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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!

Lots of stuff going on these days. Grown up stress–you know, the usual. But because I write about our lives in a way for the whole world to see, I often have to censor the good stuff. Since humor is cathartic and I need to laugh to stay in good spirits, I have to share these sites.

Not that I’m passive aggressive all the time, but I do love having a platform to unleash some veiled frustration. But better yet, I stumbled upon this hysterical site and found myself laughing and pointing at my computer screen. I’ll admit, I’ve written my fair share of passive aggressive notes.

My husband could’ve written this one. He’s given me a stern talking-to about my careless microwave-time-leaving. To love Jeff is to love his OCD charm.
*

Postcardsfromyomama.com is another site that I love. This one makes me laugh so hard, I cry. My mom doesn’t email, but if she did, I’d be sending in entries daily. If I could only record our conversations…
But thank God there are other moms who do send such awesome emails! Thank you funny mamas. I hope I am you one day.

Consume, Digest, Then Poo

Offspring – I am cancelling the reservation to Arun’s restaurant. People are losing everything to the flooding in Iowa; people are losing their homes from bank foresclosures (USA Today highlighted a family who took out a home equity loan for $100,000 – their house is now worth $60,000); the price of oil is making travel via car or air prohibitive yada yada yada and I am going to have my hard working princess daughters spend $100 each for a fancy dinner – food we consume, digest then poo? I would rather spend money supporting the local restaurants. Mama

What's THAAAT?

and there’s more:

Barricades
Barricades

and fuzzy pink slippers

slippers

This, folks, is what our life has become.


Lifetime of farting

Originally uploaded by jen_rab

With my head buried in my hands, I could feel the shower of saliva on my toes. No, it was a WATERFALL of saliva. Make that monsoon.

Why?

Let me tell you why. Jack, like other babies his age, loves to blow raspberries. He just so happened to be sitting at my feet during his latest raspberry blowing frenzy. Sometimes, after he purses those lips together and lets the drool fly, he has no idea what he’s done. All he knows is that it feels good on his sore gums and he makes us crack up. Sometimes he’ll forget this cool trick and then surprise himself by remembering the coolness of it all. And then the endless raspberry blowing ensues.

Enter my husband. My darling husband has many idols including Albert Einstein, Leonard Bernstein, George Hopkins, Lenny Dykstra and Doug Heffernan.

Yes, I said Doug Heffernan–the overgrown manchild portrayed by Kevin James in the now defunct show, “King of Queens.”

Doug Heffernan is this overdramatic, very opinionated, sports-loving dude’s dude who always seems to find himself in the most obscure predicaments. Perhaps this is why Jeff strikes a chord with his fictitious hero, but every episode, Doug’s angsty wife yells at him for well, being Doug.

In the show, Doug disagrees with Carrie A LOT. He always has a way to punctuate his point, but most notably, he loves to fake flatulate with his hands.

WITH HIS HANDS.

So, let’s do the math folks: Jack loves to blow raspberries. Jeff loves to imitate Doug Heffernan. Jack loves to imitate his daddy. So what do we have?

Lots of fake farting.

Jeff summed it up best, “You better get used to it. You have a lifetime of farting ahead of you.”

so true.

I’ve accepted the lifetime of farting, which makes me love my fake-farting duo even more.

As the old adage says, no good deed goes unnoticed.

While I may often joke about my crazy family, in all seriousness, I lucked out by scoring a mildly stable husband. I always tell people he’s the world-saving kind. Some may think I’m exaggerating, but really, there’s so much truth behind that.

No, really.

While I was out chasing Paris Hilton with my cousin, Jeff was being his usual philosophical self and doing his part to “save the world.” In specific, he was reaching out to one of his mentors who happens to be one of the most influential people in his life– even to this day.

from the mouth of babes

This perspective speaks volumes and is applicable to everyone.

“When you are tired, go to work. When you are frustrated, go to work. When people are trying to keep you back, keep working.” In the sense of the corps, work is practicing for perfection. In the sense of life, it is the same. Keep working to make yourself better. At work. At home. Wherever we have not achieved perfection, keep working. And since perfection is unattainable, keep working.

Quick background: participating in band is often mocked and pegged as uncool. But in reality, when people go on to pursue their talents and get involved with organizations like YEA, the world truly does become a better place…all thanks to hard working educators like George Hopkins.

Let’s just hope Jeff’s world-saving charisma rubs off on our kid. Somehow, I think it already has…

P.S. support young musicians and performers! It’s a worthy cause 🙂

By now, you should be familiar with my level of craziness. As my coworker loves to say when I do something crazy, “That poor baby…”

Pffft.

Want to see crazy? Spend some time with my family. Together, we’re always crazy. A few years ago, I remember Kris joked with my brothers and said something like, “who’s going to want to marry us and our crazy family?”

Crazy doesn’t even scrape the surface sometimes. It’s the craziness that colors our life; it makes us whole. And as always, it gives me yet, even more stories to tell!

Luggage!

A week ago, with our calvacade of overweight luggage, oversized carry ons, car seat and gigantic stroller in tow, a teething Jack and I left NJ/NY to visit my cousin Kris in California. It was a long overdue visit to go see my newly engaged cousin, who’s Jack’s GodmoJack, me and Kris at Disneyther and like a sister to me. Actually, we call Kris and my younger brother “twins” because they are one in the same: they share the same birthday (May 30), are both allergic to the world, are both extremely outgoing and yes, they’re both crazy, just like the rest of us.

Mickey earsFirst things first– flying cross country alone and vacationing without Jeff were, without a doubt, equally hellacious. I’ll get to the actual flying part later, but leaving Jeff here at home completely sucked.

I’m so glad we got to spend so much time with Kris and her fiance Jason, but at times, I felt almost guilty for having fun. Nevertheless, I did get to spend an endless amount of time with the babe, which was worth every single gray hair I’ve sprouted over the past 8 months. All the extra Jack time made all the working mom guilt disappear the minute we hit the tarmac.

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Two years ago, despite the uncertainty of infertility, I knew I was destined to be a mom. Two months ago, regardless of some minor childcare disagreements, drooly kisses and laughter filled our home. Two weeks ago, as reality reared its head in terms of my career, I hugged my boy even harder every day after work. Today, besides marriage, the plight of motherhood is, hands down, the most resilient part of my life.

It wasn’t long ago when we used to stumble home from bars several nights a week. But without any reluctance, we traded in (some) of the Friday night partying for diaper changes and making sure ALL the rechargeable batteries for each baby toy were charged.

Life as new parents is that glamorous.

In these seven short months, among other things, I’ve acquired bat ears; I’ve learned how to sleep walk; I’ve learned the true meaning of resourcefulness; how to lynch with a simple glare; how to feed every other hour even though there isn’t enough time to feed myself, but most importantly, how to swap selfishness for selflessness.
love.I’ve had my ups and many many many downs. But with each down, there was always a sweet baby squeal to balance it out– even when you dreamed that things would be perfect and they ended up falling flat. There’s nothing easy about this mom business, but knowing just how much you’re loved is what makes it so much more meaningful. Being a mom has this inexplicable element for me. I’m so driven to find that work/life balance, that truly, I can’t begin to explain how awesome it is, to walk through my apartment door every day. After an endless day, to come home to Jack, whose main debacle is which toy to eat, with just one giant smile, baby hug and kiss, everything else is forgotten.

And then all is good in the world.

If it’s possible, out of everything I’d ever wanted out of life, motherhood has always been the mainstay.

Motherhood sure as hell isn’t easy. I never expected it to be…
And, you sure as hell won’t ever hear me saying that my kid, my marriage, family or life is ever perfect. As my wise husband once told me, perfection leaves no room for growth. If we had no growth, how boring would we be?

Now, rewarding? That’s a whole different attribute that’s much more applicable.

Though far from perfect, motherhood is everything I’d ever dreamed. And for that, I’m so blessed.

*

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms! I hope it’s filled with lots of love!

After months of anticipation, the usual fragmented sleep, unpredictable fussiness and intermittent clingyness, it’s finally happened: We have our first white cap. Jack’s first tooth officially erupted over the weekend. YAY.

As the person who’s usually consoling the inconsolable and screaming alongside of the screamer, I’m elated about this latest milestone. I’m definitely going to miss that super-cheesy gummy smile, but it feels like we’ve made progress in the teething department.
first tooth

The lower right central baby tooth made its appearance sometime over the weekend, which we noticed yesterday morning. Jeff was the first to notice it and kept trying to help me find it. I had a hard time locating it but finally found it way to the left, and not in the center-ish part that I was expecting. I know this isn’t the end of this sometimes neverending phase, but it’s a relief to see what all the madness has been about.

Like the doting first time parents, we stuck our fingers into the mouth of the lion to get a clear view of this tooth. Jack let Jeff know he wasn’t having the fingers-in-mouth invasion, so he bit him! ha! He bit me again last Thursday while I was feeding– now THAT hurt. The little tooth is barely noticeable, so we don’t have any pictures of Toothy McTootherson.

Jeff said it best when he was lovingly admiring our little piranha this morning, “Aw…look at your little tooth! You look like a can opener.”

And with a blink of an eye, the boy is now 7 months old. He’s as big as ever, but his growth has definitely tapered. He’s in size 4 diapers and quickly growing out of 12m clothing. While 18m clothes seem a bit big, when I put him in 12m clothes I get comments like, “Is that too tight? It looks like he can’t breathe.” I want to say he’s hovering in the 24-lb. range. He’s heavy enough that I was pretty sure I dislocated my wrist when I picked him up the wrong way last week. Of course, I’m fine, but that still doesn’t make the trip down the steep stairs any easier. I can only wear him down the stairs because I’m convinced that one day my clumsiness may send us tumbling down. I’ve gotten great use out his 7 months oldBaby Bjorn, but as luck would have it, Jack got a little stuck in the carrier while we were at the grocery store. I’m assuming because he’s pushing the weight limit of the Bjorn, the hook that secures him in place got stuck. I had to pull into the cereal aisle to yank and pull (yeah, while he was in it) until the latch came loose. It finally came loose before the panic set in. I guess it’s time for a new carrier since I wear him about as often as we push him in the stroller. As for the car seat, Jack has also outgrown that. We’ve been putting off buying the convertible carseat, only because we don’t drive with him that often. It’s inconceivable to grasp how much baby stuff we started out with, and now, only 7 months later, we’ve retired so much. And to think, we tried to go the minimalist route!

Jack is officially all over the place– in the entertainment system grabbing my hidden vases, kicking the bathroom door, rolling underneath his swing, hiding under his exersaucer, shaking our tv trays when we eat (because, you know, we apparently don’t feed him enough.) You name it, he’s probably found a way to get there. He prefers rolling, as he’s mastered the art of soft landing. And as of last week, he’s learned to army crawl. I use his wipes container as “bait” because he knows he’s not allowed to play with it. As Jeff says, it’s unlikely Dr. Spock mentioned this method as a part of his suggested parenting techniques. Besides the rolling and almost-crawling, Jack insists on “walking.” He’ll wiggle and fidget and scream until whomever is holding him puts him on the ground and helps him walk. He’s been doing the walking routine for a month or so now, which is apparently the beginning of the end of our once stationary baby. My mom likes to remind me that one of my brothers and me were very early walkers. I like to remind everyone that I’m not ready for a very mobile child. Ready or not, here he comes.

Speaking of screaming, Jack’s personality is shining through with a very sunny disposition. He continues to be a very affable child, mirroring his equally affable father. In addition to flapping all of his limbs, he’s learned to wrinkle his nose when he’s happy or excited. Jack also knows when you say cheeeeeeeeese that it usually means it’s time to ham it up for the camera. He’s a very lovey baby, especially when it comes to my mom, Jeff or me. He’s been known to give random hugs or kisses, just because you’re holding him. It makes me melt every single time. Unlike me, he’s a fairly easy tempered kid– well, except when he’s starving, uncomfortable or when it comes to changing his clothes. When he’s upset, he makes it known to the world. Jeff has been trying to enforce the stern daddy voice whenever the boy has an unnecessary meltdown. While some may argue that it’s too early to discipline, we’re both trying to be conscientious to never allow our child to be “that kid.” While we can’t dictate his temperament and reaction to certain situations, we’ve found that Jack has started to recognize the stern tone when we mean business.

The boy continues to be an eating machine. He still has 4 bottles during the day, along with 3 meals, a snack and breastmilk at night. He’s mastering the use of his sippy cup, of course with the aid of his wings. He loves almost everything he’s tasted so far, but especially peas, yellow squash, bananas, mangoes and brown rice. He’s been a champion eater with the introduction of solids, however, he’s shown sensitivity to certain things. He gets a mild rash next to his mouth after he nurses after I eat a certain things. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but I’m assuming it’s dairy because the rash appeared again after I gave him yogurt. I think it’s an allergy to dairy, but I’m not too sure. Anyway, we’re keeping a close eye.

Even though we’ve spent over a dozen years together as a couple, Jeff and I can hardly remember what life was like without him. As much as Jack is a joy, I wish I could say that being a mom has become easier. In ways, yes, things are more predictable. But in other ways, being a mom is so overwhelming. It’s not just the parenting or the lack of sleep. It’s the life part. Once I became a mom, the progression of our family clearly took precedent over everything else. In order for me to focus my energy on the well being of our family, other aspects of life undoubtedly became unbalanced. (Yes, I know, I’m not the only working mom to ever experience such things, but this is my story and my cathartic outlet.) For me, the most difficult thing thus far has been finding a happy balance. My life at home–the joys I share with Jeff and Jack–are byfar my most successful accomplishments to date. Unfortunately, I’ve found that there are so many obstacles in finding the same happy balance in other areas of life– areas that once fueled passion and drive. That said, I’ve been MIA for various reasons. Without trying to cast the doom and gloom, I’m at a turning point in life that has me in a funk. I’m doing my damnedest on finding that balance. And so I’ll end with an excerpt from a daily motivational email that I subscribed to from my husband’s cheery influence:

Happiness is a byproduct of activity
Happiness lies in the joy of achievement,
in the thrill of creative effort.
The human spirit needs to accomplish,
to achieve, to triumph to be happy.
Happiness does not come from doing easy work.
but from the afterglow of satisfaction
that comes after the achievement
of a difficult task that demands your best.
Your personal growth itself contains the seed of happiness.
You cannot pursue happiness by itself.
There is no happiness except in the realization
that you have accomplished something.
Happiness thrives in activity.

When he looks at me with those big beady brown eyes, I see so much of Jeff. Yet, when those eyes are closed when he’s asleep or if I turn my head just so, I can almost see myself in him. When he flashes that megawatt gummy grin, emphasized with closed eyes, I don’t see the painfully shy child that I once was: I know for sure my kid is his father’s son.

He may only babble mamamama and dadadadada right now, but I know in time, this cheesy smileskid will champion the same charm and quick wit that everyone loves about his father.

As we’re approaching 7 seven months, Jack’s very mobile, but not in the crawling kind of mobile. Like he’s been doing for a few months now, he rolls and rolls until he’s found the best corner of our tiny living room. With that same grace of a sumo wrestler, when he’s in between belly to back roll, he’ll sometimes plop his head and bump it ever so slightly, almost sounding like it might hurt a fragile child. Not this kid. Afterall, he is built like a tank, as his father often describes.

He is a bouncing baby boy personified.
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