Thursday, September 30, 2010

Baby Needs a New Pair o' Shoes

We put it off as long as we could. But with the change in seasons comes the necessity to buy our kid some shoes. As much as he'd prefer to remain barefoot, Des is past the age where it's acceptable for him to be out in public without footwear. Sad faces all around.

We needed shoes that were casual, comfortable, would go with almost anything Des wears, and wouldn't slip off. Robeez were out. I love my child, but there is a line. $30+ for an item that he's going to grow out of in a few months is crossing it. Off to Target we go!

Shocker, the selection for baby boy shoes was limited. Despite a full wall of pinks and purples and ladybugs galore, our pickins were slim.

So here's what we ended up with:

They'll do the trick. They go with everything and they don't slip off despite his very best efforts. He still manages to chew on them while they're on his feet though. I'm telling you, his talents are endless. Other than the chewing issue, he doesn't mind them on his feet at all. Success!

Now I'm hoping to find a non-sneaker version that he can wear for more dressy occasions. I'm thinking brown moccasins. Let's face it, we're not going anywhere that calls for wing-tips or a chelsea boot. Although how cute would that be?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dining Out

Tony and I used to go out to eat at least once a week. Usually more like two or three. We'd start the month all, "Yeah, let's plan our meals and stock the fridge and cook recipes and whatnot!" Bright eyed and full of good intentions. But then we'd get lazy, stare at the fridge, and be all, "Let's just go to Outback."

Nowadays we have a real reason to stay home every night. Financially and logistically, it just makes sense. And now that we're in the rhythm of cooking for ourselves, going out actually seems like a hassle!

But we still get out every once in a while. Usually for Mexican because it's not our favorite thing to cook. And I love a good margarita. As you can see:

Hello love. Oh, and hi there Desi boy.

Now that Des is sitting up and eating solids, he's very easy to entertain. Keep tossing puffies on his tray and he's a happy boy.

And getting out of the house gives him a chance to get his flirt on with the waitresses.

Come here often?

Just don't eyeball his food, or he will eyeball YOU.

Hey, we don't get out much.

Happy birthday to our friend, Danielle, aka DINK. She's joining the Dirty Thirty club today! And in celebration, she started up her blog again. Yaay!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Early Days of Parenthood

Today I attended a baby shower for our dear friends Jeannie and Chris, who are expecting a baby boy in a matter of weeks. Their families were wonderful hosts and J+C raked in a ton of great stuff for baby.

It brought back a wave of memories and emotions for me. I remembered how I felt the day of my shower... Excited, uncomfortable, grateful, overwhelmed. I didn't realize that all those same emotions would multiply by eleventy billion once Des got here.

As a soon-to-be new parent, you get a TON of advice. Some solicited, some not. Inspired by Jeannie and Chris, these are some things that we learned along the way about the early days.

- Listen to advice, but don't take it as gospel (including this blog!). You have no idea how many times I heard, "Sleep when the baby sleeps!" Obviously sometimes you'll be sleeping when the baby is too. But many times, especially during the daylight hours, you will have to get shit done when the baby is sleeping. Don't freak out! Everything will be okay! Shocker, you're going to be sleep deprived. You will get through it.

- What works for some families, doesn't work for others. We were told by a close friend to sleep in shifts, or face rapid burn out. Sometimes this worked, but mostly both Tony and I would be up with the baby. Feedings, changings, rocking. Neither of us could sleep if the other was up. And this was fine for us. Tag team is just not how we work.

- Don't feel like you're offending someone by returning a gift, even/especially if it was on your registry. People swear by certain baby gear, but your baby might be all, "Oh hellllz no." EXCHANGE IT. There's always something else you'll need.

- If at any time someone asks if they can do anything to help, one word: FOOD. Gift certificates to local take-out joints, a variety of home cooked meals that freeze well, etc. You won't want to cook or go to the grocery store or leave that 10x10 area of your house for a while. You're gonna need some easy, healthy eats, especially if you're breastfeeding.

- Get some comfortable loungewear that also makes you feel human. Real clothes are out of the question. You'll still be healing and in some pain, and the baby will be spewing fluids left and right. Those ragged PJ's are cozy, but they'll get old after a while. I bought a couple pairs of stretchy yoga pants that are suitable to wear to bed as well as to Target if necessary.

- Take advantage of the hospital while you're there. The nurses encouraged us to keep the baby in our room. It was easier for feedings and it would get us all used to eachother. My older, wiser sisters WITH KIDS told us to send the baby to the nursery at least one night and do not feel guilty. We did the last night and by god, it was glorious. The nurse brought the baby in when he was hungry, and then back to the nursery after. Tony and I got like 5 solid hours of sleep. And we woke up refreshed and ready to take a baby home!

- I know people always say 'Enjoy every moment.' Debbie Downer's here to say, you will not enjoy every moment. It's not all magic and hugs and rainbows. Things might straight-up suck at times. But like I've said before, there's nothing like the light of a new day for a fresh perspective. Newborn cuddles are pretty great too.

Best of luck to Jeannie and Chris in this exciting time. I can say with absolute certainty that you guys will be amazing parents.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Self Reflection

I am mildly agoraphobic.

Isn't everybody? At least a little?

There was a TV show called 'Sisters' back in the 90s, and one of the husbands would never wear anything but his PJ's and a robe. He would only go as far from the house as the mailbox. Even in my closeted pre-teen sense of the world, I could tell he wasn't a lazy person. He was comfortable within a certain zone and fearful of anything outside of it. I can totally relate to that guy.

I always prefered to think of myself as a free spirit, hippy, go-with-the-flow kind of person. And a part of me is, or still wants to be. But the more time passes, the more I realize that I am a creature of habit, comfortable and satisfied in the every day routine. Sometimes it feels like a warm blanket and sometimes it feels like an anchor. It takes constant work to keep it on the lighter side.

I can even see it looking back to my teen years. I was content to stay in on Friday nights watching TV with my sister and my mom (hence the previous reference to 'Sisters,' which was on Friday nights). It's amazing I was able to keep friends with the number of times I cancelled plans at the last minute. It was sort of a running joke with them. But they kept inviting me out, as unreliable as I was. I should send them all a thank you note and a hug for that.

Nowadays, I prefer to stay in our house or yard. A stroll around the neighborhood or trip to Target is nice, as long as both Tony and Des are with me. If I leave the house without one or both of them, there is always anxiety. It's not crippling or severe. It's just there, like an itch I can't scratch. I've learned to ignore it most of the time.

A good friend of ours, Chad, is almost the complete opposite. He has lived all over the world, from New England to the West, from Eastern Europe to New Zealand, and traveled everywhere in between. He can't seem to stay in one place for very long. He's a professional couch-hopper, takes little jobs to get by, and he can carry everything he owns in a backpack. It's a fascinating, admirable way to live. And it's totally alien to me.

He recently came back to New England for a few weeks and just left to head out West again the other day. It was so nice having him here, but we knew he wouldn't/couldn't stay. We'll miss him and his lovely girlfriend, Janka. I think saying goodbye to them has sparked this bit of self reflection.

This weekend I have plans that involve me driving a few towns away. Saturday I'll take Des with me, Sunday I'll be alone. I've been looking forward to these plans for weeks, but now that it's here I'm trying to come up with excuses to just stay home wrapped in a blanket with my boys. Same old story.

Also with the passing of time comes a stronger sense of self-awareness and maturity. So I will make myself go. And I'll have a good time, as I almost always do... it's just hard to see through the fog sometimes.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Desi Kisses

I call them kisses. It's really more like latching on to my face.

I was alone and cracking up laughing, so this is the best photo I could get today:

Pay no attention to the nostrils. Just look at his face. All business and determination. Determined to show his pure, undying love for mama.

Daddy's jawline is too scruffy for this kinda action, so mommy gets the brunt of Desmond's 'kisses.' I'll take them. Quite happily.

Although when he gets his first tooth I might not be laughing as much.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Crawling update

... Okay, we're not there yet.

I had hoped to post an entry with the title "We're on the move!" with all kinds of photos of Desmond progressing from one side of the room to the other.

Hey, no rush! All babies progress at their own pace. But ya know. People are starting to talk. They all ask "Is he crawling yet?" No. No, he's not. I get it. Des is 8 months old now, and looks quite a bit older. Tall and lean like his daddy. People see him and assume he's walking, nevermind crawling.

And I think his size is partly the reason for the delay (for lack of a better term). Those damn long limbs getting all tangled up in themselves.

So in lieu of crawling photos, here are some pivoting photos. He's got the pivot down.

Start position.

Quick like a cat!

Beautiful 180 degree turn. Form, grace, skill. He's got it all.

Ooh! Something shiny!

And eventually... back to the start.

Extra points for cuteness.

Don't listen to those people talking, baby. Take your time on the crawling. You're the best pivoter ever.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Homers for Hiltzy Jr.

This Saturday, Tony along with the boys of MNBL hosted a home run derby to benefit one of their own. Brian Hiltz tragically lost his 6-year-old son, Brian Jr. in August. So incredibly heartbreaking, I cannot even comprehend what kind of hell it is to lose a child. Life is so fragile.

The benefit was to help offset the costs of the services, and anything extra raised would go to The Make A Wish Foundation. Tony really stepped up and took the reigns on planning this with a few other members of the league. It took many hours and effort, and it showed. I'm so proud of him. And I truly appreciate and admire our community for coming together in support of a local family. In the face of such sadness, it gives me the warm 'n fuzzies.

Tony pitching to his dad.

Tony was a trooper and the first one to volunteer for the dunk tank.

This girl and her friend were out for blood!

He got a little wet.

We're not sure exactly how many people were there, but we'd say at least 300 or so. Tons of little kids, bouncy house, dunk tank, raffle, etc. The homerun derby had about 90 participants ranging in age from 5 to 60 years old. It was a fantastic, fun family event, and they hope to repeat it each year.

Great event. Well done, boys.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Time Savers

Evie is my ultimate hero lately. If only I could stop time with my index fingers, the things I would do. Get the laundry done! Do dishes! Cook a proper meal! Maybe finish that novel I've been working on. Yes... defintely that.

Months, days, minutes seem to be slipping through my fingers like water. I can't catch my breath! POOF! My newborn baby, pink and slimy and screaming at the light of the outside world, is now 8... months... old.



Oh hello there, giant human boy. Could you help me with my novel?

In light of my recent frantic feelings of PANIC and DROWNING and slow everything down for a second PLEASE!! ... here are a few time saving tips I've learned along the way:

- Choose head-to-toe outfits for the week and iron on Sundays. This doesn't happen every week, but when it does, my mornings are a total breeze. Cuz I'm not running around figuring out which (clean) top can go with these (unwrinkled) slacks, and which shoes are the right height for all the running around I have to do, and my necklace. Where's my necklace? ('It's hard to live with a lie'.. obscure reference alert.)

- Do everything possible the night before. Make bottles for daycare, replenish the diaper bag. Make breakfast/lunch/snacks and have them ready to bring to work. Place laptop bag and purse at the door, keys and sunglasses out on console table.

When I start getting my toothbrush ready for the mornings by placing it on the bathroom counter with a dollop of Crest, I need to re-assess my life.

- Timed coffee maker. Get one. Just scoop the grounds and water into the machine the night before, Harry Potter swings by to wave his wand, and coffee is there when you wake up! Magic is awesome.

- Night showers. It's so much easier to bathe after the baby's asleep and the house is quiet. Much more difficult trying to squeeze in a shower in the morning after spotty sleep with a whole other person to get ready too. Plus I treat it as a relaxing time after a long day. Bathing as spa treatment. Life got weird.

- Try to do these things and any other tedious house work when the baby's sleeping. Easy for me to say with my champion sleeper, right? Hey, I said 'try.' And when he's awake, sit on the floor, make funny faces, and dance around the house. The dishes can wait.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ugh. Work.

Is. In. SANE. In the membrane.

But right now my boys are at home. Looking like this, I imagine:

I get to go home to these people every day. Life is not bad.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sleeping Like a Baby

Since Des was born, one of the first questions people ask is:

"How is he sleeping?"
"Is he a good sleeper?"
"Sleeping through the night yet?"

Literally it's either the first or second question, always. Apparently this is a may-jah concern in the parenting world. I get it, I really do.

And every time I reply, I bite my lip. Early on I hesitated to answer truthfully, for fear of jinxing it. When I did, I'd knock on wood, say a quick Hail Mary, throw imaginary salt over my shoulder. But it's almost 8 months in, and that fear is finally gone. Pretty much...

Here's the truth. Desmond is a fantastic sleeper.

There. I said it. And oh god, the coffee table is going to get a knuckle beating tonight.

He's been sleeping through the night consistently from about 10 or 12 weeks. Before that, he was up once a night for a feeding. And always around the same time.

He's predictable and easy to read. If he rubs his eyes, we put him down for a nap. If it's close to 7pm, it's bed time, and he's down for the night. Then he's up between 5 and 6am. The past 3 mornings he was up at 5:41am EXACTLY. He's a machine! I gave birth to a human alarm clock!

Sure, he has his tough days of 'fighting it' or not napping long enough. A few times he has woken up crying inconsolably. Nightmares, we presume. But thankfully, that's not often. We never did any sleep training. It just kinda happened. We are obviously just so amazingly awesome at this parenting thing. What, like it's hard?

I read and hear stories about babies not sleeping well the whole first year and beyond. I feel spoiled. I feel guilty. I wonder what we did to deserve such a luxury. And I fear the future, when the universe finally grabs me by the neck skin and slaps me in the face repeatedly. Maybe Des will decide he doesn't need to sleep through the night anymore. Or maybe we'll get it with the next child. Shudder.

I'm enjoying it now. Because god only knows what's going to happen after I post this. I am so scared. Universe? Please be kind.

Crappy camera phone photo. Still captures cuteness.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fire Pit Fridays

Speaking of favorite things about summer...

This year we started a tradition of blazing up the fire pit on Friday nights. We invite friends in the area, and whoever can make it comes over if they can. Attendance has ranged from 3 (including me and Tony) to 15 people. Very low-key, chill, like most things in our lives. Bring brews and throw some burgers on the grill. Maybe we'll use plates, who knows. It's the weekend! Everyone's just lucky Tony's wearing pants.

Des even has his own fire pit chair! Although he's usually asleep for the bulk of the action. We'll teach him to hang with the gang in due time.

It's something to look forward to at the end of a long week, and a perfect way to enjoy a summer night with friends. On the really late nights (I'm talking like 12-1am... PARTY. ANIMALS.), it can make for a rough Saturday. Des is up around 5am, no matter how much I beg him, "Mommy's got a headache, baby boy. Just sleep a little longer." What's up with 7-month-olds these days? So unreasonable.

But the recovery day is totally worth it. The smell of smoke and bugspray, so many stars above, a cool breeze if we're lucky. And stories around the fire.


Gibby and Des watching Daddy prep the pit.

Some day we hope to turn this area into a stone patio. Maybe get some chairs from this century. Times are tough, but we still have fun.

Chad Dixon. Adventurer, world traveler, dog whisperer.

Jaclyn's last night on the east coast, spent with family and friends at FPF.

We'll keep up these weekly pit get-togethers into the fall, I'm sure. But it is such a true summer activity. I'm looking forward to autumn, but I will miss these summer nights.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Boys of Summer

One of my favorite parts of summer is baseball. (So cliche, right?) I'll watch it at any level, any day... Little League to the Majors and everything in between. I wouldn't be a true Boston native if I didn't live for the Red Sox. One of Tony and my first dates was at Fenway. And hi, have you met my husband? He's a lil' cuckoo. One year he went to every.. single.. Sox home game. Free of charge.

I should make him post that story some time.

Truth be told, my favorite games are Tony's. He's been playing in a mens night baseball league for 8 years. My bro-in-law Nick and some other friends play in the same league. All the games are played at a beautiful field less than a mile from our house. I'll usually walk down with an insulated mug full of wine and spend an evening chilling with my sissah Janet at the field.

Tony's always telling me to get a hobby. Is it wrong that I consider this one? Okay, I joined a book club, get off my back.

It may or may not be totally coincidental that there will also be wine at book club.

This year I've only been able to attend a few games due to the early bedtime of He Who Runs Our Lives. But it is so fun bringing Des down to the field. Even if he doesn't quite understand what's going on yet. I made him a cute little outfit to show daddy some support:

This year my cousin Justin has also joined the league. He plays on the same team as Nick (The Green Shamrocks), and they are holding strong in first place due in large part to their new ace.

The night the Crush played the Shamrocks, a bunch of the Cawley clan made the trek up north of the tunnel to see the boys play.

Photos courtesy my sister Deanna.

The bad guys won (green), but it was still a fun night.

As everyone talks about the end of summer, I think about the end of the season and how much I'll miss taking Des down to the field as a baby. Next year he'll be walking with me and want to play on the swings.

And I'll have to make a bigger t-shirt!
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