Friday, August 26, 2011

He May Not Win a Tony. . .

I am sorry this is late, but I thought you would appreciate a snapshot into Matt's burgeoning musical theater career.   Note the video camera operating skill resembles a bad episode of cops. . . but at least you can get the gist.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Nature vs. Nurture

I was listening to a Freakonomics podcast on parenting that I am positive that almost everyone I know will disagree with one or many points made in podcast.   A variety of studies were reviewed in both twins and adoption settings (where they could isolate as best as possible) the effects of good parenting.  It turns out that for the most part your kids are who your kids are and it is unlikely that any pressure of piano lessons, fancy pre-schools or athletic leagues will help your kids chances for success.

I also thought it was interesting (as a post- over programmed child) that many of the parent economist interviewed still engage in behavior designed to help your child along in the journey-- organic diets, lessons, weekend trips to the museum. . . maybe an insurance policy in case the data doesn't net out?

I was thinking about my own over programmed childhood-- my mom was big on "Experience".  Experience is code for: I took a lot of lessons.   I don't think she ever thought that my taking Karate (for a 2 week trial) that I would gain discipline which would eventually lead me to college and a good work ethic.  But I do think that exposing us to a variety of experiences and people has rubbed off on me on some level.   I like to do things and I like to learn.    I am not sure if it made my mom a better parent or me a better adult but it did add something to my approach to experimentation and whimsy.

I have often thought about how I will parent once I get to those stages and I don't intend to change a whole lot about my upbringing other than to slow it down for my kids. I would still like to keep exposure to a lot of activities high and commitment (fairly) low and support through the roof.  I am not hoping for a professional pianist or a soccer player- but I am hoping James and the futures try a variety of things with enthusiasm.

Check out the podcast or read an excerpt here:

Their findings surprise almost everyone.  Health, intelligence, happiness, success, character, values, appreciation – they all run in families.  But with a few exceptions, adoption and twin researchers find that nature overpowers nurture, especially in the long-run.  Kids aren’t like clay that parents mold for life; they’re more like flexible plastic that responds to pressure, but returns to its original shape when the pressure is released.

The most meaningful exception to this flexible plastic rule is appreciation – how your kids feel about and remember you.  One Swedish study asked middle-aged and elderly twins – some raised together, some raised apart – to describe how their parents raised and treated them.  Twins raised together painted much more similar portraits of their parents than twins raised apart.  If you raise your children with kindness and respect, they will probably remember it for as long as they live.

The upshot: Parents spend too much effort trying to mold their kids for the future, and not enough just enjoying life together.  Vainly struggling to change your kids isn’t fun for you or them.  And the struggle can easily hurt the main outcome where parenting really matters: the quality of the bond between parent and child.  Bryan Caplan

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Perspective: Perky Uterus

From the Baby Center Weekly Post:

The top of your uterus is a bit above your pubic bone, which may be enough to push your tummy out a tad. Starting to show can be quite a thrill, giving you and your partner visible evidence of the baby you've been waiting for.

Please tell me that this is a tad more obvious than what they indicate.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Different Approach to Round 2

After having a child with CMV, which is potentially a scary fucking virus, I am approaching this pregnancy with a lot more caution. 

All in all, James is doing super great with the CMV.  He is likely still shedding the virus but as I have written about before, his hearing has been stable and we are counting lucky stars.    As I have also written about here, this has been a pretty emotional experience for me. 

This time around, I am opting for more tests than we did for James (which was none).  We did the first trimester screen today which gave us some great ultrasound time with our baby.  We are still waiting for blood work to come back but it looks like things are tracking well for our peanut.   S(he) is about 5 inches stretched out and wiggling up a storm.  All heart chambers are accounted for, bladder working, umbilical cord present and has a totally kissable alien-esq face.

Matt commented that my wanting the extra testing was a very suburban approach to medicine- but I am ok with that.  I know what scary feels like, I know what uncertain feels like and now I want to know what prepared feels like. 

Matt and I often have different approaches to medicine- his is grounded in science—mine is often grounded in irrational emotion--- but the conversations are lively.    We were both there for the screening today and it was a good experience for both of us.

Like so many things in parenting, there are no hard and fast rules—nor should there be judgment attached to them.  We have to do what works best for us, and what works best for me right now is peace of mind and preparation for a variety of scenarios. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

An Arm and a Leg (and an Ear)

So our little man hasn't been wearing his hearing aids the last couple weeks-- why?? because we lost one.   ugh.  ugh. double ugh.  AGAIN!

This is now the third time we have lost a hearing aid-- which is very frustrating (and fricken expense.)  At 2k a pop, our 1 and a half year old is walking around with technology that is more expensive than Matthew’s car.  How is that for a reality check?

The other two were lost for very distinct reasons (and both were recovered and serviced heavily.)

Ear 1: Was lost before we learned about hearing aid leashes (which I will blog more about later).  We left a friend’s house and had it inside and when we got home it wasn’t on us or in our car.  We found out (months later) that it was in the front yard and it snowed that night so we needed to wait for thaw to have it reveal itself.  Hearing aid has since been recovered and gutted entirely.  Yay warranties.

Ear 2: We were hungry.  We lost the second one at day care- but later found it in a diaper. I put it in a baggy with clear directions to our audiologist to “DO NOT OPEN”.  We thought that with so many kids wearing hearing aids, they probably end up in a mouth from time to time.  Although she sees only children, this was a career first for her.  James has always enjoyed food, so I guess we shouldn’t have been all that surprised.

We are now onto number 3 and we really have no idea what happened.  He was wearing a ‘leash’ and we had them at Target but when we got home he had taken out both ears and we couldn’t find one of the hearing aids.  Hearing aid toss is a favorite car game of ours so logic would say that its in the car but we have ripped it apart twice and still can’t find it. 

We are getting the snowed hearing aid fixed right now and have our last under warranty replacement on order.   The next mistake is the full 2K.  Cross your fingers.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Oh, The Discomfort!

Guess who is the proud owner of a body pillow and foam mattress topper?!?! 

It turns out the aches and pains that came with the first pregnancy are starting much earlier this time around.  Guess who joined massage envy for monthly pre-natal massage!?!?! Good times.    Matt was very generous with my birthday gift!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

How to Arrange a Mass of Flowers

I did a wedding this weekend for two good friends-- really great couple and I was honored to be part of their day.  I had a small group of ranunculus that weren't open yet so I didn't include them in her bouquet.  They are looking pretty spiffy now so I thought I would do a tutorial on how to make a Martha-esq type mass of flowers.  

I think the ball o' flower style looks best with either a single type of flower (aka a dozen red roses) or a monochromatic grouping that varies texture.  

I start by laying them all out and picking out any leaves that aren't near the head of the flower.  I then put three flowers together and use the fourth to cross diagonally across the other three.  Then I rotate the entire bouquet in my left hand a quarter turn.  I take a fifth flower and lay it diagonally and rotate again a quarter turn to the left.   See picture below.

Note how the top flower's stems are running diagonally under my thumb
Repeat this many times (until you are out of flowers)

View from the side

Cut the stems so that they are the same length.  Stems in the vase will swirl because they are all placed diagonally.   That's what makes it all Martha like.

View from the top

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Perky Uterus

So I have had a rather obvious figure flaw the last few weeks.

It would appear that I have indulged in far too much ice cream, or I am pregnant.  Heartbeat confirms the latter.   (Personally, I can confirm a little of the former.)

As a near gigantic  tall woman, I am surprised for the second time at how early I show during pregnancy.  We asked the OB why today and he said that my uterus is upturned (which is totally normal). The upturned ute means that I show my good news pretty early.   I have heard of hostile uterus, incompetent cervix but I have a perky uterus.   Pleasant, if not slightly grating when trying to go incognito at work.

It's been pretty difficult to ignore the looks at work. . . but it is what it is--  I am sure they will be pleased. umm.  yeah.

Obviously, this is going to change our adoption plan as we wait for our next child to arrive.   It doesn't change our commitment to adoption- just the timing.  Our order of arrival might be different, but we are excited about both children joining our family in the near future.  Fitz 2.0 arrives in February.

Monday, August 1, 2011


The Smurfs at the Warrior Dash

Gonna Take a Sentimental Jelly

Anyone remember these guys?  When I was a kid, my mom would buy me a treat at the mall candy store on the way home from dance class.  My dance studio was in the basement of a mall.   I would alternate between these citrus jellies and candy cigarettes (chocolate, not the chalkie ones).   Wow, one seems a super faux pas now—    Buy yeah!!  
What a treat this was to find these sentimental treats!!

Frequent Flier

Last night, I was thinking that I should probably get my thoughts together about heading out of town this week.  (I leave tonight for CT.)  I am a very low key traveler and I have a fairly simple routine, all of which help me to maintain a sense of zen when it comes to packing and the whatnot.  I keep duplicates of all my beauty products and have some hard rules about what I pack (generally the same 3-4 outfits—black shoes only).    I can generally get myself packed and out the door within 15 minutes or so. . . not bad.  

Last night we were talking about the week ahead and suddenly a trip for our little man snuck up on us.  Yep, we needed to get James packed up to take his own trip. James is on his way to Florida for the week with his Nana.  James’ beauty routine took us a little bit longer to capture and pack.  How many socks, how many diapers, how much lotion, etc. etc.   Packing aside, the reality of James having his own plans was a little bit to swallow—whoa!

My mother in law is an expert travel, and with family and grandkids all over the US, she spends a bit of time jet-setting.  We were thrilled when she asked to take James with her on a trip to see his great grandfather and grandmother.   All parties adore each other and I am thankful for him to have the opportunity to spend quality time with them all.   We would love to get down there more frequently to visit our family there, but it’s really nice that James will get this opportunity even though our schedules don’t always allow it.

James at 10 months enjoying his own seat for a moment
I feel like I should be some sort of professional child traveler at this point—but I am just not there.  For as comfortable I am in an airport, flying with the little man is near exhausting for me.  My 36 pound lap child is no longer a baby and wants to climb, squirm and say hi. . .. not exactly a  peaceful 3 hours in air.   He is somewhat a frequent flier though—having logged nearly 15 trips in his short existence.   We are really taking advantage of the under 2 fly free. . .

Matthew will have a pretty quiet week ahead, something that I am sure he is excited about given the busy schedule we have had over the last few weeks.