Becoming a Southern Cook!

This isn't hard. I want everyone to put down your Weight Watchers Points Calculators, your South Beach books and pause the Biggest Loser on DVR. The key to every southern dish is listed below...don't tell my grandmother that I let the secret out.

Casserole - choose your own adventure...

Pick a favorite vegetable (or choose chicken) NOTE** if you have a favorite vegetable, then you are not from the south because true southerners don't actually know what vegetables taste like.

Cook down to mush (takes an hour even though every cookbook says it takes 20 minutes)

Drain into a tea towel and squeeze all the moisture out.

Mix with a cup of sour cream or a can of cream of mushroom soup.

Add a stick of butter and a cup of sharp cheddar cheese.

Cover with crushed RITZ crackers and bake.

If you bite into the casserole and it still tastes like either the original vegetable or the chicken, you have done it wrong. It should taste like cheese, butter and ritz.

Happy Holidays,
Chef Sam's Mom

Deck the Halls with Things for Sam to Pull On, Explore and Put in His Mouth.

It's Christmas with a one year old!

This year is filled with the excitement of a child in the house for Christmas, thus the beginning of traditions that will take us through our adult lives, and the exhaustion of a holiday spent cooking, buying, wrapping and chasing...yes, I said chasing.

We are blessed with a ball of never-ending energy (wait, did I say blessed?). Sam is busier than ever. Busy for someone who has no responsibility, no required chores and no need to accomplish anything during his day. Oh, to remember what it's like to meet each day with excited wonder, boundless energy and the thrill that each day will be filled with some new discovery.

Yes, Sam and Sam's mommy have been absent from blog-world. This is due to the fact that mommy's camera broke and I have no pictures to post. I get a little bit anxious when I think there might be a 30 day period of Sam's life that is not documented...I have asked Santa for a new camera, so perhaps, if I've been good, January will resume picture central.

How's mommyhood? It's exciting. I have a toddler now. It's hard to believe. I used to think the "baby phase" went on for years. It doesn't. That is good and bad. It's hard to fold up infant clothes and think back to when your darling used no less than 10 infant diapers a day and would stay put on the changing table. When you didn't grunt as you lifted the precious up to put him in the crib. When you didn't watch him standing in his bed and think how dangerously close he's getting to figuring out how to jump out of that thing. Those were good times, but these are better. Back then, he didn't play hide and seek with you in the hallway. He didn't run and give hugs when you put your arms out to him and asked for one. He didn't crack himself up by doing something 20 times that you thought was hysterical maybe five times. God knows best. Saying goodbye to a baby is hard...but saying hello to a toddler makes the transition well worth it.

So to recap, we have had our first birthday, we have had our one year check up (let's just say he's healthy in the growth department) and we are about to embark on our first Christmas. I have to say...this year, feels like Christmas. I haven't gone nuts buying gifts...but its only the 22nd so who knows. I did think the other day, as I was wrapping some gifts for Sam, how silly it was to be wrapping gifts for Sam. I put the negativity away quickly and thought, "Nope...I'm enjoying this. I won't stop my fun by the realization that he still has no concept of presents. This is a fun parenting thing." so I finished all the wrapping.

We did not do the traditional Santa visit. If you know my child, you know he stands still for four seconds. A line at the mall would have done me in. My dad just happens to work for the North Pole at times when Santa needs him. He's got a suit and mom decided to surprise us with a picture on one of her days with him. By the way, if you haven't checked out Baby Zog's santa pictures, please do. You will laugh til you cry. To avoid the trauma of sitting on a creepy old bearded man's lap, my parents decided that Sam should watch Papa as he put on his Santa hat, hair, jacket and beard. For sure, Sam would realize that this was his Papa wanting to hold him for a photo opportunity. Well folks, it all fell apart when Santa put on the beard. Sam couldn't figure out where his Papa went and lost his mind.

So, here are our Santa pics.

Happy Holidays,

Sam and Sam's Parents.

The Adventurous Faith!

Two summers ago I taught an improv class in the clubhouse of a local neighborhood. That's where I met Faith and her mom. It didn't take long for me to absolutely fall in love and be inspired by this girl. Faith has written many stories so far, and even though she has Mitochondrial disease which can slow her down a bit, she continues to share her heart and gifts tirelessly with us. I hope you will take a moment and purchase Faith's first published work. She has an E-book out. It costs $1 and is an enchanting story about a Christmas box. The info below is directly from her website. Please go to the link and purchase Christmas the Box with a Dream. You can use your credit card or pay pal. I bought mine this afternoon. The profits are going 100% to Faith and she is using it to help others.

You can also buy her latest book (it's only $1.00) at!
Faith is quite the writer! She aspires to be an author of children's books - and books of poetry - when she grows up. She's already off to a great start!

...and suddenly he was 1!

I remember so many things from the last year and nine months. Finding out. Telling Andy. Telling the families. Going to McDonalds. First ultrasound. First nausea. Going to McDonalds. First kicks. Finding out it was a boy. Having a Chick-fil-A biscuit. Swelling. Back pain. Substantial kicks. Unbearably painful kicks. Trying to stand and walk without hobbling.

Then there was the day...the one that changed my life forever. About seven hours and a grande latte into the Saturday before my due date, my water broke...19 hours and some things I wish I didn't remember later...Samuel Andrew made his first appearance. We were overjoyed. We were ecstatic. We had no idea what those first few months were going to be like. We were fools. Someone once said to me that the first three months drag like they are never going to end...then at three months, life speeds up so fast that one minute you are nervously giving your baby his first spoonful of peaches with a bottle of Benadryl in your other hand and the next you are looking at your one year old wondering if whatever he's chewing on the other side of the room is big enough to choke him.

Honestly, my feelings about this year...right or wrong go something like this. For three months I felt like I had been given a job. I was to aid in the survival of a defenseless being. Make sure he was fed, clothed, bathed and changed. Take care of all the basic needs without second guessing my every move too much and all the while trying to decode the magical language of "baby". There was some connection...albeit mostly one-sided. If he was connecting with me early on, I assure you that I had a bottle in my hand.

Then it started to change. When it actually happened, I'm not sure. But I first noticed it when he reacted to something I was doing with a devious grin or an infectious giggle. I noticed it when he first put his arms up for me to lift him because he recognized that I meant safety. I noticed it when a stranger talked to him at the grocery store and he laid his head down on my shoulder. I noticed it the first time he reached up to hold my hand while he was walking. Those moments that made my heart swell to three times it's size made me realize that I no longer have just a responsibility. I have a son. I don't have a baby...I have a son. And my son knows that he has a mom.

Although Sam is not officially one until Tuesday, today we celebrated his life with the usual...balloons, family, friends, food, presents...and of course, cake. I had some issues with my camera this week and, silly me, thought I might miss out on capturing the moment so I rushed out to buy a disposable camera. I used the disposable camera to get pictures that are going to turn out to be identical to the ones that my mother, mother-in-law, sister, brother-in-law, father-in-law and friends got. Why did I think with a family full of people who adore this little boy that I might miss a picture of something?

Sam on Birthdays: He absolutely loved the attention. He loved having Ashley and Emma there. He loved the cake. He loved his matching dump trucks. He loved that he got to get naked and take a bath in the middle of the party. No good party is without a little nudity? Perhaps just of the baby persuasion.

At any rate, we had a wonderful day surrounded by the love of a generous and sweet family. One day, Samuel will get to an age where he's conscious of the blessing that is love. For I can assure you of one thing, that this little truly loved.

Sam, I know that you will not remember your first birthday, but your family will always remember that sweet red-brown head, with those gorgeous blue eyes, licking icing and smiling for the camera.

Your dad and I are so proud and humbled to have you in our lives.

Dear Mommy Diary,

Dear Mommy Diary,

In case I bump my head and get amnesia, please remember a few things for me.

Sam would rather play with your car keys than go to the zoo so tuck that $20 back in your wallet because the zoo is overrated for adults and you can see lions and tigers not come out of their dens some other time.

You bought the Butt Paste for diaper rash, you are using it as a distraction during diaper changes. You bought the tylenol for teething and fevers, again, it is really a distraction for diaper changes. The package of Ramen noodles were bought on a day at the grocery store when you felt like it was okay to eat like a college student again, it is now being used...well, need I repeat myself again?

It doesn't matter how many less bottles Sam is taking at this point, you still go through the exact same amount of formula somehow.

After eleven months, he still thinks he needs to scream his head off just so you are aware the bottle that you are making is for him.

Yes, to the outside observer, Johnny and the Sprites is a generally creepy show...but it buys you 20 extra minutes in the morning so pull out your best jazz hands and stop complaining.

He walks. That is all he wants to do.

Right now, everyone is a "dog". Stop trying to make him say Mama...he's not feeling it.

He gets the concept of the camera. The black thing gets pointed at him, there is a click and then he is blinded for a minute and a half. He gets it therefore he won't look at you. Stop trying to capture these moments by making idiotic noises that are mistaken for Native American war cries. Get on the floor and play cars with him...those are the real memories.

A walking child is called the "survival mode" of parenting, take every example of bad parenting that you observed while you were not a parent and give it a might be pleasantly surprised.

Don't obsess over his first fact...don't obsess over any birthdays that you can't remember for yourself.

Yes, he still hates putting on clothes.

Your friend,

Sam's mom

P.S. Sam had his first dose of Halloween by going to the Church for Harvest Celebration. I never bought him a costume. I'm kind of a last minute inspiration kind of girl. So at the last minute, Sam donned a White T-shirt of mine, some silver braided Christmas decor as a belt, carried a stuffed sheep and a slingshot I made out of a Paper plate and a hair band. He was...David! David as in David and Goliath or King David. Yeah...he wasn't feelin' it. Not one bit. Glad I didn't buy him a costume.


Hey, it's Sam again. Over the right of the pumpkin with a face. Yes it is kind of creepy isn't it? I mean, you scroll down and that pumpkin follows you, staring at you. What was mom thinking? This page used to be a boy's blog, now its been attacked by cutesie non-boy yucky stuff. Do fruits and vegetables really need to have faces? I'm not so sure those are healthy images for a boy who's told to eat his fruits and veggies each day. It might scar me for life, and besides, this page doesn't go with camo.

So, to catch you up on all the girly activities that have happened lately. Mom took me to a garden party. I didn't want to be rude and tell her it didn't sound like any fun, but that is exactly what I was thinking. So the first thing I did when I got there was crawl to a nice dirty spot and eat the dirt, then I grabbed a stick and started chewing on it. I have a rep to protect, after all. How can I ever face Luke in Sunday School when he finds out I went to a garden party. He'll probably think I wore a hat and sipped tea with my pinky in the air. Yuck! At least my Aunt Jen was there. She helped me find the dirt to eat...I think she felt my pain.

Nana bought me some shoes that fit my feet. I thought they were pretty cool until I realized that they have squeaks in them. Now there is no way I can get into daddy's man lounge without being caught. The worst part is, when I was at the garden party, the dogs kept chasing me because I sounded like their chew toys. There were some pretty cute cougars there too, but its not like I could walk over to them squeaking all the way. Sheesh...picking up chicks is going to be harder than I thought. I definitely need a cool car...and no, not one that plays the stupid muffin man and fits in my play area. A real car.

Now mom keeps talking about this thing called a "costume" that she has to get me for "Halloween". Truthfully, I'm not really sure what this is, but it doesn't sound manly and tough. I'm gonna humor mom until I see what this is, but if I don't like it, I'm going to sneeze and drool on it and that is just all there is to it. Mom and I are going to have to sit down and discuss some rules, here they are.

1. Foods with faces on them are just wrong and downright creepy

2. If the chicks don't dig it, I'm not wearing it or doing it.

3. No more garden parties. I've heard about this thing called a "man card" and I sure don't want mine taken away.

Anyway, if you see mom, don't tell her I said this...she's real sensitive and I have to find a way to break it to her gently...that's okay though I've picked up some good tips on what to do and what not to do from watching dad.

Oops I hear mom...gotta go!


Sam to the Rescue!

10 Months - Let's Review!

Month 1 - Overheard from mommy and daddy,
"What have we done?"

Month 2 - Overheard from mommy and daddy,
"What are we doing?"

Month 3 - Overheard from mommy and daddy,
"What is he doing?"

Month 4 - Overheard from mommy and daddy,
"What do we do now?"

Month 5 - Overheard from mommy and daddy,
"What's next?"

Month 6 - Overheard from mommy and daddy,
"Where is he trying to go?"

Month 7- Overheard from mommy and daddy,
"Where is he going?"

Month 8 - Overheard from mommy and daddy,
"Where did he go?"

Month 9 - Overheard from mommy and daddy,
"What is he in to now?"

Month 10 - Overheard from mommy and daddy,
"What was that?"

Month 11 - Overheard from mommy and daddy,
"What have you done?"

Hi, I am Sam's Mommy and I'm Neurotic!

If you were a fly on the wall of my marriage for about thirty minutes (provided its either a Thursday or a Sunday when Andy and I are home together), you will learn three important things about my husband. The first is that he really doesn't care to hear the itemized run down of how much money I saved at the grocery store, he thinks Itunes is, hands down, the best invention of all time and he really really really doesn't want to hear about my hatred of bugs anymore.

I feel sorry for him some days as he really didn't know this about me before we got married. They surely don't cover this stuff in premarital counseling. His first two experiences with me and bugs were in our apartment (you know...above Dick and Dick). Because of the "state" of their place, we got a few escaped visitors. Now, I don't know what size roaches are where you live, but here they practically pass as small dogs. I mean, you might put a dish of water down for your dog one day and suddenly realize that A.) you don't own a dog and B.) if you did, it certainly wouldn't have antennae...that's all I'm saying. So when the first visitor arrived (I make it sound like a heavenly visit of the Magi), I was up late watching t.v. and my over-worked, over-exhausted husband was trying to get a few hours of sleep before his alarm clock woke him up at 4AM. I was happily minding my own business when I locked eyes with the visitor behind the t.v. and went into full panic mode. I chased it through the house to my bathroom, where we stared at each other in fear and defiance...I was breathing so heavy, I could have been hired on the spot for the Blair Witch Project part 2 and I, as I had intended, managed to wake my husband. He was not happy. He thought I was being ridiculous. Don't tell him that I secretly know he was right.

The second incident involved a gigantic spider blocking the door into my apartment and the feeling that I might have to live on the front porch til Andy came home. Now, I completely buy into the theory that whether the chemical you spray on the bug poisons it or drowns it makes no will still die. That's the whole point. The only thing I had to spray was a very fancy, very expensive car tire shiner that my husband religiously sprayed on his truck tires twice a month. Who cares, this was a life or death situation...okay, maybe it wasn't life or death, but I'm pretty sure missing 24 was not on the agenda. End of the story goes like this...I got in the house, caught the full show and when Andy came home he asked me why the front door had a nice high gloss shine.

So fast-forward to our house we live in now. We do have an Orkin man, but our house is fifty years old...we were not here first. Every fall, when the weather dries out and cools down...we get some "visitors" of the roach persuasion (My scalp is itching as I type this). I know they are just trying to survive, but I take it very personally. I feel violated, I feel on edge, I don't take my shoes off and I try to sleep sitting straight up with my eyes open. I find myself sitting on the couch trying to have conversations with Andy as my eyes dart from baseboards to ceiling corners...I can't even concentrate. Now, we've maybe seen a total of 8 of them in the two years I have lived here... but this is, utterly beside the point. I don't like them, they are not invited, go away!

We moved in here during the fall and I could barely muster up the courage to unpack boxes after finding a dead one, petrified in my spice cabinet (please refer back to the blog title). So tonight, and the reason for the random blog, I killed two visitors, back to back, different species (I've even researched their types and habits...I'm getting the feeling you still don't believe how nuts this makes me) one in the kitchen floor and one in the hall next to Sam's room. As I'm bludgeoning the one next to Sam's room, I caught myself saying, "You will not get my baby you stupid bug." You are probably no longer wondering why this topic is a particularly irritating one for Andy.
As I write this, my sweet, ever-patient husband is sitting in the den hoping I've gone to bed so he doesn't have to hear about how strange I think it is to kill two in different rooms of different species within five minutes of each other. In fact, I bet if I walked in there right now, he'd ask me to tell that really interesting story about how I saved $4 on my contact solution at the grocery store this weekend.

The Starter Kid

This past Friday, Binky had his nine month check-up (yes at ten months). He is in the 80% for height, 90% for weight and thankfully his head is now on the chart at 90% (I really wanted to high five God when they told me this). I got a good dose of exactly how laid back my pediatrician really is at this visit . She told me that since I'd already given Sam eggs and he was fine, don't worry about allergies. I could forward face the carseat at anytime I saw fit (rather than rear-facing until he heads to college as is suggested these days). Peanut butter wasn't a big deal because babies don't like it. Ideally wait til somewhere around two but don't stress if he gets something with peanuts in it ahead of time. Rubbing alcohol works on cleaning his new Harley Davidson tattoo and the cigar and red wine before bed was generally a great idea for babies.

I'm beginning to wonder if she's even listening to me.

I can't believe how far he's come in 10 months. It, naturally, makes me reminisce about times past. Not about labor, first cries and that four hour drive home from the hospital that is only 8 miles from my house...but about how far we are from when Andy and I first got married. I thought about back to when we had our starter kid. Those were fun times.

Wait, do you not know about our starter kid? Grab some coffee (or some red wine and a cigar).

Picture was late spring of 2005. Andy and I had been married about 8 or 9 months and were living in a 2nd floor apartment conveniently located across the street from a Starbucks (what isn't conveniently located across the street from a Starbucks these days). That Spring we met our downstairs neighbors. It was a father and son, a widower and a bachelor, living below us in an identical apartment that I called the "man cave". The two Dicks...thats what we called them...or Dick and Co...sometimes even Dick squared. We got "Dick" from the fact that it was both of their names and any other words added, were purely for our own amusement. I liked to call them Dick and Dick personally. Unlike our apartment, Dick and Dick had their man cave decorated in boxes of unpacked items (they'd lived there for 9 years), empty fast food containers and ten years worth of phone books stacked right inside their door. It was quite the pad...Mary Poppins would have run screaming.

They were really nice men. Dick Sr. was in his 80's. A war veteran who had become confused of late and was seemingly in the first stages of dementia with doctors leaning toward Alzheimers. His son worked a lot and so as you can got tough to watch out for Dick Sr. Andy and I (like always) were on fairly opposite schedules. Andy was home during the day and I was home at night. One day, Andy came out of our apartment to find Dick with the door open screaming for help. Andy walked in to see what was wrong and found that he had turned his heat up to maximum and was complaining that he was suffocating. He called the front office and was told that Dick had been doing that all week.

That night we talked to Dick Jr. I told him that I had previously worked with seniors and we were happy to look in on his dad when we could. Generously, he offered to pay us. I felt bad for him. He hated seeing his dad like this. Thus began our month with the starter kid. The days looked different for us. During the day, Dick would take a broom and bang on the ceiling of his apartment (Mr. Heckles style) to get Andy to come down and visit with him. Which is an amusing idea since Dick couldn't hear a word we said anyway. At night, I would get dinner or order a pizza for him and make sure he had taken his dementia medication. I even popped open the beer that he chased it with. I was quite the caregiver. I have learned a thing or two since then. These days Sam can only drink a beer if its been 30 minutes since he's taken his medicine. Thank God for starter kids so you can learn something. I would perch on the end of one of the recliners in the living room, a little afraid to touch anything, and listen to him tell stories about the war. Well, when I say listen, what I mean is I let him talk while I wondered what exactly could produce that particular brand of stink I was inhaling and if the burning in my nose would ever go away.

It was both an amusing and sad relationship we forged. I hated that a month into our arrangement, they had to move. They needed to be closer to Little Dick's job (okay, I said know you wanted me to), and his dad was not far from needing around the clock care. It seems like a lifetime ago that we welcomed our starter kid...sometimes I wonder where Dick and Dick ended up.

Walk Like a Sam!

I finally got it...sort of. It's kind of dark. Turn your volume down, because I'm loud! HAHA! I'm particularly fond of the part where I said, "you just walked, how do you feel?" As if he won the superbowl.

Me Time

Sunday I got out of the house and had some "me time". And as a friend of mine would qualify, by "Me Time" I mean I went to Kohls and ran errands Binky-free. Don't get me wrong, I love me some Binky Time. I am a working mom so, naturally, I treasure my Binky time. I think all moms and dads would agree though that some days, simply grabbing your keys and getting out is nice. It means that I don't have to stand in the middle of Sam's room with the diaper bag in some state of analysis paralysis trying to decide if I dare risk not taking a change of clothes or a bottle of juice with me. I don't have to get out my flip note book and a few markers to schedule the errands in between bottles and naps. I don't have to make 3 trips to the car with the "gear" before I actually put the Binky and myself in it to go.

Andy had been out on Saturday shooting dove all day (to each his own) that I am eternally grateful didn't end up in our freezer. I think its a pain to defrost chicken, so you won't catch me plucking and cleaning anything that my husband shot, this I know. I'm just not that rugged. That meant that on Sunday he was long overdue for some father-son time and I got a few hours of freedom. Of course I jumped at it...almost too overwhelmed by the thought of two to three hours to myself. It was like getting $20 to spend at Target...what did I really want to do? I don't need to even tell you that Starbucks was my first stop, you should just know this about me by now.

So it dawned on me Sunday how my "me time" has changed significantly over the last ten months. I mean, wasn't all my time "me time" before I was a mom? "Me time" back then meant a one hour massage, a pedicure, even a mini shopping spree. I would go catch a movie on a Saturday afternoon or meet a friend for dinner...all spur of the moment of course. I'd decide I was suddenly into one hobby or another and go buy everything needed to do that hobby (i.e. scrapbooking), then be too tired to actually embark on the hobby (i.e. the scrapbooking box of supplies in the back of the closet). All of the grocery shopping, laundry, banking and cleaning was something I dreaded and it took away from that abundance of precious time for myself. Then came the Binky. Two weeks ago, I actually caught myself asking my mom to keep Sam for two hours so I could just put my Ipod on and clean the house. The very thought of it sounded so decadent to me. Huh? When did I get so boring, exactly? When did grocery shopping become a few hours on the town instead of a weekly chore?

So onto the Binky Milestone update: On Sunday, when I returned from "Rachel's three hours of fun" a.k.a. going to the grocery store and Kohls. I came in and unpacked the two for one Jello (do I even eat Jello?), the four boxes of cereal (the coupon only works if you buy four of them) and the two lemons (don't even remember why I bought those now). I came into the living room and sat down with my boys. Andy was laying on the couch watching football and Sam was standing next to him perched on the side of the couch as always. I said, "Come here Binky" and when I did, my sweet Sam turned around and took ten, non supported steps to me from the couch to our chair. I freaked out! I was uncertain before if the stuff he was doing could be called "officially walking", but this one left no doubt in my mind. Our Binky is walking! It's exciting and scary all at the same time!

Way to go, Binky!

Mommy and Daddy are proud of you!

The Pressure to Deliver

So I feel like I am obligated to balance out my rants with a few recent picks of Binky. How else will I justify this blog, after all? The only problem these days has to do with a certain Binky on the go. I have been having trouble getting pics of expressions, milestones and mischief. These days I'm getting pics of ears, elbows and yes, even tonsils. All Sam seems to do lately is run away or rush the camera. Long gone are the days that I lay, position, even restrain him into a photo opportunity. Pics these days are live action shots. Here are a few of my most recent treasures. Please don't duplicate and sell these as much as you would like to.

The Walking Update - We are walking a few steps...when we feel like it. Sam will now let go of something he's pulled up on and shakily walk to me. I find this amazing since, he will stand on his own while drinking a bottle, then squat down (again with nothing to balance) pick up a toy and stand back up. But there is something about walking without holding on that he's still not sure about. He'll get there.

Where are my pictures/videos of this? See First Paragraph. You'll have to catch the live show sometime. I do want to just say this about milestone videos, pictures and the Family Zog. They get EVERYTHING on camera. Can you see the green tint to my skin? How are they doing this? Click on their link under "Sam's Peeps" you will see what I mean. Neatly arranged in a line to the left of the blog, Mama Zog has every milestone that ever happened to Boy Zog. They are awesome videos and they will treasure them. In fact, I wish they would teach a seminar on this. What do I get? A walking video that ends up being a film of the back of Sam's throat as he's eating the lens. A first self feeding video that ends with choking and a quick pan down to the carpet as I run to perform the finger swab. A laughing tantrum, immediately ends the moment the camera red light is on and I get a video of the ceiling as Sam jerks the cord to the camera and I drop it. Then there are the videos that start off cute, go terribly wrong for no apparent reason and close with a Binky screaming bloody murder. The kind of scream that I'm certain would make people think, "Good Lord, what did she do to that precious angel?"

Now lest you feel sorry for me, we did get a cute Peekaboo video tonight...see below.

That's it for now! Catch your act later!
Sam's Mom

and P.S. Check out all of "Sam's Peeps" This is his crew!


Shhh...don't tell mommy!

Hey, it's me, Sam. Mommy is on the couch sleeping through the last of the Beverly Hills 90210 marathon. I snuck out of my crib to say a few things. Let me give you the 411 on me for a second. After all, this blog is about me, shouldn't I guest blog every now and then? First of all, if mommy catches me and sends me back to bed before I finish this, there are six finger puffs hidden under the padding in my high chair. I saved them.

Okay, so let me tell you about myself now. I'm 9 1/2 months and despite what people tell you, I'm NOT a baby. I'm a big boy. I like the Wiggles, Higglytown Heroes, my bedtime bunny, chewing on books, trying to pull up on the toilet (mommy doesn't let me do this), blowing grits on whoever is feeding me and talking to that incredibly good looking baby in the mirror. I am particularly proud of my voice. I use it whenever possible. I screech, I sing, I talk, sometimes I even grunt. These noises are only acceptable if made loudly and repeatedly. They are particularly popular in restaurants. When I play restaurants, they love me. In terms of food, there aren't many things I don't like. Applesauce is pretty much the only thing I refuse to eat. Mommy lets me have some finger foods, but quite franky, when it comes to Baby Mum Mums, Biter Biscuites and anything bigger than a nickel, she is tired of swabbing the back of my throat with her finger. So we stick to fruits, baby food, pasta and sometimes Nana sneaks me some of her jelly biscuit.

I have a lot of toys. They are my toys. I have them in a particular arrangement. Do not change my arrangement. These toys apparently all have different functions. To me they are all just various objects to chew on. When I get bored with these toys, I make a break for the blinds, the remote control and the bottle of body wash in the bathroom, among other things. These things are snatched away. I do not know why, but they must be pretty special. I will continue to go to these objects until I unlock their mystery. Now, that is mostly who I am...let's meet my peeps.

Mom - a.k.a. MAMAMAMAMAMA - This lady is great. Everytime I make a noise, she shows up. She has a big stash of food and formula and replenishes it every week. I can get past the silly faces and the constant picture taking because she is my meal ticket. I particularly like the lengths she goes to try to keep me from flipping over on the changing table mid diaper change...she thinks I'm distracted by the Aveeno lotion bottle. Sometimes, I just let her win.

Dad - a.k.a. HEY DADA - This guy is hilarious. Everything he does is funny. We crawl all over the house when mom is not home. We watch Top Gear and NASCAR and listen to cars screech their wheels. I'm not sure why we do this, I make better noises than that, but daddy likes it. Daddy also has this thing called a PlayStation. Daddy plays soldier and goes on "missions", but I think its fun to yank the cords and make the entire thing fall over. Daddy doesn't share my sense of fun on this activity.

Kitty and Nana - These are MY grandmothers. You do not need to speak to them, make goo goo eyes or give them sugar. They are mine. I have them well trained and I do not want you derailing my teachings. Nana calls me her "Big Boy" and to Kitty, I'm her "Precious". These names are not directed at you. Hands off the Grandmas.

Granddaddy and Papa - These two crazy guys keep promising me stuff. They want to teach me to hunt, take me to Chucky Cheese, teach me to play golf. All of these activities are fine, just make sure you bring the bottles and Roo. I do not like to be hungry or bored. At first, Grandaddy wanted to go by Mr. and Papa and I have a little disagreement going about the "purpose" of his laptop. Still, these are my grandpas and I am going to learn a lot from them.

Auntie Anna and Auntie Jen - These are my aunts. I think they are gorgeous and they are around solely to spoil me. Do not interfere with the Aunties.

Uncle Chris and Uncle Eric - Uncle Eric is teaching me to talk with my hands. When I get good enough, I'm gonna ask him to teach me how to build stuff with wood. My Uncle Chris is the coolest. I want to learn how to play soccer and he is going to teach me to be a soccer star like he is.

Cece - This is my cousin and the only acceptable babysitter. I don't need anyone else coming over, messing with my toys and getting in my business. Cece is my babysitter, go find someone else to sit for.

And that is the crew. You might think it's wonderful to have a staff of well trained people working around the clock to make me happy. It's harder than it looks. Somedays they have it down and somedays I wonder if I will EVER understand them. Ick...mommy is up. Gotta go!


The Working Mom

The hard part about being a working parent I find is that you have to exist in two completely different worlds on a daily basis. There are two different sets of rules and two totally different people making the demands. It's the daily shift from professional to mommy that I find really hard. In fact, many days, its totally frustrating. There are so many very important responsibilities that I have at my job that involve lots of money, time and people. I am trusted to accomplish these things and my coworkers have a lot of faith in me to deliver. And I typically do deliver. Surely, this is proof that I have something resting between my two ears. Then I come home and find that the simplest of tasks as a mother leave me looking for the Cliff's Notes to this book called Mommyhood.

For instance, how is it that I spend my working days researching and checking facts to guarantee medical accuracy for my company, but I can't manage to cut more than two of Sam's fingernails a day? How have I reorganized spreadsheets, filing systems and work systems, but I can't seem to decide which combination of baby foods he should eat at each meal or a method to keep him from standing up in the bath tub? I spend my days working with customers, convincing them to invest in our product and my nights kicking myself because once again I stepped on the talking Baby Einstein mirror on the floor backing out of my almost sleeping baby's room. I then stand frozen in a dumbfounded trance of horror as the contraption, that by the way he never plays with, yells "blue hippo" or "red crab" followed by a giggle. That toy is laughing at me. I know it is.

While we're at it, I missed the part of the parent policy manual that explained in detail how cleaning out ears and changing diapers was realistically supposed to happen after 7 months old when they are wiggling out of your grasp constantly. At work, when I'm not on top of things, I throw out buzz words like "reworking" "mutually beneficial" and "maximum impact" in order to buy more time. When things fall apart at home, I'm throwing finger puffs and baby mum mums as a peace offering to compensate for torturing my child when his head gets stuck in the head hole of his shirt and he can't see for five seconds (by the way - Why does that make me feel so guilty? I'm not suffocating him on purpose).

Now, I have no experience as a stay at home mom, so please don't judge me on these thoughts. I would imagine there are some real benefits to having grown up time during the day. I have no idea how you women stay home all day in this bubble of incompetance with the constant feeling that once you figure it will change. Hats off to you ladies. Some mornings I feel like looking at Sam, who is usually objecting to something I've done to him, and saying, "You do realize I have a college degree don't you? I mean, someone thought I was intelligent at some point." Of course Sam will no doubt answer with the usual grits filled raspberry that will force me back into the bedroom to find something professional to wear that isn't christened by Quaker Oats.

Here's to my working mommy friends!

See How Funny Daddies Can Be!

A Boy and His UGA

Let's talk football for a moment, shall we? I know what you are thinking..."Rachel, I'm back here on my computer so I can AVOID the football that my husband is currently watching." Well never fear, I don't want to debate whether Michael Vick is sorry, nor do I want to discuss if Brett Favre was wronged, and, no, I don't even care how any of the teams are going to do this year (just like last year, and the year before that). The running joke in my house right now happens to surround football. That is why we are discussing it.

The only thing in our entire house that my son has ever been afraid of is a small statue of UGA (that's the bulldog mascot for University of Georgia). Several times, the sight of the bulldog has sent Sam into hysterical tears that can't be easily stopped. It is they type of meltdown that is both heartbreaking and amusing. Sam just doesn't like the looks of UGA. Now, Andy is a huge UGA football fan and I find this fact more than just amusing...I think it is hysterical. I've long been ridiculed by my husband for spending my first freshman year (had a couple of those, folks) at the University of Tennessee, which is home to Smoky the dog and the only college fight song with the word "moonshine" in it. I even get some lame excuse when I confront Andy with the fact I have more right for team loyalty since Andy never darkened the doors of UGA as a student and I at least had the good sense to be a UT dropout before going to a non football school and graduating (nope folks, the bookshop sure doesn't make a t-shirt that says, "Proud UT dropout", I've checked).

I have no earthly idea why Sam chose to be deathly afraid of this little statue, but he reacts to it in such a way that you would think he was staring into the face of pure evil. What does pure evil look like to a nine month old...apparently an English Bulldog. Well, recently we have had a breakthrough of the little boy to fake dog kind. Sam has summoned up the courage on several occasions to pet UGA on the face. I believe these are small steps to a bigger pact of peace and mutual respect that will make Andy and his family happy and, unfortunately, send me looking for something else to torment my husband about. I am happy for both boy and dog and here is the proof of their commitment to getting along.

In light of the most recent UGA's passing, please don't hold the last picture against me. In Sam's zeal to "pet" the dog...he tipped UGA over. I like UGA and all his football glory just fine...I just don't want to have to watch the games. I'd like to dedicate Sam's peace treaty with UGA to Andy's recently passed grandfather who was the biggest UGA fan of all. I sure am glad we didn't have to purchase a yellow jacket statue to protect Sam at night!

The Art of the Distraction

In the midst of a long afternoon with my learning, growing, thinking and boundary testing little one, I find myself perfecting the art of the distraction. In the kitchen trying to cook dinner with a Little Binky at your feet? I find a box of jello and a spatula is the perfect distraction for about 10 minutes. I could tell you that the childproof bottle of prenatal vitamins (from pregnancy past) will only distract him for two minutes. The reason? Who knows. Who knows why a tubberware lid can be an afternoon of fun, but rolling a can of soup on the floor is a big let down and quickly forgotten for pulling up on the refrigerator. I find myself grabbing items in various rooms, doing a quick "breakage and swallow check" and throwing it on the floor for the Binky to explore. A cd case and Andy's old college calculator let me type an entire email the other day. I'm not sure this knowledge is going to win me any money on a game show. I'm quite certain Alex has better questions to ask on Jeopardy.

I do think, however, when it comes to the art of the distraction, if you think you are going to accomplish the amnesia for the off limits items that you were hoping are wrong. They remember the phone cord is still there, they remember that the bottle of body wash is sitting beside the tub, they remember the ice bucket in the dining room, the vaccuum cleaner, the step ladder, the pantry, your flip flops, the lamp, the broom and most importantly, they remember that elusive remote control. They are waiting, humoring you by shaking the childproof nasal spray and Advil while you wash a dish. It will be nano-seconds before they make a break for the only objects in the house that will truly make them happy and add more gray hairs to your head.

Sometimes I look at Sam and think it would be so much easier if I stocked his room with the bread knives, my necklaces, empty cans, full cups, dinner plates and the Sony Playstation. I wonder if I made these things accessible and took the mystery out of them...would Sam make a break and go for (gulp) one of his own toys? If I hid his tool box behind the door in the man lounge where the ironing board used to be...would I catch him off guard, naughtily playing with something made by Fisher Price instead of Black and Decker? I doubt it, but some days I do wonder.

The light of our life, our Little Binky is 9 months, and what a long strange journey it has been thus far. Although not officially walking, he is standing alone and as Andy calls it "dropping it like it's hot" or squatting (actually Snoop coined that phrase). He is pure joy to be around. I love that when I say, "I'm gonna get you!" He laughs and tries to "escape". I love that he knows how to play peekaboo with his daddy. I love that we wave to the "baby in the mirror" every night before we go to bed. I love that after his last bottle, he takes his binky and leans back on my chest before bed. I love his big kisses (which feel more like a hair pulling bite on the cheek). I love this new world that is filled with the uncertainty of being a new parent and the honor that is being Sam's parent. Every day is a bigger joy, every day we see a new smile, a new look and a new discovery. Some are patience builders but most are joyous, precious and remind us that there is a bigger picture to our life with Sam.

In closing, I want to say Happy Birthday to Sam's 2nd cousin, Miss Gillian Grace, and his friend, Miss Ellie Cate. Welcome to the world, ladies! Parents - Many blessings on your new arrivals. After you get some sleep you will wonder how you tolerated a world so dark because the light of your lives has just arrived!
Much Love,
Sam's Mom

A story that has nothing to do with Sam

Some of you may know I used to work at an assisted living facility. This story is about some of those women...It is entirely true and any profanity was straight from the mouths of these to speak.

As a unique new activity, I decided that I wanted to do something that would allow the residents to focus on the needs of others. I wanted to create a real "Chicken Soup for the Soul" afternoon. Something that people would send email forwards about long into the that they could forward them on to others, so that they might win a trip to Disney World if they forwarded it to twelve more people in the next five minutes. Thus, I came up with the Encouragement Circle. I gathered all my residents around in a circle in the library. There was Gertie, a bit confused...(oh who am I kidding, they're all a bit confused)but still had a dry wit that I think was more a result of her dementia than anything else; Elyce, the loud-mouthed northerner who had outlived three husbands and whose dying wish was to have sex one last time before she died (I’m not making this up, trust me, I wish I were); Shirley, never married but traveled the world over, a bit of a know-it-all; Dorothy, a woman whose greatest accomplishment was raising the twins that never came to visit; Ms. Clyde, a retired teacher, who was once valedictorian of her class, but now couldn't remember when lunch was; Dr. Bob, Parkinson’s disease...ex pediatric cardiologist...couldn't remember your name, but could diagnose pulmonary edema using a fork and some thread.

I looked around at the skeptic faces. Many people think that the elderly are so grateful for anything they get that they sit around in utter appreciation for any little tidbit of attention you give them. Well, quite frankly, this is not always the case. They expect a are there for their amusement. They feel the need to ask you a lot of embarrassing questions about you and your boyfriend and why you have gained five pounds since you've been working there, when you needed to lose weight to begin with...stuff I wouldn't tell my diary.

On this day, I thought my activity would go over well. I decided that I would begin the encouragement. "Well, I would just like to say that I think Gertie has a delightful, dry sense of humor and I love the way she laughs." Everyone just looked at me, Elyce squinted her eyes in disgust. Okay...I took in the silence...I guess they didn't understand the game. Gertie just looked at me like I'd gone mad...not only did she not appreciate my compliment but she almost looked offended that I chose to point her out first. "Okay," I thought repeating myself would be a good idea...turns out it wasn't. "Gertie is such a delightful person." "No, she's not!" Elyce's tone indicated that my compliment was I had just said that Osama Bin Laden had a real sensitive side or something. "She's not delightful...she's a pain in my ass." Elyce was yelling now. "Is that so?" Gertie's voice never elevated to match Elyce's...she merely sniffed and stated, "Well at least I didn't kill three husbands." Clearly this was not going the way I had hoped. "I didn't kill them...they all just died 20 years after we were married." "Well," added Shirley who never liked Elyce to begin with. "If I had been your husband, I would have made sure to die after five years." "Well, at least you would have been married you old maid." Elyce was taking on these two women single handedly.

At this point, I was quite sure that my "activity" was headed toward an episode of "Cops" rather than a "Chicken Soup" edition. "Well.." a small voice spoke up...poor Ms. Clyde...she was trying to make peace. "I like the Doctor..." We all looked at Dr. Bob who, in spite of the post menopausal estrogen fight, was dozing happily in his chair...his eyes had opened at the mention of his name..."He's very cooperative..." Ms. Clyde was smiling as she repeated her encouragement. "He doesn't have a choice...he lives in a house with a bunch of women." Elyce was hell bent on shooting everyone down. All the ladies were bickering now...It was all just indistinguishable chatter. I could hear the sound of a private duty aide laughing in the next room. "LOOK" I said standing up in defiant command. "This is an encouragement circle...and if we are not going to be encouraging...fine, but there is absolutely NO YELLING IN THE ENCOURAGEMENT CIRCLE...YOU GET IT! NONE!" Everyone looked at me..."What the hell are you mad at...this was your idea!"

Will I Ever Understand it All?

I wish my Sam could talk. I have quite a few questions for the little guy that I would like answers to. Most notably would the be the answer to the question I ask him about ten times a day. Are you really choking, Sam? I wish my Sam could talk. I would tell him about a little story called, The Boy Who Cried Wolf. I wonder if my Sam could talk, would he get the point I'm trying to make with that particular story?

And Sam, while we're at it, what IS it about the remote control? Does it taste like chocolate?

Why do you insist on chewing on your high chair with a mouthful of Oatmeal and Bananas? Am I not doing enough cleaning?

What is the appeal of flipping over on your changing table while I'm trying to change your diaper? When have we ever taken off a dirty diaper and not put a clean one back on?

Why do some people make you cry while others make you bat those baby blues? Are they promising you money? Extra bottles?

Who do you think I'm making the bottle for when you're pitching a fit on the kitchen floor. No one else here drinks

What is so funny?

Are you really that mad that I won't let you have my camera to chew on? Is this the hill you want to die for?

Why do you insist on putting all of the finger puffs in your mouth at once? Does someone come and steal them when I'm not looking?

Why do you chew on your sippy cup instead of drinking out of it? Do you realize the pressure I'm under at the pediatrician to tell her that you've mastered that?

I also wish, sometimes, I could read those thoughts he must have. The ones that probably say things like, "When mommy turns her head, I'm heading straight for the vaccuum cleaner again...that's where I hid the secret plans to the X300G Black Wing Speed Fighter Turbo Jet which will change the way we fly forever." and of course, "Why does mommy keep making that face and saying, ba? Sometimes her intellectually inept way of communicating with me is vexing." Ah, kids - they think the darndest things.

Later, gotta go read a little mind now.
Sam's mommy

You Learn as you Go...a.k.a. Winging Mommyhood!

So in the past few months, a lot of things that I was told to expect have most certainly come to fruition. I have been peed on, spit up on, there was a crib escape attempt involving a certain Pottery Barn bumper and mostly, everytime I get comfortable in general...something changes. I was forewarned about these events and therefore they are managable. In the midst of the accurate, not so psychic predictions, there have been a number of things, however, that I most certainly did not know before having a baby. In fact, I was only made aware of these situations as they have happened to one chubby, roundfaced child of mine named Sam. I've spent a lot of time wondering if it was normal, if other mothers struggled with these things, or if indeed my child was special for reasons that aren't so spectacular. I wanted to list a few so that the next time I'm in the Walmart with another new mom, I can remember to ask if this has happened to her bundle of joy as well.

Costume Changes. I did not realize that putting on clothes was so traumatic for children. The shirt over the head...not so bad. The arms...what is it about the arms that makes my child scream like he's being cattle branded? There are days I feel like I should put a sign in the yard, "Shirt change...please don't call the cops." I've seen Sam go from a standing position, fall back and hit his head on the bars of his crib, which incidentally made me want to cry, and that did not elicit the reaction that having his "W" is for Whale outfit put on him before church seems to.

Baby food in the eyes. Why have I not predicted this situation? Babies get messy when eating, eating happens around bedtime, bedtime makes Sam rub his eyes. It is clearly a recipe for disaster (pun intended)...but it took the actual experience to make me realize we needed a chemistry lab type emergency eye washer installed in his high chair for such situations. As if wiping his mouth wasn't tricky enough and the fact that he already has territory issues with anything that is in his nose, I now have to delicately get the Stage 3 lasagna out of the corner of his eye whilst he is screaming and fighting? Why did I not see a kit for this by Johnson and Johnson when I was registering?

Pediatric Cross Examination. Which exact noises is he making now? Was I supposed to be taking note of this? I can remember the first few visits to the doctor, and she asked me specifically what noises he was making. I don't know? There were some "M's" and some "Th's" involved though. Let's put it this way...he made some noises. He didn't say the alphabet, he didn't recite the Gettysburg address and he didn't say my name. When he makes a recognizable sound I'll alert you, but for right now, we know he's not mute, so please don't make me recite the exact vowels he has used while chewing on "Roo", because I don't remember them.

The meltdown Clock. Apparently, everyone has nature's clock. For women it is the biological one, for men it's the one synchronized with football season and for has to be the meltdown clock. I don't know where Sam is hiding it, because I would love to get my hands on it, but one minute, in aisle 8 of Walmart...he's flirting with the lady looking at Cheerios and then suddenly, aisle 9 just pushes him over the very short edge of life and his mommy is looking for the nearest exit sign. There's no "yellow light" with the meltdown clock. It's green to red, it's 0 to 60. There is no warning and often no rhyme or reason to it's just is. You can have the sweetest baby in the world but one sideways glance from a stranger at Kohls and you have to call it a day or carry a screaming baby around for the rest of your errand list.

So there you have it...the things I have learned on my own. I'm sure it is a few in an ever growing list that is called life with children. I am up for the challenge and embracing the experience...I wouldn't have it any other way!

Shirt changing time, don't call the cops!

Sam's mommy

Sam's Mommy Vents!

So I think the most ridiculous thing I heard in the first few months of Sam's life was, "Don't put rice cereal in his bottles because he won't learn how to properly swallow. You always should spoon feed it." To which I answered with a perplexed, "huh?" I mean don't you think they'll get the swallowing thing down eventually?

I know what its like as a new mother to hear info from someone's else's pediatrician that conflicts with your own. Early on (and even sometimes now), people would tell me things with such finality that I questioned my own laid back pediatrician and worried that Sam would somehow suffer at the hands of my poor choices about rice cereal. I mean, shouldn't ALL the pediatricians be on the same page? ESPECIALLY when it comes to feeding. I started with fruits where other pediatricians are anti starting with fruits. I put rice in Sam's bottle at about ten weeks and well, you saw the comment above. Apparently it impairs swallowing...whatever.

Some people's pediatricians have their new moms so tied up in knots about mixed fruits and veggies that they don't know what to give their kids. They treat eating like one wrong spoonful will make or break your child's future and then look at you like you're crazy when you question vaccinations and if they are really safe. Like carrots are more dangerous than viruses injected into your baby's system. It makes me insane. I'm lucky...I could order Sam a pizza and my pediatrician would simply ask me if he liked it. But not everyone wants a pediatrician as laid back as mine. I get that...but why the needless worry? They can make it sound like starting with the wrong thing can ruin your baby for life. It's completely unnecessary in my opinion.

I think it goes further than pediatricians. For example: "What to Expect When you're Expecting" and the equally evil sequel about the first year...should be called. "Are you a Good Mother or a Bad this book and see, Rachel" We won't even get into the number of "rules" I broke while pregnant. Sam's here, he's fine. Let's just move on to the part about caring for your child. That book can create so much pressure. As well as all the other books out there about raising kids. In fact, my one rule about my parenting is that I will NOT read a book until I have an actual problem that needs solving (i.e. sleeping, behavior, etc). I'm not going to pick up a book called, "How to Raise your Baby to not be a Schitzophrenic" unless I feel that Sam might actually be a schitzophrenic. It will only say things like "Studies show that babies who were not breastfed and slept in a room decorated with airplanes and blue crib sheets are more prone to having multiple personalities." Don't you think I have enough pressure? I work hard every day to deal with the little things like keeping my son from choking on finger puffs and eating ball point pens when I'm not looking. Stop telling me that too many orange veggies will turn him orange. I don't see the long term effects and oh, by the way, I simply don't care.


I feel much better! Okay, now to the Sam update. Sam is 8.5 months, and he is up to size four
diapers (for his strong legs) and is now cruising and trying to balance without holding on. We will most definitely have an early walker...we're just not sure how early. He is just in a hurry and busy! We have one bottom tooth and the second one about to bust through. It has created some fussiness at times but for the most part he's been a trooper.

One milestone my son has that I didn't read about or expect is that he now checks out women at the grocery store. Yes, you read it right. Ladies will stop to talk to us in the grocery store and as they walk past to go in the other direction, he will lean out to the side around me so he can watch them them walk away while smiling. He's like checkin' them out! Let's hope he didn't learn that from his father :) haha! Uh Oh...I guess I'll have to go buy the book, "What to do when your baby checks out women."

All in all, Sam is doing great. He smiles, he laughs, he loves other babies. He's enjoying his Sunday School visits as well as play dates with his friend, Ashley. Andy and I love our little family and we are so excited about fall, Halloween, first birthdays and Christmas. What a joy it is to have a baby. I could have never truly known how amazing this experience would be!

Have a great day!


He must stay entertained!

Okay, so I never wanted to be one of those moms that felt like I needed to entertain my child all day long. I felt like children should learn to sit patiently until their parents are finished doing whatever chore that needs to be completed. Of course, this theory of mine developed in the quiet moments of not having any children. And you are probably saying to yourself, Ah yes, how is the "learning to sit patiently" going with your 7.5 month old, Rachel?

Okay, so there were ALOT of things that I thought should happen before I knew any better. For instance, I used to roll my eyes at women who nagged their husbands, but then I got married. That's when it dawned on me that those women weren't nagging their husbands, they were trying to have a conversation and their husbands were choosing not to participate in it. Why men don't want to sit in the living room and talk through the "going on vacation checklist" or "Christmas gift buying" for an hour and a half completely baffles me. To me there is nothing better than making lists and spreadsheets. Oh and lest you think I'm insulting my husband, that is no the case, I know a good thing when I got it!

So back to entertaining Sam. Lately I have found myself rushing from one mound of toys to the next; one activity to another in the hopes that something will catch Sam's attention for more than five minutes. On the two days I come home from work early, I load him up in the car and we go wander around CVS or Office Depot (riveting, I know) so that he will have a change of scenery and I can wear him out so he'll be good and sleepy at bedtime. I put the smaller size nipples back on the bottles just so the activity of eating would be slower. I know, it sounds horrible and lately I have felt like Sam is running things in my house. Then someone told me (a few people actually) something that made me feel better. It was what an awkward and hard age this is. Pulling up and crawling. He wants to get out and explore the world around him, but he's not steady on his feet and he has no sense of danger. Also being in the Pack N Play is just not that interesting anymore. It is a hard age, I'm finding. I've baby-proofed areas, but being that he is unstable when pulling up, there is no safe place to let him play. I'm like the constant bouncer and he is a rowdy clubber. There are mornings that I confine him to his Baby Pen that I've fashioned out of couches and ottomans and I doze off only to wake up and see him chewing on his father's house shoe or trying to hop the pillow wall I've made so he can get to the phone cord. I just find it exhausting at times, and its not like I wasn't warned. But I find that, as a new mother, I really don't want you to tell me anything, I really just want you to wait until I ask or let me experience it myself.
But as exhausting as it can be at times, I wouldn't trade this age for anything. When he was younger, you had a few weeks and even months in between milestones. He wasn't interactive, he didn't care if you were his mother or the Orkin man. For Sam, at this age, everyday is a new discovery. He's learned to clap. He can walk a little while holding onto the ottoman. He makes new and interesting noises everyday. He likes the Wiggles (unfortunately). It's just such an amazing look back at how far he's come and all babies come in such a short amount of time.

In terms of the entertainment, I've solved part of my problem. Is it really necessary to pull out all 46 of his toys each morning? Do they all need to be crammed into his pack n play so he won't get bored? The answer to both of these questions is of course no. I'm finding that the many options are a bit overwhelming and if I leave him in his PNP with one or two toys, he stays in there longer. I also just sometimes let him get disgruntled about his predicaments. Mommy has to get ready for work. Everyday she does this. That means, you are in baby jail for 30 minutes. Life is hard, but you ain't seen nothing yet, Kid. One day you will wish you could crawl in that Pack N Play and drool all over "Roo". There are days I sure wish I could.

We also visited Nanny and G-daddy this weekend and had SUCH a good time!

Mommy Loves Sammy!

What are you up to, Sam?

Seriously people, what happened? These last two weeks have been one change after another. Someone crept into my house in the middle of the night and traded the baby I knew, the one that was predictable...dare I even say, on a schedule and left in his place a newly mobile, curious, non-napping baby with more than one objection to the way things are currently done. All at once, we switched to a big boy car seat, a big boy bath, a big boy stroller and even big boy towels...goodbye sweet infant, hello something resembling a kid. Something that watches, learns and (gulp) eventually repeats and mimics. Time to be careful I guess. No more watching Ultimate Cage Fighting with daddy after mommy goes to work.

One other new item to our small house is something I call "baby jail" a.k.a. the Pack N Play (phase 2). Gone are the mornings that Sam can rock in his bouncy seat or lay on the floor playing with a toy as his mother dozes on the couch for a few more moments of precious sleep. Wasn't I shocked the morning I nodded out for a few moments and awoke to see my precious angel with his father's copy of Entourage in his mouth? No Sam, put the DVD down...I'm not even allowed to borrow daddy's stuff. Okay, one more lick, but if he asks...I'm totally blaming it on you. Come to think of it, if anyone asks, the reason I haven't dusted, de-cluttered, laundered, cooked, showered or even looked in the mirror today are all your fault too.

Okay so you know how the big thing these days is to make everyday products have more than one function? Like somehow if my Ped Egg will smooth my feet AND zest a lemon, I'm more inclined to buy it. That's had me at smoothing feet...I'm not in the market to then take it into the kitchen and zest any fruit. I'm fine with that particular item having only one purpose. This was especially funny when I was registering for baby gear. Somehow if it started off as an infant seat, then became a toddler seat, then became their first grade backpack and eventually their first car, I felt like the $39.99 was worth it. Well in the pic above...Sam has also caught the excitement of the multi-purpose item because, ladies and gentlemen...its a hat AND a puppet. You just never know when you are going to need to put on a show in a might need a puppet. Sam is ready...are you?

In addition to all the "new" things happening, Sam has officially begun crawling. Why is it, by the way, that babies fixate on the one or two things in a room you don't want them to have? I could hire a petting zoo to come into my living room to entertain Sam and he would still go for the remote control...what is that about? Gosh they learn to want what they can't have fast don't they?
Also, we are trying to get Sam into a swimming pool, but the first experience was a bit traumatic for him. If you've got any tips on making that less dramatic, I would be grateful. He spent an hour and half crying on and off over 60 seconds in the swimming pool. He cried, would stop, look around, remember he was upset and start crying again (yes, he was working it a little bit with the tears). It was really unsettling to him. We will keep trying though because he loves his baths and baby pool so much that I know he would like floating in the pool. Well, we try again this week...wish me luck!
Have a multi purpose day!

Are you Baby Proof?

All I have to say is that I was totally unprepared for this! I thought the order went, all fours, crawling, pull ups, standing and walking...We have a pull up people! I had to figure out how to lower my crib tonight and in a hurry! Something tells me that I'm not ready for this...

Baby That phrase hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday. I had heard it repeated over and over again since I'd given birth. Wise women who walked before me (and by that I mean my mother) kept saying..."You know when he gets mobile..." Mobile...HA...that sentence left my eardrums as soon as it hit. That won't happen...he won't get mobile any time soon! It was like someone starting a sentence with, "When you retire..." I know its out there, but it really doesn't affect me right now. Let's worry about other things. Well...Sam can pull up and is about two episodes of the Wiggles away from crawling, so color me affected!

Upon discovering Sam's pull up talent, I fumbled through my basket of books last night looking for the "What to Expect the First year, " book that I had promptly hidden away when I flatly refused to enforce tummy time. What do experts know? I finally stumbled upon it shoved in the bathroom linen closet next to a copy of "Childbirth, the Natural Way." - That's where I keep all books I resent. I grabbed it like it was a defibrilator and my only lifeline to understanding what was about to come next. Baby proofing, there has to be a paragraph on baby proofing in here somewhere. Paragraph! The words of a naive, first time mom. Try four pages of "things to be aware of". I read in disbelief, horror and fear...I was thinking that it might just be easier to pitch a tent in the backyard and live there. I can fight off mosquitoes and coyotes easier than I can latch everything closed, bolt everything else against the walls and staple gun pillows throughout the house...Oh dear, what is in store for us?

Wish me luck,


It's Summertime!

Babies get away with everything! What's cute for a baby, ain't so cute for an adult. For instance, could you imagine sitting buck naked in an inch of water in your backyard in the middle of the day? If you can, keep it to yourself for you are the quintessential redneck joke. Jeff Foxworthy will be contacting you directly for new material.

Well, Sam had his first "pool" experience today and it was adorable. There is something, as a mom, that feels strangely comforting in being able to strip your baby down to nothing and throw him (not literally) in a tub of water. At first, I'm sure he was thinking, "Lady, I'm FREEZING in here." As indicated by the massive fit pitched upon first placement in the water...sorry I couldn't get you the hot tub, Sam. Well, I took him out and we tried again. This time, I started with toes and fingers and gradually got that bare bottom sitting in an inch of hose water...geez I hope I didn't break the watering ban by filling up his pool. Please don't turn me and Sam's grandmothers in...then who would remind him of how adorable he was every second? He was precious...and he had so much fun taking turns splashing in the water and chewing on the cup we gave him to play with. I wish I was so easily amused.

As we have passed the six month mark, little Sam is progressing in a number of ways. He has officially outgrown his infant seat and we have purchased a "big boy" carseat. Now, if someone could just tell me how to install the darn thing, I would be so grateful. Fourteen pages of directions for a piece of equipment with two pieces in the box. What is it about "some assembly required" these days? When I was pregnant, I had everything assembled two months before Sam made his appearance. I bought batteries for everything, put screws in, attached component "A" to component "B"...I even had batteries in the remote control to the mobile (why do mobiles come with a remote control you might be asking...not sure, never used it). Now, I find myself staring at the high chair box, thinking...maybe I could just prop him up on the box and somehow feed him that way with a towel underneath. I have way lost my motivation to assemble and I haven't even experienced one Christmas. I think the carseat is a job for daddy. Don't worry, we will install it, there is no need for Social Services to do a home visit.

Have a Splash today!