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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!

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among the ladies, too.

Jeff just called me to update me about Jack’s 4-month* well baby visit since I couldn’t go. The boys had a fun bonding day, complete with dances and Tasmanian Devil action.

It turns out, our little Michael Flatley (Lord of the Dance) as we lovingly call him, is healthy and “a little advanced*” for his age. Jack weighs approximately 18.6 lbs, which puts him into the 97th percentile. At 26.5 in. (?) he’s in the 90th percentile for height and his head circumference is in the 75th percentile. The dr. recommended that we could start rice cereal within the next few weeks mixed with breastmilk but hold off on other solids for 2 months, which we intend to do. Also, he suggested that now would be the time we drop the night feeding. (YESSSSS!) Jeff said Jack got his 4 shots and besides the lip quiver and quick cry, daddy was there to make it all better.

You’re probably wondering about the Lord of the Dance reference. Jack, as expected, was pretty active for Jeff while at the dr. As I often say, Jack is constantly moving. He does not sit still. When we change him, he likes to do a jig a la Michael Flatley which makes for an interesting diaper change. A task that would take 2 seconds takes 15 minutes because we try to put an end to his dance.
Anyway, at the dr., you guessed it, Michael Flatley was in full effect in the exam room. Jeff said Jack’s Lord of the Dance routine was so intense, the paper on the table was completely destroyed before the dr. came in. Jeff said it looked like the Tasmanian Devil came in for a quick visit.

Jack was good for the dr. besides his new found ability to blow raspberries with his lips and tongue. When he wasn’t grabbing the dr’s arms, he was doing the raspberries, or rather, spitting all over him. I was practically in tears from laughter with visions of paper all over the floor and the dr. wiping his face from the baby’s raspberries.

I’m so grateful the boy is healthy and active, but if his dr visits are any indication, this kid’s going to keep us on our toes. Oh boy.
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Like I do every night, before bed last night I was busy with my nightly pumping ritual and preparing bottles for the kid. After pumping, since we have no dishwasher, I always sanitize the pump parts in our microwave sanitizer. Since I use bottles made by a different manufacturer than the sanitizer, sometimes all the contents don’t fit properly.

In a maniacal frenzy, I was bound to make the 5 bottles, lids and pump parts fit so I only had to sit through one 4-minute microwaving session, rather than two.

I shoved and shook, rattled and rearranged but the damn bottles would not fit. After a little bit of talking and convincing myself that it’d be fine if I microwaved the overfilled sanitizer, of course my smart ass husband walks in to witness this fine animated sequence.

“You alright in here? It looks like you’re herding cats!”

I mean, really? What do you say to that?

If I’ve learned anything over the past few months, it’s to expect the unexpected…and to expect for plans to be broken. I had these fantastic plans to go to our town’s Halloween children’s parade. I was all excited to dress our baby up in the costume I bought for him before he was even born and stroll him down the street with all the other kiddies. (I’m pretty ridiculous, I know. Back in August, I was searching for baby costumes and Jeff continually rolled his eyes and forbid me to buy anything unpractical for our unborn child. So when I bought this costume, I made sure to hide it– at least until September.)

Yeah, Jack’s only a month old and I realized that I’m already doing what I know many parents do. I’m dressing him up for my benefit. I’m sure you can interchange the dressing up part for any verb.  Oh well, he’s only a month old. He has a lifetime love and hate me for things like this.

Anyway, I ended up helping some friends all day which nulled my plans of participating in the Halloween parade. I was all disappointed at first, but convinced myself that it’d be just fine if I threw on his costume and took some perfect pictures.

Well, it certainly wasn’t the same. And the pictures aren’t perfect. But he’s adorable either way!

not so bad.

One-eyed baby bearbaby bear

baby bear gone bad.

mad bearstill not happy.ugh

Let’s hope I do a better job next year (and holidays to come for that matter) on doing things for the kid, not for the crazy mom 🙂  By the way, this is visual proof that either my child is not photogenic like me or that he just hates ridiculous costumes and unnecessary picture-taking.

Happy Halloween from the unhappy baby bear!

In line with the nesting going on at our house and to further solidify our total geekiness, I had this grand idea to do some inventory last night.

After reading every pertinent pregnancy book, scouring every baby website and noticing those “What to Buy” and “Necessary Layette” lists, we consulted the most trusted resources (our moms and friends.) And so, I felt the need to itemize the little guy’s wardrobe. I wanted a trusted list with actual numbers of suggested items. Since I’ve trusted Baby Bargains for most of my shopping decisions over the past few months, I went with their list and upped the amounts by a few since we’re urban dwellers who depend on laundromat almost biweekly.

Over the past few months, in addition to the shower, I’ve done a lot of shopping and stashing. In an effort to organize the baby’s stuff, I had to know what we have and what we still need. While there’s probably no perfect formula for outfitting a newborn, Jeff and I know that in order for us to be able to coexist in our small space with a new baby, we have to make just enough room for the “right” amount of stuff. So many of our friends admit that they had so much clothes that their baby didn’t even get to wear it all. Unfortunately, we can’t have that “problem.” While there’s room for error, every square inch counts especially when your baby will sleep in the closet 🙂

Since I write and am constantly making notes about who knows what, I began my inventory list in my trusty black notebook. In the middle of my quest, I glanced over at Jeff as he played his PSP feverishly. Jeff, who had his feet gallantly propped up on his table tray as if were an ottoman, could feel my stare and looked back at me.

Checking out my stash of books and written lists he haphazardly asked, “what are you doing?”

As if the baby auditors’ arrival was imminent I told him, “Doing inventory. I NEED to know what we still need for the baby. Wanna help?”
Without a choice in the matter, he put his PSP down and busted out his laptop. “Of course I’ll help. How about we make a spreadsheet so it’ll be easier.”
spreadsheet
The words “spreadsheet” and “easier” do not go hand in hand in my vernacular. But for my number-crunching husband, anything can be solved with a complex formula and Excel. While I might work with words and research all day, Jeff’s day consists of forecasting merchandise and noting sales patterns– perfect experience for my mind-numbing chore.

We brought down all my neatly organized baskets containing carefully wrapped and washed baby stuff. We went into his little closet and piled his tiny hangered outfits on the couch. And then I revealed my hidden stashes and piled them on top of all the baskets. Truly, it’s amazing how much I’ve accumulated for this one little person.

some of his stashJeff picked up my notebook and began keying in the categories and subcategories, dividing them into monthly baby sizes and so forth. For what seems like such a tedious and even unnecessary chore, as I began to unload all the stuff I was amazed that we hadn’t tackled this any sooner. At this point, since we only have a small corner of Jeff’s armoire designated as the baby’s closet and the shelves carefully hung to house his baskets, a very small fraction of our home is allotted to contain all this baby stuff. Determined to keep the baby stuff down to the minimum and acquire bigger items as we need them, filing baby inventory though humorous, is pretty imperative for us.

We listed the amount of onesies, pants, sweaters, hats, t-shirts, nice outfits, socks, etc. according to size and then matched our numbers with the suggested numbers. We counted diapers and noted the sizes and amounts. As predicted, we could use a few more newborn items, including a few more packs of diapers, but not much. And somehow, we have almost 30 6-month size onesies. That’s a lot of onesies and a lot less laundry we have to do!

I have to say, it feels good knowing that we’re well organized and up to par on most of the baby necessities. Granted, besides having Target and Buy Buy Baby within minutes away, knowing that our families will be visiting shortly after his birth, as well as having friends very close by, it’s not like we’d have a problem getting more stuff as we need them. But why not take care of stuff now, instead of worrying about it later? I’d much rather spend time with the kid in our home than fussing with city traffic or whatever else.

We have our marathon childbirth class and hospital tour scheduled for Saturday and as I’ve been having frequent Braxton Hicks contractions–or as I described to Jeff, the baby rumble strips reminding us that we’re almost at our exit– I feel comfortable knowing that our home is almost ready for baby.

Though his crib isn’t in yet, at least we know he’ll be clothed. Well-clothed, at that! 😉

Happy happy summer everyone! With today being the first full day of summer AND it being Friday, I have to say I’m most excited about today marking the beginning of my third trimester!

I don’t want to jinx myself, but physically, I’m feeling awesome. My belly gets bigger and bigger every day, but I’m managing. I keep telling everyone that I’m feeling very turtle-like lately. You know how turtles can’t flip over if they’re on their backs? Yeah, that’s me if I’m on the couch or laying in bed.

tutle.jpg Emotionally, I’m ok. I have my definite ups and downs as usual– sometimes the extreme mood swings scare me, so I can’t imagine what Jeff must feel like. I’m also starting to “miss” my old life. It’s finally settling in that there’s no turning back. I haven’t really missed much up until now. I miss going to the bar every Friday for what the buck and enjoying a night out with Jeff and our bar friends. I’m definitely going to miss the Sangria this summer. Summer is my favorite time of year and I have so many fond memories of being carefree and young. At the same time, my excitement for the babe and getting everything into place for his arrival is starting to cloud those missed memories.

On a happier note, I’m counting down to our vacation in July. I can’t wait to go home, go to the beach and relax!

On that note, I thought I’d do another list to commemorate the end of my second trimester.

1. My husband enjoys drinking, sometimes a little too much 🙂 And so I yell like a banshee.
2. There’s research on about everything kid-related. Everyone has an opinion, didn’t you know?
3. People like to stare at my Mr. Softee ice cream.
4. I would eat a burger every day if I could.
5. Baby B. will be a music lover for sure.
6. I dreaded the transition into maternity clothes.
7. The first flutters was an amazing feeling!
8. My late grandma left quite the indelible impression.
9. Our town floods like crazy.
10. Listening to Baby’s heartbeat made things so much more real!
11. Prenatal massages are heavenly.
12. News alert: I’m big and I’m ok with that!
13. Shirley Temple martinis are a fun substitute.
14. My mom’s still excited.
15. I hear angels when I see Target.
16. Jeff now understands the concept of muumuus.
17. I truly believe that this world deserves another person as wonderful as Jeff.
18. He’s a boy!
19. And he’s “packin‘”
20. Our moms rock.
21. Baby Bargains has been our bible.
22. Furniture was ordered.
23. Babies are still expensive.
24. If I don’t be careful, baby’s first word might be, asssssshooooole.
25. My brother’s a big kid.
26. Surprisingly, Buckler’s is a delicious non-alcoholic beer.
27. Our niece is adorable. She’s going to be a great “big sister” cousin.
28. Baby hiccups in utero are great.
29. Supernanny does no wrong in Jeff’s eyes.
30. Baby clothes shopping is fun.
31. I’m getting even rounder.
32. Change and sacrifice are hard.
33. The glucose test is gross.
34. I still like ice cream.
35. My dad’s a superhero.
36. Baseball, buddies and beer make it all better.

Where has the time gone? I really thought my pregnancy was going to drag painfully… maybe it will over the next few months, but I’m doubting that!