Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fall and its accompanying themes

Secretly, I love fall.  Well, I suppose it's not so secret now.  I absolutely adore summer, love spending time at home and having that brief three months of stay-at-home wife and mommyhood.  But there is something about fall, the first day of sweater and jeans, the boots, the pumpkins, the hot coffee on a cool day, and of course, the leaves.  As a child, I can remember the excitement and anticipation of receiving the JC Penney catalog in the mail, its crisp pages full of happy-looking preteens wearing Levis and a striped hooded sweatshirt, with a backpack nonchalantly thrown over a shoulder.   I remember deciding which pages to dog-ear.  These were such important decisions.  The first day of school outfit was always the best one of the year.

Having a son has made fall even more wonderful.  Seeing pumpkins and jack o lanterns through his eyes makes them even more magical.  But, for us, fall comes with some some other baggage.  My little guy was born in the fall, October 26th, 2009.  I was overcome with love for my baby, but it's no secret I had some baby blues.  I remember sitting on my couch holding him and thinking I would never, ever get to go on a trip to Target again, much less sleep through the night.  However naive, I truly thought he might wake up once or twice a night.  I had no idea how exhausted I would feel.  I saw smiling mothers as I drove up to collect my groceries (that's right, drove.  I couldn't even manage the grocery store -- I paid five bucks for someone to do my shopping and I just went to pick them up), and I wondered what the hell they must be on, because there was no way this was any fun at all.  At first I had major guilt about this time period, and I still have a little if I'm being honest, but I think it was necessary for me to go through; for a major control freak, having this little being that would poop, pee, or scream without asking for permission was a big catalyst into the reality we adults know as "You Really Can't Control Anything And The Sooner You Realize It The Saner You'll Be."

Once it seemed like I had gotten my proverbial crap together, that crap hit the fan again in the sense that it would never come out.  Mason's constipation began at around 3 months and never. went. away.  The next sense months were a blur of doctor's offices as my husband and I tried to explain that this child, yes this child who is sitting here laughing at you is really sick.  For real.  He doesn't eat like he used to.  Yes, we know he is huge and has fat rolls, but he used to eat a lot more.  Poor Mason got those unfortunate looks from the doctors saying, "I'm sorry you have insane parents, you cute little fat baby."  When fall made its rounds again, Mason had already had his colostomy and we were waiting for the permanent take down.  Waiting as in wishing the time would go into warp speed like in Star Wars and you could zap into the future.  November 16th was his surgery date, so we wished away September and October as we changed bags and prepped skin.  Not a fun fall at all.

But now it's back!  And we have no bag, no surgery, and no constipation!  Yahooo!     Fall is even more fun than even I anticipated it could be, and a I have a really bad habit of romanticizing everything, especially holidays -- like the whole family will go on a reindeer pulled sleigh sipping hot chocolate and then come home and open one gift on Christmas Even, which just happens to be matching pajamas that we all wear to bed and dream of sugar plum fairies.

Below are some of our fall adventures:


we love cows! 

Hiding a shy smile on the hayride

Our punkin! 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Great Frederick Fair

Sort of like I mentioned with the Italian Festival a few posts down, we just can't resist an outdoor public gathering.  For one thing, they are super photogenic.  People you'd normally not look at as being in front of the camera (i.e. Carnies) make great back drops around the funnel cake trailer. 
Anyhow, we traveled a couple of miles down the road to The Great Frederick Fair (its real name) so Mason could enjoy the cows, tractors, and mud.  The Great Frederick Fair is a true agricultural fair.  There is a 'birthing center' full of cows and pigs ready to give birth at any moment.  If you ever think you had it bad giving birth, go see these poor animals surrounded by gawking humans and flashing camera.  I'll never complain about the slow-working epidural again.  As predicted, Mason totally loved the whole experience


I don't know where this child gets his expressions.   Oh wait. 

After the tractor pool (ha ha), there were the farm animals to see:

I love how the one in the back is looking at him

Brand new baby cow

Finally, it was on to the midway

The wacky waving inflatable arms were everywhere and very entertaining. 
And the cour de gras, my favorite picture ever for now.  SO CUTE!!!!
I'll spare you the photos of once we took him off of the carousel.  He was having every bit as much fun as it appears, so the walk away was pretty bad. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Back in 2011, I was in college.  I was a sophomore taking a philosophy class that Tuesday, and as we discussed whether we were actually real beings or if we existed as only the dream or nightmare of a being totally independent of ourselves.  As the lecture ended and we heard "I think, therefore I am," the professor asked if we had heard that a plane had accidentally hit the World Trade Center.  We were concerned, yes, but it didn't seem like a tragedy, as harsh as that sounds.  It sounded like a horrible accident, and that was it.  Little did we know that as we discussed existing, all hell was breaking loose in the world. 

I waited for my boyfriend (now husband) and friend Dee to get out of the class next door, and as the footsteps of my classmates headed up the chapel basement steps into the bright blue above, I heard quiet sobs from a corner.  I tried ignoring her, but she kept at it, so I finally headed over and asked what was wrong.  She looked at me skeptically.  "Didn't you hear?" she said.  "There has been a terrorist attack.  The World Trade Centers have been hit by planes."  I smiled and reassured her that she was wrong, yes, a plane had hit, but it was accidental.  Of course it was accidental.  But she continued to tell me that there were two, there was no accident. 

I stared at her as the class I was waiting for finally was excused, and without a word I headed over to the two I was waiting for.  As I was visibly shaken, Craig asked what was wrong, and I told him what she had said.  As we made our own way up the steps into the bright sunshine and brilliant blue sky, it was not difficult to agree with him that she was misinformed.  Of course she was.  We parted at our separate dorms and went to our rooms.

I don't remember the rest of the day like I remember these few moments.  I know my roommate told me it was all true, she was watching it, we all did for hours that day.  Classes were cancelled.  I remember all this, but not like those moments with the girl, and I didn't even know her name. 

I think the reason that moment stuck with me is that it was the moment the world changed, from where I was a young, naive college student discussing philosophy to an adult who realized how the world could change in an instant.  It was like someone lifted a colored shade I had been using to view the world, and now everything looked much different, much more scary. 

Something has happened since that day ten years ago:  I had a child.  Now, these moments replayed on the History channel frighten me even more.  The replaying of answering machine messages touch me in a different way, and every name read at ground zero is someone's child or parent.  It's impossible to comprehend, to wrap my head around how this happened and how I'd react if it happened today. 

I don't know what my answer is or how to get there.  All I'm certain of is that I am a different person now than I was 10 years and 1 day ago. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Half Italian

This weekend we traveled to West Virginia for the holiday and also to attend the West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival, now in its 34th (or something like that) year.  The Italian festival is funny in a couple of ways.  There are some strange sights as you stroll down mainstreet in Clarksburg.  One on hand, you have the old Italian folks, most who have seen the festival from its infant days.  They wear red, white, and green from head to toe and sit on the bleachers to hear Amici sing.  After getting their fill of some folk music and dancing, they usually hobble over to get a fritti and head home.  Once nightfall hits, it's a totally different clientele.  You'll probably see tattoos on body parts that are typically covered, maybe a fight.  There's booze, food, cigarettes, and glow sticks.  It can get a little crazy.  So, I guess the Italian Festival is only half Italian, the rest being an excuse for crazies to head into the street and drink themselves sick.  Oh, and this year you could buy a bonzai tree.  How the heck is that italian?! 

Mason had a great time at the parade, and I had a great time taking photos.  I think the pictures show what a how excited he was! 

 Uncle Justy is so tall! 

Look Mama, a Trolley!

Perfect example of the 'real' Italians mentioned above.  This man walked around the festival playing his instrument following the parade, despite the 100 degree temps. 

Mama, did you see that!!! 

big truck. 

I love that you can see the candy flying through the air! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Firsts, Seconds, and Thirds

Yesterday was the first day of school -- such a magical day.  And it was magical on many levels.  After school I went to pick Mason up from school, and he was in such a great mood that the afternoon flew by.  Maybe because it was preceded by a weekend of poop to the nth degree, but a welcome break from wiping butts and a smiling baby?  I couldn't have asked for anything more! 

After Daddy came home from work and realized his phone was still there, we headed out to pick it up and catch some Yogi Castle as a First Day of School Tradition.  By the way, aren't traditions the best part of parenting?  I love coming up with random holidays to celebrate.  My favorite so far?   Mason 2.0 Day, the day of his surgery, which happens to be his cousin Avery's birthday.  Do you think she'll mind sharing the day with him?  Anyway, I digress. 

We enjoyed some fabulous, low fat yogurt and headed over to the Verizon store where Mason ran around like a rabid animal because all the 50+ customers laughed at his show-offs.  We packed him up into the car and came home.  Of course, this day had just been too perfect, so something had to happen to screw it up. 
When we took his shoes off for bath, he refused to walk, sometimes even stand on it.  I me re-fused.  Screamed.  Yelled.  Pointed to his bed.  I was stumped.  I desperately tried to think of a fall, a trip, heck, a cry or even whine that might have alerted me to an injury -- nothing. 

I put him to bed but my mind was working on overload.  Of course, after one broken leg already, the doctor was going to think I was an unfit parent.  Probably call CPS on my butt.  C looked at me like I was crazy, but at one point we were both on the line with separate with the same doctor's office listening to the same answering service.  I think crazy runs in our marriage. Or crazy is a direct result of having a kid like ours. 

I slept ok, but as soon as my alarm went off I wondered about the foot.  Would he walk?  Would my awesome first day of school technique of scaring the bejesus out of my students all be for naught because they'd have a substitute today?  Sigh. 

To make a long, neurotic story much shorter and sane, the foot was fine.  Whether it was just a stub or my saint of a mother praying all night, we'll never know, but either way we are happy.  Today was not as good of a day - he was kind of a crank pot after the walk tonight, and he threw hotdog pieces on the floor, but I was so thankful that he was walking perfectly fine that I even let him jump up and down on the naughty chair, which probably isn't a good training method in the long run. 

Here are some photos of our walk that lasted all of 3 and a half minutes.  He was just too tired after walking with daddy and really needed some downtime; instead, we came inside and watched some of Brobee's Birthday on Yo Gabba Gabba. 
We started out fine.

But then we lost a ball. . . 
 and couldn't find it anywhere!  The beginning of the end began. 

Tonight we are hoping for a 3rd day of school filled with nothing uneventful.

The Start

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
but children grow up as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; dust go to sleep. 
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

- Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

I've started a couple of blogs, but it seems like whatever my push was eventually ended up falling by the wayside.  I have a lot of friends and family who love hearing about Mason and the fun things he's doing these days.  I hope to keep this up to date with his adventures.

My philosophy on parenting?  Keep him happy.  I used to be worked up about schedules and formula and routines and naps, but many hospital days and two surgeries later I have relaxed quite a bit about those kinds of things.  I always say if he's eating, sleeping, and pooping, I am happy!  Of course, I want much more than that for Mason, but the essentials are all there.  I just want to be happy and enjoy him. 

Another reason for this is that having a boy has been some of the most fun I've had ever in my life.  When I was pregnant, I was sure that I was having a girl (and of course I would've loved her!), but nothing could've prepared me for the energy that a little boy has and the curiosity that naturally presents itself for subjects like tractors, bugs, and the outdoors.  I'm not much of a dirt fan, but I'm getting there

Finally, I make it a point to try something new every summer.  (I like to think it helps me stay grounded as a teacher and better understand those students who don't love to read).  This summer I took up some photography, and of course Mason is the best model I could ask for!  I hope to provide some photos of his adventures so you can get the full effect.  :)