time. Eve has her second top tooth breaking through and I get the same feelings for her that I do regarding the "T" word.

I recorded some of Sam and Eve's play-time antics today. I love to video-log Sam's life because even now, I love to watch from the beginning and see how much he has grown and changed.

And has he ever.

Today, Sam took his first step. He stood unassisted for quite some time and Courtney and I watched as he shakily lifted his right foot and placed a few inches in front of him before falling forward on his knees. I shrieked in delight and horror as I realized that MY SON WILL SOON BE WALKING. I looked at her and said, "That counted right? Oh yeah, that SO counted."

I'm in excited and nervous delight over Sam's new milestone. I am overflowing with joy that I was able to witness his first step, and a bit sad the Rob couldn't be here for it as well. But mostly I'm thinking in my head, "Ohmygod my son is going to walk soon and then he'll be running and dating and borrowing the car ohmygod the speed and madness of it all, make it stop!"

So yeah. Cool day.

Monday, September 11, 2006

In remembrance

Today marks five years since the attack on America. I refuse to call it an anniversary. It isn't a celebration. I can't believe it has been five years. I can't believe it happened at all. I watched the news this morning as a moment of silence was observed for the victims and their families. I cried quietly to myself, as my darling son slept soundly in the other room.

I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news that a plane had crashed into a building in New York. I thought that it was a small commuter plane that probably broke a few windows and "bounced off" and crashed to the ground. I had no idea what really happened was even possible. I remember the feeling of dread and sadness I had for the days following. Such a waste. Such hatred. And for what?

Today as I think of the events that took place five years ago, I'm filled with a much deeper sadness. I think now that I'm married and a mother that my heart feels the pain more for those who lost their loved ones on that tragic day. I immediately ache for the pregnant women who lost their husbands, the men who lost their wives and the millions of others who lost someone they love. I can't imagine the loss they feel as just thinking about losing Rob or Samuel brings tears to my eyes. I have to quickly shake the thought from my head as it is too horrible to bear.

I love my family and friends. I love my country. I love the happiness that I am able to feel every day, and the sunshine and peace I enjoy in my little world. I shut myself off from the news and the horror that is taking place across the world. I, like every Miss America contestant, wish for World Peace. I wish the hatred could be wiped away and the killing would stop. I wish that everyone in the world could be afforded the peace and security I feel in my little spec on this planet.

I wonder if by shutting out the awful acts that are taking place overseas, I'm doing the victims an injustice. I turn the channel when the news reports of more bombings or terrorist threats. I choose not to face "reality" because the reality is this world is much scarier and more dangerous that I can let my mind accept. Being a mother means being vulnerable. Vulnerable to the loss of the one thing you would give your life for without a second thought. I don't want to think that I've brought a child into this place of murder and hate-crime and terror. I can't bear the thought. I want sunshine and roses. We all do.

Today, however, I will acknowledge the loss of our great country. I will cry for the families who mourn the death of someone they love. I will pray that this fighting stops and our soldiers come home. I will hope for sunshine and roses.

Story Time

Today Sam and I joined our friends, Courtney and Eve, at the public library for Story Time. We approached the room as Over-Exuberant Whiney Leader ushered us in. She was holding a stuffed monkey which immediately caught Sam's interest. "We have stuffed monkeys. This is good," I thought as we found our seats on the floor. We all sat in a big circle and I quickly took inventory of the other babies and Mommies. I didn't find any green snotty-nosed babies, so I relaxed a little. I wasn't sure of the Story Time protocol so, as Sam wished, I let him loose to crawl around and explore a bit. Over-Exuberant Whiney Leader sat with Stuffed Monkey at the front of the room and started baby introductions, followed by ages. When my turn came to introduce Sam, I pointed at him from across the room as he tried to accost Stuffed Monkey from Over-Exuberant Whiney Leader. Eve had followed suit and Courtney and I were the only moms in the room not holding our sweet ones quietly in our laps. Over-Exuberant Whiney Leader told Sam and Eve, "Story Time is more fun if you're sitting in Mom's lap so she can bounce you." She must have thought that Courtney and I are bad at following rules and decided to inform the babies. They nodded a reply and quickly crawled back over to us and sat down after giving us a firm look and a "tsk tsk."
After the introductions, Over-Exuberant broke into the "Hello" song which to which everyone happily followed along. Courtney and I mumbled a few words a second or two late and tried to look like we weren't the slacker moms who waited a full 11 months to bring our kids to Story Time, ohmygod we suck and should be ashamed of ourselves what were we thinking?!

The rest of the 20-minute session was fun, even if Over-Exuberant whined the stories with a high-pitched drawl that was sure to drive me to a migraine. Sam finally settled down in my lap, mouth open, occasionally pointing his chubby finger at items of interest. Stuffed Monkey was brought back out to lead the Moms in a follow-along bounce and lift song. I heaved my 27-pound behemoth son into the air with the grace of a Rhino, and thankfully that song didn't last long. The finale was when Over-Exuberant tossed stuffed animals out to the antsy crowd and blew tiny bubbles all around the room. At this point, all the Moms let their babies go so Courtney and I figured it must be ok. Sam chased a few bubbles before spotting a little girl across the room holding a stuffed dog. He scrambled over to her and wrestled it out of her arms, much to her dismay. I wasn't sure how to react to this situation, as both me and the other mom were well aware both kids are too young to understand the concept of sharing. Regardless, I could feel her instinctive defenses for her child rise up as I wrenched the dog away from Sam and gave it back to the little girl. It's amazing how we want to protect our children from the most benign acts even if we know our own would more than likely act the same way to another child.

Story Time was in all, a success. Sam enjoyed the time, as did I. Hopefully Courtney and Eve will join us again next week to listen to Over-Exuberant Whiney Leader read us stories and blow soap all over us. We can't wait!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

No nap. Big crap.

Sam has been sleeping later in the morning this week, which is a welcome change. He woke up at 9:30 am this morning so after our breakfast, he and I took off to the party store to buy some invitations and party decorations for his one year birthday party.

Upon returning home at 12:30 (deciding on decorations and invitations was a much bigger task than I had originally anticipated) Sam took a bottle, listened while I read him a book and went down for his afternoon nap. Or so I thought.

Before laying Sam down, I had changed his diaper and removed his clothes so he could nap despite the heat of his bedroom. Nothing sweeter than a baby sleeping in nothing but his nappy, right?

I happily sat at the computer eating my lunch with the baby monitor perched on the desk beside me. I listened contently as Sam played in his crib for 30 minutes. I was a bit perplexed as to why he still hadn't fallen asleep, but thought, "Hey, as long as he is playing happily, who am I to complain?"

I had no sooner finished that thought when Sam started to fuss. I thought I'd let him go for a minute to see if he could self-soothe. On he went. There was no self-soothing. I was on the verge of irritation when I entered his room. I had expected to see him standing in his crib, wet faced and upset at the sight of his pacifier on the floor. I saw nothing of the sort.

What I saw instead was a crime scene of defecation. Sam had removed his diaper. Sam had also pooped. And peed. He had apparently rolled in said poop and tried to climb out of the crib as there was poop caked on the rails. There was poop on the Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium. There was poop smeared in the sheet where the assault must have taken place. The two other victims, "Nana Bear" and "Jesus Loves Me Lamb" were somehow salvaged. They lay among the excrement staring with blank eyes. Sam, however, was covered. There was no doubt he did it. He was guilty as charged.

I quickly removed the screaming perpetrator from the scene and placed him in the holding cell, a.k.a the bath. Baby waste was caked to his legs, feet, hands and backside. He screamed as I tried to remove the evidence as quickly as I could. It was coming off in clumps and swirling down the drain to its final resting place. I removed the pooper from the tub after all intestinal remains were removed and immediately called for backup.

My backup arrived in short order. I had donned latex gloves and went to work. All the kaka from scene the had to be removed before the Chief arrived. He doesn't take any shit. If I failed my mission, my career would be in the toilet. I decided not to fart around any longer.

Thirty minutes and a bottle of antibacterial spray later, the dung had been wiped out. I redressed the mattress and removed the other witnesses. They will stay in protective custody until an internal investigation is complete. Thankfully, no one was hurt during this incident. The crime scene photos have been withheld from this report, and will remain classified in Sam's baby book for future reference and bribery.

In the aftermath, Sam remained awake for a few hours. After some hard play and a late lunch, I noticed he was a little flushed. I laid him down for another nap and he's sleeping like a log.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

And we thank you for your support

I can't stand to see the picture of the Sleastack any longer so I have to post something in order to move it on down into the archives as quickly as possible.

I have nothing interesting to say. Prepare yourselves (ha, I say "selves" as though I have people -- plural-- reading my blog. I think I'm the only one, unless I explicitly send a friend the link and say, "Read this and leave a comment so I somewhat look like I have readers.") for boredom beyond recognition. If it gets too tedious, click here and of course heed the warning.

I completed my third triathlon on Saturday. It was the shortest one I've completed to date and I'm insanely proud of the fact that I'm digressing in my training. I lost my timing chip somewhere along the way, so I have no idea how slow I went. The important thing is I finished and I have the t-shirt to prove it.

Sam signed his first sentence. My 10-month old genius of a baby signed, "More, please." I am gushing with pride at my son's intellect and manners. He did this right before he ate a puff off the table with his tongue. "Look, Ma! No hands!"


I mistakenly shared my blog with my parents. It was only then that I realized that I have this picture on this post and tried to quickly scroll past as I was showing my Dad that I have his website linked to my page. He commented that he didn't think he wanted his business associated with a pornographic site and walked away. Again, I fear with the number of readers I have, he has nothing to worry about. And for what its worth, I didn't really lick that statue.

Patrick decided he wants to start a magazine. He was brainstorming ideas with me and decided to create a magazine about Triathlons for Fatties. Rob cleverly came up with the magazine name, "TriFATlon Magazine." My husband, he's a funny guy. I about peed my pants laughing.


I weighed Sam yesterday. The scale read 27.8 lbs. My son is a tank. 'Nuf said.


Rob and I decided to BOTH step on the scale to see what we weigh together. The scale read "OL" which I'm taking to mean either Obsequious Lovers or Over Load. Hm. You decide.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Sammy Sleastack

Sam makes this cute whisper-grunt noise when he is concentrating on something or when he is crawling. Rob says he reminds him of a Sleastack from Land of the Lost.

Hm. I'm not seeing the resemblance. I think this more accurately depicts me at the end of a triathlon. :)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Our first post-baby vacation

Rob and I went on our cruise. We had a great time. We drank wine. Lots and lots of wine. Alcohol, combined with the time-released medicine from my motion sickness patch, apparently causes me to lick uncircumcised male statues who's entire package is smaller than my tongue.

We really need to get out more.

Slow day

Today is a slow day for me and Sam. Since Rob and I picked him up from my Mom's house, Sam has been sleeping a marvelous 12 hours a night and he is still taking 4 hours worth of naps a day. I know not what my mom did to make this happen, but my eternal gratitude is with her.

Sam and I went for a swim today. He was all chill in his floatie. I expected him to do his crazy splash routine which causes him to inhale sharply from the water flying in his face, but he didn't. He just did his gangsta lean and chilled out. He even wore his hat the entire time. He pointed repeatedly at the table umbrellas and at some birds flying overhead. I gently splashed to spur him into action, but once he tried he frowned at the droplets on his face. He has apparently outgrown that phase. But fear not! A new phase has taken its place! Its the Rub-Food-All-Over-My-Face phase! Any boy is it fun! Nothing I could do could keep this baby clean during lunch today. He seemed to love the carrot-apple-mango facial and even tried some in his hair. He seemed to love even more the sight of me walking up with the camera. He gave me a Cheshire Cat grin when he heard the camera power up. Baby being cute = Mom takes pictures. It's like he knew.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Our next sign: Wrong Way

I'm entirely enthralled with this baby signing stuff. I should have read the entire book however because I think I have confused my son.

Sam's first sign is "more" which I had been showing him for weeks during his mealtime. I would hurriedly feed him a heaping spoonful of very drippy baby food and then before giving him "more" I'd make the sign. Now, it seems that Sam corresponds the sign "more" with food, because being the dumbass that I am, that is the only time I ever used the sign. So at random times, Sam will sign "more" to me, of course which I take to mean he is hungry. Yes, yes, there is a sign for "eat." I seemed to overlook the fact that "eat" is the more appropriate sign. I'm just stoooopid.

Today during a diaper change, Sam signed "more" to me. I thought that he couldn't possibly want me to use "more" wipes or had "more" peeing to do, so I rushed him to the kitchen and whipped out some stewed carrots. He screamed like a banshee. This is all corresponding, of course, with a week that he decided he hates baby food. I finally figured out that he wanted a bottle. He does know the sign for milk. As I pulled a bottle out of the fridge, it must have triggered a memory link in his growing little brain, and then he started signing "milk."

Other times when I use one of the many other signs we are trying to teach, Sam will start to sign "more" as though he is thinking, "Oh yeah... I remember this signing stuff. Like this one...see?"

No where in the book does it tell you what to do if your baby is confusing signs or, like mine, uses one sign for everything. It DOES tell you to avoid using the signs too carelessly and be cognizant of your child's perception at the time you introduce the sign. I was thinking, "More food, Sam?" and he was thinking, "Mmm, EAT!"


I have some serious reprogramming to do. In his brain or mine, I haven't decided.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

A collective sigh of relief

Last Thursday Rob and I visited a maternal-fetal specialist to discuss the events that took place after my delivery of Sam. I had all of my questions answered, specifically if I was at risk of developing preeclampsia if I were to get pregnant again. The good news is that I have only a slightly elevated risk of developing preeclampsia, unless of course I switch fathers. So far, Rob has proved to be worth his weight in gold, so I'll keep him. I also learned that I did not have HELLP syndrome; even though my liver enzymes were elevated and my platelets were low, they did not meet the criteria for HELLP. That is GREAT news! News that I wish I had heard 9 months ago which would have saved me countless hours of internet research and worry.

The doctor we spoke with was very kind and knowledgeable. She did not rush us through our visit. She patiently answered my questions, which can be numerous, I know. She even repeated her answers as Rob and I were baffled at her casualness regarding the whole thing. She didn't seem to think my 8 days in the hospital was a big deal. I'm sure she has seen much worse. Rob and I looked at each other in stunned disbelief when she explained what she read in my chart as "routine" and "mild" She was more concerned with the endometriosis causing further infertility and advised us to consider our next pregnancy "sooner rather than later." With a collective sigh of relief, Rob and I left the office, stopped outside the door to hug and I cried in his arms.

That night I started my scrapbook for Sam. I started with our wedding picture, for in my mind, that is where it all began. I created the next 5 pages filled with pictures of me, Rob and Samuel during our stay in the hospital. As I cut, arranged and pasted the photos to the page, I revisited his birth with mixed emotion. This picture is especially touching to me as it captures my face the first time I laid eyes on my son. The love I felt at that very moment could have filled every ocean. I then look around at the operating room and I remember that every part of my birth experience was nothing like I had imagined. I see my swollen hand reach out to hold Samuel and think that, to me, there was nothing "routine" about the eight-day ordeal we had in October.

I am saddened to think that I reminisce about Sam's birth with feelings of love and fear. I feel robbed of the birth experience I subconsciously planned and openly hoped for.

Rob and I held each other Thursday night and thanked God for our healthy baby boy. After another good cry, I felt cleansed of the burden of our family planning. The next pregnancy for us will be "later rather than sooner." Before we tackle that, we plan on cherishing every moment our crazy little baby brings us a little longer.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs

If my life was choreographed to music, last night at dinner I would have heard Tesla singing.

It was leftover night in the Sinanian household. Sam had finished his normal two jars of baby food and a few handfuls of "O's" before we rolled him up to the edge of the dinner table to watch Rob and I eat. We've been including him at the dinner table since he was able eat solids. We quite enjoy having Sam at the dinner table since conversation is usually lacking as I have nothing of import to tell my husband unless you count the infrequency of our son's bowel movements or how my roots are out of control. And since Rob doesn't like to discuss work at home, Sam is our only source of entertainment.

Sam has been showing increasing interest in the foods Rob and I eat so we're eager to have him try new things. Last night was his first taste of spaghetti sauce. He took his first bite and with childlike exuberance, he kicked his legs and flapped his arms in delight. His eyes were wide and he was grunting like the little Neanderthal he is (yes, I've read Happiest Toddler on the Block.) As it turns out, Rob and I have been using baby sign language with Sam since, well, birth. Being the over-achiever that I am, I started a tad early and have been eagerly awaiting a response. I asked Sam if he wanted "more" and I used the sign. He replied by signing back to me and saying "maaa!" I tried to keep my cool and not over react with excitement, but let me tell you, I fed that baby spaghetti sauce for the next 30 minutes, each time rewarding his sign with a little nugget of tomatoey-meat. The whole scene was vaguely reminiscent of training Emma to shake. I said to Rob in amazement, "He's communicating with us!"

He finished the plate of spaghetti and Tesla faded out in the background.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Keep up, will ya?

Ok, so I haven't blogged in over a year and in that time I gained and lost an inordinate amount of weight, gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Samuel Robert, who is now almost 10 months old, and I completed two triathlons. There, we good?

Rob and I are going on our first weekend get-away sans baby next Thursday. We're taking a 3 night cruise to the Bahamas and we're leaving on Rob's 36th birthday. My mom is going to keep Sam for the weekend. I had been nagging Rob for months to book the cruise he had been promising. The alluring thought of drinking wine, dressing up, comedy shows and SLEEPING IN was so intoxicating. Those things don't seem so alluring to me any more because the closer we get to our departure, the less I'm looking forward to it. Next Thursday will be the first night in Sam's ENTIRE LIFE that Rob and I won't stand over his crib and ogle over how beautiful and wondrous he is and what a great job we (I) did. I'll have to list that in the Step-by-Step Guide of Caring for Sam that I intend on composing in the next week. I know my mom will do an outstanding job taking care of the little man, but what about the little nuances that only I am aware of? Who will cut his fingernails and continue the baby sign language that I'm working so hard to teach him? What about when Sam gets that look in his eye that says, "Mommy, please get on the floor and let me crawl all over you?" Or worst of all, what if he doesn't even notice we're gone and forgets who we are!? Get a hold of yourself, Shannon.

I think Sam will be fine. He'll be more than fine. He'll have so much attention doted on him he won't know what to do. It's me I'm worried about. I'm going to miss him terribly. I will suffer from Sam withdrawals and probably get the shakes or something. God forbid I see another baby boy on the cruise and kindly ask his mother, "Excuse me, do you mind if I nuzzle your baby's toes for a quick sec? Thanks." I can't feign sickness either. We didn't buy the cruise insurance. I just need to keep repeating my sans-baby cruise mantra: "I will sleep in for 3 days straight."

Think of Mama, baby boy. I am going to miss my Sammy Bananas.