Thursday, February 25, 2010

things {connor} loves thursday

Thanks to a decades-old stash in Shawn's parents' attic, Connor owns a hefty stash of Dr. Seuss books. The "This book belongs to.." pages of our"vintage" collection often contain the penciled-in scrawl M I K E or B E T H. It appears that Mike, as a 6 year old, had better penmanship than my 26 year old brother Hugh has now. As for Beth, she was once {apparently} so enamored with the ability to write her name on the "belongs to" page that she just kept going and wrote her name on every. single. page. {and yet, one of your siblings still appropriated the book! try again!}

Connor's current favorites are Hooper Humperdink, The Berenstain's B Book, There's a Wocket in My Pocket, Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?, The Cat in the Hat, A Great Day for Up, Fox in Socks, and Please Try To Remember the First of Octember!

Dr. Seuss' iambic brilliance is so catchy that sometimes, while at my office attempting to draft a motion or e-mail a client, my mind is instead quietly marching along to the rhythmic tounge-twisting of

When beetles battle beetles
in a puddle paddle battle
and the beetle battle puddle
is a a puddle in a botttle..
they call this
a tweetle beetle
bottle pudddle
paddle battle muddle.

We try to rotate through our non-Seuss books as well. Pretty much the only book I cannot read to Connor is "Someday." The sticker on the cover of this book bills it as "a celebration of life, love, and the bond between mother & child." Shawn and I, however, have come to the mutual conclusion that the sticker should instead read "WARNING: EMOTIONAL TERRORISM." How are you supposed to read your baby a book about a "someday" in which your baby is old and gray and looking at a silver-framed picture of his/her long-dead mother?!? I tried to read it to Connor on at least 3 separate occasions, and just ended up sobbing, with Connor looking at me like "uh, I thought crying was my job!!"

We try to read Connor a few books every night before bed. He likes to "read" along with us, i.e. out-shout the reader with "gooooooooooooooooooooo!" or "awoooooooooo!" Apparently, he does not yet understand the whole "one person talking at a time" thing. I have a feeling we will be continue to get notices of this inclination from Connor's future teachers.

Sometimes, if we have no books handy, we read him... uh, the Band-Aid box:

Taking a walk down the street to the library to pick out some new books:

Connor is just four days shy of 5 months old!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

going green. or: in with the righteous indignation, out with the doritos.

We've been making some big changes at our house.

A few weeks ago, Shawn and I watched the documentary Food, Inc. It turned out to be nothing less than a total game changer for our family. I'd never considered myself much of an environmentalist. I mean, yeah, I put my beer bottles and cereal boxes in the recycling bin, but that was about it. Shawn had always been the "greener" half of this couple. Some illustrative examples: (1) One of the man's lifelong aspirations is to get rain barrels installed below our gutters so that he can water the lawn with collected rainwater. I mostly told him that this project was off limits if the rain barrels were at all ugly. (2) We'll be traveling to Indiana in a few weeks, and Shawn was seriously contemplating filling our car with aluminum cans so that we could drop them off in Michigan for a 10 cent deposit refund. I told him that, under no circumstances, were we driving a Honda full of our garbage across state lines. So, you can see my level of commitment to saving the earth. I mean, I wasn't out dousing baby seals in oil, but I wasn't up at night crying about them, either.

Then along came Food, Inc. Now, I expected to receive this documentary with the same sense of skeptical disdain that I typically reserve for such lefty docu-films. I don't think I'd ever gotten through a Michael Moore production without excessive eye rolling and dismissive headshaking. Followed by a strong desire to slap everyone who thought he was some kind of hero/genius/visionary. I basically thought he was a fat guy with an agenda and a camera.

So imagine my surprise when I start watching Food, Inc.... and I'm mesmerized. How did the makers of this movie get me to care, when Pierce Brosnan and all of his "save the whales" letters failed?? The short answer: instead of appealing to my sense of compassion (in dubious state of crustiness much of the time), the makers of Food, Inc. appealed to a higher sense: my righteous indignation! They made me mad! You mean to tell me that I am just an unthinking pawn at the mercy of the dark and mysterious forces of agribusiness?!? That companies are putting high fructose corn syrup in everything imaginable, then running ad campaigns alleging that it's the same thing as sugar?? I won't go into a play by play of the film, but I firmly believe that anyone who eats food should watch it. Suffice it to say, the whole thing made me so mad that I just said "I'm out." I don't want any part of this mess, and I'm voting with my knife, fork and spoon every time I sit down to eat.

So, we're going organic.

There will be plenty of follow-up posts on this subject, so for now I'll just leave it here.

And speaking of food, here are some pictures of Connor enjoying his {organic} rice cereal. We got the go-ahead at his 4 month appointment, and it really comes as no surprise that our butterball loves his cereal.

This is his first attempt. Note the prayer hands and the intense focus:

Followed by a barfy sense of being overwhelmed:

Subsequent attempts: I can do it myself!

Some of it went in his mouth, I swear.

He absolutely refused to swallow the last spoonful, just sat there grinning at us with his cheeks stuffed with mush:

Connor is 4 months and 3 weeks old.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010


Love.... fresh off the griddle with a warm banana walnut topping so decadent that it set off Emergency Response alarms at Weight Watchers Central Command {buried deep in an undisclosed mountain location, known only to those with a demonstrated appreciation for fiber and portion control}:

Needless to say, there were warm fuzzies aplenty chez nous this Valentine's day. After chowing down, we {ok, I} dressed up the First Pancake Himself in some adorable holiday garb {thanks Annie!}. In a nod to his boyhood, I tried to man-up the be-hearted sweatsuit with an automobile-themed t-shirt. {In retrospect, I see the folly in thinking that tiny embroidered trucks would draw one's eye away from the huge red heart applique on his rear end}.

In a semi-miraculous turn of events, his days-of-the-week socks (a) matched the color of his outfit; (b) matched each other; and (c) matched the actual day of the week {unlike those times I come home on a Monday to find that Shawn has outfitted Connor in Tuesday socks and a Friday onesie}.

We had a fun day hanging out at the house:

In the evening, we enjoyed some funky local wine and made our own "ballpark" pretzels to eat during a viewing of Field of Dreams {brought to you by VHS and a much-younger Kevin Costner}. The pretzels turned out pretty great, although I don't see us winning any actual ballpark food-service contracts anytime soon:

Connor helped with the egg wash:

Shawn did our alma mater proud with his Notre Dame pretzel:

I fell asleep shortly after Shoeless Joe Jackson made his first appearance in the corn. Dreaming that some long-dead pretzel artist would appear in my kitchen to do the dishes...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

things {connor} loves thursday

His first love was fingers. Anyone's, really. He lamely let all dozen varieties of pacifiers that Shawn and I purchased plop unceremoniously from his mouth. To hell with those orthodontic nipples, he seemed to say through his expression of newborn disgust. Give me some fingers. And so, for the first four weeks of his life, Connor spent nearly every waking moment sucking on somebody's pinky.

By the time he would finally abide being set down for a few moments, he discovered the majestic glory of his jungle gym play mat, in all its dangling, blinking, battery-powered glory. Never has a tinny version of "skip to my lou" so inspired a human soul as it did the first time it graced Connor's infant ears. He would give himself over to that mechanized melody, spastically pumping his arms and legs while entranced by the disco-baby lights flashing above his saucer-sized eyes. With a frenzied, flapping, jerky rhythm he would move to the sound of the music with enough enthusiasm to convey his message: "These hanging elephants are making me dance. I hope you stocked up on D batteries."

Then, one day (which day, exactly? only mothers who fill in their baby books would know) I unglued my eyes from Jack McCoy long enough to realize: my kid has grasped an object! His once-random drum-major arm gyrations have been channeled into productive use! He has a plastic parrot by the jugular!

Eventually, he further fine tuned his motor skills with some enthusiastic throat punches directed at the blue elephant. {yeah, this video is sideways with no sound. I think i have a really promising future in videography}

Since then, Connor has spent many happy hours on his mat, while Shawn and I smile and watch and wonder if we will ever hear the end of my lou's skipping. and then wistfully remind ourselves that one day {too soon} he won't be so little anymore, and this 3x3 jungle mat will no longer be his play universe. So we put in a fresh set of batteries, and hum along.

Connor is 4 months and {nearly} 2 weeks old.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

snowed in

"Snowmageddon." Yes, that was seriously the front-page Sunday headline of our local paper.
{For a town that prides itself on its blue-collar grit, we sure do enjoy some winter weather hyperbole. And, of course, we'll take both fries and coleslaw directly on top of that hyperbole, please. Never on the side.}. We are still digging out from under the 21 inches of snow that fell Saturday, and more is falling as I write this. The world outside is white and wintry, and lovely enough to make a Pennsylvanian not begrudge groundhog Phil for calling forth 6 more weeks of winter. Then again, I'm not one of the tens of thousands of people without power, heat, and hot water. So, I guess I can see the argument for pushing Punxsutawney Phil into early retirement in Florida.

Well, after a cozy Friday evening at home making (and eating, naturally) these

we woke up Saturday morning to this:

so, we suited up the peanut and walked through town

he was skeptical about the whole plan, but we had fun.

Connor is {still} 4 months, 1 week and 3 days old. And snoozing to the white noise from a thrift-store TV.

letter to connor, 4 months 1 week and 3 days

Well, hello peanut.

By the time you are actually reading this, you may even have the good sense to wonder why I didn't start this blog sooner. Like, maybe 5 minutes after I saw "YES+" pop up on a pregnancy test in January 2009. Or, if not then, at least within hours of your long-awaited arrival on September 29, 2009. Well, I'm not sure I have an answer to that. However, I'm sure that by the time you get around to asking yourself these sorts of questions, I'll have since engaged in enough certifiably lunatic behavior that "why didn't my mom properly document my gestation and infancy?" will be the least of your questions or concerns. So, it's true-- your $75 custom-designed baby book is still stuffed into a canvas basket underneath your changing table. In a frenzy of good-intentioned craftiness, I did glue on one picture of you. Then I sort of ruined the "simple yet modern" vibe of the design by bedazzling your little picture with a bevy of mildly obnoxious pastel-colored stickers which proclaim that you are, indeed, "precious," "our treasure" or "perfect," etc.

I recently flipped through the book, filled with prompts like "first time rolled over," "first laugh," and "first smile."

Well, those blanks are yet-to-be filled in. Not because you haven't figured out how to do those things (you do them all quite well, to our great amusement). No, the blanks remain so because I (despite all of my lofty Martha Stewart aspirations) will probably never successfully complete a scrapbook in my entire life. In light of this inimitable truth, I've decided to start this blog, instead. Enjoy. And remember, if you don't call your mother often once you grow up and move out, I have plenty, PLENTY, of incriminating spit-up pictures that I won't hesitate to show your fiancee.

You are growing up so fast (the cliches are all true) and I want to be able to look back and remember you at every stage. Your father and I joke that you're our "first pancake"-- the one on whom we adjust the batter consistency and griddle temp (not literally, obviously) before ladling out the rest of the batch. So, apologies in advance for all of the mishaps to come. You might be our first pancake, but you're also the kid who made us into parents. And no one else will ever be able to say that.

So, to recap:

We started the countdown to meeting you on January 9, 2009.

You scoffed at the notion of a 40 week gestational period, and were still snug and cozy in the womb at 41 weeks 3 days, when mommy was induced

After 36 hours of labor and 2 failed epidurals, you arrived via c-section on September 29, 2009 at 8:52 pm. You weighed 8 lb 11 oz (just like mommy! at birth, that is. definitely not at the time she delivered you) and measured 22 in long. The first thing the surgeon said was "he's so handsome! look at that hair!" (or at least that's what I think she said. I was getting about 4 different intravenous drugs at the time).

we took you home. you were so tiny.

you grew.

and grew

and grew

and grew.

and now you are 4 months, 1 week and 3 days old.
and I love you more every day.