Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sweet Frustration

Just look at that sweet face.  
How in world could that peaceful, adorable face 
be causing me such frustration
It's petty, really, and I know that.

It's just that she only sleeps like that when I either hold her or Ergo her or cuddle her in my bed.  When one of those three options are employed, she's a great sleeper.  In her bassinet, I can only count on about 30 minutes of peaceful sleep ... before she needs me to help her fall back to sleep. 

Today I feel like every moment of my free time is spent helping her to sleep and keeping her that way.  And I am feeling frustrated.

A big part of my current predicament is my fault ... but I rationalize it mostly because of her age and size.

CJV is still so young and small.  She's nearly two months old, but she's only weighing in the mid seven pound range - a weight that is typical of - if not smaller than - most newborns.  And so I continue to treat her like a newborn.  I hold her and cuddle her and watch her sleep.  I know that I should be empowering her to put herself to sleep ... that transition should probably be happening now.  But I am not sure I am ready to give her that slice of independence.  Part of me loves knowing that she so completely depends on me.

In the back of my mind and squeezing at my heart is the fact I won't be the mommy of a newborn ever again; at least we've semi-made that decision.  Selfishly, I just want to soak up every moment.

But, just as selfishly, I could also use a few moments to myself.  Oh, what's a momma to do?!

All About MEme: What Stop Sign?


Oh, the dreaded flashing lights in your rearview mirror!
First, you convince yourself it's not you,
Glance at the speedometer, and
Make your way to the shoulder.

Then you start planning your elaborate excuse ... 
Late for MEme Monday? Jamming to KISS?

Go with the lash batting and cleavage showing ...
or turn on the water works?

There's that awful tap on the glass and lowering of the window.

"License and registration, please ma'am."

Ooooooooh! You're so...


I know what it's like to be busted ... despite the fact that I've only been pulled ovah once in my entire life (knocking on wood) ... and it was a very long time ago ... so long ago that I don't want to do the math because it will be so depressing.  I'll just say that I was young, dumb, and newly licensed. But the memory of being busted lingers still in my mind.

I was driving a Pontiac T1000 (the most ridiculous name for a car) ... metallic blue with an after-market moon roof.  It looked like this, only blue:

The personalized plates read GO SLOW1 ... I'll give you the chance to laugh your ass off at that one ... or smile fondly, if you knew me back then.  My dad's idea of cleverness for this 16 year old daughter; a daily joke amongst my peers.  I called that car, "Spunky," which was more sarcastic than true.  And I loved that car ... bought with my own hard-earned money and enjoyed for two and a half years of high school.

It was the first day of my summer job, and I was driving my friend Kristen home.  I drove Kristen home A LOT.  For some odd reason, she never got her license - or drove a car - until she was in her early twenties.  She mooched rides relied on her friends to get her where she needed to go ... and apparently I was a good friend.

Anyway, I was feeling a little giddy ... perhaps giddier than usual ... it was a gorgeous summer day.  The Beatles were playing on through the cassette player.  The windows and moon roof were open.  Life was good.   We were about a minute from Kristen's house - tucked in the middle of a quiet little subdivision, and like I said this was a very familiar route for me ... including one of these ... 

... which I frequently rolled - blatantly ignored - just about every time I took Kristen home.  It seemed like a pointless stop sign; there wasn't ever any traffic coming in the cross direction.  On that particular day, I didn't just roll the sign.  I tooted my horn and blew right through it.  Within seconds of my ridiculously foolish action, I saw a COUNTY SHERIFF'S car pull into my rear view mirror.  Lights flashing.  I was so very, very BUSTED.  
Did I mention that I barely even slowed and I tooted my horn?  I am sure that sheriff was fuming!  I managed to drive the rest of the way to Kristen's  house and pulled into the driveway ... hoping - oh-so-naively - that perhaps the cop car would just drive by.
No such luck. 

At first I tried to play it off like I didn't know what I had done wrong.  And then I was like, "What stop sign?  I didn't see a stop sign."  He wondered why I honked my horn twice as I went through the intersection.  I didn't have an answer, and my hole was getting deeper.  The whole dialogue made me feel belittled and powerless.  I was in the wrong, but I also didn't like the way "my superior" was talking to me.

Suddenly, this little flame of anger grew in my gut.  I knew that he wanted me to cry.  He wanted me to plead for his leniency.  He wanted the satisfaction of making me grovel.  Perhaps it would've helped.  Perhaps he would've let me off with just a warning.  But at that moment, I was so enraged by his power trip ... and to be honest, the fact that I was caught ... that I became borderline defiant.  I was wrong but I wasn't going to admit that to him.  At some point, I even said something like, "I bet you just love it when girls cry.  Well, I'm not going to cry.  I'm not going to give you the satisfaction."  It felt so good to spat those words at him.  He smirked (the nerve!) and handed me a ticket for $100.  So much for all my plans for that first summer job paycheck.

Of course, as soon as he pulled away, I broke down and wept like a baby.      

Now it's your turn.  Link up so I can stop by your place and read about the time you were BUSTED!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

All About MEme Prompt: 2.1.10

with MommyBrain and SupahMommy

Oh, the dreaded flashing lights in your rearview mirror!
First, you convince yourself it's not you,
Glance at the speedometer, and
Make your way to the shoulder.

Then you start planning your elaborate excuse ... 
Late for MEme Monday? Jamming to KISS?

Go with the lash batting and cleavage showing ...
or turn on the water works?

There's that awful tap on the glass and lowering of the window.

"License and registration, please ma'am."

Ooooooooh! You're so...


Tell us about a time you got pulled over.

If there are too many times to chose just one,
slow the f down give us a list of your top 5.

If you've never been pulled over (seriously?!),
tell us what you've done in your car that could get you pulled over!
(didn't mean that to sound so racy!)

If you're a goody two-shoes to the nth degree,
tell us a funny story involving a car!

We'll be looking for your links on Monday!
Be sure to come back now, ya hear?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sisters in Pajamas

Both freshly bathed and looking so cute.
NHV was so excited to have the chance to hold baby sister.
CJV was ready to eat but did her best to enjoy the moment..
Both sisters managed to look pretty darn adorable!

You can see more great photos and Word-less-ful Wednesday
posts here and here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

All About MEme: Deal Breakers

with MommyBrain and SupahMommy

I rarely watch talk shows.  Because of my awesome nap-taking daughters, this past week was an exception to the rule.  I watched Dr. Phil give a nice lady the what-for because she carries around a 20-item dating checklist ... and asks her dates to read it and check it off ...and wonders why she's still single.  Ummm, hello, I'm fairly certain her deal breaker list IS a deal breaker!  Seems this was a popular topic ... another day I watched Oprah, and that hottie friend of hers Nate was match-making ... for a lady that had an absolutely CRAZY list of deal breakers.  Normal things like "no kids" and "never been married" ... I guess those things are normal ... compared to "never drinks from a straw."  I laughed aloud when she actually admitted that drinking from a straw is a deal breaker. 

And then, Supah dropped this delightful prompt on me.  What crazy hang-ups do I have?  What are my deal breakers?

First of all, if an item of food is past it's "best by" date - even by a day - that's a deal breaker.  My husband disagrees with me on this one and claims there is a margin of error built in to those expiration dates.  I do not budge on this one!

Okay, just thought you should know that about me ... and now here are my relationship hang-ups ... I could only really think of three ... because I only dated a few guys in high school and then met my husband ... and he's perfect ;)

I discovered my first deal breaker in high school.  I dated this guy I've known since elementary school.  He is a truly sweet guy and a great friend.  I was totally into his friend but ended up dating him instead.  We had a lot in common and always had fun together.  He was such a gentleman and pretty cute, too. Here it comes ... BUT ... he had spit strings. Little spittles in the corners of his mouth.  When he talked the strings stretched and sometimes broke. I couldn't take my eyes off his mouth ... not in a good way.  And I could not bring myself to really kiss him.  He'd lean in for a kiss, and I'd dodge with a quick, polite peck.  I assumed if that much spit managed to escape his mouth - via the sides of his lips - a real kiss would involve more drool than a teething two-year old ... deal breakerPoor guy borrowed my physics notebook to study for a final exam and found a break up note inside ... I know, that's just not nice!

From excess saliva to pubic hair ... or at least the kind of hair that looks like it belongs below the belt but somehow landed on your head.  I think I dated a few charity cases in high school.  And I know I dated a few for the wrong reason.  My friend was interested in Mr. Pube Head, and for some reason that sparked my competitive spirit.  I went after him and won.  My prize ... an overly sentimental, mixed tape making, gas station rose buying, not funny ... guy with the kind of hair on his head that had no business being there.  It was just B-A-D bad ... and a deal breaker! 

From pubic hair to public cheeks.  I spent a summer living (in sin) with my then-boyfriend (now-husband) and his roommate - we called him Dick Skip (behind his back) as a shortened version of his real name.  He was a little odd and sometimes gave me the creeps.  Dick Skip invited me to spend the afternoon at the beach while my boyfriend was working.  We put our towels in the sand, laid on our backs, and started soaking up some rays.  I had my eyes closed and tried to ignore his attempts at conversation. A little while later, I heard him rustling around but didn't think much of it.  Deciding it was time to flip over and give my back some sun, I sat up, opened my eyes, turned to look at water, and got an eyeful of bare butt cheeks. My male roommate had taken off the swim trunks he wore to the beach and stripped down to a black thong!  Ummm, guy in a thong ... in public ... with another guy's girlfriend ... deal breaker!

And finally, while I was typing this, Natalie and Chad were having a tea party when I discovered this deal breaker ... Natalie put an apple in her cup and said, "I's dinking apple juice."  Chad followed her lead, picked up an nearby item, and said, "I made ball juice."  As far as I am concerned - that - in any context - is a deal breaker!  CPV, of course, quickly realized what he had said and cracked up laughing ... hee, hee!

Now it's your turn.  Link up so I can stop by your place and read about your deal breakers!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

All About MEme Prompt 1.25.10

with MommyBrain and SupahMommy


This week we want you to share with us your own personal experiences with "dealbreakers."    You don't have to be a 30 Rock Fan to know what  DealBreaker is!  

Example:  You know that hot man candy dude who took of his shirt at the beach when you were 23-  only to reveal a DEALBREAKER kermit the frog tattoo or rampant wolf like back hair? 
* collective gasp with a side of  shudder....
Yah.  Those. 

A.   List of your top 5  relationship dealbreakers.

B.  Tell us about a time you experienced a DealBreaker.

You remember how this works right?   
Think on it.   
Write a post.   
Come back on Monday and link up!

supah  and MommyBrain

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

ESP: Six Weeks

Current Weight: 7  pounds

EAT:  From an eating standpoint, the past ten days have been very different.  At her one month check-up (10 days ago), the pediatrician deemed her weight gain (6 lbs. 9 oz. at that point) significant and consistent.  Enough that I got the go-ahead to stop the pumping, stop the bottle-feeding, stop waking her for feedings, and breastfeed exclusively and on-demand.    What a relief!  I was so happy to finally be released from the pump prison!   The best part, though, the switch has been nothing but successful!  I am amazed by how well my little baby transitioned from chugging a bottle to sucking the ... well, I don't want to get graphic, but you know. 

And I would say that she's even better at nursing than NHV ... not that I am comparing or making it a competition.  It just surprises me because I've heard so much about nipple confusion and babies who refuse to nurse after drinking from a bottle for extended amounts of time.  Even more impressive, CJV goes for decent stretches in between feedings ... 2, 3, 4, even 5 hours.  NHV nursed all the freaking time ... like every hour and a half to two hours ... longer stretches were rare rather than the norm.

In the past few days, I have noticed an increase in spit-up ... but I think that's normal at this point.  I just hope it doesn't last as long as it did with Natalie.

SLEEP:  Charlotte continues to be a pretty darn good sleeper.  (Gosh, I hope I am not totally jinxing myself here!)  And her periods of alertness are definitely increasing.  She's not great at putting herself to sleep; she fights it a little.  She doesn't really cry or fuss ... just gets that wide-eyed stare, classic overstimulation.  But the 5 S's ... swaddle, side, shush, swing, and suck ... are pretty fool-proof in triggering her calming reflex.  Of course, CJV still prefers to be held while snoozing - she's a newborn afterall, but she can also sleep for good stretches in her bassinet ... if the planets align just right.  The Ergo carrier has been invaluable during the day.  Charlotte will sleep in there while Natalie and I go about our business.  When she does get really tired, the stork bites on her eyelids get darker.

PERSONALITY:  I know I am completely biased, but geez, this baby girl is so very sweet!  She's very calm and mellow ... the majority of the time.  Even when she does get upset, Charlotte is quick to soothe and overall very content.  I love all the baby sounds she is making now ... aaaaahs and ooooohs and sighs.  Although she honks less, there are still plenty of grunts and snorts.  If she's waking up and feeling hungry, she tells me with a series of stretches and grunts.  She also has the best sleep grins.  I am still waiting on the real thing, but in the meantime, I cannot get enough of her little grins! 

Charlotte's favorite things (aside from the girls) ... her binky, my face, when I sing, "Hey, hey pretty Charlotte," the Fussy Baby poster next to her changing table, a foam wedge, and the fan in our master bathroom.

And I'll leave you with one more photo ... her little outfit, a gift from my friend Sarah Lou, says, "Whoooo's the cutest?"

You are Charlotte Jane.  You are.

Getting Older and Riding the Bus

This past fall one of NHV's good buddies started going to preschool two days a week.  Often times - on the days he was at preschool - Natalie would ask to play with O.  I'd have to explain to her that O was at school, so he couldn't play today.  Inevitably, that explanation would prompt Natalie to inquire about this whole "school" thing. 

She'd say, "Owen go to cooool to-day? I go to cool, too?  I wide de bus to cool?"

And I'd always reply, "When you get a little bit older, you'll go to preschool.  And mommy will drive you; you won't ride the bus."

"Na-nee wanna wide de cool bus."

It cracks me up that her understanding of school is closely related to her desire to ride the school BUS.

Well, yesterday morning we attended our first preschool open house (yikes! I am so not ready for this!).  After breakfast I told Natalie about our big plans for the day, and she was beyond excited ... like to the point that waiting 8 months to actually start going to preschool is likely to cause her serious mental and emotional anguish ... and to drive me crazy! 

As I was rushing around to get us ready, Natalie had a ton of questions ... or rather the same few questions ... asked over and over and over again. 

Top on her list, "I older now?  I go to precool yike O-wen?"

And then, "We wide de bus to cool dis mow-ning?"

Again this morning, NHV expected to go back to preschool.  We aren't even registered yet.  Heck, I haven't even decide which school she'll attend.

"Mommy, I go to cool dis mow-ning?"

"No, baby, not today."

"I not older anee-more?"

Oh, the adorable confusion!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

All About MEme: Supah's Book Club, Part 1

with MommyBrain and SupahMommy


You can consider this my own personal couch jumping incident ...
First of all, can we talk about my awesome PhotoShop skillz?! I give full credit to Supah for being my inspiration.  But the skillz, those are all mine.  I am especially proud of this one because the idea was hatched at 2:30 am while nursing my sweet CJV.  And the logo was created at 3:00 am ... while sitting on the floor in my walk-in closet so I could hear CJV if she needed me but have enough light to see what the heck I was doing.  Sleep deprivation conjures up all kinds of delightfulness ... a whole lot of crap, too ... but this is delightful!

Anyhoo, on with the interview ...

What are you currently reading?
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
I am only 25 pages in.  The main character is an old (and very lonely) man.  I have a thing for old guys; they are just so endearing.  He feels invisible and does things to get noticed ... like posing nude for a drawing class.  Whoa, did that create some unwanted visuals!  But I like his gumption ... and that's a word I've never thought to use before now.  Ultimately, this is a book about a book (my friend Terri would love it!) ... a book written by the old man that somehow helps another lonely soul.

When do you find the time to read?
Right now, I am not really finding time to read. I can't keep my eyes open once I crawl into bed at night.  And spare minutes during the day are rare to say the least.  When I was pregnant - just a short time ago - and enduring twice weekly doctor's appointments, I read almost a book a week.  I don't make time to read, but if I find time, I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing.

Where do you do most of your reading?

Now, currently, because I am house-ridden with children ... in my bed with my eyes closed ;)

In the past, when I had a life ... on the beach ... oh, I've done some great reading on the beach.  In an airplane/port ... unless there's someone interesting to talk to.  And I love sitting outside to read.

How do you choose what you read?
I think you already know this about me.  I judge a book by it's cover.  (I kind of feel the same way about blogs, but that practice does not translate into how I choose my friends, though!)  The overall design of the cover has to be appealing to me.  It's not one certain thing that I look for ... the cover could be pretty or interesting or weird.  As long as it catches my eye, I'll give the book a try.

I don't stick to one author.  In fact, I prefer to read virgin first-time authors.  There's something about knowing this is a person's first attempt that intrigues me.  I've found that well-published authors can fall into a rut ... like they've been type-cast or their publisher has too much control or they aren't willing to break the mold of their first successes.

I also love book recommendations.  And the website has a cool feature that suggests books you may like based on your browsing history.

From where do you get most of your books?
My friend Tammy loans me a lot of books.  And we both share a love of used books stores and the occasional trip to Good Will.

But most recently, I've been using a website called  I trade the books I've already read for a book that someone else has already read.  Pretty cool, huh?  All I do is pay the shipping (media rate) for the book I send, and in return the other person returns the favor.  You can even print postage right from the website.  If you haven't checked out this site, you really, really should.  What a great way to recycle a book!

What do you do with a book after you've finished reading it?
If the book makes me think of a specific friend, I pass it on.  I love knowing a friend is reading and enjoying a book that I gave her.  And right now I have about 10 books listed on, which will earn me credits to get more books!

QUICK UPDATE ... after reading comments from BJ_Mama and Amber, I did a little research ... it turns out that I can earn book credits for referrals to  I seriously had no idea!  But if you do decide to join and use my email address - dverhoff (at) gmail (dot) com - as your referrer when you register, I'll use those credits to get Newbery Medal winning books to donate to a local children's charity - yes, paperbackswap has children's books, too

What are your book (reading) quirks?
I must finish a chapter before putting down a book.  It really bothers me to stop mid-chapter.  If it can't be avoided, I'll reread the whole chapter rather than picking up where I left off.  I prefer books with short chapters ;)

Most of my books are used, but I love the smell of a new book.  I just close my eyes, flip those pages, and breathe deeply ... it's one of my favorite smells.

Now it's your turn to play along ... my favorite part of all this mayhem!
  • Put together a post that remotely resembles an answer to the prompt.
  • Be sure to copy/ paste/ post our super fabulous button thingy (at the top of this post) on your post somewhere! (That's how we'll grow and we THANK YOU 100X for helping!)
  • Come back here and link up with Mr. Linky! (If you can't see it at the bottom of this post, hop over to Supah's place and link up there.)
  • Visit the 3 blogs above your name if you have time and leave them a comment!! (This is the secret to growing a blog!) ... and if you're first, ... well then aren't you special! You'll just need to visit the 3 below your when name when they appear and leave a comment!

All About MEme: Prompt for 1.18.10

with MommyBrain and SupahMommy


Total web-domination has really gone to Supah's head.  Following in the footsteps of some other famous lady, this week SupahMommy (with a lot of help from MommyBrain) is launching her very own Book Club!

We are assuming you, occasionally, have the time and motivation to read something other than each other's latest blog posts ;) 

Tell us about yourself as a reader ... of books.

Imagine you're being interviewed by Oprah Supah ...

Ummm, yeah, we know you're excited.  
But let's try to keep the crazy to a minimum, 'kay?

You know Oprah Supah asks the tough questions ... 

What are you currently reading?
When do you find the time to read?
Where do you do most of your reading?
How do you choose what you read?
From where do you get most of your books?
What do you do with a book after you've finished reading it?
What are your book (reading) quirks?

Think on it and come back Monday to Link up!

Next week's Oprah All About MEme ... Part 2 of Supah's Book Club

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Day in the Life

woke up to a hungry baby and nursed in bed
made old fashioned oatmeal with peaches and cinnamon
negotiated with my two-year old to just try a peach
watched a glass bowl hit the floor and smash to pieces
counted to ten and took a few deep breaths
told my daughter I didn't want to see her right now
sent "bad girl" to her room
cleaned up oatmeal, peaches, and glass
heard a tiny voice say, "Sorry, mommy.  Love you, mommy."
felt marginally better
answered a call from my BFF in Colorado

got all three of us ready and out the door by 9:45 am
held CJV and entertained NHV during a newborn hearing screen

shopped for groceries with little one snoozing in the Ergo
answered endless questions from a curious toddler

got all three of us back in the house
made lunch
nursed a very hungry little one
unpacked and put away six bags of groceries

turned on Sesame Street right at noon
cleaned up the kitchen

put both girls down for a nap
visited with a *good friend
worked on the newsletter for my moms' group

changed a diaper (or two or three)
nursed a still snoozy newborn
ate a snack ... yogurt and granola

gave a snack to NHV ... raisins
convinced toddler to ditch the diaper and use the potty
cleaned up a pile of poopie from the floor

played stacking cups and pegs and puzzles

hid from daddy when he got home

ate a delicious dinner - thanks to my *good friend
nursed ... again
watched Wheel of Fortune and solved every puzzle
enjoyed goofy playtime with CPV and Natalie

overheard daddy say, "Your presence is required in the living room.  We have toys to pick up."

to which Natalie replied, "I open-ing presents?"

checked email ... considered Twitter
typed this post

nursed ... again ... and enjoyed the sleep grins of a milk drunk baby
watched Grey's Anatomy
went to bed

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Ways Daddy Plays

When NHV was born, Chad was not exactly thrilled with our little warm lump.  Don't get me wrong, he loved and adored her plenty, but he was definitely counting down the days until she could actually interactive with him.  Don't all men love to play?

These past few weeks since CJV was born and my time has been completely consumed by carrying for our second "warm lump" ... daddy has come to the rescue - big time, especially when it comes to entertaining our toddler.  Clearly a two year old provides all the interaction he could ask for ... and more!  And I cannot tell you how impressed I am with the ways he plays.  His inventive, outside-the-box ideas give a whole new spin to how Natalie spends her time.  He teaches her about big concepts and has infinite patient with her.  Watching the two of them play - while I sitting around nursing and cuddling the newbie - really got me thinking about the evolution of daddy play ...

It all started with a little game called "What's on Daddy's Head?"  As Natalie mastered the fine art of crawling and started to pull up on furniture, Chad came up with an incentive to practice.  He'd sit on the floor, grab the nearest toy, and put it on his head.  Then he'd ask, "What's that on daddy's head?  That doesn't belong there; that's just silly."  Natalie would take off crawling toward him, pull up and grab the toy with great enthusiasm.  It was so much fun to watch.

Of course, his play repertorie has grown to include such favorites as ...
  • Making breakfast food items out of Play-Doh
  • Hide-and-seeking (with some pretty silly hiding spots)
  • Running laps around the bottom level of our house while singing "She'll be Coming Around the Mountain"
  • Building playgrounds and schools and airports out of foam and wooden blocks
  • Making blanket forts and having pretend camp-outs
  • Burying Natalie with every stuffed animal in the house
  • Hanging her upside down (by her ankles) and using her as a "crane" to pick up toys off the ground
And then there are the more sophisticated - way over a two year old's head - science experiments that only an engineer could dream up ... like the most recent balloon bouyancy experiment.  Chad attached a yogurt cup to the string of my birthday balloon.  Together, Natalie and daddy tested how much weight could be loaded in the "basket"  ... what would make it sink, what would cause it to float all the way to the ceiling, ... and finally Chad's rate of liquid evaporation vs. deflation rate ... yeah, that one is even over my head!

Oh, and here's my super talented husband retrieving the stranded balloon from the two-story stairwell by ... get this ... tossing a tiny bouncy ball into the yogurt cup attached to the string ... and yes, he was successful!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rhino Breakthrough

It's probaby a good idea to start here.  Otherwise you may think I am a little crazy or really sleep deprived ... you'd be right on both counts, but I think if you take a minute to click and read, this post will make sense ... even if you don't, I think you'll enjoy this video ... either way ... it's a win-win for you :)

NHV is finally playing in the living room and even occasionally going near the front door.  Her fear of the rhinoceros is slowly diminishing, and this video is the main reason for that ... and my friend Jessica is to thank for it.  I never thought to scour YouTube for a video featuring a super cute and friendly rhinoceros - imagine that!  Apparently some people watch this video purely for entertainment (and I can see why) ... not to overcome a fear instilled in you by your misguided parents :)

And I just have to mention how much I LOVE that my friend Debbie in VA wrote this on my Facebook wall ...
It's 1:23 a.m. and while I have yet another long day ahead of me, I'm wide awake. So as I thumb through 800 channels of bad programming I stumble across a show on Animal Planet. No kidding, it's called "There's a Rhino In My House!". I, of course, thought of you and sweet NHV. Sending lots of live your way.

Seems NHV's fear of rhinos has everybody thinking about those misunderstood creatures!

Monday, January 11, 2010

All About MEme: Birthday Week

2006 - when I was much younger
I absolutely adore birthdays.  Especially mine.  I love the presents, the cake, the focus on me, and the element of surprise that comes along with birthdays.

At some point in high school, I decided that one day simply wasn't enough.  I wore an "It's my Birthday!" pin - probably stuck to my super fashionable blue jean jacket - for an entire week ... and Birthday Week was born (pun intended).  I've since lost the ever-so-clever pin, however my determination to celebrate for an entire week remains fully in effect.

As for my most memorable birthdays, it's tough for me to choose ... and I came up with the stinkin' prompt so the pressure is on ... but how does one chose between ...

My 31st Birthday when a group of my friends sent me clues all week leading up to a day full of  surprises and blindfolded rides to various events ... ice skating, dinner at a fancy restaurant, ...

My 30th Birthday when CPV took me on a cruise to the Bahamas and surprised me by having my parents drive from IL to FL (my dad doesn't fly) to go with us.  I was completely shocked to see them!  No kidding, that was the most surprised I have ever been.  It was their first cruise, our second, and we had a blast!

My 22nd Birthday was probably one of the craziest things I've ever done ... and it was another surprise.  I was on winter break and visiting CPV in Florida.  He cryptically told me to wear comfortable clothes and drove me to a local airport.  At the time, he was in flight school, so I assumed we were going to rent a plane a fly somewhere.  Because he needed to build up flight hours, it was not uncommon for us to do that.   What I quickly realized - after seeing several colorful shapes hovering overhead - was that we would be in a plane, but we weren't really going anywhere.  Well, that's not exactly true ... we were going to 13,500 feet ... and then straight back down to the landing area.  After several years of confidently saying that, given the chance, I would jump from an airplane ... because I thought there was no way in a million years I would ever get the chance ... it seems that CPV called my bluff.  I did a tandem dive with a 60 second free fall and a very ungraceful landing. It was the most exhilarating experience of my life ... but I don't think I would ever do it again ... once was enough!

My 21st, which included 7 shots of cheap tequila ... I'd rather not remember that.

Or my 18th Birthday celebrated with my now-husband before we were officially dating.  It snowed (which I love, love, love) and we took a walk through the woods behind my parents' house.  I flirted with him like crazy.  And I remember the warmth of anticipation as I wished for something to happen between us.  It didn't.  But I still remember this night as a time when I knew he was the one.

Another all-time favorite, my 16th Birthday.  To make sure I had the cash I needed to buy a (used and very cheap) car, my parents hid 16 twenty dollar bills all over the house and sent me on a Scavenger Hunt to find them.  I had worked all summer and saved as much as I could, but that $320.00 gave me enough to buy the car and have a little gas money.

My childhood is littered with cutesy cakes and parties with silly games.  But none of them stand out as especially memorable or embarrassing or surprising. 

My earliest memory is from my 3rd Birthday.  My mom baked me a Cookie Monster cake. I still remember this mound of bright blue icing topped with ping-pong balls for eyes.

The good news is that I don't have to choose.  Because it's my Birthday Week, and I get super special privileges today and for the next six days.  I just love my birthday ... week!

Now it's your turn to play along ... my favorite part of all this mayhem!
  • Put together a post that remotely resembles an answer to the prompt.
  • Be sure to copy/ paste/ post our super fabulous button thingy (at the top of this post) on your post somewhere! (That's how we'll grow and we THANK YOU 100X for helping!)
  • Come back here and link up with Mr. Linky! (If you can't see it at the bottom of this post, hop over to Supah's place and link up there.)
  • Visit the 3 blogs above your name if you have time and leave them a comment!! (This is the secret to growing a blog!) ... and if you're first, ... well then aren't you special! You'll just need to visit the 3 below your when name when they appear and leave a comment!
  • Look for a comment from SupahMommy and MommyBrain; we've made it our personal mission to visit and comment on all of our meme links ... that's how much love we have for you all :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Love Child

In about 35 minutes, the time here in the NW will be midnight, and my birthday will officially begin.  My 35th birthday ... to be exact.

As I sit here ... counting down the minutes ... and staring at my beautiful baby girl ... in between keystrokes, details of my recent labor experience and my daughter's "birth" day keep flooding my brain. I am curious to see how those thoughts may intertwine with thoughts of MY own birthday ...

I was born January 10, 1975 to a young woman and her husband.  They had only been married since June 20, 1974.  If you do the math, as I finally did at the age of 17, you'll discover that only about 6 months had passed between those two events.  I wasn't born out of wedlock, but I was ... I am ... a Love Child.  And 35 years later, my parents are still (quite) happily married.  I was married for 9 years before having my first child.

16 hours of labor.  Do you know how many times my mom has reminded me of that simple fact?  She was in labor for 16 hours, which I must admit does seem like a long time ... to labor.  Especially considering the fact that I was only in labor for a fraction of that ... about four hours with my first and an eight hour induction with my second. 

Although the exact time eludes me, I also know I was born sometime around 12:30 am.  My first daughter was also born about half past midnight.  My mom's water was broken by the doctors, and epidural wasn't even an option.  My water broke at home the first time, but I experienced having my water broken with my second daughter's induction.  I've given birth - both times - without an epidural ... by choice.

I weighed a modest 6 pounds 10 ounces.  I know this size baby very well.  Having gained two pounds since birth, this is the exact current weight of my sweet Charlotte.  Natalie was just a little bit bigger at 7 pounds but lost almost a pound while learning to nurse.

My mom did not nurse me.  Well, she tried but I didn't cooperate.  And there just wasn't the support for breastfeeding "back then" that there is now.  I have found great joy in being able to nurse both my girls.

According to my mother, who doesn't mince words when it comes to this topic, I was an awful baby.  I was colicky ... apparently forever ... at least the way she remembers it.  I didn't sleep well.  I cried all the time.  I was disgruntled and fussy and awful.  It's a wonder she ever had more babies.  Perhaps the fact that I was a great toddler and kid helped persuade her to have three more!

My mom was young when she had me; just 19 years old.  And she was done having her four children by age 32, the age at which I found out I was pregnant for the first time.

Something that really surprised me about being pregnant and birthing a baby ... it completely  changed the way I think about my own mother.  It gave me this whole new perspective and appreciation.  I understand what she had to go through to bring me into this world.   I know the depths of the love she felt when she held me for the first time.  I know the emotions and doubts and concerns that coursed through her heart and mind as she took care of me as a newborn.  I know the challenges of learning how a newborn communicates and meeting her needs.  It's incredible to think that my mom once looked at my sleeping newborn face the same way I am looking at my daughter's right now ... with a love that is almost impossible to describe but is known by mother's everywhere.

Just as my labor experiences - my children's "birth" days - are etched into my heart and brain forever, MY birthday must bring back a flood of memories for my mom, too.   There is no one else who can recall the details and emotions of the day I was born.  For most of my life, I've thought about MY birthday but really, it's a day I share with the woman who was gave me life.  It's OUR birthday!

At the Car Wash ...

or Wash Car, as Natalie likes to call it.

Either way, blue skies busted through some morning clouds, and I am happily driving a freshly washed car ... well, not right now.  Right now I am typing at my laptop, and it definitely would not be safe to do that while driving ... the freshly washed car is actually sitting in the driveway.

Anyway, by now, with all the mention of the car wash, I am hoping that you're singing this little ditty in your pretty head ...

(Workin' at the) car wash.
Workin' at the car wash yeah!
Come on and sing it with me car wash.
Get with the feelin' y'all car wash yeah.

Now, substitute the word workin' with the word nursin' ... and I think you'll get the idea ;)

Yep, we rolled the Milk Truck through the car wash right along with the Volvo.  How classy is that?!  I hopped in the backseat, pulled out my Hooter Hider and The Girls, and spent the four minutes of spray and suds ... well, you get the idea!

How did YOU spend your Saturday afternoon?

Friday, January 8, 2010

All About MEme: Prompt for 1.11.10

And ... we're back ... ready or not ...

with MommyBrain and SupahMommy

It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to ... 


This Sunday ... 1.10.2010 ... is  

MommyBrain's Birthday,

and she is absolutely crazy about birthdays!  


Let's help her celebrate ... 'cause Lord knows she won't be getting out of the house or having a party or doing anything even remotely fun with a newborn demanding boobie milk around the clock and keeping her up all night ... 

and give her something to look forward to on Monday morning ...

Tell us about  Your Most Memorable Birthday!

You remember how this works, right?!  It has been awhile ... 

Think on it and come back Monday to Link up!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sisters ...

Photos taken at about the same age ... give or take a week.

Day at the Park, Fall '09

I am skipping my nap today ... for some stupid reason ... and I am certain to regret it later ... but I just can't stop looking at photos ... and realizing that I am way behind on sorting, editing,. and publishing.  Found these from middle of November, and just had to share them ... because a) it's evidence that it doesn't actually rain everyday (but it sure feels like it) and b) isn't she just ridiculously cute?!

Two-Hand Fun

Aaaaahhh yeah ... I've been having myself a little two-hand fun.

Is it just me or does that sound kind of racy?!  Is my mind in the gutter?!  Is yours?!

Well, this isn't nearly as obscene as it sounds ...  
but it sure is exciting to me ...

But before I share with you exactly what the heck I am talking about ... allow me to tell you the back story.

There's this hilarious chica named Laryl ... she's one of my dearest friends from college ... and did I mention that she is so ridiculously funny?!  I can't be in a room (or on the phone, for that matter) with her for more than a minute or two without absolutely cracking up.  She's my kind of funny, and I love her for it.

Well, Laryl is as practical as she is funny ... which makes a great combination for some serious laughs ... at with her.  Because here's the thing, I think we all wish we could pull off practical as well as she does ... especially in this particular case.  You see, Laryl wears rocks a fanny (pack).  She dropped the pack and refers to it as just her "fanny."  I am cracking up just thinking about the mannerisms / dance moves she uses when speaking of her "fanny."  Wish I had video ... because I am fairly certain it's one of those "you had to be there" kind of things.

Anyway, as a result of rocking the "fanny," Laryl is the one in our group who always has whatever we happen to need, and she has it close at hand.  She's a freakin' boy scout in disguise, I tell ya.  Do you have one of those friends?  I always wish I could be that person.  The one who carries everything we may need and comes to the rescue when we need it.  But that's just not me ... especially if it means carrying a backpack or fanny pack ... just not going to happen.  I just can't pull off "that look," and we all know what you carry is a fashion statement, right?

Well, as Laryl so eloquently points out, with a fanny pack you've always got two hands free ... for, what else, but some Two-Hand Fun!  And really, two hands are always more fun!

After three days of wearing Charlotte in the Ergo Carrier, I emphatically agree.  And after more than a month of figuring out how to do everything one-handed (filling my water bottle, brushing my teeth,  making a bottle, putting cream cheese on a bagel, replying to emails, writing thank you cards, even going to the bathroom) because CJV was too tiny to be in the carrier ... boy, did I need some Two-Hand Fun!

Let the good times roll 'cause I've got 1, 2 hands free!

Clearly, the Ergo is my Fanny, and I am loving life!

Oh, and I think Charlotte looks so darn cute when I look down on her ... all snuggled up in there ...

P.S.  Minimum weight for the Ergo with Infant Insert is 6 pounds ... you know what that means, right!?  My little peanut is getting chunky :)  CJV weighed in at 6 pounds 7.5 ounces this morning ... woo hoo!

P.P.S.  That little hood-deal-io on the Ergo ... is absolutely genius!  Most often I refer to it as the "crumb-catcher" ... many meals have been eaten with the little one strapped in.  At dinnertime I do one heck of a Rain Man impersonation to keep her content while we eat ... rock, take a bite, rock, ... but her cute head always manages to be free of crumbs :)

P.P.P.S.  Can't thank my friend SC enough for loaning me her Ergo ... these things may be fabulous but they aren't cheap!

Solo Day 1 & a Nap Rebellion

It has been so nice having a second adult - either my mom or my MIL or my husband - in the house since CJV was born.  I am fairly certain that I would not have survived the month of December without all that help.  It's amazing how much better I feel - physically, emotionally, hormonally, and mentally - one whole month (and a few days) after giving birth ... but I was still very sad and a little anxious to have CPV return to work today.

Today was my first official full day of "flying solo" with two little ones.  And throwing my good intentions, reality check, and resolution out the window, we started our day with a trip to my friend Deann's house.  Probably should've been one of those lounge in our jammies kind-of-days.  But instead, I managed to get all three of us fed, washed, dressed, bundled, and out the door by 10:10 am ... only 10 minutes behind schedule.

We had a fantastic - and much-needed - visit with Dee, her daughter Cee-Cee, and her new baby boy Jordan.  The girls greeted each other so excitedly - neither has spent much time with their little friends since becoming big sisters - and played with only a few minor disagreements.  And I got the chance to chat and commiserate and celebrate with my fellow new mommy friend.  Our littlest nuggets slept away the morning side-by-side in their car seats.  I packed up the girls and headed home just in time for Charlotte's next feeding.

Which takes us to nap time, a cherished time at our house.  By cherished I mean by me and by Natalie.  It's quite normal for her to ask for a nap after lunch.  It's quite rare for her to fuss or refuse a nap.  Ah, rarity ... ain't it grand?  After putting NHV down in her room, I headed to my room with CJV to snuggle in and catch up on the sleep I am not getting in the middle of the night.  All was blissful ... until I hear Natalie on the monitor.  She was jumping on her bed.  A big no-no.  Went in and told her to lay back down.  Same thing happened again ... and my brain suddenly flashed to Elmo because his show was all about jumping today.  Darn that adorable red monster!  My request for the jumping to stop was met with disobedience and more gleeful jumping ... to which I weakly responded with a swat on the leg (oh, the guilt!) and a firm reprimand.

Feeling lousy about the swat, I returned to my own bed and shed a few tears as I tried to fall asleep.  Only minutes later, I hear Natalie rummaging around in her room.  Not jumping but definitely not sleeping, either.  I gave her some time and pulled myself together before going in ... and finding her reading books to her stuffed animals ... and smelling something decidedly stinky disgusting.   Changed her poopy diaper and put her back in bed with minimal conversation.

She had already been in her room for 45 minutes, when the game started in full force.  A full hour of up-and-down and opening the door (a huge no-no) and lots of tears and tantrums and my resilient say nothing approach ... we both finally fell asleep. 

That left me a grand total of about 45 minutes before Charlotte woke up to be fed again.  I am quickly discovering the "joys" and scheduling conflicts of dual motherhood.

I had enough time to take care of CJV's needs before having to wake up NHV at 4:30 - we don't let her sleep past that time for fear of bedtime issues.  The three of us played for a while, and then I started dinner.  Yes, friends, I broke my resolution again.  There were plenty of leftovers in the fridge but I also had a new recipe and all the ingredients ... and I chose to cook ... with two kiddos and no other adult to help. 

Thankfully Charlotte slept in the carrier almost the entire time and Natalie was totally enthralled with her new baby doll bassinet, a gift from Deann.  Dinner was delicious.  The kitchen was an absolute mess.  And I was beyond relieved and happy to see my husband walk through the front door ... about ten minutes earlier than expected.

Tomorrow is another day.  Solo Day 2 ... hoping for less excitement and more rest.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

ESP - 4 Weeks Old

Disclaimer: This post is late ... I started it on the 31st but just now finished it ... oops!  If you're keeping track, CJV will actually be five weeks old tomorrow!

I am finding it very hard to believe that Charlotte is already four weeks old.  I am dreading the day when I have to leave weeks-counting behind ... it all just goes by too quickly!

For the most part, not much has changed in regards to Eating, Sleeping, and Pooping, but here's a quick update and a photo ...

After spending four days alternating between nursing and pumping/bottle-feeding ... every other feeding, we did not get good news at the doctor's office.  Charlotte went from gaining about an ounce-a-day to gaining just half an ounce in four days.  She is very capable of latching and sucking and swallowing.  It's really just a matter of how much she is able to take in and how many calories she is burning during a feed.  It appears that the effort needed to nurse successfully is greater than the amount of nourishment she is able to take in.  And so I've been pumping and bottle-feeding again ... with very good results.  I also borrowed a really good digital scale from my friend Magdalena.  This is by far my favorite piece of baby gear.  I find it hard not to weigh her all day everyday!  Which is how I know that she now weighs just over 6 pounds!  That is about a pound and a half gain since she was born.  As she reaches the 6 pound mark, we will stop adding the calorie powder to her bottles.

Oh, this baby is such a great sleeper ... during the day.  If only she could figure out how to be a stellar snoozer after midnight ... you know, when I want to be sleeping hardcore.  I can't change my schedule ... unless I also change my two-year old's schedule ... how crazy would that be?  Me and my newborn and my toddler all hanging out at 2:00 in the morning and sleeping 'til noon the next day ... like college kids on spring break or something!

Unfortunately, I have been resorting to letting Charlotte sleep with me.  I would much rather her sleep in the bassinet next to me, but she snorts and honks and clicks and beeps until I just can't stand it anymore!  It seems like the sound effects are louder and more persistent when she's tightly swaddled ... she gets really restless and determined to get those hands out of there. 

After changing, feeding, pumping, and holding upright, I only have a limited amount of time before it starts all over again ... like 90 minutes on average.  As I watch my potential sleep minutes tick away, I just surrender and scoop her up and cuddle until the alarm on my cell phone lets us know it's time to do it all over again.  She is completely content once we're snuggled together ... and I am able to get a solid 60 minutes of REM.

Surprisingly, that minuscule amount of sleep seems to be enough right now ... if you count the afternoon nap I am taking every single day.  Of course, that could all change tomorrow ...

Still sleeping great during the daytime ... and hit-or-miss at night.  Still prefers to be held while she sleeps, but she will sleep in her bassinet IF the conditions are right.  Her periods of alertness are increasing, and tummy time is in her near future.

Yep, still pooping.  We've had a few blow-outs, but nothing extraordinary.

Perhaps I should change the P from pooping to Personality ... that would be more fun, right?!

Well, sure enough, as we approached her due date and race toward the one month mark, CJV's tiny personality is emerging.
  • She loves to have her hands by her face and uses her arm to cover her eyes when she's sleeping.  She genuinely doesn't seem to love the swaddle.
  • She has the most adorable and frequent sleep grins ... much more often than I remember Natalie doing that.  I cannot wait to see a real smile!

I'll leave you with a photo ... and then I'm going to bed ... mama needs some zzzzzz's!

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