Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

We finally carved our pumpkin Wednesday night! Actually, I scooped out the "guts" and Russ carved.
Russ gets to dress up at his school for Halloween (so funny to me that middle school students and teachers dress up, but elementary school students- at least at my school- don't get to). Anyway, here is his costume- it kind of freaked me out to be honest (yes, he did actually shave off half of his beard):

More pictures (of Aliza in her first Halloween costume) are coming soon!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thirteen things I've learned since becoming a mom

1) If the baby falls asleep during the day in the car seat, or the bouncy chair, or anywhere other than her crib.... it is NOT necessary to move her to her crib. If you do try to move her, all that happens is she wakes up and then does not nap. Leave her alone. I made that mistake twice before finally figuring out that I'd rather she nap, then nap in her crib.

2) Structures and routines, even from a very young age, are a very good thing.

3) Structures and routines, even from a very young age, could be a BAD thing if it causes your baby to cry when the routine is changed. However, at least we are teaching her to be flexible, right?

4) A baby generates an amazing amount of laundry. I think doing her laundry could almost be considered a full-time job. Also, it is amazing how much one can enjoy doing laundry when the items being washed are cute pink outfits with butterflies and flowers all over them. It's just one more way that I get to take care of her, and I really do love it.

5) Seeing your daughter smile, no matter how often it happens, melts your heart every single time.

6) Same for hearing her laugh.

7) Time is funny.....some days I'll look at the clock and think it should be 3:00 already and it is more like 9:30 a.m. and other days I'll look at the calendar and wonder how in the world my baby girl is about to be six months old when it was just yesterday I was wearing maternity clothes.

8) Just because a pair of pants fit you again, it doesn't mean you should wear them.

9) Babies can communicate quite well, without words. I know when Aliza is full, when she is overtired, when she is hungry....she doesn't need to speak for me to understand what she is saying.

10) Breastfeeding is not convenient. It is tiring. It is also the most wonderful feeling....not only to physically hold her close, to snuggle her in and to hear her little eating noises.....but to know that not only did I nurture her for the nine months that I carried her but also for the months after her is truly humbling and awesome all at once.

11) You can wrap your entire world around your baby. And that's OK. But it's also OK to do something for yourself every now and again--without guilt. (I'm still working on this one.)

12) Little things that used to be ordinary everyday stuff that you took for granted are now luxuries rarely enjoyed. Like taking a long, hot shower. Usually mine is rushed and I'm listening to Aliza cry, or waiting for her to cry, or worrying because she is so quiet....

13) Graduating from college, going to grad school, buying my first car, getting my first teaching position, meeting my husband, getting married, moving into our house....NONE of these come close to the miracle that is giving birth and having a baby.

Monday, October 27, 2008

New and exciting!

I have so much to post about from the weekend that just passed that my head is spinning.... since I can't quite figure out where to begin, I'm going to post about something else entirely- my new car! We finally decided to just take the plunge and buy the car I loved first.
Russ went in with his game face on and I went in with explicit instructions to not say a word, and to not look excited and to not show any emotion at all. Clearly, I was the weak link here because I REALLY wanted this car. So, Russ negotiated, and did a darn good job of it too. He got more for my little red Jetta than I would have thought possible. I didn't realize we'd actually be driving off the lot with the car that very same day. I was actually convinced we'd have to wait awhile, but they had the exact car I I spent a few minutes frantically emptying what little was left in my car and drove off in this- my official, grown-up, mommy mobile:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A few new firsts

Aliza experienced some new firsts this week. Tuesday night we fed her oatmeal for the first time (she LOVED it~ even more than the rice cereal!) and we also gave her a bath in the regular bathtub. Here are some pictures:

And, the bassinet that we still haven't managed to put away (this weekend for sure!) has now become the bed for our other snuggly family member (he just got his hair cut, that's why he looks funny!):

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Blast from the past

This past weekend several (but, unfortunately, not all) of my high school friends got together. A once annual tradition, we used to gather at various locations around the Northeast.....actually, going back even further than that....every summer before school resumed, we would have lunch at a restaurant on the beach, catching up (even though we had usually spent quite a bit of time together over the summer) and getting ready for the school year to come. We all went our separate ways after college but started a tradition of gathering together every Veteran's Day weekend. There are too many memories from those trips to possibly write about but the ones that stand out are the marathon Pokemon Puzzle League tournaments (don't laugh, it's a fantastic game) and, of course, who can forget the trip that involved no running water, so that by the end of the weekend (when we took the most pictures) we were all rather greasy.

Pulling up to the house of my good friend, the memories came flooding back. The last time I had been at that house was probably high school, or maybe summer break during my college years. But I could so clearly remember playing flashlight tag in the backyard (you can laugh at that one, we really were that dorky in high school), baking cookies in the kitchen, gathering in the family room one memorable New Year's eve.....What amazed me most was how quickly, how easily, we all fell into our conversations. There wasn't even much catching up, not because I'm the best person at keeping in touch (because, I'll admit, I'm not) but because that's how easy and comfortable we all are together. We've known each other for years now, and although there is distance between us, some things never change......including the bonds of friendship that were formed years ago, and strengthened over time.

We took more pictures of the babies then of ourselves, so here are a few. Note that Aliza is the only girl, and she is just chilling out while two of the boys cry next to her.

And here she is with her Auntie Nessa, who she clearly adores, as evidenced by the many grins Aliza gave her:

A few of us (including me) had left by the time this picture was taken, running off to a birthday party for my one year old cousin, but here are some of my dear friends:

And one last one, where the boys aren't crying quite so hard:

Friday, October 17, 2008


Apparently I wasn't feeding Aliza quickly enough the other day....she decided to take matters into her own hands!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Trapped in a car dealership

Russ and I continued on our car shopping journey last week. This time we checked out this car, and then this one. We would have checked out some others, but we were practically held hostage at the first dealership and ended up spending more time there then we planned, or wanted to.

I think there were several problems....the first being that the dealer seemed to think that because we are a younger couple we might be naive enough to sign away our hard earned money quickly. The second problem was the dealer was clearly eager to make a sale and didn't understand that we weren't going to buy a car that day. I swear folks, we did everything but tattoo it across his forehead and he just wasn't getting it. And the final problem was, well, the salesman. He pulled out every trick he knew to literally keep us waiting, and talking, and waiting some more....and rather than make a sale, all he did was annoy the crap out of both of us and make us absolutely not want to buy from him.

Aside from his annoying behavior, I also didn't love the Mazda CX7. It was a bit more expensive and, I felt, should come with more features than it did. If I'm going to pay, then, darn it, I want something for it! OK, OK, there were some neat little details, like a back mat in the cargo area that flipped over to reveal a surface that can be more easily cleaned than the carpet, but, there weren't enough details to make it worth my while. The poor man definitely didn't get the hint though because he called the very next day with a Brand New! Grand Touring! Top of the Line! Fully loaded! 2007! That I can have Dirt Cheap!
Thanks, but no.

The Nissan Rogue I liked a lot. Well within our price range and it drove well and handled beautifully. Unfortunately, it is a bit small. For an SUV. It felt a little bit cramped to Russ, and while I was fine in it, I could imagine feeling overloaded with STUFF once the car seat, and the stroller and the diaper bag and god knows what else is in the car. That salesman was new to the job, and it showed. He let us know within the first five minutes that he didn't even know if he liked his job and was considering a career switch- to being a teacher-which I swear he said before he knew we were both teachers! Maybe that's why I liked him so much. That and he reminded me of any of my male cousins on my mom's side. All that aside, the Nissan is probably my second choice, but I am still coming back to this one as my all time favorite.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Recent photos

Wearing shoes for the first time....they didn't last long, like her socks, she kicked them off!

Hugging Daddy!

Sitting and playing like a big girl!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Picture this

The room is bathed in darkness, the only light coming from a nightlight that casts a soft glow over the hardwood floors, gently illuminating the furniture in the room and causing shadows to dance gently on the walls and ceiling....

The room smells of baby--a combination of clean diapers, Dreft and the sweetness that only a baby can smell like...

Soft music plays in the background, classical and soothing, a gentle lullaby that calms...

The only other sounds in the room are the contented sighs and gentle noises of a nursing baby...

A soft chair envelopes me, a homemade blanket serves as a cushion for my head....Aliza is boneless in my arms, trusting. Her eyes are closed, her breath warm and gentle against my skin, her body a cozy warmth in my arms....I breathe in her unique baby smell; her nighttime bath soap and sweet milky breath....

This is how I end my day.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Cars, cars, cars

Before Aliza was born, Russ and I had decided that we would get a new car for me before the winter weather hit. While I do love my cherry red Jetta, it is an older car and does have quite a lot of miles on it. Russ is convinced I will break down somewhere and be stranded with our daughter in the car. Granted, my car has never broken down before, but I love him for being so worried about the safety of his baby girl. (And his wife of course, but, let's be honest, he's mostly worried about his daughter- as he should be!)

We took advantage of a day off of work for Russ yesterday and began our search. After having an extensive conversation we decided to go with an SUV. I know, I know, gas prices, carbon footprint and all that jazz, but the reality of our lives right now involve things like strollers and diaper bags and pack and plays and car seats......all of those things require space. Not to mention getting in and out of a sedan with a baby and/or a car seat is difficult. And I refuse to have a mini-van. Not at this point in my life. I'm sure it will make sense in the future but I'm only 32 for crying out loud.

So, we headed to a nearby town and checked out this car first. I admit, I went in thinking I wouldn't like it. But as soon as I started driving it I absolutely loved it. Granted, anything compared to my Jetta is going to be amazing, but the ride was smooth, the car didn't feel big and it looked snazzy. I think it definitely helped that the salesperson was clearly a pro and reminded me strongly of a very dear friend. I wanted to buy the car from him just because he seemed like such a nice guy.

Next, we test drove this car. This is the one, going in, that I was convinced I would love. My sister in law and brother in law have an Outback that they love, and this car was in Consumer Reports as top of the list for it's safety features, a major concern for us. And, well, I liked it....but I didn't love it. It drove differently--almost stiff. The plus side was that it felt very solid to me but the downside was it wasn't smooth, you could feel the bumps a lot more with this car, which I, personally, don't like. Of course, Russ loved this one, especially when he discovered that you could buy some sort of device that allowed you to plug your Ipod in and control it right from your radio.

Next we wound up looking at this car. Once we saw the sticker price and the highway miles we opted not to test drive it. We weren't in love with it anyways, and those two details turned us right off.

That was the end of our first journey into the car shopping world. We grabbed some lunch and spent some time trying to convince the other of the validity of our choices--Russ arguing in favor of the Forester while I argued in favor of the Sante Fe. The Sante Fe was a deal breaker for him when he discovered that there was no Ipod jack. We finally agreed that we have more work to do and made a list of other cars to go look at. While I was thinking we had a few months, Russ has decided that I should have my new car by some time in October. And that is one point I am happy to concede on!