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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Three Months

Today, Caleb is 3 months old!
He's getting bigger and stronger all the time, and he definitely has increased his neck strength this month, and I think his tendancy to tilt to one side is now less dramatic.  Still, he does have that flat spot on the back of his skull, so he has his first appointment with the baby head specialist on Friday.
In the meantime, he's nothing but a cutie-cake!  In the past month, his fussiness has pretty much diminshed, and now he mostly just cries when necessary (hungry, dirty, tired), and he really has such a happy, smiley personality.  His teachers at daycare said that "he is a pleasure to take care of -- so easy!"
And I agree.  I sure lucked out with both kids in the baby department -- you can't beat TWO easy-going, personable kids!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Red Letter Day

Last night, for the first time, Caleb slept through the night!  Cue marching band, balloons, and the van full of celebratory confetti!

He went to bed at 7:30 pm and slept solidly until 6:30 am.  Sweet and sour chicken, it was awesome!

At 5 am, I was awakened by my full boobs...I guess you could say that my knockers were a' knockin!  Ha!  (Jerry is SO gonna give me a condescending look and say, "You know that you're the only one who thinks you're funny, right?" for that joke.)

So, I got up to pump and figured: Hey, I'm up, may as well go run.  So, run I did: A full, legitimate 3 miler!  Complete with the requisite pre-dawn spiderwebs and everything.  It felt pretty dang good.

I'm crossing my fingers that last night's 11 hour snooze-fest will repeat itself tonight and I can repeat this morning's success tomorrow morning.  So far, so good: He was down again at 7:30 tonight, so...fingers crossed!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Runday

Once again, I had resoved to get up at the crack of dawn and run, and once again, I did not get up to do that.  Instead, I took the advice I gave Norah at 5:15 when she appeared at our bedside: "Go back to sleep; it's still night time."

But, Mondays are an easy day for me in terms of work.  I just have one afternoon class, and if I leave school right when my class gets done, I can hurry home and be there by 3:45.  Which is what I did today.  Jerry and the kids don't get home until 4:30, so I quick took Scooter out, then dressed in my running clothes and was back out the door at 4.  Now, running at 4 pm in August in South Florida is not usually advisable, but I figured I could get 2 miles in and a quick shower before they got home, so...heat be damned!...I got out there and ran my little 2 miler.

Got home, got in the shower, and was rinsing the conditioner out of my hair when I heard them come home.

It was nice to fit it in despite skipping the morning option.  Still, one of these days, I'd like to feel like I don't have to rush through a run, or squeeze it into some weird time of day.  Sigh...I don't think a day like that is my near future. 

Oh well, getting it done is good enough!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pissed Off

Last spring, I was awarded the Professor of the Year Award, and it felt pretty dang awesome to be recognized in such a way.  And, part of the award is more than awesome: it's a reserved parking space -- my choice of space -- for the entire academic year for 2011-2012.  So, it has felt SO good to pull onto campus everyday and know that I don't have to circle the lot 20 times to find a space; I can just pull in and park.

Until yesterday.

And then again today.

And that's because some other thoughtless faculty member was parked there.  There's a SIGN!  With MY name on it; it says: "Reserved for Professor of the Year: Jess, English Department"!  (I'll take a picture some time; it's Awesome Sauce.)  Yesterday when it happened, I actually encountered the "perp" as he was getting into his vehicle, and I confronted him.  The shakedown went like so:

Me:  "Um, hi!  Are you Jessica H.?"

Him, looking guilty:  "No."

Me:  "Yes, I know that because I'm Jessica H!"

He was appropriately apologetic and I felt vindicated.  But, then I pull in today, and...different vehicle there!  It wouldn't piss me off so much if it were a student parking there, because, well, students disregard that kind of stuff all the time.  But both days, it has been a fellow faculty member!  (I know this because of the campus tag hanging in their vehicle.)

So, today I called security and asked for the vehicle to be ticketed.  They told me they would "investigate it."  Not very satisfactory to me: I want tanks and torpedoes.  So, I composed a "stern note" (I didn't want to come across as angry or offensive, but I wanted to shame them -- this space is part of an AWARD and having a fellow faculty member disregard that actually feels incredibly disrespectful) and placed it under their windshield wiper.  I hope they feel remorse for intruding on something that is special to me.

Maybe I need to booby-trap the space -- poison darts seem appropriate, right?!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Didn't Happen

This morning, I got up at 5:20 am to run.  I went through the brief rigamarole of pre-running prep, and at 5:40 was headed out the door.

Problem was,

once I got out the door, I discovered that it was POURING rain.  Not a drizzle.  Not a sprinkling.  RAIN.

Sorry, if I don't have to, I'm not going out in that.  So, I went back inside, got back into my PJs and got back into bed.  Sucked to miss the run, but the extra hour of sleep was nice!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Morning Running

This morning, I actually got up and made it outside for an early morning run.  It was:
  • Sticky, icky humid.
  • I narrowly missed stepping on a frog.  Or, maybe it was a toad.  I don't know how to tell the difference.
  • I ran straight through a spider-web and picked its tendrils from my skin and hair the entire run.
  • And, a bug of considerable size and girth thwaped me in the mouth.
So, as always, I remain convinced that the only benefit of early morning running is getting it done first thing in the day.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Bubble

There are two certainties in this world when you have a new baby: One, you're not gonna sleep much.  And two, you're gonna live in what I call "the baby bubble."  Meaning, you have no clue what is going on outside your own little world.  This has been true for us as it is true for most parents of new babies, and it has been exacerbated this summer by our choice to get rid of cable.

So, I have basically NO clue what has been going on this summer if it doesn't involve how much Caleb slept last night or whether or not we have fruit squeezees in the house for Norah.  Therefore, I honestly had no idea that a HURRICANE was forming in the Atlantic and pretty much headed straight our way.  Wah?  I thought it felt extra humid...

Looks like it won't hit us directly (fingers crossed) and my guess is that it will steer pretty clear of South FL in general.  Still, we'll probably get lots of heavy rain and wind this week as it nears the coast.

So, the current running conditions here in South FL?  Holy humid, Batman!  I ran a 3 miler tonight and I may as well have been breathing pea soup!  I checked the weather when I got home and saw that the dew point was 76 -- I should've just continued to live in ignorance rather than know that.  As my favorite dew point reference will tell you: A 76 dew point can be described as "extremely uncomfortable" -- which is like saying that Charlie Sheen is a "little bit crazy."  C'mon!  He's batshit crazy, and a dew point of 76 is F-ing* miserable!

Yet, I ran one of my "faster" times.  Go figure.  Maybe it was so uncomfortable, I just had to go faster to get back in the A/C!

It'll probably be a pretty wet, humid week in terms of getting running done, and let's hope that Hurricane Irene decides to stay well out there in the Atlantic -- because if it comes through here, high humidity will be the least of my concerns.  And the good news is that typically after a hurricane blows through, we enjoy a few days of clear, beautiful weather.  So...next week should be pleasant!

*Yeah, I used to drop f-bombs on here without thinking about it, but this is a family-friendly place now...dangit!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Kiddos

Fingers up her own nose:
 Fingers up his nose:
 He doesn't really seem to mind:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Some is Better than None

That's been my rationale so far this week in regards to running.

With the return to work, and everyone getting settled into our change in daily routine, fitting running into the mix has been tough.  So, I've been mainly running 2 milers because of time constraints.  A 2 miler feels like it barely counts as a run, but at least it's something.

I'm hoping that Caleb soon starts sleeping through the night, or if nothing else, at least develops a predictable sleep schedule at night.  He's had some nights that would count as a full night's sleep (9 pm-5 am) but those have been rare; mostly, he gets up once or twice, but the timing is never the same.  That makes planning for an early morning run (the time of day when I probably have the most leeway in terms of fitting something in) tough.  Plus, I'll be honest, when I'm up with him at 3 am, my brain most often goes, "Get up again at 5 to run?!  Ha!  No thanks."

To his credit, we often put him down for the night between 7:30 and 8, so to sleep from then until 2 or 3 am is pretty good for a baby who's not yet 3 months old, but on the other hand, I don't go to sleep at 8 pm!  So, it'd be nice for ME to get 7 or 8 hours of solid sleep.  I feel like once his sleep becomes more consistent, my running will become more consistent.  But, maybe I shouldn't be waiting for that.  Certainly, other sleep deprived moms manage those early morning runs...

...however, I'm convinced they are cyborgs.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Day Back

Caleb was all smiles when I left him at daycare.

And I still cried.

Norah cried when I left her.

And I cried some more.

But, I know Norah only cried for 30 seconds or so, and then she was fine.  I knew she would be, so we (Jerry met me there to ease the transition, and he knew I'd probably need a hug after leaving them, so it was the two of us dropping them off) made our exit as quickly and painlessly as possible -- in my experience, leaving kids is like pulling off a band-aid, best to do it as fast as possible; lingering is harder on the both of you.

Both had a good afternoon and I got a lot of work done in my office in preparation for my classes.  Plus, I got to enjoy some of the aforementioned perks of being back to work (ie, peeing by myself).

So, all in all, it went well.  And man alive, the day went by so fast!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Back to School

Today is my last day of summer, and thus, my last day of maternity leave as well.  Tomorrow, I go back to work and the kids go back to daycare.

On the one hand, I'm totally sad that my break is over and that it's back to the grindstone:
  • It'll be tough leaving the kidlets -- Norah is returning to school in a new classroom with a new teacher and Caleb is just starting.  It doesn't matter that I have 2 years' past experience with leaving Norah, it's still tough to part from her, and Caleb has never been left with anyone but family, so it'll be extra hard leaving him for the first time.
  • I will miss them both.
  • Back to work means back to WORK.  Classes to teach, office hours to hold, meetings to attend, committees to sit on, papers to read.  My god, the papers to read! 
  • My daily schedule will be a bit busier, especially the two nights a week that I have night class, so fitting running in is gonna be even harder, and probably means o'dark thirty for most runs.  Blech.
  • This may sound trivial, but it gets harder to breastfeed once you return to work -- I can still nurse Caleb the first half of the day, and in the evening.  But, I'll have to pump at work.  And even though I have an office where I can have privacy, it still feels weird to have my boobs out at work.  That, and hauling that damn pump back and forth each day is a pain. 
  • I'm gonna have to try and fit myself back into my pre-preggo work clothes.  Haven't even tried on stuff to see what fits and what doesn't.  I'm bracing myself for a demoralizing evening tonight with that task!
But despite that rather short list of negatives, I'm excited to be starting back to work:
  • I can go to the bathroom by myself, and eat my lunch in peace (while surfing the interweb uninterrupted!).
  • I also get to drive half the way there and the full way home...by myself!  Ahhh, the silence!  Or, all the NPR I can fill my nerdy little ears with!  I don't have to sing along with Elmo and I don't have to answer a million "Why?s"
  • I get to return to doing "adult" work!  And, I enjoy my job: I like the material I teach, I like my students, and I like my colleagues.  I especially like the fall term; for some reason, "back to school" time is one of my favorite times of year.
  • I think it's good to miss the kidlets some.  It would be really tough to be gone from them all day, but my schedule allows me to be home with them all morning, and we don't go to school until mid-day, so I get a nice balance of time at home and time at work.  And, the time apart is nice -- it helps me appreciate the time with them more, I think.  Plus, I know they're in good care.  That helps.
  • Fridays!  I don't teach on Fridays, but I still take the kids to daycare in the afternoon.  I already have a mental list of all the things I'll be able to get done on Friday afternoons!  Oh yeah, those 4 and 1/2 hours each week are awesome, and I can't wait for the return of Fridays!
So, yes, a mixture of emotions as I anticipate this transition: Some things are gonna be tougher, but on the whole, I think I'm looking forward to returning to work. 

And come, next May, I'm sure I'll be looking forward to my summer at home with the kids!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Norah's 2nd Birthday Party

Yesterday, we celebrated Norah's 2nd birthday by having a shindig at our place.  We'd given her a choice for theme, and she chose Toy Story.  So, while she napped yesterday afternoon, we decorated the house in all sorts of Woody, Buzz and Jessie party supplies.  Here's Norah after getting up from her nap and discovering some of the party preparations:
This year, she really understood, and enjoyed, presents and present opening.  And, she got a lot of great loot!
 Here's her Toy Story cake with Woody and Buzz:
She liked having "Happy Birthday" sung to her and she liked blowing out her candle.  So much so, that midway through eating her slice of cake, she put her candle back in and pretended to blow out the candle again.  It was very cute.  Here she is enjoying her cake; she's a frosting fan:
This morning she was up at 6 am, eager to play with all of her new toys; plus, she got a pretty cool Jessie get-up that she was anxious to put on.  Here she is, below, posing in her Jessie shirt and cowgirl boots, with accompanying Jessie doll.  Don't mind me, the "other Jessie," it was early and I hadn't showered yet.
So, today, she's been busy playing vet in her new princess tent, and Jerry and I are slowly easing into the post-party day.  It wore us out throwing a b-day party for a 2 year old, and I've needed a little extra coffee to get me going this morning.  I didn't drink a drop of alcohol, but for some reason, prepping for the party, having the party, and then cleaning up after the party seems to have given me a party-hangover!  Thankfully, birthdays only come around once a year, and it was worth it: She had SO much fun, and so did we!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Three Things Thursday

  • Last night, I had my fastest post-baby 3 miler to date: 32:44, for an average pace of 10:53/mile.  And, I had to work HARD for that sub-11 min/mile pace!  One forgets how tough it is to regain stamina and endurance when you've taken some time away from running, but thankfully, those things DO return.  Slowly but surely!
  • Norah had her 2 year old dr. check up today.  She grew an inch and half in the past 3 months, but didn't gain any weight, so she was 34 inches tall and 26 lbs -- average percentiles for both.  She again acted as though the doctor was waterboarding her during the exam, but once she got her Nemo and Dory stickers, she'd already forgotten the torture of having him listen to her heart.
  • We also visited daycare today so we could drop off supplies and let the kids acquaint themselves with their rooms and teachers.  It went well, and Norah wanted to stay so she could continue playing on the playground.  Next Tuesday is the big day for all 3 of us: Back to school!  I'm both dreading and looking forward to it (more on that next week).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday, Norah!

Last year, for Norah's 1st birthday, I did a retrospective of her first year in pics.  And, I figured I'd do the same thing this year.

Here she is last August, shortly after she turned 1:
 13 months: This was on our camping trip to the Keys in September:
 14 months: Gettin' in trouble:
 15 months: Being silly.  Chillin' in her Vikings jersey:
 16 months: Christmas Day.  Somehow, the tattoo, coupled with the frilly dress and cowgirl boots, seems to be quintessentially Norah:
 17 months: At the South Florida Fair:
 18 Months: At the Palm Beach Zoo:
 19 Months: Taking the time to stop and smell the flowers:
 20 Months: Playing at a water park:
 21 Months: Post-nap cuteness:
 22 Months: Finger-painting fool:
 23 Months: 4th of July Mascot:
 24 Months: 2 years old and such a big girl!
Happy 2nd birthday Norah!  We're so lucky to have a little girl as funny, smart, and charming as you; we love you and think you're "cool beans"!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Monday Miscellany

  • We decided to take the "wait and see" approach before calling the baby head specialist about Caleb's cranium.  I really don't think the flat spot is that dramatic, and I kinda think that with a little time and some more neck strength, he'll eventually even out.  I don't think his brain is getting dented, so we'll wait another month and see what the pediatrician thinks at his 3 month check up.
  • Ran a 3 miler tonight and the volume on my Shuffle wouldn't adjust.  It was set at what is probably Apple's recommended volume, but I prefer a more damaging decibel, so it annoyed me that the gadget was on the volume-fritz. 
  • This is my last week of summer.  Next Tuesday, I return to work and Norah and Caleb go to "school."  I can't believe my summer, and thus my maternity leave, are almost over!  It's gone WAY too fast.
  • Norah went to see her first movie in a movie theater on Saturday.  Jerry took her to see "Cars 2."  The entire experience lasted about 50 minutes, and her most memorable part seems to have been the popcorn.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Flat Headed Baby

Caleb had his 2 month check up today, and I over-estimated his weight by about 2 lbs -- he weighed in at 13 lbs, 4 oz -- but dangit, that kid feels heavier to me!  And clearly "my" version of weighing him at home (ie, I step on the scale without him, then pick him up and see what the difference is) is a flawed procedure.  Aside from gaining a few pounds, he also grew about an inch and is 24 inches long now.  Both height and weight put him in the 80th percentile.  Just above average.

Aside from those digits, he checks out healthy, but he's developing a distinct flat spot on the back right of his head.  See, his head has always tilted naturally to the right, and he has some scrinched up neck muscles that make him favor a certain head position (the pediatrician had noted this before and said he was probably positioned this way in the womb), so he always lays the same way when he sleeps.  The result?  A flat spot.

So, the pediatrician referred us to a baby head specialist (the dr. actually has some fancier sounding specialist title but it's too long and technical for me to remember), and we have to try and rotate his head while he sleeps, as well as alternate how we put him down to bed.  Hopefully, the specialist just gives us a special positioning pillow, and instructs us further on some PT for him.  Otherwise, he could become "Helmet Baby."  Which isn't a huge deal -- I see a lot of Helmet Babies these days (supposedly the whole back-to-sleep thing has saved lots of babies from SIDS but has caused a lot of flat headedness as a result) -- but it'd be nice to avoid one.

If he does have to get a baby helmet, Jerry says he'll "trick it out" with cool graphics and stuff.  So, we'll make an appointment with the baby head dr.  and hope there's no need for a helmet.  But, if he does get one, I guess Jerry will ensure that he'll at least be a cool Helmet Baby!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

On Parenting

Jerry and I are always joking about the things we never thought we'd have to say (for instance: "Don't bite the dog!"  "Lotion is not food!"  and "Yes, Ryan poops in the potty."), but there is also a growing list of things we'd never thought we'd do.  On that list this week?

Hmmmm, let's see.  Well, I:

1.  Used a pair of tweezers to pull a hunk of bread out of Norah's nose at the dinner table yesterday.


2.  This afternoon, for the second time this week, I had to clean a turd up off the floor.

You envy me, don't you?

Need some elaboration?  Okay.

So, the bread up the nose first:  Norah's seems to have a propensity for nasal excavation and exploration.  It seems that every time I glance at her, she's knuckle deep in one of her nostrils, and she's not the sort of explorer who's satisfied with just a poke and prod with the end of her index finger.  No way.  This girl has so far shoved everything from popcorn to Q-tips up there, and last night, at dinner, she got a significant amount of bread up there.*

Blowing and sucking weren't working to dislodge the bread, so I fetched a pair of tweezers to nab that bread, and when I pulled it out of her nose, Jerry nearly hurled at the sight of the mucus covered foccacia.  Me?  I am beginning to think that I would've made a fine medical doctor with my tweezer precision!

So, then, on to my turd stories for the week:

Norah has been doing super duper excellent at using the potty for potty.  But she has yet to poop in there; therefore, we've been trying to make a big deal about how everyone poops in the potty (Yes, even Ryan!) and I think she's starting to catch on.  Unfortunately, in her attempts to get to the potty in time to poop in there, she has had a few "poopcidents."  She's pretty dang good at getting her pants and her diaper off, it's just hitting the potty in time that seems to be where her miscalculation lies, and on Monday, I cleaned poo off the bathroom floor, and this afternoon, I had to scoop it up off the bedroom floor.

Clearly, parenting is a dirty job.  Thankfully, it's also pretty funny!

Oh, and for those not interested in either kid boogers or kid poop, I did manage another 3 miler last night.  In 33:26, which is an average pace of 11:09/mile.  Ka-chow!

*Yes, we were present at the dinner table when she managed to MacGyver that bread up her nose.  We get an "F" in parenting for not paying attention.  In our defense: Dinner time often feels like a three ring circus and Jerry and I often strive to actively ignore both kids so we can wedge in what little conversation between the two of us that we can.  So, she gets some bread up her nose?  At least it's organic, right?

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Got a Run Done

Usually, each night, Jerry and I each take a kid and handle each kid's bedtime routine (Caleb's "routine" is a bit of a joke since he hasn't yet figured out that it's a routine, and he most often doesn't go down for the night until about 9 or 9:30, but we are trying to convince him that bedtime should be a more reasonable 7 or 8).  But, last night, Jerry took them both so I could go and run.

It was awesome.

I went out at about 7 pm, when the night is a bit more bearable -- temp-wise -- and did a 3 miler.  It took me 34:04, and I think my average pace was about 11:25/mile.  Still slow, but 15 seconds faster per mile than what I started with a few weeks ago!

It was so nice to be back and showered before 8 pm.  Norah was asleep by then, so the only thing left to do in the evening was pace the house holding Caleb for an hour.  And, actually, to give credit where it's due: After an hour, I had to hand him off (the boy is HEAVY) and Jerry's the one who eventually got him to fall asleep.  (When Norah was a baby, I nicknamed Jerry "the baby whisperer" because he always had the magic touch -- or timing -- to get a cranky baby to sleep.  With Caleb, he still holds his "whisperer" title.)

I'm hoping I can either convince Jerry, or get him drunk enough, to repeat the favor tonight because I really liked last night!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

Last night, I had planned to run.  But then Norah once again took longer than expected to go to bed, and before I knew it, my evening -- and my chance to run -- were shot. 

So, then, I thought, "Well, I'll do my best to get up early tomorrow and run in the morning."  Ha!  I was up at 12:00, 1:30, 3:00, and then 5:30 last night.  Think I was up for an early run this morning?  Nope.  Didn't happen.

It's easy to feel frustrated with these "interruptions" to my planned running, but I'm doing my best to remain flexible and to simply acknowledge the blatantly obvious: I have two kids -- a 2 year old and a 2 month old -- it's gonna be tough to find time for any "planned" activity: If I get to eat a meal sitting down and take a shower at some point, my day is a success! 

Still, a running Jess is a happier Jess, so Jerry promised that tonight he'd MAKE a run happen for me.  I'm lucky that even when the kids don't understand that Mommy needs to run, Daddy does!