Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Top Ten: Halloween Edition

The first true horror movie I went to see at a theater was in 1989 at the tender age of 15. With a couple of my girlfriends, we went to see Pet Sematary at the local multi-plex. To say that I was scared is an understatement. I looked for Gage underneath beds for years after. In fact, I will occasionally still make a running leap onto my bed in fear. There's a reason Stephen King has sold about a billion books and had dozens made into movies. Dude is scary. Interesting tidbit: when I was waiting tables during the salad days of my early twenties, shortly after I had moved to Baltimore, I waited on Stephen King and his wife. He was a good tipper.

So in honor of this, All Hallow's Eve, I have the LoB Horror Movie Edition of the Friday Top Ten:

1. The Shining - All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. ad finitum. The twins in the hallway, the snowy maze scene, the woman in the bathtub, redrum. Jack Nicholson played a fantastic psycho. A little too good, methinks...

2. Jaws - An entire generation of kids frightened to go back into the water. Myself included. To this day, I can't go in murky water for fear of jaws. Ridiculous, I know, but then so's a giant animatronic shark. Still really freaking scary.

3. Poltergeist - "They're hee-eere." The scene where the boy's clown comes to life and wraps its arms around him ruined me forever for clown dolls. Sadly, my mom loves them and keeps giving them to me. (I'm 34.) I don't have the heart to tell her that I am forced to put them in little prisons so they won't attack me some stormy night.

4. Shaun of the Dead - Not quite a full on horror movie because it's just too darn witty, but not quite a comedy either and the horredy category is pretty slim. The scene where they beat the zombie to Queen is priceless. Simon Pegg is awesome. Period.

5. The Lost Boys - This was the movie that made me want to be a vampire. My best friend and I drank undiluted Hawaiian Punch syrup, pretending it was blood after seeing this at the movie theater seven times. No kidding.

6. The Blair Witch Project - I know this movie is a love it or hate it kind of thing. Obviously, I thought it was really terrifying. The scene at the end with the guy standing in the corner. Oh. my. god.

7. Se7en - I included this in my all-time list a couple of weeks ago because it transcends the horror genre. It's that good. And that scary.

8. The Silence of the Lambs - "It puts the lotion in the basket." To this day, I'm not sure who was scarier Buffalo Bill or Hannibal Lector.

9. Scream - Admit it, that opening scene with Drew Barrymore had you on the edge of your seat. And made you want Jiffy Pop.

10. The Ring - The faces of Samara's victims keeps me awake on dark nights. The way she moved, all herky-jerky out of the tv absolutely scares the bejeepers out of me.

What's your favorite scary movie?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rhymes With Meaning

Once again my daughter has surprised me. Truthfully, this is something I have prayed for. And dreaded.

Breastfeeding is such a wonderful thing. It has made me feel so connected to my daughter. The hours that I have spent with her curled around me will always be precious to me. It is the one thing that I can do for her that no one else can.

At her one year well baby check-up last week, her doctor told us that we need to get some meat on those bones, so I have been feeding her more solid foods during the day. In addition, we were given the go ahead to give her cow's milk. The unexpected, although duh, really should have seen it coming, consequence is that she is nursing less. For the last several months, we have had a fairly consistent routine regarding nursing that worked out to between 4-6 feedings a day. However, in recent days, she has refused the breast half the times it was offered to her. I have been pumping when my breasts fill up uncomfortably, but otherwise I am not taking extraordinary measures to keep my supply up. Which is why I am up now. Although she woke upon my return from an evening out with my girlfriends, she did not nurse, and has not awoken at her usual time between 2-3am. My body woke me up, though. So I am sitting in the TV room in the basement pumping and blogging at 4am.

Although there have been many nights where I wished like anything that we had forced the bottle so Neil could get up with her. And times where I wished that I could give her to family to keep for a day or a weekend so Neil and I could have some time just the two of us. I was dedicated to breastfeeding for as long as she wanted, within reason, of course. Much like the thumbsucking, I had anticipated that it would go on for some time. I had committed myself emotionally to its continued presence in our lives.

Now I find myself staring down the W word. I don't even like to say it, I think it is ugly and conjures such unpleasant emotions for me. I am delighted that my girl is doing things at her pace. Truly. But I wasn't ready. Each time she nurses now, and they are fewer and fewer, I look down on her face and try to remember those beginning days when she was so tiny, her mouth a big O as she innately sought out that life-giving substance. I think fondly on those early days when things were so bad, they are my badge of honor. As bad as it was, and it was BAD, I probably wouldn't appreciate how good it became without that.

So here we are, my baby is leaving behind yet another of her baby things and I am forced, again, to accept that time does not stand still.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ennui














Sophie: You know, Mumsy*, as much as I enjoy pants-free time, and I really do, standing around naked in a cold, sterile doctor's office is just not my idea of a good time.

*I'm encouraging her to speak with a British accent. Because how cute are kids with British accents!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Letter

Dear Women's Clothing Manufacturers,

I recently wrote a letter regarding some concerns of mine to your cohorts in the children's clothing manufacturing industry. I have not heard anything back from them, nor have I seen any changes. I do hope that you will be more responsive to my queries.

First off, what is up with sizes? I find that I am able to wear a three size range. How is this possible? I just don't think the macaroni and cheese I had for lunch can change me that much. Also, I recognize that different materials stretch differently, but as clothing experts, I would think you would be aware of this and compensate. I know there is an acceptable level of variation, but seriously? 2 inches in the waist? Is there any chance of adopting the men's clothing practice of sizing by waist and length? Even just in jeans?

Next, belt loops. Perhaps you are unaware that some women actually use belts for their intended purpose, that is, to hold their pants up. As such, the belt loops should be located evenly around the waistband. However, I find on almost all women's pants there is a surprising dearth of belt loops on the rear side of the pants. Thus, when I cinch my belt up, the belt slips up over the top of the pants leaving an unattractive and uncomfortable gap. All I ask is that you either add a few more belt loops or space them more evenly. If you're uncertain how to do this, please contact the Men's Clothing Manufacturers, they do it right.

I understand that low-rise pants are the rage right now among the younger set and that on a certain (very small) segment of the population, these are a flattering option. However, on anyone larger than a size 6 and older than 25, these low rise pants are ridiculous and uncomfortable. I don't ask for pants that come up to my armpits, but for all that is good and holy, can you please provide me with a reasonable selection of pants that don't require I get a Brazilian bikini wax?

As a woman whose hips are larger than her waist, and I think I'm not alone in this, I have a real problem with the infernal gapping that happens when the waist is too big. This is because the same dimensions are applied to size 0 as to an, ahem, 12. A size 0 has a much smaller waist to hip ratio, while a 12 has a larger one. There seems to be little accommodating for this fact, though. Therefore, in order to find pants that fit my hips, the waist is often way too big. And as much as I adore showing the world my granny panties when I sit down, I would love to not spend half my life hiking up my pants.

Finally, stripes. I think it is fairly well understood that horizontal stripes are not flattering. Why then are such a large percentage of women's shirts this infuriating pattern? And why are they all so dagblasted short? Mama needs coverage!

Okay, I think that's it for now. Thanks, in advance, for your consideration.

Cara

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Gonna Fly Now

A lifetime ago Sophie pulled herself up to standing for the first time. In reality, it was probably about six months, but with each new development, I forget what life was like before. Since then, she has been cruising* with increasing agility. Day by day, she has gotten stronger and more confident in her ability to move around on her own two feet. Although it took her months to get to a place where she would let go of the sofa or coffee table and take that one giant step for babykind, it took her the space of a weekend to go from a few tentative independent steps to a walking machine.

Behold!

video

Pay no attention to the giant bruise on her forehead, a casualty of her newfound skills.

*This is where babies walk along holding on to things: furniture, people, walls; it's known as cruising in the parent hood.

**Look at the fish in the upper right hand corner. It watches her walk by the tank. Wild, huh?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Top Ten II

There are a lot of things I love about Halloween, it just might be my favorite holiday. Some people say its a dumb holiday to call your favorite, to them I say show me another holiday where you don't have to worry about family gatherings, you get to eat like a model on furlough and you can dress in whatever you feel like, no matter how bizarre. However, there are some things that drive me crazy:

1. Teenagers who work the neighborhood with no costume and a pillowcase. You can't slam the door on them, that is unless you prefer your car gets shoe polished.

2. Gaining five pounds because you ate all of your kid's candy. I mean, you can't throw it out. That would be wasteful.

3. Spending $6 to get in and then $2 for each tiny pumpkin at a "pumpkin patch" that is just a field where they threw out a bunch of pumpkins.

4. Finding the jack-o-lantern that took you two hours to carve splattered all over the street by neighborhood punks. (Do I sound like a cranky old lady? Who says punks?)

5. Seeing one of the signs on your neighbor's door that sex offenders in Maryland (MY STATE!) have to post.

6. Stores already have Christmas stuff up. Can't we just enjoy each holiday as it comes?

7. Spending four weekends sewing a costume for your kid and then have them be embarrassed because they don't have the latest one from Toys R' Us.

8. Parents who take their less than one year old baby out trick or treating. Yeah, that's all about the kid.

9. Spending $30 on candy and then having no kids come because they're working the townhouse community down the road.

10. The giant pimple that turns up on your chin because you ate all of the leftover candy that didn't get handed out.

What's your least favorite thing about Halloween?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sophie TV













I received one of those video baby monitors for my baby shower. I registered for it because a friend recommended it to me, but I had no idea how much I would come to depend on it. And love it.

I know there are those that think the video monitors are obsessive. That watching your child like that is just too much. But for me, this monitor has made my life so much easier. When we first moved her to her crib, I was so afraid of SIDS that I, like many (all?) new mothers, would go in and check on her many, many times a night. Touch her tiny body to make sure she was still breathing. I would watch the monitor, waiting for her to move, telling myself that I wasn't going to go in there again. It always seemed like just as I was at the end of my patience, when I was sure something was wrong, that she would finally shift. Now that she is older, and those worries have lessened, I can click on the monitor when she makes noises, to see if she is actually getting up or if she is just rolling around or talking in her sleep, a trait she inherited from her father.

At the end of the day, it is our custom to spend a couple of minutes, as we settle in to bed, to watch a little Sophie TV. I love to see her little body in the various positions she takes up over the course of the night. I can watch, unobtrusive and unseen, as she rolls around with her blanket or cuddles her lovey. I can chuckle when her feet stick through the slats without worry that I will waken her.

Watching my daughter sleep is one of my great pleasures. While standing over her bed or holding her in my arms would be my preferred mode, that is just not realistic. This wonderful little gadget allows me to feed my addiction from any room in the house.

Now, how long can I keep watching her? Is 18 too long?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blahsday

Just some random stuff that's bouncing around in ma tete today:
  • We had Sophie's one year doctor's appointment yesterday. She has now officially fallen off of the chart. She is 16 lbs 13 oz and 27 3/4 inches. I had to go back and read my 9 month post and all of the super supportive comments so I don't fall into a funk about it. After the appointment I immediately went to the grocery store to buy all of the things the doctor recommended we try feeding her as we begin Operation Fatten Baby. We fed her a smoothie/oatmeal concoction that has about twice the calories she is used to eating in one setting and she acted like I do when confronted with a pile of french fries, which is to say, she chowed down. We have to go back for a follow up appointment in a month to reevaluate her weight. If she's not gaining a little more rapidly, then the doctor wants to run tests to make sure it's not a thyroid problem or some other ominous sounding issue.
  • I filled up my gas tank yesterday and it cost less than $50. I felt like I won the lottery. I also had to check my owner's manual because I filled up 17.8 gallons. I have never gone over 17 gallons before and I was just sure the gas station was padding the numbers. Turns out I have an 18 gallon tank, I've just never let it get that low. Who knew. Conspiracy theory much?
  • My husband, who made fun of me when I started the whole facebook thing, has now become an addict himself. He asked me how many "friends" I had yesterday (he already knew the answer), just so that he could gloat because he had two more than me. If anyone wants to be my friend so I can beat him, let me know.
  • I have a miserable cold. Head hurt. Throat hurt. Body hurt. Things are so bad that Neil had to sleep in the guest room last night because I was coughing so much. That's a lie, I was snoring. Like a freight train, evidently. I was coughing, too, but I guess that wasn't what was preventing his sleep. He said he left because he didn't want to keep waking me up to get me to stop snoring but I have a sneaking suspicion it was just as much about him not being woken up. I missed him.
That's it for now. I need to go lay down.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ma Petite Shoe

I am a certified shoe-aholic. Unfortunately, my husband has put down his foot (ha) on my shoe habit, so I am now moving on to Sophie. I am always on the hunt for shoes for my daughter. She is on the cusp of walking, so it is now appropriate that she have a wide and varied shoe collection.

She is rather particular about her footwear. It is less about looks than feel, in stark contrast to myself for whom it is ALL about looks and very little about feel. After adding pair after pair of shoes to her collection that she won't keep on for longer than it takes me to turn around and grab my car keys, I found a pair, quite by accident, at Sears the other day. I am not a store snob, but I rarely shop at Sears because in the past I have not found much that went with my tastes there. However, as I wandered through the baby section, I spotted a pair that I thought might be good for Sophie. As it turns out, she tolerates these shoes quite well. They have jelly-ish soles that suit her. Heck, if they made them in my size, I would wear them. I would like to get other colors and styles, but alas I haven't been able to find any more shoes by this brand, Little Wonders, that are similar. So, I went in search of shoes on the interweb. First stop, my beloved Zappos.

Not surprisingly, I found a wide selection of shoes for little tiny feet, many of which were quite cute, but few had the soft sole that I was looking for. Then I found these little cuties:













They have them in different colors and patterns, but I just adored this one. Apparently they have this sand effect sole that mimics walking on sand, which is supposedly good for unsteady new walkers. And then I looked at the price.

$68!!*

Seriously, I love Sophie like crazy and I absolutely positively want her to have the very best of everything but my girl can NOT have shoes more expensive than most of the ones I wear. I know that $68 is not insanely expensive, but she's going to grow out of them in about 43 seconds. Even Suri doesn't get shoes this expensive.**

* Heather - I looked on Ebay. No dice.

**How cute are the ladybugs!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Slainte














My Uncle Steve came for a visit yesterday. A pilot, he comes through town occasionally for work, and this time we were lucky to have him with us all day Sunday. We went down to Fells Point, a historic area on the water in downtown Baltimore. We ate at a lovely Irish pub, Slainte (according to our eastern European waiter, it is pronounced slain-cha), that had great food, fabulous views of the Inner Harbor and a very realistic "pub" feel to it. It helps that it was in a 300 year old building. Afterward, we wandered along the piers looking at the boats as well as the interesting architecture that lines the shore.

My uncle is my dad's oldest brother and he and his wife, Randee, have been a huge part of my life. They have been there for me through some really rough times and have shared some of my best. Spending the day with him yesterday brought home to me how hard it is sometimes to be away from all of "my" people. Don't get me wrong, my in-laws are the kindest, most wonderful people who have welcomed me into their family with open arms, but there is something about showing off my baby to people who knew ME when I was a baby that has a whole different feel to it.

As I looked through the pictures we took yesterday, I welcomed a wave of nostalgia. I pulled out a photo album that includes pictures of my family throughout my life and found one of my Uncle Steve and me when I was just a little older than Sophie is now. He looks just the same to me, although the hair's a little grayer, and I look so much like Sophie. I am reminded just how wonderful family is and how lucky I am to have such amazing people in my life.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rappin' Sarah

This is probably going to be all over the blogosphere in about 7 minutes but I still had to post it because it is abso-freaking-lutely hysterical.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

If Only The Debates Were Like This

I know these are a little long, but, seriously, you have to watch them because they are hilarious. Regardless of who you support*, you must watch BOTH of them.





It is so refreshing to see these two men who have been so vitriolic lately come out with some humor and good will.

*I want absolutely, positively NO partisan talk in the comments. I am sick to death of the back and forth. I hold my views, you hold yours, no one is convincing anyone of anything at this point, so lets just enjoy these videos in the spirit they were intended. Amen.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Top Ten

I've never had a weekly thing and I think it's time. Since I love lists, I present the LoB Friday Top Ten. My inaugaral post will be something near and dear to my heart: movies. I love movies: old ones, new ones, black and white, color, romance, comedy, sci-fi, suspense, action, drama, I love them all. I have an almost eidetic memory for movie scenes and lines, which that and a dollar will get me a cup of coffee. So without further ado:

Top Ten All Time Favorite Movies:

1. The Princess Bride - Maybe the most quotable and quoted movie of all time. What girl hasn't longed for their Wesley to say "As you wish." My husband and I do Fezzig style rhymes pretty much every day, because we're just that kind of dorks. At least we're well matched.

2. Young Frankenstein - Mel Brooks is a genius. Gene Wilder was an incomparable comedian, absolutely perfect as Froderick Frankensteen. Putting on the Ritz will never sound the same again. As fabulous as YF is, I would be remiss if I neglected to mention other Mel Brooks masterpieces: Blazing Saddles, History of the World Part I and Spaceballs. Clevon Little, Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Gregory Hines, Rick Moranis, John Candy. Just to name a few of the absolutely hilarious and wonderful actors he featured in his movies.

3. Sixteen Candles - Has anyone gotten teenagers since John Hughes? So funny, so poignant. Who didn't have a crush on Jake Ryan?

4. Star Wars - I was totally head over heels for Luke Skywalker at the tender age of 5. I had Star Wars sheets. Star Wars action figures. Star Wars space ships. You name it, I had it. I don't have a clear recollection of going to see the movie itself (I was only 3 when it came out), although I know I did, but I do remember waiting in blocks long lines with my family to see the Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and then the Return of the Jedi in 1983. I'm not sure I have ever been so excited to see a movie, before or since.

5. The Wizard of Oz - Hello. I'm from Kansas. Had a dog named Toto. Both my grandmothers were named Dorothy. Need I go on.

6. The Way We Were - Oh, Robert Redford. Oh, Barbara Streisand. I cry when I watch this movie. Every. Single. Time. "Your girl is lovely, Hubbell." *bawling*

7. Groundhog Day - Strangely when I first saw this movie, I didn't really like it. And yet, I have watched it over and over and over (Apropos, yes?). Where at first it made me sad, now it makes me optimistic. I heart Bill Murray. He has such a droll, sarcastic way about him.

8. The Big Chill - Perhaps one of the all time best soundtracks. A great ensemble film, there isn't a weak link in the bunch. It isn't often that you get a cast of such talented actors that play off of each other so well.

9. The Shawshank Redemption - How could you not love this movie? It's about anger, sadness, resignation, revenge, hope and, of course, redemption. Every time I watch it, I ask myself if I could crawl through 100 yards of a nasty, disgusting sewer pipe to attain my freedom. I don't know if I could. Could you?

10. Se7en - The only suspense/horror movie on my list. This movie had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. It haunts me as few movies have. Each of the deadly sins, played out in horrific gruesomeness. Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman were, quite simply, amazing.

So that's it. My top ten movies. What's your favorite?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

M-ow!-lars

After months of anticipation; many, many sleepless nights; and a lot of crying, we finally had a breakthrough today. A molar! This afternoon, after more than her normal share of fussing, I picked her up from a failed nap to find spots of crimson on her shoulder. At first, I looked around her head and body, thinking that she had injured herself somehow. When I found no wounds, I looked in her gaping maw as she belted out another howl and saw the unpleasant looking spot where a new tooth had finally made its appearance. It's not pretty and I suspect there will be more suffering associated with it, but thank goodness it finally broke through.

This tooth has been threatening us for months. At her 9 month appointment, the pediatrician said that based on her swollen gums, she anticipated her molars breaking through imminently. So every stuffy nose, every sleepless night, every crying fit, I attributed to these molars that were coming through "any day now." And every day, no tooth.

Thank goodness this is the last tooth. What? There's more you say? Crap.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Own Celebration

To celebrate surviving the first year of mommyhood, I treated myself to a massage yesterday. Actually, as it turns out, the spa treated me to a massage. My original appointment had been for last Saturday but the masseuse didn't show up, so they gave me a gift certificate for a free massage. As irritated as I was to miss my appointment, the idea of not having to pay was verra nice.

I have had massages many times over the years, but I am always a little bit weirded out by it. Getting (mostly) naked in front of a stranger is not exactly the norm for the uber-modest me. But then to have them touch you all over? Definitely a little bit uncomfortable. I am always the most on edge when she gets to my jiggly parts. Who am I kidding, they're all jiggly parts. I know she sees people all day and statistically at least half of them are heavier than me, but that still doesn't keep me from worrying that she's like, "wow, that's some serious cellulite." Not worried enough to get my cellulite to the gym, but that's a story for another day.

Usually I get the Swedish massage, but this time I decided to get the Deep Tissue. I knew the DT would be a little rougher than the Swedish, but I wasn't quite prepared for how rough. She kept saying, tell me if I'm being too hard and I'm like "TOO HARD! TOO HARD!" A big reason I had come for this was because my right shoulder and neck have really been bothering me, so she focused on those areas. Yowza, did she focus on those areas. The good news is that my shoulder feels better, but I was doing some serious teeth clenching during the massage.

I think I'll stick to the Swedish massage from now on.

Lucky for me, my celebration didn't end there. Sophie slept from 6:45 last night until 5am this morning, when I nursed her and she went back to sleep until 7:45. On top of actually getting 6 hours of sleep in a row, it was freaking awesome to get up after the sun for a change. What a great way to start year two!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

365 Days


















At exactly 10:17 am, 365* days ago today, a new life came in to being. After 32 hours and at least that many stitches, our girl had arrived. With one slow blink, she irreversibly wound her way into our hearts. Since that time, we've had ups and downs. And a LOT of messes. We've learned a little bit about parenting but mostly we've learned that everything we thought we knew, we didn't. What follows are just a few of the lessons we've learned in the last year:

- A naked baby is a cute, but dangerous thing.

- Babies, much like cats, love toilet paper.

- Babies will always pick the exact moment that you fall asleep to start crying.

- Never, EVER, wake a sleeping baby.

- A little bit of orange baby food can make a big mess.

- Favorite toys are those not intended to be: water bottles, empty boxes, coasters, etc.

- Babies can sleep through a marching band practicing across the street (true story), but one misplaced foot on the creaky stair brings them fully awake.

- Babies can puke more than seems possible and smile about it.

- Changing a diaper on a plane sucks. Big time.

- Babies have inhumanly strong hands.

- Babies love pooping in a freshly changed diaper.

- You really do forget about the pain of childbirth, but it takes a while.

- Just when you think you're starting to get the hang of things, they change.

- Cuddling a baby is just about the best thing in the whole world.

Happy Birthday, Sophie Bean!!

*Technically speaking, it was 366 days because 2008 was a leap year, but that just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Sixth Meme

I was tagged by Merecat for this interesting (and easy) meme.

So here are the instructions:
  • Go to your sixth picture folder then pick your sixth picture. (I actually had to go down to the 6th picture in the 6th folder in the 6th folder in the 6th folder, because we have an elaborate picture cataloging system. It's not complicated at all. Right.)
  • Pray that you remember the details. (I didn't)
  • Tag 5 others, leave a comment to let them know they've been tagged.













Taken in June of this past summer. Sophie was 8 months old. Sadly, I don't remember the exact details of this picture other than that it had been a busy day and I was very happy to see my little one conk out. Seriously, is there a prettier sight than a sleeping baby? I think not.

So, who am I tagging? Hmm. Hows about:

Christy

Nik

Chrissie

Sheila


Ronnica

Hope you're all enjoying the long weekend. Or actually that you get a long weekend at all.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

LaZGirl

One of Sophie's new favorite activities is to be rocked in her daddy's leather recliner. Not in the way you're probably thinking, though. Its really more of a ride for her as she twists, turns, rolls and generally cavorts. All with a complete disregard for her own safety. Which is why there are always at least one set of hands nearby when she makes one of her daring dismounts.
video

Friday, October 10, 2008

Punkin














We visited the pumpkin farm/apple orchard down the road from our house today. Although it has been cooler lately, it was warm and sunny. Too warm, frankly. For this kind of outing, I was actually kind of hoping for cool, but what can you do. I love going to these kinds of places and I am so excited for the day when Sophie can fully enjoy all of the activities they have to offer: the corn maze, scarecrow stuffing session, sack slide, goat riding. Okay, I made that last one up. Wouldn't that be cool, though? I may have to put that in the suggestion box.

Lucky for us, I found a wagon to pull Sophie around in. Most of the time she sat up, taking in the sights and sounds, trying not to fall out as I pulled her over some pretty uneven terrain. Towards the end of our visit, she got a little tired (I swear that isn't hooch in the bottle she's holding) and reclined while I finished my pumpkin browsing. Is that the life or what?














I did indulge my inner Martha and bought a half dozen pumpkins in a variety of sizes and colors as well as a bunch of Indian corn and a mini hay bale. I haven't figured out exactly how I'm going to display my autumnal decorations, but I'll be sure to take a picture when I do. I hope I can actually make something nice out of my purchases. So often I have grand ideas but the actual application of said ideas loses something in the translation. I also got a jug of one of my all time favorite drinks: apple cider. It is one of those things that absolutely embodies fall for me. A warm mug of cider on a cool day. Lovely.

By the way, I took these pictures and many of the other ones I post on here with my phone. Pretty awesome, right?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Home Again














Alarm rang.
Plane flown.
Baby cried.
Cara tired.
Grandbaby spoiled.
Husband missed.
Friends hugged.
Food eaten.
Football cheered.
Memories revisited.
Pictures viewed.
Laughs enjoyed.
Drinks drunk.
Goodbyes said.
Home again.
Pounds gained.
Sigh.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Get Along Little Doggie

My parents used to have the cutest little teacup Maltese dog. They called her Scooter because they said they could sweep her across the floor and she would scoot up all the dust bunnies. My stepdad loved her so much he took her to work with him everyday. He was like the godfather, with that 3 pound pooch on his lap all day. Unfortunately Scooter met her end a few years ago at the ripe old age of 8. It would be a great understatement to say that my stepdad was saddened by this.

Since then, they have been reluctant to get another dog because they travel quite a bit. So a few years ago, my stepdad bought one of those little stuffed puppies that breathes. Curled up on a tiny dogbed, the belly of the little black and white pup moves up and down, mimicking a sleeping puppy. My mom says it is the perfect dog. It doesn't poop or bark and always looks cute. However cute, though, it is NOT cuddly. It has fairly bristly "fur" over a hard frame and the years have taken its toll on the motor. It now sounds like the asthmatic rattle of an aging bulldog.

Early this morning, I went in to the room Sophie is staying in at my parents' house to find her standing and screaming in the pack and play that is serving as her crib during our stay. I scooped her up and sat down in the chair across the room to nurse her back to sleep. Once we were settled, I looked over at the pack and play and noticed this:














My mom decided that Sophie was lonely in there and gave her a little companion. She claims she put it in the corner, but the middle is where I found it, rasping and rattling.

I'm pretty sure that explains the crying.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Down at the Goondocks

I just finished watching The Goonies for the eleventy thousandth time. It was one of the first movies I went to all by myself. This was before the days of stadium seating and multi-plexes. Our little town had one theater with two screens. We got movies weeks or months after the rest of the world, but in our insulated reality, we didn't know or care. My best friend and I walked to the theater, which was located on the main street, about five blocks from our houses. I was 11 years old. Do parents even let their 11 year olds walk themselves to school these days, let alone a movie?

The years have dulled my memories of the minutiae of that movie-going experience, but I can say with absolute clarity that I was mesmerized. I saw myself in the Goonies. Always the new kid, I knew what it felt like to be an outsider. I knew what it was to dream of great adventures, far outside of the realm of possibility. I spent countless afternoons gallivanting around my backyard and neighborhood acting out fantastic scenarious.

All of this pales in comparison to the ENORMOUS crush I had on Sean Astin after seeing this movie. I thought he was just about the dreamiest boy a girl could imagine. Little did I know that he would grow up to be a hobbit, but in those pre-pubescent days, he was everything I thought a boy should be. I longed to be the girl that pulled him into a corner of that cave and kissed him. Such simple, innocent fantasies.

There was little violence, no cursing, and no sex. It was beloved by both girls and boys and adults were entertained, too. Do they even make movies like this anymore? Why does it seem like the only movies that are aimed at both children and adults these days are cartoons? And with a few exceptions, those aren't all that great.

Speaking of bad family movies, I just saw that the top grossing movie this past weekend was Beverly Hills Chihuahua. I think I just threw up a little.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I'm a Reader

I saw this over at The Fun House and thought it would be interesting to see how many of these I have read. Quite a few as it turns out. I love to read. Before the baby, I read 2-3 books a week. Since she came along, I am down to about one a week, which I think is still pretty good.

The
Big Read is a USA National Endowment for the Arts program designed to encourage community reading initiatives and of their top 100 books, they estimate the average adult has read only six. I do wonder how exactly this list was created because there are a lot that I would think would be on there and some that surprised me are on it. Among others, I would probably add Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

1. Look at the list and bold those you have read.

2. Italicize those you intend to read.

3. Underline (or color) the books you LOVE .

Share this list in your blog, too, if you like.


1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma - Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - This is my best friend, Aparna's, favorite book and she has been hounding me for years to read it. I don't know why I haven't yet, but I need to soon.
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curios Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens (hated)
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath LOVE
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo - I've seen the musical, of course, so I need to read the real thing. Ssomehow I haven't gotten around to it yet, though.

What does your list look like? And what book(s) would you add to the list?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Reunited

Preparing for another flight with the Bean. This time my friend Aparna will be joining me, while Neil stays home. She doesn't know what she's in for. Meanwhile Neil will be wandering around the house, probably half naked, scratching whatever part catches his fancy, while the beer cans and fast food debris pile up. Just kidding, my husband's not like that. He'll definitely have clothes on.

Where will I be, you ask, while my husband revisits his college lifestyle. I will be attending my 16th high school reunion. Why 16th, you ask. Because my class refuses to do things the normal way. I mean, seriously, who wants to have a boring old 15th reunion anyway. Not the class of 1992, that's who.

Our festivities will start with my high school's homecoming football game. What memories that will dredge up. Mostly good, but some not so much. One of only two times I almost got into an actual fistfight was at a high school football game. I'm a total pacifist and a complete wimp so no punches were actually thrown on either occasion. I am a bit of a smartass, though. Luckily, after apparently picking fights on two separate occasions, I got my mouth in check.

I used to love Friday night games. Going to the university football stadium where my school played. The crisp autumn air and the smell of burnt popcorn. Meeting up with all of my friends, watching the game a little, but mostly just wandering around talking. It was so much more about socializing than supporting our school's athletic program. Unless you had a fella on the field, in which case you were all about the game.

There will be more events over the course of the weekend including a trip to Skateland, a tour of our old stomping grounds and a cocktail party that will likely include too many cocktails while we reminisce about all of our old shenanigans.

I am so excited to see all of my old friends. Some of whom I have not seen since high school. I will no doubt have many tales to tell upon my return.

PS - Please keep your fingers, toes and whatever else crossed that Sophie is good on the flight. Amen and hallelujah.

PPS - I'm sorry I've haven't been out visiting all of my bloggy friends quite as much the last few days, it's been a little insane in the Land of Bean (colds, no sleep, packing). I plan to come see all of you upon my return from Oz.

PPPS - I keep forgetting, but I wanted to thank everyone for your super kind words about my haircut! I will dine on that praise for months. Truly.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Delicious














I worry sometimes that we spend too much time indoors, that I'm creating a hothouse flower. I want her to feel the wind and see clouds floating along in the sky. I want her to know the sounds of birds and I want her to pluck a blade of grass and marvel at it's simplicity. I want her not to notice all of the weeds in our yard. Oh wait, that's me.

It is with this in mind that I try to get Sophie out of the house for at least a little bit every day. Some days the weather conspires against us, so our out of the house has to be somewhere indoors. Some days our out of the house is little more than time spent exploring our own yard. Today we actually got out twice. First to the park, for a walk between her morning and afternoon nap, and later this afternoon we spent a half an hour or so rolling around the back yard.

There are not really many moments yet where I feel that my daughter loves me. I feel needed, oh yes, there is most certainly that. But loved? Not yet. I long for the day when she wraps her little arms around me and says I love you, mommy. I fantasize about that sometimes. Every time I lay her down to sleep, I whisper I love you in her ear. I don't want her to doubt for one single moment that she is my heart. In my head, I hear her small voice say it back. But only in my head. The lack of reciprocation at this point is expected. She is not developmentally there yet. I know this, but it doesn't stop the longing.

But this afternoon, as I lay on the back lawn, and she tumbled around me, we had a moment. She stood up and climbed on to my stomach, her little legs straddling me. She then laid down on my chest and tucked her head under my chin, wrapping her arms around me as she did. Smiling the whole time. In that moment, I felt more than just needed. She stayed there for perhaps thirty seconds and then rolled off to resume play. A few minutes later, she repeated her little snuggle. With these simple gestures, I forgot the sleepless nights and the frustration. It was, in every way, delicious.