Thursday, April 30, 2009


I'm not a huge TV watcher... ok, I take that back - I do have some shows that we religiously record and watch after G goes to bed. I still don't think there's a better show that's been on since West Wing, but I am slightly addicted and emotionally tied to a few this year. One of those is every Monday night on NBC... Chuck. I just saw this article on CNN that Chuck might be in peril, and this time not just from Fulcrum agents, but from NBC executives.

Chuck is one of those light hearted, fun, but interesting and well written shows that are hard to come across. Don't get me wrong, I love Lost, Heroes, and 24... but sometimes you just need a little humor with your gun weilding bad guys. That's Chuck. The adorable, loveable, secret Spy that doesn't want to be a spy, all American guy. How can they even think about taking him off the air?? I'm definitely in the Save Chuck camp, and hope anyone that reads this blog will go out there and talk about how much they too love Chuck, or at least how much they love their friend Terri who loves Chuck, so it should be kept on the air! SAVE CHUCK!!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I love surprises, and the ones I get from G always seem to make my day. Tonight, as my husband was headed out for dinner/drinks with some friends, me and little G hung at home to make our own dinner and play cars. As B headed out the door, we were saying our "byes" and "love you daddy"'s, when all of a sudden, out of nowhere - our 20 month old son says "Drive Safe Daddy". I turned and looked at him, my husband stopped in his tracks, and G just repeated "Drive Safe. Bye bye daddy". I don't know how he does it... but he continues to amaze and surprise me every day. I think he's a genius.

The Facebook bandwagon

At first I was a little hesitant to join the Facebook bandwagon, but now I'm a full fledged member. Things like Facebook have changed the way we interact with each other, and do everything from sharing our thoughts, our photos, and our friends. I've reconnected with some friends that I didn't realize how much I missed in my life, and am able to keep track of/keep in touch with those that I can't talk to on a regular basis. It's broken down barriers of distance, as well as lifestyles, and allowed us to really become more "social" people, even if only in a virtual world. We are able to share life's ups ("hey look at the cute picture of my little guy") and down's (sad news of a friends passing). We are able to be there for each other in ways we never thought possible. Being a work-at-home employee, my birthday every year was somewhat of a non-event without the office comraderie that most enjoy. This year, however, I had more posts on my Facebook page in one day than I'd had in a year, and people that I hadn't heard from in years were remembering my birthday. Now I try to check each day to make sure I don't miss someone else's, to give them that reminder that people are thinking of them, even if they don't always know it.

There are the downsides - the one "friend" that asked how far along I was based on a picture I posted, even though I was not pregnant (ouch), and the people that you were once friends with posting pictures that maybe you would have been better off not seeing. But the majority of the Facebook world for me is very positive, a helpful tool in some very important cases. When G had a severe allergic reaction to peanuts, I posted it on Facebook and immediately got responses from friends with kids also allergic to peanuts. I received some valuable information, and created a bond with old and new friends that I might not have known existed before Facebook. So it's not all about just posting pictures (those they are my favorite thing to look at!), it's about connecting. And in this world of technology when few people these days know their neighbors, I'm all about rebuilding connections and relationships with those who have touched our lives.

And hopefully it serves as a reminder for many that no matter where you are, who you are, or what you are doing - you can connect to a world of friends in a matter of minutes. So come join the bandwagon and start facebooking.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Being a full-time working mom, one of the biggest challenges I have in life is balance. How do I balance my free time between myself, my husband, my son, and my responsibilities? I find it hard to pull away from the little free time I have with my family, to spend time with friends. I try to find balance with both by doing "family friendly" activities, but where does that leave my friends without kids of their own? And even in one day, I find that those precious hours between work and bedtime, I want to focus solely on my son, and then have an hour or so to focus on my husband before I crash. And what about doing the laundry or going to the drycleaner? Or... better yet... cleaning the house?

Often, it just doesn't happen. I try to balance as best I can the responsibility of work, the joy of my family, and the challenges of keeping it all together. (And keeping myself sane... which sometimes is a bigger issue). I certainly rely more on my friends and my family - and the support of those that I care about the most. (Likely those that are actually reading this blog!) I feel grateful to have these challenges and to even worry about balance - I know I'm not the first, and certainly won't be the last. But it's through the love and support of those around us that we all get through. And hopefully they don't care if there's crumbs on the floor, chocolate on your kids face, or toys strewn around the house when they come over. And if they do.... well, they are more than welcome to help my balance with a little 409 and a paper towel.

I cherish those in my life that support my search for balance, that understand when my family takes priority, and when I can't make it out to that fun girls night out event. I rely on my friends more than ever, and I share the joy in every day life with those in my inner circle. When our wonderful group of parent friends left our house last night, one of the little girls and G were chasing each other up and down the street. As we watched them run with complete joy on their faces, the happiness that only a pure heart and mind can experience... the fascination with running freely (and maybe the beginnings of the excitement of chasing girls (or boys...))... I looked at my friend and smiled and said "now this is why we had kids". All she could do was smile and hug me back.

It's all worth it.

Friday, April 24, 2009


I definitely remember G's first word... mama... and the ones that subsequently followed like "uh oh" and "dada". But then, it became impossible to follow. He was learning new words, some I don't even know where they came from, at an incredible rate. We knew we had something of a genius on our hands when, while in Mexico, he could even say "gracias" and "hola" to the staff at the hotel. And all this before he was even 18 months old.

What really shocked me was the day we were walking up the stairs to take a bath. He was 17 months old, and had been saying quite a few words. As we walked up the stairs, I was counting each one. "One, two, three, four..." when I got to five, G just jumped right in... "five, six, seben, eight, nine, TEN!" with such an emphasis on the last word you would have though he won the lottery. I was speechless. I didn't know he even knew those words, let alone how to count them in that order! We hurried to get the video camera, but of course, shy guy didn't want to do it as well as he did on the stairs.

He surprised me again last night during dinner. I try to get him to eat veggies, even though he usually spits them right back out. I tried to coax him into a piece of a nice soft green veggie, when he pulled it out of his mouth and said "zucchini". It stopped me in my tracks. I hadn't said it to him, maybe in passing at some point, but he just remembered, associated, and said it. It was then that I looked at my husband and said "how much do we have saved for private school?"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Expectations exceeded

I once planned a trip to Italy with my husband two weeks prior to leaving. I'm all about instant gratification. It's hard for me to plan something that cool, and then have to wait for it. I'm the same way with cutting my hair. I wait until I just can't stand it anymore, then have to rush out and cut it all off. I'm sure if I planned ahead, I wouldn't ever get to the point where I need it gone (or need ME gone!) right away. But planning is part of the prerequisite when having a baby. I realized this when, in early October, I thought - I need to get G a passport for our trip to Europe. In June. Now, some credit to me for thinking ahead and knowing how slow our government can be with things like passports. I've stood in many a government line, whether for a passport or a drivers license, where it seems paint dried faster than my number came up. I expected it might take until May to get the passport, so I'd better start now. Especially with all the new restrictions on travel. So, I pat myself on the back for planning so early.

I took the entire day off when we needed to go get his passport. I knew how long it could take. I planned ahead, and packed a bag full of toys, books, and snacks just in case he got anxious waiting (and I was anxious just thinking about it!) Especially the part about trying to get a one year old to sit for a picture. The good news is they now accept passport applications at post offices, and this new thing called the Internet allows you to download the forms you need prior to showing up. I made an appointment and filled out the paperwork. Now we just had to show up and wait in line. We got there.....and it was empty. Wait, what's going on? Where's the big long line? They greeted us cheerfully, and were excited to take G's picture. (Probably a nice change from the snooty folks they get in there that don't have time to smile for a picture, let alone say please and thank you). Although it took about 15 minutes to get him to actually look at the camera when they snapped away, we finally ended up with a pretty good (and pretty cute) picture of my future traveler. I handed them the paperwork, they checked our documents, took our money, and said thank you. I was astonished. We were out of there in less than 20 minutes. Never in my life has something that involved government employees taken less than 20 minutes. I've been on hold longer than that with the IRS. My husband and I looked at each other dumbfounded. We didn't even have to pull out the toy or snack reserves. Hooray!

We thought we had hit the jackpot, but we never expected it to be so big. When I checked the mail a mere 10 days later and found a packet from the government, I almost fell over right there. His passport had arrived. We had expected it to take months, not days. Our shock, and excitement, couldn't be contained, and we told everyone we knew that they could go out and get a passport within a month. Amazing!! Normally you'd have to pay at least ten times the price to get it rushed, which meant a few weeks (which, sadly we have done before, remember how bad we were at planning trips in advance?).

It wasn't until our glee wore down, and we started planning another even earlier trip to Mexico since we COULD, that we thought about why we got it so quickly. Of course it didn't take long. When I applied for my first passport I was 26 years old. They had 26, well OK, maybe 16, years of "stuff" to look through to make sure I was legitimate, hadn't killed anyone, defrauded anyone, or faked my own birth. But this time, they only had 14 months to think through. And maybe, just maybe, he might be the most devious 14 month old ever trying to get a passport, but part of me thinks the background check might be a little smoother when you don't have much background to check. Although, they probably didn't look too deeply to see that G is responsible for many things going missing, and property damage worth quite a bit. But I think I won't press charges, if only to keep his record clean, and his involvement with the government to a minimum.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Everything but the kitchen sink....

I am an habitual carry-on-er. I had rarely taken a flight, even for a weeks stay in cold Chicago, where I had to check my bag. I’ve lost way too much stuff from checking my bags, so I learned to pack well. And I do. I know exactly what to bring and how to get it all into the smallest bag possible. When you travel often for work like I do, you have to learn where to cut corners. That was P.B. (pre-baby). Now… traveling feels more like moving. I think we take more with us when we travel with G than I owned in college. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I can still get MY stuff in one bag, it’s the baby’s stuff that is a little more challenging. And sadly, he can’t pack for himself. Yet. He’s not even 2. We’ll give it a few more years.

The question “what if I need this” takes on a whole new meaning when you are traveling with a baby. For me, I took it too literally and almost ended up packing the whole nursery for our first trip. But after my husband ASSURED me that they did sell diapers, wipes, and yes, even baby clothes (in case the 10 outfits I brought were damaged beyond all repair) in the very remote town of Scottsdale, Arizona, I scaled back a teeny bit. Ok, maybe I was a little nervous. But better to be prepared, right?

A few things I quickly learned about packing with my limited travels with baby:
- Buy diapers and wipes when you get there. They take up a lot of space. (Unless, of course, you need an excuse to have room in your suitcase to buy new clothes. Just think of the space you’ll have when you use up that 40 pack of diapers you packed!)
- The exception: Pack swim diapers if you are going out of the country. Apparently they are considered a luxury in some places.
- Unless you are planning a 2 week trek through the Amazon with no Walgreens in a 100 mile radius – you actually don’t need every lotion or cream you own for baby. Stores will sell you things you might need if it’s required.
- No need to pack a bag full of toys for baby. Kids can make toys out of things you never imagined, and be completely entertained. The empty liquor bottles (sealed of course!) that dad needed to make it through the flight will keep baby entertained for hours. And if you are traveling to visit family – you won’t believe the amount of things people want to buy for baby.
- Always pack an extra outfit (or two!) for the plane ride. Especially if the baby is sick. (oh dear… more on that later).

Overall, traveling with baby is different, and you are thankful for the security lines made just for families when you put your house through the security screen. It makes you appreciate the trips when it’s just you, and you can carry on your one bag and small personal item. Other passengers will look at you in amazement as you maneuver down the tight aisle, cram your bag into the overhead, shimmy your way over other passengers to your seat, smile, and say… “well that was easy”. If they only knew.

It begins....

Being a new mom, I was ready for each new challenge. And this was a big one. We were taking our son on his first flight. He was 7 months old, still small enough that he didn’t need his own seat (yeah! I felt like I was getting something free!), but big enough that I thought we all could enjoy it. We picked an easy trip, Seattle – Phoenix to visit Grandma and Grandpa. I put off packing that week as it usually only took me about 30 minutes to pack my own bag, how much longer could it take me to pack G? As I found out.… quite a bit. Unfortunately we all had been sick that week, so the motivation was even more lacking. We had a car picking us up at 11am, so I figured after breakfast was a good time to start packing. Well, after G’s breakfast. I still couldn’t keep anything down.

I raced around trying to remember everything we needed to bring. Lastly, I packed the diaper bag for the flight. He was still nursing, so I didn’t think we needed much. Diapers, wipes, changing pad, blanket, binky, bottle (just in case), Tylenol, and of course, an extra outfit just in case. A small book to keep him entertained. We even had a brand new stroller just for traveling. I was VERY prepared. So I thought.

I started to realize we were going down that road less traveled pretty quickly into the trip. I waited until just before we left the house to give G a new diaper (see, I’m thinking clearly!), and we were off to the airport. Our driver dropped us on the curb, and I put G in his inaugural ride in the new stroller. We were off! Security is exciting with a baby, you have to practically strip down yourself and the baby – with baby in arms since the stroller goes in – and make sure your traveling nursery gets through too. (Tip: travel off peak business hours to avoid the eye rolling and sighs of business travelers that I used to be guilty of myself pre-baby). When I picked up G out of his stroller, my stomach dropped. I could see the brown spot leaking through his outfit. Then I glanced and saw the wet spot on the brand new stroller. Oh dear.

We hurried through security and I breathed to my husband the words every new parent dreads - “blow out”. We gathered our things and headed to the nearest family restroom to survey the damage. Yikes. One of the worst yet… damage all the way down to his socks. (I realized I forgot to pack a second pair of socks. Oh well, at least we were going somewhere sunny.) We got him cleaned up, changed, and back in the “as clean as possible” stroller quickly, with only minor damage to ourselves. As we headed to the gate, I honestly felt a little relieved. That had to be the worst thing that could happen, and at least it happened in the airport instead of in the air! I couldn’t imagine the alternative.

We boarded the plane no problem, and were on our way. Take off was easy, he nursed just perfectly and seemed like his happy little self – already making friends with everyone around him. I thought – this flying thing is easy! Then it happened. I felt something wet on my leg. I lift up G and notice the big wet spot on my thigh. Oh no. It happened, again. The smell hit me next. As I’m holding him up inspecting the damage, he reaches over and dumps a full glass of water in my husbands lap. Oh what I wouldn’t give to just have WATER in my lap right now. I realized the gravity of the situation when I remembered that G was already in his backup outfit. No new clothes for him, or for me. We both had to just sit in our damaged clothes for the rest of the flight. The walk down the aisle to the bathroom was a little nerve-wracking, hoping no one would notice the spots on either of us. When I got back to our seat, I sat there and prayed that the smell wouldn’t waft too far. G just smiled and giggled at everyone he saw, without a care in the world. It reminded me that nothing was as bad as it might seem when you have a beautiful little baby looking at you like you are their hero (which likely, you are). And I knew then that I was fully indoctrinated into the secret club of moms… those of us that walk around with every sort of bodily fluid on their clothing…. and are able to just brush it off. Two hours later, with a smile, and a sense of relief, we walked off the plane and into the sunshine – our travels with baby had begun.