Monday, October 5, 2009

Here I am!

My mother-in-law Sue follows our blog religiously…she’s in England and this is the best way for us to share with her (and everyone else) what is going on in our world and Lucy’s……sadly, we've dropped the ball for the past month…so Sue, along with a few other people, have asked if we’ve aborted the blog…we really haven’t…we’re just struggling with our time management skills….

When we do think of writing, one of us looks at the other and says “I’ll think I’ll blog tonight” and we jump up all excited, settle down in front of the computer….and I end up playing that tile game and Sean ends up looking at 3-D stuff. And all these great ideas run through our heads but actually getting them down seems to be a challenge… don’t hold your breath for the great American novel penned by yours truly – best you’ll get from me is a novella,…well, maybe a short story….ok, an epic poem…maybe just a poem…probably a haiku….

So, I’m shamed into writing – well, not shamed but encouraged to write knowing that a few people miss it.

Lucy news first:

When I last wrote, Lucy had just mastered rolling over, doing crunches, holding her bottle and figuring out how to pull the binky out and put it back in her mouth with no assistance (as long as its within arm’s reach) She has also figured out how to fling the binky out of her mouth and across the room.

She can’t quite sit up without tipping over yet but her head is pretty small so I think any day now, she’ll be able to balance just fine.

Lucy had also started eating cereal – she was okay with the rice, hated the oatmeal and loves the barley. Gave her green beans the other night (store bought not homemade….shit; I blew that mission before it even started!) Verdict is still out on the green beans….as most people do, she turned her nose up at something new…curled her lips and spat it out a couple times. She even managed a couple dry heaves and some serious eye rolling and head thrashing. She moaned a few times, gave one outright wail and yet continued to eat. Second attempt, I mixed the green beans with a bit of barley and she seemed to be more accepting of it. Her Dad in the meantime stood behind me with the video camera making faces and laughing his ass off…..and when she saw him laughing, she broke out in a grin which resulted in green beans oozing down her face which made me laugh which made her laugh more which meant more green beans came out….but who cares, it was fun and green beans clean up pretty easily.

Lucy started at a new day care today – Puddle Duck Day School. She and I went on Friday to meet the staff, drop off her stuff and to make sure we knew where to go what to do this morning. Staff is great (Mary Beth and Colleen will be her primary caregivers), they have awesome toys and Lucy, based on initial observation, is by far the cutest kid there. Cora may give her a run for her money in the cuteness department but I think Lucy can come out on top… long as her ears stop growing.

When I picked her up, they told me that she had a great day….and that all the kids liked her. They also confirmed what we have been telling everyone all along…Lucy is an easy baby. Mary Beth said she get a lot of parents who say that but that Lucy actually is an easy baby…I said its day one, giver her time! Of course I am kidding because truly, she is an easy baby…and I complain about everything so you know she really is as easy as I say.

Sean will now do the drop off (I’ll miss my mornings with her….she usually sings on the way to day care and it is such a pleasant little sound – she sings for ten minutes and then falls asleep….that’s right, our baby sings herself to sleep….) and I’ll do the pick up (before, I was doing both as the day care was near my office)

Lucy is, as all babies do, constantly changing and evolving. Yesterday, I was looking at some videos Sean took of her during her first month (including the one right after she was born) She was so small and what a head full of black hair she had! Though she was 21” and 8.7lbs at birth, she really was quite small….now, she’s almost 18 lbs, no idea how long she she’s long like her Dad and her hair has thinned out (again, like her Dad) and is strawberry blond! She has such a personality now – she’s pretty easy going…as long as you smile at her, she’ll smile back. And when she has a crying jag, which is not all that often, they last for 30 minutes (20 minutes of hard core crying and screaming, 10 minutes of whimpering, pouting, and burying her face in your neck)

She sleeps through the night; has been for a long time now….every once in a great while, she wakes to the point where we have to get up with her for an extended period of time but otherwise, she sleeps through the night (8/8:30-6am). We will sometimes get up because she is making all kinds of noise…but she usually does not need anything, we just plop the binky in her mouth the quiet her down because she’s keeping us awake. Her two new favorite things to so in her sleep: talk and creak like a door.

The talking in her sleep: We’ll hear her in there chattering away, go in expecting to find her lying there wide awake waiting for one of us to retrieve the binky that is no longer in her reach, but she is sound asleep…eyes closed, binky in hand just talking away. It always sounds like she is on the verge of laughing –and what’s more amusing is that sometimes, she talks faster and her pitch goes up, sometimes she pauses as if giving the person she’s talking to a chance to respond….and sometimes, she sounds like she’s singing…but she always sounds like she is enjoying herself.

The creaking is a new thing: She makes this funny sound in her throat that I could not quite place until Sean declared she sounds like one of those Halloween CDs that people play to scare the little trick or treaters….and yes, it is that creaky door sound. Oddly, she can do it for extended periods of time and not even have to stop to take a breath.

A couple weekends ago, we took Lucy to the Aquarium with my friend Melissa and her two nephews Birdie pretty much slept the whole time but has two new friends in Nathan and Jack. Nathan is 5 and LOVES Lucy…and liked to tell us throughout the day that “Lucy likes me, she looks like she likes me” I think he was right because every time he stuck his face in hers, she smiled, laughed and grabbed his nose. He taught me a song to sing to her and I’m not kidding when I tell you, it is her new favorite song and makes her laugh every time one of us sings it: I am a little mouse, squeak squeak (and you have to squeak like a mouse), I live in your house, squeak squeak, I like to eat cheese, squeak squeak, feta cheddar, mozzarella, feta, cheddar, mozzarella, feta, cheddar, mozzarellaaaaaaaa!!!)

We bought her this kooky exersaucer thing because she likes the one at Day Care and got to sit in one at Nathan’s birthday party so we decided we should have one at the house…plus, I think we were feeling a bit guilty because we realized we really did not buy a lot of “stuff/toys” for Lucy when she was born….nor have we purchased anything in the past five months (unless you count these plastic link things for $5 that she seems to love) Really, all she has is a bouncy chairt and a play mat…both of which Noni gave her…and another play mat that my cousin gave her. And she has a bunch of assorted rattles and little plastic toys..but she does not really have any stuff if you know what I mean.

Anyway, it started out that I thought we should go to a Yard Sale to buy the Exersaucer as they are so expensive ($80-$130) and I figured we could find one at a Yard Sale. I don’t know what makes me think I have the patience for yard sales (and craft fairs while we’re on the topic) but I always think I can go to a yard sale and find some great deal or bargain…and it never works! I just get pissed off at all the people pushing, shoving, haggling and really just being downright rude. But Sean relented and agreed he would take me to the Yard Sale at Winchester High School (it was all baby stuff) so off Lucy, Sean and I go.

Now I always thought that Asian women were the worst drivers; I have now decided that Mother’s with strollers are the worst drivers. They will run your ass down…even if you too are pushing a stroller. Sometimes I wonder if they really have baby in there or they’re just pushing an empty stroller to get to where they want to be quicker. When I’m pushing Birdie, well, she’s precious cargo – I won’t even tip the stroller up over the curb, I’ll walk an extra mile to find that little ramp thing they have….but not mother with strollers…especially mothers at a yard sale with strollers…I’m telling you they will run your ass down then kick your carcass off to the side..Hell, they’d just run over you if they thought they could without slowing themselves down.

Long story short, no exersaucer at yard sale and we lasted less than 10 minutes.

So we ended up at Babies R Us, picked out the one we liked ($120) found it on Amazon for $86, had gift certificates for $50 and ended up paying $36. So we order it and it set to be delivered Tuesday.

We get home Tuesday and there it is on the front stoop – Sean was so excited….he could not wait to get Birdie in it! Little did we know it would take him three hours and 12 AAA batteries to put it all together……. I went out with my sister Mikel that night for dinner (next blog, I’ll tell you about my drive home and the creepy guy in the drug store when I stopped to pick up the 12 AAA batteries) Anyway, I get home and Sean has this contraption all put together –and it is really cool looking. The next night, we’re so excited to put her in it…Sean lowers her down into the seat, and Lucy starts screaming! She cried and cried and cried…..stuck her bottom lip out so much you could have rested your drink on it! She hated it!

The next day at day care, when I arrive to pick her up, she’s sitting in the day care exersaucer with a huge grin on her face….laughing and playing…having a grand old time. So we try the exersaucer at home again….and again, she screamed and yelled and cried! And spent a lot of time beating on the puppy dog that is attached to the front. She hit the puppy dog, bit it, grabbed his ears and twisted them (the ears) as hard as she could. So we took the puppy dog off thinking that would help, she cried harder.......we retired the exersacuer to the other room.

Poor Sean was so disappointed; he wanted Lucy to like the exersaucer so much.

Well, good news, we tried the exersaucer again over this past weekend and she loved it. We kept the puppy dog off and she sat in it for quite awhile and was as content as she could be. Yesterday, we put the puppy dog back on and she appears to be okay with him for now….

Lucy has skipped over 6mos clothes and gone straight to 9mos clothes…I tried to put a 6 month romper on her the other day (it has feet) and she is too long for it! Not too fat, but too long….and she has a little hoodie sweatshirt that is 6mos but the sleeves are too short…looks like a ¾ sleeve hoodie…thank goodness my mom had the insight to buy us a couple outfits when Lucy was born (and in subsequent visits to Noni) that are 9 mos because those sustained us until the big shopping trip a couple weekends ago to the Carter Store…where Lucy got decked out in fall fashions.

So that’s the latest Lucy news – she is still as cute and cuddly as ever and her personality evolves each and every day. We sing a lot to her which she seems to enjoy…though the smiles when I sing could really be masking her mocking me….

Sometimes, I look at her and can’t believe she is ours….
Other times I look at her and can’t wait to see who she will become….
Most of the time, I just look at her, smile, say a prayer and thank God for letting me be her Mom…

Now on to us:
Still no news on the house front – we’re getting frustrated and a bit nervous as our landlord is getting ready to rent our place November 1….his feeling is that he’s waited long enough and he needs to rent now if he’s going to get it filled before the holiday/winter season. So needless to say, our stress levels are high, our nerves are shot and we’re not really sure what we can do. So we freaked out for a bit Sunday and then came to the conclusion that whatever will be will be – so come November 1, we will no longer be living at our current domicile…but we’re not sure where we’ll be….hopefully in a new house….

And would you believe that is all I have to report on us…..because Lucy is our world…although I think my next blog will be about my drive home from dropping Mikel off and about this book I read that totally disappointed me…….

Maria, the Mum

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I almost forgot...

Ever evolving Lucy has also figured out the following:

How to hold her own bottle:
To her Dad's delight, Lucy can hold her own bottle...Mummy will be delighted when she can boil the water, measure the formula, shake it up and pour it for herself...

How to pop the binky:
She has figured out how to pop the binky in and out of her mouth with no assistance. So when she's bored, she just pops it in and out of her mouth for no reason.....sometimes she chews on it or puts it back in her mouth backwards....

How to do crunches:
She's really trying to sit up but it looks like she's doing crunches.....that is she'll be lying on the changing table and lifts her head up and tries to raise her upper body but halfway up, she sort of hesitates, holds the pose for a few seconds and drops back down....she does the same thingwhen she's in her bouncy chair and car seat......looks like she's doing last someone in this family is exercising

Now did it work?

9:09 on 9/9/09, now did it work?

9:09, 09 09 09

I was trying to post at 9:09 on 9/9/09...did it work?

Lucy Update

Lucy is fine - she has recovered from her UTI and is settling into a routine with day care and weekends with Mum and Dad

We spent some time up in Maine with Noni (Papa and Sean were getting their folk on at the AFF) We went shopping (though Noni took everything out of the cart we put in.....come on Noni, everyone needs a big wooden apple) and took a drive down to Hancock to see Uncle John and Aunt Jane and to meet Lucy the puppy dog.....who Lucy the baby loved! Lucy the puppy dog licked Lucy the baby who laughed and grab at Lucy the puppy dog who was smart enough to move quick...but she always came back to see Lucy the baby who did not take her eyes off that puppy dog....Lucy the baby may have gotten a couple licks in as well.....

Friday night, we went to the Folk Festival - me, Lucy and Noni. We walked around a bit (to the food court), visited with Mrs Smith and her grandkids (they were working at the Festival) and then saw the University of Maine Marching Band (they opened the Festival with a parade)
Then we got Kettle Korn and a blueberry smoothie and Mummy (that would be me) was done getting her folk on so we went home.

We also saw Aunt Marie and Uncle Bill - too short of a visit but it was nice to see them. Nanny Shelia came down to Noni's and made us laugh and Ruth Ann stopped by as well. We got to see Auntie Cheetie, Auntie Flea and Uncle Jeff for a few minutes but again, they were folking out so not a lot of time to visit. Auntie Melissa showed up on Saturday and we immediately took her to Church.

Lucy started rolling onto her belly a couple weeks ago and now has perfected said act. She can actually now roll left or right, back to tummy, tummy to back and the other day, just for fun, she kept rolling to her right until she made it to the other side of the room! One morning, I went into her bedroom and she was up on all fours in her crib.... She's done that a couple times now - I mean she ends up falling like a newborn calf trying to figure out how to walk but it was still pretty cool to see her get herself up like that.

Birdie has also started eating cereal - and she is officially an over eater! No, just kidding.....but she does have a healthy appetite and is growing and gaining weight just as she should be. She takes cereal in the morning along with a bottle and cereal at night with another bottle....and of course her three-four bottles in between. I think this weekend we'll move from rice cereal to oatmeal or barley...and then its on to vegetables. I have it in my head that I will make her baby food....I'll let you know how that works out (if I'm not mistaken, I'll be all gung ho about it for two weeks, make more baby food than she could ever consume, end up throwing some of it out and then resort to buying jar food)

Lucy has also started to laugh - which occurred right about the time she found her feet and toes and discovered she could get said feet into her mouth....we now spend as much time as possible trying to make her laugh..including but not limited to using funny voices, making funny faces, singing silly songs, dancing (me not Daddy), making up stories and planting raspberries any where on her body. If that doesn't work, we at least know she'll laugh when we change her poopie diaper and start dry heaving - that's pretty funny to her.

She has outgrown all her 3 month clothes and her little feet are so chubby that her socks pop off within ten minutes of being put on. Only her arms, legs and feet are chubby - she has a long thin torso like her Dad...and kind of biggish ears....but that could only be because she has such a small head. And its perfectly round unlike my melon shaped head (and by melon I don't mean a nice round honeydew but an oblong watermelon). Her eyes have stayed blue....and they really are quite pretty - big, round, steely blue eyes that seem to twinkle and smile at you when you need it most.

We took her to the beach over the weekend and the water was warm enough to dip her toes all accounts she enjoyed it and was intrigued with watching the water come in and out - she didn't even mind the sand between her toes....looking forward to getting her in the water next summer.

So Little Lucy is growing, changes every day and always has a little impish grin on her face...hmm, wonder where she gets that from?....?

Maria, the Mum

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's that time of year again...

Yep, we are approaching the end of August so it's nearly time for the American Folk Festival. Since 2005 the city of Bangor, ME has held the festival at a not inconsiderable cost. It's true that most of the festival is paid for by generous donations (the principal one being Stephen King) but it still costs about a million bucks (if I recall correctly) to put on for the three or so days it is held.

This will be my fifth year of volunteering and every year somebody asks me what I do. Am I setting up stages, rigging lighting, plugging in speakers? Well no, nothing like that. All of those tasks are performed by skilled roadies who I'm sure are in a union and don't need a klutz like me to come along and screw up everything for them. On top of these obvious tasks there are about a million and one other things that need doing. One of the biggest task is shifting chairs around. There are six stages along the banks of the Penobscot River and most of them have chairs in front them for the festivalgoers. Every morning these chairs are scattered around half of Bangor (it seems) so they all have to be returned to their 'homes' for that day's series of performances. Other tasks include setting up risers for mixing desks, hanging sponsor signs, rigging lights in the performers' tents, setting up dozens of tables in the beer tents and many other jobs.

It's yet to significantly rain in the history of the festival. Instead it's usually hot days, all of them working outside of course. We start around 7 in the morning and as the week progresses the nights get later until by Friday it's not uncommon to knock off around 1-2 in the morning. Friday is the opening day (kick off at 5.30pm) so it's always busy and the public eat their way through most of the food stalls. This means replenishing all these stores with ice and that has to be done after everybody has left. In past years this has meant Felicia, Jeff and I (plus whoever else is there to help) doing midnight runs to the ice trucks to replenish the ice boxes in the Food Court.

And then we start all over again on Saturday. Every stage has a schedule of performances, so my friend Roger and I run around in the morning swapping all the signs out with that day's schedule. We fix any sponsors' banners or signs that have fallen off during the night and then get to work rearranging all the chairs and tables that have 'wandered' over the site. By the time the public show up things start to slow down and we can enjoy the festival. This also means we can have some fun. In 2007 we had a blast building a tow hitch for Felicia's golf cart so that she could tow her trailer behind her. You can see the pictures in our AFF Gallery. Here's the movie:

So we leave today for another exciting year at the AFF, no doubt full of hard work and high jinx.

By the way, Michael Owen scored a cracking goal against Wigan on Saturday. Got a good feeling about him for this season.

Sean, the Dad.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I almost forgot.....

In the middle of all this, Lucy rolled over! As a matter of fact, rolling over is her new favorite thing to do....

Grab a cup of coffee, this is a long one....

I’ve been back at work three full weeks now and though I miss my days with Lucy, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be…….I just now spend my nights staring at Lucy and exclaiming over and over again how lucky we are….maybe being a working Mum makes one appreciate their child more….

Anyway, so I’m back at work, Week 1…that was the week Lucy gave the Day Care Lady a big grin and I got all bent out of shape. The week progresses smoothly…as a family we’re slipping into a routine and Lucy is adjusting well to being in someone else’s care. We also put a bid in on a townhouse in Woburn (three bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, a finished basement and a little yard for Lucy to play in). Our bid was accepted by the sellers and it seems we’re on our way to becoming homeowners…though it is a short sale so we have to wait for the bank who owns the seller’s loan to approve it.

That Friday (of week 1, 8.6.09) we take Lucy to the cardiologist for a follow up to her visit three months ago.

When Lucy was born, she had as most babies do, a bit of a heart murmur. Our pediatrician, who we really like and Lucy adores, likes to err on the side of caution so when the murmur was detected, she sent us to Mass General to see a cardiologist (Lucy was not quite a month old). Lucy handled the ultrasound like an old pro, she actually fell asleep and let the technician do what she had to do with minimal fighting.

While there, the cardiologist also discovered that Lucy’s pulmonary valve (the one that pumps the blood out) was not as open as it should be….no need to panic she says, it will not affect her day to day life and it’s something she should grow out of…and though it’s not as common as a murmur, it is not so uncommon that we need to worry ourselves. We leave feeling like champs for not freaking out and say a prayer thanking God for not making it worse and asking him to just watch over her a bit more closely so it does not become worse…

Fast forward back to August 6th and Lucy’s follow up appointment –

This time, Lucy fights the technician…she squirms and screams and cries and kicks and there is no way in hell she is going to stand for this person bearing down on her little chest with a wand and a wad of jelly….at one point, the technician went and asked the doctor if she really needed to take all the requested shots – she returned a few minutes later quite defeated and said yes, we have to do the neck shot – not sure who was more pissed off, Lucy or the technician. She finally gets what she needs and ten minutes later, the Doctor and her resident arrive to tell us that the valve is still not opening and now the murmur has doubled in size….caught us a bit off guard…I think the doctor was just as surprised as we were …..She seemed to feel pretty bad delivering us the news.

Now Sean and I in a crises function like this: he hears what is being said but tends to shut down a bit…that is he takes everything in but cannot process anything straight away and at the same time, he is silently panicking and thinking about what could happen (and usually, jumps to the worst case scenario) I on the other hand tend to be able to handle the news, remain calm and rationale, take it in, ask some follow up questions and at the same time, crack a couple jokes to hide my terror and panic. It also means that later, after this has set in, I’ll panic and Sean will be the calm rationale one…it really is a good balance and always works out in the end. Lucy was the only one who maintained her composure as she lay in my arms sucking her binky and tugging her ear (which would seemingly indicate an earache in most children but for her, tugging on her ear is like a security/calming thing)

So, what does this mean? Well, simply put, the murmur means that more blood is rushing into the heart than should be, which on its own is not a huge issue because a normal pulmonary valve could pump it out with no problem. But, because Birdie’s valve is not as open as it should be, the blood is not pumping out at a consistent and normal rate…which means the chambers of her heart, in time, could become enlarged….now I of course have simplified this and am focusing on the bottom line which really is not that grim……this is something she could grow out of and if not, when she is one, a procedure will be performed to open the valve. Once the valve is open, the murmur should close on its own. And if the murmur does not close or improve, it can be closed when she is a bit older. So not terrible news by any stretch of the imagination - and again, no impact on her day to day life, it’s just something that has to be watched…..

So we leave a bit shell shocked but overall, just fine. Its late in the day, appointment took longer than expected and at this point, dropping Lucy off at Day Care and heading to work would be a bit of a waste so instead, we head home. Birdie decides she wants to eat again and then needs some sleep so I settle her, do some work from home and Sean heads out to the store as Lucy’s Christening is this very weekend!

That’s right, her holy bath, her sacramental dunking, her welcome to God’s World party is on Sunday and we have friends and family coming in…as a matter of fact, at any moment, my dear dear friend Annette from IL should be calling to tell me she and her sister have arrived safely and are at their hotel. Annette is the best friend one could ever have…she’ll never judge you (even when you’re being an ass or do something stupid), she always forgives you (even when you’re being an ass or do something stupid) and she is ALWAYS there for the most important days in your life.

The weekend is perfect: Annette arrives safely; we stay up late Friday night catching up. Saturday we take Annette and Amber all around Boston…and Lucy has her first dunk in the Frog Pond (the Frog Pond is located on the Boston Commons – during the winter, it is an outdoor public skating rink, in the summer, it is filled with water and is a great big old wading pool…) Noni and Papa arrive from Maine on Saturday and we all head over to Auntie Mikel and Uncle Win’s for a cook out….Auntie Melissa was there from NY, Jenny and Hannah hung out with us – we had red hot dogs (fat free…what the eff Mikie?!?) and then cupcakes to celebrate my and Noni’s birthday. Sunday, Auntie Angela, Uncle Don, Auntie Flea and Cousin Cooper made their way down from Maine – along with some other very special friends and family from the greater Boston area and away (thanks Mr and Mrs Smith who also came down from Bangor and Mike and Cathy, thanks for missing Melissa’s tournament…I later found out that Melissa’s team took home the big trophy and now feel like a real heel….I’m going to have to buy her something)

The Christening was wonderful – Lucy yelled through the whole thing but she’s got Jesus now and he’s got her so all is right with the world. We had all our family and friends back to the house for some snacks and cake (shout out to Mary for making the world’s best cakes AGAIN (she made our wedding cakes) and for letting us use the yard) Weather was decent, food was yummy and the company was comforting…but I’m not going to lie, I was exhausted the whole day and at a few key moments had no idea what was going on around me.

8.10-8.12: The next week starts out with me bitching about Day Care again..I’m complaining that I don’t think they change Lucy’s diaper enough nor do I think they get her clean enough after her diaper has been changed (know what I mean?) Wednesday (8.12) rolls around and we’re scheduled to sign the P&S at 6pm that night on the house…….when I pick Lucy up, she looks and sounds miserable…snotty nose, red red eyes, feels like she running a bit of a fever and she is fussier than I have ever seen here.

Lucy and I meet Sean at the Realtor’s office and I tell him straight away something is wrong with her….the whole time we are there she is fussing, crying, squirming, nothing calms her down and eating is the last thing she wants to do. In the meantime, we are signing our life away and handing over the biggest check I have ever seen in my life! My heart is beating fast, my blood pressure is rising but it feels like my body temperature is dropping….there’s sweat on my upper lip and my right hand is shaking…..I’m not sure if it’s because we just spent more money than I ever dreamed of spending or because my baby is sick and out of sorts and I can’t fix it or because everything at work is a mess and I see no resolution in sight or because I haven’t gotten as used to our new routine as I hoped I would….I’m 37 years old and I want my Mom and Dad…..but Sean reaches over, gives my hand a quick squeeze, smiles and tells me we’re doing the right thing and Birdie will be okay once we get her home. My body starts to stabilize and Birdie is now whimpering instead of full on crying and just snuggling against me.

We get her home, take her temperature (it’s a bit high but not too high) and try to get her to sleep – she will sleep nowhere except in my arms on my chest and even then, only for 20 minute intervals. We take her temp again and it is well over 102…to the ER says the triage nurse on the 24 hour care line. So off we go …poor Birdie….long story short, after lost of poking, prodding, one catheter, a bunch of x-rays and two attempts to collect blood (and one IV feed let in her arm which was then wrapped onto a split so she would not move), it is determined that she has a high grade urinary tract infection.

8.13: Home we go at 5:30am – Daddy drops us off and heads down to the Pharmacy to get her prescription – we then have a family snuggle and sleep for a couple hours. I work from home, Sean heads off to work and Birdie spends the day licking her wounds and feeling sorry for herself (I do too and admit to coddling her a bit). The Day Care Lady calls that night, I tell her what happened, she is all apologetic and concerned….I hate Day Care

8.14: I drop Lucy off Friday as I have to get back to work – she seems and has no qualms about staying at Day Care….so I do the walk of guilt back to the car and head to work. I pick her up that afternoon for a follow up doctor’s appointment and she is all smiles….antibiotics are clearly kicking in and Mummy is finally relaxing.

8.15-8.16: It’s the weekend, Sean spends Saturday with some friends, Birdie and I stay home relaxing (actually, she was a bit of a handful that day but I’m over it) Sunday are errands and cleaning – but it’s just us and that’s nice for a change.

8.17: The week starts out with little or no fanfare – we meet with the mortgage guy Monday night and though we are scared we’ll be poor for the rest of our lives, we know we’re doing the right thing – we’ve chosen a house we can afford and a home in which our little family will be comfortable and can start building our own memories and traditions. I always thought I’d settle back in Maine, down the street from my parents…..but I am now officially a transplant to Massachusetts…..but for the record, I am not a liberal or a Kennedy supporter……

8.20 We have another appointment with Dr Harper – just the regular old 4 month appointment for Birdie…who has grown to 25.5 inches, has a head the size of Texas (ok, it’s only 16” but when you say it out loud, it seems as big as Texas) and weighs in at 15lbs!!!!!! So there heart murmur, stubborn pulmonary valve and pesky UTI – Birdie is still going to grow no matter what you try to do!!! She is healthy, developing as she should be and as soon as her infection clears up and she finishes her antibiotic, she gets to start on rice cereal!!

8.22 – 8.23: We spent Saturday being a pretty lazy family – we slept in (all three of us)…ate a leisurely breakfast and took our time getting cleaned up and dressed (a call from Auntie Mike got us in gear as she was on her way over to pick up Uncle Win’s cooler we borrowed)….we headed out to the Natick Mall and just wandered around people watching. Sunday was more of the same thing – Mass in the morning and then a follow up visit to the doctor (yes, the pediatrician has office hours on Sundays) Found out that Lucy’s UTI has cleared up…so now all we have to do is go tomorrow (Tuesday) for a renal ultrasound and a VCUG (don’t be impressed that I’m throwing down all these medical terms, I’m just copying them off the paperwork the doctor gave me)

Sean is off this week as the American Folk Festival begins Friday and he has worked it every year with my Dad since we met –and he loves it! It gets him outside, working hard and, to boot, he gets to hear some kick ass music. I tried to volunteer one year but I was crap at it – I really am the worst volunteer ever. If I had not left, I think I would have been fired…..and who wants to be known as the volunteer that was fired? So I don’t volunteer – I go for the people watching, the kettle corn and the blueberry smoothies. And if I happen to hear the music, lucky me because some of it is pretty good. Here’s the link in case you want to check it out – Truthfully? It is a pretty impressive feat...I mean to pull a festival like this off in Bangor, Maine with such a high success rate – I’m pretty proud of my Dad, Sean, and my sisters Felicia and Teresa for the work they do with it. My Dad has become a roadie as he travels to Virginia and Montana to help with similar Festivals.

So I’m working today, Sean is at home “getting stuff done” and Lucy is at Day Care (probably grinning the little imp!) Tomorrow, I’ll work in the morning then we have her tests and hopefully will head up to Maine for the rest of the week….and I’ll be blogging......Big Jack tripped the house out with Wi-Fi.

Maria, the Mom

Friday, August 14, 2009

Big checks and ER trips

So as some of you know, we have been in the throws of trying to purchase a little house. It's a modest place in Woburn but perfect for our little family. There's a cute little yard with a deck just big enough for the three of us. Even better, there is a swing-set right behind the house so Birdie can go on the swings when she gets older.

As you can see from the satellite pic, it's in a complex which is managed by an association. By all accounts they seem to be a really great association. Two years ago they replaced all the roofs in the complex and put up the swing-set I mentioned earlier. They clear the snow in winter so I'll only have to worry about our deck and front path. Oh, and they also mow the grass. Pretty sweet!

Anyway after a little buyer's remorse we nervously signed the Purchase and Sale agreement on Wednesday evening and set the ball well and truly rolling. It's by no means a done deal though as the property is being sold as a 'short sale'. This means that the sellers have accepted our offer but because they owe money to their lender, then their bank has to accept the offer. In these situations banks do not move very quickly. The offer was accepted (by the sellers) about 3 weeks ago and we are still waiting on their bank. Anyway we had the Home Inspection last Friday and it could not have gone better. The Home Inspector practically ordered me to buy the place so I'm feeling very good about this house. My only complaint through this whole process has been the attitude of all the 'officials' involved. By 'officials' I mean the realty agents, lawyers and to some extent the mortgage broker. There is a general assumption on their part that Maria and I are intimately familiar with the whole process of buying a house. This despite the fact that they all know we are first time buyers. We've read bits of books about buying houses and spoke to other people but we are by no means experts so I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a little handholding when you're making one of the biggest purchases of your life.

In addition to handing over monstrously scary checks on Wednesday evening we had a sick Birdie to contend with. We found out this week that the The Day Care Lady has been putting her in her Pack 'n Play right underneath an air conditioning unit. You'd think it was fairly obvious that an infant is not going to fair well from this but clearly it did not occur to her. Consequently poor Birdie has been somewhat congested, snotty and fighting a slight cough. This got worse on Wednesday evening when Maria picked her up and realized she was running a fever. Throughout the signing of the P&S she was not a happy little girl and when we got her home, she was very fussy. Around 1am we were awoken by her and her fever seemed worse. We called her pediatrician's office and the triage nurse advised us to take her to the ER, so at 2am we jumped into 'Big Boy' (my car) and set off to Winchester Hospital. To cut a long story short, we ended being there for 4 hours or so. Birdie had a Tylenol suppository shoved up her bum (which worked wonders on her fever) and endured other tortures in the form of taking blood, urine and a chest x-ray. The poor little girl was beside herself and it was quite upsetting for both Maria and I. Eventually they came and told us that she had a Urinary Tract Infection. They prescribed antibiotics and we headed home where we all crashed for a couple of hours. Today she is going to see her pediatrician, Dr Harper, who is wonderful and Birdie loves her to bits. She seems much brighter in herself and hopefully is well on the mend. I'm sure the antibiotics will help with her sniffles too.

Sean, the Dad.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Day Care Lady and the Grin

Birdie seems to be enjoying day care - a little too much if you ask me. Yesterday, when I dropped her off, she flashed the day care lady the big grin and googly eyes she usually reserves for I did what any mother would do, when I left, I called my husband and ranted about all the things I "found" wrong with the day care: "The toys from yesterday weren't picked up" "They were eating their breakfast and watching TV in the day care room," "She had a spot on her shirt", "The house smells funny...even on the outside...."

Truth be told, the place is just ego was bruised and I was trying to make myself feel better. But within an hour, I actually sought comfort in the fact that Lucy did give her that grin....but it still tugs at my heart strings...

Maria, the Mom

Monday, August 3, 2009

Today was my first day back at work....

and I thought I'd be more of a mess but if the truth be told, I only squeezed out a few tears immediately after drop off and did not call to check on Lucy at all.....for a minute, I felt guilty for not being more upset....but I'm pretty sure I'm still a good mom...

Lucy is sound asleep
Two loads of laundry have been washed, folded and put away, the third is toiling away in the dryer
The dinner dishes are done
Lunches are packed (egg salad, yogurt, grapes, goldfish crackers and a kashi bar for the grown ups, three bottles and a spare for baby)
And the husband is having his ice cream (and thoughtfully brought the wife a bowl, half churned so fewer calories...therefore I have three scoops instead of two)

We call Lucy Birdie (or Birdy, however you feel like spelling it) because when she was born, we fed her with a medicine dropper for a day or two and she looked like a little rescue bird....she squawked like one too. So we started calling her Birdie...which morphed into Birdie Boo which is sometimes shortened to Birdie or Boo...but never Boo Boo, that's just silly.

She appears to respond to all three names(Lucy, Birdie or Boo) but she also answers to Sean and Maria...and Mummy...and Daddy...but I like to think she really responds to one of her three names.

While we were anticipating her arrival, Sean and I took a "Getting ready for and Birthing your Baby" class....we were the only ones who did not know the sex of our child (which confounded one woman as she asked how we were going to name the baby if we did not know the sex) and I appeared to be the only woman who actually enjoyed being pregnant (and not just because of the gift of life thing....I found true happiness in fish sticks while I was in the family way) We were also the only ones who did not have a nursery with a that point, we did not even have a crib. And no one thought it was funny when I said i cleaned out the bottom drawer of the dresser and had lined it with a couple blankets...
You'll be happy to know that Lucy does not sleep in the bottom drawer but in a crib (thanks Dad and Sean for putting it together) and though there is no "theme" to her corner of our second bedroom (the corner has actually become the corner and one wall), she does have some lovely decorations that make the room her very own: a birdhouse from Uncle Michael and Maureen that hangs from the ceiling, the Lady of Fatima that watches over her courtesy of Cousin Cooper, one of my favorite portraits of a baby from Uncle John and Aunt Jane, a crazy monster picture that I bought at a street fair in Cambridge years ago and a hammock of stuffed theme but fun nonetheless.

Anyway, Lucy is approaching the 4 month mark (April 16th was her birth date for those who may not have heard) and is all kinds of fun now - she responds to our voices, and is able to look at us without her eyes crossing (thank goodness because I was starting to feel badly about laughing at her every time it happened) She even responds to her own voice....that is when she shrieks really loudly, she startles herself and and looks around all wild and wide eyed trying to figure out where that shrill noise just came from....

She reaches for things and bats at whatever you put in front of her- which at times can be amusing.....especially when she hits it hard enough that it either swings back in her face or
hits Mummy in the face which apparently is funnier than anything in her whole little world because she throws her head back and smiles and squeals (still working on the laugh...for now, smile and squealing = laughter) enough to make me laugh which makes her laugh harder...(disclaimer: no child is hurt during this activity, I don't let it hit her hard enough to do (permanent) damage and it's usually a little stuffed toy or a soft rattle....I stopped letting her play with the Leatherman key chain weeks ago)

The dryer has just gone off and Sean is asleep and snoring in his chair....the weight of the blog is on last load of laundry to fold, teeth to be brushed and dreams to be had so more on Birdie tomorrow ...


First day back

Lucy hasn't called me once today...*sigh*

Sunday, August 2, 2009


It's 10:09pm, Sunday August 2nd....and tomorrow is my first day back at work...which means it is Lucy's first day at day care - she could care on the other hand....

So I went into overdrive and packed her bag, made up a half dozen bottles, unpacked and repacked her bag and made two more bottles just in case.....neurotic much?
And then I was feeling so badly, I think I may have overfed her to compensate....she burped twice, spit up for good measure, stretched once (which caused her onesie to unsnap) and then burrowed her face into my neck and feel fast asleep....I kept her there for 45 minutes because I know one day, too soon, snuggles like this will be a thing of the past....


Saturday, August 1, 2009

I almost forgot...

Happy Birthday Mum/Noni!
Love you lots

Maria, Sean and Lucy

Yes, this was my idea...little did I know I'd actually have to do something

Yes, this was my idea because I thought it would be nice to keep our family and friends in touch with us as we welcomed Lucy Ellen in April...and everyone is more interested in you when you have a baby...for a few months anyway.....

So I thought what better way than this blogging thing I keep hearing about - Uncle Michael's wife Maureen was the one who actually suggested it - both her sons/daughters-in-law just had babies and they live far away so they blog to keep Maureen in the loop - so I suggested to Sean we do a he started a website...and after a tussle or two and a bit of whining from me, he created "The Blog" which I then ignored....not sure who I thought would post on it...but apparently its supposed to be me

So now I sit on a a lazy Saturday morning watching my daughter drool on herself in her Bumbo Chair as her tongue sticks out like MJ (that would be Jordan not Jackson for non basketball fans and the British) and every few moments she lets out a shriek (of delight not rage) just to remind us that she's here.

Sean has turned on "Grease" and is thoroughly engrossed watching John Travolta's Danny Zuko trying to figure out what sport would impress Sandy.....he's settled on track and Sean breathes a sigh of relief....Danny Zuko has found something he excels at!

Lucy is demanding some attention and Sean keeps asking what we should do I'm content pretending I'm blogging but really stealing glances at my family trying to figure out how I got so lucky

I thought I would write about how Lucy and I spent our maternity leave days together (trying to figure one another out, trying to figure out what would keep our crying to a minimum and trying to understand what stresses new moms out so much because frankly, I enjoyed every minute of it including the 3am feedings)......

Or I thought I would write about all the cute stuff Lucy has done (like the day I was talking to her and she fell asleep...but I'm pretty sure she was faking it because when I stopped talking and turned away, I caught her out of the corner of my eye opening one of her eyes and when she saw I was still there, she squeezed her eyes shut!)....

But writing is harder than I thought it would be....I find myself trying to be witty and funny and given that I am neither, I'm suffering from writer's block which I think is actually performance anxiety....

Sean is singing along to Beauty School Drop Out.....his head is swaying and his toes are tapping - Lucy is eating her burp cloth and when she catches me looking at her, flashes me a big gummy smile...Life is good


Friday, July 31, 2009

A Legend Moves On

I just heard that a legend in English football has sadly passed away. Sir Bobby Robson died of cancer earlier today at the age of 76.

He was probably the greatest England manager since Sir Alf Ramsey and took England to the semi-finals of World Cup 1990 where sadly they lost on penalties to the dreaded 'bosch' (aka the Germans). I can still remember that night clear as day, I really thought we were gonna win it that night but the hearts of a nation were broken, as I'm sure they are this morning.

He was a wonderful man and a gentleman by all accounts. I'd love to have spent 20 minutes having a beer with him as I'm sure he would have many great tales to tell.

Anyway, if you want to read more, here are various links to stories. Sad day.

And as much as I hate to post it...the night we nearly made it (damn you Chris Waddle):


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Driving in Boston

Everybody's listened to me rant and rave about driving in Boston and around the North Shore. I have to say it's nothing compared to this:


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Joys of Marmite

Marmite, I can't get enough of the stuff! In the UK they run a commercial about how you either love or hate Marmite and it seems that American's are firmly in the 'Hate' column. Maria can't stand the smell of it let alone the taste and she always knows I've had it. My colleague Richard (a fellow Yorkshireman) is also a big fan and sure enough, his American wife hates it too. He says she refuses to kiss him when he has eaten it and can smell it on his breath from yards away. Somehow it puts me in mind of having illicit cigarettes behind the bicycle sheds at school.
Today Richard and I decided to introduce Marmite to some of our colleagues who have not had the good fortune to try it. Richard toasted some bagels, loaded them with margarine and Marmite and laid them out for us. We thought we had a convert in one of our colleagues but sadly he turned at the last mouthful. The remains were left to Richard, myself and another fellow Brit.


Monday, July 27, 2009

This was all the wife's idea

Welcome to our blog. Maria expressed an interest in having a little corner to write things about our life and especially about our perfect little daughter, Lucy, who came into our lives about 3 months ago, as I write this.
I started out making a webpage for us to do this but in the end using Blogger seemed like a simpler option for us both. We will try to keep it reasonably up to date but the demands of a baby can be quite time consuming so bear with us...