Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Nothing much to say, except OOOOH those thighs. So squeezable.
3 months, 16 pounds 7 ounces.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Today, Sam is three months old. To celebrate, he caught his sister's cold and decided to remind us what he was like at three weeks. In other words: crying, waking up every two hours, boycotting naps. Fun! Lesson learned, Samuel. We appreciate you as a three-month-old.

So I'm tired and don't have much to say that's clever and witty or even interesting. However, Charlotte does. So here's a transcript Jeff typed up (along with introductory explanation) of their conversation over dinner:

"This is a transcript (or as close as i could get) of Charlotte 'reading' the player bios off the backs of some baseball cards. (Jana awesomely brought home 3 packs of 2009 Topps cards this afternoon for her, C, and I to each open. At first I thought, Grumble...these were probably way too expensive - 50 cents a pack, in my day - and they're bound to be worthless; but then I spent the next hour looking at them, reading stats, etc. Charlotte picked up on the general sound/formula of the bios from the ones I read aloud, and then at the dinner table decided it was her turn. While the info varied [to a degree], the 'player' name was the same for each card she picked up and read. She must have [mis]heard me read Conor Jackson's card...):

"Michael Jackson knows how to walk and talk when he sneezes and burps and plays ball."

"Michael Jackson knows how to pat ladies' backs and say Hey Ladies, you have a great big tummy. You write that on my blog." [That last part may have been a side-note to me, rather than a Michael quote.]

"Michael Jackson knows how to sheff [chef?] people's face away." [Sheff, Charlotte? "Sheff mean like to push their face away."] I think she means "shove"--Jana

"Michael Jackson knows how to walk and talk and play ball and throw balls and books and throw apples and rescues and pencils and laps and cameras."

"Michael Jackson knows how to read books and drink milk and drink strawberries and drink bananas."

"Michael Jackson knows how to play with toys."

"Michael Jackson knows how to play with mans and womans and strawberries and cans and coconut milk and butter and milk and crackers and crackers and crackers again and crackers again."

"Michael Jackson does all those things but also he can toot."

"That all Michael Jackson can do."

"Walk with Michael Jackson."

[pause...short break to eat; not much interest in food]

[What does this card say, Charlotte?]

"It says, 'Hey Ladies, you have big tummy.'"

"Michael Jackson knows how to play ball at the stadium and get popcorn."

"'Always be a good girl,' Michael Jackson said."

"Michael Jackson knows how to play a game called B-I-B-L-E."

[The End]

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Twelve Things About My Twelve-Week-Old

1. He sleeps 70% of the time. I figured it out.

2. The other 30% is typically spent eating, smiling, or looking around bemusedly.

3. He's huge. I hope to have stats later this week, but I'm guessing well over 15 pounds.

4. He loves his sister. He cranes his neck to see her when he hears her voice.

5. He hates baths. Bathtime is one of the few times you'll hear Sam scream.

6. The other time is diaper changing times, although not every time.

7. His hair looks a bit lighter than it did when he was born. I'd say it's more of an auburn now.

8. He take a pacifier, and seems to be trying to figure out how to suck his thumb.

9. He has started cooing, and it's the cutest sound in the world.

10. He's a grunter--grunts in his sleep and when he's awake just for fun. He has a repertoire of grunts, including a very specific one that signals he's about to poop.

11. He belches louder than any baby I've ever met.

12. He's twelve weeks old now. I can't believe it's only been twelve weeks--I feel like he's been in our lives forever.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I haven't been feeling very inspired to write lately. Here are a few Charlotte-isms to get you through until my muse decends once again.

Jeff, Charlotte and I are sitting downstairs. The sounds of Sam stretching and groaning as he wakes up come over the monitor. One sound is particularly funny, and sounds especially anguished, and I say: Was that Sam?
Charlotte: (she insists on calling Sam "Walter") Walter.
Jeff: Yep. That was him. Old Man Walt.
Pause. Then,
Charlotte: Walter isn't old! Walt is new! Walt is a brand-new baby!

Charlotte and I are playing at the toddler open-gym. She sees a pregnant woman.
Charlotte: What does that lady have in her tummy?
Jana: She has a baby in her tummy. Just like mommy did.
Charlotte: And your tummy is still big!
Jana: Uh, thanks.

In the car:
Charlotte: You're a good driver, mama.
Jana: Thanks!
Charlotte: When I get big, I will be a good driver, too. And I will drive all the way to Iowa! And there will be animals there, and they will be magical. And the animals will say, "Hello, Mrs. Whosit!"

While digging the plot for our garden:
Charlotte: This is the roof of the house, and inside there will be bunnies and grasshoppers. This is their living room (pointing to a particular chunk of sod) and this is their carpet.

Charlotte toots.
Charlotte: I'm sorry.
Jeff: You don't have to apologize.
Charlotte: I'm sorry I love my own toots!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sam was bapitized this weekend. There was cake. And this happened:
And here's a lovely picture of Sam's smiling face, and his two papas.

More later this week.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Ten Weeks

When Sam was just a few weeks old, ten weeks was often the magical number floated around in conversations about sleeping and eating and crying. People tried millions of different things to try to get their children to sleep, to stop crying, to nurse better; the list of options was a mile long. But almost everyone said "it got better around ten weeks."

The past couple of days were beautiful--warm, sunny, the smell of spring just starting to tinge the air. We spent lots of time outside playing. Sam huffed and gasped and cooed as the breeze blew on his face.

At some point during the weekend I was holding Sam while Jeff and Charlotte explored the backyard (one corner of which has been dubbed "the woods"). I looked down at the little guy on my lap who was looking around with a bright and pleasant look on his face and thought, "ten weeks. They were right."

He sleeps well. Some nights he's still up more often than I would like, and occasionally he'll resist going back to bed after his 3 a.m. feeding, but those are exceptions, not the rule. He naps well, and longer than his sister ever did. We can usually count on at least one nap that lasts longer than two hours every day. He eats well. Charlotte always seemed to be nursing, but Sam is a quick and efficient eater. He rarely cries, although he is still not a fan of diaper changes or baths. His gas is still an issue (and I know babies's gas isn't supposed to stink, but MAN, Sam didn't get that memo) but he seems less perturbed by it and it almost never interrupts his sleep.

So: to all you new moms out there, hold on. Ten weeks is just around the corner.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

15 Albums/Artists

This meme has been floating around on facebook, and I thought I'd duplicate my posting here, too.

The idea is to post about fifteen albums or artists that have influenced your life in some way. Here goes:

1. The Annie Soundtrack: This is one of the first records I remember owning, and I loved the songs as much as I loved the movie. My cousin Amy and I would put on our own performances singing and dancing along with Annie and the other orphans. My favorites at the time were "Hard Knock Life," and, of course, "Tomorrow." Now I realize how amazing any song featuring Carol Burnett as Mrs. Hannigan was; "Little Girls," for example, is hilarious and so well-done.

2. Amy Grant, Age to Age: I had this one as a record, too, and when I just now checked the song list on Amazon to make sure I was thinking of the right album, I not only recognized all the songs, but could sing most of them again. I played the heck out of this one, most likely soulfully closing my eyes and swaying as I sang along with "El-Shaddai." Amy Grant was also my first concert experience; I went with a group of girls in my class (I think this was fifth grade?) to celebrate Livija Shannon's birthday. It was rad. I think I wore something totally killer, like stirrup pants.

3. Mozart: If I were really being honest, I would put down Warner Brothers cartoons and a rickety old Hooked on Classics albums as being my real introductions to classical music, but I think it's fair to trace my interest in classical back to a tape my parents had of Mozart. It was a pretty standard $3.99 at the checkout style assemblage of Mozart's better-known stuff, but it knocked my socks off when I listened to it again and again on my walkman (probably in the dark, while thinking sadly about how no one understood me...this was junior high, after all). Of course I liked Eine Kleine Nachtmusik like everyone else, but my absolute favorite was the Lacrimosa from Mozart's Requiem mass. When I was in high school, I had the pleasure of singing this one with our choir and choirs from other Christian schools around Iowa...singing en masse one of the creepiest, most mournful songs I knew was pretty amazing. I also went to a performance of Mozart's Requiem at the Radcliffe Camera in Oxford, which was phenomenal. I got chills when I heard those first strings of the Lacrimosa.

4. Cranberries, Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can't We: Of all the standard top-forty stuff I listened to when I was in junior high and high school, I remember being blown away by the (relatively) crazy sounds of the Cranberries. I just thought her voice was so haunting and the songs seemed to be about something really important, like war and love and strife. I still occasionally listen to this one, along with No Need to Argue.

5. The Beatles. Is it cliched to like the Beatles? Probably. The oldies station out of Des Moines would broadcast a show called the Beatles Brunch on Sundays. It was always on when we got home from church, and I would tune in on my stereo in my bedroom and listen as I changed out of my church clothes and waited for Sunday dinner to be ready. The show featured not only songs but interviews with the Beatles and clips of news stories from the time periods when the songs were released. I think it was during this time period (junior high and high school, again) when I was listening to Beatles Brunch that I decided I really should have been a sixties kid (not really knowing what that meant, of course).

6. Simon & Garfunkel: I "discovered" Simon & Garfunkel midway through high school. I was familiar with the two most-played radio songs, "The Boxer" and "Mrs. Robinson," but the Greatests Hits tape I bought had all these amazing songs that I had never heard: "Homeward Bound" and "America" remain two of my favorites. I listened to my tape on my walkman on our family vacation to the Ozarks and on the long bus ride to Rhode Island (for the CRC convention) and still associate the songs with traveling and road trips.

7. Bob Dylan: My freshman year of college, I took on the task of educating myself in two areas to impress a boy. The first was baseball; I memorized some stats and learned the differences between the American and National leagues and watched games and generally learned to appreciate the sport. The second was Bob Dylan. This boy was going through a period of Dylan obsession and was actually writing a research paper on Dylan for his history class, so I thought it important to familiarize myself with this musician. I can't say that my original interest was pure, then, but my love of Dylan grew into something separate from my relationship with the boy who (SPOILER ALERT) I would later marry.

Writing about Dylan could be its own entry, so I'll keep it brief. I can't name a favorite song, although if forced at gun point I'd probably say "Like a Rolling Stone," which is a little cliched, I know, but really it's such an amazing song. But what about "Mr. Tambourine Man," and "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" and "Visions of Johanna," and, and...oh, it's too overwhelming. The whole Desire album! I can't stop!

Dylan is also the only musician I have deemed to see in concert multiple times. I don't go to a lot of concerts, but I've seen Bob live four times (with Jeff every time).

8. Cat Stevens: Another college discovery. I think my love of Cat began when Jeff and I listened to his brother Steve's greatest hits CD whilst necking at his parents's house early in our courtship. (Sorry for the details there). This music became the soundtrack of my early relationship with Jeff but also seamlessly became the backdrop for so many other experiences: traveling to England, working late at night on my old Mac computer at our house in Grand Rapids, etc.

9. Dar Williams, The Mortal City: When I was in high school, I tuned in somehow to the public radio station broadcast out of the University of Northern Iowa. The signal was weak, and I could only hear it in certain parts of the house or particular areas of town if I was driving around, but this is where I was introduced to folk artists and lesser known world musicians for the first time. I heard Dar Williams singing "Iowa" live (from Iowa City, I think) during the summer before I left for college, and her music became emblematic of the kind of new, independent woman I thought I would become while studying at college. I still love her music although I now realize how embarrassingly hippie-chic it is.

10. Elliott Smith, XO: One night while I was in college I saw this shaggy guy performing a moody, melancholy song on Late Night with David Letterman. That song was from the Good Will Hunting soundtrack, and that shaggy guy was Elliott Smith. I bought the album XO not long after and played it to death. My favorite song from the album was "Waltz #2 (XO)" which I put on every single mixed tape I made in college. When Smith killed himself a few years ago, I went back and listened to the album and realized how dark and depressing it really was, but when I think about these songs I get happy, because I associate them with some of the best times of my life.

11. Moby, Play: I'm kind of embarrassed by lots of the entries on this list, and Moby is one of them. Look, I realize that I'm not really hip regarding musical artists; I don't keep up with who's new and cool or who's indie and undiscovered. It seems like a lot of work to me. I know Moby isn't real techno or whatever, but I loved his music and can't hear this CD without thinking of my time in England, when I bought it at a Virgin megastore. I have a very strong memory of listening to "Porcelain" on the bus trip to Hampton Court Palace and knowing I would remember that moment forever. Ack! It sounds so lame when I write it!

12. The Jazz Station: This is a set of four CDs I bought from some random vendor at the Portabello Road market in London. It was ridiculously cheap, like 15 pounds or something, which probably meant it was an unlicensed compilation. I didn't know much about jazz (and honestly still don't) but this collection was the perfect intro for a newbie. Dinah Washington, Miles Davis, Etta James...a song or two from each of the big names. Another one I can't think about without thinking of England.

13. Patty Griffin: Another artist I discovered via the public radio station in Iowa. I heard her song "Sweet Lorraine" the summer before Jeff and I got married, and sat in the parking lot of the store I was going to to listen to the rest of her live set they were playing. I was late for something but the little slip of paper on which I scrawled "Patty Griffin" once the announcer said her name was more important. I have several of her CDs and am never disappointed. This woman can belt it out.

14. Beastie Boys: I was a late-comer to the Beastie Boys, never listening to them during their heyday in the eighties and nineties. Jeff was a fan, and I became one after their 2004 album, To the 5 Boroughs, came out. One of the best times of my life was their concert we attended in 2004. General admission, one row from the crush barrier, within spitting distance of MCA. The story of how I threw a punch at a frat boy with a neck-head and sustained a cracked rib as a result has become legendary. If Ad-Rock ever shows up at my door asking me to come away with him, I can't be held responsible for the result. I'm sorry, Jeff.

15. Neutral Milk Hotel, In an Aeroplane Over the Sea: Jeff brought home this CD in late 2005 when I was early in my pregnancy with Charlotte, and wanted to play it for me right away, but I was constantly nauseated and tired and wasn't giving him the reception he wanted, so we had a big dumb fight about it and I forgot about the amazing CD he couldn't stop talking about for months. It wasn't until spring that I happened to pop the CD in on my own, and holy cow, what was this insane, amazing music? When Jeff was gone over spring break and I was writing my final papers for school, my laptop edged out of my lap by my growing stomach, I listened to NMH almost constantly. When I listen to the songs on this album, I think of that amazing time in our lives when anything was possible and so much was on the horizon. The title track is quite possibly my favorite song of all time.

Whew! That's it, although I thought of more I could have included as I wrote.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Charlotte is playing outside on the patio as I order garden seeds online (I'm right by the patio door, so it's safe, don't worry). The neighbor boy comes around the fence.

Charlotte: I was waiting for you to come over! I was calling your name when you weren't here! I kept calling and calling, and then you came! Hello! I like the picture on your shirt!

This boy is five, and the sun rises and sets on him as far as she's concerned. That feeling of my heart in my throat? Yeah, I'm feeling that regularly around here.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I don't get out much with just Charlotte these days. If I'm out of the house, it's either with the whole family or just by myself. Today I had a meeting at school I had forgotten about, and to give Jeff a break, I brought Charlotte with me. It was a lunch meeting, pretty low-key, so I knew she wouldn't cause much of a disturbance.

I need to set up more mom-and-daughter dates because I had the best time. When we're all together as a family, I have to admit that I probably don't pay the most careful attention to Charlotte at all times. I certainly don't catch everything she says, and I most likely miss her first (and second, and, let's face it, third) request that I read a book to her, put together a puzzle with her, get her a snack, take care of this huge booger on her finger, etc.

But in the car on the way to lunch, I got to give Charlotte (and driving, of course) my full attention. I think it took her a minute or two to realize that it was just me and her in the car. Then she launched into a long-running commentary/story/song that lasted the entire ride. I don't think she took a breath. Occasionally I was called upon to respond (a simple "wow" or "really" or "cool" would suffice) but then she was off on the next tangent. Subjects covered included: books, and why they are amazing; birdies, and how they get up there in the trees and the sky; why there was a picture of a pig on that restaurant and why we should go eat there sometime; the library, and why it is the best place in town; poopy diapers in the context of Sam and others; why Charlotte's original songs are better than covers (her terms, I'm serious); how she's growing to be so big that soon she won't fit in the car. And that list is by no means exhaustive.

The last one, about how she's growing so big, is true in a way that makes my throat catch sometimes. Just seven months ago she was still sleeping in a crib. She still wore diapers. She ate in her high chair. We still had to put her to sleep via an intensive, hands-on process every night. (Every. Single. Night. HORRORS!) She was too short for most of her 2t clothing.

In the six months we've lived in Lawrence, she's transformed into a little girl, a baby no longer. She sleeps in her big-girl bed, wears underpants, eats at the table in a booster seat, and goes to sleep on her own with nary a complaint. She's still a little on the short side for her age, but she now wears most 2t pants without us having to cuff up the bottoms, and is even wearing a few 3t pants. She's outgrown most of her 2t shirts. Her size-six shoes are starting to pinch.

But in addition to all those things are the less tangible signs of her growth. She's just...bigger and older and less baby-like. She interacts like a child, not a toddler. She asks insightful questions and observes things I wouldn't expect her to notice. It's all amazing to me, and yet so commonplace.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Mister Cheeks

Also answers to Senor Mejillas, Lord Chauncy Jowls
I had plans to write a long post today but Sam had a terrible night of sleep last night and is boycotting naps today, so I think this picture will suffice instead.