Saturday, June 28, 2008

Show & Tell #4

Show and Tell

This was my bumper sticker collection on the back of my car. I took the picture because someone rear ended me and ruined it (they said they were looking at the bumper stickers--so, in a way, I guess it was my fault).

I don't usually have this need to display my personality, but for some reason, I had done so with these stickers.

Hmmm...let's can see my overwhelming opinion of Bush. And my liberal leanings are pretty apparent. The reason I had these stickers was because of how awful I felt after the 2000 election.

I also have two Buffy The Vampire Slayer related stickers. The obvious "Vampire Slayers Against Bush" (which we got a lot of great comments on). The other one is the "Stranger Things" sticker. That is from an online community that I was a part of for a while. They were more based on Angel (the spinoff of BTVS). I do occasionally check in on this site, but since the shows are done, it is not as active community. I remember good times when the community would await the next show and then we would all comment on it afterwards. That was my first experience with an internet community.

The sticker above the "Think: Its not illegal yet" sticker is my "Scrapbooking Ninja" sticker. A shout out to my scrapbooking tendencies.

And then there is the Malcolm White School Pride--my son's school (that's Malcolm the tiger mascot).

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Show & Tell #3

This is my grandmother. This Sunday (June 22nd), she would have been 88 years old.

She died on July 5th three years ago.

She was more than a grandmother to me. She was my best friend, teacher, confidant, mother, cheerleader, pen pal.

Growing up, I lived only a few blocks away from her. My best memories are of riding my bike over to her house. A tradition started with my tricycle and my parents watching me go down the block while my Grammie would be down at the bottom of the hill around the block waiting for me. A tradition that I kept with my ten speed, sneaking off to visit her on her day off while I was a teenager and needed to get away from my parents.

Both my brother and I would frequently spend the weekends over at her house. It was a wonderful treat. The weekends I spent over at her house were fun and relaxing. When I was little, I could stay up late, while she watched The Love Boat and The Tonight Show (, don't tell your parents I let you stay up this late!). She had a spare room off of the living room. It had a small bed and since I was too scared to go upstairs to one of the bedrooms, she would let me sleep down there. She would sing me this song. I would fall asleep, occasionally hearing the dull sounds of the television in the living room. The next day, she would make breakfast, we would talk--talk about anything/everything. Grammie often told me stories of the past, but she did not live in it. She could understand the problems of a teenage girl (or at least listen sympathetically). She always had her radio on (being a widow since my dad was 16 years old, it was her companion). She had a huge cabinet record player, and she and I would take turns picking records to play. The first place I played air guitar--her dining room. There was always ice cream (vanilla) and Hershey's Chocolate (in the can) and she was always baking something--usually a cake. On Saturday evenings, we would play cards (this was our game) or we would read books. She was the one who told me about my brother being born. I was 8 years old, sleeping in that room. She came to me in the middle of the night and said "You have a baby brother."

Grammie and me--the early years! She was usually our babysitter--even when I was old enough to watch my little brother, it was nice to have her come over to keep an eye on us.

At my college graduation. During college, she would always write to me. Every week I got a letter from her, usually with a few dollars inside for a "treat". After I moved 800 miles away, we would write letters back and forth, letters that sustained me through the worst kinds of home sickness and doubt. After she died, I found some half written letters in her nightstand. In recent years she had not been able to write too well, but she had still tried (often opening the letter with an apology for the bad writing).

Grammie loved to feed squirrels that would come into her yard. She loved nature of all kinds. Every year, I make a donation in her honor. She never drove, taking the city bus to work. Grammie loved to walk anywhere and everywhere. I would take bus trips with her to the downtown mall ["The Kalamazoo Mall, the first outdoor pedestrian shopping mall in the United States, began with the closing of Burdick Street to auto traffic in 1959. The four block long mall, stretching from Lovell Street on the South to Eleanor Street on the north, has been restyled to match the attributes of the Arcadia Commons development, where the new Kalamazoo Public Museum anchors the north end of the mall. The creation of the mall gave Kalamazoo the name of "Mall City."] She worked downtown for over 20 years, so wherever we walked there, she was warmly recognized. Often we would stop and she would introduce me (I was her only granddaughter). She was very proud of her grandchildren and often showed us off. She was also the typical grandma who bought the expensive gifts mom and dad would not buy, who would take you out for ice cream just before dinner.

August 1995 was an awful year for my husband and me. My husband's father had a sudden heart attack and died (age 51). (Michael is named after him) We went back to Michigan for the funeral. We did not stop by my family's house (they lived 3 hours away from his family), mainly because I knew Grammie and my brother were coming up to visit us in Boston 2 weeks later. We got home from the funeral, and there was a message on the answering machine from my dad--my Grammie had had the first of several minor strokes she would suffer for the next several years (she never was able to visit me in Boston).

Grammie, me and my son.

For a time, she lived at home, using a cane and walker. It was a hard blow for someone as independent and spirited as she was. But she seemed to improve. When we saw her during our trips we made to Michigan afterwards, she was still Grammie. Then, some years later, she fell and broke her hip. After that and some more strokes, she had to live in a nursing home.

Her last few years were spent there, and slowly her spirit started leaving her, although it was only in the last year that she started to have problems with her memory.

Grammie and Michael.

July 2005 I saw her for the last time. The doctors had found advanced cancer (they had originally thought she had a cold/pneumonia), and she only had a few weeks to live. I spent time with her, she was weak and barely able to talk, but she was happy to see me. My main regret in life is that I did not stay with her longer. I was feeling pressure to take care of my son and I thought I would see more of her the next day. I said good bye and that I would see her tomorrow. She said she looked forward to it and smiled at me. I was in the shower the following morning getting ready to see her when I found out she had died that morning.

My daughter's middle name Leone is Grammie's middle name. I am honored that I can pass that name on and look at my daughter and remember that wonderful woman who made such an impression on me and my life.

Love ya Grammie. Miss you.

Show and Tell

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Willow The Parrot and other Musings

So, lately Willow has decided the best place in the world is on my shoulder. Not in a swing, or sling, or bouncer. My shoulder. And if mommy would also sway back and forth near the kitchen window for like, oh, hours on end. Boy, she gives off a lot of heat!!

Meanwhile, Michael is one half day away from finishing third grade...making me feel even older than the lack of sleep does.

Speaking of sleep, she is generally sleeping through the night. Although that will be put to the test when I return to work. Basically, we have two kinds of nights: (1) She goes to bed between 10 - 12 midnight and sleeps for 5 or so hours; or (2) She fusses while we try to get her down between 10 - 12 midnight and sleeps for 2-3 hours; Michael comes into our room and wants to snuggle in our bed, husband takes him back to his room while I feed Willow, and sometime during the night we have all mammals in our bed--Michael, the cat, husband, me and either Willow in her bassinet (or if its like 5 a.m. or later) sleeping in my arms.

This week is almost over. Next week is my last week of maternity leave. It went fast. Next week, I will have both children. I hope I can have some quality time with Michael as well as Willow. Hope to go to the beach or lake one day, maybe a museum, definately some nature walks. I am still trying to find a balance between the two (mainly because I am Milk Lady, which tends to overide everything).

This weekend, in anticipation of her going to daycare, we need to get her used to formula. I hope to express, but I know that I am not very good at that, and with Michael I breastfed him full time while on maternity leave, then morning and night with supplements of formula/expressed milk during the day when I went back to work. I hope to do the same with Willow. Michael had no problems transitioning, but I wonder about Willow..she is going to be younger than he was when we do this...

I want to sum up my maternity leave in another post. I have been able to slowly get into a semblance of routine, and hope that some of the routines can transition into working mode...luckily, I have 4th of July week to ease into it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Show & Tell #2

Show and Tell

Father's Day Edition

My husband and I met during a movie night of the Star Trek club in college. He is a certified geek--he even won a Geek Pride contest (yes, if you google "fetal geek" you will neet my son). My husband is the ultimate geek father. He has made sure his son is efficient in the ways of Star Wars and Star Trek. Computer games are a premium source of father/son bonding--the serial adventures of Sam & Max are greatly anticipated.

He has no problems dressing up for his son's amusement, playing Star Wars or Spongebob or a mixture of the two--with toys and voices. He is the one who makes up games that include MSTing Curious George and making up stories with twist endings that each person has to finish. He is the one who will dip his head into the bobbing for apples, so his beard and long hair get wet--so he can shake like a dog for the merriment of the kids at the halloween party.

And now he is the one helping to change diapers and calm a newborn--again(!).

Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Check-Ups All Around

Michael had his yearly check up last week:

56 pounds; 4 feet 3 inches (a foot shorter than me)

In contrast:

Willow had her check up today (she will be 7 weeks old tomorrow):

10 pounds, 3 ounces; 21 3/4 inches (that's about an ounce a day)

(Next check up--she gets SHOTS!)

I had my 6 week check up--I am clear to do anything I could do pre-pregnancy. Gotta lose those 20 lbs....but otherwise, healthy and totally recovered.

Pictures, pictures, pictures....

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Show & Tell #1

Show and Tell

These are my water shoes. I love the beach and water. I love walking and getting water and sand in my shoes and then running into the water and feeling the cold wetness rush through my toes. Moving to New England, I have found one of my favorite places--Cape Cod. We go there every year and every year I am amazed at the beauty and serenity.

It's kinda funny, cuz I can't swim that well. And my husband doesn't like the water. And I don't like to just "sit around" and be a beach bum (i.e. I am not one for going and sitting there all day with a book or trying to tan). I like to walk along the beach or swim. Or, play with my son--burying him in sand; or making a castle that will be destroyed when the tide comes in. I like finding little creatures and looking at the water. I like exploring.

My favorite type of beach is one that doesn't have that many people on it. No people playing with frisbees, no people lying in the sun on their blankets, coolers everywhere and music playing. I like a beach with people flying kites. People playing volleyball. People walking along the beach or playing in the waves.

The nice thing about Cape Cod--there are TONS of beaches, and many types of beaches--even ones for me.

Provincetown Dunes

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Rough Day

Willow has been such a wonderful baby that I sometimes am not prepared for the bad days. This was one of them. It really started last night--she was fussy/gassy for about 2 hours last evening. Her fussy period (which I guess is fairly normal) is around 4-6 p.m.; which is, of course, one of the worst times. I am generally trying to help my son with homework, getting dinner ready, etc. and my husband doesn't usually get home until after 7 p.m.

So, I dealt with last evening fairly well and last night was a routine night (feedings in the middle of the night, actually, she skipped the 1 a.m. one---Yeah!)

Then, this morning at 9:30 a.m. (right after my husband left for work)--it started. The inconsolable crying jags. I had put her in her new swing so I could take a shower. She seemed fine. I came down to crying, figured it would be the normal situation. I would pick her up and she would be fine--WRONG. She would not stop crying. And would not stop crying. And would not stop. crying. in sheer terror. And it was a cumulative thing from the night before--I just could not take it. Finally, I put her in the swing and went outside to look at the wonderful trees and listen to the birds (I even saw a squirrel). Calmed down, I went back in and FINALLY got her calm. THEN I had to take her with me to therapy. And she cried in the car and cried in therapy. Each time I did get her calm after several attempts. Then I went to lunch with a friend--and she let me eat my lunch, until dessert--and then she cried. And then I picked up my son from school, because, of course, today of all days, I had to take him to a doctor's appointment. And, as I stood outside of his school, waiting for guessed it---she CRIED. Of course, inconsolably, and while people kept coming up to me and congratulating me on my little one and saying how wonderfully cute she is, etc. AND, at the doctor's office--she was calm. In the waiting room. When it was FINALLY our time to go in (half hour late), she then cried and cried--BUT, this time, because I have had ALL DAY of this--I was able to calm her down in no time flat (our Pediatrician even remarked on this). And then we came home. AND SHE FINALLY CALMED DOWN.

And, just in time for dad to come home--she is sleeping in the swing.

AHHH....newborns can be fun!!

Monday, June 02, 2008


Just for fun...

A - Attached or Single: Attached
B - Best Friend(s): Ana, John; husband; son
C - Cake or Pie: Pumpkin Pie (or chocolate cake)
D - Day of Choice: Saturday
E - Essential Item: Glasses
F - Favorite Color(s): Blue
G - Gummy Bears or Worms: Gummy Worms
H - Hometown: Kalamazoo
I - Indulgence(s): Chocolate, Crab Ragoons, Sushi, Pizza.
J - January or July: July.
K - Kids: Michael, 9; Willow, 5 weeks.
L - Life is incomplete without: Humor
M - Marriage Date: April 3, 1993
N - Number of Siblings: 1 younger brother
O - Oranges or Apples: Apples, specifically Macintosh
P- Phobias or Fears: Being alone.
Q - Quote: Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! - Monty Python
R- Ring size: 9
S - Season: Fall.
T- Tag 3 Friends: Think most people have done this, if you wanna, please do!
U - Unknown fact about me: Prefer to keep it that way.
V - Very favorite stores: Amazon; Borders; Target.
W - Worst Habit: Obsessing; controlling.
X-ray or Ultrasound: Ultrasound.
Y - Your Favorite Food(s): See above.
Z - Zodiac: Capricorn.

Roll Out

Well, after over nine months of unemployment, I have accepted an offer for a position at a mid-sized law firm.  So, the "strange normal...