September 28, 2010

birthday style

Malcolm's birthday party was this past Saturday. As you may have seen in yesterday's post (and in even earlier posts if you've been reading here for the past couple of months), it had an outer space theme.

In order to "blend right in" (or maybe because his mom is crazy) Malcolm started the day out in a space-themed onesie, complete with little rocket ship monogram:

Onesie: Okiedokie (thrifted for $1.00)
Jeans: Old Navy (thrifted for $2.50)
Socks: Walmart (pack of ten for $6.00)

As the day and party progressed, Malcolm (in typical celebrity fashion) changed into his second outfit of the evening so there was no question as to who he was ...

Onesie: Carter's ($4.00)
Jeans: Old Navy (thrifted for $2.50)
Socks: Walmart (pack of ten for $6.00)
Shoes: Faded Glory (thrifted for $3.00)

Hopefully everyone had a nice time ... I know the birthday boy did!

September 27, 2010

take me to your leader

Baby birthday parties are a lot of work ... Maybe even more work than the actual labor/delivery that the celebration commemorates!

In lieu of a wordy post, here are some photos of the atmosphere before the chaos (that took the form of our family and friends) descended on our home ...

*All cakes and decorations made (with love) by me.

September 24, 2010

a birthday letter

My dearest Malcolm,

Although your first birthday was yesterday, today's date celebrates the first day I woke up as your mother. Granted, I fell asleep a new mom (at around 3:00 am when all was said and done) that very same day, but that didn't take away from the strangeness of waking up and knowing that I had really and truly birthed you into the world ...

That you weren't just a dream.

You were here and you were mine.

All mine.

From the moment I knew you were inhabiting my womb, I loved you, yet I didn't fully understand what that all meant until I laid eyes on you for the first time ... You were pink and squishy and oh-so-angry at being expelled from your little cozy nook of thirty-nine weeks, but, despite it all (or maybe because of it) you were gorgeous. Unabashedly so. I was (and still am) amazed at how absolutely beautiful you looked after a long labor (for both of us) ... But I guess you could have had two heads or extra fingers and it seriously wouldn't have mattered.

I was so in love.

Complete and all-encompassing.

It wasn't gradual or slow-growing (like the romantic love that developed between your father and me), but big and loud and BAM! Immediate and instantaneous when I looked into your little, gray eyes.

Like a clap of glorious thunder at the beginning of a large, powerful storm.

Your dad and I often recall how strange and surreal it was falling asleep in that hospital room after you had been wheeled away to the nursery. Although there were only two of us in the room, we were no longer a couple, but a family ... A family with three members.

Mom. Dad. Baby.

We knew, from that moment on, that our lives would be different. We would be different. But we were so excited to take that journey with you. To figure things out as we went along. To learn and grow and become a family together.

To say that you have filled our lives with sunshine would be a tremendous understatement. Through each stage of your babyhood, through each milestone you reach, you have been a complete joy. It is such a trip to just sit back and watch you now, to see how big you have become in such a short amount of time ...

You have your own preferences, likes and dislikes regarding your toys, clothes, food, activities ... You make faces and noises to suit your mood. You constantly babble and chatter, getting all the more closer to your first "real" word. You laugh (Oh! How you laugh!) at pretty much anything. You are "on the go" nonstop ... Crawling, pulling yourself up on the furniture, throwing yourself back to the ground (and doing it all over again). Your personality is ten feet tall.

Yes, you are less a little baby now and more a little person.

You're a little boy ... Our little boy.

And we are so incredibly blessed to call you our son!

Not a day has passed since our very first one together, that I do not thank God for all that He has given us. By no means have a been a perfect person (friend, daughter, wife etc.), and yet I have been gifted the most precious, perfect thing of all ... YOU!

I will spend every day that I have appreciating and celebrating that fact. Life is too short. We need to make the most of it. In the blink of an eye another year will pass us by. And then another ... Before I know it (God willing), you will be grown and starting a family of your own ...

But, today, you are still my baby (albeit my one-year-old baby) and I love you exactly as you are. Dirty diapers and all.

I will love you forever and always regardless of how old you become and will never forget the way you changed my life on the day you were born.

The way you changed me.

I hope you had a very happy first birthday, my little love.

We (still) have so much to celebrate!


September 23, 2010

one year ago (part 2)

And the drama continues ...

At around 4:00 pm, I was given a real room, a nurse (Dawn, who was awesome) and, of course, a paper gown. After having a moment to settle in and get comfortable in my gown, Dawn hooked me up to a blood pressure cuff (for me), a heart rate and contraction monitor (for the baby), got an IV port ready in case I'd need any medications or fluids during the delivery, and then we went through a massive list of questions covering my health history and my plans for the labor and birth. She didn't bat an eye when I said I was going to do things naturally, but told me we'd have to talk with the anesthesiologist anyway, as it was hospital procedure.

When the anesthesiologist arrived, he was a bit more skeptical of my "natural birth" intentions. He took about fifteen minutes explaining the procedure and going through his memorized list of procedural steps and potential side effects with little gusto. I agreed to sign the paperwork, in case an emergency situation would require me to have an epidural, but mentally told myself that I wouldn't be seeing him again.

With all of our pre-birth "business" taken care of, Dawn got the room's bathtub ready for me ... and I (finally!) got in. By this point, my contractions were pretty strong and very uncomfortable, so the warm water and whirlpool jets felt really good and did a great job at easing the pain. Unfortunately, my moment was short lived because my doctor arrived at around 5:30 pm and wanted to check me. Begrudgingly, I climbed out of the tub and made my way back to the bed.

As she announced that I was five centimeters dilated and 80% effaced, I felt some pressure and then a gush of fluid. My water had broken ... No more whirlpool tub for me! Instead, I tried standing in the shower and using the shower's hand-held sprayer to soothe my back where the pain was becoming the most intense. This was by no means as helpful as the swirling water had been, so I had my husband help me dry off and return to the bed. I stayed there, squeezing his hand with each contraction until I felt like I couldn't sit still. Dawn brought us a birthing ball and I sat on it, bouncing and rocking through contractions. At some point, a nurse/midwife named Sue who had heard that I was attempting a natural birth, popped in and showed my husband how to apply pressure to my hips and massage my back with a bag of hot saline. It relieved some of my discomfort, but only when Sue did it ... My husband was either squeezing too hard or rubbing too lightly. My frustration was nothing compared to pain that was starting to become ridiculous (especially in my back).

I guess I should mention that, by this point, my parents and one of my sisters had made their way to the waiting room. They would page our room occasionally, calling for my husband to give them an update (which he would).

Up until about 8:00 pm, I felt like I was doing okay, for the most part. I was definitely hurting, but the pain was still manageable. I knew I was in trouble when I had a contraction during the singular minute my husband left me to get a pop from the vending machine. Without his hand to hold, I felt lost. The pain was so intense that I felt as if a vice was squeezing me in half. I wanted to scream, but Sue had told me to stay in control by "keeping my sounds low." When he returned he said that my sister wanted to come back and see me to say "Hi."

I vaguely remember thinking that she must be crazy and shouting "No!" at him.

From about 8:30 onward my memories of Malcolm's birth become fuzzy. I do know, however, that during most of that time, I thought that I was going to die. Sue was back and she and Dawn had me moving to try and alleviate some of the pain ... I was rocking on the ball, then on all fours, hunching over the inclined back of the bed. I'd have a small contraction, then a huge earth shattering one. I knew I didn't want the epidural, but I wasn't sure how long I could allow my body to just do what it needed to do. I'm not sure if I just wanted the assurance that things were progressing, or if I just needed something to distract me, but I remember begging to be checked again. Surely I had to be ten centimeters by now. It had been all day! They kept telling me that they'd check again if I felt an urge to push.

I never felt that "urge," but at some point I started lying.

"I'm feeling a lot of pressure," I would say when I could speak. "Can you check me, now?"

When they finally obliged, it still wasn't time. I was 100% effaced, but only eight centimeters dilated ... And the small and big contraction pattern wasn't helping. They gave me some pitocin to help even things out, so from then on, whenever I changed position, I had to fumble around without getting tangled up in my own IV cord. Before I was given the official "okay," I started to push just to survive. I know for a fact that I peed everywhere, but I didn't care. The act of pushing relieved the pressure in my back ... The pressure that was caused from my baby being posterior (or, as they say to make it sound happier, "sunny side up").

Back labor.


At around 11:00, it was finally time! The baby had turned to an anterior position (or so they had thought). I started pushing, first from my back with my husband and Dawn bracing each one of my legs. Then I was rolled to my left side to push. Then I was instructed to get on all fours again and lean over the back of the bed again.

My husband recalls how proud he was of me for being so agreeable and moving when they asked me to ... But, the truth is, by the time I was able to push I felt no pain. I'm not sure if I've just blocked it all out, but I honestly don't remember any pain once I was pushing. There was no "ring of fire" either. Everything about pushing felt good ... It was certainly frustrating and exhausting, but much more comfortable than my contractions had been for the past two hours or so.

It was 11:54 pm and I was on my left side again, legs braced by my husband, Dawn, and Sue, with a room full of nurses wanting to see the crazy woman give birth naturally when a head (finally!) emerged (looking up at his dad instead of down at the floor, like a good baby should) and a slippery body came bursting out. The sensation was really strange and surreal ... And I'm glad that I got to actually feel it happen.

"What is it?" I asked my husband, in disbelief that the baby had just entered the world. "Did they say what it is?!"

"It's a boy!"

So now he was here!

I had just pushed out a six pound, eleven ounce baby boy ... Without any drugs! Crazy!

I spent the next few moments watching my baby boy get cleaned and weighed as my placenta was delivered (I didn't look at it, but I hear they look like monsters) and I was stitched up. I felt a little shaky (and tired), but otherwise great.

Seriously. I felt great.

I was on such a high that I felt like I could literally do anything at that very second. As cliche as it sounds, I immediately forgot about all of the pain I had just experienced as soon as my swaddled baby was put in my arms for his first meal ... And I said as much to my doctor, who just chuckled at me. The little guy was so alert ... Absolutely the most beautiful, perfect baby I had ever seen. The feelings of love and contentment pouring out of me were so overwhelming that, to describe them here, wouldn't do them justice. I could have just stared at him and stroked his little cheeks for hours ... It was difficult to hand him over to my anxious family members when they were let into our room at around 1:00 am.

Malcolm Anthony.

I can't believe it's been a whole year since you arrived.

September 22, 2010

one year ago (part 1)

In the wake of my baby's first birthday (TOMORROW!!), I have been doing a lot of thinking about how we got to this point in the first place. This past year has felt like an instant and an eternity at the same time, so it is really difficult to believe that my child's entrance into the physical world took place only one year ago.

Really, I can barely wrap my mind around it.

To commemorate that magnificent event, and to truly join the ranks of "mommybloggers" everywhere, I wanted to share my birth story.

I hope you don't mind reading about it ... If you do, you have been forewarned.

I woke up at about 1:00 am on September 23, 2009 with some minor stomach cramping. My husband had taken up residence on the couch during the night for the past month or so (he couldn't sleep with my pregnant snoring), so my tossing and turning was frustrating only to me. When it became evident that I wasn't going to fall back asleep anytime soon, I wandered into our computer room to putz around until I became tired again.

Being in actual labor was the farthest thing from my mind. I had taken the following day off from work for a routine doctor's appointment and had joked with my coworkers that, although I'd see them soon, they should start taking bets on when and what I'd be having (we wanted to be surprised) since my due date was less than a week away. So, at 1:00 am, I tinkered on the computer for a little while, using Google to research things like "Braxton Hicks" and "bloody show."

Note to self: In the future, steer clear of Google images!

Satisfied that I wasn't experiencing either of those events, and that it was probably just the previous night's chili dog dinner that was haunting me, I returned to bed and actually fell asleep.

At around 3:00 am, I woke up again. This time, the cramps were feeling a little bit more uncomfortable and they were making me feel like I had to go to the bathroom. When I did, I noticed that I had begun spotting ... Weird. I Googled "bloody show" again.

Second note to self: Seriously. Steer clear of Google images!

I returned to the computer, keeping track of the timing of the "cramps" on a scrap piece of paper. Then I sent a friend a message on Facebook. She always said she was an "insomniac" and with a daughter of her own, I thought she might be able to give me some information that Google was apparently withholding. Unfortunately, she must have chosen this particular night/early morning to sleep ... And, with no response, I went back to bed and tried to get some rest. If I was in labor, I knew it was going to take a while and I didn't want to be awake for twenty-four hours straight ...

After a mostly sleepless night of tossing and turning, I waited until my husband woke up at 6:00 am to get ready for work. When I could hear him in the kitchen, eating his breakfast, I wandered downstairs to drop the bomb on him.

"Honey," I remember saying. "We might be having a baby today."

The look on his face will never disappear from my mind. It was equal parts sleepiness and shock. I'm pretty sure he almost choked on his cereal before muttering a feeble. "What?"

I repeated that I thought I might be in labor, but that he should go to work anyway. Since I wasn't in any serious pain, I was going to call my doctor's office when it opened at 8:00 am to see what the nurses recommended. I would be okay and there was no use having both of us, nervous and pacing the house ... If things started progressing, I'd give him the okay to hurry home.

He didn't take much coaxing and agreed. He was out the door by 6:30 am and I was alone.

In the hours that followed, I packed our hospital bags: one with granola bars, some CDs, and a change of clothes for him should labor/delivery last into the night, and an overnight bag with toiletries, clothes for me to wear home, and clothes for the baby we'd soon be having. I spent more time on the computer, searching the familiar keywords and checking my email for a response from my friend.

When 8:00 finally rolled around, I called the doctor's office and explained the situation. The nurse essentially canceled my appointment and told me to call back if the contractions (she actually used the word contractions ... This labor thing was becoming more real by the minute) progressed to five minutes apart, if my water broke, or if I was in so much pain I couldn't handle it.

Excited yet nervous that today seemed to be the day, I called my mom at work to tell her the news and to cancel some plans that we had had for later that afternoon. She didn't seem very enthusiastic.

"Are you sure you're in labor?" she kept asking. "What did the doctor say?"

She seemed skeptical and didn't think it was the real thing. The due date was still four days away ...

The hours just dragged by and the contractions, while somewhat uncomfortable, didn't really change. They continued as they had been since 3:00 am. I tried to practice my breathing, took a long, hot shower, and sent my friend an update (coincidentally at 9:23 am) that I really was in labor.

At 11:00 am, my husband returned from work after calling in half of the day. We sat and watched "The Price is Right" together, me bouncing on my exercise ball each time a contraction began. For about the entire hour that we watched the show, my contractions were very regular, coming at every five minutes and lasting for about one.

When a nurse called at around 12:00 pm to check in on me, she gave us the go-ahead to leave for the hospital and said she'd alert them that we were on the way. With that, we grabbed our overnight bags and got in the car.

It was during that drive that I realized how uncomfortable (and dare I say painful) the contractions were becoming. While in the passenger's seat, there was really no way to position myself the way I needed be in order to get through them comfortably. Every little bump the car drove over was irritating. All I wanted to do was lower myself in a nice, hot bath ... Something birth classes told us I'd be able to do in the labor/delivery room as long as my water hadn't broken.

When we arrived at the hospital, my husband dropped me off at the designated entrance and I called the maternity ward from the hospital's "stork line" to let them know that I was on my way up. The security guard nearby asked if I was okay and if I needed a wheelchair. I declined, and when my husband joined me at the entrance we headed for guest check-in (as we had been instructed to do in our classes) and then to the third floor maternity ward.

When we arrived at triage, we were escorted to a tiny room the size of a large closet. There was a chair for my husband and a gurney-like hospital bed for me. At around 1:00 pm, I was checked for the first time and deemed to be only one centimeter dilated.


All of the cramping and contracting since 1:00 am (twelve long hours) and my body had barely changed.

I felt somewhat deflated ... I had been hoping for at least three or four! What was the point of even being in the hospital so soon? We waited and felt mostly ignored for an hour or so while the nurses got in touch with my doctor. After (finally) talking with her, they instructed us to walk up and down the triage hallway for an hour. If I made any progress, then I'd be admitted.

If not, we'd be sent home.

Feeling like my cervical dilation was now some sort of strange competition, I was determined to stay. So my husband and I dutifully began to walk. We walked ... and walked ... and walked some more. For the first half hour or so, we laughed at how stupid we must have looked. We'd pass the same doorways, see the same patients inside (and they'd see us), then come upon the nurse's station and make our way back again.

At the far end of the hallway, there was a gurney with a CPR dummy on it. It was covered in a sheet and looked like a dead body. Each time we passed it, my husband (a huge horror movie fan) couldn't get over how creepy and weird it was. He even touched its sheet-covered foot and reveled in how life-like it felt. As time went on, these minor distractions were funny and welcomed, because during each pass of the hallway, I noticed that the contractions were becoming more intense. Soon, about twice during each pass, I'd have to brace myself against the wall to keep myself from doubling over in pain.

I hoped like heck we were making progress.

After our hour was up, at about 3:00 pm, we headed back to our cozy, little "closet" and waited. Again, it seemed to take forever, but finally someone came to check me ... Now, I was two centimeters ... Really?!


But at least it was enough. My cervix had accomplished a small triumph! We could stay!

September 21, 2010

fun on the farm

My husband and I have always been fond of the fall. From the crisp air, to the colorful leaves and smell of smoky bonfires, we can't get enough! We eagerly await the arrival of September and make it a point to "do fall right" each year by frequenting as many seasonal events as possible.

One of our favorite places to go is Mapleside Farms (I highly recommend it to any of my local readers). We have been going to the farm's little market/store since we began dating, but really started attending events once we were married. It was always fun (for me anyway) to see the other young families scurrying about ... Parents chasing after toddlers, pushing strollers, and just relaxing on the hillside. I could hardly wait until I was one of those parents ...

So, it was with great excitement that Malcolm was able to join us this year. Although he couldn't take advantage of the corn maze or the tree house playground just yet (next year, Little Man, next year), Malcolm certainly enjoyed being pushed down and pulled up the farm's large hill. It's a good thing Dad was willing to oblige!

AND ... I got to get the overalls out of the closet!

I love love LOVE when Malcolm wears overalls! It's too bad they are (already!) looking a little short in the leg:

Onesie: Geniune Kids (thrifted for $1.00)
Overalls: Arizona Jean Company (thrifted for $3.00)
Socks: Walmart (pack of ten for $6.00)
Shoes: Faded Glory (thrifted for $3.00)

September 20, 2010

the apple

I'm sure you've all heard the saying "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

While I've always found this statement to be true (at least when I compare myself to my parents, or my husband to his), I never realized just how true it was until I had a child of my own.

All day long, I see myself and my husband reflected back in our son ...

In the faces and/or goofy expressions he makes.

In so many of his little mannerisms.

In the sound of his laughter.

In his love of bedtime and a good night's sleep.

In the amount of energy he always manages to have.

In his very observant and inquisitive personality.

In the pointer finger that just won't quit.

In his hearty appetite for foods of all kinds (even healthy ones!).

In the way he is ticklish everywhere.

And, not to mention, all the various physical features!

Yes, Malcolm is definitely our little apple:

I don't think we could have produced a better fruit if we had tried ...

September 16, 2010

easily amused

Did you know that I'm a budding poet?

You didn't?!

Try this haiku on for size ...

Totally content
Carefully stacking boxes
Cheap "toys" are the best!

September 14, 2010

little boy blue

Fall weather has returned to Cleveland.

I'm still not loving the fact that my little peanut doesn't look all that "little" anymore in his weather-appropriate clothing, but I'm learning to deal. I even found myself rearranging dresser drawers by retiring warm weather onesies, shorts, and other too-small items and digging through the closet to see what goodies I had forgotten about.

Among those items were the turtlenecked onesie and fleece jacket in today's outfit.

I can distinctly remember purchasing them way back in the early spring and thinking about how it would be "a while" before Malcolm would even fit into them.


Funny how time has just marched right on by!

Onesie: Baby Gap (thrifted for $1.00)
Jacket: Circo (thrifted for $2.50)
Cargo pants: Miniwear (thrifted for $2.00)
Socks: Walmart (pack of ten for $6.00)
Shoes: Everlast (thrifted for $1.50)
Chunk of asphalt shingle: Neighbor's decrepit roof (FREE!)

September 13, 2010

forgotten babies

When my husband and I first got married, we started the discussion about expanding our family right away ... With the addition of an animal or two.

After much deliberation (or, probably more accurately, arguments), we decided to add a cat to the mix. We intended to look into the local shelters or online at pet adoption sites, but didn't have to.

Our first kitty found us.

About four months after our wedding, she wandered into the shop where my husband works. At first, another coworker claimed her and took her home, but soon realized that a kitten did not mix with his bachelor lifestyle. Needing someplace else to go, my husband (and I) agreed to give her a permanent home with us.

We named her Circe Nightshade, a name used in the "Goth Talk" skit from Saturday Night Live, but more importantly, the name of a sorceress from Homer's Odyssey (that turned Odysseus's men into pigs).

About a week later, while we were out of town for the weekend to celebrate my husband's birthday, another kitten found us.

This one, which we named Isis after the Egyptian goddess of the dead, was only a couple of weeks old at the time. We often joked that she probably had wandered away from her mother for only a minute when we scooped her up and took her with us.

Obviously, as our adoption story shows, it is impossible to resist a sweet, little kitten.

Even so, as time passed we still loved our furry babies very much ... They were fed table scraps (especially lunch meat) and other cat treats regularly. They got to cuddle up on our laps whenever they felt like it. They spent many hours being entertained by laser pointers and feathery toys powered by my husband and myself. They shared our bed at night. They were the subjects of many photo shoots during my summers off from teaching. They were every bit as important as a real baby.

That is, until our real baby arrived.

As our attention shifted to Malcolm last fall, our cats gradually faded into the background. At first we tried to keep things "the way they used to be." We included the cats in our daily lives like we would have in the past ... They still got treats. They still were given a chance to cuddle up with us a night. But, at some point, they didn't feel like it anymore. Sensing and seeing changes all around them, they started to withdraw and spent more and more time in the basement or under the furniture.

Today, they only resurface and show their furry little faces if the house is quiet and/or it is late at night ... But, by then, we are so tired and ready to just relax for a while, their attempts at closeness are met with sigh and little enthusiasm. It doesn't help that they have always been on the ultra-independent and antisocial side. Often times I think they'd rather be holed up by themselves somewhere ... We are their litter box cleaners and their source of food.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

Even so, part of me feels terrible that our cats are just "our cats" and not "our babies" anymore (when just a short time ago they were the center of our lives!). The other part, however, realizes that the shift was inevitable ... Maybe my husband and I aren't the "animal lovers" we always thought ourselves to be. Maybe we unknowingly saw our animals as a "practice run" for the real thing.

I'm pretty sure that our experience and current situation with our cats is not the norm, in fact we're probably in the minority, but I can't sit and beat myself up over the way things have turned out.

Things could always change.

At any rate, Circe and Isis will always have a home with us ... Even if, most days, they prefer to frequent the basement.

September 10, 2010

the leaky faucet

For as long as I can remember, my Mom has always been a big softy. If she wasn't falling asleep on "family movie nights" she was crying instead, furiously wiping tears away from her face. I (along with my sisters) always found this funny and would talk about it for days afterward ...

I never had a problem with crying during movies myself until the past five years or so. I don't know what it is, but I tear up at least once or twice during just about every movie I watch ... And it's getting worse!

The best I can remember, it started with a comedy, The Wedding Singer. There's one part, toward the end of the movie, where Drew Barrymore's character is talking to herself in the mirror and realizes that she's not in love with the man she's about to marry. To comfort herself, she starts talking to the mirror as if she's marrying someone else, a friend who has been there with her through everything, and realizes that she has feelings for him, instead. At that very moment, that same friend is watching from the street below ready to express his feelings for her, but, upon seeing her smiling and laughing, turns away because he doesn't want to ruin her big day if she is truly happy (which she isn't!).

I don't know what it was, but something about that scene hit me and caused a rogue tear to escape down my cheek ... From then on, it has only gotten worse. Any movie with "feel good" themes and/or an uplifting message gets me every time. It can be drama, comedy, animated (actually, animated movies seem to be the worst!). Whatever the genre, you name it ... I turn into my mother and lose it just about every time.

Even television shows get me on occasion ... A season finale of The Office where Jim comes back for Pam, an episode of The Biggest Loser where the contestants get to see their families for the first time in weeks, and (I hate to even admit it) even America's Next Top Model where a finalist says that she never felt pretty before, and now she finally does ...

Like I said, it's getting worse.

It's not that a good cry doesn't feel good on a semi-regular basis. I just feel like, if I'm going to cry, it might as well be for a real reason, and not because a movie or television show has coerced it out of me. If you asked those closest to me, I can be sensitive, but I'm not an overly emotional person. For example, my husband has (lovingly?) described me as being the "coldest person he has ever known."

So, why movies?

Why now?

I always knew that I had the potential of "becoming my mother." I just didn't think it would happen this soon!

September 7, 2010

it's a jungle out there

With each week that passes, Malcolm is becoming more and more difficult to photograph ... So, getting a good shot (let alone one that showcases his outfit!) for my Tuesday fashion feature is turning out to be quite the challenge! I'm certainly up for it, though, as I enjoy chasing my boy around.

It keeps me on my toes.

Since the weather flip-flopped from fall coolness to mid-summer HOT HOT HOT, Malcolm has gone back to spending his days in tee-shirts (or tank tops) and shorts ... This is fine with me because he's looking a tiny bit more like a baby, and fine with him because, as long as he has the freedom to move around and explore, he's happy.

It looks like Dad might need to get out there and cut the grass before our next photo shoot ...

Tank top: Carter's (thrifted for $0.50)
Shorts: Unknown brand (hand-me-down)

September 6, 2010

another year older

This is probably becoming a theme on here (please forgive me if you are sick of it already), but I can't believe how much things have changed over the course of a year. As a kid, a year seems to take forever, but as an adult, it is merely the blink of an eye. So, while pregnancy seems like a distant memory in my head, just last year at this time I was big and nearly ready to explode. If I didn't have a baby living in my house and/or the pregnant pictures to prove that I really went through the whole process, I don't think I'd believe it ...

But, getting to the point of this post:

My birthday usually falls on or around Labor Day.

"How funny!" I used to think. "Being in labor on Labor Day!"

Not so much anymore.

Now I think it is a cruel, cruel joke after having been through natural labor myself ... Who wants to be reminded of twenty-three hours (for me, at least ... I think my mom suffered longer) of huffing and puffing? I guess getting through it in one, albeit altered, piece is cause for some celebration ...

And getting to that point again:

Despite the blur that my life has been, a moment from Labor Day Weekend (last year) sticks out at the forefront of my mind and is directly related to my being pregnant. So, I thought I'd share ...

A couple blocks or so from our house is a small (and very delicious) ice-cream establishment. Since the family was together for a Labor Day cook-out, we decided that it would be fun to take a walk over and purchase a nice, cool treat to cap off the day. As we approached the only busy intersection on our route, the light was obviously ready to change. Apparently in a hurry to get their ice-cream, my husband and the rest of our group made a move to quickly cross the street. Lagging behind anyway (at this point, I was carrying about forty extra pounds of baby weight), and not wanting to be separated, I tried to increase my own pace and run after them.

Quick note to self: Next time you are nine months pregnant and have done little more than walk throughout the duration of said pregnancy, do NOT try to run! Seriously. Under any circumstance. Don't do it. You'll look incredibly stupid and nearly kill yourself as you try to stop. You were a science teacher, were you not? Ever hear of momentum?! How about inertia?!

I'm lucky I didn't set off my own labor and wind up in the hospital on Labor Day, too!

So, even though I'm far from being nine months pregnant this year (as in, I'm not), I'd like to think that the past year hasn't changed me too much. Obviously, I'm a mother now (which was a deeply profound and wonderful change), but in terms of everything else, I'm still the same old Emily I was last year.

Save for one thing ... I can run again.

So, happy birthday to me and happy Labor Day everyone!

September 3, 2010

the back to school blues

Schools everywhere are up and running again.

The high school I used to teach at is no exception.

As I go about my daily routines, I often think about what I'd be doing at school if I hadn't made the choice to stay at home with Malcolm. My mind is full of questions ...

Would I have the same classroom? How would it look this year?

Would I finally have a biology-only schedule?

Would I be teaching multiple honors classes?

Would I get to eat lunch at the same time as my teacher friends?

Would I have strategically placed free periods?

Would my study halls be full of students that actually prefer to study?

As much as I liked to complain about teaching to those that would listen, I have to admit that the high school holds some good memories for me, too. My coworkers were awesome (many of the students weren't half bad either) and I thoroughly enjoyed talking about science all day and passing my enthusiasm for it on to others ... Well, at least to those that were paying attention.

There wasn't a moment that passed that didn't challenge me on some level ... Whether it be intellectually, emotionally, creatively ...

I guess that's why my absence at a school this year is bringing on a host of bittersweet feelings. While I am elated that I have the opportunity to spend all of this time with my son (a decidedly exciting time during which he is constantly growing and changing), part of me misses the hustle and bustle of life at the high school ... The thrill of a new year and the ability to start fresh and make great things happen.

If only I could be in two places at once!

Still, when I stop to really think about it, I remind myself how the initial feeling of optimism as the school year begins gradually fades over time, leaving behind uncertainty and frustration by the end of the year ... So, what sounds like a good thing at the present moment, will eventually turn into a headache.

Something that certainly won't happen as I tend to my little guy.

In that respect, staying at home is the only occupation (during this stage in my life) that will continue to make me happy. No amount of whining or exploding diapers could squelch the positivity that fills the room whenever Malcolm is around ... And if this past year is any indication, things only get better and better!

September 2, 2010

way to go, mom

Someone can't get enough of his personal porch swing ...

It's a good thing I remembered it was buried in the basement!

September 1, 2010

midnight groundhog

Although I have been waiting to wake up from the dream I've been living in, Malcolm remains a great little sleeper.

He goes down in his crib with very little fuss (if any) and settles in to sleep within minutes. Then he continues sleeping for a good twelve hours straight ... Sometimes more if I'm really lucky!

It probably helps that the noises that come from outside of his room are nearly invisible to his sleeping ears. Police and/or ambulance sirens screaming down the street don't bother him. The clattering sound of pots and pans being put away in the kitchen (right below his bedroom) are of no consequence. The back screen door slamming shut (and shaking the house) when someone leaves or comes in doesn't startle him. His father yelling to his mother from downstairs (it seems that on more than one occasion, my husband forgets that we, indeed, have a baby) doesn't even phase him.

What can I say?

When he's down for the count, he's really down for the count.

However, drop a pin or let out the tiniest of whispers inside of his room and the kid literally springs to life from a dead sleep.

As mentioned in yesterday's fashion post, the weather in Cleveland was much more fall-like last week, dropping to become quite cool in the middle of the night. Malcolm typically sleeps with a fan going in the window (for the air flow and the noise) and, although he's been going to bed in little footy sleepers, I was concerned that he might get cold ... So I made the mistake of going in to turn his fan off.

It was about midnight, a good three hours since he had been put down (so, he was most definitely in a good, deep sleep) when I crept into the dark room and made my way toward the fan. As I passed the glider and ottoman in the corner, being very careful not to bump either of them, I stepped on a floorboard that let out a loud CRACK! Instantaneously, Malcolm shot up in his crib ... Not much unlike a groundhog does when it sees something larger approaching (or like this little guy, dramatic music included). His open, sleepy eyes were just barely visible in the glowing light of his baby monitor and they had spotted me. Continuing with my mission (even though I had obviously FAILED), I reached to turn off the fan.

The scream the kid let out in the meantime was deafening.

And all it took was a creaky little floorboard.

Luckily for me, he went back to sleep with little coaxing.

Maybe we need to invest in some bedtime earmuffs for his supersonic bedroom ears.