30 May 2006

hanging with the family

We're back home after 10 days in New England. Oliver had a great time with the family in Maine. The August-like weather was nice, especially for May. For the uninitiated, summer in Maine usually lasts a couple of weeks. The rest of the alleged summer months can be darn chilly.

Though it was warm, I could have skipped the black flies.

More photos at Flickr.

24 May 2006


It was a beautiful day in Massachusetts and we spent some time outside. Oliver is still not sure he likes grass but seems to be faking it nicely in this picture. I was probably making the appropriate silly sounds to get this great expression.

We're having a great time. Off to Maine tomorrow. Vacation is GOOD.

22 May 2006

oh bother

It's a blustery day here in Massachusetts, but I'll take it over the weather I was in yesterday. Driving from the airport to Tika's house I had the fun of a nasty thunderstorm, complete with torrential downpours and hail. I was stuck in a 7 mile backup on the Mass Pike, due to a six+ car accident just before my exit. Bad enough in one's own car, I was in a rental with Oliver sleeping in the back.

I was rewarded for surviving the horrible drive with a spectacular full rainbow just as I approached the lake. It was stunning and I should have stopped to take a picture but we were running late and Oliver was very hungry and fussy.

We are off to a park as soon as Oliver wakes from his nap. Tying his hat on seems like a good plan.

20 May 2006

thanks for visiting

Oliver's Uncle Jinx was in the neighborhood this weekend so we got together for dinner. Oliver was out way past his bed time but did just fine. I think the two extra long naps he took today must have helped. This perpetually happy kid continues to surprise and amaze me.

Click here for another photo.

19 May 2006

one should always dress to match one's toys

Oliver has a new riding toy. He has not yet figured out how to get on it himself so he's mostly pushing it around unless I place him on the seat. He can "dismount" just fine, however.

old friends and new introductions

I've been thinking a lot about old friends lately, especially as I try to scale back some things and re-prioritize a bit. I am going to be seeing a lot of friends on our upcoming trip and I am starting to be giddy with anticipation.

Oliver and I will be spending a few days with my best friend while CD does the work thing in Boston. Tika and I met in Williamstown during the summer of 1986 and formed what seems like an instant bond. I'm not sure how or why, but I am very glad that it happened and that we are still close friends today. I know that she makes me a better person and when I go a long time without seeing her, I get increasingly unhappy with both myself and the world. I would be a very different person today if I had not met her, and I seriously doubt I would like that person or want to be anywhere near her!

The house, which I started going to when it was her mother's summer cottage, is quite possibly my favorite place to relax. In truth, it is one of the few place I have ever been able to relax completely. I am always very well taken care of there and it holds many fond memories. Now I get to introduce Oliver to this special place and I hope he is as happy there as I am. It's really a crime that she doesn't have kids, but that's a story for another day and a situation I hope changes before I get around to writing it.

Another highlight of our trip will be a quick day trip to Williams, another of my most favorite places on earth, and another place I have been eager to take Oliver. I will be catching up with a few more old friends there, ones I have failed to keep in touch with for about 13 years. I looked up their email addresses yesterday (thank you Google - I take back all the mean things I have been saying about you lately) and fired off hopeful messages. I had responses and invitations to visit from both of them in a matter of minutes. Huge sighs of relief....I was so afraid they would not remember me!

And when Oliver and I go back to Boston to fetch CD at the conclusion of his conference, we are meeting my oldest friend for lunch. I have known Bill (dubbed "good Bill" by many of my college friends) for nearly 23 years, longer than just about anyone who isn't part of my family. I first saw him when he was a freshman in college and I was a freshman in high school. 1980. I spied his blue eyes under his football helmet and was done for, and for quite some time, in a typically high-school-girl sort of way. I did a small bit of amateur sleuthing to find out more about him and followed his football career, but nothing prepared me for meeting him face to face in a very small class I was admitted to three years later, in 1983, when we were both seniors. We became friends, and had a truly odd relationship, but always managed to stay in touch somehow, all these years. I last saw him at my wedding, three years ago. He has two daughters now, including a brand spanky new one that is just a couple of weeks old. (This isn't going to be good for my severe case of baby fever AT ALL!) It will be fun to catch up again, this time with children.

Go call or email an old friend you've been meaning to catch up with. You'll be glad you did.

16 May 2006

minor miracle

For those following the weight loss odyssey, I lost 1.8 pounds this week. That's a total of 8 pounds shed in 3 weeks. Considering the anniversary dinner and the absolutely insane food at the Bar Mitzvah this past week, I'm going to invoke the two priests (lost count of the how many rabbis there were) and call it a miracle.

I am going to miss the next two WW meetings due to our upcoming pilgrimmage to New England. Don't hold your breath for another miracle in three weeks.

the authorities can leave Britney alone and come to my house now

We've reached the stage of toddlerhood in which Oliver is starting to look like an abuse victim. He managed to get two big bumps on the head within 10 minutes this morning. And the only thing that upsets Oliver more than a bump on the head is having ice put on the bump. So he's sporting two large lumps, not quite symmetrical, as the bouncing off the sliding glass door wasn't nearly as substantial as the whack from landing on the baby gate latch.

He was especially grumpy this morning even before the head bumping, due to waking up at 4:45 and having his parents spend 90 minutes trying to convince him to go back to sleep. He would look and sound like he was back to sleep, complete with snoring, only to pop up to see where I had disappeared to, just as I was nearing the door. Every time. For over an hour. He ended up flopping over in his high chair for a 10 minute catnap during breakfast with Dad.

Unfortunately, four hours of sleep left me in too much of a stupor to get a picture.

UPDATE: Oliver bumped his head a third time at school today. Doesn't appear to have left a mark, though. The baby gate mark is now multi-colored.

14 May 2006

the truffle defense

I need to come up with an appropriate penalty for CD. He had the nerve to give me a box of chocolate truffles and chocolate-encrusted pretzels for Mother's Day. I'm thinking it would be entirely justifiable homicide.

I'm not sure I can wait until Father's Day to inflict a little payback. He got the Zo' last year. Clearly an error on my part. I love him to bits but sometimes I really want to smack him upside the head. It's more than likely I inspire similar feelings in him on a regular basis, so maybe we are even. Or at the very least, a perfect match.

12 May 2006

priests tonight, rabbis tomorrow

Two priests just left my house. I know the title made you think I was starting off with a joke but no, two priests really did just leave my house. One of them has been emailing me off and on for a few months now. It seems he wants a Clumber Spaniel to be the next "parish dog". He's been in touch with the CSCA rescue and placement coordinator, who insists potential adopters spend some time with Clumbers in a home setting before they can be considered. Hence the visit. He brought along another priest from a parish near our house. I'm not sure if he was looking to recruit or it was just a case of safety in numbers when venturing into the orthodox part of town.

Much as I was dreading it, the visit turned out fine and the priest had a delightful sense of humor. Penguin and Chewy both seemed to approve so I was happy to recommend him for Clumber placement. I hope he takes my advice and gets a young adult instead of a puppy.

Bar Mitzvah tomorrow.... This is more religion than I have been near in many years. I think I may be starting to itch.

at last, a little video

That is Penguin, presiding over the living room from her perch on the sofa, on the left.

11 May 2006

3 years and 13 months

It's been a ridiculous week, hence the lack of blogging. With work, volunteer work, our anniversary dinner, more volunteer work and Oliver, my head is starting to spin. It's not over yet. I have a volunteer thing early tomorrow morning, someone coming to get acquainted with Clumbers tomorrow evening and a Bar Mitzvah on Saturday. I think my brain is going to explode soon so here's the dump. I will try to spare you the incredibly boring bits, though you may not agree the ones I include are actually "interesting".

First, the anniversary dinner, the night before our third wedding anniversary, was great. I decided to forego the wine and just had a sip of CD's here and there. I didn't need to spend 6 or 8 Weight Watchers points on wine. This saved us taking a cab too. Though it was a seven course Pacific Northwest extravaganza, the portions were small. It was all delicious but the absolute to-die for item was a blue cheese from Rogue River Creamery. Or maybe the amuse bouche of chilled fresh tomato soup with herbed creme fraiche. And the salmon tartar. Oh hell...it was all worth every point.

The actual anniversary was kind of nice too. CD outdid himself by getting the same flowers we had at the wedding. He's brought me flowers exactly twice, on our first anniversary and yesterday, and both times he made it count.

Today Oliver is 13 months old. He's been walking for almost two weeks and seems to think running should be next. The independent streak is starting to become visible. Already he is deciding he doesn't want to hold my hand sometimes. There are new words too. "Bubble" is the latest, following quickly after "ball". No sign of anything resembling "mum" that is associated with me though. Maybe Sunday?

Oliver will be put to bed by someone other than me three times this week. Woo hoo! We had a sitter for the aforementioned anniversary dinner. CD put Oliver to bed tonight when I was volunteering at his school. And Saturday night he will have a different sitter, someone we hope he loves. She's home for the summer and we hope to get out a little bit, for a change. She is also dogs/cat/house sitting when we go away later in the month. I had all but given up on ever finding such a person. Too bad she's only home for the summer.

Getting back to the whole bed-time thing...I really do love that time with Oliver, but it is nice that my presence is no longer required. The routine is as much for me as for him and as soon as we start to read The Going to Bed Book I start feeling a little wistful, wishing he could stay exactly as he is in that moment. He's starting to pay more attention to our nightly Winnie-the-Pooh reading and we haven't met Tigger yet. We just finished the Expotition to the North Pole and Piglet is about to be surrounded by water. Not bad for a month of reading.

07 May 2006

anyone for slaw?

I have a very large head of cabbage in the fridge, missing only four leaves, and I'm not sure what I should do with it. I didn't expect to have so much left over.

After nearly two weeks of the painful side effects of Oliver's weaning, I tried cabbage leaves. I'm quite astounded that four leaves of cabbage could releive the pain and reduce all the hard lumps I had. Bloody brilliant.

I know you're dying for details so visit Kellymom.com.

06 May 2006

call him Imeldo

Gotta love eBay. I picked up two pairs of Robeez for Oliver last week. His 6-12 sized ones are getting a bit tight so I thought some larger ones were in order. I chose the brown sandals and the blue "argyle" pattern. On Friday one of Oliver's teachers told me he went to the playground. This is usually the domain of the older children in the school but occasionally a few of the Infant Wing children go there too. It dawned on me that Oliver is walking now, and should probably have the opportunity to walk out of doors. And the Robeez aren't going to cut it for all situations anymore. A day I have worried about since I was 17 was suddenly here...getting real shoes for my kid.

Some explanation is in order. When I was in high school, and for a little while in college too, I worked in shoe stores. At my first job I was given special training in how to baby shoes. Back in the day (we're talking the mid-1980s) baby shoes were white and the soles were rock hard. I often thought the day I have my own child fitted for shoes would probably be one the sales person would be trying to forget for years.

Turns out it wasn't so bad, for any of us (me, Oliver, the salesperson). This is probably because baby shoes have changed just a bit in the last 20 years. They come in colors now! And they bend!!

Oliver is now the proud owner of a lovely pair of Ecco sandals. And has a second pair on order. That's right...four new pairs of shoes in a matter of a few days. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree at all. I was happy to have converted CD to Ecco's earlier in the year, with a little help from DSW, but I had no idea they made shoes for children as young as Oliver. Shopping for the kid is turning out to be way too much fun.

moo baa oh enough already

We're learning just how good Oliver's memory is, with Moo Baa La La La as our evidence. I blogged about this previously and have since learned he is asking his teachers to read it to him over and over too. This morning, as he was getting his first diaper change of the day, he looked up and asked, "La La?" It sounds a bit more like "ya ya" but I'm pretty sure he's not yet acquainted with the sisterhood. I have held him off so far this morning with But Not the Hippopotamus and That's Not My Bunny, with pretty good success.

Oliver is a boy in constant motion these days so I was excited to get his first riding toy yesterday. Alas, it shipped with only three wheels. BabyCenter generously gave me a $15 credit for the inconvenience. I hope Little Tikes is as accommodating and can send the missing wheel quickly.

05 May 2006

molar malaise

Oliver has been somewhat out of sorts this week. His teachers report he's been unusually fussy and clingy, wanting to be held frequently. He has been waking frequently in the night and his eating has been very erratic too. There's been a fair number of kids with colds and ear infections in his class so I have been checking his temperature frequently, but it has been normal. Tonight I spotted what might be a clue, in the form of a MOLAR peeking its way through the gum. I thought we had some time before the molars started. Looks like I need to go back to nightly perusal of the baby books.

03 May 2006

no viola jokes, please

Paul Silver, a violist with the Pittsburgh Symphony, has been visiting Oliver's school nearly every week since February. He spends about half an hour in the Infant Wing and parents are welcome to stay for the festivities. I haven't always been able to make it but I did make a point of being at the first and last sessions. Paul's last visit of the year was on Monday and I took note of how Oliver and the other children have changed since the visits began.

Some children hid in the backroom that first week. They could watch through the windows but be only as close as they were comfortable. Oliver was fearless, of course, and very curious. He wasn't the most outgoing, but he was interested and attentive. Each week the children became more comfortable with Paul, his viola and the music. There was dancing, peek-a-boo games with scarves and a few children who were willing to touch the viola. I wish I had a photo of the week when Oliver decided to sit on Paul's foot!

Paul brings a varied repertoire to the children, everything from Twinkle, Twinkle to classical pieces, from Take Me Out To the Ballgame to Ode to Joy. At least one other parent is a Red Sox fan and we try to make our voices heard at the appropriate point. He does a great job of mixing the familiar with the new and different. The week Paul played "Simple Gifts" was a real treat for me, since that was the piece our good friend Jenni sang at our wedding.

Since that first visit, Oliver learned to clap and most recently, to walk. He did lots of dancing at Paul's last visit, especially to an Irish jig (sorry, Mom). At home he frequently "rehearses" some of the things Paul does with the children. Baa baa ba-ba baa is a particular favorite. If you know anything about Kindermusik, you know what I'm talking about.

Paul Silver talks about his experiences with the children in this article. I'm already looking forward to next year when his visits resume.

02 May 2006

dinner is at Eleven

It seems I was a good little Weight Watcher last week. I lost five pounds!! I wasn't expecting nearly that much of a first week loss since I already drink a lot of water. Most of the big loss Weight Watchers experience when they start the program is water weight. Once the body starts getting a steady, sufficient supply, it lets go of the excess water it was retaining before, when it was essentially in "survival mode".

On a related topic, check out this menu. CD and I are splashing out just a bit for our anniversary next week. I'm going to have to be a VERY good little Weight Watcher before and after that meal. I think it is do-able, as long as I don't decide to eat every speck of food or drink every drop of wine that is put in front of me. The beef with fiddleheads and morels might be a different story. I just hope I can manage to keep from embarrassing myself by licking the plate.