Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Let's wrap it up!

Jen over at She Likes Purple did this fun year-end wrap up, so I thought I'd follow suit. But first, go here and look at how swollen my feet were this time last year. YUK!
Hope everyone has a fun New Year's eve and a wonderful 2009. 2008 has certainly been a year like no other!

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

Gave birth! Via major abdominal surgery! Two-in-one...whaddya know?

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don't remember making any last year. This year, I am hoping to settle into myself a little more and figure out the fine balance of motherhood and work.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

That would be me.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?

None. We were doing good to get out of the house to go to the grocery store and work!

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

Emotional stability would be nice! (Fie on you, pregnancy and post-partum hormones!) No, seriously, I'd love a little more time to myself. That is something that was very lacking this year. (see previous note about emotional stability...)

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

January 5: Dean's birthday!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Surviving the first year of parenthood AND buying our first home!

9. What was your biggest failure?

Gaining more weight before I'd lost all the baby weight. Oy vey.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Pre-eclampsia, diagnosed with PKD, and an evil case of whiplash in July.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Our house!!!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My husband's. He is such a wonderful father and has taken excellent care of Dean and me this year.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

There was some funky stuff going on at work this summer, which made for rough times. I won't go into specifics.

14. Where did most of your money go?

GAS and baby formula/food

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Moving to Alabama

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?

"You Are My Sunshine." It's one of Dean's bedtime songs.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:?
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?

Happier; SOOOOOO much thinner, about the same

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Said goodbye in person to more friends in NYC

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?


20. How did you spend Christmas?

Visited both families

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?

Yes, with my son.

22. What was your favorite TV program?


23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No, there's no time for any of that.

24. What was the best book you read?

Haaaaaaaaaa...does "What to Expect" count?

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

A classic Sesame Street video of Grover singing with Madeline Kahn. Dean LOVES it and it always calms him.

26. What did you want and get?

A baby, a house, a new job for my husband

27. What did you want and not get?

My size 6 body back ;) (Not happenin' kids!)

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

HAAAA! You don't even want to know the last time I went to a movie! We keep saying we're going to go, but we never do.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 31. Kitty watched Dean so Marcus and I could go out to dinner.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Winning the lottery!

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

"Today I"m going to stop wearing maternity clothes. Ok, maybe tomorrow." Then the Overhaul of October where I bought a whole new wardrobe.

32. What kept you sane?

Marcus, my family, my blog and my "Blog friends"

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Drew Sarich. sigh

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

The election.

35. Who did you miss?

My New York friends.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

Dean! I've also really enjoyed getting to know my Aunt Maxine and cousin Heather better since we moved closer to them.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

Priorities become very obvious when you have a child. The little things tend to fall out of the picture so that big things, like playing with baby, feeding baby, staring at baby while he sleeps, can move to the front of the line. That said, you still have to make time for yourself every once in a while or you will go insane. A shower should be a daily occurrance, not a luxury.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

The night we met I knew I needed you so
And if I had the chance I'd never let you go
Oh, since the day I saw you
I have been waiting for you
You know I will adore you til eternity
So won't you please (be my, be my) be my little baby

Happy New Year, everyone!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Just so ya know...

The Christmas decorations are staying up until January 6th. My friend Meredith helped me justify that decision by reminding me that January 6th is the last day of Epiphany, and therefore, the last official day of the holiday season. The real reason is that I want my mom and dad to see my tree and other decorations when they come for Dean's birthday party this weekend. And since we were gone for two weeks to celebrate with our families, I want to enjoy our decorations for a while longer. So there ya go. If you are among the guests for this weekend's festivities, prepare yourself for a little more Christmas.

In other news, Dean is slowly but surely getting used to sleeping in his own crib again. While we were gone, he decided that it would be fun to refuse to sleep except on male relatives or smack-dab in between Marcus and me. Aside from the 2am OH MY GOSH MY TEETH HURT screaming fit, we actually got some rest last night.

What's everyone doing for New Year's? We'll be preparing for the party this weekend. I'm baking the cake myself, a fact my father finds utterly hilarious. I may do a practice run, though I really don't need the extra sweets in the house. Our friend Lee is coming in on New Year's Day and I'm sure some of our students will be drifting back into town and coming over to beg for, I mean tell us all about their holidays. :) On Jan. 2, we'll be cheering for Alabama as they play in the Sugar Bowl. (Roll Tide!) Then Saturday the 3rd is the big party for Mr. I'm One Year Old. (His actual birthday is the 5th, but who wants to celebrate on a Monday?) Every time I think about him turning one, I cry. Expect a lot of pictures because words will surely fail me in the coming days.

Maybe if I just keep my back turned to her Mommy will stop crying and kissing my face and saying "Oooooooh, my baby boy is gonna be oooooooonnnnnnnneeeeeeeee!" Jeez, Mom. Can't a guy watch Johnny and the Sprites in peace?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Picture pages....Christmas edition!

Best Christmas present ever. :)

Dean had lots of quality time with his G-Mama!

He also took quite the liking to his Pop-Pop!!

Me, Dean and Mim (my dad's mom). I have had that sweatshirt since 6th grade. Are you horrified that I'm wearing it or impressed that I can still fit into it???

Reindeer bum-bum! Hanging out with Grandma Willie (my mom's mom).

Dean checks out his new wagon.

Family photo! Marcus, my mom (Grammy), Deano, my Dad (Papa) and yours truly. We clean up ok, huh? We added a little extra Merry to our Christmas by celebrating the first anniversary of my mom's kidney transplant on Dec. 19.

Double trouble...Dean and Adam.

Could you eat his face off in his monkey jammies?

Dean got this cool zebra from G-Mama and Pop Pop. Marcus thinks it's awesome.

Don't say I never post pictures of myself. My hair's even brushed in this one. You can't even see Dean's forehead bruise. ;)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to all!

I hope everyone's holidays are happy and bright and full of wonderful things like family, friends and food. My grandma arrived today with an entire carload of fresh veggies, homemade cookies and candy and, most importantly, cheese straws.

I am horribly behind on my blog-reading. Last week was not a good week for me to be out of town with limited computer access. All the babies I've been following all year (AJU5, Kara, Megan, and others) turned 1! I promise to go back and read every entry on all of my favorite blogs that I may have missed.

Here are some pictures because BOY do y'all want some pictures! (Thanks for all the emails!)

Have a great Christmas, everyone!

Dean was REALLY happy to see his cousin, Adam. Adam eventually accepted the baby and they worked on sharing all week. By the end of the week, they were partners in crime...and dressed exactly alike...for three straight days.

See? The Handy Manny talking tool kit was quite popular.

Now he's in Oxford hanging with Grammy, Papa and 2 great-grandmas for Christmas!
I promise to upload more pictures tonight once the festivities have concluded and do an all picture post!
Have a wonderful holiday, everyone!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Still tickin', but we did take a lickin'

Well hi there! Remember me? We have been in DC this week (we're here til early Mon. morning) and computer access has been very limited. I haven't gotten brave enough (or dexterous enough!) to blog on my phone yet, but I'm sure that day will come soon. Anyway, we're having a lovely visit with the family. Dean loves hanging out with his big cousin, Adam. I would post pictures of them, but they seem to have hidden my camera somewhere. I plan to rummage through the couch cushions in a minute in an effort to find it.

Marcus and I went out the other day to do some shopping. It was fun to browse without a stroller, though I missed my little constant companion. The phone rang while we were in Borders. It was my mother in law calling to tell me that Dean had tried to impress her with his stunt-man abilities and had fallen off the bed and hit his head. The next 2 minutes are a blur of me dropping everything in my hands, searching for Marcus and trying to remember the name of our medical insurance. We got to the ER about an hour after they'd called and found Dean sitting happily in Grandmama's lap, HUGE goose-egg on his forehead, reading Pinnochio. He looks like he got into a fight and lost. Poor guy. We stayed for three hours of observation and were declared "Just fine" and sent home. In the meantime, Dean decided to impress the nurses with an amazingly stinky poop. And, naturally, we didn't have a single diaper. Fortunately, they had a loaner. It's always an adventure, isn't it?
Those of you who know me will notice that I am writing about this incident three days after it happened and am, therefore, able to have a good sense of humor about it. Because the day it happened? BASKETCASE!

We had a little birthday party for Adam and Dean the other night since they won't get to celebrate their actual birthdays together, and it was lots of fun. Dean tasted cake for the first time, and by tasted, I mean smeared icing in my hair and all over his dad's sweater. Adam eats like a champ and used a big boy fork for his cake. When I saw Adam for the first time this visit, (we haven't seen them since August) I teared up. I cannot believe Dean will be that big this time next year. Adam is a sweetheart and has taken quite a liking to his Auntie Jen. (Which doesn't thrill her AT ALL, let me tell you.;) )

We'll be doing family Christmas tomorrow, which should be a fun time full of babies in boxes wearing bows on their heads. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some couch cushions to rifle through so that I may take photos of said family Christmas!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

About that podiatrist appointment...

It very much did not happen. I spent most of this morning freaking myself out to the point of nausea over the idea of some doctor I'd never met cutting my toe. Yes, I had a human removed from my body (AND AN EPIDURAL!) 11 months ago and was hardly nervous about THAT, but my toe? OH MY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHH! Anywho, I picked Marcus up at work, came home and had lunch, fed Dean and got ready to go. I called my mom on the way to the doctor so she could distract me and explain one more time exactly what they were going to do. I got into the office, saw that it was clean and settled in a bit. I even read a little flyer about ingrown toenails. I had just finished filling out my mountain of paperwork and was sitting down to play with my new phone when the receptionist called me to her window and said "You knwo this is going to cost you $286, right?" I said "HUUUUUUUUUH????????????" Appparently all outpatient procedures are subject to our deductible, which we haven't met because we JUST GOT OUR INSURANCE CARDS THIS WEEK and have not been to the doctor since going on this insurance. (We have been taking a tacky print-out as proof of benefits when we take Dean to the pediatrician.) Anyway, I called Marcus, we shared a laugh, and I told the lady thanks, but I'd be keeping my ingrown toenail. It really doesn't hurt that much. I'll let my dad work on it tomorrow.

Who else thinks this woman should have told me about the cost of this on the phone when I made the appointment? Or maybe I'm dense and should have realized this ahead of time. Either way, they did not get my money today. (see previous entries regarding the money tree and its current emptiness)

We head out tomorrow for our holiday travel extravagganza! Forgive me if my blogging is spottier than usual. Hope everyone's days are merry and bright!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Things that do not sound like fun

Going to the podiatrist. Yet at 2:15 tomorrow afternoon, that is precisely where I shall be. I have a painful ingrown toenail on my left foot that I MUST get taken care of before we head off to holiday bliss. Am I scared? You bet! I'm willing myself not to think about the pain, but rather to focus on the fact that I am bringing my bedroom slippers for the drive home.
I realize that this paragraph is going to get a comment from my mom who has had this procedure done and assures me it's not so bad. I also feel guilty about whining about my toe hurting since my mom had someone else's organ put into her body last December. But what can I say? She's a tough old bird. Perhaps in comparison to my c-section it won't seem so bad...I wonder if they'll give me an epidural? Can't hurt to ask!

I spent the majority of this week struggling with a stomach virus. BLEH. The only good thing about said virus is that my weight loss has now hit the 20 pound mark. That's a heck of a way to lose three pounds, though. If I return from our holiday food fest (aka: Visiting our families) at the 15 pound mark, I'll still be happy. I fear my mother in law will serve fried pork chops and my grandmother will make divinity, so the odds are not in my favor.

It is supposed to snow here tonight. I moved back to the south to avoid such things and currently have no clue where my scarves, gloves or winter hats are. My child also refuses to wear socks and, often, pants, so we will not likely be going out tomorrow. Except me, to the podiatrist. In bedroom slippers.

Monday, December 8, 2008

We cleaned, we cooked, we partied

What a weekend! For years, Marcus and I have dreamt of hosting "The Lane Formal." It would be a fabulous holiday gathering for our co-workers and/or students, inspired by the Guinn Formal, a party one of our professors hosted each year while we were in college. We always looked forward to the Formal. It was a chance to ditch your backstage blacks or funky paint clothes and wear something dressy or quirky, show off your best dip recipe and spend some time with your fellow students and teachers outside the classroom. Once it was evident that Marcus and I were going to be a family forever, we started daydreaming about the day when one or both of us would land at a University and we could throw a lovely holiday bash of our own. And last night, it finally became a reality.

We decided to start out small this year. Until after the first of the year when Uncle Sam gives us money back for having a baby, buying a house and having lots of taxes deducted from our paychecks each month, the money tree is not in full bloom, so the house is still not quite where we'd want it to be to throw an all-out bash. Just for this year, Marcus and I only invited the 11 students from his advanced classes. All are upper-classmen and were allowed to bring one guest. What resulted was about 20 very well-behaved, dressed-up, delightful party guests! And they ate EVERY MORSEL of food we made! Yay for easy cleanup.

What's that? You want to see pictures? Well, ok!

Here is our Christmas tree. I LOVE our Christmas tree! Even though we left all those ornaments at my mom and dad's house, our tree ended up being pretty full! Auntie M made us some adorable ornaments that I was thrilled to add to our collection and we picked up some "filler" ornaments at the 50% off sale at Lowe's.
Please don't judge our ugly curtains. We bought them at Big Lots just to have something over the window before we figured out the color scheme of the room which, thankfully, does not include that shade of green (they are really much uglier in person. They have a paisley pattern, too.). See above comment about the money tree to find out why we haven't bought new ones yet!

Here is our fireplace, which hosted its first fire of the season last night. Marcus was in charge of the mantle and I think he did a fantastic job. The garland and wreath are new, the candles, Santa and snowman were my grandma's. She gave them to us when we were in Oxford for Thanksgiving, along with her cake plate.

Here's the buffet. I have no idea why the picture wants to lay on its side. Please tilt your head to the left to view it properly. Tiiiiiiilt. Ok, see? It's cute, right? There was a ton more food on our dining room table. Our menu included the Cheeseball of Happiness, crostini with pesto and sundried tomato (a HUGE hit), mulled cider (another hit), marinated cheese, Texas sheet cake, corn dip, artichoke dip and the usual drinks. Oh, and BBQ cocktail weenies served straight out of the crockpot. Because I'm southern and that is what we do.

Ok, ok, enough with the house. I know what you REALLY want to see.

Dean was rockin' the green velvet. And the knee socks. One of his shoes even stayed on ALL NIGHT! He was, needless to say, the life of the party.

The students came dressed in a variety of "theatre formalwear." We had an elf, a gingerbread man, lots of girls in cocktail dresses, a few young men in suits, and a group who dressed up like each member of the theatre faculty! (Made me glad I'm not officially on staff yet!) Here's Zach, who we refer to as our oldest son, as Marcus.

In case you can't fully see it, his shirt says "You sure do got a purty mouth."
Marcus teaches movement classes, so he has to wear sweatpants and t-shirts. To keep things fun, he wears goofy PJ pants and t-shirts with funny sayings a lot. And, naturally, his Alabama hat.
Marcus had planned to wear a suit, but decided to go the funny route instead. He wore chaps (yes, he owns chaps. Help me, Jesus. Notice they do not appear in the picture. I had to "free" him from said chaps about an hour into the party.), his cowboy shirt and some sneakers because his boots dry-rotted and I made him leave them in NYC. I bought a gorgeous purple dress, but got overly paranoid about showing too much cleavage and not being able to eat enough cocktail weenies and gave myself such buyer's remorse that I returned it. I'm glad, though, because it gave me the courage to "just see" if I could fit into the dress I wore to my 30th birthday party. And whaddya know? I haven't talked about it on here, but I've lost 17 pounds since we moved to Montevallo. HAPPY JEN. Just a few more pounds and the pesky pregnancy weight PLUS the pesky summer weight will be a thing of the past. I'm in my skinny jeans full-time now.

So, a nice night with good times had by all. We look forward to this becoming an annual event, something the rest of the faculty joins in on, the alumni return for, the students get excited about and that we look forward to hosting each year.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Our last "months-old" birthday

My little boy is 11 months old today. I say little boy because he is seeming less like a baby every day. I wish I could bottle moments with him to save forever. This age (all of babyhood, really) is so precious and is flying by so fast. I try to remember everything he does so I can tell him about it later, but I'm sure I'll forget so much. I want to remember how he smells, what it feels like when he gives me an open-mouthed kiss on the cheek, his two teeth scraping against my skin, the sound of his laugh when I blow on his belly. I know one day soon, he won't let me kiss his feet or nibble his earlobes. He won't want me around when he takes a bath (and GOD FORBID I sing "the song" when he's 5 years old!). Other things I want to remember:
*Dean LOVES tags. He would rather play with tags than whatever the tags are on. When we put his crib together, we cut all the tags off and gave them to him to play with. He was in Heaven. Christmas may be very easy this year...
*His favorite thing in the world to watch is "Don't Forget The Lyrics." He thinks they are singing to him. Dean doesn't watch a lot of TV, but he perks up whenever he hears a song, so this show is lots of fun for him.
*Whenever he's so cranky I can't console him with books, I log onto Youtube and play a classic Sesame Street video of Grover singing with Madeline Kahn. He LOVES this song.
*It is apparently hilarious whenever I put the binky in my mouth the wrong way so that he can come up and grab it from my mouth the right way. Unsanitary? Perhaps. Adorable? Definitely.
*He has this cute little shriek he does whenever he sees other kids. He gets so excited. I hope he's always a social being.
*If I can get a belly laugh out of him, I will keep doing whatever brought about said belly laugh until he's so bored with me that he just wanders away.
*I love that whenever he makes a new discovery or feels a new sensation, his eyebrows shoot up expressively.
*I love it when he wears footie jammies with animals on the feet.
*His hair is OUT OF CONTROL when he wakes up. Add his snaggle-toothed smile to that and how can you resist him?
*He sometimes sings in falsetto.
*He checks in with me. A lot.
I know soon he'll be into his own thing and I'll go back to work and our little Mommy-and-Dean Universe will not be the same, but these past few months have been amazing and I am so, so thankful to have my little boy.
I have to go stare at him while he sleeps now.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

How very 21st Century of me

Last Tuesday night, I logged onto Facebook and found out I'd lost my summer job.
Let me clarify. Theatre West Virginia, where Marcus and I work in the summers, lost $100,000 in government funding. On Tuesday of last week, the board of directors decided to close the doors, thus cancelling the 2009 summer season. When I logged onto Facebook, our artistic director's status said "TWV board has decided to close the doors. We would need 100 people to give $1,000 in order for us to stay open." Ugh. I immediately wrote to her, asking what we could do to help. I have no idea why a fundraiser was not thought to be the first plan of attack. However, this week the board has allowed them to start a huge fundraising effort. To my knowledge, they have already collected over $2,000. Marcus and I are going to be sending out a letter to everyone we can find who has ties to TWV as well as to a lot of our theatre contacts. Our goal is to try and get 20,000 people to give $5. Money is tight right now for everyone, but $5 seems like a reasonable amount, even for our employees who are college students. If TWV is closed this summer, that elimnates over 100 jobs in theatre. We cannot let this happen. Not only does this elimnate a huge employment opportunity for college students and early career professionals, it also puts educators and working artists like Marcus and me out of work. And, the most tragic part to me, it pulls the year-round educational tour off the road and puts TWV's 5 full time employees out of work. The tour travels all around the state of WV playing to elementary and middle school students. For most of them, it's the first theatre experience they have had. For some, it will be the only one they will have. The work we do is so important. Please send up a prayer and good thoughts for TWV and let's hope we don't have to close our doors this season.

On the off chance that you are interested in donating to TWV, email me. Address can be found in my full profile. Thanks!

Monday, December 1, 2008

The funniest thing in the whole world apparently me transferring clothes from the washer to the dryer. BELLY LAUGHS. Oh, to be ten months old. (11 this week. GAH.)