Saturday, December 12, 2009

Jason and Mommy

Daddy put this together for us as an early Christmas present. Sweet Daddy :)

(Be sure to turn up the volume!)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pilots

During an airplane trip yesterday we encountered some major turbulence, tensing me up quite a bit. You announced to the other passengers, "THIS IS FUN!!" Fabulous. You're afraid of parakeets, but bouncing around the sky in a speeding metal death trap is fun. Boys!

On a related note, I wonder if they have a special class in pilot training to teach The Announcement Voice. We'll have to ask Granddaddy...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Happy Wedding!

Hi buddy,

Just a few weeks ago we helped Uncle Bubba and Aunt Shells celebrate their wedding. Uncle Bubba met Aunt Shells just a couple months before you were born, so you've never really known him without his other half. Pretty cool, I think! You were the ring bearer, of course, and despite lots of pre-wedding stress on my part you did your job perfectly! (Parenting tip: we bribed you with a lollipop.)

I don't have many pictures yet, but here you are getting ready for the big event:


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Hats

You've been experimenting with quite the assortment of hats lately:










Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Gravy

Daddy and I have have been engaged in an argument about canned tomatoes for going on 10 years now. When we were newlyweds the conversation typically went something like this:

Me: "I picked up some tomatoes to make sauce tonight."
Daddy: "Those are Progresso."
Me: "So?"
Daddy: "They aren't Cento."
Me: "So?"
Daddy: "My mother uses Cento."
Me: "So?"
Daddy: "So, I'm not eating sauce made with crappy Progresso tomatoes."
Me: *runs to store to buy proper tomatoes*

I've since learned to never buy a tomato product without Cento written on the can, and the discussion has evolved into:
Daddy: "I like the pureed tomatoes better than these crushed tomatoes."
Me: "Last time I used pureed, and you said you liked the crushed better."
Daddy: "My mother uses pureed."
Me: "I have your mother's recipe right here. It says, 'pureed or crushed.'"
Daddy: "That's wrong. I'm sure she uses pureed."
Me: "Then go ask your mother to make you the sauce!"

So, hopefully you won't be nearly the pain in the ass your father is about this, but just in case you feel the urge to utter the words, "My mother uses ____," here are the correct sauce parameters. Bone-in pork chops. Cento crushed tomatoes. Cento tomato paste. Barilla pasta. Extra garlic. Chopped parsley. Fresh parm. Fresh romano.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Storytime

Historically, you have viewed stuffed animals as construction material to build giant landing pads. This way you have something soft to crash on when you parachute off the couch. I'm happy to report that you're expanding your horizons. While dive-bombing the sweet animals is still a favorite pastime, you've discovered inanimate objects are easily bent to your will, which makes them great playmates. Last night you arranged your favorites, Silly Lion, Alien, and Blue Doggie, on the couch for a reading session.

Note to readers: the adorable fleece stuffed animals in the photos are from Beeposh. They also carry apparel and fun Mommy treats--I used my Beeposh tote at the pool all summer!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Whee!

My favorite picture from Mamo and Granddaddy's annual summer trip:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Poetry

When I was a little girl, my Mamo taught me poems. I would recite them for my Mommy when she came home from work. Your Mamo has continued this tradition, and you learned your first poem last week. It was one of my first poems, too!

Home Again
Home again, home again
From a foreign shore.
But, oh, it fills our hearts with joy
To be at home once more.

video

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Roses and Diamonds

"I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds around my neck."
--Emma Goldman (1869-1940)

Actually, Emma, what I'd really like is a maid.

I first read feisty Ms. Goldman's roses and diamonds quote back in high school. At the time I remember thinking, "Yeah! Me too. Diamonds suck." I associated diamond necklaces with charity balls and snottiness and Hermes scarves. And, as a soon-to-be college student (and rather feisty myself), there was likely some sort of distaste for the symbolism of it all. Seems kind of like a dog collar. A shiny dog collar, but a dog collar nonetheless. Plus, flowers are pretty! Who wouldn't want flowers? I now know the money doesn't have anything to do with it. Those roses probably cost more than the diamonds. Fifty bucks every other week for ten years adds up to a pretty awesome diamond necklace!

But seriously, when I think about this now, I see the effort involved in the respective gifts. A diamond was chosen with care and excitement, saved for over a long period of time, presented on a special occasion. It also takes a great deal of thought for a man to keep fresh flowers on his love's table. Every few weeks he must replace them and spend that extra bit of time devoted to her happiness. Those are the true gifts--time, thought, effort--that make a woman feel special. I'm lucky to have Daddy, who has given me roses and diamonds...and all of those unspoken gifts...during our eleven years together. I'm glad you have his example to follow.

By the way, I'd prefer to have roses AND diamonds. Why choose?

-------------------------------------------

I tried desperately to place Ms. Goldman's quote in context. I can't find the original source for the life of me. For all I know, she isn't even talking about flowers and roses as gifts from a man. If anyone can point me in the right direction I'd appreciate it!

Just for fun, I've included another favorite Emma Goldman-ism:

"If I can't dance then it's not my revolution."

She would have been a heck of a dinner companion, don't you think?

Monday, July 20, 2009

So There.


You: "Crap!"


Daddy: "Oh no, Jason, we don't say that. It isn't nice."

You: "But that's what you say, Daddy."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I Like to Whisper, Too!

As I type, I can hear Daddy putting you to bed over the monitor. When you are settling down for the night you whisper. I know, hard to imagine considering your daytime voice, which I estimate to be about 130 dB. But at night it is all cuddles and whispers. Just now, you softly said, "Baby Jesus is going to look out for me." Sometimes you like to run through everyone in the world who loves you. Everyone from Paddy the dog to Aunt Teri to baby Micah loves you, and you aren't satisfied until we run through the entire list. Other times you ask us to tell you, "What else is fun?" And if you're thirsty you simply whisper, "Milk." It is one of my favorite times of day, bedtime, and one I'm going to miss when you're all grown up.

P.S. See the movie, Elf (2003) for the title quote!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Summertime Fun

Baseball is your latest obsession. Since the incident several weeks ago involving your baseball and my head, I've learned to stay out of the way when you're playing. Today you spent a couple hours hitting balls off the tee:

video

You also like to name the Red Sox starting lineup. Your favorites are Kevin Youkilis and Dice-K Matsuzaka (both mentioned below) as well as Big Papi, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Dustin Pedroia.

video

Sometimes you like to tell us where you're planning to hit the ball. Here, it is "far far away in the grass." And, lest Uncle Dave V get worried, you also noticed the football :) You have quite the spiral going on, which I'll have to capture on video later.

video

Photography

Mr. B was over at the house yesterday for an Independence Day picnic, and I got a fantastic picture of you in return for the chicken sandwiches and ice cream we served. Very convenient to have such a skilled photographer as a friend (especially since I can't seem to focus a camera). Thanks, Mr. B!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Date

You and Miss Georgia had a fun lunch date today. You even got a kiss!

video

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Playtime

You love to play. You play with books, trucks, trains, blocks, friends, bubbles...you name it, you play with it! These are some of your all-time favorite activities:

Judah. You two have such a fun time together:

Legos...you count them and build towers:


Pretending you are a conductor on the Thomas Railway:
video


Sweeping the floor!

Reading, especially with your cool sunglasses on:

Decorating shipping boxes with stickers and markers:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Shame on me.

Oh Jason. I have been a terrible blogger. The good news is, we've simply been having too much fun for me to sit down and write you a letter! You are such a blast lately--easygoing, happy, conversational--and I love every minute we spend together. I know my account of Spring 2009 is woefully inadequate, but here are a few thoughts:

- We spent a wonderful week on the North Carolina shore with Mamo, Granddaddy, Aunt Kathy, Uncle Lenny, and Uncle Matt. You were afraid of the waves but had a grand time playing in the sand and looking for seashells. We celebrated your second birthday on the trip, and your favorite gifts were a bundle of helium balloons (from Aunt Kathy) and a Bertie the Bus model (Mr. & Mrs. H***).

- It rained on at least 24/26 days so far this June. You've been so bummed! No park, no playing outside, no tee ball, no bubbles...finally I embraced the weather and we spent an entire afternoon jumping in puddles. You are a big puddle jumping fan.

- You learned to drink from a regular cup.

- We had a lovely bridal shower for Aunt Michelle, during which Daddy, Grandpa, Uncle Bubba, Uncle Dave V, and Uncle Dave F thought it would be a good idea not only to bring you to the shower venue for lunch, but to allow you to run wild through the throngs of Italian women in attendance. Given your smashing good looks and charming personality, it wasn't a terrible disaster :)

- Michael Jackson died yesterday. The news is streaming MJ coverage. Such a tragic life...so much talent, so much wasted. I do love his music, though. Nothing else like it.

- Your current stats: 31 pounds and 36 inches.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Two Years Ago...

Since I didn't get around to starting this blog until you were nearly a year old, I thought it would be fun to show exactly how much you've changed. Here you are on the day you were born:
And here you are now:
Maybe things aren't so different, after all!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Happy Birthday to You!

Happy 2nd Birthday, my sweet little boy! We celebrated on the North Carolina beach with Mamo, Granddaddy, Aunt Kathy, Uncle Lenny, Uncle Matt, Mr. & Mrs. Hodges, Napoleon, Josephine, and Paddy. You got lots of fun presents, but your favorite part was devouring the rainbow sprinkle birthday cupcake. There was so much icing up your nose you sneezed sprinkles all night!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Overheard

Your facial expressions and word choices are constant sources of amusement lately, as you are in the midst of a massive language acquisition phase. Intensity is the name of the game when it comes to your emotions and opinions, which leads to a lot of lip-biting on my part while I try to hold in my giggles. Here are some of my favorite Jason quotes:

"Oh no, that's a puma!"
Despite our suburban location, you keep hoping to spot a puma in the grocery store parking lot. The eternal optimist!


"Jason scared the peacock."
You scared the bejesus out of a peacock one day at the zoo, and he returned the favor by squawking loud enough for half of New Jersey to hear it. You still have dreams about that peacock, often talking about him in your sleep.


"Skip, skip, skip the balloon"
Instead of the song lyrics of "Skip to My Lou."


"Jason, what are you doing? Jason's playing with the blue lego (or fill in the blank)"
This is funny stuff. You talk to yourself, asking questions and then answering them.

"Put it right HERE."
You definitely know what you want.


"I need Mommy's lemon."
Although come to think of it, you don't just WANT things, you NEED them.


"That's a good muffin"
Overheard at sushi dinner, after you hijacked Daddy's california roll.


"She's crying. She's sad. She wants his Mommy."
Upon hearing a little girl crying at the store.


"Jason's laughing. Jason's funny!"
I agree :)


"Ouch! That hurt your hiney! Mommy kiss it."
Cute now, but not permission to tell me to kiss your ass when you're older.


"Big monkey read the book. Look, big monkey, it's a parrot fish."
You like to read your stuffed animals bedtime stories, making sure to point out all the important details.


"Let's do-it again! Once more time!"
You think these two phrases are synonymous, not quite grasping the meaning of "once."

"Ayudame! I'm stuck."
Thanks to Diego, you even know a few Spanish words!

"Hola Mommy. Adios Mommy."
Another point for Diego and Handy Manny.


"Ohhhhh, pancake..."
Funniest moment ever while pining over a pancake at the diner.


"I need a hug...mmm that's a good hug, Mommy!"
This never fails to get a smile out of passersby.

"I ludyou"
I love you, too!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Welcome, Spring!

Spring is here, little man, and nothing could make you happier. We've been playing outside, picking up sticks, planting seeds, visiting the park, shooting baskets, watering plants, listening to birds sing, blowing bubbles, and generally having a great time in this gorgeous weather.

Oh, and you've discovered tee ball.

video

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Zucchini Bread

There are those of us who bake, and there are Bakers. My Grandma Ginny was a Baker. The Southern kind. She did not fool around. Grandma taught me to let the eggs and butter come to room temperature before mixing, use one of those special tools to level off dry ingredients, always sift the flour, sprinkle muffin tops with sugar for extra crunch, warm cookies on a warming rack, and double the icing measurements so there is some left over to freeze and have as a midnight snack.

Unfortunately for you, I do none of those things. You will likely grow up with flax seed and applesauce in most of your sweets...and (gasp!) I will probably use my finger to level off the unsifted whole wheat flour. Sorry!

My favorite Grandma recipe is zucchini bread. Her sister-in-law, Gracie, shared it with her many years ago, and it is divine. I've included it here, exactly as she wrote it, and transcribed it below. Since it is perfect as is, I'll try to refrain from the flax seed substitutions and let you enjoy the real thing!



Zucchini Bread

Sift together:
5 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon

Place in a large bowl:
5 eggs, beaten lightly
3 1/2 cups sugar, blend into eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil & 3 tsp vanilla extract (Blend slowly into egg/sugar mixture, then blend well.

Add dry ingredients to egg, oil, etc mixture, mixing only until moistened.

Add 3 cups grated zucchini, one 15 oz can crushed pineapple, well drained, 4 ripe bananas, mashed, and mix well. Pour into 3 greased & floured 9x5x2 1/2 loaf pans or 1 9x13x2 pan. Bake 1 hr @ 350. Cool in pan on rack 10 mins then on cake rack. Can freeze. Good toasted.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Easter

J,

Most of our days are spent in a pleasant rhythm of laughter, cuddling, playing, learning, and the occasional meltdown. You are so damn cute that I usually don't mind the tantrums or difficult moments.

Every now and then (contrary to my own mother's reportedly blissful experience parenting a toddler) you make me nuts.

Easter Sunday, 2009, was one of those days.

The moment we stepped into church, you began screaming, "No go to church! No see Baby Jesus!" And the day went downhill from there.

Happy Easter.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Just so you know...

April is "Donate Life Month" and a good time to remind family members of one's organ donation wishes. I have strong feelings about organ donation that Daddy and my parents are already aware of. So this year I'll let you know my preference.

I am an organ donor. I didn't check the box on a whim. I'm 100% on board with slicing and dicing everything to help others live more meaningful lives. Don't hesitate for a second if you are asked about donating my organs; I've already made the decision for you. Just say yes!

Not a fun topic, but important for you to know.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Blueberries

You like blueberries. A lot. You like them enough to eat about a pint per day, in fact. You eat so many blueberries I was compelled to calculate the cost of your habit (over $100 a month if you're interested). Today we ran out during lunch, and you were not pleased.


video

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Peanut Butter

While shopping yesterday, I noticed that my favorite peanut butter (contains: peanuts) is 43% more expensive per ounce than the popular brand (contains: peanuts, corn syrup, sugar, hydrogenated oils, salt).

How can that possibly be the case? Are peanuts that much more expensive than corn syrup? All they have to do to manufacture my PB is grind the nuts and pour the product into the jar. The other brand requires measuring, mixing, stirring, and who knows what else. Not to mention peanuts go into PB with very little effort (they are simply dried after picking), while the other ingredients require entirely separate processing routines before arriving at the PB factory.

I can just see the PB executives in their conference rooms. "Oooh, let's take out all the superfluous ingredients, simplify our manufacturing process, and double the price!"

Hmpf. Perhaps I should buy some Smucker's stock.

Monday, March 9, 2009

And They Wonder...

Earlier today, I made the mistake of leaving you alone in the kitchen for approximately 7.2 seconds. I returned to find this:
We cleaned up most of the mess together, and then you played downstairs while I vacuumed the disturbing quantity of sugar off the kitchen floor. This is what you decided to do with your freedom: And they wonder what stay at home parents do all day??

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Money Advice

When it comes to money, I recommend sticking to these rules:

1) Don't buy what you can't afford.
2) If you must borrow money, have a plan to pay it back.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

To the readers of my little blog:
If you know the author of today's post (my Daddy) you won't be surprised by the humor, detail, and wit of the following story. If you don't, my Dad's a funny (and sweet) guy...read on and enjoy!

Jason,
Several weeks ago, I asked Mamo and Granddaddy to write my "birth story" instead of buying a gift for my 31st birthday. I wanted you to have a firsthand account of the day. This is the story they sent me...one of the best birthday presents I've ever received.

--------------------------------------------------------

The Story of Your Birthday (A Gift for Your 31st)

Exposition: a fancy word for the beginning of the story - where the author "sets the stage" - in this part, the situation of the characters in the story is explained and it leads up to the further development of the plot - the point of view and the setting (the where and the when) is also explained

As you have no doubt heard a thousand times by now, I fell in love with Pamela as soon as she walked into the Homestead Air Force Base Club one Friday night, the 24th of January, 1975 to be exact. And I know .. I've heard all the rebuttal. Most of it goes something like this, “Are you sure you just didn't fall in lust? Nobody really falls in love at first sight.” Nonsense .. she had me hook line and sinker long before hello. But to be sure, there was a liberal amount of lust involved. In fact, being the steely-eyed, testosterone-packed young fighter pilot that I most assuredly was at the time, I wanted to get your mother pregnant from the moment I laid eyes on her. Moreover, I started trying to talk her into it as soon as we got married. She, being the sensible one, demurely deferred this undertaking until she “got to know me.” I suppose getting married to me (which only took about three months, by the way) without really “knowing me” was perfectly sensible? Hey, it was her logic, not mine.

Rising Action: the series of actions, or complications, that sets up the conflict for the main character of the story - in this part of the story tension builds, and the story works its way up to the climax

Anyhow, about 18 months later she finally relented, and the grand plan was laid out, so to speak. After “cleansing her system” for six months, we commenced baby-making in earnest. You “took” on the first try, which was on the evening of Friday, June 20th, 1975. And I swear we have never had sex since .. honest. Your mother knew she was pregnant right away, but the Nellis Hospital would not conduct the definitive test until she had missed three periods.

Pamela had (and still has) a great many virtues indeed, but patience in this particular situation was not among them. She was so happy and so excited that waiting two more months to find out for sure would have been completely unacceptable. Accordingly, she went to the Pregnancy Counseling Service of Nevada, which was in a rather dodgy part of Las Vegas, and pleaded her case. Pregnancy for almost all of the women there was bad news .. very bad. So you can imagine how happy the workers were to encounter a young woman who actually wanted to be pregnant. No .. REALLY wanted it. Since she had only missed one period, they had to make an exception to policy to do the test, but your mommy won their hearts, and sure enough, you made your presence known.
Your beaming mother made your presence known to me when I got home from work that evening by wearing a little shirt like this one, only yellow.
We were ecstatic, and our feelings of joy have only intensified over the past 31 years. That night we went to tell Kay Wheeler, one of your mother's sky goddess girlfriends, and wound up spreading the news all over the Nellis Club.

Pamela flew one more trip to tell her crew about you. A nutritionist was on that particular flight, and he soon engaged her in conversation. Apparently, his big thesis was all about the benefits of taking cod liver oil, not only for the skin, but for general health purposes as well. In any case, after having inspected your mother's elbows, he advised her that she was pregnant. Your mommy thought that quite astounding since she had only been in this condition for about 5 weeks and he had no way of knowing. I must say that her condition showed quite clearly in her face and her sense of well being, if not in her belly. She was radiant. Maybe that's how he knew.

There is another little vignette having to do with Nort “Doc” Nelson which should be inserted here, even though it doesn't have to do with your birth, per se. You see, everyone at the squadron knew that we had just started trying to get pregnant, and Nort, after some encouragement from the “buds,” decided to play a rather mean joke on your mommy one Friday night. The idea was to masquerade as a flight surgeon "fertility specialist" and engage your mother in a very detailed, animated and graphic conversation regarding the fine art of getting pregnant. Of course, there was no such specialty amongst the flight surgeons, but who knew? This went on for the better part of an hour, and when Pamela finally discovered that Nort was just another dumb-ass fighter pilot she proceeded to throw her cocktail, a stinger as I recall, down his unzipped flight suit .. all over his already under-sized wedding tackle. The “Doc” moniker stuck for quite a while. She just advised me that she poured one down my flight suit as well for being complicit in this unspeakable treachery.

We were to visit the Club every Friday night thereafter, as was the ritual in those days. We danced and had dinner .. it was really romantic and probably the beginning of “dock time.” We were all full of questions about you and what your future would be like. We loved to make plans and dream out loud about our soon to be bigger family. Your mother was at her most beautiful when she was pregnant. And that's saying something, since she has always been stunningly gorgeous .. always! We went to Disney World, the Grand Canyon and North Carolina for Alicia's birthday during her pregnancy. It was the happiest and most exciting of times.


As advertised, the morning sickness came, but your mother would not take anything to help with it. She wouldn't take anything else that she thought might be bad for you either, including aspirin, alcohol, or medicines of any kind. However, she did manage to develop a food fetish once the morning unpleasantness abated. This took the form of triple-chocolate pineapple sodas from Baskin Robins. I made many a trek over there at all hours of the evening to satisfy this demonic craving. Small wonder that you are a chocoholic.


Your mommy first felt you move on October 5, 1977. She was sitting in my father's recliner in North Carolina when she summoned me to come and very gently lay my hand on her stomach. You felt like a tiny butterfly dancing around in there. It was magic and really emotional. I know you can't imagine us getting emotional, but it's true. These first barely perceptible movements gave little warning of your impending “Stomp the Yard” act.

At about the seven-month point, I had to attend a Dining-In. Pamela always hated them because they excluded the girls. Your mommy made no secret of her disdain for this sexist practice, and my “buds” knew it all too well. The wing commander, Colonel Ron “Clem” Clements, knew it too, inasmuch as your mommy had poked her little finger in his chest many a time asking, “Why haven't you fixed this yet?” He was probably the finest officer I ever knew in the Air Force , and I thought of him as the perfect father figure. But that evening he had my ass.

As we were about to be served our main course, he picks up his brick (we had no cell phones in those days) and answers what everyone thought was a phone patch from your mommy. It was being broadcast over the loudspeaker in our room as well, so all 150 of us could hear. “Colonel Clements, I want to know when you are sending my Tommy home,” she demanded. “As you know, I am quite pregnant and need him here with me!” Clements, doing his best to contain himself, hemmed and hawed like some unwitting fool. But, needless to say, he was the main perpetrator, bribing our favorite waitress to impersonate my innocent bride and getting the comm squadron commander to rig the microphones and brick.

Meanwhile, I am getting “creamed” in much the same way Joe Namath had been by Farrah Fawcett in the famous Super Bowl ad. Your mother was every bit as hot as Farrah, a fact which had not escaped a single one of the “buds.” So this was a most fitting way to make me the butt of a joke. As the boy's choir sang “Let Noxema cream your face, ...” the crowd went wild. You can still see the Namath version on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OM59nSkjEWU&feature=related


Of course, I was virtually certain Pamela had not made the call .. she knew better. Nevertheless, it cost me about $75. It would have cost me $150, but “Clem” declared a temporary “Happy Hour” in Pamela's honor, so the drinks were half price. When I got home, despite the fact that I knew she hadn't made the call, I asked her. She said, “No Honey, I wouldn't do that to you.” She seemed a little out of sorts, which I attributed to my having attended the Dining-In. But when I got in bed and kissed her I realized she was burning up with fever. When we got to the ER her temperature was nearly 105º. It was another UTI, which had been known to produce fevers of nearly 107º in the past. I was petrified. And talk about feeling guilty. The stupid little rule about not calling the Club could have cost me the most important things in my life. I remember thinking that if anything happened to you or her I wouldn't be able to live with it. Thank God nothing did.

One day in December we were shopping for a Christmas Tree when Pamela suddenly stopped and told me to take a look at her belly. Your little feet were sticking out plain as day.


You never liked being confined and routinely expressed your displeasure by kicking me in the back .. HARD, generally around 0300. I would wake up and ask your mommy what was wrong, but she slept right through your gymnastics, never having felt a thing. You continued this “rolling and tumbling” until a few weeks before your birthday, when the Braxton Hicks contractions became more frequent and intense. I think the contractions, coupled with your increasing size, had begun to make your confinement intolerable. I recall seeing you straining as hard as you could, trying to stretch yourself out. It was more of a continuous push than a kick. I guess this is what babies do to build their little muscles and prepare themselves for the birthing journey.

Climax: the high point in the story - the turning point where the conflict comes to a head and is decided for one side or the other - usually the most exciting point in the story

You were due on the 21st of March. Your mother was finally getting serious about this pregnancy business, having gone from a size 4 to a size 14 during the month of February. She visited her doctor on Wednesday, and he informed her that it would be “a good three weeks.” We had been considering throwing a Saint Patrick's Day Party, something for which we had become quite famous. The latest estimate for your Time on Target (ToT) made that seem a reasonable plan.

We went to a Dining-Out that evening, which, as always, included a little drinking. For some reason still unknown to me, your mommy, who had consumed not a sip of alcohol since she discovered that she was pregnant, had a couple of glasses of champagne that night. Jackie Keith, the squadron commander's wife, asked her if she had been having any contractions. Pamela advised that she was having one right then, whereupon Jackie told her all about the virtues of pregnant women, especially very pregnant ones, drinking champagne. It seems that Jackie had consumed a bit of bubbly the night before the birth of her last child, and she was forevermore convinced that's what got the delivery process going. Naturally, your mother started “feeling funny” later that night. I was feeling funny too, but for a different reason. In any case, I took your mother home, promptly crash landed in bed and commenced my normal marginally inebriated snoring act.

Your mother, being the kind soul that she surely is, allowed me to continue my soft palate serenade all night. She couldn't sleep anyway, as it turns out, and somewhere around 0400 her water began to leak. She gently woke me and gave me the tactical update. Being consummately prepared by “baby school” I remained calm, asked her if she had already called the doctor and advised her that I would be requiring some strong coffee and a hot bath. After a couple of cups of dark blend Columbian, I lingered in the tub long enough to have as many wrinkles as you did at the time. This prolonged immersion was one of the delaying tactics taught at “baby school.” They really harped on this, especially for first-timers, and I managed to stall until around 0630. Meanwhile Pamela spoke with the doctor, who (convinced that she wasn't going to deliver for another three weeks) said, “It's probably nothing, but you can come on out.” After calmly announcing that this was not a drill, your mommy sat on the bed patiently smiling at me while I dressed, “goody- bag” in hand. I remember thinking to myself that she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen right at that moment and that I couldn't possibly love her more.

It was still dark when we finally started the half-hour drive to the base. Thinking there was plenty of time, I was extra cautious .. easing around curves and coming to the most gradual of stops when we needed to. We engaged in loving small talk at first, but once in a while Pamela would stop in mid-sentence. She wasn't complaining of pain, but I could tell that her contractions were becoming more frequent and getting stronger. I started to think that I had made a huge mistake by lolly-gagging around the house for so long. My mind started to race, and instinctively I sped up .. a lot. I momentarily thought your mommy might have you in the car. It was chilly and I remember checking to see if the blanket and newspaper were still in the back seat to wrap you in .. another trick we had been taught. It was there. Thank God!

I was quite relieved when we finally got to the hospital. After the first cursory inspection, the maternity nurses all said, “This is a stubborn little boy. Prepare yourself for a really long day.” That was around 0700. By 0730 we were all settled into a “labor room” and I was mentally preparing myself for about 24 hours of timed breathing, screaming, hollering and getting called every filthy name in the book for having put your mommy in this situation. This was “normal” according to the wizards of “baby school.” None of that happened.

The contractions were coming quite regularly now and they began to get your mommy's attention, but there was no screaming or cursing. I was there at the ready with all the tools of the trade in the “goody bag.” We had no need for any of them. The only thing we really needed and didn't have was a fan, which I had either misplaced or never thought to put in the goody bag in the first place. Either way, it wasn't there. I improvised as best I could, but Pamela did get a bit impatient with me, owing to this buffoonery. She really wanted that fan.

The mid-wife came back around 0800 and, upon examining your mommy, quickly changed her expression. It seems that things had progressed much faster than anyone thought possible. Mommy was fully dilated and contracting in earnest. The only problem was that you were presenting persistent occiput transverse. Fortunately, this was not the mid-wife's first rodeo. She had a substantial bag of tricks to get you to turn. First was getting mommy to roll over on her side and bring her legs up as close to her chest as she could. Next we stood up and walked all over the maternity ward. Then we sat on the toilet. She was trying to avoid manual manipulation, but had to go there (externally) after about 45 minutes. It's now somewhere around 0845. I distinctly remember her saying, “This is a very stubborn little boy!” Everyone there (except me) was still totally convinced that you were a boy. At the time, they believed that fetal heart rate and various other things were gender predictive. I knew nothing of that. All I knew was that you were a girl .. period. I have no idea how I knew, but I knew.

In any case, the mid-wife realized that she was going to have to get a doctor in there. Apparently, the protocols didn't allow her to manipulate you internally. Only a doctor could do that, at least at Nellis. He showed up right away (0900) and wasted no time getting you out. It was all cool except the episiotomy. Your mommy didn't seem to feel that at all, but it blew my mind. That happened at about 0913. At 0914 you were born. My first impressions were: great lungs (you screamed bloody murder); you were freezing and trembling (it was really cold in the delivery room and you had never experienced anything but 98.6º, except for a couple of those UTI days at 105º); you looked like a little white marble statue (the Vernix caseosa was abundant to say the very least); twenty digits and the proper number of everything else, a perfect little .. girl. Father really did know best after all.

Falling Action: events that happen after the climax - usually wrap up the story and lead to the conclusion- sometimes the falling action is almost non-existent because the conclusion occurs immediately after the climax

They let mommy bond with you for a few minutes, and you hushed as soon as she held you on her breast. However, they soon scurried away with you, cleaned you up and started the Apgar testing. You passed your very first test with flying colors, having posted the highest scores of any baby ever born at Nellis Hospital. I'm sure most of that was due to your profound intellect, but your mommy might deserve a pinch of credit since she steadfastly refused drugs during the whole deal. In any event, after a little housekeeping the doctor cleared mommy to go to her room. She famously insisted upon walking and did so. When we got to see you again, you started trying to nurse immediately and were pretty good at it. You were very hungry and made everyone aware in no uncertain terms.

I got to participate by feeding you sugar water, while mommy rested between your regular breast feedings. We thought that was fine, because all the so-called experts said so. In hindsight, it probably cost your mommy the opportunity to nurse you like she wanted to.

Resolution: the point of closure- also called the conclusion or denouement - when the conflict is worked out - the end

This was the day we brought you home and another shot of you and mommy taken a few days later. But it was hardly the end of the story. It was just the beginning of another cycle .. the most precious and magical cycle of life. And so it goes.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Freckles

You have two freckles. One on your right wrist, one on your left thigh. I'm half-delighted to know this little detail, and half-horrified that your sun exposure has already resulted in two freckles. Isn't that crazy? The only explanation:

Motherhood = Guilt

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Manners

When you encounter a drive-through window, don't forget to turn off your wipers!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

TV

Due to a nasty cold (two nasty colds, actually, one for you and one for me), I relaxed my normal tv rules today. We spent most of the afternoon enjoying a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse marathon while snuggling and blowing our noses. We did take a few breaks to do the "Hot Dog Dance" and I briefly wondered what the neighbors would think if they saw us through the window. Donald Duck is your favorite character. In this video clip, the Handy Helpers dump water on Donald's head and you kept laughing like a nut and asking to "do it again" and again and again. Thank God for Tivo!



Monday, February 2, 2009

25 Random Things About You

I recently listed "25 Random Things About Me" as a silly little exercise on Facebook (it makes me cringe to think of how old-fashioned you will think Facebook is when you read this!), and I thought it would be fun to share 25 random tidbits about your latest quirks.

1) You eat your pizza cheese-side down.

2) You HATE...and I mean HATE...having your diaper changed. Often, this results in poop all over your feet, legs, tummy, or hands. So far I've managed to keep you from eating it. Lucky for you...

3) Because I shower when you sleep, you think the shower belongs to Daddy.

4) When we eat in restaurants, you insist on eating the lemon in my Diet Coke (yes, I know this isn't great for your tooth enamel; I'm trying to break the habit). You suck on it for a moment and then say, "Yucky yuck!"

5) Aside from that, you are typically a lovely restaurant companion!


6) Your latest obsession is Play-Doh. You like to cut it and direct me to "Make a 'A'" or another letter. You also like to "squish it" into the different molds and make "Spaghetti O's." Which is pretty funny because you have never eaten Spaghetti O's.


7) You have nouns and verb usage down pretty well. However, sometimes the stuff in between gets a little jumbled up, resulting in sentences such as, "Thomas issa blue one ash sha sha up the hill. Choo choo!"


8) Cashiers love you because you always say "Thank you."


9) You choose your pajamas every night.


10) You also choose your shirt every morning.


11) You have a favorite lunch spot where the ladies know your name and "regular" order.


12) You think yelling, "Jon!!!" means "Come here!" Often you will yell, "Mommy? Jon!" or, "Kitty kitty? Jon!" and of course, "Daddy? Jon!"
I suppose that means I should stop yelling up the stairs for Daddy :)

13) You like showing things to your friends, as in, "Look Judah, that is Big Bird." I know that doesn't seem very interesting, but the way you say it is so matter-of-fact that it sounds adorable.


14) You enjoy bathtime, but despise having the water poured over your head. When YOU pour it there is no problem. But if Daddy wields the cup you'd think you were undergoing Chinese water torture.


15) When you are bored at home, you run over to the shoe bin, grab your shoes, yell, "Go for a ride," and sing, "Shoes-on, shoes-on!"


16) When you are bored in a store, you say, "Go get it, car!"


17) Every time we walk into Target you must "visit Elmo" before leaving. You are sure to give me frequent and insistent reminders in case I forget.

18) Daddy drinks carbonated water, and you always ask for a drink. Without fail, you grimace and spit the water out everywhere.


19) You regularly bump your head or fall down on purpose, and then run over to me so I can "kiss it."


20) Your idea of a fun game is to kick your shoes off while we shop. I usually catch on quickly, but there is a brand new $40 Stride Rite left shoe somewhere inside our favorite Ikea store.


21) You figured out that the Thomas stickers decorating your playroom wall actually unstick. You've been driving me a little nuts peeling them off!


22) We go to a nearby nature museum and you think the coyotes and owls and frogs are your friends. You talk about them frequently and even include them in your bedtime "good nights."


23) You can say the sign of the cross and almost have the hand motions mastered. Instead of forehead-belly button-left shoulder-right shoulder, you do forehead-chin-left cheek-right cheek.

24) You absolutely adore your Daddy and prefer him over all others for bedtime stories.

25)
This morning when you woke up feeling sick, you said, "Mommy kiss it. Mommy fix Jason." Oomph. Right through the heart.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Wrestling

This week you attended your first wrestling match (1/21/09). I kept my eyes closed most of the time, so as not to witness any injuries, but other than that we had a fun time. You were wary of the surroundings at first, not that I blame you. Those high school gym buzzers are loud! We watched your friend Brendan and the rest of the local high school team and you seemed to catch on quickly, shouting "Get up!" to the wrestlers. I'm still holding onto the hope you choose a safe hobby, like golf or chess, but on the terrifying chance you do wrestle, here is a picture of you at your first glimpse of the sport. You were far too interested for my taste!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Man of Many Faces

J, I have to apologize for not posting more photos of you lately. It seems most of my pictures result in a Jason blur...you never sit still! We were having fun the other day at lunch, so since you were confined to one spot I grabbed my camera and started shooting. The handsome results: