You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2008.

Believe it or not, since I finished up work, I’ve been extremely productive.  Aside from getting Jack healthier and finding my groove here at home, one of my top priorities was getting my new website up and running.  I’ll be moving this blog to its very own domain at Babyrific.net.  Same crazy content, brand new look.  [Don’t forget, it’s dot net]

babyrific.net banner

I revamp websites much like I shop—I browse around and fill up my cart, only to change my mind 1,000 times.  In line with a few other projects that I’m working on, I’m so happy to finally report that it’s moving day around here.  I’m still in the process of tweaking the new site, but I’ll be making all new updates over there.   Jeff prepared a little song and dance just for the occasion.

What are you waiting for?  Come join me!

I feel like today was the first day of school, except for the first time in forever, I didn’t have to schlep off on the bus.  It was a wonderful feeling to listen to the buses putter past our window, and not have that constant feeling that I was going to miss the next one.

I have to admit, I’m having a slow start this morning.  Hold on…Jack’s eating electrical cords.

Ok, I started this post at 10:30 a.m.  If it’s any indication of my first day into this whole work at home/freelance realm, um, yeah, I’m finishing this post 12 hours after the fact.

*

So, let me backtrack a bit.  Wednesday, Oct. 15 was my very last day at my former company.  (It feels good to actually type that!)  Most of my colleagues were out of the office, only the underlings were around.  I spent the day cleaning up my computer, filling 3 large boxes of papers, notes and mementos of stories and trips I’ve covered over the past 7.5 years and of course, saying my farewells.  I only got teary once, which is good for me.  And quite honestly, those were tears of relief.

The few coworkers that were around that day were so sweet.  Knowing I love cupcakes and vodka, they gifted me with both.  Nice.  So, yes, I had a Seabreeze and a cupcake to bid adieu to my very first job out of college and the first “real” job in NYC.  No more free work cruises, no more wining and dining by various companies, no more events where I’d run into Rudy from Survivor (haha!)  No more unnecessary drama.  No more.

There’s nothing sweeter than a farewell cupcake. (Well, besides a celebratory mango margarita!)
There's nothing sweeter than a farewell cupcake

*

So now, it’s time to put the plan(s) in motion.  Per usual, I have more ideas than I know what to do with;  aren’t all creative types the same?  I told Jeff that I would give myself a day or so to acclimate myself with this new juggling act.  Jack, apparently, did not get that memo.

To spice things up, my adorable son decided to go on strike today.  What kind?  All kinds, actually.  He’s not eating like a voracious animal like he normally does.  Instead, he dutifully plucks and smooshes everything into his hair.  Considering he came home with sticky, spiky hair almost every afternoon, I imagine this is what he did at daycare, too.  As for naptime when mommy aimed to get in quality Facebook writing time, um yeah—that never happened.  So not only did he not eat anything of substance, he did not sleep at all.  He looked a lot like me by dinner time with the bags under his eyes and total incoherence.  I’m chalking the out of whack behavioral deals to him being sick ONCE AGAIN and the excitement of us being home together.

So, yeah, day one, just like everything else, didn’t happen as smoothly as I envisioned.  I, never for a single moment, thought this would be easy.  oh no.

I’m desperately crossing my fingers that Jack feels better, to have less banana’ed hair and more naps all around tomorrow.

Over the weekend, we went (extreme) apple picking and had a chance to enjoy the fall foliage and hang out with a bunch of friends. Because everyone in Northern NJ and Manhattan had the same idea, we sat in Country Critters!grueling traffic all afternoon on our way to the orchard. Masker Orchards, tucked away in the Hudson Valley in Warwick, NY is our “usual spot.” As the crowd has grown, so has the penchant for all things extreme.
Because, you know, it’s not enough to just drive up to a serene apple orchard and pick quietly. To fully grasp the whole experience, one should offroad in the orchard, sometimes picking apples through the sunroof. This is one of the 5 times a year that we actually get use out of our 4wd—-money well spent. Apple picking is always a good time, and I’m so glad we were able to go.

Jack had a playmate, which was so awesome. Jack loved Tommy, our good friends’ 2 year old nephew. The two kids didn’t do as much apple picking, but had fun turning baby apples into makeshift balls. Jack felt the need to slobber and bite every single apple that was within reach, leaving his little baby bite marks on one too many apples!
Tommy and JackTommy and Jack

extremeapplepicking 049Surrounded by so many buildings and not enough trees, I always forget what the landscape outside of the city environment looks like. Despite the headache-inducing traffic, it was well worth the drive to take in the fall festivities and spend time with good friends.

Now, it’s time to bake with all those apples with bite marks!

With everything that’s going on in the world right now, it’s hard not to ignore the cacophony and reality of buzzwords–crisis, doom and gloom, economic downturn, recession, depression.

Times are rapidly changing—unemployment is in freefall, various companies are going belly up, the government is bailing out corrupted financial firms. I even had a heart-to-heart with a cabdriver last night about the stock market tanking. On a good day, cabbies limit the small talk to one question: “Where you going?” (No time for complete sentences.)

It’s hard not to ignore. But, whatever you do, don’t panic.
I’m no financial guru, but things will work themselves out; it has to, right?
It’s the time for frugality. We’re all making cuts; it’s imperative at this point.

For our family, as the price of gas teeters between outrageous and ridonkulous, we’re browsing for a more economical vehicle. We’re planning on traveling home for one holiday, instead of all of them. I spend Friday nights scouring sale pages for the best deals. I buy 3 different newspapers on Sundays, instead of 2—for the coupons. (Aside from the journalistic enlightenment, of course.)
Now is the time to reassess priorities.

…which is why we assessed that our family is always our number one priority. At a time when joblessness is at a high and people are losing jobs byway of layoffs, I’m quitting mine.

But this isn’t the time to panic.

After feeling so broken and defeated after 11 fruitless interviews for 9 different companies, I have to hold it together. As I often tell Jeff, if I crack, who is going to drive me to the crazy house? (There is a possibility of a carpool if anyone needs a ride.)

In all seriousness, even though I’m holding on by a thread, when push comes to shove, there’s got to be a better way. Thanks to Jeff’s faith in me, the stability in his career (not to mention his kickass bosses for acknowledging his sickening brilliance/hillbillyness {those characteristics, at least for my husband, are interchangeable}) and the moral support from friends and family, I’m taking the Leap.

Visualize Jack clapping and flashing that toothy grin.

When my career became a job, and the job became a source of too much anxiety and angst, I knew in my heart that having it all didn’t necessarily mean doing it here. As always, I have lots of ideas and I can’t wait to pursue them.

I’ve been writing a lot of goodbye emails to colleagues this week who, in return, have wished me well on The Next Big Thing. Once I get my act together–hopefully by next week–I will have some exciting announcements about The Next Big Thing.

I can’t wait to share, so please stay tuned!

So sorry for being so MIA.  Like Jack, I really haven’t been myself lately—more on that next week.  My last day of work is next Wednesday.  It’s bittersweet.  Onward and upward.  Speaking of which, have you met my 1 year old?

My sweet, sweet little boy.  How did you get so big so damn fast?

These days, I’m completely exhausted.  I’m tired from wiping snot, exhausted from chasing this boy, doing dishes by hand, picking up wooden blocks, chasing this boy and fishing random objects out of his mouth.  I’m sure there’s more, but I’m too tired to think.

Oh dear God.  This child is into everything.  Anything that was of importance, uh, is no longer important.  He continues to destroy everything.  This weekend, we discovered that our DVD player is no longer working, and it has our WI trip slideshow in it!  Yeah.  Guess whose little fingers like to poke at the DVD player? uh huh.

When he’s not breaking electronic equipment, Jack can be found climbing furniture and TOYS.  Note to self:  leave all plastic toys that double as ladders at mom’s house in VIRGINIA.  Together with the climbing, he is walking– yay!  As of early last week, Jack’s been walking about 85-90% of the time.  He showed off a few of his skills for family and friends when we were back home, but now he’s really on the go.  He gets a big kick out of it when we cheer and clap once he’s made his destination.  He totally “gets” the whole walking thing!

Now that Jack is officially everywhere, he’s also become extremely conversational and sociable as well. No real words, just made up ones.   When I call for him, he’ll try to say his name (DDDDaaat!) or just lots of mamamamama right back at me.  When we read, his “words” are much MUCH louder than mine nowadays.  His signing has really flourished.  More, eat, drink, book, dog, hot, sleep and thank you are the main signs that we use for now.  It was so cool when he finally grasped the signing and would tell us what he needed without us even initiating.  Jeff said, the other day while I was out shopping, Jack was in mid-play then crawled over to him, signed sleepy and curled up on his daddy’s shoulder.  Too cute.
12 Months
Jack’s social skills are flourishing so much more now, too.  He flirts and tries to befriend kids of all ages every chance he gets.  Last Sunday, he freaked out the poor little girl behind us because he was trying to touch her hand to make nice. haha.  I definitely attribute his friendliness and outgoing nature, not only to family, but to the great teachers at his daycare.  He loves the other kids and teachers, it’ll be sad to say goodbye for now.

Jack’s size has pretty much stayed the same from last month.  He’s mainly in 24m, but still wears some 18m clothes.   The belly never seems to fit–poor guy.  He’s still in size 4 diapers, and I assume he’ll stay in that size for a few more months.  He’s still heavy, teetering in the high 20s.  We missed his 12m appointment, so we’ll have to update those stats.

The boy likes to eat, but it has to be timely.  If we get home too late from daycare, he pitches a fit and goes on strike.  He eats any and everything, with pizza, pasta, chicken, mango, bananas and peas as his faves.  We just started giving him juice a few weeks ago, but milk and water are still #1.  We have yet to switch over to cow’s milk at our dr’s suggestion.  Jack’s still trying to fight off that upper respiratory infection, so until he does, we were told not to change his diet too drastically.

Separation anxiety is big right now: he’s still a mama’s boy and loses his mind when I leave the room. He started with the toddler tantrums a few weeks ago. It’s so hard and frustrating, but signing has really helped us out. I heart baby signing.

In spite of the meltdowns (from both him and me)  Jack is such a handsome, active, lovey and bubbly little dude.  Those little boy hugs remind me how much I LOVE love LOVE being a mom.  Now that I’m closing one chapter and Jeff and I are both embarking on our own separate and new(ish) professional journeys (new responsibilities for him and freelance for me), it’s only fitting that it coincides with another year of Jack’s growth.




baby bob marley

Originally uploaded by jen_rab

I posted this on Flickr, but I couldn’t not share this. Jacks’ Godmother sent him this adorable CD of baby Bob Marley tunes. Jack loves it! I plan on getting a few more of these! It was actually the only thing that would make him go to sleep on the car ride home to VA last weekend.
User note: try not to play while driving long distances. It can make the driver drowsy.

Jack’s slowly but surely shaking this URI, though still hacking and sneezing more often than not. He lost a few pounds, but is definitely working back to that hearty appetite of his.

I finally got around to organizing my photos and thoughts about Jack’s first birthday, so I thought I’d share.

Jack's 1st Birthday Party

The boy’s birthday itself was definitely a momentous occasion for our little family. It not only marked a year into this funny adventure called parenthood, but it was a time to reflect on Jack’s colorful first year.

As we do for big holidays and occasions, we did the 350 mile trek down to VA to celebrate with family and friends. Because our life here in NJ has been so hectic with work and the pending transition, I quite honestly didn’t do too much to prepare for this shindig. While I love entertaining and partying in general, Jeff and I agreed that we are in that school of thought where over-the-top orchestrated parties should be reserved for bigger kids aka the non-shoe-eating crowd. To each his own, but for us, the drive down, alone, was a financial and time investment, not to mention a physical and mental sacrifice for the three of us.

The party was much like family parties that we’ve had in the past, except this one was all about our boy! There wasn’t really a theme per se—well unless you count exuberant chaos as a theme. I invited family members from both sides and a handful of friends in the area. Overall, it was an overwhelming turnout. From high school buddies and their kids to various giggling aunts, so many people came out to celebrate. The food, like most of our family parties, was abundant. We all ate, drank, watched Jack play with cake and cheered for cool little boy toys.

The birthday boy, much like his mom, was not the greatest at being the center of attention. Ok, so he hated all the attention. He whined and cried more times than I care to admit, but he absolutely adored being around all those kids. I know it’s so cliche to say, but Jack really wasn’t himself on his birthday. As I tried to grasp his crankiness, I told friends that he “realized” how much he missed my mom, which could’ve been the reason he lost his mind every time she left the room. Or, it could’ve been the big crowd or it could’ve been he was exhausted from the drive down. Who knows? There were times when I couldn’t even console him! He didn’t cry the whole day, he was just obviously having an “off” day.

Cranky pants aside, it was a fun day, thanks to our many friends and family. (Thanks again to all of you that came out! As I’ve learned over this past year: always expect the unexpected, even if it includes a sometimes uncooperative birthday boy. I’ll say it again, but I definitely look forward to celebrating holidays and birthdays in the state that we reside—wherever we end up! Wouldn’t that be something to celebrate?