Friday, December 31, 2010

The Allegory of the Oregano

I have really been thinking about this for awhile and glad I finally have the time to write it down. Thanks to my sleeping boys, I have the time.
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This past spring, I decided I wanted to be one of those super, do everything moms. After a trip to a farmer's market, I decided I needed to grow and use my own herbs. That lead me to keeping oregano, rosemary, and cilantro on my kitchen counter. I loved the idea of having green plants on colorful Fiesta Ware plates basking in the sun each morning.

This was not the life for rosemary. Within a month, she committed suicide. Any effort to revive her (including over watering, pruning, and wishing) failed. This left me with Cilantro and Oregano. They proceeded to become high maintenance. The more I tried to save them, the farther they plummeted to the brink of distinction. Every other day I had to move the kitchen cart they called home to sweep out all the leaves they shed. I read they instruction cards and googled maintaining plants. Nothing helped. Finally, I had to admit defeat. By this point, Liam was mobile and finding any dead leaves that hit on the floor. These two plants were becoming a part time job. Not wanting to toss them, I put them on a table in our unheated sun room. "Look what you're giving up," I wanted to say to them. "Fine. Stay here. You're going to live or die trying.' This went against everything on their instruction card. No direct sunlight anymore. No 68 degree temperatures. No daily checks of water. Here, they get water maybe once a week if they're lucky.

Low and behold, they're flourishing! It's been over three months that they have been on that cold table and they've never looked better.

I look and them several times a day as I go in and out of the house, realizing there is some sort of a lesson there. This lead me to think about many of my relationships. Once in awhile, when Liam is extremely fussy, I sort of give up, put him on the floor, and let him play alone. It usually turns out that that is all he wants. Mike and I often prefer doing things solo. Apparently, Liam feels the same way. Daycare has told me that although he is very social, he will sometimes play alone for up to an hour. This also made me think about my students as well. Sometimes, I think the best thing I can do for then is let them struggle. I need to remember the lesson of my herbs when it comes to raising Liam. Sometimes, he, too, needs to struggle and maybe even fail.
Now, my point to all of this is not that I may someday lock Liam out of the house on the sun room. Maybe I am over thinking my plants, but it seems they were telling me that I sometimes need to let nature take care of itself.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The First Noel

Last year at this time, Mike and I were scrambling to complete last minute Christmas and baby to dos and making plans to enjoy our last vacation as a family of two. We went out to buy a fake tree, realizing that we'd have an almost eleven month old the following year. The concept of having said baby seemed unfathomable at the time. Fast forward through a year of hellos and goodbyes, floods, staying at home and going back to work. We look back and wonder if we did too much or not enough. We will only have a baby for five more weeks. Did I snuggle enough? Did I make a mental note of all of the important moments? Did I take enough pictures? Should I have bought a video camera? Should I have taken him for professional pictures more? Did he really need all those toys?

Here is a quick glimpse of our getting ready for Santa:
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My failed attempt to do his Christmas pictures. Within two minutes, Liam was trying to eat the ornament and pretending the tree was a car. Everything becomes a car to Liam. He even makes "brrrrroooooom" noises.

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Mike trying to put together a fake tree for the first time in his life.
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Liam really not understanding what Dad is trying to do.
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He is, however, a big fan of lights.
We just brought some of the gifts up last night. I'll get pictures of the tree later. So far, Liam hasn't expressed any interest in messing with the tree. If I had known that, I would have set it up sooner.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


It is hard to believe that this little baby will officially be a toddler in
seven weeks.
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I originally liked the idea of a "Winter ONE-derland" party but since Mike wasnever really on board and it seems like everyoneis doing that theme, I decided to do "Rookie of the year." Mike loves it. Liam's party will be the day before the Super Bowl. I just ordered a bunch of supplies from Oriental Trading Co. We have a good excuse to make and eat a bunch of tailgating food.
But, really, almost a toddler? Where did time go?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Best Zoo Visit Ever!

Yesterday, we had an usually warm day. Mike came up with the great idea to go to the zoo. We hadn't been since August. Back then, Liam thought the zoo was a place to go to look at other kids. He would actually get a little bent out of shape that people wanted to look at animals instead of flirting with him. We were interested to see how he did now that he was a little older. The zoo hosted Cookies with Santa earlier in the day so we pretty much had the place to ourselves later in the afternoon.
We could tell things were different with the animals. When we went to the zebras, two came right up to us.
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The camels were waiting for someone to come by and say hello. The one on the left even seemed to ham it up a bit when I took out my camera.
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In the farm area, I struck up a conversation with one of the zookeepers. She explained that in the summer, the animals are stuck with people all the time. In the winter, they start to miss them. This seemed like an acceptable explanation. It was proven by the snow leopards. Usually, they stay way at the top of their rocks and try their best to ignore us. Today, they came right down and even put on a little pouncing show for our entertainment.
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As tradition, we had to take Liam's picture on the big bronze dog.
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This is a local tradition. In the list of birth rites in Rhode Island, having your picture taken on the dog at Roger William's Zoo is at the top of the list.
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Kristy and I and probably seven and eight here.
The tradition continued. We were 23 and 24 here. We gave this one to our parents that year for Christmas. They loved it.
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I have to give Mike credit for coming up with a great idea. Whenever we have a warm day, we will be at the zoo. Liam finally noticed that there are animals there. He was fascinated by the elephants. He watched on gather hey with his trunk and put it in him mouth for about ten minutes. He liked the zebras, camels, pink flamingos, and giraffes. Animals that blend into their habitat, such as bison, wolves, and the anteater, he couldn't pick out. I can't wait to see how much he enjoys the zoo as he grows older.
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Toilet Paper Incident

I keep saying that I need to document these seemingly silly moments. This morning, I was washing my face while Liam was inspecting the bathroom. He loves everything about the bathroom, perhaps because it is a forbidden area. Today, I let him in there while I was washing my face instead of putting him in the Pack N Play. He immediately started trying to flush the toilet. Then, he discovered the toilet paper on top of the toilet. Mike and I had to take it off of the roll dispenser because it was just too wonderful of a toy to Liam that way. He can now reach the top of the toilet and in a matter of seconds, had the TP all over the place. Being a wonderful mother, I grabbed my camera rather than cleaning it up immediately.

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I hope when he is sixteen, he still believes that Momma not letting him play with toilet paper is the meanest thing I've ever done to him.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ten Months

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Thanks to the updates I receive from Women and Infants hospital, I realized I have only eight weeks until Liam's first birthday. I look online at first birthday parties and some just seem so over the top. While I'd like to do something nice, I understand that Liam will never remember his first birthday. We know we have about twenty-five people who absolutely need to be there. I refuse to rent a hall as that will be about our entire party budget. I want to do the theme "Winter One-derland" and just serve milk and cookies. Everyone loves milk and cookies. I'm thinking of the idea of a hot chocolate station. I'll see what I can do with that.

Daycare is like cable in the sense that you pay for it whether you use it or not. Therefore, we are sending Liam to daycare for a few hours a day during vacation. Liam loves daycare and it will give Mike a I a few hours to get things done and enjoy some times to ourselves. I've been jokingly calling it "Nooner Week." Our biggest priority is getting the basement refinished from the flooding in March. Now that Liam is going everywhere, he needs a place to play.

Since Liam is getting into everything, we're not setting the tree up until right before Christmas. It is amazing how from time to t time, a magic week will go by in which he learns so much. In the past two weeks, he has started pushing himself with a push toy and standing on his own. He has also started becoming very shy. A month ago, he's play with any adult; now he is so shy. Getting him to even hi-five Santa was a feat yesterday.

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Sometimes, I wish I could slow down time so much. I understand my days of giving bottles and napping in my arms are coming to an end. However, I love seeing the personality of my son develop. He is hilarious. He loves being chased now. He makes funny noises and wants us to imitate him. He plays with us. He tries to solve things for himself and figure out how things work. I am am zed at how much Liam is capable of doing. While I am fully aware that these are our "Good Ole Days," I wouldn't stop time for anything.

Monday, November 15, 2010

To Snip or Not to Snip?

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That picture is from three weeks ago, but I love it and realized I hadn't posted it.

On my way home from class, I thought of that title and daydreamed of recreating Hamlet's famous soliloquy to address the issue of having more children.
That being said, I did something that amazed myself this past weekend. We were up in Maine for a quick hunting trip. Bee and I took Liam window shopping in Waterville. While waiting for coffee to be ground, Liam started fussing so I went to make him a bottle at a table in the front of the store. I am struggling to make the bottle with a fussy baby when a stranger walks up and starts talking to me about Liam. I am fine with this. She touches his nose and asks where he got his beautiful blue eyes. I tell her they're my mom's. She gushes about how much my mother must love and enjoy this baby. She has good intentions but her touching Liam's nose irked me. "Is he your first?" she asks. I smile and say yes. "When will you make him a big brother?" she asks. I get this question way too often. I smile and say nothing. "You can't let him be an only child," she begins to tell me. "You can't do that to him." I have never been rude to anyone in my life, much less a stranger. I walk away from her. "No, you don't understand," she continues. I walk around her in an effort to try to leave the coffeeshop. Finally, I say, "I'm not having this conversation with you." She continues until I ditch my mother in law. It is not like me to be that brazen but I was just not up to a total stranger telling me how I was going to mess up my child.

It amazes me that people think they have such right to ask very personal questions when you're pregnant or parenting. I have been asked about my delivery, breastfeeding, and future reproduction plans by countless strangers. Usually, I humor people and let their opinions amuse me. Maybe it is because I am getting too many opinions. Maybe it is because Mike made his appointment but this question is driving me insane.

I can say it is because of finances. Let's face it. Mike and I could afford another child. I watched my parents struggle with money and vowed I would never let my kids(s) hear arguments about money or move a lot. I can say it is because of our small house but we could finish off the sunroom and make room for one more. We can say it is because we live so far away from our parents or because I just turned 34.

Mike and I are choosing to have one because we know that is what we can handle. I know that I will be able to make time for Liam, Mike, and my other obligations. When we went to the Halloween event at the zoo, we watched parents with multiple kids struggle. We had a ball with Liam. Maybe people are right that that is a selfish reason but it is our reason. I truly enjoy my family.

When I first became pregnant, we made the decision to wait a year and decide if we wanted to have another. Mike's consultation is on Liam's first birthday. While it makes me sad sometimes to realize that I will never be pregnant again, I know we are making the right decision. Mike and I have made it through nine plus months of new parenting without any fights. And, yes, we have done this (for the most part) solo.

It makes me happy to know that, if all goes well, we will be able to help Liam with college. But that isn't why we're choosing to have one. At the end of the day, I know that I have given everything I have to Liam. I can juggle teaching, taking a class, and all of my responsibilities at home. Mike and I can share a beer after Liam goes down at night. I know I can manage Liam and not be overwhelmed all the time. Having to defend this decision reminds me it is the right for us.

Miek andI took Liam to Goddard Park to do his holiday picture. Mike had this vision before we even knew Liam was a boy. The plane is a recreation of his great uncle's WWII plane. Liam was intested in crawling around the plane and in trying to stand up on it. We worked for about forty five minutes to get these pictures.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nine Months

I just realized that Liam has been out in the world the same amount of time he spent in my belly. Huh.

It seems that Liam will go into learning spurts. He'll learn a few new tricks and spend the next two weeks mastering them. Last week, he learned to wave, click his tongue, and give kisses. He is working on them quite a bit. While we were waiting to get his hair cut, he waved to every car that went by. He is trying to stand on his own. When standing holding my fingers, he will let go of one and makes it very clear that he wants me to just hold the finger. At this age, I am loving his independence but I worry about having an independent toddler. I guess we will worry about that when the time comes. He is absolutely fearless. His daycare teachers tell us he is the first to get into things and will go anywhere. Last night at my cousin's anniversary party, he let anyone take him and play with him. We will really have to watch him later. That scares me that he does not fear strangers at all.

We were a little late in doing his nine month photos. When he was little, I thought it would be so much easier to do these once he could sit and stand on his own. As the photos show, I was mistaken.

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Finally, he gave us a good picture. I never worked as hard for a chair picture. It was comical. The picture came out great. I am thinking of doing shutterfly albums of his first year.

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We got the clearance to feed Liam everything except honey and whole milk. We've been letting him feed himself. He is starting to get the hang of it. His reaction to corn was priceless.
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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Another cross off the list

Before you even begin trying to get pregnant, you have a list titled "When I'm a Parent, I'm Never Going to:" This list covers everything from what what you will let your kids play with, wear, and say to how you will raise them. I swore if had a girl, she would never wear spaghetti strap tank tops out of the house. Our child will never wear pajama pants in public. The baby would sleep in its own bed. We'd never give him junk food. Whatever. It was like raising a child was as easy as making a box of brownies; you follow the directions, don't do anything stupid, and your child will come out perfect.

Fast forward nine months. After five of Liam's teeth decided to come through at one time and he was waking up every three hours, Liam winds up in our bed most nights. If he wakes up after 3:30-4:00, we bring him to bed with us. There is no point in spending an hour trying to get him back to sleep at 4 when the alarm goes off at 5:30. There is one mother I never thought I would be.

I am the worst about giving Liam "just a taste." He's had the arm of a gingerbread man, a fingerfull of cupcake, etc. I won't give him juice yet I let him gnaw on crusts of bread. I know people do much worse but it bugs me because it was on my "I'll Never" list.

My house is overrun with toys. I went yard sale crazy this summer. I was out of control. Our house is paying the price.

Maybe what it comes down to is the actual verses the reality. It is very easy to make this list in your head when you're lying awake with heartburn during your pregnancy or watching a poor, tired mother deal with a temper tantrum in line at the market. What really matters is being the best you can be. Liam is always loved and nurtured. He is happy and healthy. He is growning and learned and exploring.

I am sure as the years go by, I will break more of my "I'll Never" Mommyisms. In fact, I hope I do. I pray that motherhood is never as boring as following simple directions. I love the spontaneous moments that Liam provides. I love playing with him and spending time doing something as simple as playing peekaboo with a blanket for a half an hour. If I hadn't broken my prenatal mommy rule, I never would have experienced the joy of sleeping with Liam sleeping with both of his arms wrapped around mine.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Mike took the time yesterday to summarize our year in a month by month timeline. We both agreed that with the exception of our son's birth, we had a pretty rough year. I am so lucky to have a man who, like myself, tries to find the positive in everything. It made me wonder what the most important compatabilities are in successful relationships. We are food compatable, althought I am much pickier than he ever is. We have similar views on politics and religion and morals. How do people with opposet views get through dinner? Maybe it would make for much more interesting conversations.

I am refreshing the computer over and over to get election results. Polls close in two minutes. My friend Tim is doing something more people should do. He is running for state representative. Most of us do more than just complain. I consider casting educated votes enough but I know I should to more. Yesterday, I contemplated what I wanted from myself in the following year. I need to add do more for my country in terms of politics. I need to use my voice. And I need to watch the screen to see if Tim won.

Monday, November 1, 2010


It's funny how years change us. Liam is napping. I have an iced coffee, some music, today's newspaper, and some time to myself. I can't think of a better way to spend a birthday afternoon. In the story Eleven, Rachel feels disappointed that she does not feel older when she wakes up on her eleventh birthday. This is the first year I really sort of hoped to feel some sort of Zen awakening. At best, I hoped to be able to something clearer in this crazy world I decided to bring a son into.

Today I am thirty-four. Thirty four. I remember when my mom was thirty-four. Thirty-three was definitely my most life changing year to date. I became a mother and lost my own. I watched my life change for the better as Mike and I welcomed Liam into our lives. Mike and I have grown so much closer than I ever thought possible as we learn to be parents together.

Thirty-three had no hidden agendas. My induction was scheduled on the day JD Salinger died. My love of the Catcher in the Rye lead me to consider the name Holden for Liam. There was no missing that sign; my teen angst, adolescent confusion had to be put behind me. (Every time I read and teach that book, I am different. I can't wait to teach it as a parent. I wonder how I will interpret it.) The flood taught me how unimportant some "things" are. As much as I would love to get back the last Christmas card my grandmother sent me or my high school yearbooks, I waded through our belongings understanding that others had lost their homes. Mom taught me that each day as a gift and should be treated as such. If there are things I want in life, it is up to me to make it happen. Right after she died, someone told me that for the first few months, dead mothers are perfect. How true that was. I mourned the mother who was so excited about becoming a grandmother and not the one who told everyone I was four weeks pregnant when I asked her to hold off until the first ultrasound. Five months later, I mourn the mother who could take care of everyone but herself. I take a different route home so I will not reach for the phone at that same first light that I used to call her every afternoon as I left school. This has made me reflect on what kind of a mother I will be and how Liam will perceive me.

This leads to thirty-four. Next year at this time, Liam will twenty-one months old. It is unfathomable at this time that he will be able to run around and have a conversation next year at this time. Next year he will be able to really trick or treat. Thirty-four will bring our first family camping trip, Liam's first Christmas and first birthday. Thirty-four will make a year without my mom as well as a year without a basement and New Kids on the Block trading cards. Maybe thirty-four will be the age in which I stop worrying about things I can not control. Maybe thirty-four will be the year I learn to stop being so hard on myself.

Today I am thirty-four. I am also thrity-three, thirty-two, thrity-one.... I have learned to enjoy what I have instead of worrying about what I do not. I am learning not to take some people quite so personally. It has taken me thirty-four years to begin to feel comfortable in my skin and stop making apologies for who I am.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but with a whimper.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Falling for Fall

I believe it was Leo Tolstoy who wrote that one cannot reflect upon on moment while still experiencing it. So far, this has proven true in my writing as it is usually impossible for me to write about any of the chaos or deep worrying that sometimes fills my mind. I worry about making enough time for Liam and Mike. I worry that I don't do enough with Liam, forgetting that for him, a trip to the grocery store is an adventure and not a chore. My concern might be because I know some people are reading this is I don't want to come across as whiny, dramatic, or, even worse, not having it all together. Reading through my last few entries and think about posting this past weekend's events, I realize that this is pretty puppies and rainbows. What I have learned over the past few months and even from writing this blog is that life is what you make of it. We are just about as happy or as sad as we choose to be. My mom always told me that the first star you see in the sky is the spirit of our loved ones gone looking over us. Now I know that "star" is Venus but that isn't the point. Anyway, I've been contemplating getting a small compass star tattoo to symbolize people looking over me. It seems more fitting to get that tattoo with the double meaning that we control our own destiny and happiness. We really are as happy as we decide to be. I am fortune to live a life in which the puppies and rainbows are pretty easy to find.

Anyway, Mike and I took Liam for a hike in the woods. He loved watching the leaves and the small streams. Mike mentioned that we get to see the world through Liam's eyes. He's right. Liam never stops looking and thinking.He adds a good amount of sweat to a hike. We had fires Friday and Sunday nights. Liam is just like us and mesmorized by the flames. I am finally ready to start giving him real food. He had toast and pastini this weekend.

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This is a picture from last week's trip to the library. He loves watching the fish and trying to catch them through the glass.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Now He is a Day

Liam made his first trek to Fenway Sunday. We bought the tickets before he was born, worried that bringing Liam to Fenway for the first time for a Yankees Sox game would be too much for us. We bought tickets for a daygame, the last game of the season. We are out of playoff contention but the game determined if the Yanks won the division or the Wild Card. Therefore, they had to play us hard. Mike Lowell day was the day before. The roster in up in the air so we may have watched Papi, Pap, and Tek play their last games in a Sox uniform. He won't remember it, but Liam can claim to have seen some legendary Sox play.

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Liam loved Fenway! Our tickets warned of walkway traffic. It was great to up against the rails. We were able to put his collaspable stroller there. Most people who walked by at least smiled at Liam, giving him plenty of opportunity to ham it up. He loved watching people and the excitement of the crowd. When the crowd cheered, he would kick ancd squeal, almost as if he knew what was happening. Liam loved walking around the city.

My students are always interested in how much I do with the baby. I feel fortunate that Mike and I are able to do so many things with him. We live in an area where there are a lot of low cost activities. This weekend, we went to the library, took Liam to a friend's farm for his Halloween pictures, and went to an art show on the water.
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Monday, September 13, 2010

A Week of (Fantastic) Firsts

Liam's recovered from his stomach bug. He is back to daycare and winning the hearts of all who meet him. It seems like he aged a month in a week. He began sitting on his own and taking "big boy" baths in the tub instead of his plastic whale.
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He started crawling. I really need to do more baby proofing. The dangerous, breakable stuff is out of reach but the PITA stuff to keep picking up(DVS, books, etc), is still within reach. During these times, I am glad our great flood taught me that I don't need so much crap. Anyway, Liam and I went to the library Friday afternoon. We had run in so I could check out a quick book or CD but this was the first time we'd gone for him. We made our way up to the second floor. I was so excited to see that they still had a taranchula. When I was little, there was one in the children's room. It was gone for awhile and I was sad that Liam wouldn't get to be fascinated by the giant, scary spider. He barely noticed it, even when Beezus (the tarachula) was crawling around. Liam was a huge fan of the heat lamp, confirming my theory that the only place I ever need to take him is the Home Depot.

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He looked at the fish and tried to grab at them. The we went to the board book section. He picked out a couple of books that look delicious. He can't actually stand on his own, but he is an excellent leaner. We took out a few books that came we have been reading over the past few days. I may try to get there every other Friday. There were also quite a few moms there. One came over to chat about our sons. I wish I had thought to go there awhile ago. I think it would have been tough before he was sitting on his own. I liked watching him explore.

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Liam also attended his first concert this weekend. We went to Pops in the Park and enjoyed the Rhode Island Philharmonic. Mike and I realize how lucky we are to live in an area that provides a lot of free entertainment. We need to take advantage of it more often. I am so happy that, after a week of scary firsts, we had a week a fantastic firsts!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Night of Firsts (Popsicles, Hospital Visits)

Liam is turning out to be a lot like him mama and daddy. He is adapting well to daycare. He is making friends and having a grand old time there. It is such a relief. He is trying so hard to crawl and manages this sort of army crawl and scooting. This afternoon, he was trying to stand up on his own. Sitting on my leg, he would try to stand up. He'd even wobble and try to keep standing. He is one determined little fellow.

At the beginning of the week, I had some trouble keeping food down and assumed it was first day of returning to work/starting daycare jitters. Yesterday, when I picked Liam up, he vomited all over me. This continued all evening. At 8:00, we called the pediatrician, who told us to give him a little bit of Pedialyte every 5-10 minutes and if he vomits again to take him to Hasbro Children's Hospital. Small amounts stayed down and he took a nap. At 10:15, he woke up and took an ounce of Pedialyte. It came right up so we headed to Hasbro at 10:30. They gave him Zofran but we were unable to get him to take any liquids. He did have his first popcicle. Of course, they gave him a red one and he made a giant mess. Since Liam just wanted to sleep and not eat, we got the ok to take him home but were told if he didn't have a wet diaper in the morning to come back because he was dehydrated.

We got to sleep about 2. At 6:30, we woke up and checked the Booba. Dry diaper. Back to Hasbro. He was crying but no tears would form. He sounded like an 80 year old chain smoker. It was heart wrenching to see. It is amazing how strong love can be for another person.

Hasbro is right next to Women and Infants, the hospital that delievered Liam. It seems like just yesterday yet forever ago that Mike and I were driving down Eddy St in silence, understanding that we would be leaving with a baby and our lives were forever changing. As I watch Mike and Liam sleep in the living room chair, I feel like I learn a little more every day what it means to be a parent. I knew Liam's illness was not life threatening, he was in good hands, and would recover just fine. However, I would have done anything to make him feel the least bit better. I fully understand that this is not the last time Liam will ever be hurt or sick. I also understand how lucky I am that his first scary illness was so easily fixable. As I watch Liam sleep on Mike's chest, I have to remind myself yet again how lucky I am. They look so peaceful and cute together.

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I know this will not be the last time Liam hurts or cries. His pain will not always be fixed as easily as last night's popcicles, Zofran, and Pedialyte. For now, I have to appreciate the difficulties that accompany parenthood with the assurance that the rest of our lives will get easier and harder.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Day I Knew Would Come

Liam and I visit his day care center tomorrow. Thursday, I drop him off and go to school to bring the last of my school supplies there before Monday. Monday I drop Liam off for my first day of school. I have no worries about Liam. He is so social, friendly, and playful. He loves to explore and interact. His bag of supplies is packed and his clothes are all labeled "LD."

These days are dwindling:
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I keep saying I am ready to go back. But, like every other event that has happened this summer, I am saying what I feel I am supposed to say. When my basement flooded, I lost "things:" my junior high school year books, my journal I kept throughout my pregnancy, the last Christmas card my grandmother sent me fourteen years ago, lesson plans, books. Other people lost their homes. Who am I to complain? But as I began to regroup the basement and collect my school supplies, I realize how much these "things" meant to me. I have no right to complain, but I really want to anyway. I am supposed to say I am relieved that Mom is not suffering anymore but I miss her. It sucks that I will never get to call her and tell her about Liam's tooth or how much he loves avocado. She won't be able to tell me everything will be fine when I drop Liam off Monday morning.

The bulk of my problem lies in being a control freak. I have to control every situation and not appear weak. If I had to have a pregnancy complication, diabetes was a great one for me because I could so research and control it. I never complained about carpel tunnel so bad that Mike washed my hair for me. When Braxton Hicks decided to wake (and keep) me up at 2am, I still went to work. I endured eighteen hours of labor without a single tear or cry. God forbid I appear weak.

Thinking about the events of the past few months. I put on such a front that I guess people believe I am as strong as I pretend to be. It sucks and I don't know how to admit to others that I do sometimes need help and support.

I guess what I am getting at is that I have barely been able to juggle everything these last seven months and I have not even been working. Going back to work does not scare me. I've been teaching for six years. Mike keeps telling me that it does not matter if laundry gets backed up or the house looks less than perfect. What scares me is feeling the need to keep up pretending I have it all figured out.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Also Not for Babies:

We are taking Danielle out for a "last hurrah" Saturday. No body shots or wooing, but a nice evening out. I did want to get her something to send her into marriage. Awhile ago, I could have sworn I saw a book titled "The Husband Instruction Manual" and decided this would be a perfect gift. Liam and I pack up and head to Garden City. After keeping him in his stroller, I decide to carry him as I just run in and grab the book. Well, the book doesn't exist. It was "The GROOM Instruction Manual." They'll be married in two weeks. This won't help. So I head to the next best thing, erotic literature.

Erotic Literature is an embarrassing enough section. Sitting in front of it is even classier holding a six month old child. He decides he wants to eat the books and starts to fuss when his evil mother won't let him. I give him my purse to play with and sit him on the floor. Within two minutes, he has the zipper open and is tossing my credit and store reawrds cards over the floor. I find "The Sex Instruction Manual," a bright pink book with two people ready to have sex on the cover, and call it good.

I get into line. There's a police officer ahead of me. Liam starts screaming because he just realized he is hungry. I find a nonchalant place to store the book for a moment, run to the car, and make Liam a bottle. I return to the store managing to hold a feeding baby in my arms, grab my hidden purchase, and resume my spot in line. Now ahead of me is a sweet old ladt who wants to compare Liam's impressive stats to those of her 15 month old grand daughter. I hide the cover of my book under my arm.

We are next in line. Liam grabs at the Nintendo game display, spilling one shelf of games to the floor. As I go to put games back, I become the classy mother feeding a mess making baby while attempting to buy a sex book. Just give me the mother of the year application now.

When I got to Shaw's I also discovered that Laim managed to break my Origins compact and flesh colored powder is in every crack of my Kate Spade purse. Yeah.

Rites of Passage

Yesterday, we took Liam to the Washington County Fair. The fair was one of mine and Mike's first dates so it has become tradition that we go each year. Last year, I was 15 week pregnant and couldn't ride the rides but could eat my weight in corn dogs. This year, Liam was on the outside of my belly and I still couldn't ride the rides. I did still enjoy a corn dog and corn fritters. Watching Mike gnaw on a turkey leg always has a certain sexy manliness about it. Next year, Liam will be able to take a bite. For now, he has to admire its awesomeness.

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Liam did awesome. He had his six month vaccines the day before and was fussy all afternoon. The pedi felt a tooth coming through so that added to his clinginess and being hard to please. Once we got there, Liam was in awe. He loved the lights, people, and rides. His favorite part of the fair was watching Jess scoop popcorn. He was fascinated by it. He loved watching the rides. At first, Liam liked looking at the 4H animals so Mike put him almost face to face with a sheep. The sheep let out a giant "Baaaa" and Liam was done with farm animals. I tried to get a picture but decided instead to sooth the baby.

As always, the fair was a great place to play "They have sex," a game in which you find couples consisting of nasty, ugly people and remind your friends that those two get it on. Mike discovered the most ironic placement of booths:

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Yes, that is the SPCA next to the sportsman's club.

We stayed until about 8:30. I would have liked to see The Marvelettes but Liam had other plans. As always, he did amazingly well. We put him in his PJs before putting him in his car seat for the ride home. I can not wait to see how he'll react to the fair next year.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Camping is Not for Babies

When Mike and I made the decision to begin trying to get pregnant, we had several "Are we sure we're ready?" conversations. We discussed our situations in regards to finances, deciding we were as ready as we would ever be. If everyone waited until they could 100% afford a child, none of us would have been born. We were as ready as we'd ever be. We discussed what it would to to our relationship. Since all of our parents lived out of state, we knew having a baby would change our lifestyle more than it would a typical couple because we would have no access to babysitters or helpers. This meant our life of trips to Fenway and random nights out would end. We worried about how our friends would react to adding a new member to our circles of friends and about or social lives.

Liam keeps us so happy and busy that I barely have time to miss our former life. Mike and I went to Fenway once this year. I can't tell you anything about the Sox record this year besides "third place," "plagued by unjuries," and "suck." He and I have been out three times in six months without the baby. We're happier sitting around the fire in our backyard after Liam goes to bed. Although we worried about our relationship, I feel we are stronger because we make time for us. After Liam goes down for the night, we turn off the TV and talk. Although we don't get to go out on dates, we make our marriage a priority and it is working for us.

I knew our relationship would change after the baby. I knew motherhood would change my body. I am surprised at how much it changed me as a person. Maybe this is in combination with the events of the last few months as well. One will never know how much of this change is the result of Liam alone and how much is the result of Liam, the flood, and my mom. My "old" house used to be so clean that I could put it on the market any given day and have it show room ready in less than an hour. Now, I have baby centers around the house. These pretty baskets have wipes, burp clothes, toys, and other things I may need at a second's notice. Because we eat dinner outside most evenings, allowing Liam to play or simply enjoy watching the trees dance, I noticed that our dining room table had dust on it.

Mike and I worried about how Liam would handle his first camping trip. With the exception of dreading "jokes" about Mike being a pussy for not drinking as much as he used to, we weren't worried about us. (For the record, he's not a pussy, he's a dad who went on a diet.) We spent the bulk of the trip watching our friends read. They even used lights to keep reading after the sun set. We were not expecting this. Since our tent was farthest away so Liam could sleep and nap in a quiet environment, I had to walk sixty feet every time I needed to change a diaper or make a bottle. My new found messiness did not impress others nearly as much as it did my husband and I felt awful that people kept cleaning up after me. At home, I can leave a cup of coffee out for a little bit if Liam decides he is hungry or leave wipes next to my chair so I don't have to get up every ten minutes because Liam drools like a basset hound. (Mike may be the only husband who smiles when he comes home to find dishes in the sink, an unfolded basket of laundry in the living room, and Liam and I playing outside.) There was a menu that was discussed before we left. Mike reached for a bagel on Sunday afternoon and was reminded that they were for breakfast tomorrow. We've become scavengers at times, eating whatever without worry that it is for a specific meal. After Liam had a terrible meltdown due to being overtired, I was left to eat dinner alone watching everyone read. Given a choice between watching everyone's head in a book and watching my son, I took my burger to the tent. I took many walks with Liam. It was not a bad trip, but it was very clear that Mike and I had changed in the past year. Reading was not an option when you have a six month old. It was a crash course to teach us how much our lives had changed inthe past year.

It is funny that we were worried about Liam and he did better than we did. I am not at all angry at my friends. That was their perfect, relaxing camping trip and they are more than entitled to it. It is by no means their job to entertain us. Mike and I learned that camping with a baby is a lot of work. We have a grill and a firepit in our backyard. We are more than happy to spend an eveing enjoying those things and sleep in our own comfy beds. Mike and I can go to George Washington park for the day for $2 and enjoy hiking, walking on the beach, and a picnic lunch without having to worry about packing two carloads of supplies for ourselves and baby. We won't have to worry about keeping his quiet for three hours if we wakes up at 5am.

It is ironic that Mike and I worried about how parenthood would change our bank accounts, nightlife, house, body (only me on that one), and relationship. We never wondered how it would change us as people. I have been worrying less and less about the house being picture perfect and prefering to spend times swinging with Liam or playing "mama gym" and letting him climb over me. I don't worry about having nice clothes. I rotate three pairs of shorts and two pairs of jeans, one pair of shorts being a comfy maternity pair from last summer. I don't worry about going out to dinner and making fancy meals. We prefer enjoying time with my family and then making omlettes, putting a lunch meat sundwich together, or inhaling cereal when we finally realize we're hungry.

I wouldn't change it for anything. It's been quite a journey.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Six Months

I need to get better at writing our daily occurances. They can seem simple at the time, but it is so important to have a record of all the people we used to me. Mike and I watched old videos of Liam last night. It is amazing how much he has changed and how excited we got over the littlest things. I remember being so excited the first time he reached for a hanging toy on his playmat. Now, we can barely keep him on the mat at all He rolls and inches all over the place.

He had his first haircut last night. He had no clue what was going on and just seemed happy that a pretty girl was playing with him. I'm sure when he gets older, it will create a challenge.

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I have been trying hard to learn to use the camera Mike got me for Mother's Day. I need to sit down and really learn it instead of playing with it until it does what I want. I can create pretty good pictures, but I have no clue why they're coming out the way they do It is sort of like experimenting in the kitchen. You can play around and make something delicious then have no clue how to do it again. Here are a few of my favorites:

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I almost feel like things are starting to get back to normal. I am enjoying days with Liam and understanding that these days are numbered. It's hard to believe that I'll be back to work n four weeks. I feel guilty for admitting that some days I know I am ready. I know leaving him will be difficult but it will be good for all of us. Liam will benefit from the social interaction and learning opportunities. I will benefit from getting out of the house. Our savings will benefit from me being back to work. As Mike said, if we have learned nothing over these past few months, we have learned that something will always come up.

I have my hard days when Liam does something new. It is so tough to know that Mom will never see Liam eat his bananas, inchworm over the rug, or walk on the grass. I still separate my life using mom but I do it less and less. (I haven't bought shampoo since before mom died.) I don't know why I do this. I guess it makes me feel like she hasn't been gone that long. My dad and sister seem to be doing much better than I am. I wonder if it is comparable to when someone orders really hot wings and no one wants to be the wimp and admit they're hot.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Anniversary Song

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Two years ago, this sonnet was read at our wedding. It is about love not changing as lovers change. It seemed fitting at the time that profess that we would always be in love and that our love would never falter or change. Two years later, I realize that love is supposed to change. The Mike I married two years ago is different from the Mike I have today. We have grown. We have learned how to work as a team. We have overcome obstacles and got each other through tragedies. I love him for who he has become and who he brings out in me. I love the husband who learned as much as I did about my pregnancy. He sometimes answered questions that I didn't know the answers to. He was the one who knew he'd be able to feel the baby move at around 24 weeks and that real pregnancy cravings don't begin until the third trimester. I love the father who splashes Liam during bath time and reads Good Night Moon. I love the husband who takes the baby on weekends so I can catch up on sleep. How silly to think that love was not supposed to change. It would be of concern if it did not change.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Five Months

A day late but we got it done. He is nineteen pounds. I still have to measure his length. It was bittersweet to realize that I could not send them down to my mom and have her oogle over how big and cute he is getting. I wonder when i will stop separating life into two distinct time periods; before mom passed and after she passed. When I dropped off some library books, I realized, "Mom was alive when I took these out." When will I stop doing that?

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He just learned how to sick his tongue out. He moves it to the side when he is concentrating. Typical man. It is amazing to watch his mind work. He wants to crawl. He can creep but not crawl. He loves to laugh and will cackle until breathless if we let him. He will practice his voice for hours, especially working on a high pitched squeal. Today, he even stood on his own, using a base to hold on to.

It is scary to think that I only have two months of maternity leave left. I tear up just thinking about it. How lucky am I to have witnessed so much of his early life?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Testing 1, 2, 3

Can I post pictures this way? If so, it will make my life much easier. If not, I just posted a random web address.

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Monday, June 21, 2010


My first group of seventh graders graduated tonight. The group that broke me in. The group that inspired me to plan lessons until two am. The group that left me drinking at three in the afternoon. The group that made me laugh and cry all in the same day. I was their first middle school teacher. It was the year I met Debbie, Tim, and AJ. I had many of them again in tenth grade as well.

I went to last year's graduation and watched my first year eighth graders walk the stage. It was bittersweet as I myself never walked across the stage. Ironically, I failed English. I can give the sob story about a teacher who lost a important paper and how I found it over the summer, graded with an A, and cried. However, I never should have let my final grade for the year come down to one grade. Can I at least point out the my final grade was 64.3? (65 was passing in my school.) How's that for an "F You Kerri Arnold" from Mrs. Moira Dean? Anyway. A few reflections:

* I cried with them as they walked in. A few left line to give me hugs. Until I became a teacher, I never knew that sense of positive influence.
* I wonder what I actually "taught" them. Do they even remember what books I covered with them? I had to stop and think about it. Do they even remember a noun from a verb? What do they remember from my class?
* When I first started teaching, I worried about being "cool." I pretended I didn't but I did. I thought I could be the one to love them into being good. That does not work in any school, urban or otherwise. Kids are kids. People are people. If they can push you over, they will.
* As I became seasoned, I worried more about being fair. Was my classroom pass policy fair? Did I read papers and grade fairly? Did I grade according to standard or what I knew they were capable of? Was my discipline style fair?
* I still worry how to fit in grammar and spelling. Sigh.
* My favorite compliments:
"You really pushed me. Thank you."
"You helped me so much."
"You said you would be here and you are."
"You always find the positive in everything."
"She is one classy lady." (Obviously, I fooled one kid.)
* I am so glad they stopped using that lame ass Vitamin C "Graduation" song and switched back to "Stand By Me."
*The students I had the biggest love/hate relationship with hugged me the hardest tonight.

I think what I taught them might be different than what they learned.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What Have You Done for Me Facebook?

I once compared sharing my writing to bathing suit shopping. I am putting myself out there for all to see. I hadn't made this blog public until now. (Breaths deeply and removes towel)...

Is it wrong to admit that I feel a sense of giddyness as I delete my Facebook account? I spent most of yesterday thinking about the events of the day. I guess I have stopped shaking with anger enough to sum up what happened. My mom died Sunday night. Within forty five minutes, a distant cousin posted "rest in peace aunt pat." I sent him a message saying I have not yet contacted all of the extended family so can you please wait a little while before posting it. I would hate for an aunt, uncle or cousin to learn of my mom's death via a social networking site. He not only left it up, he bashed me on his "wall" saying that he was told it was wrong to post about my mom's death. Because I couldn't get a hold of one of my uncles until the following afternoon, there is a good chance my cousins found out my mom died via a wall post on that stupid website.
I really started thinking about facebook and the "friends" I have there. Yes, I reconnected with lost friends. I never would have would found Jess Chevalier without FB. I became better friends with some people because of FB. Jes King and I would not know each other as well without FB. Yes, there are people I would love to see more often that distance does not allow. Kim, Ericka, Amanda, Cheryl come to mind.
However, how many friends have I actually lost to FB? Caitlin and Beth, you and I used to meet for lunch every few months. We haven't done so in years. Why? No need to. Beth, I know that you had a beautiful wedding to a devoted, handsome man. I know you bought a raised ranch and that you are thinking about starting a family. Heck, I know that your friend Kerri had a baby. Caitlin, I know that things are still going well between you and your boyfriend. I know you just sold your first house and went on a camping trip last year. Facebook took away the wonder of what two girls I cherish are up to, thus illiminating the need for me to actually pick up the phone and call you. I haven't had to make plans to introduce you to my miracle of a son. Why not? You've watched him grow over the internet. Facebook did not bring any of us closer. It made it acceptable to go years without seeing each other in person.
I really started thinking "What has Facebook done for me lately?" This is what I have come up with:
* It actually disconnected me to spending real time with people I hold dear to me. Because I know what they're up to, I haven't felt the longing or the need to check in personally.
* Sometimes, it showed me people I like spending time with made plans that did not include me. That made me sad. If I didn't have a FB account, I never would have known who went for a walk without me or had a nice visit at so and so's house.
* I leanred that even when I don't even know who deleted me, it makes me sad when my friend count goes down.

* It taught me some people have no filter. Why do you think, friend, that I want to know about your breastfeeding experiences, your baby's poop, etc?
* Some people are narcisstic. They need everyone to know they're taking a grad class, ran three miles this morning, went to a 5am workout, what they ordered at lunch, etc. This made me wonder about myself. Did I really post pictures because I wanted everyone to see them? There was a big part of me who LOVED getting the comments about how cute Liam is. You know what, though? I know his amazing. Why did I need a social networking site for validation?
* Some people are always sad. Nothing makes them happy. And they want the world to know.
*Some people are niave. If I haven't seen you since seventh grade, why are you letting me and 200+ other people know that you're at work right now or away in Texas for a wedding this weekend? How do you know I didn't turn into some crazy criminal who is thankful to know a house will be empty for seven hours or three
* My last boyfriend's new girlfriend is beautiful. Stunning. And, to make matters worse, she looks like a really nice girl, too. Aren't ex boyfriend's new girlfriends supposed to be ugly? Damn it. OK, this is just the girl in me coming out.
* Although I've never played, Farmville looks stupid.

In conclusion, I can't remember the last time a week went by without me being grossed out or aggrivated by something on Facebook. The people who are in my life are important and will remain so with or without a social networking site.
Adios, Facebook. See y'all in real life!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Good Bye Cruel Facebook

Last week, someone on The Bump explained her reasons for giving up The Bump. It made perfect sense to me. Worrying about the lives of people you never see in real life can make you miss out on real life. We can all sit here and say "I just use Facebook to keep up with people." I've realized that there is a reason I didn't keep in contact with some of these people. Yes, there are people who are out of state or very busy that I truly am glad Facebook allows me to remain in contact. Those of you know who you are.
Facebook has, until now, never interfered with any aspect of my real life. (Those who need to know what happened know what happened. Sorry, it's beyond painful and personal.) I was careful about what I posted, having enough common sense to know not to post about going on vacation or even about going out for the day. No need letting 200+ people, some of whom I haven't seen in ten or more years, know that my house will be empty for an extended period of time. I keep all of my posts positive. People have enough problems; they don't need to hear anyone else's. I described my pregnancy and parenting in a positives. No one wants to hear about my morning sickness, stretch marks, struggles with breastfeeding, complications, or the fact that I could not see my own vagina for four months.
I feel that Facebook has done everything I needed it to do. It reconnected me with friends and family. It let me know which people from high school are more less overweight/ successful/ train wrecked than I am. It allowed me to compare myself to my ex boyfriends new loves. It has reminded me that some friendships can stand the test of time and distance. It has taught me that some friends are better as fond memories.
The only confession I do have is that I feel that I have not been reading or writing as much for myself due to Facebook. When Liam is asleep and the house is beyond clean, I tend to linger on FB instead of doing the things in which I formerly found great joy. I would much rather read or write for myself than learn who has bought gas at Shell, who is sick of being pregnant or having allergies, or who ate a sub for lunch. My journal that I wrote for Liam throughout my pregnancy was ruined in the flood and I have not even purchased a new one for him. I always imagined I would have these beautiful journals to pass down to him describing all of his milestones as they happen.
The people who are close to me will always be close to me. I don't need a social networking site to confirm that. There are some people I don't really keep in close touch with whom I enjoy looking at baby pictures of hearing about wedding plans, etc. That I will miss but I am learning that FB is just more trouble than it is worth. Thanks for the memories!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


As I looked through a Facebook friend's pictures of her premature baby, I can never complain that Liam is growing so fast that the 3-6 month summer clothes I bought him a while ago are too small. I need to count my blessings. As I let one friend's harsh words and judgements overshadow Liam's blessing, I need to remind myself how lucky I am to have such great friends who are going so far out of their way to help make his day perfect. I spent the morning making 150 choc shells for part of his favor. Liam is so playful and loving. Is it wrong to admit how much I love when he's upset about something and grabs his arms around my neck? If only my hugs would always be able to make everything better.

Waiting for the Kettle to Boil

Mom went off the ventilator yesterday. She is in ICU and Dad seems to think she'll stay there. I feel like I am waiting for her to die and wonder when I will feel something besides numbness. Will I just be angry at her for not taking better care of herself? Will I be mad at Dad for bringing her junk food? He brought her KFC the day before she went back to the hospital. Will it hit me months from now when Liam takes his first steps and I can't call her and tell her? She never did teach me how to make a bed by getting the sheet over the bed in one big movement. So now we wait.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Four Months

It is hard to believe that four months ago, Liam was about to be born. A year ago at this time, I was three days late and hoping that this was it. I look at the beautiful baby sleeping next to me and can not fathom life without him. Through all the chaos, Mike and I have grown closer. I have learned how important my friends can be and how much true friends can make a difference. Even if I don't have time to go out with them as much as I'd like, something as quick as a simple email or text makes me feel connected to the real world. I have learned that competative mothering is hurtful and best avoided. I have learned that I can not do it all myself. Sometimes, I need to ask for help. This is not a sign of weakness.

Liam's blessing is in a week and a half. Mike and I are different religions. We're having the reverend who married us come to our house and bless Liam. He will not belong to any particular religion but will still be blessed and introduced to the world. Most people have respected our choice to do a non denominational ceremony. Having it our house with our closest friends and family is intimate and represents who we are. Hearing people come out and bash the idea hurt. Telling me my mother must be devastated was just mean. If I have learned anything through the birth of Liam it is that I can not make everyone happy. A lesson I know I need to work on is to stop feeling the need to try to explain my choices to people who don't care my reasoning and just want to tell me I'm wrong.

In true teacher form, I have a four square graphic organizer with lists of what I need to buy where and when and a day by day to do list.

My mom and dad were supposed to come up for Liam's blessing. It kills me to hear mom get worse and worse every day. Going down to make sure she saw Liam was the right thing to do. I don't wish her dead, but I know she is not living. Still trying to figure out the exact reason, but I know God made Liam look just like her for a reason.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I have been meaning to set this up for awhile. It is hard to believe that the days are flying by and my maternity leave is halfway over. A year ago at this time, I did not even know I was pregnant. As Liam sleeps, I think about how much our loves have changed since the fatefull day I said to Mike "Kristy won't be here for twenty minutes. Ya wanna?" Mike and I have grown closer. I fall in love with him a little more each day. Liam is lucky to have such a great dad. I am lucky to have Liam. He is such a good baby. His face lights up when Mike or walk walk into the room. There is no better feeling than when he nuzzles into my neck, even when he does it in 100 degree heat. In spite of all the chaos the last few months have brought, he is always smiling and always much us smile.