Saturday, January 29, 2011


This is Neely-cat. Named after a Boston sports legend, with the slick moves to prove it. Around 11 years old, featherweight, sweetheart.

- Empty boxes.
- Ribbon, string, tinsel, or anything else that hangs all playful-like.
- Collecting and eating tumbleweeds of dust in the corners of rooms.
- Puking partially digested dust bunnies on laptop bags, couch cushions, curtains, and pretty much anything that cannot be easily cleaned or wiped down.

- Being attacked or touched from behind. Brings back flashbacks of his early days in Nam (i.e. adjustment period with brother Loki-cat, RIP).
- Being ignored. To prevent this he will climb up on your face until his whiskers snake their way inside your nostrils.
- Toddlers learning to climb. :shudder:

Since Loki passed away in November, we've tried to pay special attention to Neely. There's never been a time in his life when he's been without another animal around. But he seems to be adjusting to the concept well. He's put on some weight (in a good way) and come out of his shell.

Having lost 2 pets (Barkley and Loki) in a matter of 1 year, it's an adjustment for us as well. And knowing how quickly the times passes, we want to be sure the precious time Neely has left is happy. So we've given him more freedom, allowed him to explore parts of the house he hasn't before, and even let him sleep with us at night.

The last part has been a challenge. He's fine throughout the night, sleeping soundly at our feet. Although for the first few nights if I had to get up to use the bathroom, I'd forget he was there and fling the covers off of me, sending Neely flying off the bed like Super Cat. Oops! Now I know to check for a snoozing kitty before getting out of bed.

But come 4am, I feel Neely start to creep up from the foot of the bed. He's a little cat, so it feels like his paws are fingers pressing on my legs, then my hips, chest, until he's all up in my grill, purring like a lawn mower in my ear. I'll put my arms up in an attempt to block him. I've even picked him up and placed him on top of Tony, who generally appreciates cats more than I do. (And who also manages to sleep through all of this business, of course.) But these defenses do nothing to thwart Neely-cat from his ultimate goal... Waking and choking me with his fur and love.

These early morning shenanigans have not subsided, nor has my frustration. But I'm trying to be a sport about it. He just needs some time. We all do, I guess.

But seriously? Go bother your father, cat!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Desmond's First Year Slideshow

For your viewing pleasure, if you have a spare 9 minutes in your life:

"First Day of My Life" - Bright Eyes
"Three Little Birds" - Bob Marley (orig), covered by Elizabeth Mitchell
"Glow" - Donavon Frankenreiter

I still can't watch it without crying. But I'm a sap like that. And ya know, it's my kid 'n all. My baaayybeee, I mean.

The best part of watching this with everyone at Desmond's party was cousin Katie pointing and yelling "DES!" at every. single. photo. That girl is a hoot.

Tony and I had so much fun making this. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

First Haircut

It's been obvious for a while that Des needed a haircut. The bangs were past his eyes and the back was starting to cascade down the collar of his shirts in a very mullet-like fashion. It cannot be tamed, no matter how many passes with a comb I take at it. And unfortunately, the hairclip for little boys has not been invented yet. I'm putting a request in to the creators of the European shoulder bag to get on that.

I've been reluctant to cut it. As you know, I'm not usually sentimental. But I kept looking at his hair thinking, that's the same hair he had the day he was born. And when he was growing inside my belly we had no idea he'd come out with this full head of dark hair. Over time it gradually got lighter, as we figured it would (Tony's hair was white-blonde as a kid and mine has always been on the fair side). But it's still the same hair from my teeny tiny newborn baby boy.

It's not like I made a big fuss the first time we cut his fingernails, saving the little clippings in a baggy with the date on it. I promise you I did not do that. But hair, nails... they're technically the same thing, right?

So before his birthday, as visions of his mop-top covered in blue frosting danced in my head, we decided it was time to suck it up and take the plunge.

We originally planned to take him to one of those haircut places for kids, with the rocket ship chairs and TVs playing cartoons at every station. We even drove up one afternoon. I went in to ask what the wait was and it was like Dr. Seuss exploded in there. It was a 30 minute wait, with dozens of overstimulated kids running around, and I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

Instead we took him to a local barber that Tony went to as a kid. We pulled up and I was all excited that they had one of those red, white, and blue twirling barber poles. Ooh so kitsch, I love it! Walking in, the vibe was slightly... different.. than the other place. Let's just say that instead of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck on the walls, there were other animals... heads of them.

"Hmm... this is a lovely room of death. Look Des, Bambi!"

Okay, so I would get past the carcasses. And the pro-hunting, anti-liberal bumper stickers everywhere I looked. And the oddly grandma-esque display of porcelain teacups badly in need of dusting. Where am I? Did I just enter some alternate universe? Maybe the deep south? But for some reason, it all worked. Tony grew up here, Des was totally at ease, and I felt like this was the right place for his first haircut. Whoa.. was I feeling alright? This really is another universe.

Some before shots of the do:

After a short wait in the room of death, they were ready for him. Des was in good spirits and I was hopeful that this would go well.

He was a little hestitant at first. But he stayed still and went with it.

Finding his happy place.

This is a face that says, "You guys are gonna sit there and let a stranger do this??"

Then he got a little fussy. Then a little more. Until he wanted none of it anymore.

And the barber brought out his secret weapon.

A toy jeep with a dead deer strapped to the front that played "Sweet Home Alabama." The deer lifted his little head and sang along with the chorus. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

And by golly, it worked. He was totally entranced, and more importantly, still. So the man with the sharp scissors could do his job without any bloodshed.

It was my job to keep pushing the button after the song stopped.

A few snips here and there, and he was finished. Not his finest work, the barber admitted. But it did the trick. He looked like such a handsome little man!

And as is tradition for first timers at this fine establishment, Des got his photo taken reading a Playboy.

It's a bonding moment every mom dreams of sharing with her son.

All in all, it was a surprisingly fantastic experience. Nothing like I expected it to be. But I don't know how anyone could have predicted such a scenario.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Desmond's 1st Birthday Party

Warning this entry is extremely picture heavy!
On that note, all photos are by Scott Barbick. Editing by me (so don't blame Scott for that!).

Desmond's first birthday was Saturday January 15, 2011. What a day. It was an overwhelming, joyful celebration for our little one. It took a lot of work by me, Tony, and many other hands, but I think we pulled it off. Everyone had a great time (at least I hope so!), including the birthday boy... as long as he had a veggie stick in his mouth.

Truth be told, Desmond is not into crowds. And perhaps for future birthdays we'll keep it a little more low key. But we needed this. For him, for us, and for our whole family. We never had a christening or dedication or anything like that. So this was really a celebration of our first year as a family. We made it. Phew.

I made this banner with my own two handsies. I hope he likes it, cuz it will be the center piece for many birthdays to come.

When we realized how many people would be attending, we took a hard look at our home. I half debated renting a hall. But instead, we took our open concept living space, removed a lot of the furniture, and replaced it with hall-like tables and chairs.

It worked out very well. We'll definitely be using that idea for future parties.

To the surprise of everyone (and yet no one), Auntie Jaclyn flew in all the way from California for the ocassion. And the tears flowed like wine. Auntie wouldn't miss her "lovie's" day. Des will appreciate that one day. For now, we appreciate it for him, in spades. Love you Jac!

4 generations of Salamone men.

So many presents. Billy and Katie helped out.

Katie enjoyed the gift portion of the party very much. Also, the lollipop eating portion. And the portion where she entertained everyone with her hilarious charm. So.. the whole party.

Sorry, Tony... your quick wit is no match for Katie's hilariousness.

Desmond was not a huge fan of the cake. At that point, he was pretty done with his party. But we even tried the cake the day after, in a calm environment. He still was not having it. I don't think he liked getting his hands all squishy, and the idea of putting the squishy stuff into his mouth didn't seem to cross his mind... despite EVERYTHING else in his wake getting in there one way or another.

I have such gorgeous nieces.

What a day. What a year. Happy birthday, Desi boy.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


So this happened.

What a day. What a year.

Full recap and photos to come. Today I am sitting on my couch and not moving for many hours.

Best piece of advice I can give to anyone having a milestone birthday for thier child: Hire a photographer or ask a friend to take photos. Other than the ones posted above, there is maybe 1 or 2 other pictures on our camera. Knowing there was someone else there capturing the moments made enjoying and hosting the party so much easier.

On that note, I have a sofa that needs tending to.

Happy birthday, baby boy.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Almost One

In two days our baby turns one.

I've started this entry a half a dozen times. The first time it was "In 13 days..." and it's gone down from there.

I'm not sure what to write or how to feel. A part of me is sad that he's not a baby anymore, blah blah, boo hoo. And a part of me is super excited about what's to come. Then another part of me is thinking it's just another day. What's the big deal?

Maybe the fact that there's a billion things going on around us, including the party-planning which is a whole other entry, is the reason I'm not an emotional mess about it.

But even without all the chaos... I'm okay. Because our Desmond is this amazing adventure. Every day he shows us another side of himself. Something new he can do or say or recognize. I want to tell him to slow down, let us breathe a second and soak this all in. But I'm also the one encouraging him to move forward. To take his first few steps.. which omg, he was SOCLOSE tonight. Tony and me sitting on the living room floor facing eachother a few feet away. Both of us still in our work clothes, waiting until after Des goes to bed to change for fear of missing a single moment. We'd reach out a finger for him to hold and he'd step on over to each of us, back and forth, giggling away. He gets such a kick out of all his new tricks. Boy, we do too.

I will miss his babyness. The cuddly mush who just wanted to be close all the time. Who didn't need to GO and DO and EXPLORE constantly. Who was totally comfortable laying on daddy's chest or in my arms. And his head fit so perfectly in my elbow nook. I'll miss his little baby sighs and squeeks and nuzzles. Yes. I will miss all that.

But I am looking forward to more of the adventure. This year has been like a slow hike up a mountain. Every pass comes with challenges and rewards, but the higher we get, the better the view. I don't know if there's a peak to be reached, but it's more about the climb.

I look forward to many more nights like tonight. An ordinary Thursday, the three of us on the floor, giggling and proud and happy. That's what this year was. Just a pile of love.

Happy almost birthday, little man. So far, sooo good. Your mom and dad love you beyond words.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Perils of Parenthood

It's happened a few times. Des will get overly excited or throw a frustrated fit, and fling his limbs all around as I'm holding him. Inevitably I catch a stray arm or foot to the face. It's the head that really gets ya. Oooh man. It doesn't even phase him, but I'm left with a face that is resonating like a gong.

The latest time it left a lasting impression.

Pardon the horrible lighting and nosehairs and fugliness.

Nothing like a nice punch to the face with a toddler skull to start the day. Just a little love tap for momma. Thanks buddy!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Post-holiday Slam Fest

There was a nice little lull there for a while. Sure the holidays are busy, but at least it doesn't feel like I'm being pulled in every direction. Now the post-holiday SLAM is in full effect. Between being crazy busy at work, caring for an almost 1-year-old, planning a big bday bash for an almost 1-year-old, swim classes, doctor appointments, not sleeping at night (me, not Des)... It's gonna be a busy month it seems. I'm apologizing right now if the blog is lacking, both in frequency and content. I'm going to try to keep it up. I have much to say.

Just when I think the day can't get any crazier, I get a visitor at the office:

And all is right with the world.

Thank you dear husband and beautiful son for being the bright spot in my crazy days.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 Resolutions

Happy New Year everyone!

2010 was the best year of my life. So that was neat.

Now it's time to look forward with the obligatory 2011 Resolution Post.

I haven't made a resolution in years. Many major changes happened in our lives (getting married, buying a home, renovating, having babies). We've made huuuge leaps forward in our home and our family. This year, I'd like to take some smaller steps to focus on myself. As selfish as it sounds, I guess.

There are general areas I'd like to improve upon, some of which are super cliche (lose weight, wicked original!). But I've come up with some concrete, attainable goals within the broader concepts.

Goal: Run at least once a week.

I used to run, ya know. I'd never call myself a runner. But I ran a few miles 2-4 times a week pretty religiously for years. And I hate running. I can play any sport for hours at a time, but running for 5 minutes is torture. I have physical limitations (flat feet, bad ankles), but I think it's more a mental aversion. Even when I'm listening to music, it's quiet and still and boring. The scenery changes but it's all the same. I wanna kick and swing and jump. Run? Just run? Yawnzies.

But I did it because it was easy and fast. I could open my front door and GO. That's the kind of exercise I need right now. And when I start running, everything else kinda falls into place. I have more energy, eat better, sleep better, lose weight. I just have to put one foot in front the other.

Educationally (Is that even a word? I didn't graduate from college, people.)
Goal: Meet with a counselor, take a class or two.

I have about half the credits needed for my bachelors. It's not an ideal situation, especially for someone who was always considered a smaht kid growing up. But I'm not going to be ashamed of that little glitch on my life resume. I know who I am and where I am, and I am ridiculously happy. A degree is just something I want. Also, I like school. I may take time off here and there, but I'm never going to give up until I finish. I don't care if it takes until I'm 80.

I used to get into these frantic states of, 'OMG I have to quit my job and quit my life and go back to school full time before it's TOO LATE!' At this point in my life, I am much more comfortable with the idea of taking it slow. I'll get there. Just gotta chip away. Now's the time.

Goal: Create 2 pieces of which I am proud.

I consider myself artistically inclined. But I can't call myself artistic unless I actually DO something with it. Overall I want to produce more... lotsa stuff, mostly crap I'm sure. But you have to create a lot of crap before you get something decent. Two pieces or 'art' that I can look at without cringing is the goal.

These are small, seemingly easy to reach objectives. I'd like to work toward these even in the face of setbacks and adversity. In the past things have always come up. Injuries, health issues, pregnancy, time and money constraints. Ya know.. LIFE 'n stuff. But these kinds of things are always going to happen. So I guess an additional resolution is to not throw my goals out the window when something unexpected arises.

There you have it. Some heavy duty resolutin' up in here.

I'm excited to see what 2011 has in store!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Goodbye 2010

Closing the books on the best year yet.

I will miss it. Is that weird? To miss a whole year? I really will. But I'm embracing 2011 and the future with open arms.

Bring it on.

Tomorrow... resolutions. Everyone loves hearing about other people's resolutions, right? Get psyched!
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