Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Case of "BASE"

Recently, I have come down with a case of "BASE" (not to be confused with "Ace of Base", which I came down with briefly in the 1990s). BASE, or "Blog Avoidance Syndrome - Extreme", hit me over a week ago, and I am just now making my recovery.

There are relatively few symptoms associated with BASE; in fact, I myself experienced only one such sign - I could not bring myself to log in to my own blog, nor could I manage to read any of the amazing blogs that are out there. It's been a rough week, but I am glad to be back in action.

As parents of a 6 1/2 month old, we have had a relatively busy few weeks. When we first welcomed our son home, I was in awe of the power of the swing. In only three months, it seems we have 'graduated' to our next magical object - the walker. Husband and I decided to make this purchase after our recent trip to Florida, where our son got his first taste of the freedom of the walker.

Let me tell you, this has been one of the best $35 purchases we have made yet as parents. Of course, we are getting our first glimpse of what our son's mobility will do to our own lives, and have been forced to tell our son that he is forbidden to crawl or walk for several months since we made this purchase. Our dogs and cats have had to re-evaluate their nap spots, of course, as our son seems to lack the finer skills of braking or turning. But all in good time!

My mornings and evenings now consist of gently pushing my son away from me in his walker, whereby he "laughs" and tries to run me over (repeat this process at least 700 times, and you have a pretty good idea of my life). Let's just hope than when driving lessons come, I will have come up with a "new" way to teach our son...

We also experienced our 6-month check up last week. This time, husband was able to accompany us to the doctor. If you read my earlier post about our son's first round of shots, you can well imagine how I was using husband's presence to my advantage....

"I'm so glad you are here this time. You get to be the one to hold our son down while he
gets his shots. You will finally know how I felt."

(Ok, so maybe I was a little bitter....) Let me just take this moment to say that bitterness never pays off. Oh, it might feel good at the moment, but it always comes back to kick you in the butt. Now don't get me wrong...the last thing in the world I want is for my son to be in pain. I was simply expecting husband to experience what I went through during our last visit to the doctor's.

Bitterness put on a big ol' boot, and landed a square kick right to my bum. Our son barely fact, he almost laughed. Yay for the little man! On the outside, I was the proud papa I needed to be, but on the inside, I have to admit I uttered a little "hmph" at the situation...But I knew how to put things right in my world....I took 2 lolipops on our way out! So there! If husband wouldn't share in my "pain", I would at least get double the enjoyment from my Dum-Dums!

It's funny how the little things in life have such a big effect! *grin*


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Stop Growing!

This past Sunday, our son celebrated his 6-month "birthday". 6 months! When he arrived in our home, he was 4 months old...I am not a math teacher, but logic dictates that he has been with us for 2 months.

This, however, is simply impossible. Here's why. In 2 months, our son has gained teeth, rolled over, started cooing and making other various noises, steadied his head (ah, the bobble-head days!), started eating "solids" (yum...rice cereal mixed with green beans...), sleeps through the night, holds his own bottle...the list goes on and on.

I know many adults who can't make their beds more than 3 times in a 2-month period, let alone achieve such a major series of milestones! I mean, our tree has been undecorated for 2 weeks now, and I haven't touched it since....there it stands, in the corner of our living room, ready to be disassembled and packed away....*sigh*....Clearly my son is more advanced than I!

Which brings me back to last Sunday. In honor of the 6-month event, husband, son, and I stayed home all day and "quality tested" the sofa and love seat and television....all day long. I haven't spent a day like that in years...but, thanks to HGTV and TLC, we watched nothing but home improvement and house flipping shows for hours and hours and hours, while son "quality tested" his walker, his bouncer, his daddies' laps, etc.

Anway, sometime after lunch, husband and I decided that even though he wasn't fussy, our son might enjoy a bottle. I pushed pause on the old DVR (a miracle machine!) and wandered into the kitchen to prepare said treat for son. Taking a risk, I decided to go all out - for the first time ever, I made a full 8-ounce bottle of liquid gold for the kid (we hadn't made it to Sam's Club, so we were forced to use the real-deal...Enfamil, baby - the non-gassy formula!).

I returned to my spot on the couch (which still was in need of quality testing) with bottle in hand, ready for the squirming and the "playing with the food" to commence. Husband handed me our son and pushed "play" (again...magic!).

Just as I was getting comfortable, adjusting son so that he could "quality test" the television with us if he so chose, the commercial break started - and son started feasting. Husband decided to take a bathroom break, and since the commercial was that Jeep commercial where the animals jump into the Jeep and sing with the driver (dang funny stuff), I decided to let the commercials play.

Ok. Our son is NOT going to college. Husband and I are putting our foot down now, based upon this little, seemingly insignificant story. Nope - no higher education for our advanced boy. The commercials were just finishing as husband returned from his bathroom break...and son, well, let's just say he let us know he was still in the room by expelling a loud burp. Looking down, husband and I were shocked to see that he had drained his bottle dry. Our son can roll over, he can sleep through the night, and, apparently, he can chug. (In fact, I am relatively sure he downed that 8 ounces faster than my college roommate could drain a can of Pabst....).

So, perhaps you can understand now why higher education is not in our son's future?



Thursday, January 10, 2008

Abe Lincoln: Healer or Dealer?

Ask any elementary student to name some presidents, and they will likely be able to name at least two: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Clearly, in life these two individuals had dramatic effects on the growth of our nation. As a result of their commitment to our country, their legacies live on today. Both Washington and Lincoln are memorialized in everything from city and county names to historical monuments and national currency.

I submit, however, that today there is more to Mr. President Lincoln than any of us has ever realized. In fact, old 'Honest Abe' currently has quite a dark and sinister side, and I am here to expose him for what he is: Abe is nothing more than a dealer - enticing young, unsuspecting 'clients' (and their parents!) down a path of "need" and "want", from which I fear there is no return.

Let me explain. During our recent trip to Florida, we ventured into the local mall for some after-Christmas shopping late one evening. Being the amazing parents we are, husband and I failed to bring the stroller with us, and we resigned ourselves to carrying our son and his diaper bag (a crucial component in any outing) in and out of stores for the next two hours of our lives.

After about 5 hand-offs (or switcheroos...from baby to bag, back and forth)...husband and I had decided that those were 5 of the longest minutes of our lives. Something had to be done if we were to survive. I found the nearest bench, and, after making sure my family was safely seated and protected from the dangers of shopping in a mall without the appropriate equipment, I went off in search of help. My parting words to husband were, "if I am not back in 10 minutes, start a fire and use our son's favorite blanket to send smoke signals for help." The first 3 minutes of my journey were uneventful; however, on my 4th minute, I resisted the temptation to visit the comfort of the haven Starbucks, turning instead down the aisle to the left. It was there I came face to "handle" with the answer to my prayers.

There, in the middle of the aisle, was a row of strollers, each in the shape of a small car, complete with steering wheel and fake instrument panels. I crawled toward this mini-parking lot, hoping that I had not come across some sick mirage. If nature had indeed been playing a cruel trick on me, at that moment, I vowed to spend the very last ounce of energy I could muster to drag myself back to Starbucks, where at least I could welcome my shopper's demise with a non-fat, sugar free caramel latte in hand. When my fingers made contact with the cold, germ-infested metal handle of the first stroller, my energy was renewed; I swung my arms up in victory and jumped (if I had only frozen in mid-air, a passerby may have mistaken me for a Toyota commercial of the 1980's). As I landed, I knew time was fading. I again gripped the handle firmly and pulled back, eager to be reunited with my family.

After I re-connected my arms to their sockets, I frantically tried to "un-stick" my cart from its position. Near tears, I dropped back to my knees, downtrodden, giving up all hope for a pleasant mall-shopping experience. As I turned my head back towards Starbucks, I noticed a subtle glint along the floor. There it was, right there in front of me - it had been there all along, and I just had not seen it before. The front of each cart was secured to a small track, running the length of the mini-parking lot, reminiscent of the hitching posts of the old west.

At about that time, Grandma came around the corner and saw me closely examining the stroller/locking-track system. "What a great idea!," she exclaimed. And with that, her hand was in her wallet; in no time at all, she produced a crisp, new five-dollar bill and began to wave it towards me. As I reached for the bill, I paused, momentarily locked in a gaze with the man facing me. I could have sworn I saw President Lincoln actually wink at me as my hand made contact with his paper existence. It was at that point I knew I would be making a deal with the devil. I inserted the bill into the receptacle post at the end of the stroller lot, and instantly heard a single click erupt from the locking mechanism on the stroller nearest me.

Minutes later, car-stroller and I were back with husband and son, who had begun to gather scraps of paper and lollipop sticks for kindling. After wiping every last piece of the stroller down (twice!) with our disinfectant wipes (hey, we aren't dumb!), we propped our 5-month old in the seat with blankets. We even found a place for the diaper bag to hang, conveniently accessible while still secured to the handle.

For the next hour and a half, our son cooed, screamed in enjoyment, and was more alert than he has ever been, watching everyone around him while he was pushed from store to store. Life was good again, but at a cost.

And so to you, Mr. Lincoln, I say thank you. If it hadn't been for you, we would never have been able to give our son his first taste of rented strollers. And now our son is clearly addicted. While I could be spending tonight with a glass of wine and some very good blog reading, I am sure I will end up at the mall, searching for the strollers that will again pacify our son.

As a warning to all you new parents out there, I am posting pictures of our son's first "trip" in a rented stroller. Beware of Mr. Lincoln - he may seem like he only wants to help, but he surely has very selfish, sinister plans about which you are not supposed to know.

Addiction or happiness? You be the judge.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

From Auntie Mame to Uncle "Meme"

*Yikes* I am worse than my students - I was tagged before Christmas to complete my first ever meme, and I am just now getting to it! Of course, I am honored to have been tagged, but please bear with me if it is a little sloppy.

BusyDad is one of the best bloggers I have ever read. You absolutely have to visit his blog and leave him a comment (heck, tell him I sent you!). Anyway, on with the show....

Here are the rules:

Link to the person who tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
Share 7 facts about yourself.
Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

So here goes:

1. I love the outdoors (in fact, I am an Eagle Scout!), but I can't squish most bugs or gut a fish. I remember hiking across a bridge when I was in Scouts, hearing several loud pops as I walked. Looking down, I discovered I had stepped on a few beetles. It totally grossed me out, and to this day I get the heebie-geebies thinking about bug squishing. I like to fish (although I haven't done it in years), but when I catch them, the only thing I can do is take the hook out and let them go unless someone else is there to "take care of it". If I have to get rid of a bug, I have been known to grab just about any aerosol or long-handled object, but I would prefer just to relocate them to somewhere outside.

2. I almost became a Catholic priest. Yep. I attended a small, private Catholic college for my undergraduate degree, and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I met many amazing, truly "good" people during my time there, and through knowing them, my faith was transformed. I was in the pre-seminary program for 2 years before I was able to reconcile my faith with the reality of who I was (and am)...and while I have parted ways with the church due to some personal, irreconcilable differences on teachings, my faith remains a strong part of my "inner me".

3. I love road trips. Three years ago, without any planning, husband and I jumped in our little car and drove north through Nevada to Tahoe, and then over to California and up the coast through wine country, looping through Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and western Montana before making our way back south. It was one of the best trips of my life....And, as a result of these types of trips, we are motivated to purchase an RV within the next 5 years so we can provide our son with these amazing opportunities for exploration.

4. Two of my favorite jobs have been in Airport Security and in Hospital Housekeeping. After my first semester of college, I dropped out because I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I took a job cleaning hospital rooms and labor and delivery rooms from 3 p.m. to midnight. I loved the sense of accomplishment, and didn't even mind cleaning up after a birth (I developed a whole new respect for women!) - I remember turning on soft music, cleaning a patient room after they had been discharged, and watching the snow fall in the lamplight outside.

After I returned to school a year later, I took a job as a pre-board screener at the local (small) airport. This was a fascinating job, both before and after 9/11. Once Jack Hannah (from the Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom shows) screamed at me and made a big scene because I wouldn't let him get on the flight with his big pocket knife. On another day, before 9/11, an 85 year-old woman kept causing our detectors to alarm...I told her I was going to have to pat her ankles with the backs of my hands, to which she replied "Oh would you please? I haven't had a man touch me in years!"...I promptly turned about 3 shades of red. Finally, shortly after 9/11, I was called to the ticket counter to search a random "checked luggage bag", which belonged to two elderly woman. As I was searching the suitcase, one of the women turned to the other and said "he's going to find our brother." I thought it an odd comment, but proceeded with my search. As I was finishing, I lifted the false fabric bottom found in most suitcases, only to find a big ziplock baggie. I took the bag out to see what it was...and discovered it was the cremated remains of their loved one. There are many more stories (I can't tell you how many cats/dogs I have seen through an x-ray machine, as well as the, um, personal items people choose to carry with them...*sigh*). Yep. Two of my favorite jobs!

5. We took a "Field of Dreams" approach when it came to adopting our son. Husband and I seriously began discussing children about 2 1/2 years ago. At that time, we started classes for foster-to-adopt, but soon found ourselves caught up in our own graduate programs and less focused on children. However, we did begin work on a nursery. Over the course of the next two years, we looked at several options to welcoming a child into our family, but were never able to complete any program or afford any alternative. However, the nursery was finished last year. We didn't know how we would become parents, but we "just knew" we would become parents. As it turned out, we became daddies not because we went through some program to "find" a child, but because a 3-month old baby boy and his mommy "found" us. We were approached privately by a virtual stranger. And, as a matter of faith - we believed it would happen. Call it faith. Call it luck. Call it random chance. But our son is without a doubt the BEST thing that has ever happened to us.

6. Reality TV can easily become as addicting as those tortilla chips with a "hint of lime". There are very few reality tv shows that I don't find entertaining (ok, not a big fan of any MTV reality shows other than the old Real World and Road Rules stuff). With summers off, husband and I really enjoy Big Brother....but my absolute favorite reality show may not "technically" fall into the "reality" category...I am a "Ghost Hunters" fanatic. I certainly would call myself a skeptic when it comes to the paranormal, but for some reason I can't get enough of this show! But since I am the only one in my household who will watch this program, I have had to broaden my reality television palette....I am looking forward to watching my second episode of "The Biggest Loser" tonight, I can't wait for American Idol to start, and have heard through the grapevine that a new Big Brother season is being added, slated to begin this February. And don't even get me started on my non-reality favs....Lost, NCIS, Pushing Daisies....then there are the shows no longer on...Will and Grace, Reba, Friends, Frasier....What did I do before DVR???
*sigh* Perhaps I need help? Maybe I will find a reality show about a support group for tv watchers....

7. As a young elementary student, I was one of about 10 students in my entire school to participate in a weekend day-camp at the local university. During camp, we played all sorts of games and got to eat lunch with college students. It was a great experience, and a memory that I have held on to with fondness and pride. About 5 years ago, I was in the car with my mom, when during our conversation, I mentioned what an honor it was to have been selected out of my whole school to attend that weekend day-camp. My mom was silent for a moment, and then she burst into laughter. I was confused, so I asked her what was so funny. What she said next was worse than trying to tell me that there was no Santa (which there is!).... She explained that while, yes, I was indeed selected from my entire school to visit the local university, it wasn't exactly a "day camp." Apparently, some graduate students had observed all of the PE classes in my entire school, and from those observations had selected the 10 most un-coordinated students at my school to participate in a study. After gaining parental permission, the college students sent personal invitations to me and 9 of my fellow un-coordinated peers to the university, at which point they video taped us "attempting" to do things like play baseball, skip rope, and many other "fun games" - (why does the "Island of Misfit Toys" keep popping into my mind?) Mom then told me that, if I really wanted to remember it as a camp, then perhaps I should refer to it as "Coordination Camp"....You know, self esteem is really over-rated! ;)

There you have it. Seven random facts about me. Mission accomplished. Sort of.

BusyDad tagged me, so he is out. He also tagged Monica at "Ya...About that...", who in turn tagged Ohmommy at "Classy Chaos".... So, while there are a gazillion blogs out there I have yet to discover, I am only going to tag one person....But she is totally worth it! I am tagging Cindy from "A Day in the Life of Cindy"... She writes from the heart, and is very passionate about her beliefs.

I'm sorry it took so long to respond - but a special thanks to BusyDad for tagging me....I had fun!


Monday, January 7, 2008

We're Baaaack!

Happy New Year, Dear Readers!

I apologize for the long break between posts....I did not have internet access during our trip to Florida for winter break, and therefore have fallen terribly far behind in my readin' and writin' *sigh*...

Our son's first Christmas was awesome. Although, I must admit, he really couldn't have cared less - but we had a great time as new daddies putting on a first Christmas. After spending Christmas at home, the three of us boarded a plane for Florida. More than a little nervous about flying with a 5-month old, we managed to make it through security despite their completely ridiculous rules about liquids and powders in carry-ons (and I used to work in airline security!). Our son was asleep before we boarded the plane, and didn't wake up until after we exited the plane in Florida....completely perfect! Of course, coming back was another story, but there were at least 5 other babies on the flight, and he was not the worst by a long shot! So traveling was good, but I am SOOO glad to be home!

Anyway, break is over and Monday has hit hard. This morning, I jumped in my car to head to work (*ugh*) only to find I would be heading no where battery was dead. A battle of wills ensued...Me versus my Mazda. Despite repeated attempts to jump my car, along with no small amount of various pleas and begs and promises of ultimate detailing and fresh oil, my 2007 Mazda emerged from our battle victorious. And I had to ask mom for a ride to work.

My own body has even chosen to deny me any sympathy. A harsh reminder that I am no longer in control of my own day, a gargantuan cup of recently consumed coffee is reeking havoc on my smaller-than-average bladder, and I can do nothing but count the ticks of the clock until the bell rings and I am free to use the restroom. *double sigh*

So now, with my work all caught up, my students working on projects, and my bladder gently reminding me of its existence, I can get caught up on some blog reading. I also plan on getting to a special blog "meme", as BusyDad requested oh-s0-long-ago. Thank you, dear readers, for your patience. Send me happy thoughts as I contend with the Mazda dealership and a full bladder. And from our family to yours, we wish you the very best in the new year!