Sunday, September 28, 2008

The week in review

It's been a pretty fun week in the Marjen household, what with Dean dazzling us with new skills daily and such. He's been clapping for a while, but this week, he learned to applaud. Which he does ALL THE TIME. He also learned to stick his tongue all the way out and make noises with it. And he FINALLY crawled forward a bit! He's been going backwards, which is pretty adorable. He loooks like a little crab. Possibly the funniest new skill is his ability to blow "zerberts" on my arm. Or my cheek. He only does it to me.

I've seen a lot about those mesh feeders you can get for babies and we've had one sitting in a drawer for a while, but I was pretty grossed out by the idea of it, so I never used it. Then Eva over at Surprised Suburban Wife blogged about the mesh feeder helping her daughter on a bad teething day, so I broke ours out. WOW. Dean has been enjoying slices of frozen peaches over the past several day. He LOVES that thing! Marcus does not love it so much, as Dean kept smacking it on his hand last night, covering him in chewed-up peach pulp. Haha, don't you wish he'd just zerbert YOUR arm? I don't want to hear it. (See yesterday's post about baby vomit ON ME.)

I got some great news on Friday: Next semester, I'll be joining the Theatre Dept. at Montevallo as an Adjunct Professor, teaching Theatre Management and Stage Management! I'm so excited to get back into the classroom and can't wait to get started. I've already been re-working my syllabus from the last time I taught theatre management and I'm working on a semester-long project for my students.

So, I gave Dean a popsicle the other day. I know he didn't need the high-fructose corn syrup, but I was having one for my sore throat and thought he might enjoy one, too. Truth be told, he maybe took 3 licks. He mostly played with it. It was still pretty precious.

Dean has also learned the fine art of getting more food ON him than IN him.

Good times there! Shout out to my mom for the awesome baby feeding smock. It cleams up easily and keeps his bibs from getting stained.

I'm officially hacked off at the WalMart. We found the perfect Halloween costume for Dean the other day (guess what it was!?!?), but the smallest one they had was a 2T, which would swallow him. I went to the OTHER WalMart today, but they didn't have a single one. Oh, what to do? What are your kids going to be for Halloween?

Everyone have a great week!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My morning thus far

It is 8:42 am. I woke up around 7:45 (wow, we slept late) to the sweet sounds of Dean cooing in his room, then the knocking of his binky as he banged it against the headboard. I went in, lifted him up, got a great hug, then changed his diaper, which involved BIG POOP. This is the second time this week he's woken up with poopy pants. I'm hoping he does it after he wakes up and that he's not sleeping with it for hours. Anyway, enough about poop. We went downstairs, made coffee and started breakfast. I'd bought a jar of "stage 3" oatmeal w/pears. The jar is really big, but his appetite is increasing, so I figured he could handle it. Well, he LOVED it. He ate the entire jar. About halfway through feeding him, Marcus came down and started making our breakfast. Rewind for a moment to last night when I went to make Dean a bedtime bottle and, out of the corner of my eye, saw a lizard run across our kitchen. I squealed, but Marcus assured me this was a good thing...they eat bugs. Ok. The lizard may stay, but it had better not touch me. Back to breakfast today. Dean and I are singing and making faces at each other between bites, when all of a sudden I see the lizard out of the orner of my eye again, except it's tail's awfully skinny to be a lizard and that is fur and OH MY GAWD THAT IS A MOUSE! Marcus had to jump over the thing as it disappeared into a hole under our cabinet. (Nice.) So we added mousetraps to our shopping list. (Just what I want to deal with.) Dean finished his breakfast and I clapped for him, telling him what a big boy he was for finishing that WHOLE JAR of oatmeal! I picked him up, started telling him about our plans to go downstairs and play, when all of a sudden I heard it. And felt it. Baby vomit. SPLAT on my floor. BLECH on my sleeve, pants leg and ARM. All I could do was scream for help and wait for Marcus to come and take him so I could get cleaned up. Fortunately, I didn't vomit. I thought about it though.

How's YOUR morning going!?!?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Just call me Little Miss Muffett

So, the other day, Dean was ready for his afternoon snack, which usually consists of some type of home-made fruit puree. We sit at the table, like at mealtimes, and enjoy our snack together. (I usually have a soy yogurt or some dried fruit.) On this particular day, the weather was GORGEOUS. It was about 80 degrees with a nice, cool breeze. I decided it would be nice to turn the AC off and open the back door while Dean and I sat and had our snack so he could look out at the yard. Well, I got him set up in his highchair, pulled back the curtain, opened the door and came face to, uh, legs with this:

This photo does not do it justice. This was the biggest, ugliest, scariest spider I have EVER seen. (And growing up in the deep south, I've seen a LOT of spiders.) Y'all, it had HAIR. And big pincher teethy things. I flipped out, closed the door and stood there marveling at the size of the web, wondering if the thing would stay put until Marcus got home to kill it. Then I did what any genteel southern woman would do...I called my daddy. Only my mom answered the phone.
Here's how the conversation would have gone if DAD had answered:
JEN: Daddy, there's a BIG, HAIRY, ICKY spider outside my door and I'm sure he's going to eat Dean and me.
DAD: Oh, poooooooooor giiiiiiiiiiiirl. Call Marcus right now and tell him to come home! You're far too pretty to kill a big, hairy spider! If he can't get there soon enough, I'LL come get it for you! (which, ok, would never happen, because he hates spiders, too, but go with me here.)
JEN: Thanks, Daddy, you're the best!
DAD: And you're pretty! Tell Deano his Papa loves him!

Here's the conversation between my mom and me:
JEN: Mom, there's a BIG, HAIRY, ICKY spider outside my door and I'm sure he's going to eat Dean and me.
MOM: (emotionless) Kill it.
JEN: Did you hear me? It's BIG and HAIRY. It might eat us. I'm pretty sure it will. ME and DEAN.
MOM: So kill it.
JEN: ??????
MOM: Don't you have some bug spray? You ARE back in the south, you know.
JEN: Um, yeah, I think so.
MOM: Then grab it and kill the thing!
JEN: But I can't leave the baby alone. I'll just wait til Marcus gets home.
MOM: It's right outside the door. You can still see the baby. Put the phone on speaker and I'll talk to Dean and you KILL THE SPIDER.
JEN: Fine.
Jen puts phone on speaker. Grammy starts to sing "Baa Baa Blacksheep" to Dean. They giggle together. Jen glares at them, bug spray in hand. Jen opens door, realizes that she cannot close it AND get out without hitting spider web face first. Tells mom this. Is told to go around. Wishes Marcus would miraculously come home early, even though he has no transportation. Goes around, sees spider, squeals, sprays the EVER-LOVING HECK out of spider and web. Spider scurries up to outdoor light fixture. Jen blasts fixture with spray. Spider's movements get slower and it starts to turn a funky gray color. Jen squeals again, all the way back inside.
MOM: Did you kill it?
JEN: I think so. It turned gray when I sprayed it.
MOM: You'd better knock it down with a broom and step on it.
JEN : What if it has babies!?!? Remember that time I killed one on our porch and baby spiders shot out of it? That was gross!
MOM: Get the broom and knock it down and step on it. Then knock the web down.
JEN: Woops, gotta go, Dean needs his snack.
MOM: Knock the web down.
JEN: Will do, thanks a lot! Love ya! Bye!

Ok, so maybe that's a TAD exaggerated, but you get the picture. Anywho, Marcus came home and we went out to check on the thing. IT WAS STILL ALIVE. So he, at my mother's urging, knocked it down with a broom and stepped on it.


Post-script: In my defense, I feel I should point out that I'm not always this girly. Almost never, in fact. Remember the time I moved all the way to NY? Or the time I had a baby? Or built things with tools? Yeah. Keep that in mind. ;)

Friday, September 19, 2008

I've obviously inhaled too many Clorox fumes today..and why rose-colored glasses should be taken off the shelves

Look at this hilarious website I found: You put in a picture of yourself and it turns you into a yearbook photo for every even-numbered year from 1950-2000! This was my favorite, from 1988.

The ones of Marcus from the 80s were surprisingly accurate, according to his REAL yearbook photos!

And we learned that Dean would look hot with an afro!

Ok, enough goofiness.
We have spent today cleaning like mad people and putting a few finishing touches on the house. It's nowhere near finished, but we do have towel bars now. (How did I not notice in our walk-through that there were no towel bars or toilet paper holders!?!? My word, that would've been a deal breaker! Ok, that's not true.) Anyway, we're pooped now. Dean had to go to the doctor yesterday for an ear infection and is now taking amoxil, which makes him sleepy, so we got a lot done while he napped today. Poor guy.

I've started an entry for today about 11 times and deleted it each time. I know what I want to say, but am not sure how to A. make it brief enough for my blog and B. start writing on this topic. So, I'll just dive right in. A little backstory first, so you know where this is coming from. I read a lot of blogs. By a lot, I mean that I religiously follow about 6 and I have 3 or 4 others that I check pretty regularly. If folks leave me a comment on my blog, I visit theirs and try to reciprocate, especially if their blog is about something that interests me. I enjoy reading about other folks with kids. I also often visit the blogs of folks who leave interesting comments on the other blogs I read. (Here I go again, saying BLOG a lot...) ANYWHO, just this week on three of the blogs I follow closely, the authors have felt as though they needed to apologize for something they were saying or were scolded by readers for their content. One of the blogs I like a lot on, "Not That You Asked," is written by a woman named Emily who has a toddler and one on the way. What I like about her writing is that she is a REAL person talking about REAL things that happen in the life of a parent. A reader left the first comment on a post of hers recently scolding her for "complaining" so much in her blog and telling her she should suck it up and stop taking her life for granted. This led to her loyal readers sounding off about why they like her blog (for the reasons I explained above) and telling her not to change a thing. On my very favorite blog, Parental Discretion Advised, Bree, the author, revealed that she's having a little boy. We were all thrilled, but one reader felt the need to immediately hop on the soapbox about "genital integrity" while another made a snarky comment about her grammar. Amalah, whose son struggles with some social issues, felt like she needed to preface her blog about her son's breakthrough at school with an apology. These women are all strong, independent, hard-working moms who should not have to apologize for what they write ON THEIR BLOGS. Who would want to read about your wonderful life with your precious, perfect, clean children who frolic in meadows and never throw sweet potatoes in your hair and your immaculate house and wonderful husband every single day!?!? Life is sticky and stinky and downright funky sometimes, folks, and what I like about blogs like these is that they remind me I'm not the only one out there spending half her day helping an 8 month old blow his nose.

Wow, it felt really good to say all that, and I hope you followed at least some of it! If you know me, you know I'm an over-achiever and I try to be the best all the time. I will now admit that there are days when motherhood is kicking my tail. I love it so much, even more than I could have ever imagined, but y'all, some days I would give anything to be able to take a shower whenever the desire hit me. I adore my little family and am extremely thankful that Marcus and I were able to have a baby so quickly and that he's so amazing, but I don't ever want to sugar-coat my life for my blog.
I'll give you the good and the bad, because sometimes at the end of MY day, reading about YOUR kid throwing a tantrum in McDonald's makes me feel just a little more normal.

So write on, fellow bloggers, and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Miles of Milestones

Yesterday was a big day in the Lane home. Dean FINALLY learned to clap his hands! He's been doing the "muted clap" for a while, where he almost brings them together, but stops just short of them meeting. But yesterday, he got it. Boy, did he get it! He's excited to be able to join in on his own when we sing "If You're Happy And You Know It." He also surprised the heck out of Marcus and me by standing up on his own last night! We'd been playing on the floor (Translation: rolling around trying to wear the baby out before bed time) when suddenly he grabbed the side of his exersaucer and pulled himself to standing. Then he looked over his shoulder and smiled at us like "Betcha didn't know I could do THAT!" I seriously think he may be one of those babies who just walks instead of crawling. He still scoots, but no real progress on the crawling. He rolls to get to where he needs to be.

In other news, I've been walking with my aunt. We're headed that way soon. It makes me feel good and having a walking buddy give me the motivation to get up and go. The social contact's nice, too.

Yesterday, Marcus and I killed the biggest spider I've ever seen. So big, in fact, that it deserves its own post with pictures, pictures which the camera is currently holding hostage. Tune in later for said post. You won't believe the size of this thing.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Baby asleep by 7:45...leaves Mommy with idle time on her hands!

Well this is weird. Dean, who has had a BAD teething day (still no teeth, though), finally settled down and fell asleep on me at 7:45. So we put him to bed. Even though he needed a bath. Because there is food in his hair. Oh, well. Anyway, I don't have a specific topic for a post, but let's review some things that have happened this weekend, shall we?

*We went to Tuscaloosa yesterday for tailgating. Not the game, just tailgating. Each year, a lot of theatre alumni come in for one game and this was it. We got to introduce Dean to our old teachers and friends and we got to see how much the campus has changed. Which is a LOT. The student health center, which used to be a small room in a scary building, is now a huge complex on the other side of campus. And there is a water slide on campus. A WATER SLIDE. When I was in college, we once made a slip and slide out of a garbage bag. Looks like college has gotten a lot cooler since I was there, kids.

*We didn't eat anything at the tailgating party, which is unlike both Marcus and me. Dean was hungry, so we fed him and visited with friends and just never got around to eating. Which we made up for on the way home. There is now a Five Guys Burgers in Tuscaloosa! If you've never had one, they are wonderful! We always go when we're in DC visiting Marcus's folks. YUM. And when we were done there, the HOT NOW sign was flashing at Krispy Kreme, so you know we had to stop.

*Krispy Kremes, cheeseburgers and fries are counter-productive when trying to lose baby weight.

*On the flip side, I started walking with my aunt and her friend in the mornings. We did three miles on Friday. Up hills. Pushing Dean in his stroller. I still have shin splints.

*We went to the lovely Kate's second birthday party today. It was a trip, as most children's birthay parties are. There was chili cheese dip.

*Anyone else have a new "McCafe" at the McDonald's in their town? They have been advertising it here and I picked up a coupon for a chicken biscuit with purchase of an espresso coffee. Dean and I will have to check it out this week. Again with the not helping to lose the baby weight!

*This weekend, my grandma and my parents are coming to visit! My cousin Heather is also coming up to meet Dean for the first time. (Shout out to Heather's new blog! Check her out if you have time.) We are very excited to see the fam and show them the house. We are also excited that Grammy and Papa will be taking care of Dean on Sunday afternoon so we can FINALLY unpack some boxes! Or nap. The jury's still out on that one.

*Meredith, if you don't come visit me soon, I will cry. CRYYYYYY. No pressure.

*Dean peed on me today. Twice. Then he laughed. A lot.

*I really think I'm going to bed now. At 8:30. Because my child will probably wake up ready to party at 4am. And, chances are, he'll pee on me.

Everyone have a great week!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The grand tour...well, kinda

Ok, ok! I hear you! You want to see pictures of the house! Well, these will have to do for now. The house is still kind of an unorganized disaster, and is likely to stay that way until Grammy and Papa come next weekend and can take care of Dean for a couple of hours while Marcus and I make sense of the clutter. But here are some pictures to tide you over. As I write this, by the way, Dean is snoozing on the big bed between 2 pillows. He would NOT sleep in his crib or his pack and play. He really wanted to sleep on ME, but I needed to do laundry, so I just kind of slid him off of me and onto the bed. Poor guy. He's still got the cold and has all but lost his voice. Ever hear a hoarse baby? It's pretty pitiful. :(

Ok, here we go. I'm gonna try to get Blogger to help a sister out and drag the pictures where I want them to be. Yeah.

Here's one of the family in front of the new abode. (Don't look at my hair. That's what happens when I dont use the straightener.) Our plans for the future include staining this deck, then knocking it down to build a cool porch.

This is the new sofa. We had wanted it to be chocolate brown, but this was all they had and they promised that the micro-fiber was easy to clean for when little fingers start getting stickier. Or when little mouths spit entire doses of Tylenol on it. They call the color "Cafe" and we actually like it a lot. And it's REAAAAALLLLY comfy!

Marcus is so happy he can't stand it.

About our giant new flat-screen tv, that is. Which we totally didn't need. But totally love. Epsecially the HD channels. And the football package. ( People are often surprised to find out I'm as big a football fan as Marcus. I grew up around SEC schools adn my dad is a die-hard Ole Miss fan, so it's in my blood. Alabama is my team now, since I graduated from there. Roll Tide!)

Here's the dinette set. It's smaller than we'd planned to get, but we loved the details and the leather chairs. It fills the space in our Eat-In kitchen nicely. And to answer the next question, Dean's booster seat lives on one of our folding chairs that goes with our card table, NOT one of these babies!

And now a brief pause in our tour of the Marjen house to show you the tackiest yard I've seen so far! We were out exploring the other day and came across this. The picture doesn't really do the yard justice. This is about 1/4 of the yard, but was my favorite as far as decorations go. I'm definitely swinging back by at Christmas. Can you even imagine? Ok, back to the tour!

This is the snazzy new bed we got for our room. It's super cozy and sooooo pretty! Note matching end tables. There is also a dresser, but the one they brought is dinged, so we're getting a new one Tuesday.

That'll have to do for now. Next post...big boy bed! The big boy is giving me a hoarse little whine right now, so I've gotta run!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

So that's what a REM cycle feels like

Dean slept ALL NIGHT LONG. It's the first time he's ever slept ALL NIGHT LONG. Did not wake up once for a bottle or anything. 9 1/2 glorious hours of sleep. Three cheers for the big boy bed!
Now if we could just ditch the cold...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Big Boy Bed

Dean is spending his first night in his big boy crib. In his own room. With a monkey motif. Not 3 feet from my head. I'm going to cry now.

Monday, September 8, 2008

8 months already

How did he get to be 8 months old!?!!? It seems like yesterday he was driving his foot into my ribcage and making me crave hot chocolate. Now he can laugh, babble, blow cereal all over the kitchen, roll all around, almost crawl (so close!), give open-mouthed kisses, take off his own diaper (not charming) an hold his own bottle. And he's really ticklish behind his knees. I love him whole much. :)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A big dose of local culture AND I walked off the hot wings I ate yesterday

Today was a busy day for the Marjen household! (Marjen, by the way, is our combined celebrity name, like Brangelina or Bennifer.) We left home a little after 8 this morning to hit some yard sales. We racked up at one yesterday, finding the exact crib mattress we were about to shell out 70 bucks for at Target on sale (and brand new!) for only $15!!! We also bought 5 boxes of Christmas lights. I see that Marcus is coming around to my way of thinking. This will make the holidays happier for all of us. ;) This morning, we picked up some fun new books for Dean, a cool set of wooden blocks and a neat plastic rhino for our nephew. (His daddy collects rhinos and he thinks they are neat, so we snatch them up when we see them!) Once we'd hit all the ones that we had highlighted in the paper, we headed to an estate sale. Marcus loves them. I had never been to one...and I will probably not be going to another one. It creeped me out. Never mind the fact that we were in a house that had not been updated since the late 60's, never mind the strong smell of mothballs (and bacon!?!??) in the air, let's focus on the fact that you are DIGGIN THROUGH A DEAD PERSON'S CLOSET! There is something so wrong about that. Sure, they don't need their mop or their sassy collection of cardigan sweaters or their 39 baskets of needlepoint supplies anymore, but something about it just creeped me out a bit. I told Marcus I felt like we should say a prayer or something. Bleh.

Anyway, after that, I was actually still hungry, so we ate at Cracker Barrel, then headed to the Bessemer Flea Market. Uh, ghetto. I mean, how much need is there in Bessemer, AL, for 17 booths of cell phone clips (yes, I counted), 9 sock merchants and a print of the Last Supper on a piece of tin? Like the estate sale, I think this was my first and last trip to that particular flea market.

From there, though, our day got pretty awesome. We happened to notice in the paper yesterday that this weekend was the annual Birmingham Art Walk. More than 100 artists from the area gather once a year in downtown B'ham to exhibit their work, including sculptures, jewelry, photography, paintings, crafts and multi-media work. There's also live music, food and kids' activities. (I really wanted to paint a flamingo at the DaVinci Gallery. I'm just sayin'.) Anyway, we hit the jackpot! We got 3 great photographs and an AMAZING print of a painting for our house! We have decided to do our "formal" living room in a New York theme, using some cool photos or paintings of New York, stuff we bought there, our Broadway posters and perhaps a neat coffee table book, to decorate. This is a painting of the top of the Chrysler Building and the colors will work perfectly in our living room. The artist is making another trip to NYC soon and will be doing a painting of the Flatiron Building, which we hope to buy at next year's Art Walk.

I think this is my favorite day since we've moved. The three of us were together all day, Dean was an angel (he loves being around people and seeing new sights) and we got to do something really fun and local. I can't wait to find more things like this to do around our new hometown.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I forgot this part

The part of small-town southern life, that is, that moves s-l-o-w-l-y. Don't get me wrong, half the reason we left NYC was to slow things down. I'm talking about things like the delivery company Babies R Us told me to call to deliver Dean's crib telling me they didn't return my call yesterday because they decided to close early to go to their daughter's house for dinner and they can't book me for delivery until NEXT WEEKEND. Uh, we'll borrow a truck, thanks. Or the furniture company bringing our living room sofa and love seat (which are great, by the way), but not having the coffee table or end tables in stock. They hope to have them by Wednesday. Rooms To Go also has to bring us a new dresser because the one in our bedroom has a big ding in the corner. But they left the dinged one. Because "Oh, we don't take the bad one, ma'am." Uh, ok. And the Chinese food is pretty bad.

On the other hand, we were able to snag an appointment for Dean at our top-choice pediatrician the same day we called last week to get his cough checked out. (he had a cold) And it takes Marcus a mere 10 minutes (if that) to get to and from work...a welcome change from his 90-plus minute commute from Queens to Brooklyn. And our grocery store ROCKS.

Dean has a date this evening. It's kind of a blind date. One of Marcus's colleagues is bringing her daughter over to play. She's an older woman--she'll be 2 later this month. We, the parents, have been really excited for the two of them to meet. I'm sure good times will ensue, so I'll be sure to snap some pictures to post.

Before I go, I wanted to send good wishes to Molly over at "Lost A Sock." She'll be checking into the hospital in the morning to deliver her third child and first daughter. Good vibes and wishes for a great delivery!

I have to go take pictures of Dean now. He's standing in his exersauces beating the tar out of the little plastic dog that sings "Do You Know The Muffin Man?". What a charmer.

Monday, September 1, 2008

He does actually eat things that aren't green, too.

Check me out. I just made baby food. Yep. It's true. I got a new Cuisinart food processor at the Linens N Things closeout sale and I made baby food! The green goo in the pink bowl is avacado (Dean loves it!) and the green goo in the Gerber jar (may as well recycle while I'm at it!) is peas. I'm so excited. I'm going to do fruit later. JEEZ this will save money AND get rid of leftovers! Thanks to Eva, another blogger who posted a link to a cool site with baby food recipes, and to Frema, whose husband makes food for their daughter, for inspiring me to do this. There are 4 of those little plastic Gerber containers in my freezer full of love and green foods. Yee haw.