April 2006

Fantastic weekend

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This weekend has been fabulous. It started off with a bang on Friday when two of my aunts come to town. My Aunt Marianne and Aunt Janice brought a very tasty lunch, including Aunt Marianne’s trifle for dessert. They took turns holding Greta and we caught up and talked babies (of course). They also brought us a super swank highchair and digital thermometer! It was so nice to see them, and they seemed to really enjoy holding the tubby baby.

Saturday, Taryn and Todd came into town, also bearing food and gifts! Seriously, everybody is too nice. They brought the fixin’s to make lunch are our house (greek salad and chicken paninis), and Taryn gave me a big basket of all of the good stuff that was banned from my pregnancy (Framboise, feta, red hots, cured meats, and coffee). After lunch, Taryn and I went out to get a cup of coffee and walk around a bit to catch up and have some girltalk, while they boys stayed home with the baby for a bit. While we were out, Vienneau and Mary Ann came over, and they announced that they got engaged. Of course, P.Reed is going to be in the wedding. Congrats to V and MA! In the evening, we got takeout with Taryn and Todd from Dinosaur BBQ, and it was delicious, which goes without saying. But I said it anyway, because it was just that good.

Here's Taryn holding the little pip.

Here's Pat Reed with that same baby.

I sense a theme.

Okay, just one more.

Sunday, we met up with our new friends Justin and Tracy, and we went to walk around Mt. Hope Cemetery. For those of you who haven’t been there, it’s really not a creepy place, considering it’s a cemetery. Lots of people go biking and walk their dogs there; it’s really quite full of life. It’s also a very beautiful place. Anyhoo, the weather was downright balmy today, and it was a great day to walk around. Tracy is a glass artist, and she gave Greta an absolutely beautiful nightlight that she made. It’s lime green (matches the nursery perfectly) with a platypus on it. It’s the coolest thing ever. Now I want to buy all of her stuff. You should too…if you want to.

Sunday evening, Cimicata and Sara Arnold stopped by for a bit. Sara brought us some of her homemade lotion. It's quite delicious smelling and effective. While they were here, Greta was being a tad (understatement) unruly, so I spent most of the time upstairs trying to get her to take things down a notch or five. I think she was mad because Pat called her “Baby Stink Breath.” Frankly, I’d be mad too.

The theme of the weekend (and the last few months, really) was that people gave us stuff just for having a kid. Maybe I'll have five more. Not really.

-Fran

Maynard insists she's the baby of the house

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Is that a cat in the stroller??

Why, yes it is.

Thunder Paw!

2006-04-27 08:20:30

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The other day, I was joking with my mom that Pat and I had a "date" this past weekend. Really, what we did was go to Applebees with Greta at 4:00 in the afternoon on Saturday. So yeah, it wasn't technically a date, but we were calling it that. I think my mom felt bad for us, so she offered to stay longer than her usual Wednesday visit so Pat and I could go on a real date. So last night, we went to one of our favorite restaurants, Hicks & McCarthy. It was great for just the two of us to get out. The closest we've come to that in the last couple months is when we're driving somewhere together, and Greta's out cold in the back seat, and we forget she's there for a couple minutes!

When we were at dinner, my cell phone rang. Immediately, I assumed that my mom was calling to tell me that ninjas came and stole Greta and set the house on fire. When I thought about it for another second, though, I realized that my mom would kick about six ninjas asses and put the blaze out herself to save calling us during dinner, so I figured it wasn't that. Then, I saw that it was our friend Mike calling. He was calling us to say that he and his wife, Christy, had their baby. Now, I realize this is probably very poor Internet etiquette, because they haven't had a chance to post it on their site yet, but we don't have a ton of friends in common anyway, so I think we're good. We were so excited to get the news. Christy is a friend of mine from work, and our due dates were only a week and a half apart. So, Greta was born on 3/17 and their son, Colin, was born on 4/26. Yup, you do the math. Poor Christy! The important thing is that Colin is here now and he's healthy! I started to tear up a bit when Mike gave me the news. The four of us have gotten close during our pregnancies, and we even happened to be in the same prenatal class with them, which led to inside jokes galore. I was just so happy to get the news! Anyway, it was a happy interruption to our happy date. Congrats, Christy and Mike!

I don't have any pictures of Colin yet, so you'll just have to look at these cute new pictures of Greta.

Here's Greta playing with her favorite toy. She's also wearing her stripey outfit again. It's one of her favorites. She told me so.

Here's Greta contemplating whatever it is she's doing her doctoral dissertation on, I'm sure.

Here's Greta sleeping in an odd fashion.

-Fran

We're a Happy Family

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Pat, Greta, and Fran in the Photo Booth

2006-04-21 15:19:19

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I can't believe that today marks my halfway point of my maternity leave. I am lucky enough to have some time saved up, so I'm taking a full 10 weeks. I also can't believe Greta is now 5 weeks old. Things are getting better and better with this whole motherhood thing. Last week at this time, I was practically waiting at the front door to pass Greta off to Pat when he got home from work. She has definitely been fussy today (I think she likes to whoop things up every Friday to celebrate her weekly birthdays), but I'm a lot less frazzled by it. That's because I discovered Baby Benadryl. Only kidding!

Long walks make sleepy babies.

This week, we've been getting out every day. Since the weather is so nice now, it's not just me, the bums, and the runners out; everybody is out and about! Having been a 9-to-5'er for quite some time, I forgot about all of the crazies that are out during the day. It's really something else. Don't these people have better things to be doing than lollygagging around and doing who-knows-what? I am sort of kidding. Another thing I've been experiencing during the day is all of the random daytime phone calls I get. All of those calls that used to be hang-ups or weird messages, that I would come home from work and think, "I wonder who that was?" Well, now I get to talk to those people "in person." It's quite a trip. I got one phone call from a gentleman who said he was calling because he had a call from our number and he wanted to see why we called him. I didn't recognize his voice, so I said it must have been a wrong number. He then talked, for - no lie - five minutes straight explaining that he figured it was a wrong number, but he wanted to make sure. He just rattled on and on for SO LONG. I wish I could have recorded it. There is also a woman who calls and asks for Cyril. I always tell her she has the wrong number, and then she always calls right back again and again, until I let the answering machine pick up. Then, she finally stops.

Hmm, for our old patandfran.com readers, I'm trying to talk about something other than the baby...but I'm having a hard time. Seriously, I got nothin'. I'm going to have to start making stuff up. To my old friends that I haven't totally alienated with baby updates, maybe you could, like, drag me out of the house all commando-raid style for a cup of tea...or whisky...or breast milk. Oh wait, not breast milk. If you don't, I just have to warn you that you may have been replaced. See, just today, I was walking Greta, and I saw a woman on a porch near our house, and she had a little baby that looked about Greta's age. I overcame my shyness and asked her how old her baby was. We chatted for a few minutes, and she said, "Maybe we'll run into each other at the park [right near our houses]." Sure, that woman looked like she may have been featured on the show Cops a half dozen times, but she seemed nice, and her camel toe wasn't too outrageous, and she may become my new best friend. You never know.

I call this one "My New Best Friend and Her 'Baby'."

In other news, I wouldn't want to be Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' child. The poor thing is already on urbandictionary.

This is what happens when I get all cooped up and have a cup of coffee after not having one for a good two or three weeks. Ta-da!

Happy Friday, everybody. Don't be strangers.

-Fran

2006-04-18 15:45:08

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I wanted to post a little update on our little bean. Greta had her second sonogram of her hips today, and we met with the orthopedic specialist again. The good news is that the hips are still in good shape and seem to be where they should be. The doctor recommended that we still keep the brace on her part-time for a while longer. Now, she'll only have to wear it 12 hours a day for the next three weeks. We did have to upgrade from a "preemie" brace to a size "small" brace to accommodate our child's new expanse. That's good, because the other one was looking a little rough and it was getting very, very snug. In three weeks, we go for a third round of sonograms and hopefully the doc will give her a clean bill of health. I have to say, I'm glad the doctor is being overly cautious with this, but I'm not his biggest fan right now. He just rubs me the wrong way. He never seems to know what's going on with her - we continually have to remind him, and he's called Greta a "he" on multiple occasions. Dude, she's practically ensconced in pink! I know he deals with lots of patients, but even the technician that brings us to the exam room know us now. Today she said, "Oh, there's the St. Patrick's Day baby!" Well, I'll just be all the more glad to be done with him. Cross your fingers for three more weeks.

Now, Greta gets to wear more outfits with pant legs! (No one can say this baby is underfed!)

Yup, those are socks fashioned to look like Mary Janes. So cute.

This past weekend was an excellent one. Pat's parents came into town, and we got together with Pat's grandparents and great-grandpa. For those of you who don't know, Greta was born on the same day as her great-great-grandpa. Pretty cool, eh? We all got together for a five-generation photo to commemorate the event. The Reeds hung out for a bit and had dinner over at our place.

Here's the five-generation photo.

Greta with her great-na-na.

Greta is mesmerized by her Grandpa Reed's crazy shirt.

Greta conks out after staring at the mesmerizing shirt.

Sunday, we went to my parent's house for Easter dinner. It was Greta's first long-distance trip. She did a good job of sleeping all through the car rides and not being fussy during our meal. Yea Greta!

Today, I was slightly bummed out about our doctor's visit. I'm glad everything's going well, and as much as I tried to not get my hopes up about getting the brace off today, and as much as I appreciate being overly cautious, I still really hoped today would be the end of it. I realize it's not a big deal - remember, I said I was slightly bummed. Anyway, I actually got a decent nap today (an hour and a half - a new daytime record!), and then when I checked the mail, I got the best package. It was a CD my best friend from college, Kensey, sent. It's songs that she performed and recorded for Greta. I just thought that was the nicest thing, and Greta clearly enjoyed it, as she fell asleep in my arms when we were listening to it. I've just been overwhelmed by all of the nice things people have done for us in the last few months. I just wanted to give another blanket "thank you" to everyone who has helped us out by cooking meals, running errands, sending gifts, cards, and even posting comments. We appreciate every thing, big and small.

-Fran

Updated Greta Pictures

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There is a smoochie face that Greta makes on a fairly regular basis, and it's my favorite of her faces. I call it the "baby bird" face. Someone call Baby Gap quick; this baby is ready for a modeling contract.

We're hoping that Greta will lose the brace permanently on Tuesday. We have another sonogram followed by a follow-up appointment with the specialist. Pat and I are really hoping he won't tell us we need to keep her in it any longer. We've been adjusting it as she grows, and we really can't adjust it any larger. The damn thing cost almost $200, so we're hoping we don't need to upgrade. I love how these pictures show how much she's grown in the last three and a half weeks. Look at that tubby baby!

We had a very momentous occasion here tonight: Pat fed Greta her first bottle. I can't tell you how happy that makes me. It means I can finally leave the house for more than an hour at a time (and I won't worry that there is a screaming, hungry baby at home)! We were somewhat worried it would take her a while to get the hang of it, but she's a smart girl and she had no problem at all. I took lots of pictures, because she makes the best facial expressions when she's eating, and no one has been able to see that other than Pat and me. Well, we could have taken pictures of her eating previously, but we didn't want to turn this into an R-rated site. Heh.

Doesn't Pat look cute wearing the Boppy?

In other news, Greta barely slept at all last night or today. I am scared she is never going to sleep, and thus I am never going to sleep.

-Fran

2006-04-14 08:45:03

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In honor of Greta's four week birthday, I've written her a letter. It's totally long and disjointed, but it's the best I could do. I hope to make this a monthly tradition, and depending on the content, I'll try to make a point to post them. I can't believe it has been a month. Anyway, here goes:





Dear Greta,

This past month has been the scariest, hardest, and most tiring, but also the most exciting and fulfilling of my life. That, of course, is because of you. I went from not knowing how to properly hold a baby to feeling at least somewhat comfortable, not only holding you, but also feeding, burping, diapering, and bathing you. I say somewhat comfortable, because I constantly question if what I’m doing with you is the “right” thing or not. I also constantly question if your cries are those of pain, hunger, boredom, or some other discomfort. Really, the only thing that allows me to sleep at night (despite your messed up circadian rhythm) is that countless people, much dumber than I, have managed to raise children successfully! That, and some advice your Uncle Phil (you’re going to love your crazy Uncle Phil) gave me on parenting. To paraphrase, he said, “The best you can do is just try to do a better job raising your kids that your parents did, and hope your kids don’t turn into assholes.” At least, it sounded like good advice to me, but he’s not yet a parent, and I’m not much more experienced than he is.

Well, the first week was certainly the most emotional. People tried to prepare me, but it was even more intense that I could have ever imagined. While the pregnancy hormones were leaving my body, I was experiencing the most physical and emotional exhaustion I’ve ever had. At the same time, you had just experienced what I can only assume is the physical equivalent of a pretty nasty car crash, and you had to deal with using your lungs for the first time, eating, as well as living in the cold, bright, open world. Needless to say, we were both a little nutsy-coo-coo. Additionally, your dad and I had our first night alone with you without the nurses’ call button. You were very wheezy, and that drove your father and me to lose sleep, frantically search baby books for a solution, call the pediatrician multiple times, buy all sorts of products we hoped would help, and cried. (Well, I cried, but your father is hard as nails.) Also in the first week, we took you to the orthopedic specialist so he could confirm the hip dysplasia your pediatrician detected, and he put you in a brace. I can’t even tell you how upsetting that was to me at the time. We had just gotten into a somewhat comfortable routine with sleeping, and breastfeeding, and your general care, and I was so upset that the brace would change all of that. Within a day or two, I saw that it really had no affect on things and that you’re quite a trouper.

Week two was a little better. Your sleeping pattern was still way out of whack, though. We had to go to a number of appointments with you, which was pretty exhausting. Who knew that to get to a 9:45 appointment, I would need to get up at 5:45? Seriously, timing the feedings and everything else is a task that I can only assume even the best project planner would struggle with initially. We got some good news from the specialist week two. He checked out your hip and said that everything seemed to be in place where it should be. I cried a little bit again, but this time they were tears of joy.

Week three was even better, because you started to wake up a bit. So far, feeding you was quite a chore because you had been so sleepy all of the time. I needed to feed you every two to three hours, but you were so conked out I’d have to spend 15 to 20 minutes just trying to wake you enough to get you to eat. Your father and I called this time “baby torture,” because we’d have to tickle, poke, and prod you to get you crying so you’d wake up a bit. Finally this week, I didn’t have to do as much baby torture, so that was good. Plus, you started to open your eyes more and hang out a bit more during the day. At first, this kind of freaked your dad and me out. Up until this point, you were either sleeping, crying, or eating. For the first time, you would occasionally just open your eyes and chill, and dad and I would look at each other and say, “Now what??” This week, you started crying more, in general. I don’t want to give you too hard a time about that though. I would say, “Quit being such a baby,” but that didn’t seem to help any. Week three, we had a sonogram to confirm that your hip was healing properly. We were amazed to find out that both of your hips were now completely normal. It’s so crazy that something could heal so quickly! We were encouraged by the specialist to keep your brace on for another two weeks as a precaution, though. The good news was that we were able to take it off you two hours a day. You seemed to love having it off so much! When dad and I would put it back on you, you would cry and cry. Man alive, you would cry!

Week four has been my most favorite week so far. You’re definitely more alert these days, and we’ve still had some rough nights (last night, for example, was attrocious - up at 12, 2, 3, and then you were up from 5-6:45) but it seems like things are getting better. You’re changing, but probably more importantly, your dad and I are changing. We are finally adapting more to you. Probably my favorite thing about this week was that there were NO DOCTOR’S APPOINTMENTS. Yay for that! Where in the first few weeks, you had maybe half a dozen facial expressions, now you have more like a dozen. Plus, when I feed you (without doing any baby torture first) you look at me with your big blue eyes, and it almost looks like you’re smiling.

I have a few other things I want to talk to you about. One is breastfeeding. Everyone told me how hard it was going to be. I thought that was ridiculous; people have been breastfeeding since the dawn of time. How hard could it be?? Let me tell you, little girl: It is hard. It’s really, really hard. The only reason I’ve continued with it is because everything I’ve read says it’s the best gift I can give to you. That, and I’m a total cheapskate, but that is neither here nor there. I don’t ever expect I’ll get a “thanks, mom” from you for breastfeeding you, because I’ve never thanked my mom for the same, so I’m going to take this time to pat myself on the back for it. So, consider my back patted. I also want to thank you for something, and that is for bringing me closer to my parents. Raising you has made me appreciate them so much more. I have been talking to your Grandma McCarthy almost daily, which I never used to do. Additionally, I’ve seen your Grandma and Grandpa McCarthy more in this past month than I did in the last year. They love you so much, and I love having them in our lives. Finally, I wanted to tell you some of the nicknames your dad and I have been calling you over the past month. Here they are in no particular order: Pete, Peter, Sneaky Pete, Stinky Pete, Mookie, Mookie Wilson, baby bird, Punkin’ Brown, Stretch, Stretch Legstrong, Milkface Killah, and your dad called you Jabba once, but that was in a sleepy stupor.

So, Greta, I can’t express how much I love you. I also can’t express how much you’ve disrupted our lives. It’s a crazy, crazy thing, and I hope you get to experience it someday.

Love,
mom

Some updated pictures of our kid

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Here's Greta stretching out her dogs while her brace is off.

Grandma McCarthy came to visit

As did Grandpa McCarthy

Fran and Greta enjoying some "tummy time"

The "tummy time" aftermath

Greta at her first cocktail party

2006-04-06 10:11:21

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So, the brace came off for two hours yesterday, and it was quite strange to have to deal with these long legs all of a sudden. Now I can’t remember what I did with them before the brace was on. It was good though, and we finally got to give Greta her first real bath. And boy oh boy did she need it! I didn’t know a baby could get so stinky. Greta loved her bath – she didn’t cry at all until we put her clothes back on. (Watch her grow up to be a nudist.) Greta also really got to test her tantrum-having skills when I put her brace back on. Man alive, she screamed like a mad woman. She must have really enjoyed her newfound freedom. I think all that screaming must have tuckered her out though, because she finally had a good night’s sleep last night.

Speaking of night, I am obligated to do the baby stuff at night because I am the keeper of the mammary glands, and because Pat needs to actually get up and go to work. Pat does often offer support in ways he can, and that consists of at least some type of verbal support in his half-sleep, which is entertaining for me. Last night, he muttered two things that really stood out. He said, “Her nickname is Jabba. I read it in a magazine.” Okay, that made no sense, but it did make me laugh. He then said, “Things don’t feel as hopeless tonight as they did last night.” That made all the sense in the world, and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Here's a picture of Greta and Jabba. I, personally, don't see the resemblance. Okay, well maybe in the arms and the fat rolls.

This motherhood thing is seeming better lately. She is awake a little more in the day now, which is fun. One of our favorite things to do is watch the reruns of Austin City Limits on PBS every day at 2. Yesterday, it was the Flaming Lips and the Shins – two of her favorites from when she was in the womb. Flaming Lips did a cover of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs, which was exemplary.

Pat and I also watched Grizzly Man the other night. We were both expecting more of a mountain-man guy, but Timothy Treadwell actually reminded me of a cross between Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber and one of the “Extreme” guys from Harold and Kumar. The first five minutes, I hated him, but he quickly grew on us. Not that we would want to hang out with him (given different circumstances, of course - I'm being vague to avoid a spoiler), but he did have a certain charisma.

-Fran