Monday, January 24, 2011

baby's first haircut - before and after

The night before:
See the massive amounts of hair we were dealing with?  This picture doesn't even fully demonstrate the length on top, which i estimate was probably 6-8 inches long.
 Still not a great visual on the length, but you get the idea.
He wouldn't sit still long enough for us to get a big handful of hair to demonstrate how long it was.  We really tried!
 Day of, right before the haircut.  I was all nerves. 
Hat hair!
He was initially amused by turning the steering wheel in the little racecar.
The Spraydown.
First snip.
Um.  What do you think you're doing?

The longest part is gone.  He already looks older.

Never cried.  Never smiled either, but never cried.  I'd call that a successful first haircut.

My baby is almost a toddler.

Speaking of my baby almost being a toddler, he took 2 steps unassisted over the weekend.  Sigh.

This last picture is technically a "before" shot and messes up the chronology here, but I had to save it for last because it's so super irresistable. 


Thursday, January 20, 2011

what i'm loving

I'm loving that The Bachelor is back on.  What is this, the 83rd season?  And yes, I realize that only like 2 of the couples have stayed together.  My husband rags on me constantly for watching this show.  I can't help it.  I don't watch it for the love story, I don't watch it because it gives me pleasure to see another happy couple engaged after 6 weeks of dating.  I watch it for the DRAMA!  Because it's fun.  Because the "characters" get drunk and make fools of themselves.  And Chris Harrison is so darn lovable in a dorky kind of way.

You had to know there would be some food in here.  These things are amazing.  And addictive.  I love 'em.  Need I say more?

Oh, Annie, whoever you are...wherever you are, I thank you for these honey bunny grahams, a.k.a. little bites of bunny heaven.  They were purchased for Theo, who eats 3-4 for dessert after dinner most nights (but guess who ends up eating a whole lot more than that?).  They are quite tasty.  

I'm loving all the cute, handmade baby girl (and boy) shoes at the Pitter Patter Shop on Etsy.  You can find lots of different styles and colors, all for $14-16, starting in the tiniest of tiny newborn sizes.  My little baby numero dos will have at least one pair of Pitter Patters to wear this summer.  Would it be wrong of me to say I hope it's a girl because the baby shoes are cuter?

photo by em.

I'm totally loving that in less than a week I will be in Colorado, visiting my BFF of 17+ years (gasp...can that be right?)  I'm not loving that I will be leaving my two loves for 4 days, but I trust that they will survive without me.  I'm not sure at this point whether I will survive without them, but I trust that there will be more than enough side-splitting laughter and marvelous scenery to distract me.  

We were slow to get on the Netflix bandwagon.  I actually received a gift subscription to use during my maternity leave last year.  The instant streaming is amazing and so convenient.  Theo and I fired up Babies last weekend when he woke up at 11pm and refused to go back down before 1am.  We both loved it.  The kid never sits still and he snuggled up right next to me and stared intently at those other little people like him from all over the world.  Eh, maybe it was the boobs.  >>FLASHBACK<<  There was a lot of breastfeeding going on.

Have a fabulous weekend,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

haircut time

The last 3 or 4 days, Theo has woken up with this... this... this.. THING in his hair.  I don't know how to describe it but it is like a tiny little matted up knot at the end of the hair that hangs down in his eyes.  No, they are not bangs, because they are swooping around from the back of his head.  No matter how you try, the THING will not go away.  You can't brush it out, you can't comb it out.  The knot itself will come out but what's left afterwards is so not cute.  It looks like he's been electrocuted, but just in that one spot.  The decision was made yesterday morning that he will definitely be getting his first haircut.  I'd hoped to wait til his first birthday, just to be all traditional and stuff, but his hair is out of control.  It's always hanging down in his eyes.  Sometimes it looks like he has a mullet because it is so long in the back (well over his collar).  And it's almost to the bottom of his ear on the sides.  Time to go bye-bye. 

The challenge with this is that I don't want my baby to lose his baby look.  I don't want him to have bangs cut straight across his forehead.  I don't want him to have a buzz cut.  I want it to still look natural, I just want the super long parts to be trimmed.  He has a patch of hair right down the middle of his head that he never lost so it has just continued growing and it's probably a good 6 inches long.  We try to swirl it around and make it blend in, but it's just not working anymore.  So, it's time.  My fear is that the people at the baby hair cutting place won't listen to me or only know how to do one thing and he'll end up with a bowl cut.  That would be devastating.  Seriously, what are these people's qualifications for baby hair cutting? 

My baby boy is growing up, with or without my approval.  I'll be sure to post before and after pics. 



Tuesday, January 18, 2011


We got this cookbook from a friend for Christmas so over the weekend, I thought I'd be adventurous and try out a couple of the recipes.  I was intimidated by the words homemade and healthy because anything homemade that comes out of my kitchen is usually the opposite of healthy.  And when it comes to baby food, those little tubs/jars are so easy and convenient.  Truth be told, we never feed Theo store-bought baby food at home.  He eats whatever we eat 95% of the time.  We keep a jar of baby food in the diaper bag and we send Stage 3 foods (along with other snacks) to the babysitter because for now, it's just easier.  I'm not looking forward to trying to pack a balanced lunch for him every day. 

Anyway, over the weekend I prepared the baby Broccoli and Cheese (mini) Casserole.  It made enough to fill four ramekins, 2 of which I froze for later.  It was actually quite easy and SO rewarding to watch him gobble it up.  He loved it.  Ingredients included broccoli (duh), cheddar cheese, chicken stock (the recipe called for veggie but I had chicken on hand), shallots (I omitted because they are disgusting and I didn't want my baby to vomit), mushrooms, and brown rice.  I think that was it.  I thought each ramekin would yield two servings but he pretty much polished off the entire serving the first night and most of the second ramekin the second night.  (P.S. I tried the casserole and was not personally a fan of it, but to be fair, I don't like mushrooms.  And I do like love salt, which the recipe is void of). 

Last night he had a little left over casserole along with his homemade "baby baked potato."  I have only made homemade mashed potatoes once (which is what this recipe amounted to) and they were disgusting.  The texture was like concrete and the consistency was like rubber cement.  You could have used this stuff to lay a foundation for a house, no doubt about that.  The baby recipe says to use Yukon golds.  Peel and dice then boil for 10 minutes. Strain them but don't rinse then return to warm pan and add unsalted butter (um, I used sue me) and whole milk plain yogurt (I couldn't find this so I used fat free plain yogurt).  Smash/mash them to your baby's liking and add a sprinkle of parmesan or cheddar cheese.  Can I just say YUM?  They were the perfect consistency and texture.  Yogurt.  Who knew?  Maybe it was the golden potatoes - they did seem to have a bit of a different flavor.  Of course I added a little salt and pepper to mine but Theo liked them just the way they were prepared.  Oh, the recipe called for finely chopped chives, which I also left out because they are disgusting and I didn't want my baby to puke.  If anyone wants the specific measurements (which I don't think you really need), I'll be happy to share them with you.

I don't like onions in any form...can you tell?


Monday, January 17, 2011

snowy in the midwest

With all the snow we've had lately, we haven't been getting out and about too much.  Okay by Theo, he likes just watching it fall.

When he gets bored, he can always find the most mundane things fabulously entertaining.

Making new discoveries - sandwich baggies and the like

Oooh ... all the pretty buttons on the dishwasher ... I bet I could do some damage here.

Break for nuzzles

Get a load of this guy's hair.  Yep, it's time for a haircut.

There's that ugly winter sky again

I don't think we'll be seeing many birds at this rate.

Or butterflies.

Or company.

If only I could take it back.  Do you think it will stop snowing if I take the decals down?

Might as well celebrate with some snowman jammies.

Hope you're staying warm in some fleece jammies too...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

the name thing

In my job, I take down names.  That's not the only thing I do, but I pay special attention to names.  I like names.  Maybe it's because I've got an unnamed baby in my belly, or maybe it's because I try to stash each name away in case I hear it again.  It never ceases to amaze me how many kids have different last names from at least one of their parents.  Sometimes kids have different last names from both of their parents.  Sometimes there are homes where 3 kids and both parents have the same last name and only 1 kid has a different last name.  Do they feel totally left out?

I understand that sometimes there are totally wonderful reasons for having a different last name from your kid or your parent, but in so many of the families that I deal with, it seems like the moms are just haphazardly going from one guy to the next for the sole purpose of having as many kids with different names as they can.  I don't get it.  If you aren't in a committed relationship with the dude, and don't plan to be, why not give the kid your own last name?  At least there would be some unity with the kids.  I grew up in a family where all four of us had the same last name so I never knew any differently, but I remember thinking it was bizarre when my friends had different names from their parents.  Maybe the kids that have the different names don't know any different and don't care?  Any feedback on that?

And my next thing about names...what is wrong with people?  It is not necessary to include hyphens, apostrophes, and/or random capital letters in names.  It is not necessary to name all 7 of your kids after yourself in some way or another.  I have come across some of the craziest, made up sh*t in my job.  Why would you MAKE UP a name?  We were talking about names the other day and I was telling the da da about some of the crazy names I've heard at work.  He had a great idea...he said that every time someone wants to add a new name to the world, they would have to pay $25,000 to register it as an official name.  If you did not want to choose a name that had already been previously registered, then you pay the fee.  If you don't want to pay the fee, you choose from the list.  LOL.  I'm not sure that will ever happen, but it'd sure make things simpler.  Have you been on lately?  There are thousands of names to choose from.  Come on people, choose from the list. 


Tuesday, January 11, 2011


My dad, Jack, started losing weight long before he got really sick and everyone told him that he looked great but we, those closest to him, knew that something wasn't right.  He had to use the bathroom all the time and continued to eat whatever he wanted for the most part.  He was diabetic.  He had colon cancer twice while I was in high school.  I was certainly affected by it and upset about it, but I never realized then how serious it could be.  I guess it's pretty age-appropriate to be self-absorbed at that developmental stage in life, but looking back I always think about what a jerk I was.  And I have a.lot.of.guilt about that.

I got my love of music from him.  Any desire to do something sports-related/athletic that I have comes from him.  I look more like him than anyone else in my family.  My  mom and sister could just about be sisters themselves, but I look nothing like either of them.

When you lose someone, you always wonder what if?  I have wondered what if he had died when I was in high school?  Would that have been easier?  Because in high school, you don't realize what a treasure your parents really are.  They are annoying and pesky and always trying to ruin your good times with their rules and concerns for your well-being.  Because they do know what's best for you (usually).  But that's a hard thing to reconcile when you're 16 and want to do everything that your 18 year old sister wants to do.  Or want to stay out just a little later.  Or want to date that guy that they have serious reservations about (for all the right reasons).   

You don't know how much it will mean when your dad walks you down the aisle on your wedding day.

You don't know that one day you will want to ask them questions about things.  You don't know that one day you will want to spend as much time with them as you can.  You don't know that one day you will ache to hear him singing the wrong lyrics along with a song on the radio or that you'd give anything to hear that corny joke that always kind of embarrassed you just one more time.  You don't know how badly it will hurt when they don't get to meet their grandchildren.

By November 2006, he had lost a whole bunch of weight and was starting to feel pretty bad.  Doctors started running tests and trying to figure out what was going on.  Was it a reaction to the type of insulin he was on?  Was it pancreatitis?  By early December, he was looking frail and was jaundiced.  He itched so he shaved his beard, that I'd never seen him without, and that made him look even more sickly.  His jawbone jutted out.  He looked older.  Weaker. 

He spent most of January 2007 in the hospital.  He was retaining fluid in his abdomen that had to be drained 2 times a week.  By March 2007, the doctors finally had a diagnosis.  Pancreatic Cancer.

I didn't know anything about Pancreatic Cancer.  I just knew that when my daddy had cancer 10 years earlier, he beat it with a stick and came out smelling like a rose.  So when I got that call, I was initially disappointed but I had no clue what it ultimately meant for my family.  No clue that this beast is incurable 95% of the time.

My dad didn't talk on the phone.  It was March 23rd, a Friday afternoon around 3 or 4 in the afternoon and I was picking up around the house.  I vividly remember that the lights in the living room were off and it was kind of dark in there when the phone rang.  My dad rarely called, and I knew we were awaiting results so I sat down on the couch and answered the phone. 

Me: "Hello?"
Dad: "Well, I got my diagnosis."
Me: "And?"
Dad: "It's Pancreatic Cancer."
Long pause...
Me: "So, now what?  What are the options?"
Dad: "I'm not doing chemo or radiation again.  There's no point."
Me: "What do you mean?  You have to... what's the alternative?"
Dad: "I'm going to die.  Treatment would only make me sicker and maybe I would live a little longer..."

Then, he said something that I will never forget. 

"...but it's not like I'm going to be around long enough to see you have kids."

Another long pause... What did that mean?  If I were pregnant he'd think about it?

My head was spinning.  I was trying to wrap my mind around the words that were echoing in my ears.  It was a surreal moment.  Going to die.  See you have kids.  All of the sudden, I remembered a walk that my dad and I had gone on about a year earlier when he told me that he didn't think he would live long enough to retire.  That broke my heart because he worked hard his entire life and there were so many things he wanted to spend his golden years doing.  Fishing. Traveling. Building this or that. Watching his grandchildren grow.

I don't know what I said after that or when I started crying.  I don't know when I decided that I was packing my bags and going to Tennessee right that minute to see him.  All I know is by the time I called my husband, I was hyperventilating and crying so hard that I could not get the words out.  He left work immediately and I got into the shower because I didn't know what else to do.

I wanted to wash away what he just told me.  I wanted to wash away the way I acted when I was a teenager.  I wanted to wash away my future without him.  I remember crying until I was too weak to cry anymore and falling down in the bathtub, just letting the hot water pour over my back. 

And I wondered some more.  Is it better when someone dies unexpectedly and you don't have time to grieve before they are gone?  How do you make the most of your time with someone when you know they are dying?  What's it going to be like?  Is it going to hurt?  How long will it last?  When? 


I graduated from college (yes, at age 27) in May and my mom and dad were there. 

It was the last time my dad came to my house.  When he was leaving, he hugged me and told me "I'm proud of you."  Those four words meant more to me than he could have possibly known.  My dad wasn't touchy feely or emotional.  A couple weeks later, I had started grad school and I recall sitting in the parking lot talking to him before class.  I asked him if he was scared and he, like always, shrugged it off and said there was nothing to be scared of.  I can't imagine knowing that I am dying.  I don't think I would want to know.

After we got off of the phone, I cried.  And cried.  And cried.  Then I turned around and went home instead of going into class. 

Between December of '06 and July '07, I made more trips home than I care to count, but I know it amounted to about 20,000 miles that I put on my car.  On July 21st, a Saturday night, my sister called me around midnight and said that something wasn't right.  I knew that my dad had been eating less and less because he couldn't hold anything down.  His digestive system was shutting down completely.  He weighed next to nothing.  She said that he had been lying on the couch with his eyes partially open but wasn't talking.  She said that my mom had tried to get him up to get him to bed and he couldn't support his own weight.  My brother-in-law had to go back and help her carry him to bed.  I started washing clothes and got a couple of hours of sleep before making my last 350 mile trip to see my dad.  I think I cried the whole way.  We got there around 1 or 2 in the afternoon Sunday and he took his last breath around 4 in the morning on Monday, July 23rd.  Exactly 4 months after he was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.

The week that he died and the funeral and the burial was such a blur but there are specific moments that I recall so easily.  I remember sitting in the house, expecting him to come around the corner.  I heard his laugh and turned to see if he was there.  I remember feeling guilty that we went out to eat without him.  I remember smiling and crying at the most random times during the viewing as friends and family offered their condolences.  I remember being numb at the graveside ceremony.  And crying all the way home. Not wanting to leave my mommy.  Scared that she would die before I got to see her again.  Not wanting to go back to work and face normal people that weren't in the throes of all this pain. 

I remember my friend Jody telling me "it will get better.  it will be a new normal, but life will be normal again.  everything really is going to be okay."  Of all the things that people said to me at the funeral, that is what I remembered the most.  And I clung to those words like nothing else.  It's taken some time, but her words were true.  It's not okay that my dad's not here to see Theo.  To play with him.  To teach him things and tell him stories about when I was a little girl.  That breaks my heart when I think about it.

But I'm okay.

I have stories to tell Theo about my dad.  I have pictures to share with him when he is old enough to understand.  I have already started telling him little things about his Gramps.  We keep him alive by talking about him with my sister's kids. 

Three and a half years have passed and some days it feels like a million.  Other days it feels like just moments.  I wish I could hear his voice again or give him one more hug.  Losing a parent well before you'd expect to is tough.  It happens to so many people but it is such an individual journey.  I wouldn't expect to understand how anyone else in my shoes felt or vice versa.  I'd give anything to spend one more day, take one more walk, watch him play the guitar...take back the mean things I said and the thoughtless things I did that probably broke his heart. 

I can't do any of those things, so I just have to go on living my life the best way I know how.  And the biggest part of that is being a good mom to my sweet Theodore Jack, hoping to make the same kinds of happy parent-child memories that I have of my dad from my childhood and adulthood.


Monday, January 10, 2011

20 week check-up check-in

My 20 week appointment was last Tuesday and as promised, we did NOT find out the sex of our baby during the fetal anatomy ultrasound.  And it's a good thing that we chose not to find out, because the doctor hinted that the ultrasound tech couldn't "really" tell anyway.  I don't know if there would be anything more frustrating than wanting to know and not being able to find out.  I think it's fun not knowing and I hope that I don't regret this decision!  The doctor said that the ultrasound looked perfect and our little baby boy or girl is just as healthy as can be.

Aside from that, we talked AGAIN about my possible c-section.  Looks like that is going to be what the doctor wants to do.  She talked to me about all the pros and cons of both options.  Either could go horribly wrong.  I didn't realize that c-section babies have a higher rates of NICU stays because they don't have a chance to get all the goo squished out of their lungs like babies that hang out in the birth canal do.  Technical, right? 

Obviously, the baby's safety and my safety are top priority.  With that being said, suppose the vaginal birth goes smoothly.  The recovery for me is much quicker.  I kind of  need to be back on my feet asap.  The c-section is going to cost us a lot more than a vaginal birth.  O.R. fees.  NICU staff automatically assess the c-section babies so there's their fee.  I will stay in the hospital an extra day so that's more money.  Aargh.  We had somewhat prepared for Theo by saving up money in our Health Savings Account before he was born and it still wasn't enough.  We are still making payments on his birth.  Needless to say, there's no extra money sitting around in the H.S.A. for this baby.  Not to say that we couldn't pay for things out of the checking account, but that's not what that money is there for and why should we drain it anyway, when that's what the tax-free money going into the H.S.A. every pay period is for?  Blah.  It's a lot of little things one way or the other and I think a solid argument could be made for c-section or vaginal.  I'm stressing myself over something that we can't even make a decision about for another 10-15 weeks.

Basically, everything is progressing nicely.  Including my weight, only not so nicely.  It's okay though, Christmas and New Year's dinners were totally worth the extra pound or two.  The baby is 5-6" long crown to rump and weighs 10 oz.  I won't guess how long I am crown to rump or tell you how many ounces I weigh, but total pregnancy weight gain so far is 7 pounds.

Over the weekend, Theo went to his first birthday party and he had a blast and totally wore himself out.  It was funny - me and three of my friends were all pregnant this time last year and now there are all these little people crawling around, playing, laughing, eating etc.  It was remarkable to see them all together for the first time.  Mind-blowing how much can change in a year.

Time to start planning Theo's birthday party, his special day is less than two months away now!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas/New Year's photos

so tired he fell asleep sitting up
no christmas is complete without a pillow pet

and large plastic toys

visiting dad at work
playing with new toys at Grammy's