Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wardrobe Wednesday

What I'd wear today if I could: this bag from Old Navy. It's got a certain I-don't-care hipness about it. Plus, it's black and white, which babies love. So this purse doubles as a way to entertain! And black&white is supposed to be big for spring. When was it never?!


Doing shots and monitoring sleep

Flybaby had his six-month appointment today, a week early. He's now 19 pounds and 27 inches. (And PS: he now has four teeth.) Getting shots really sucks, for him and for me. Our pediatrician said Fly is doing well and that I should enjoy this time with him. And I am enjoying it.

But talking about how much I'm enjoying Fly's babyhood made me forget to ask the doctor a list of important questions I had. And when I mentioned how each week, Flybaby seems to be
sleeping one hour less at a time at night, Doc didn't make any comments whatsoever. He did ask if Flybaby is still spitting up, which by the looks of his battle-worn baby T-shirt you can see that he is, and still made no comment. But he wants me to feed Fly meat and other solid food goodies now, and I'm thinking, Great! Now Fly can spit up white (breastmilk) and colors too!

Oh well. At least we got some shots and Bugs Bunny bandages out of the visit. And a pilfered magazine from the waiting room.

In other Flybaby news, he slept in his own room last night for the first time -- mostly because we never had a monitor before now! But he's really too big for his Amby baby hammock (sniff), and JP and I thought he'd sleep better in his crib. Now, maybe he did sleep better. But I'm not sure that I just didn't hear him crying through the monitor! There's a big difference between the sound of a baby crying next to your head and a baby crying in a monitor. I wonder if he cried and I just didn't hear him because after putting him to bed around 9 pm (and then again at midnight), I didn't hear anything from him until after 5 am -- very unusual these days with the teething going on. Good crib sleeping? Bad monitor? Bad mom? We'll see what happens tonight ... unless I miss him too much and figure out another way for him to sleep in our room....

In his hammock in November

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Sleep happens

Flybaby crying in his crib. Won't sleep.

Pick him up, change him (just for good measure) and put him in his carseat.

Dodge neighbors reviewing their new landscaping and drive five minutes to the mall.

Pick up refrigerator water filter that's been waiting at Sears for me for more than two months as an excuse to get out of the house. Smile at cooing grandma type who is looking at Fly. Still awake. Play with him.

Visit Baby Gap. Out of adorable T-shirt Flybaby wanted. Chat with saleslady, whose own baby is just days older than Flybaby. Looking zoned-out. Talk and sing to him.

Visit Children's Place. Find adorable newsboy cap. Easter, maybe? Forgot coupon; will come back another day with coupon. Flybaby looking drowsy. Tell him we're walking here and there.

Visit Gymboree. Is adorable sweater still there? No. Saleslady approaches. Offers to check the back room.

Flybaby is now asleep.

Come on, lady, where are ya?!

Adorable sweater is there, but not in his size. Sorry, lady, I really gotta get going -- thanks for looking anyway!

Dodge grandma types all the way to the other end of the mall, where car is, past stores that are blaring music. Flybaby is still sleeping. Walking faster now.

Dodge hair straightening kiosk people who are always calling out to me. (Yes, hair is wavy and/or curly and sometimes frizzy. Get over it.)

Load Flybaby in carseat into car. Make noise closing car door, folding stroller, closing trunk.

Drive five minutes home.

See neighbors now admiring new landscaping. Alert them Flybaby is asleep so they won't coo at him.

Make noise juggling Sears bag, diaper bag, shutting car door, turning off house alarm.

Let Fly sleep in carseat even though it's against my moral convictions.

Trying to put Flybaby to sleep the conventional way has cost me my sanity several days this week, as the child simply will.not.nap. Peaceful ocean wave sounds coming from his CD player, peaceful room decor, quiet, climate control. Not taking any of it.

But take him to a noisy mall and jostle him in and out of the house? That's how sleep happens. And these days, all those great baby advice books aside, sleep is the holy grail.

Sleep at last!

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Meet Julie Carobini!

Last week, I reviewed blog-friend Julie Carobini's new book, Chocolate Beach. Today, in Growing a Life's first-ever interview and first-ever participation in a blog tour, Julie talks about her book!

Damselfly: Congratulations on your book Chocolate Beach! Care to tell how you came up with the idea for this story?

Julie Carobini: Here goes. We hear all the time that people are attracted to their opposites. What's up with that? I wanted to write about what happens years later to a couple like that. She's a laid-back beach chick; he's a distinguished, suit-wearing gentleman. Are they still smitten with each other's differences? Or not so much? And when things get tough, what do they do?

D: You seem to expertly, flawlessly wend different aspects of your heroine, Brianna Stone's, life so that she seems like a real person and not just a two-dimensional character. How do you do that as a writer?

JC: Thank you, thank you! (I'm blushing :)

This is one reason I love first-person fiction. You can really get into a person's head that way. I shut my eyes often while writing her, and tried to put myself in the scene, and think as she would. She's more laid-back then I am (just ask my kids!), so it did take some "getting into character" to write her. Does that answer your question a little? I'm glad she came across as a real person to you!

D: Another aspect of your novel is your character's Christian faith. You write about Brianna's faith as an important part of her life, but the novel doesn't seem to revolve around it. How do you, as a writer, find just the right balance of faith in fiction so readers get the idea that her faith is important, but you don't hit readers over the head with preachiness, so to speak? Because I think you did a great job with that.

JC: Bri just is who she is. Meaning, she's a gal of faith and makes decisions (or tries to) accordingly. Readers don't have to agree with her faith, but they do need to know her motivation for doing what she does. Does that make sense? Also, Bri struggles with her own interpretation of her life, and even her theology a bit. That's real stuff, no matter what your philosophy on life, and because people can relate to those kinds of struggles, they don't feel like they're being preached at just because Bri's found a particular path.

D: Brianna has a teenage son, and you have children, too. One of Brianna's internal struggles seems to be how much to step into her son's life and help him, and how much to step back and let him figure things out for himself. Have you had this same struggle? If so, how do you deal with it? Are there other parenting revelations you've learned?

JC: I bet all moms can relate to the struggle of giving kids their independence bit by bit, even if it's hard to do at times. I'm mom to three kids, ages 15, 12 and 8, and I'm especially learning to pick my battles (or else I could be battling all the live-long day...). I think that's what Bri tried to do a lot with Nathan. That and heap tons of love on him--also important!

D: Brianna's parents left her in the care of her aunt so they could travel the world. Then when Brianna grew up, her aunt became a missionary and traveled too. But Brianna stayed put. Are you a traveler too? Or, like Brianna, do you like to stay in your corner of the world?

JC: My first plane ride came at age 22, while I was working for a hotel chain. Kinda embarrassing to tell my new boss that I had no idea what air travel would be like, LOL. Since then I've been to London (for pleasure), to Pennsylvania (to visit my husband's relatives), and pretty much across the US for the hotel biz, although I don't travel all that much anymore. If I could, I'd plant myself most days on a sunny deck at the beach. (You do know that I don't actually get to do that, right? :-)

D: Finally, do you have a great brownie recipe like the one that Brianna and her best friend, Gaby, make all the time? My homemade brownies either come out too gooey or too dry!

JC: Yes, I do have a great, basic recipe. Scratch brownies are the best! And the trick is to slightly undercook them so that they don't dry out (and let me just ask, can a brownie really be too gooey? LOL).

D: Well, I guess that recipe must be a family secret or something!

JC: Thanks so much for letting me hang out with you and your readers today, Damselfly!


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Baby cool by Havins

A while back, I entered a contest by Havins Originals and Crazy Hip Blog Mamas to win some cool kid tees.

I didn't win.

But Havins was so nice that they sent me two shirts anyway! And Flybaby loves them.

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Wardrobe Wednesday

What I'd wear today if I could: this ensemble by Trina Turk. Sigh. In fact, I wish I were this woman today. I'd take it all: the hair, the eyes, the drink, the billowy curtains behind her. But Flybaby likes to pull on hair and necklaces too much. And I probably couldn't hold him in one arm and the drink in my other hand. Oh well, a mom can dream....


Sunday, February 18, 2007

I forgot my anniversary

... my blogiversary, that is. It was Friday. Oh, me.

Feb. 16 is the day I technically started up this blog. But I posted entries dating back to the previous December, when I thought I might be pregnant. I wanted to start at the beginning, see.

Some blogger I am.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Take my junk, please

I think this is the coldest day of the year so far, and what did I do? I dragged Flybaby out in it. Really, it's been such a warm winter that I was practically giddy to have the chance to dress him in one of his warm sweater-and-hat sets. Tweee! We met up with my friend Star and her little boy, Lancelot, and then had a couple errands to run.

Then, while I'm out, JP calls me all freaked out because someone broke the lock on our storage unit. Turned out nobody stole anything.

Yes, that's right. Someone broke in and didn't want our junk. We were going to have a yard sale eventually, but now JP and I are thinking, if the thief wouldn't take this stuff for free, who's going to pay money for it?!

BTW, say hi to my friend Star (aka Guinevere), who just started blogging again after having a baby a couple months ago!

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

In which I reveal my inner idiot

Yesterday, Flybaby and I joined a baby and moms class at our local hospital. There were more than a dozen babies and moms seated on mats in a circle on the floor. So many babies in one place!

We opened the class by singing a song that used the name of each baby in turn around the circle. Not only were we supposed to sing the song and use the baby's name, but we're also supposed to be signing -- as in real American Sign Language, because the instructor is partially deaf -- the lyrics of the song and holding onto our little ones in our laps.

There was just too much going on in that little nursery rhyme-type song for me. Please, it's not like I get out much anymore. Balance, coordination, singing, signing and memorization? It's a good day for me if I can hold Fly while transferring clothes from the washer to the dryer.

I use all of this as my defense.

Because when our turn came, I forgot Flybaby's name!

Oh, the shame.

I mean, I eventually remembered his name. But I'm sure all the other moms in the class were thinking what an idiot mother I am. Who forgets her child's name?

I actually have forgotten Flybaby's name a couple of times. I think it's because JP and I didn't have a name picked out for him. Heck, we didn't even have a name until a half-hour before we left the hospital. So for the first two days of his life, I called Fly "Baby" because it was all I had.

You see the consequences?

Fortunately, Flybaby didn't seem to mind my goof, and he actually smoothed things over with everyone in the class when he gave out little Valentines to all the babies in the class. What a classy kid.

Little green man

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Wardrobe Wednesday

What I'd wear today if I could: this red-and-white-striped drawstring bag by Urban Outfitters. It seems so Valentine-y without being overly cute or heart-y. It also looks big enough for my wallet and a few other things, including my digital camera to take pictures of my adorable little Cupid baby!


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

All I need is the air that I breathe and to love you (and maybe not even the air?)

No dairy. No citrus. No corn. No wheat. No nuts, soy, chocolate, caffeine and take your pick of gassy vegetables.

I am going to try to stop eating, basically, for a few days to see if Flybaby will stop spitting up my breastmilk. Right after Fly was born, my pediatrician told me not to change my diet, so I haven't. Until now. Because I just have to do something. The spitting up is getting out of hand. (Oh, and have you ever heard of giving a baby iced tea to settle his stomach? That's the latest bit of advice from a friend. Hmm.)

Are there other things I should give up? Air, maybe?

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Mmm... Chocolate Beach

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been taking little mental vacations. (Aha! you're saying to yourself, I knew she wasn’t all there.) I’ve been lounging on Chocolate Beach, and it’s been the perfect getaway.

Chocolate Beach happens to be the first novel of blog-friend Julie Carobini. Way to go, Julie! Look right here for an interview with Julie next Thursday (Feb. 22), when my humble blog is part of Julie’s book blog tour (or “blour,” as she calls it).

With a name like Carobini, it’s a wonder she didn’t write Carob Beach. But chocolate is sooo much tastier! Julie’s characters indulge themselves quite often throughout her novel -- and what two things could be better than chocolate and the beach?! My kind of novel!

That’s definitely the mindset of the novel’s heroine, Brianna Stone. She’s a happy-go-lucky California beach bunny who is blessed enough to have a hot lawyer husband, an empathetic surfer-boy teen, a fun-loving best friend, a great job as a tour guide and a house right on the beach. One comment made by a snippity “friend” during a bunko game, though, and Bri starts to have her doubts about her life. Why does her husband, Douglas, seem too busy for her lately? It seems to be one big case after another. How does she mother her son, Nathan, who is growing up so fast? Brianna begins to think it’s time for her to change into a more “mature” person. She sets out to make some adjustments.

These changes aren’t lost on Brianna’s best friend, Gaby, who always comes to Bri for brownies and sympathy when her relationships don’t work out. When Bri’s boss turns over the tour company to her golden-boy son Ty, Bri sets him up with Gaby. But Ty’s odd behavior makes Bri think that was a huge mistake.

And then there’s Brianna’s sourpuss mother-in-law, who seems to show up when Bri least needs the intrusion. Not only that, but she’s trying to get Douglas to move away from the beach and into a home that’s more country club chic -- behind Bri’s back!

Brianna takes these waves of life day by day with her faith and the words of wisdom taught to her by her aunt, who raised her. Like ocean waves, though, they eventually crash -- and for Brianna, everything seems to collide during her first dinner party after she takes a cooking class.

Even though I’m a new mom with little time for reading (exhibit A: all those unread newspapers ready for the recycling bin), Chocolate Beach hooked me from the first page, so I had to keep reading. And reading and reading. Julie’s writing style is as breezy as a Pacific Coast zephyr, so devouring her book was as easy as eating one of the oft-consumed brownies in her chapters.

Can’t wait for Julie’s next novel!

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Either I need help, or I need to give it

Hi, I’m Damselfly, and I’m a babyclothesaholic.

Hi, Damselfly.

Thanks. This is my first meeting, so . . . . I haven’t admitted my baby clothes addiction to many people yet. Just a couple of my closest friends. You know, I was in denial for a long time.

Admitting your addiction is the first step.

You know, I have heard that a lot, but until you really live it, that doesn’t mean very much. I mean, the meaning becomes practical and real to you after you get past the denial stage.

Like, why am I doing so much laundry? Is it because I change my baby three times a day just so he has a chance to wear all of these clothes? No, it’s because he spits up on the outfits -- really, it’s true -- and he simply needs to be changed. Or, what about buying clothes in the 12-18 month size even though Flybaby is just now getting into the 6-12 month size? It doesn’t hurt to plan ahead. It’s nice to know there will be some clothes in his drawer when the realization hits that he’s grown out of his current size. What about trying to dress him in the 3-6 month size clothes because they are just too cute, even though they are on the small side?

See? Denial.

I can’t let my favorite baby T-shirt go just because it’s too small! The cute little race car bodysuit. The red romper Fly wore once, for Christmas. The adorbale three-piece outfit with matching hat with the little raccoon. Tiny shoes and baby jean jackets and a Hawaiian shirt with overalls to match. It's too much to bear.

So many clothes, so little time (before Flybaby gains another two pounds per month and grows out of yet another outfit).

Flybaby clearly doesn’t need more clothes. But I have developed a passion for baby clothes. I think it happened about a month before he was born, when I didn’t know if he was going to be a boy or girl yet, and I started looking at adorable outfits and trying to imagine what s/he’d look like in them. I became obsessed.

So, what to do?

I’ve decided I need to turn my baby clothes passion into a way to help people rather than a way to go into debt just to clothe my kid. (Just kidding -- I get most of Fly's things pre-owned.) I need to channel this energy into a way to give clothes to children who really need them. I don’t want to just turn over Fly’s grown-out things to charity, though. No, that’s not enough. Maybe it will be someday. But for now, I have to be hands-on about this, or else it won’t work for me. Bring me a child who needs some togs, and I’ll whip up a wardrobe for him or her. That kind of thing. Let me sort through bags of donated clothes and organize them by size for the next kid who walks through the door. Can't I do something like that?

I asked a friend who volunteers at a center for moms if there was a chance . . . ? And she said there might be in the future, but they're a pretty small operation now where any volunteer goes through the small number of donations -- it's not a job dedicated to just one person.

Any other ideas? Do you have experience in working with charities or whatever they are called these days? Maybe know something about the land of baby clothes? Or a good 12-step program?

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Five months

Flybaby is five months old today! Here is a photo of him on the beach with my stepmother, Anne, from our trip this past weekend.

Fly reached another milestone today: he rolled over for the first time on his own! Last week, he rolled over once after I got him started, so to speak, but today during tummy time, he rolled onto his back all by himself.


And yikes!

Wardrobe Wednesday

What I'd wear today if I could: this look from Express. You start with a simple pair of jeans and a cami. Then you throw on a blazer and a necklace, and you look "dressed." The blazer also hides spit-up, at least until the blazer itself gets spit up on. What could be easier? The strappy heels are great for going out, but you could wear a different (read: low-heel) shoe. I might even fall back on a pair of fancy flip-flops, although I'm sure some people would disagree with me there....


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

And we're back

Thanks for your well wishes for our anniversary weekend!

But we have yet to celebrate our 12th anniversary!

Unless you count breakfast with my stepmother, stepgrandmother and kooky brother in a waffle house presided over by a cranky, glassy-eyed waitress when no one even bothered to tell us, "Happy anniversary."

It's just not the same when you're on a business trip, which this really was. The book event went great, and everyone I met was really nice and complimentary. But driving 600 miles there and 600 miles back with a bored five-month-old baby while trying to keep your mind on your presentation and also coordinating a visit with your family (they live about two hours away from where the book event took place) is a sure way to go in.sane!

It wasn't nursing Flybaby in the back seat at truck stops. It wasn't the crazy zero-visibility weather we had to drive through. It wasn't even changing Flybaby on the back seat with cold wind blowing through the truck. It wasn't finding out the elevator at the hotel the book people set us up in didn't work and didn't have its inspection certificate posted. (How'd you like to schlep a Pack n Play up three flights of stairs? Anyone?) Nor finding out the hotel didn't have a desk or Internet connection, despite what the Web site said. It wasn't Flybaby waking up every two to three hours at night because of teething and a change of routine.

Well, OK, yes to that last one, a little bit.

Mostly, it was everything together, but the worst part of the trip for me was hearing Fly crying in his car seat, and I couldn't do anything about it. The poor little guy. He didn't understand why we weren't holding him for hours while driving. He didn't know it was 51 miles to the next highway exit. A couple times, I got out of my seat belt to soothe him. But it really was too much for the little guy.

On the way home yesterday, I began to get really depressed about the crying and what I had put him through. Also, about all the driving that JP had to do and how we didn't really get to celebrate our anniversary. Was the book event worth that? I'm still not sure. I need to work when I can, when opportunities like this come up. Certainly, anyone could understand that.

I guess what I learned is that even though I hate flying, getting on a plane looks a whole lot better after this trip!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A happy weekend

Heading out today, traveling to speak at a book event. I hope to get back to being a better commenter on blogs . . . . been busy preparing for this talk. Sorry!

While we're gone for a long weekend, JP and I will also celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary! Flybaby is coming with us. Wish us luck on a long car trip with a little one! Happy February!

February blog exchange

You'll probably want to know what happened after she got off the carousel and we went home, but I don't feel like going into it. I felt so damn happy while I watched her, but when she came back over to me, her blue coat was ripped.

"What happened to your coat?" I asked her.

She shrugged. "I don't know." She looked up at me. "Are you going to tell Mother and Daddy where you've been?"

I almost fell over when she said that. I'd nearly forgotten about all that stuff. It was like I was just home for Christmas, not that I'd gotten kicked out. Those three days seemed like three goddam years.

"Well, what do you think?" I could be just as snotty as she could.

"What'll you do? You can't hitchhike out west like you said. You'll have to go back to school." She let go of my hand and turned her face away.

"Maybe. Maybe not. For Chrissakes, I can go get a job." She was started to depress me again.

"But you don't like anything. How can you get a job when you don't even like anything?"

"I told you; I like you and talking to you. Maybe I can get a job at your school. I can take the kids to the museum and tell them about the Indians and the Eskimos."

She didn't look at me, but I could tell she was listening.

"And I'll keep the kids from seeing all the bad stuff out there," I said, thinking of all the goddam "f*** you" signs. Somebody had to erase those.

She stopped in front of our building and looked through the doors. "You better tell them something," she said. Then she took my hand and kissed it.

"I will." I tugged at the belt of her coat as the doorman held open the door, and we went upstairs together.

- - - - -

Julie is a mother to two maniacal little girls and wife to one beer-swilling man. When she's not imitating psychologically-unstable teen angst, she's writing at Please see Damselfly's blog exchange post at her site today.