Sunday, July 29, 2007

Hot town, summer in the city

As promised in my last, long-delayed posting, now that our laptop’s hard drive has some much-needed extra breathing room, my Dad has put together a new photo slideshow to celebrate my second-month birthday. There are lots of fun, adorable photos in here (c’mon, would you expect anything less from me?). So we hope you enjoy this collection of our favorite photos from my second month.

Yesterday I took my first trip into New York City, as Mom and Dad visited with their friends Russ, Lisa, Eric and Sara. It was exciting, but very hot and humid. We strolled around the Upper West Side (Mom and Dad even showed me their old apartment, and were trying to figure out how they would have survived carrying me and all my stuff up and down four flights of stairs all the time). Then we went into Central Park.

I usually enjoy looking at all the trees (especially when I go for walks with Mom and Dad), but it was so hot and humid that I – and everyone else for that matter – eventually opted to go back and hang out in Eric and Sara’s air-conditioned apartment. Still, it was a terrific first trip into Manhattan, and I look forward to going there many more times.

One other big development over the weekend: at long last, and much to my parents’ dismay, my thumb finally found its way into my mouth, and now I’m sucking away!

That’s it for now. Remember, if you want me to post again later in the week, you’d better send along a few Ask Julia questions (my mailbox was once again gathering cobwebs last week).

Friday, July 27, 2007

Happy belated birthday

Finally, we’re back in business! For those of you who were going into blog withdrawal this past week, believe me, it was just as rough on this end. I have a good excuse for going MIA this past week: uploading last week’s posting was the final straw for my overworked laptop. Between all the photos Mom and Dad have been taking, and all of my blogging, we used up every last bit of space on the hard drive, so Dad had to take the laptop in to get a new, improved and much bigger hard drive. Dad says that now we have so much extra space, he’ll try to upload some video of yours truly very soon.

But first things first: he’s got another photo slideshow to complete...because I turned two months old on Wednesday!

It was a pretty low-key birthday for me. Babcia and Dido are still in Ukraine, so they obviously weren’t around, and Dad was late at work again (as he was all week). But Mom and I got along just fine all week. I made sure to nap for a couple hours each day to give her a breather. We went for lots of walks, and we constantly talk to each other (I fall asleep as she’s talking to me sometimes, but I’m not sure if she notices).

Not much else to report. I’m getting really close to being able to support my head, and I’m starting to drool a lot (especially when I’m shoving my fist into my mouth), so I’m keeping Mom and Dad busy trying to mop up all my saliva.

I’m looking forward to spending the weekend with Dad after not really seeing much of him this week. Even our time together last weekend was short, because Dad was doing something called “weekend duty” for his work. Apparently this weekend was much quieter than the last time he had weekend duty in the spring, which apparently was so traumatic that he still twitches a bit anytime anyone brings up Katie Couric’s name (I asked him what happened, but he told me I’m too young to understand). Still, he was busy for a few hours each day, so we’ve got lots of quality time to make up for this weekend.

As you can see, I donned my first Yale outfit this week (thanks, Babcia!) In another first, on Saturday Mom and Dad took my to church for the first time (not counting the baptism class I went to when I was six days old). They headed straight for the cry room, just to be safe, but I was a perfect angel for the whole mass. In fact, I was by far the best behaved baby in there!

Tomorrow is another big first: my first trip to New York City. I’ve been practicing my cursing (it sounds just like all my other cooing, so people think I’m just being cute. Little do they know!) and giving people the finger all week, so I should be all set.

That’s it for now. Hopefully I’ll be back later in the weekend with a new slideshow for you to enjoy.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Ask Julia: 7/20/07

Looks like my parents aren’t the only ones that I can manipulate with abandon. My guilt trip from the last posting paid off big time, because my mailbox was packed with questions for this week’s Ask Julia. Without further ado, let’s begin.

My first questions come from one of my blog’s most frequent visitors, Aunt Paula:

After a busy weekend in Cherry Hill, I’m sure that you are happy that you got to spend a few extra days with both your mom and dad on Monday and Tuesday. Did you get to do anything special?
I sure did have a fun couple of days with my parents. On Monday they took me to my first restaurant: we had lunch at Char-Broil Grill, the local diner in Upper Montclair.

I was fussing a bit during the meal, so my Dad had to keep my pacifier in place with one hand while eating his lunch with the other hand. Then on Tuesday, we went for my first trip to a mall: the Garden State Plaza in Paramus. I was a perfect angel, sleeping pretty much the entire time.

My goal was to lull Mom into a false sense of security, then when she takes me to the mall on her own, I’ll throw a fit and really have some fun. So now I’ve had two of the three quintessential Jersey experiences: the diner and the mall. If we had also gone down the shore, I would have hit the trifecta.

What will you be wearing for your Baptism? I'm sure you will look beautiful. I look forward to being there and finally getting to hold you.
I’m looking forward to wearing Mom’s Baptism gown (I just hope they’ve washed it at some point during the past three decades). However, I’ve been growing so much, we’re all a little concerned that I’ll actually be able to fit in it!

The next question comes from my concerned Mom:

Hi pretty lady,
One of my fears is that you will become a "Jersey Girl" (I escaped this fate since I was raised in Connecticut). Please reassure me that this will not happen.
Kisses and hugs,
Hmmm. You must have seen this admittedly alarming photo from my trip to the mall.

Don’t worry, I wasn’t jealously admiring the merchandise; I was simply studying it, much like one would an exhibit at a museum. So no, I don’t plan on embracing any of the Jersey stereotypes (meanwhile, I’ve seen pictures of your poufy prom hair, so you’re one to talk!). Allow me one exception: living up to the lyrics in Bruce Springsteen’s “Jersey Girl” (actually written by Tom Waits): “’Cause nothing matters in the whole wide world/When you’re in love with a Jersey girl.” Mom, I think even you would agree – that sums me up perfectly.

The aftermath of that scary raccoon run-in prompted my Dad’s first-ever question:

As you know, the day after I discovered that raccoon in our trash can on Sunday, it turned up dead at the end of our block. I couldn’t help thinking of The Omen and all those other movies about evil kids. In every one of those films, the first hint about the child’s true nature occurs when the kid “takes care of” an animal that has been giving him trouble. So I guess my question is… should we be worried about you?…I don’t know what you’re talking about (cue scary music).

But if I was responsible, I’ve got my work cut out for me: on Wednesday, Dido found another raccoon in the trash. That one was much bigger and managed to get inside even though Dad had put heavy bricks on the lids (bricks that were still in position, by the way). So now Mom and Dad will have to start putting the trash cans in the garage, to hopefully keep the critters at bay. Dad thinks that the sweet smell of formula from my discarded bottle liners might be attracting him. Now that he knows what I’m capable of (um, I mean, what he thinks I’m capable of), he really shouldn’t be blaming me for things.

As if the raccoon redux wasn’t bad enough, Mom and Dad found out that last month’s moth problem had been misdiagnosed. We actually have Indian meal moths, which were still laying eggs in our dining room molding. So the exterminators needed to treat the dining room again on Wednesday, which means that Mom had to whisk me to Babcia and Dido’s for the afternoon.

Speaking of Babcia and Dido, let’s end with a note from my dear grandparents, who sadly will be leaving me for a week and a half on Saturday:

Would you like to come with us to Ukraine? We haven't visited since your great-grandparents left because of Communists (you don't know who they were but we will tell you the history once you get a little bigger) and wanted their children to have a better life. Your mother was in Ukraine once it got its independence and she found 72 cousins there. Of course, she didn't meet all of them but did stay at some of their homes. We would love for you to meet this extended family also. We would have so much fun. Why don't you ask your parents if this would be OK.
We love you very, very much -
My tebe liubymo.
Ciom, ciom

Well, I’m touched that you asked, and as you can see, I’m brushing up on my Ukrainian history, but I’m going to have to decline. First, I don’t have a passport. And as much as I hate to admit it, I think I might need some more vaccinations before I start traveling. Also, I was just reading about that horrible train derailment/toxic gas release in Lviv. I think I’ll stay here and try my luck with the raccoons, Indian meal moths and exploding steam pipes in Manhattan, thanks. Finally, and most importantly, my Mom would be so sad if I left her alone for all that time. So I’ll stay home, but make sure you bring me back something pretty!

That’s it until next week. Have a good weekend, and remember, it’s never too early to start sending in questions for next week’s Ask Julia column.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Road trip!

So much to talk about! First off, a lot of people were asking why I didn’t post at the end of last week. You have only yourselves to blame for that one: this was the first week that I didn’t receive any Ask Julia questions (my Aunt Paula did send one on Friday night – see below – but it was past my bedtime). See, I’m only going to post at the end of the week if I have Ask Julia questions to answer.

So if you need your baby blog fix, you’d best send along some questions to keep me occupied! Because I get angry when I don’t get email and as you can see from this photo, you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry!

As if I wasn’t already sad enough with an empty mailbox, on Friday I went for my doctor’s checkup and finally found out what vaccinations are. I got three shots! That was not fun! But my parents were impressed that I handled myself so well: I cried for a couple minutes and went to sleep. Mom was all set to get weepy as I went into prolonged hysterics, but as usual, I just rolled with the punches. We also got my latest stats:

I’m now weighing in at 13 lbs. 5 oz. and I’ve sprouted up to 24 1/2 inches. Dr. Buchalter (who, by the way, is some kind of baby whisperer, because he seemingly puts me in a zen trance whenever he’s in the room) says I’m a champ. At least I made it through, and now I’ll never have to get a shot again. Right?

Later that day, I felt that getting shot (or getting shots, I should say) fully established my gangsta girl cred, so I donned some gangsta gear, and showed off my battle scars on my thighs (check out the shiny band-aids).

Don’t mess with me; I’m one tough little lady!

Usually I’m the one who gets all the presents, but last week Dad came home from work with a new toy: a Blackberry, so he can stay on top of work stuff at home, and during his commute. It’s shiny, and I’m looking forward to drooling on it. But sometimes when he’s supposed to be playing with me, I can tell that he’s distracted and I catch him sneaking a look at his Blackberry.

We had words about it, but then he showed me his screensaver: a super-cute photo of yours truly!

So I can’t be too upset now that I know that even when he’s working, he’s thinking about me.

After those bumps in the road last week, I was so happy to go on my first big trip Saturday: driving to Cherry Hill to visit Grandma and Grandpa.

My Aunt Paula wrote on Friday night and asked me to tell her all about my first out-of-town experience, so here goes: Mom and Dad were nervous about making sure they packed enough of my stuff for the trip, and they still have a lot to learn. By the time they had finally packed up the car and started out, I was ready to feed again, so they had to turn right around and feed me. Oops! But once we finally got there, I had the best time with Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Jessica. They all doted over me, and had multiple chances to play with me, feed me and change me. I’m so glad I know how to smile, because I made each of them melt at will, every time I gave them one of my big grins. I’m so lucky to have two sets of grandparents that love me so much (I get to have fun with Babcia and Dido almost every day during the week).

Meanwhile, Mom and Dad appreciated having some time to themselves. They went out to dinner on Saturday, ran a few errands, and on Saturday night, Grandma and Grandpa took my first late-night feeding and let Dad slept the longest he’s slept since I was born: he went down at 9 pm, and slept until I was ready to eat at 4 in the morning. I hope he appreciated it, because I don’t plan on sleeping through the night anytime soon (though I did throw them a bone one night last week and slept for a six-hour stretch).

While I was there, I slept in a family heirloom: the same bassinet that both Dad and Grandpa slept in. The fabric might be a bit dated, but it was plenty cozy. Grandma and Grandpa said that when I stay there next, they’ll have a crib for me.

Speaking of cribs, last night I spent my first night in my crib here at home. My mom was very sad that I was no longer sleeping in her bedroom, but even she had to admit that I had almost outgrown my bassinet.

I’m captivated by the new mobile above my crib (I might grow to like it even more than Flutterbug, which is my changing table mobile). Overall, I adjusted fairly well to my new surroundings, but I managed to finagle my way into Mom and Dad’s bed on Monday morning (something they swore they’d never allow, but they relented to get a couple more hours’ sleep). Hee hee hee. I play those two like a fiddle!

Today and tomorrow should be lots of fun, because Dad is off for two days (he says it’s the last vacation days he can take off until Labor Day). They’ve got big plans for me. I’m up for anything as long as it doesn’t involve taking out the trash. Dad did that yesterday and when he opened the trash can outside he found a raccoon in it!

That’s it for now—and if you don’t send me Ask Julia questions, that’s it until next week. So get writing!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Sizing me up

Big news from over the weekend, and that big news is…me! Even though I’m only 1 1/2 months old, I’ve officially outgrown my 0-3 month clothes, and have now dipped into my 3-6 month wardrobe (I have so many outfits in that size, that I might have to do a couple changes each day just to make sure I wear everything!).

At exactly the same time I was outgrowing my clothes, I finished up our stash of size 1 diapers, which were starting to get tight on me, and am wearing size 2 diapers now.

My parents and I sure are curious to find how much I weigh now, but we’ll be kept in suspense until Friday, when I have my next doctor’s appointment. (Which reminds me, does anyone know what a vaccination is? Because I hear that I’ll be getting a couple of them on Friday. As long as it doesn’t involve anyone sticking me with a needle like they did in the hospital, I’m sure it will be fine.)

To celebrate my growing a size, my Dad put together a new slideshow, a fashion show featuring many of my favorite outfits, size 0-3 months (a few of them might be MIA: sometimes I changed clothes before Mom and Dad could get a picture!). It’s fun to watch me grow in size, and become significantly more alert, right before your very eyes!

Meanwhile, I’m smiling and babbling regularly, and having lots of fun playing with my activity gym. On Friday night, when my Dad came home from work, I greeted him with a huge smile because I was so happy to see him. I literally watched him melt in front of me. My smiles have the same effect on Mom. I have the two of them totally wrapped around my finger!

The Montclair fireworks were rescheduled for Saturday night, and my parents watched them with some of their friends who came to visit me (including my soon-to-be-godmother Ileana and her family). I heard the fireworks were great, but I don’t know for sure, as I was wisely kept far away from them. Babcia watched over me inside the house and covered my ears during the show (apparently they were loud, so I’m glad she was protecting me). Maybe next year I’ll actually get to see them.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Ask Julia: 7/6/07

This will be a shorter column, so I can go spend the weekend with my parents. Before we get to the questions, I should mention that our July 4 barbeque was much soggier than we had hoped. I was all set to see my first fireworks, but they were called off because of the rainy weather and rescheduled for Saturday night. The rain also forced the barbeque to move indoors, and it was all a little overwhelming for me. I enjoyed meeting new people, but all the activity got me wound up and thrown off my game. It took me well into the next day to calm down. On the bright side, Dad got to use his fancy new grill, which is so big that he was able to grill all the burgers at one time (on the old grill, it would have taken him three times as long). So he was very happy about that.

Before the barbeque, Dad was testing out the new camera and he took some truly adorable photos of me (we’ve sprinkled them through the posting). I am one cute baby, if I do say so myself! And now, this week’s Ask Julia questions. The first one is from my dear Mom:

On June 15th, you stated that the Yankees recent success could be attributed to you. Could you please explain why the Yankees have again fallen apart in the last two weeks?
So it’s going to be like that, eh? You’re going to use my own words and actions against me? I would have expected as much from Dad, but et tu, Mommy? It’s not fair: if the people who hold certain high offices in this country don’t have to be accountable for their prior statements, why should I?

That said, you’re right: as you can see, I’m none too happy about how the team is doing. The Yankees have just been atrocious in the past couple weeks (Mom’s email came before the team took 3-of-4 from Minnesota this week). In my defense, between Dad’s late hours at work, and how busy I keep him when he is at home, I haven’t had much of an opportunity to watch them play ... and I can’t work my magic on the team if I don’t see them play. So I guess the answer to your question, Mom, is that you should be letting me watch all the Yankees games with Dad (yes, he bribed me to say that). I do feel bad for my Dad, who will be missing his first Old Timers Day in seven years to spend time with me. But hey: am I worth it, or am I worth it?

The Yankees also come up in my latest questions from Aunt Rebecca:

What do you have against Target? It's a great store and has lots of TOYS, TOYS, TOYS.
To clarify, I actually don’t have anything against Target, which does seem like a terrific store and is a place that I’m looking forward to visiting frequently with my parents, and throwing temper tantrums until they buy me what I want. But Mom and Dad thought they could sneak me in and out one morning without my noticing what was going on. Did they really expect me to let such hubris go unchecked?

Regarding Roger Clemens, what did you say or do that got him back on track for his last start? George Steinbrenner would probably love to know what you said or did, and might be willing to pay you lots of big bucks to be Roger's motivational coach. BTW have you seen that silly video with a 95-year-old Roger telling Cashman Jr. "I wanna pitch"?
I can’t take credit for Clemens start, as again, I wasn’t watching. That said, I would definitely entertain offers to be a motivational coach, not only for Clemens but for the whole team. My philosophy is simple: I will keep crying until you win.

And no, I haven’t seen that video. So far, the only internet videos I watch are the ones that I’m starring in (which reminds me, make sure to check back early next week for my latest photo slideshow).

That’s it for now. Thanks for the terrific questions, and as always, don’t be shy about sending questions my way (especially if you visit the site regularly and haven’t sent any along yet). Hope you enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Living hand to mouth

As you can see from the photo, my mouth has made a very important discovery: my hands are tasty and so much fun to suck and gnaw on! Since that photo was taken, I’ve started to concentrate even more on sampling my knuckles; I’ll be sucking my thumb before long, I’m sure. For those body parts, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship...

My Mom and Dad have become real pros at taking care of me. Night feedings go considerably smoother now that they have perfected Mom’s system: each night she brings up bottles that are pre-filled with cold tap water. Then as I wake for feedings, they simply add the formula into the bottle (over the bathroom sink), shake to mix and voila! – we’re ready for my feeding.

In fact, they’ve figured out so much that my windows of opportunity to create mischief are few and far between, which means that I have to exploit every moment of weakness I can. For example, yesterday morning my Dad started to burp me but realized that the burp cloths were in another room. In the 10 seconds it took from him to locate one, I managed to spit up all over his shirt. But even that wasn’t completely successful: he doesn’t change into his work clothes until right before he leaves (just in case something like this happens, I guess), so I didn’t inflict as much damage as I’d hoped. Better luck next time, I guess.

Mom and Dad have also figured out almost all the ways to keep my crying to a minimum. The old standbys – swaddling and my white noise CD – continue to work wonders, although the endless audio loop of hair driers and rainfall is making Mom a little nuts. But they’re also branching out, and realizing that the swing and rocker are also effective methods of distraction. This past weekend, my Mom even got me to boogie down with her for a bit. That was fun!

Because of all our quality time together while Dad is at work, Mom has learned a lot of new tricks for keeping me happy. She taught Dad that if you burp me over the shoulder during feedings, I’ll eventually get content and snuggle close to you. But just to keep myself protected, I also keep my hand firmly grasped on your throat. You know, just so you don’t try anything funny.

Speaking of funny, I enjoy listening to Mom try to coax my burps out of me during feeding time. She goes down a list of people in my life, saying “Burp for Mommy…burp for Daddy…burp for Babcia…” So it’s a game to see which name I finally agree to burp for. But it’s also fun to store away some burps until several hours after the feeding, then I break them out and get Mom really confused.

My parents are taking me out a lot – both on walks and car trips – but they often try to push their luck. Over the weekend that tried to take me into Target. Bad idea. First, I made sure to leave them an extra-special gift in my diaper when we got there, forcing them to change me in the parking lot (hee). Then I wanted until we were in the store and started wailing big-time (double hee). Sorry, but they deserved it.

I’ve been going for lots of walks with my parents and grandparents: to Dunkin Donuts, to the playground, around the neighborhood, back to Dunkin Donuts…some people in my family seem to have a one-track mind.

I’m also starting to coo and babble a bit. At least, that’s what it sounds like to Mom and Dad. I think that I’m speaking very plainly and clearly, and it upsets me that they still don’t seem to be able to understand me. Meanwhile, my neck muscles are getting stronger every day, thanks to all that tummy time with Mom. With any luck I’ll be lifting my head up before too long (my parents are counting the days!).

There’s much to look forward to this week: the arrival of Mom and Dad’s new camera (I plan on getting that thing in my mouth before too long), a barbeque, meeting more new friends, something called fireworks…. I think I’m going to have a very happy Fourth, and I wish the same for you!