Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The camera cord isn't here. And yet, it's the last day of the year.

Maybe it's because Annaliese has learned to wave and say hi.
Maybe it's because three weeks ago she had just begun to walk, and yesterday she was practically running around Home Depot in her new gray sneakers with yellow laces.
Maybe it's the aftertaste from a great visit with my best friend and a fab week with my mother and sister. 
Maybe it's the second-trimester glow, or the fact that K. is off from work all week and spends his day two blocks away on Main Street, redoing the facade of our building, meaning he's available for walk-by kisses and come-home lunches.
Maybe it's that it's stopped raining, and the roof is half-on across the street, and it looks fantastic.
Maybe it's that today is my weekly lie-in, which means that I wake up at my usual time (6:45-ish), try to go back to sleep, give up, read a book, and eat a glorious breakfast in bed that K. brings in.
Maybe it's the bag of local fresh-picked pecans one of my farmers dropped by yesterday, because he'd heard I liked pecan pie.
Maybe it's the fancy new organic moisturizer my sister gave me for Xmas.

I don't know. But I am riding high on gratitude and awe for all the blessings in my life, and it sure feels good to be here.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Xmas is still a coming...or at least the recounting

We have something like 200 pictures on our camera. But Annaliese and I broke the uploader cord. Another one is on its way...

So, check back in a week. In eight days, January 6th, we'll have photos and stories galore, plus the gender of baby #2!

In other news, it has FINALLY stopped raining, and the crew is at work at the house. Here's hoping they get the roof on this week. Our time in this house is up in a short three months....

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas is coming, Mama's Gadding About

I am going to see Stinkerina for a flying visit. Got to get to Bham once every calendar year...

So K. is on solo-Annaliese duty until I come home Sat. night, roughly the same time as my mother and sister are due to arrive... something he hasn't compained about AT ALL.

Nonetheless. The house is clean, the guestroom boasts plumped pillows and clean towels, the laundry is done, and the child is napping for her 4:30 drop-off date with Dada. Because that's the kind of wife I am-- I may ditch you, but things will be set up to run smoothly.

My mom and sister are going to watch Annaliese for  day and a night next week while K. and I take our first-ever together-time away from Annaliese. We are staying here in a SUITE. In a place where people bring food to my door and don't thump a sippy cup at me while I attempt to eat. Or poo in the tub.

it's all very exciting.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Check out my baby walkin'

We're in high gear for Christmas here. Mom and my sister come into town this weekend; Eliza and I have been having earnest conversations about what to serve for dinner (K's input consists of one word "ham. ham. ham.")

And in the meantime, Annaliese has gotten pretty good at walking. Check it out. And ignore the lopsided diaper; I've only had 11 months of practice...

Friday, December 12, 2008

baby happiness

It has been raining for three days, and finally the sun is back out. This was taken Monday, the last sunny day; though it's chilly, we gotta get out of the house, and so I bundle Annaliese up and stroll around town, much to the locals' disapproval.

Apparently she's not supposed to go outside if it's cold enough to require a jacket as she'll catch cold. To which I say, pah. 

So I sat on a bench in the little park downtown and Annaliese amused herself by rolling around in mulch, tearing bark off crepe myrtles, and crawling underneath the bench from front to back.

It was a nice morning. We've been having more and more of those here lately. 

And as I type this-- Annaliese is toddling across the room on her own two feet in a PJ top and baggy jeans, ritz cracker in hand, talking to the dog. She just made it the whole way. Yesterday she walked out of the living room holding my checkbook; things to come?

In the mean time, she's still chubby-cheeked and delicious:

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

To anyone sending gifts...

We have a new PO address. Email me and I'll let you know it!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Apropos of Nothing, except I Want to Take a Nap and Annaliese, being K's daughter, won't Let Me

So, I'm pregnant. And in my second trimester. Woo!

Several of my internet friends (staying-at-home, with no friends having babies, go ahead and JUDGE ME), are also preggers with their second child.

One says that every food she eats tastes like manna from heaven but she has to lie down for two hours after every meal.

Another is crying at Pampers commercials and cheesy teenage gymnast movies.

Me? I feel... the same. Except a wee bit thicker, occasionally in the early afternoon overwhelmingly tired (which is the same as my first pregnancy), and now given to staring at my first child and saying things like, get used to not being the center of attention, kid.

I'm actually less moody than ever before. Because I don't have time to get worked up about things. 

But I would like to officially State On The Record that K. is the LEAST SYMPATHETIC PERSON towards pregnant women ever. He doesn't think it's cause for legitimate ANYTHING-- be it a nap, a food craving, or balking at carrying refrigerators.

(Oh that's right, my friends. Six months pregnant with Annaliese, our new refrigerator arrived, and when I expressed hesitation at the idea of carrying our old one out of our house, down steps, and to the curb, and replacing it with a new one, K. looked at me and said-- I don't see anyone else who's going to help.)

And yeah, I carried the refrigerator and it was fine, and yeah, I've always been fond of a good nap and Snickers bars and potstickers, but man. It would serve him right if I was the neediest of all needy pregnant women, who wanted pistachio ice cream at four am, refused to have sex, and spent the day fanning themselves on chaise longues.

So there.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Christmas in the Valley

The Christmas Parade has come and gone. The Grinch is a friend of ours, and was busy promoting the event we held in our under-renovation building after the Parade-- a showing of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

About 50+ kids and parents came. Free popcorn and candy and soda for sale.

We were a bit disappointed with the response; considering the time and money that went into holding a free movie (sponors to buy the copyright, clean up, etc etc etc), and also considering there were thousands of people lining Main Street who got candy, fliers, and several announcements about the free movie from the emcee, 50 seemed kind of lame.

(we have some friends! here they are!)

But I'm hoping that these three right there had a good time. They sure seemed to. And at the very least, it was a good karma thing for everyone involved to do.
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Annaliese in a Raspberry Hat

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

It's been a week, and I haven't posted because I want to show you pictures! Of my darling baby girl who has been super-great lately! Not to mention huge and grown-up and practically not even a baby! But there are technical difficulties, involving a misplaced camera cord and picasa and a dying laptop.

So here's an old one, two weeks or so ago:

The biggest news is that she's walking. Not really well yet; she rarely makes it across half a room before thumping to her butt and scooting, since it gets her where she wants to go faster. But she works on walking independently every day; she's been doing the walking while holding onto things gig for awhile now. Really, her balance is very good. She bends over at the waist to pick things up and then straightens, object held tight in chubby fingers.

And she hugs now. I'll squat a few steps in front of her, open my arms, and she toddles into them, wraps her little arms around me and pushes her face against my shoulder. Cutest thing EVER.

Not to mention that she also-- ALSO- FINALLY-- likes cuddling, and happily lolls around on K. and me during family morning cuddle time as we kiss her neck and tickle her stomach and she just loves it. Giggles away, then tries to steal someone's glasses, then flops down for more cuddles.

We are more than a little in love with our daughter these days.

This morning, after a mishap that K. will gleefully tell anyone all about, we finally made it to the OB. I have no intention of delivering the new bebe with this doctor, but as we haven't made up our minds yet about the birthing location/style/etc. of New One, we decided to go local for prenatal care.

And man, I hate OBs. Nothing against the man personally (and yes, it's a man. Because there are no women OBs in Oxford. And they strap you to the bed in the hospital; charming, eh?). But really, they are so CONTROLLING about a process that they didn't initiate, can't "cure", and ultimately, don't solve. I've yet to see a doctor who takes on labor pain; if I did, maybe I'd let them make the decisions. Example from this morning: "and now we'll get your blood drawn and then you'll be done!"

Me: why does my blood have to be drawn?

Him: It's standard. Check your blood type, screen for syphilis, HIV, hepatitis, and your hemocrit status.

The only reason I consented is because I would like to know my hemocrit status; after losing so much blood with Annaliese, it's possible my iron levels are still very low and I would like to know.

Otherwise I would have said fuggedaboutit, because I could just TELL YOU that I'm B+ and disease-free. 

Ob care in this country really caters to the bottom level; I mean, the reason newborns get drops in their eyes (ALL newborns, unless you ask for an exception) is because if the mother has syphilis (or maybe gonorrhea?) the child can end up blind.

Catering to the bottom level, my friends.

Anyhow, rant aside, everything's fine. I've gained 3 pounds, I'm officially 14 weeks pregnant which means I'm most likely out of the miscarriage woods, and we heard the baby's heartbeat.

They say we'll find out the gender of New Bebe at visit #2, January 6th, aka Annaliese's first birthday. A present for her! That she will not be all that excited about for quite a while! Her first lesson in delayed gratification: from us to her.

Hope everyone's well. We finally are.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The World's Longest Thoughts on Parenting with absolutely no pictures whatsoever

Internet, I ain't going to lie. It's been a hard month. A hard two months. A hard year, in many ways.

For the first 2+ years of our marriage, K. and I just... coasted. Snuggled up, watched Scrubs, and mostly reveled in being with each other after our long-distance courtship.

There is less time for everything these days, including snuggling. We definitely need to get better about scheduling date time that's not just the couch-flop after Annaliese goes to bed.

And yadda yadda yadda, of course it's worth it. Baby years are hard for a reason (be exceedingly kind to all people you know with young children). But they do end, so we've stopped counting the bad nights, thank God for the good ones, power through the temper tantrums that accompany diaper changes, and revel in the snaggled-toothed smile and daily accomplishments of our very bright and charming daughter.

But becoming a parent, as brief a time as I've been one, has so far changed the way I feel about many, many things (from childbirth to Baby Einstein), including-- adoption and those who opt not to have children.

I didn't really get either before.

On adoption-- 

I used to think that there was something special about having a biological extension of your lineage, etc.

Well, it's kind of fun when K. sys that Annaliese has the shape of my eyes, etc., but in general? She is not at all related to me.

By which I mean that I often get the feeling that I am less a "parent" and more of the assigned caretaker for this little sprout of a person, who dropped from the sky with her own soul, mind, heart, etc.. And that her personality and such has nothing essential from either me or K. and instead, she is herself, and would be if she happened to land in a different family. So it makes perfect sense now to adopt, because either way, you're just signing up to be a soul's caretaker during their incubation phase, and if you adopt, you get to skip the peeing eight-hundred-times a-night, morning sickness, and the never-ending FUN of labor.

Secondly, on choosing childlessness:

I kind of feel like people without children should never, ever, ever complain about ANYTHING, especially not sleeping well. (But that's just silly pettiness, I know.)

More seriously: having a child is a really big commitment, and like everything in life, it costs. Money. Time, time, and more time. And for the first time in many people's lives: putting someone else's needs ahead of your own. Over and over and over again; in fact, a hundred times a day. 

K. and I came down with the stomach flu at the same time last Thursday. We literally could not stand up. And yet, the baby had to be fed. And changed. And rocked to sleep. Rinse and repeat. That's a dramatic example; how about this morning, when Annaliese pooped before I'd finished my nausea-quenching cup of morning tea, like she does almost every morning? 

My point is that I didn't used to understand people who didn't want to have children, and now I do. Because it's ok to like your life so much that you don't want to give it up for anyone. It's understandable to know yourself so well that you can say, I'd rather be a loving aunt/godmother/whathaveyou than have my own children. I get it.

(This is turning into a really long post.)

And here's something else I'd like to say: 

I always wanted kids. Now I have one and one on the way. I love my daughter INSANELY. I'm literally always happy to see her smiling face, even at five o'clock in the morning. And I'm sure I'll fall in love with our next child too. 

All that being said, I think babies kind of suck. (For the first six months, they're both incredibly demanding and incredibly boring: a deadly combination.) I'm really not looking forward to having another newborn, because I sure didn't enjoy it much this last time and now it'll be even harder.

That's the God's Honest Truth. I don't want to go through labor again, I don't enjoy seeing the clock at every hour of the night, and breastfeeding's a whole lot more fun when you're not spending LITERALLY six hours a day doing it. If I could hand my babies to someone for the first six months, someone who I could trust as much as I trust myself, then I really probably would.

But sometimes life just sucks, ya know? And so I hope we can remember to count our blessings (healthy child, we chanted during Annaliese's infancy. healthy, healthy, HEALTHY child.) and trust that the hard times will gradually phase out (and then in, and then out, and then in again) and then someday there will be a glorious day when K and I turn to each other and say, they're not babies anymore. They can wipe their own butts, put themselves to bed, and guide spoons and even FORKS to their mouths on their own. 

And then we will high-five each other, ship the bebe children off to loving grandparents, and go do Very Adult Things in our little cabin in the woods (by which I mean drink more than one glass of wine and stay up after nine.)


we will drive home too fast because we missed them so. (Sort of.)

Can't you see it?

Friday, November 21, 2008

and then we all caught a stomach bug.

meaning that maybe i didn't food-poison my daughter.

the one bright spot.

the end.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

hey, i made the bed.

k. has a cold.

after a day of stomach bug probably caused by me feeding her some questionable yogurt (yay for poisoning the baby! best mother EVER!), Annaliese's superb immune system succumbed to said cold.

And K. has to go to work (despite being sick), so there is no Mama-break-Wednesday this week.

Which in turn means that the OB appointment I've been looking forward to and was supposed to happen an hour ago got pushed back to Dec. 4th, since there ain't no way I'm taking my tired uncomfortable sniffly little girl into Oxford and there's no one to leave her with.

Which means that by the time I actually see a doctor regarding the baby that's theoretically in my womb, I'll be like a 100 weeks pregnant, aka 13! Which is practically into the second trimester!

Batting a thousand over here, but doing my best.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Someday I intend to sit down and write a thoughtful well-reasoned post about one of the thoughts that pop up as I am walking the dogs/ changing a diaper/ picking up pieces of mashed banana, but today is not someday.

So in no particular order:

We saw a movie yesterday! Me and K.! On a date! I really like my husband, and it was super-nice to spend 107 minutes of 007 time snuggled into his arm and trying to share the wonton soup we'd snuck into the theater. Plus the advantage of living out of town is we got to spend the drive TALKING. Also nice.

Annaliese had a fab time playing with Billy, the 15th-month-old of our good friends who have a kciakss farm, and she received her first on the lips kiss, a fact her papa is not too pleased about. But then again, we kiss her on the mouth all the time. So I guess it was her first NON-FAMILIAL lip-kiss (did I mention K. and I used to be cousins?)

She is also this-close to walking. Standing all the time, stretching down to pick things up and then righting herself, stepping while holding onto something for balances' sake. She's just brilliant.

It is cold and clear and sunny, and I have to pluck the lower leaves from my Brussel Sprout plants. My leeks and carrots are coming along, and the kale, to K's horror, is ready to eat. Broccoli heads have just begun to form. I love fall gardens.

The house across the street progresses. I look out my front window a lot to see what the guys are doing; they've almost finished the foundation work, and then we'll be getting a roof! Oo la la, so fancy!

Oh, and last night, I went to bed at 8:30. A fact that K is mildly horrified with and that I am completely delighted about. 


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

An Update on My Sad, Stubbly Life

So the truth is I'm a big liar. Because this picture makes me look way too happy and the fact is, with K. out of town, I'm a pretty sad sack. Pajama pants, tea drinking, red-nose-sniffles, the works. 

But I DO have plans to buy a replacement razor for the one I left in VA so I can be a smooth-skinned sad sack by Thursday night, when my loved one returns (TMI? TOO BAD. GO READ SOMEONE ELSE'S BLOG. I COUGH ON YOU.)

The good news is that I am completely disconcerted by the sudden change in Annaliese's sleeping habits: just as I was getting out my cry-til-you-puke stick, she decided that yes, she could be put down for a nap, roll over, clutch her blanket, and fall asleep. Seamlessly. It's happened 3x a day (morning, noon, and night) for 3 days now and I am thrown for a LOOP. Is she just over her month-long hell trip that easily? Or did she sense that I wasn't going to come in and spend hours patting her back and walking around? I don't know, my friends, I don't know, and it ALMOST keeps me from loving the new thing, because I'm all like, if it came that easily, how can I trust it to stay? I'm keeping my cry-til-you-puke stick just in case.

I have written very little about pregnancy #2, mostly because other than that time I was nauseous before we got to Kroger and then COMPELLED to eat supermarket california rolls while STILL PUSHING the shopping cart, I haven't really felt all that pregnant. Sure, the belly's getting bigger, but then again, I ate a whole lot of chips and salsa. 

I've got my first prenatal appointment (made completely laissez-fairely last week, when I finally got around to it) next Wednesday, at which point we'll hopefully find out if El Grapo is still alive, and then I'll report more frequently on the new bebe.  Everyone seems to be rooting for it to be a boy. Personally, I'm rooting for it to be a SLEEPER. 

Thankfully, friends have invited me over to dinner tonight, so that'll get me through Monday night, and that's 4 nights down, 3 to go. K. left 2 days early to go hiking in the Zion National Park and drink beer with Nicholas, a choice I have been ENTIRELY gracious about by hissing things like "enjoy it since it'll NEVER happen again."

(sometimes I think I totally suckered K. into marrying me. I never complained about things, didn't talk all the time, and I distinctly remember beauty rituals that have fallen by the way side, like taking milk baths and scrubbing myself with brown sugar and olive oil. Although I might revive that last one, because it makes your skin feel awesome and forces you to clean the tub.)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Despite the awesomeness that is my new novel (working title: Ingrid and Gus: The Tale of a Pregnant Knockout Adolescent and How She Became Addicted to Heirloom Tomatoes), it is damn hard to write.

Because mostly what I want to do when Annaliese has taken 30 minutes of screaming, backrubbing, and rocking before she literally pitches forth onto her blanket with exhaustion is 

1. A big glass of SOMETHING 
2. Eat something savory and good, like a cheese omelet
3. take a nap myself

You'd think by ten months the child would have learned that SLEEP IS GOOD. 

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

In Honor of Obama, Our New President

Annaliese has a bright future with the donkey-lovin' Democrats.

Pics of the VA trip home here.
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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

home again home again

and oh so happy to be so.

pics and stories tomorrow.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

And now, an intermission.

The truck is packed. The trailer is painted and rewired and with new tires. The child is almost in her traveling clothes. 

we're going to virginia, my annual trip home, sans K. Feel very sorry for him; he will be eating whatever he wants, sleeping as much as he can, and working like crazy on his projects.

We're due home Tues. Nov. 4th, in time to vote.

Have a great Halloween!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Annaliese is Slaying Me

I really can't wait for my mom to see her next week, because I know she'll confirm what I see: that little A. has grown up SO MUCH in the last three months.

I'm not saying she's grown. She's not. She is still emphatically a baby, with baby problems: so tired, can't fall asleep; pooping at the dinner table; teething, teething, teething.

It's hard to explain, but she's so much more of a little person these days... she doesn't like mashed broccoli. At all. She let it fall out of her mouth and looked at me like, you're feeding me dogshit now? She wants to feed herself, thank you. She wants to feed her pasta to the dog. She does not want to sleep; instead, she wants to roll over, sit up, and stand up in her crib, where she will bounce up and down while holding the bars and chortling wildly. I looked over a minute ago to the pulled-out drawer of fabric and things she plays with while I type and she was holding a packet of brackets (sealed) and STANDING. Just standing, not holding onto a thing, and when she's done standing she will plop back onto her butt and scoot over to whatever interests her next. She thinks my dancing/singing is hilarious and giggles when I lean towards her making funny sounds. She wants to eat whatever I'm eating, which means she had her first gingersnap this noontime, and she seemed to like it a lot, judging by the conscientious solemnity with which she chewed it down. She does not like it when I'm in a store, say, and having a conversation with a friend that bypasses her, and so she'll warble until the spotlight returns to her. She calls everything "da." She scoots over to my chair, pulls herself up, and then smiles at me, showing her gapped front teeth, and hopping a little in excitement that we're smiling at each other. She is very, very bored with all her toy-toys, and increasingly enchanted with things like the dogs' water bowl, Shadow's chewed tennis ball, leaves, sticks, and the broiler pull-out of the oven. 

I guess my point is that even though her napping is ABSURD and K. has to pick her up from standing in the crib, pat her a few times, and lay her back down at least three times a night, she's still really, really fun these days.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Some Very Little Big News

We've got a couple pieces of news in these parts.

First, the Movie on Main Street event I've been planning happens tomorrow evening. Since everyone who's worked on it with me ROCKS (vacuuming up fire ants? check. building a screen? check. designing this beautiful poster? oh, check check.), I am not as worried as I might be. Still, let's hope it goes well: aka people come and have a good time.

Second, Annaliese has a new tooth. This makes 5, and I'm sure the 6th will come in soon, as they tend to come in pairs.

Third, the odds are pretty good that K. and I will be having our second child in late May/early June. According to the sonogram, we're 7weeks and 4days in, although it's ludicrous to think they can tell the days... the bebe is the size of a pea, but boasts a heartbeat, which is all you can expect at this point.

And yes: this will mean two children under the age of 2 (Annaliese will be about 16months at sibling-date).

Someone hire me a nanny and a housecleaner, post STAT. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My mom thinks the world is going to end.

So she's been doing entirely normal things for a middle-aged Caucasian WASP to do.

Like running to Wal-Mart at nine pm with a girl friend to stock up on ammunition.

Hoarding canned and dry foods.

Filling her chest freezer with venison.

Buying sheep.

And of course, taking shooting lessons from a guy whose day job is training SWAT teams.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I've Had Nothing To Eat Today Except Lasagna, Cake, and Corn. And Tums.

Thanks to all who sent good wishes. And to those who sent gifts: well, blessings, and  know that I do love presents.

And cake, of course.

But let's face it. The real reason y'all visit this blog is to see the bebe.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

happy birthday to me!

FIVE PRESENTS, people. One via email from my lovely parents-in-law. Four sitting on top of the chest freezer in the kitchen, waiting. And waiting. And waiting. For my official birthday celebration with K., whenever that may be; tonight, if our meeting ends soon enough, or tomorrow, if it doesn't.

I really, really hope today. Because I may be 26, but I am not at all patient.

In any case: Happy Birthday to ME!!!!!!

(very relieved to find that I am back to my normal birthday spirits, after the utterly dispiriting experience last year of turning a quarter-century).

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

My replacement at the office started today.

Man, does it feel good to pass on that torch. 

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Phase #999

Annaliese helping me garden:

Bright-eyed in the doorway:
Happily (for once) standing in her crib:
Leg lifts and a novel: truly my daughter:
Good thing she's cute as a button.

Call it what you will. The nine-month-regression that takes place because of Week 36's big brain developmental push. The teething. The learning to pull up. The slight fever she had last night (probably related to the teething). But the facts are that Annaliese is charming during the day, more of a little girl every hour that passes, and yet her sleeping habits have gone straight to hell.

Example A: Rubs her eyes, ready for a nap; I put her down. She cries, like normal. Five minutes pass. She quiets--- like normal. The she starts screaming-- not normal. I come into her room to find her standing in her crib.

It stops getting charming real fast. Like when it happens six times in a row before her nap, or repeatedly during the night.

Last night, I coughed and she started crying. Went into her room to find that she had been sleeping on her knees, head touching the mattress, like a Muslim facing Mecca. So tired, and so compelled...

She went from waking for an early morningfeed to waking roughly 4-8 times per night. 

And the part that's hardest to see is that she can't help it. Her body is not letting her rest right now; no matter how tired she is, she rolls onto her stomach, and once on her stomach, she has to sit up, and once she's sitting, she needs to stand. Her teeth hurt. She's hot. She's cold. She can sleep on me but not on her own. She's completely lost the ability to self-soothe herself into sleep.

All-in-all, the nights, they're not so fun. But they're better in one big respect: I know that this will pass. That this is not her choice, that it is a developmental phase, and that soon, this whole brain  madness will pass and she will be back to sleeping soundly from 8pm-7am.

But man, I can't believe how much I was resenting that one early am feeding...

Friday, October 03, 2008

the thing i never thought i'd do: attacking another mom's mothering skills

I watched the entire debate last night. And nothing really got under my skin until after it was over, and Sarah Palin's family came on stage.

Hold the phone, "Hockey Mom"-- you have a 5-month-old on STAGE under bright lights at 9:30 at night? Let's ignore the fact that Down's Syndrome babies have special health problems and are more vulnerable than most; a crowd of thousands late at night with bright lights is not where ANY five-month-old needs to be.

I looked at that baby, doing his best to snuggle into his mom's shoulder before being handed to his big sister, and it made me mad. Mad that this woman who claims to stand for the rest of the moms of America chooses to put her political posturing on front of the very simple needs of an infant: Safety. Calmness. And at night-- sleep. 

I am going to entirely ignore everything else about Sarah Palin and say one thing: you cannot claim to be a hockey mom. Maybe you were once-- but you aren't now. 

You do not stand for the mothers of America when you go back to work the day after your child is born. You do not stand for the mothers of America when you pull your kids out of school and take them across country to stand on late-night stages with you. You do not stand for the mothers of America when you put on high heels and trot down steep disembarkment ramps schlepping around your infant like a sack of potatoes.

Because the last thing mothers of America need are a 1-day maternity leave, kids traveling with them for work, and the press flashing bulbs in the faces of babies.

(I would say this to any man who claimed to be a family man and then postured with his baby on a stage late at night, so it's not a sexism thing.)

But you are not being a good parent when you choose the ten-second photo op over the logical choice of what would have been best for that little boy: a familiar room, a familiar caregiver, and lights out a whole lot earlier than after 9:30. 

Thursday, October 02, 2008


from here:

The first business plan I came up with to become a full-tine farmer centered around milking 10 cows and selling the milk to neighbors at regular retail supermarket prices. It would have been a nice living. But it's illegal.


I think it's amazing that in a country which promotes the freedom to own firearms, freedom to worship and freedom of speech, we don't have the freedom to choose our own food... Half the alleged food in the supermarket is really dangerous to your health.

Say it, Salatin!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I'm pretty against the bail-out, mainly because we don't have the money to do it.

But in case you're unconvinced Wall Street affects Main Street:

I'm trying to get a local business to sponsor a $500 Movie on Main Street event. Not a big deal for this particular company-- except they can't get at their cash.

The bank is holding the deposited checks-- frozen. So he can't write me a check until his account funds are fully available, and my event goes unsponsored for at least another week.

In other news, Annaliese's top 2 teeth have popped through. She is not sleeping as well but we think this is due to the chilly night temperatures, and tonight she's got a heater in her room... so we'll see.

Today she took a nap in the am, then refused and refused and refused to sleep in the afternoon. Everytime we put her down we'd come in to find her standing, holding the rails, and screaming.

So, like many a parent before us, we gave up.

Around 4 K. looked up from the laptop to see her dozing in her exersaucer, face falling onto the toys. Pretty darn funny.

This am she wore the sweater her VT grandmama knitted for the first time:

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Monday, September 29, 2008

to the grandmothers

there are 3 videos of Annaliese, and the 3 computers I have daily access to will not recognize them as videos and let me upload them.

my apologies.

a chilly night, a clean car, and a barbecued chicken for dinner... the things that made me happy today.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

on days like today

when the sun is shining and the bebe is bright-eyed and blowing bubbles
and the house is still a mess and i have 900 things to do concerning main street when really what i'd like is to sit on the floor and play with my beautiful baby until she's ready for a nap
and then make the house sparkle, figure out dinner, and write an essay

perhaps plant some kale and process some pears

i am very, very glad indeed that next tuesday is my last day at the office

even though i feel such guilt about leaving the association in the lurch

(even though i gave four weeks notice)

(even though mary oliver had it right)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

VT and home again

We are home again home again after some pretty grueling travel times (not sure the savings were worth departing the house at 3.30 am and returning at 2am), and it is lovely.

But despite the traveling and the late nights, Vermont was all that it should be. Jeans and sweatshirt weather during the day, bright blue skies, and the most delicious smell of fall, with the leaves just beginning to turn.

Annaliese spent Saturday in the good hands of aunts, an uncle, and grandparents while K. and I journeyed down narrow roads in our rented Ford Explorer (a free upgrade and I have to say, so ROOMY) to attend Natasha and Nate's wedding.

It was held on a farm where the owners, a very VT couple in their sixties, have lived for 42 years. And it was stunning. The end of a road, no other houses in sight, with a whimsical copper-roofed guest house complete with cupola, beautiful gardens, Jersey cows, a handsome farmhouse, and a very elaborate train track that the husband built himself. Big enough to carry people and with a stone slate roofed engine house.

The wedding itself was sweet and lovely. The bride looked beautiful, they all seemed remarkably relaxed, and the weather couldn't have been better.

The next day, we tromped around a dairy farm and had a great time. Cows, pumpkins, apples, and a four-wheeler... good fun.

All-in-all, a very nice time. Here for pictures.

Annaliese seems recovered after a day home...she took four naps and slept solidly last night. This morning I went to her room in response to her whistles and trills (such a little bird) and found her sitting upright. She does not crawl, but scoots on her but speedily across the room, usually towards dog food, dogs, or wires. And she's pulling up on things. So the Age of Mobility is dawning.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Three Years In

From Annaliese Lee Coughlin

Today is an important day.

It's K's and my 3rd anniversary.

I was 18 when I met K., and I remember it very clearly-- sort of. The first scene, ten minutes in our mutual aunt's office (cousins-in-law-- oh yeah) were kind of blurry. But he drove me in his zippy little two-seater to his college. I got out the passenger door, walked a little onto the lawn, and turned and saw him for the first time.

I kid you not: my heart skipped a beat, my stomach flipped, and the familiar taste of recognition flooded my mouth. All-in-all, a very physical reaction.

I had a boyfriend, whom I really did like very much, at the time. So I chalked the reaction up to a gut thing, my lifelong predilection for tall men surfacing yet again.

He wore a black knit cap-- it was November-- and the red ski jacket he still has.

I remember.

I remember that same night, we ended up talking. I stayed at his apartment until 3am (watching a movie with his college buddies) and I was insanely pleased when he sat next to me on his futon sofa for the duration of whatever movie it was.

It's a long way from 18-year-old kismet to where we are now: three years in. Two overseas trips since we married. One pregnancy, one baby. Two rented houses; a cabin in the woods; a combination of six jobs between us. Not to mention all the stuff that came before we even hit the altar: college graduation for him, high-school (oh yeah again) and college for me. Two road trips. A gradual escalation of travel style from tents in a field and 25-cent granola bars to four-star hotels and steak dinners.

I know I wanted to marry him about five minutes after I finally admitted to myself that I maybe, kind of, possibly, had fallen in love about four months ago. I was twenty.

I think it took him a little longer, but not much. Two months after I'd figured it out, K. started using words like forever. Four months after that, we were planning for September of 2005, after I graduated college.

And that's what happened. He proposed formally (and wonderfully). We were engaged for seven months. We married at my childhood church, I wore a long white dress, he was in his grandfather's tux, and when we came home from our honeymoon to live in the same house for the first time, it felt like we'd gotten away with something because it was so much fun.

We take it for granted now, most of the time. How could we not? But once in awhile we look up, squeeze each other's hand, and thank God that we get to live together, as long as we're here and hopefully after.

I live every day with my favorite person in the world. And every single day, even when I'm grumpy and he leaves his popsicle wrappers on the couch, I'm glad.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

still here.

Where does the blogging time go? Why, to slipcovers and sweeping, and dog chases and beatings... Dido has wiggled out of the fence five out of the last six days. Last night she was gone from when I went to work (9am) and we awoke in the middle of the night to her slinking under the bed-- probably at least midnight.

I am not impressed.

And where does she spend 15+ hours in WV, anyhow? NOT a big town.

I will try and post again before we leave on Friday, at 4am, THE MORNING AFTER K's and my 3-year anniversary, for a 3-day weekend in Vt where we will see family and attend a wedding. It'll be nice once we get there, but man, the traveling ain't my cup of tea. Good thing we're not going anywhere for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Grumble grumble grouch grouch.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

bg/tomato war continued

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view from BG room at sunrise

I have seen a great many sunrises in the last eight months. One of the few perks of nightwaking babies.

There have been a great many things on my mind lately, and it seems unlikely that each one will get its own post. So in no particular order:

-- the house/building renovations need some divine assistance. Send good thoughts our way.

-- Writing/motherhood really IS a full-time gig. So at the end of this month, I'll be dropping my "part-time" (6-day-a-week, definitely more than 20 hours) job. I'll still manage the Farmers Market, and I am busy planning a downtown movie showing in October, but it won't be what I do every day while neglecting the things closest to my heart. So that's a good thing. Three cheers for K., who-- as always-- knows me better than I know myself.

-- Annaliese is living up to her name meaning (favor from God) more and more every day. I know she will not remember or appreciate how much K. and I delight in her, but it is enough to be this particular soul's caretaker as she eases into life.

-- I really am beginning to miss the East Coast. The smells. The mountains. The architecture.

-- K. might not post, but he is busy being a champion at every step. Annaliese LOVES him. In the morning, after she's woken me up and been fed and is in our bed, she looks over to her still-slumbering papa, grins, and reaches her small hand to him. If he's in reach, she thwacks him until he opens an eye-- and then she BEAMS and kicks her legs. It's the cutest thing ever.

love to all, pics to follow
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Friday, September 05, 2008

Yeah, I know, you know. I was busy.We went to Blooming Grove for Annaliese's first Tomato War. To those who don't know about this 75-year-old ritual: a bunch of the same people, who all belong to the same hunting and fishing club in a n idyllic corner of Pa with some fabulous private lakes, meet up once a year for the Tomato War. There are the blacks and the Reds. My family is and have always been Blacks. Almost everyone has been a General of the Black Army at one time or another, including my sister.There is much pomp and cirumstance over the weekend which concludes in the two armies meeting and pleting each other with tomatoes. If you're hit, you're dead.I always die, but the Black Army always wins, so c'est la vie.Behold the weekend:

One of my many cousins:

And the littlest warrior herself:

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008