Monday, August 24, 2009

Rockin' the Suburbs

We've only been livin' the vida suburbia a short while, but we like it already. Here are just a few reasons why:

- You can take your shopping cart ALL the way out to your car without being accused of stealing it.

- A short trip to Target doesn't require an entire Saturday afternoon.

- The children on their bikes like our dog. They even stop to say hi and pet her (!!) as apposed to hugging the wall as we pass as if she was a grizzly bear and they were wearing tenderloin necklaces.

- The city flower pots do not double as trash cans.

- We can sleep with the windows open and not be woken up by a single ambulance or firetruck all night.

- A passing bus does not rock the house to where we feel like we are in an earthquake.

- After the sun goes down, the crickets come out to sing.

- Relaxing on the front porch with a cup of coffee and the paper on the weekends= priceless.

- We can eat outside and still be at home!

- No one vacuums above our bedroom at midnight

- Our new house is off an alley, but I have yet to see anyone relieve themselves in it.

- So many swing sets; so little time.

- The feel of grass between your toes.

- The sales tax is less than 10.5%.

- At the end of the day, sometimes you just need your mom or dad. I've got that covered.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Diary of a Crazed Mother...

We are always busy, but lately we have been crazy.

1. We sold our house. (packing, living out of boxes, dealing with movers)
2. We're buying a new house. (after we lost two others and I mourned the loss like they were children, Jason told me I was acting like a high school girl who refuses to believe her boyfriend broke up with her. To which I responded, "It's a good thing you didn't know me in high school.")
3. We're renovating that house. (kitchen designers, siding quotes, meetings with strange floor guys)
4. We're living with my parents. (until phase one of project renovation is complete- or they can't stand us anymore; whichever comes first)

All of this on top of daily life with two busy jobs, a 6 month old teething baby, and a big 'ol (very loving) disruptive dog...

At the beginning of the summer I offered to host two bridal showers for two dear friends of mine. I decided to throw them on the same weekend because I thought it would work for Jason to watch the baby, and I thought having my house in order for 48 hours wouldn't be too bad. Then we sold our house. And Jason accepted an invitation to go to his friends bachelor party out of town. But no problem... all of our stuff would be in boxes, but I could schedule the movers to come after the party, so we'd still have a table to sit at, and I could surely find someone to watch Marin for me during the day. The parties must go on. I love a party. I love to plan a party. I love to throw a party. I love to host a party. The parties will go on.

I'll spare you the suspense, and just tell you that the parties did go on this past weekend. It's what happened in the meantime where the crazy sets in. Read and learn.

Friday afternoon:
To do:
  • take early train home to pick up Marin.
  • plan party menus
  • go to grocery
  • gather supplies
  • buy flowers for showers
  • buy gifts for showers
  • visit Erica and new baby Kai
  • start Marin on peas

Okay, busy night, but no time to panic.

-arrive home from work on the 5:00 train. It's a gorgeous Friday; the weekend is ahead. I'm in a great mood.

-arrive at my parent's house. Dog has eaten my mom's fresh baked cupcakes and broken her cake plate.

- apologize profusely to my mom. cake plate cannot be replaced. Thank God that she is understanding. no point in scolding dog now, who is circling at my feet. walk dog. feed dog.

- pick up Marin from daycare. she has a cough. Daycare is concerned. She didn't nap well today. Set up for her to go to doctor on Tuesday with new doctor. Transfer paperwork from old doctor. Send insurance information.

- feed Marin milk. don't have any peas. will buy some tonight and make them tomorrow. feed baby rice cereal while planning menu for shower.

- give Marin bath. get her ready for bed.

- parents offer to put Marin to bed so I can run errands. No time to visit Erica. Call her. Will come next week.

- Go to Williams Sonoma. Buy shower gift number one. Go to Crate and Barrel, it's closed.

- Go to Grocery.

- 10:00pm: home from running all errands. Start to prep food. Have forgotten two ingredients. Will go in the morning.

- Since house is totally packed, have to borrow platters and plates and silverwear and cups from my mom. Gather those, wrap them all up, pack them. Set everything out to be packed in the car tomorrow morning.

- crash dead tired at midnight.

- check on Marin.

-12:45am- can't sleep without Jason.

To do:

  • throw Emilie's shower
  • go to Crate and Barrel
  • hang with Emilie tonight
  • Start Marin on Peas

6:30am- wake up, shower, quickly pack overnight bags for me and Marin.

-Marin's up. Happy as a clam despite an explosive diaper exposing its content up her back, down her leg, all over her pj's and sheets.

-Bonus bath for Marin. Rip sheets off her bed. Throw in the wash.

- Dress Marin. Feed Marin. Walk dog. Feed Dog.

- Pack Car. Leave house 23 minutes later than planned.

-Pick up items that forgot at the grocery last night. Run like mad woman through the store with baby carrier.

- Head to the city with the rest of the world either going to the Air & Water Show or the Cubs Game. Curse the traffic.

- Hear on the radio that two million people are at the Air & Water Show. Perfect day to be on the highway. Consider befriending family to my left pulling their 30 foot boat.

-Running late. Call Lindsay. Will drop Marin off in a half hour. Drop Marin off. Shower begins an hour. Back into a pole in my blind spot.

-Check to be sure pole was not a child. Whew. No time to survey damage. Clock ticking. Haven't even begun to do list for today.

- Race to my house. Cubs fans everywhere. People crossing the street in packs of 25 when they don't have a walk.

- Feel sense of relief that I prepared my house for guests ahead of time, and that our house cleaner has been there. Everything will be ready. Just need to set the table and make the food. It is possible I can be ready in an hour.

- Get to my house. Back bumper smashed in. Bullocks! Take two trips loading everything upstairs only to find that house cleaner thought that we were only coming back to move out. Has used my guest towels to wash the windows, unplugged all lamps, put dog toys on the mantel, garbage cans on the counter. House definitely not ready for a shower.

- Put away all of the above. Call house cleaner and yell. Set table.

- Jason calls to check in. He's on his second brewery tour of the day. Momentarily dislike him greatly. Make unnecessary comment.

- Call house cleaner to apologize for yelling. Realize he had no way of knowing that I was throwing two showers in two consecutive days in a house that is otherwise completely empty. After all, who in their right mind would do such a thing?

- Call Jason to apologize for being snippy. I love him again.

- Make food.

-Shower starts in one minute. Appetizer out. Wine opener is missing. Emilie knocks. Borrow her opener. And a guest towel. [Emilie is my neighbor]

- First party guest arrives. I'm still a little frantic. She extends her hand to introduce herself; I hug her.

- Party guest says she had trouble getting in. Remember that our phone is disconnected since we moved, so the main intercom number won't work. Get alternate intercom number, make sign, put it downstairs. Wonder why I am always making unnecessary displays of affection toward strangers when nervous.

-More party guests arrive. Offer them something to drink. Take presents to present table. Serve appetizers. All of the girls are fun. Party is fun.

- Time for lunch. Finish last minute prep. Serve lunch. Forget to toast the bride.

- Toast the bride mid lunch. Better late than never. Maybe I'll set a new trend.

- Conversation is great. Like Emilie's friends. Am thankful for Emilie's friendship. Get overwhelmingly sad to move.

- Open presents. Pretty things.

-Party over. Was a success. Load dishwasher. Quick clean. Go pick up Marin.

- Thank God for Lindsay the whole way there.

- Marin is happy as a clam. Had a great day with her Aunt Lindsay. Thank Lindsay profusely. Tell her we'll be back tomorrow. Thank God for Lindsay the whole way home.

- Go to Crate & Barrel. Buy shower gift for tomorrow.

-Come home. Feed Marin. Change Marin. Play with Marin on the floor. Laugh hysterically at how she has learned to scoot herself using her freakishly long toes that she inherited from me. Love that she has inherited something from me, even if they are my ugly toes. Love her overwhelmingly. Marvel at how big she is getting.

- Feed Marin. Change Marin. Forgot peas. Nothing to cook and puree them with anyway. Will start those tomorrow.

- Emilie over. Go to crazy Dominicks next door for ice cream and wine. Both necessary for a girls night. Realize Marin has never been in this crazy Dominicks. Will tell her about it someday. Check out. Seriously, it's the craziest Dominicks on earth and tonight is no exception.

- Put Marin to bed amid a maze of boxes. It is the last time she'll sleep in this room. I love this room. I'll miss this room. Glad we have pictures. Reminisce about the weekend Jason painted it when I was pregnant. Cry.

- Say Marin's prayers, thank God for our family. Thank God for our friends.

- Emilie over. Order pizza. Drink wine. Read trashy magazines. Giggle. Stuff our faces.

-My eyes are heavy. Admit to Emilie that I'm exhausted. She is too. After she helps me move boxes so I have a path to my bed, we call it a night at 11:30pm.

-Call Jason. Miss him like crazy.

- Check on Marin. She's an angel.

- Lie in bed. Miss my dog. Realize Emilie and I forgot to eat our ice cream.

- Text my mom to see if she is still awake. She doesn't respond.

- Fall asleep immediately.


To Do:

  • finish packing a few odds and ends
  • Throw Joey's shower
  • Visit with my father-in-law
  • Feed Marin peas

6:30am- wake up. Shower. Realize I have no towel. Dry off with dish towel that I wrapped a platter in.

- Marin up. Feed her. Change her. Sing songs with her.

-Marin goes down for a nap. Pack a few boxes. Set table. Make food. Thank God for more time to get ready today. Get excited to see all of my friends at today's shower.

- Wake Marin up from her nap. Feed her. Change her. Drive her to Aunt Lindsay's. Thank God for Aunt Lindsay the whole way there. Tell Marin how lucky she is to have Aunt Lindsay.

- Mika calls. She's on her way. Hope that I get back in time. Race home. Manage not to back into a pole this time.

-Arrive home. Mika arrives 3 minutes later. Mika brought dessert (darling cupcakes) and party favors (huge cookies with homemade tags that say "Joey and Jeff, Love is Sweet") and take home containers in Joey's wedding colors. Thank Mika for doing this. She couldn't get any cuter.

-Sarah and Hannah arrive. They also brought food. A lot of it. Delicious food. Best food at the party. Thank them profusely. Thank God for good friends that cook.

- Joey and Allison arrive! The party can begin! Get drinks for everyone. Take presents to the present table. Set out appetizers.

-Michelle arrives. Kelly's late. Stuck in blasted Air & Water Show traffic. Serve lunch after Kelly arrives. Food is delicious. Best Friends Ever. Company is perfect. Get recipes for delicious feast. Love my friends. Get very excited for Joey's wedding.

- Clear table; set mess aside.

- Open presents. Darling things.

- Serve dessert. Sarah's crisp is to die for. Split a second cupcake with Hannah. Will regret this later.

- Laugh until we cry during dessert reliving old college stories. Love my friends. Can't imagine life without them.

- Clear plates from dessert. Pack leftovers. Party over. Party was a success. Miss my friends the second they are gone.

- Load dishwasher. Wash plates. Clean up house. Take table apart. Pack bags to go back home.

- Realize I forgot to give Joey the record of her gifts. Tuck in a safe place to stick in the mail in the morning. Realize I never sent away for Marin's medical records. Make mental note to do that in the morning too.

- Call Lindsay. Her dad is still there. Hope I don't miss him. Will pack the car and head over.

- Realize the dishwasher is not done. Load what I can and leave so I don't miss my father-in-law.

-Arrive at Lindsay's. Have just missed my father-in-law. Gather Marin. Thank Lindsay profusely for offering her whole weekend to take care of Marin. Wish that I had thought to bring Lindsay a present to thank her. Curse myself for being so thoughtless. Think Marin has grown in a matter of hours. Kiss her little cheeks a million times.

- Go back to our condo. Dishwasher has just ended. Plates are steaming hot. Never mind this. Empty dishwasher. Wrap contents and pack away carefully. Pack a cart to carry everything down to the car with the baby. House feels very empty.

- Knock on Emilie's door. She's gone. Text her. Use my spare key to return the items I've borrowed for the showers and leave them a plate of leftovers. Am sad to miss her. Will see her on Tuesday.

- Take one last walk through my house. Pack a few other random things to take back to my parents house. Realize this is the last time I'll be here with the baby. Tell Marin aloud about her first home. Tell her how many memories I have of her here. Daddy and I read the pregnancy test right here. Seems like only a blink of an eye and we were bringing her home. It was a good house. She smiles at me. She has no clue what I'm saying, but she likes when I talk to her. I cry.

- Call Jason. He's taking the train home. I can't wait to see him.

- Hit the road. Traffic. BAD traffic. Everyone leaving the city for the weekend at the same time. Stupid traffic. Marin starts to cry. She's hungry.

- Realize I'm not going to make it home in time to get Jason at the train station. Call my parents. They are taking my grandparents back to their house. My dad says he'll pick Jason up for me. Thank God for accommodating family. What would we do without them?

- One hour into the trip. Am just outside the city. Marin really screaming. Can't imagine having to pull over. Am SO tired. Mix bottle in traffic, feed her with one hand reached in the backseat. Think I am supermother. Never consider it is terribly dangerous.

-Finally arrive home. So tired. Brag to Jason how I fed baby with one hand from the front seat. He points out how dangerous that was and asks me very seriously to never do this again. Feel like horrible mother.

-Empty car. Jason can't believe all the stuff I have. Put it all away. Jason offers to help, but I say he can spend time with the baby. I know that he is dying to. My heart over flows as I watch them play together. He is the best daddy. How did I get so lucky? My mom helps me unpack and put away all the stuff. As she does she asks about my weekend. I have the best mom on the planet.

- It's late. Past Marin's bedtime. Feed her. Change her. No time for peas. Will do it tomorrow. Get her ready for bed. Am thankful to be "home". Take note of the incredible mess upstairs. We have stuff spilling out of everywhere. Get anxious. Commit to doing this on Tuesday.

-Give Marin bath. As she is undressing for bath she sits up for the first time for more than 30 seconds. Run to grab camera. Take 75 pictures. She's naked in all of them. Try to cover her but still show her legs so you can tell she's sitting on her own. Bathe her. Jason puts Marin to bed. I change out of my dress. Crash in front of Mad Men. Great show. Check on Marin. I sleep very soundly with Jason home.


To Do:

  • Work in Skokie
  • Mail Joey's list and Medical Release form
  • Run meeting for new reading specialists
  • Call all Fall leads for unfilled groups
  • Feed Marin Peas

6:30am- Wake up. Shower. Get ready for work. Pack pump. Take out dog. Feed dog. Search for envelopes. Search for stamps. Steal my moms. Write check for medical release. Double check addresses.

-Marin up. Change her. Feed her. Kiss her. Hug her. Take in her smiles.

- Computer dead. Find plug. All of our stuff is such a mess. No time. Computer too dead to boot up. Take it downstairs try it there. Marin in one arm, computer in other, Dog at my feet. No wireless service downstairs. Lug everything and everyone back upstairs. Will buy air port tonight. Computer won't turn on. Panic that it has crashed.

- Try to figure out how to get to Skokie from Geneva. Mapquest directions seem crazy. Decide to wing it. Take out dog.

-Drop Marin off at daycare. Why do I have to work. Hate having to leave her. She kicks her legs and is excited to go. Maybe job not so bad after all.

- Stop at post office to mail letters. Am late. Take my first call on the road. Miss my exit. Backtrack. Arrive in Skokie later than I'd like, 2 hours later.

- Frantically get ready for meeting. Boss calls. I messed up a report. Have mini meltdown to my friend at work. Gather myself. Finish getting ready for the meeting.

- Return 15 voicemails. Stupid Job. Think about Marin. Call Jason. Pump.

- Run meeting. Love my job. Happy students. Pump.

-Return voicemails and emails. Leave to go get Marin. Realize there is no Southbound exit on the road I'm on. Go a half hour out of my way. Call my mom. She will pick up Marin from daycare.

- Get home. Exhausted. Feed Marin. Take out dog. Feed Dog. Pick Jason up at train. Train's delayed. Come home. Tell him to call me when he gets closer.

- Jason's home. Computer has not crashed. Will buy hard drive just in case. Finally make Marin peas. Feed her the peas. She loves them. Take pictures. Am crazy about her. Peas everywhere. Give Marin bath.

- Feed Marin, Get Marin ready for bed. Say her prayers. Thank God for making us a family. Put her to bed.

- Go to Best Buy to buy backup hard drive and air port. Beg Jason for a treat. He says no. Say please, he gives in. Yay. Go to Target to try to find BPA free food storage jars. They don't have them. Walmart doesn't either. Walmart is depressing. Vow to never go again.

- Come home. Eat dinner. My parents go to bed and Jason and I decide to stay up late like we are young again. I fall asleep on his chest with the dog at our side. Wake up at midnight. Go upstairs.

- Jason and I go in to check on Marin. Jason yells, "turn on the light! turn on the light!" Marin is covered head to toe in peas. She has throw them ALL up. They are all over her. Crusted in her nose, and in her hair and ears. She is sound asleep. We wake her up. She needs to have a bath. Strip her down. Peas are everywhere. Strip her bedding. Peas on her dolly. Put her in the bath, she smiles back at us. She thinks it's playtime. Jason is way more willing to deal with this than I am. I tell him he's in charge of getting her back to sleep. Am a horrible mother for thinking about sleep when she is covered in pea puke. Change her clothes. Jason puts her back to bed. Should I call the doctor? She goes right to sleep. I worry. Is she allergic to peas? Did I not puree them enough? Get out ALL the books. Read them all. Get online. Google "vomitting infants" and make myself worried sick over what I find. Is she dehydrated? How can I tell if she is dehydrated. Jason convises me that she is fine. She is sound asleep again. Never cried, is happy as a clam. I reluctantly go to bed with both our doors open. And sit up at every single peep I hear.

1am- turn lights out. Can't sleep. Keep picturing Marin getting sick all alone all over herself. Can't believe we didn't hear her. Decide to use the monitor beginning tomorrow. What kind of mother doesn't use the monitor?! How did we not hear her?! What if she had been on her back and would have drown in her own throw up?! Sick with worry. Cry to Jason. Finally fall asleep on his chest while he rubs my back.

Tuesday shows that life comes back. It is my work from home day, and Jason is golfing this afternoon so we all enjoy a quiet walk with Marin and the dog in the morning. I organize our lives a little better in the afternoon, get some work done, and only have two frantic calls from work. Marin's doctor's appointment reveals that she is just fine. Lesson learned to puree the peas a little better next time. But I decide to let her have a day off of peas. Who likes peas anyway? Tuesday night it is back to the city one final time. Movers come in the morning. Jason and I go alone. After a stop to get the elevator key and a stop to pick up something from a freiend, we arrive at our condo a little after 10pm. Pack until 1am. Emilie helps. Can't believe it's our last night here. Jason and I reminice about our first night there- on an air mattress with Norah. Marin wasn't even a thought. How life changes...

Life is crazy. But it comes back. And it is good.

Realize if we weren't busy we would be bored. Decide I'd do it all over again. But for now, I'll sleep.

Hold the Cheese

So my editor, (aka: my own internal voice), called me into her office the other day and said, "Patterson, you've gone soft! If you keep this sap up, you'll completely lose your audience!"

My sincere apologies, readers. Less cheese to come.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Six Months Old!

6 month stats:
15 lbs. - 10th percentile
26.5 inches long- 50th percentile

Dearest Marin,
This past Saturday you turned six months old! I absolutely cannot believe how quickly the time has flown! It seems like you should only be two months old at most. Never the less, the last six months have been the most amazing time in Daddy and my lives! We love you so much, sweet girl. You are growing and changing into the happiest, most darling little girl.

I love to sit and watch you learn and discover. How have you learned so many things in such a short amount of time?! I didn't teach you how to smile, but you do so beautifully. I didn't teach you how to bounce on your legs, but you do so often and with great vigour. I didn't teach you how to give hugs and kisses but you snuggle into the crook in my neck so comfortably; especially when you are tired. When I lean over you, you reach up your little hands to me, pull my hair down to you, and put your little open mouth on my cheek. The best kisses are from you. You take in the world very intently and with great fixation and such joy.

You are sleeping well these days. You go to bed after you eat, say prayers and you and I have a little quiet snuggle. I sing you "Let me call you sweetheart"; its a favorite of yours I think, as you always smile up at me brightly when I begin. We have had a lot of changes and a lot of activity in our lives this past month and you have just rolled with the punches and adapted very well. Your personality remains very laid back like Daddy, and very happy like Mommy. Mostly, you are like you dad. This is a good thing, trust me. Instead of being a constant stream of noise, you only "talk" when you feel like you really have something to say. I encourage this greatly of course, but the doctor says that you might just be a little quieter. Mommy is loud, uptight and bad with change- so quiet, laid back and adaptable is nothing short of miraculous to me. I marvel at you every day!

You are quite active as well, and this you do get from me. You don't much like to sit ideally and do nothing, and I can't say I blame you. You have a new found love of the excersaucer. In our house, it is the best invention since the "hooter hider". You bounce and spin in that to your hearts content. Grandma has taught you what to do with all the accessories, and you learn very quickly- this one spins, this one makes noise... they all end up in your mouth eventually. When you lay on your activity mat on your stomach you roll and roll both ways all over the place. You'd roll from one end of the room to the next and back if we let you. Rolling is your preferred mode of transportation. You do act like you want to crawl, if you could just figure out how to move your legs and your arms at the same time, and get them under your body. We think you might do more of an army crawl within the next few months. You are sitting up a little bit on your own, but eventually you topple over. This doesn't bother you a bit; you're happy to play with your feet once you fold in half. What really interests you much more than sitting, is standing! You LOVE to stand and bounce and dance.

Norah is your best friend for sure. When she comes in a room you stop everything, look at her and laugh and grin. Norah is taking full advantage of the attention and is starting to bring you her toys. The only problem is, you think they should then go in your mouth, and Norah wants you to play catch. We'll have to work on this... :) You don't know it yet, but you have another new friend! Kai William Marten was born on your 6 month birthday! Daddy and I think he is a little too young to meet him just yet- we'll wait until he is at least 4 weeks and his immune system gets used to the outside world- but we met him in the hospital his first day of life, and we know that the two of you will be fast friends.

You are beginning to recognize your name when we call it. This is really very fun. You are recognizing more and more people which is very fun as well. It is just amazing how quickly you are transforming before us from a baby baby to a little person.

You love to go for stroller rides. This is one time when you are content to sit and watch the world go by. The summer heat doesn't bother you, and you love a light breeze. I absolutely love to take you for walks in your stroller. It was something that my mom loved to do with me, too. It is a nice (usually quiet) time for you and I spend together. Of course, Norah is usually in tow. 95% of the time she shakes and throws slobber all over both of us; this only makes you laugh while I frantically wipe it off both of us- and your stroller, and our clothes, and Norah's jowls. I talk to you on our walks about the things we see, and the people going by. You love any dog we see, and can't get over those with thick fur. I think you think it is a stuffed animal.

You are very comforted by soft things. You love to snuggle with a stuffed animal or a little lovie blanket when you go to sleep. You have a stuffed alligator, (we call he Allie), that Grandma bought you as a memento from your first vacation that is as big as you are, but you snuggle with it none the less. You pull soft blankies up to your face and nuzzle your nose in the soft fabric. This freaks daddy out a little bit- but I assure him that you can breathe, and sometimes we give you a little more air once you are fast asleep.

Daddy and I still stand over you together at the end of every day entirely in awe of the wonder that you are and the indescribable love that we have for you. You are a miracle. You are our pumpkin. You are our dream come true. You are everything that we wished you would be and much more that we never even imagine you could be. You are our beautiful, precious, sweet daughter. You are our life.

Happy six month birthday, sweet baby girl. The way time has gone so far, mommy has a feeling that in the blink of an eye you'll be asking to date a boy! (The answer by the way, is no. Not until I have met his parents, done a thorough background check, made sure he is very tattoo and disease free, and have warmed your dad up to the idea.) When he does pass my test, I'll be sure to share pictures with him like these, below. :)
I love you a million times over,

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Adventures in Babysitting

Jo probably forgot she gave me (read: I gave myself) access to this blog six months ago... When she and Jas left for a friend's wedding last night, it seemed like the perfect time to push my agenda with my favorite little angel!
Here's the happy family before the wedding.

We had so much fun while mom and dad were gone. The first thing we did was check out the menu at nearby Cafe Selmarie.

I taught Marin everything I know about sweets. Here I am showing her how to spot a quality cookie.

When we got home, I got Marin started on her arithmetic. You never know when she'll need to outsmart the other kids on the playground (or calculate sale prices!!).

Marin was such a great sport. She didn't make a peep the entire night! She just smiled at us and sheepishly tried to put our shirts in her mouth. What an angel.
On the agenda for next time: the Michigan fight song!

Thanks for letting us babysit, Jo! We love you, Mare-Bear!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Puppy Love!

It's official. Marin and Norah are best friends. In case there was any doubt about how Marin felt about her canine sister, when Norah came home from the kennel after vacation, Marin began squealing, kicking her legs and flapping her arms up and down. They have been especially inseparable ever since.

Here Norah gets Marin right on the kisser!

And yes, that is a fistful of Norah's ear in Marin's hand! This picture was taken right after Marin tried taking Norah's eyeball out of its socket. Poor dog; tolerant is an understatement.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Ten points to anyone who got the title's Oliver reference. If you didn't, congratulations; you are a lot cooler than I.

Marin has been watching us intensely every time we put a fork, spoon or glass to our mouth for a while now. In fact, she watches so intensely that you feel badly not giving her a bite. When she started reaching for the food on our plates, we decided she really was hoping for a taste.

Since she's reaching the six month mark at the end of this week, we decided it was time to give her her first rice cereal. She LOVED it! Her eyes were as big as saucers the entire time. She reached for the spoon herself, and one time, put her whole mouth on the bowl that we were serving her from.

We have ourselves an eater. Let's hope her willingness to try more culinary adventures, continues.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Goin' to Carolina!

We have just returned from Marin's First Vacation! It was a great trip!

For about 20 years now, my family has been going to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, for a week during the summer. I have traveled to a lot of places, but something about Hilton Head makes it one of my favorite places in the whole world. It may be the canopy of trees that envelops you as you turn onto Plantation Drive on Sea Pines, where we stay. It is possible that I am comforted by a wave of memories from many summers spent there with my family as I grew up. The beauty of the lush green landscapes and the smell of the sea air are familiar to me from the second we step off the plane. Or perhaps it is the iconic candy cane striped lighthouse at the end of my favorite harbor that enchants me. Mostly likely though, it is the company that makes the island so magical for me. There is just nothing like family all under one roof.

I loved when I was able to share the island with Jason for the first time a few years ago. I was pleased that he seemed to be as charmed by it as we all were. It helps, of course, that it is packed to the brim with award winning golf courses. It was especially meaningful to bring Marin there this year. I loved watching her discover a new place. And she was a champ in the heat! Her hair curled up and frizzed just like Mommy's, but she didn't blink an eye in the 90 plus degree weather. Marin took being pushed all over the island, and staying up way past her bedtime almost every night in stride!

Of course packing for the trip this year was about like organizing the Olympics. Marin does not travel lightly. Jason would argue that neither do I, and since I was in charge of packing for her, she ended up packing five bathing suits (with matching cover-ups of course) and 15 hair bows. Plus, baby Tylenol, nail clippers, aspirator, and thermometer "just in case". Then we had to have the "car seat: rent or bring ours" conversation. Same with the pack n' play. Do we rent one or bring ours? And if we rent a pack n' play do we bring our own sheets? We ended up bringing our own on both. It was easy to pack, free to check and after all, why buy a pack n' play if you are just going to rent one every time you need it? We had everything packed excluding my things, which I began packing five hours before we had to get up to leave for the airport. Not one of my smartest ideas. Needless to say, the night ended with me sitting on my suitcase to get it to close, Jason rolling his eyes at me, a whole lot of "Do you really need that" and me explaining that if I birthed a baby, I could certainly pack a suitcase. Jason thought I packed too much, I thought he packed too little. In the end we all got there, and no one was over the weight limit. Whew. My marriage might have been in jeopardy if it was. :) And for the record, yes I DID need those shoes!

Our routine in Hilton Head becomes a little predictable to a sense, and perhaps that is a comfort to me as well. Every morning my dad and I wake up well before anyone else in the house and take a walk or a bike ride together. In the early morning the island is quiet and the tide is low. It seems in those precious moments spent together the two of us could solve the global economic crisis. We discuss everything from dinner and golf courses, to careers and the future of our family. Those walks with my dad are some of my favorite hours of the whole year. It was such a nice treat this year to have Jason take over with Marin's morning routine so that I could walk with my dad. I kept thinking I would take her with me one day, but she was always so wiped out from the previous days activities, that she slept in almost every day.

The rest of the days are filled with bike rides, pool time, jumping waves at the beach, fresh seafood dinners as the sun sets, concerts at Harbour Town that take my brother and I back to being small children under Greg Russell's live oak tree and wicked card games every night- boys versus girls, of course. My mom and I are usually the last two up at the end of the night... until we can't keep our eyes open for one more second.

You should see Marin in the water! She splashed around and kicked her legs like she was born to do it! Water would splash up in her face and she'd just giggle and smile from ear to ear. When we held her on the side, she'd scoot her little bottom forward and lean in so that she could get back in. If she could have, she would have sprung off the side and landed a cannonball like the big kids.

Marin listened intently to Greg Russell as he sang the kids' songs that Jake and I know from memory. We kept waiting for her to nod off but she sat wide eyed and watched either him or another child clapping along. She sat at the head of many a dinner table and caused very little interruption to any of our dinners. And she didn't make a single peep during her first plane rides, resulting in her being awarded her first "wings" from the flight attendants. Everyone around us was singing her praises at the end of the flight. Still, we were prepared with an arsenal of milk, formula, toys, bribes, and Grandma- in case it had gone any other way.

In fact, Marin had such a great time on her first vacation that she didn't ever want the fun to end. Naps were essentially non existent, unless we were in the car, or could "trick her" with a quick stroller ride. Just when her little eyes would close, she'd pop them back open again and look around like, "What did I miss?!!" Luckily she slept hard and long most nights.

It is always a treat to have the seven of us together. I love watching my family enjoy Marin as they do. She is definitely not short on love, that is for sure.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for yet another wonderful trip to our paradise. More "Martin Moments" made.