Sunday, August 30, 2009

Annie doesn't <3 Buffalo

Last Christmas, Jim's cousin Kate got us a really cute onesie that says "I <3 Buffalo." (I just learned recently that <3 is a snazzy way to write the heart symbol. Cool, eh?) Instead of the word Buffalo, it just shows a picture of a buffalo (the animal). Very cute. I think it was the first article of baby clothing I ever received. The clothing tag said that it fit kids 12-18 months, so I put it away in one of my "way too big for Annie" bags of clothes.

A few weeks ago, I was looking at Alex's photos of Maddie and saw that Maddie already fit into her Buffalo onesie. And since Maddie is smaller than Annie, I figured it was time to break out our onesie and see if it fitted. Low and behold, it did. Whoever typed up the clothes label that said it fit kids 12-18 months must have very tiny children. :) (Or they meant to write that it fits kids 12-18 pounds, which seems much more accurate).

I figured it would be cute for Annie to wear this onesie on our trip home to Buffalo last week. So I put it on her, and she looked really cute in it, and I got ready to go to my new moms' group meeting that I was attending before we got on the road. And since Annie was constipated, we gave her some prune juice that morning. Well, I didn't get out of the house before I had to change her into another outfit. She had spit up formula and prune juice all over the onesie, and since prune juice is brown, it really didn't look very nice. Oh well, I thought. We'll have better luck next time. I should mention that the next outfit I put Annie in that day also did not make it all the way to Buffalo, as Annie decided to let her full bladder go on the changing table at the Warner rest stop outside of Syracuse, right when Mommy was hunting for some A&D cream in the diaper bag. Ah, fun times.

We're now back in Boston, it's the weekend, and the Buffalo onesie was right on top of the stack of clean clothes. Time to put Annie in it again. I thought in the back of my mind that I should take a photo of Annie in it and send it to Kate, but the thought passed out of my mind as quickly as it entered.

Then Jim and Annie went grocery shopping while I stayed home and finished up my brief. Jim got back from shopping and put Annie down in the foyer, still in her car seat. Then he went to empty the car. As he left, I heard something that sounded like a loud squeaking sound, but I dismissed it, since the front door was open and there are lots of sounds that go on outside. I heard the sound again, and concluded that there must be someone walking around outside with really squeaky shoes. I helped Jim put away the groceries and went back to writing my brief.

Jim then took Annie out of the car seat and we realized that the sound I had heard before was the sound of Annie having a massive diaper blowout up the back of that Buffalo onesie. It was all over car seat and filled up the back of the onesie. It required a thorough bath. Jim removed the fabric part of the car seat and is washing it (we have no idea how to reassemble it into the car seat. I'm sure that will be hours of fun tonight).

So, given that Annie has only spent a total of about 2 hours in this onesie, I have to conclude that she just doesn't agree with the premise of it. :) She has barfed on it, she has pooped on it. She's probably thinking, "When will they get the message?" Who knows if she'll even be able to wear it after this. She may very well have stained it too badly. But perhaps that was her intent!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Weekend Highlights

1) On Thursday, we started the day care transition by spending a couple of hours at the day care center with Annie. I think I'm going to cry all day when I actually have to leave Annie at the day care.

2) We got hit with the remnants of Hurricane Danny and apparently there's a Tropical Storm waiting in the wings behind him. The weather suddenly feels like fall.

3) But because it rained all day, I got most of my brief done.

4) My poor cat Solomon misses me. He isn't usually very affectionate, but he's hanging with me tonight.

5) We watched "The Music Man" tonight. For some reason, I remember a lot of the words to the songs, and yet, I don't remember watching it more than a few times as a kid. But it was really fun to watch it again.

6) We went to Bugaboo Creek for lunch today, and learned that they changed their menu last week. And if they had few vegetarian options before, now we have to be even more creative with the menu. But I love the bread they put out before they bring the meals out. So I keep going back.

7) We bought a high chair on Amazon. It should arrive in 5-9 days (yay for free shipping). We got the Fisher Price "Zen" chair. It was the least hideous of the chairs available. I'm still not sure how it's going to fit in our kitchen.

8) I feel like I'm regressing in the cooking department. We haven't gone grocery shopping in a long time. We were going to make tuna noodle casserole tonight, until we realized that we didn't have any mayo or cheese in the house. Things that we do still have include dried red currants with an expiration date in 2005, several boxes of pancake mix, and enough condiments to coat all the hamburgers and hot dogs we could have for the next 10 years. We also have 2 half-used bottles of lemon juice. I feel like I'm in college again. Now that Jim and I are parents, aren't we supposed to know how to cook?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Visit to Buffalo

Since last Friday, we have been in Buffalo visiting family. Annie has gotten to visit with a lot of family, including her grandmas:

And her cousin Maddie:

(Along with her Aunt Alex and Uncle Rob, of course). It's been quite fun. Last night, Uncle Rob had a birthday party, and there were lots of people for Annie to see - her Aunts Dode and Clare Marie, and some of her aunts' cousins. There were lots of people there, and pretty soon it was time for Annie to go to bed for the night! :) Annie's current bedtime is about 8:30pm.

Today we got to visit more with Dode and Clare Marie, and in the evening, my mom took us out to dinner at a cool restaurant in the West Side of Buffalo, called Left Bank. Aside from very good food, their chocolate espresso cake was pretty amazing. :) (My mom and I split it).

Tomorrow we have more visiting to do. We're hopefully going to see Aunt Mary, and then Uncle Al and Aunt Joyce. In the evening, Dode is throwing a Bon Voyage/Farewell party for Clare Marie, who returns to Cameroon on Thursday. She only comes back to Buffalo every 2-3 years, so we've been trying to get in some good visiting time with her while she's in town. The last time she was in town was in 2006, and a lot has happened since then. I wonder what our lives will look like during the next time she comes to Buffalo.

On Wednesday, we return to Boston and get ready for the fall and all the changes that will happen soon. To be completely honest, I'm dreading it. But there's nothing you can do but move forward.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Doctor Check-up

Today was a big day for Annika because it was her 4 month pediatrician visit. She got a whole lot of more vaccines, amounting to 2 shots and an oral vaccine. She cried through most of the visit, starting right after the nurse weighed her. She even tried to pee on the nurse. :) She seemed to calm down more once we put her clothes back on her. And once she got her shots, she actually quieted down pretty quickly and went to sleep. It's almost as if being naked was worse than getting a shot. :) She's fast asleep now, poor sweetie.

She weighed in at 14 lbs, 5 ounces and 25 inches long. She has grown more than half a foot since she was born! She is right where she should be in the percentiles, and the doctor gave us the green light to start solids. We're supposed to start with rice cereal, just a little to begin with. I'm a little concerned that it'll cause constipation, but I guess it's also OK to mix a little juice in with the cereal, which helps keep things moving. We're going to try pear juice next time, because Annika has decided that she hates prune juice. I don't blame her. I hate it too. It is one of the nastiest drinks I've ever had. But I guess any juice that starts with the letter "p" helps with constipation (such as prune juice and pear juice). Jim asked the doctor if parsimmon juice also was OK. Yeah, that's just like Jim. :)

So now it's time to get a high chair. We need to get one that folds up very small since we have very limited space in the kitchen. I guess our days of eating in front of the TV are numbered!

Monday, August 17, 2009

More critters

I forgot to mention in last night's blog post that we met one of our neighbors yesterday, Mr. O. Possum:

Yeah, kind of freaky, right? Jim was taking out the garbage, dropped the bag in the can, and realized that an opossum was taking a nap in the can. There wasn't any food in the can, just an empty bag of charcoal from our BBQ on Saturday. We have no idea how he got in there - the can was upright and is about 3-4 feet tall. The animal played dead, and Jim pulled out the garbage bag and turned the can on its side. The opossum took off and went home - into the neighbors' garage. This is the same garage where we thought a skunk was living. The garage has had a large hole on one side for several years, and Mr. O. Possum is the latest inhabitant, I guess. Apparently the garage door doesn't open on this garage anymore, which means that the neighbors haven't gone in there in a long time. This works just fine for the residents of the garage, who have their own entryway to their home.

For my mother's benefit: yes, the cats are up to date on their rabies shots.

If you get beyond the fact that he's a rodent, he's actually sort of cute. He's about the size of a small cat, with spiky fur, a long, skinny tail, and a long snout.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


The weekend started out quite nicely, but sort of fizzled on Sunday.

On Saturday, we went to Houghton's Pond, which is a swimming hole in a state park that is not far from where we live. I've brought Annie there for picnics a few times. It was nice to go there with Jim because I was able to go for a short swim! (and can I just say that I felt that swim in my abdominal muscles ... thank you, C section). I just wish the swimming area was a little larger. They have a very small section of the pond roped off for swimming, but it's very shallow and extremely crowded. I wonder if I could swim the whole pond if I showed up at a time when the lifeguard wasn't on duty? It's much more satisfying to swim in deeper water.

On Saturday evening, our friends Mark and Lauren came over for a BBQ. We cooked out hamburgers, and I made my mom's special potato salad. They also brought over fresh corn from the Hingham farmer's market, and a really delicious dessert of vanilla pudding, peaches, and ginger snaps. Yum. We sat around and talked about jobs, new and old.

On Sunday morning, a lady came by and took away our old mattress and box spring. Craig's List is very cool. I hope she's able to get a lot of use out of the mattress. I was sort of sad to see it go, in a way, because of the story behind it. My dad went mattress shopping for us eleven years ago, after we had just moved to Boston, and long story short, picked out this mattress at a store in Buffalo. It was shipped to my parents' house, and then he transported it, along with all our other stuff, to Boston in a U-Haul trailer. Just another example of how my dad took care of me, even when he didn't totally agree with everything I was doing in my life. I miss him. Anyway, the mattress had outlived its normal lifespan and it was time for us to unload it. I'm glad someone else will get some use of it - Dad would've liked that too. I think he would've been a big fan of Craig's List too.

After that, we decided to take a trip up to Freeport, ME to go shopping at LLBean and get out of town for the day. Unfortunately, the traffic was a disaster. After about 2 hours on the road, we were only at Portsmouth, NH in a traffic jam and it didn't seem like it was going to get any better. In fact, it probably would be worse on the way back, as everyone returned home from their vacations in NH and Maine. So we turned around and headed home, just in time to give Annie her next bottle. That was a little deflating. Since we had been looking forward to the Ben & Jerry's ice cream stand outside of LLBean, we took a consolation prize and went to the Dairy Queen near our house.

And that pretty much was our weekend. Jim's packing for his business trip that starts tomorrow morning, and I'm driving to Marlboro tomorrow to hang out with some friends. And I have a brief to write over the next couple of weeks, courtesy of my old job. So starts another week.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A couple of announcements

A couple of announcements:

1) This weekend is a "fee free" weekend for the National Parks. That means that the National Parks are FREE this weekend. Read about it more here: We are thinking of checking out the Longfellow House, near Harvard Square, if we have time. We could also check out the Adams House again. I love the gardens there.

2) There are more videos of Annie up at Flickr. Use the link I e-mailed out for "Annie's Videos."

3) We finally got a new mattress and are back in our old room! Yea! And it looks like we'll be able to get rid of the old mattress pretty easily. I've already had 4 e-mails back from my Craig's List posting.

4) We will be in Buffalo from Aug 21-26. Looking forward to seeing everyone!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Birthday interview

When asked how it felt to be a big FOUR MONTHS OLD, Annika was ambivalent. On one hand, she felt sad that she was becoming an old baby:

On the other hand, she thought about all the partying she would do today, and thought that would be funny:

Annika will celebrate her birthday by going to a group meeting with Mommy, possibly stopping in at Mommy's work to pick up a file, getting lunch, and drinking loads of formula. She will also nap. A lot.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More Changes

And on the topic of growth and change, I'm about to embark on a huge set of changes. Yesterday I was offered a new job, which I'm planning on accepting today. It will start at the beginning of October, and I will be leaving my job at the law firm where I have worked for five years.

It is not without a lot of trepidation that I switch jobs. The law firm where I currently work is really like a big family. Two of my bosses were my teachers in law school, and additionally, I did a co-op with this firm during law school. They have taught me everything they know. I had a lot of autonomy at this job - I could take any sort of immigration case that I wanted. I only answered to myself. A lot of life changes occurred during my job here - I transitioned out of law school, was sworn into the bar, my dad died, and I went through my entire pregnancy there. The fall that precipitated Annie's early labor occurred just outside my office, as I was coming back from lunch.

But I can't stay. The firm has had some very serious financial troubles, particularly over the last year. Starting in January, my hours had been cut back to 4 days a week. And up until about a week ago, they didn't know if they would be able to take me back at all in September when I finish my maternity leave. Last week, they finally said I could come back 2 days a week (less than I wanted), but there were no promises about the future. It is extremely doubtful whether I could even accomplish my job with only 2 days a week in the office. Anyone who has talked to me about this knows that I have some strong opinions about why the firm is in such trouble, but I won't go into that here. Suffice it to say that I don't think things are going to improve there, even if the economy improves, and I could very well be facing a complete lay-off if I stayed with them.

The new job is completely different from my old job. Instead of litigation and direct client services, I will be advising criminal defense attorneys about the consequences of various crimes on their client's immigration status. While I am happy to be challenged, and while I see a lot of potential in this job, the absolute change in what I'll be doing is a bit staggering. And in addition to the complete change in job description, I'll be working in a completely different section of the city.

I'm scared. I didn't want to have to deal with a change in job right at the time that I'm dealing with the significant changes in my personal life that come with having a baby. Perhaps I should've seen the writing on the wall at my old job sooner than I did, and should've switched jobs a long time ago. "Should'ves" and "could'ves" are convenient but useless in retrospect.

I'm going to miss my bosses and co-workers and my clients. I'm going to miss my office, with the big window overlooking a little park with beautiful trees. I'm going to miss all the sandwich shops where I used to eat lunch. I'm going to miss working with clients. I wish it wasn't time to move on.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Jim was scanning through his iPhone photos and found this photo of me and Annie, taken 4 days after she was born in the nursery at MGH:

It's always amazing to me when I look back at these photos how tiny Annie was. How can there be that much change in 4 months?

Here's a photo of her that I took today:

I'll do my monthly video of her on Friday, her 4-month birthday, and post it to the "Annie's videos" set on Flickr.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Anniversaries and weekends

Yesterday, we celebrated our 10th anniversary. To see some nice photos from 10 years ago, you can go HERE or HERE. Our anniversary was pretty low-key as far as anniversaries go. Jim had to work, although he came home early. I took Annie for a picnic at Houghton's Pond. She got in a few z's ...

Later, after Jim came home, we went out and visited with the neighbors. They took our annual anniversary photo for us:

(Annie slept through that too!) Each year, we make sure to take one photo of us together on our anniversary, which I put in a special album.

After that, we drove into Cambridge and tried out a new Indian restaurant, with Bengali-style food. It was quite different from our usual Indian restaurant (at the corner of our street), which serves Punjabi-style food. I still prefer the Punjab Cafe, but this place, called "Royal Bengali (India)" was still pretty good.

After that, we came home so Jim could see the finale of "So You Think You Can Dance." He has predicted for weeks who the winner would be, and he was right.

So it was a low-key anniversary, but still a good one.

Today Jim is working at home and I'm leaving in a little while to meet a friend for lunch in Downtown Crossing. The weather is beautiful today - in the low 70's and clear. We have a huge weekend ahead of us. Tonight, we're going to a house-warming party in Somerville for one of Jim's co-workers. Tomorrow morning we are going to a baptism in Marlboro for some good friends whose son is about 2.5 months older than Annie. Tomorrow evening is another house-warming party, this time for our good friends Nate and Jess, who recently purchased a house in Medford, right on the Somerville line. Also, our friends Dave and Sandra are coming in from Vermont for it, so we'll get to see them too. Sunday I think we're meeting up with Dave, Sandra, Nate and Jess again for brunch.

It'll be interested to see how Annie does with all the activities. Sometimes it's hard to juggle activities with her feeding schedule, so this will be a learning experience. I really like to be busy, so I'm looking forward to everything.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Some thoughts for the evening:

1) When I sang Annika her "good night" song, she was trying to sing along with her goo's. She was totally imitating me. It was really cute. Sometimes I feel bad putting her to bed when she's so smiley.

2) For some reason, everyone thinks our anniversary was yesterday or today.

3) After Annika had a major diaper blowout last night on one of my friend's laps, we are into the size 2 diapers. But I only bought one package. I think we'll be buying the 2-3 sized diapers next time. From now on, I'm going to be more conservative about the amount of diapers I buy in each size. That's the big trade-off with buying in bulk. Your timing has to be perfect, or else you're stuck with a lot of extra.

4) What is it with cell phones and annoying commercials? Between The Verizon Network and AT&T's milky minutes, they drive me crazy. And then there are Verizon's ads for Fios when Fios isn't even available in this area! What? But the recent Prius ads are awesome.

5) "More To Love" is perhaps one of the most painful television shows to watch that I've seen in a long time. I wonder if they'll get any viewers once "So You Think You Can Dance" is finished for the season?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sunflowers are for the birds

We have a pair of yellow finches living nearby who have been feasting on my sunflowers:

Aren't they beautiful? They look like parakeets!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Go Sox!

So I've seen babies who cheer for the Mets, the Cubs, even those crappy Yankees. And all we can say is...


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fredy Zepeda

This story in the Boston Globe has really gotten me down today:

A Guatemalan immigrant named Fredy Zepeda was killed in a hit-and-run accident outside of his house 2 weeks ago. His family raised the money to send his body home to Guatemala and the burial happened recently. Zepeda had left Guatemala in 1998, leaving behind a 9-month-old baby. His son, who is 11 now, met his father for the first time in the coffin. Zepeda could not return to Guatemala sooner because he did not have any immigration status in the U.S. Under the current immigration laws, if you are in the U.S. without status for over a year and you later leave, you are not allowed to come back for 10 years. So a lot of immigrants get here, fall out of status, and then are stuck. In Zepeda's case, his wife and 1-year-old son lived here. His older son was in Guatemala. So either way, Zepeda was separated from immediate family.

Although I never met him, this guy could have been my client. Or he could've been someone I met during a consultation. I do a lot of consultations for people for whom there is absolutely nothing I can do to help them. In Zepeda's case, it wouldn't have mattered that one of his kids was a U.S. Citizen. You can't gain legal status through a child until the child becomes an adult. And even then, if you entered the U.S. illegally (ie: sneaking across the border), it is almost impossible for you to ever gain legal status in the U.S., even if you have U.S. Citizen relatives.

There are lots of people who come to the U.S. to work because it's the only way they can support their families back in Central America. I don't agree with his decision to leave his son back in Guatemala, but a lot of people think they have no choice. What's going to become of his kids now? They have pictures that show where Zepeda's father lived. The poverty in Guatemala is just horrible.

I don't think that the U.S. should encourage illegal immigration, people sneaking across the border and such. But don't we want people like Zepeda to be here? He worked as a dry-wall hanger. That's hard work. He was killed as he was strapping his son into a car seat. There really needs to be some way for people like Zepeda, hard-working people with established lives in the U.S., to gain legal status in the U.S. It is just heart-breaking that he returned to Guatemala in a coffin.

...but, on a more positive note...

On the good side, I have some nice flowers this year. I have beautiful sunflowers that all grew up from the seeds of last year's sunflowers:

And my lace-cap hydrangea has been spectacular:

So this year hasn't been a total wash.

Attack of the tomato horn worm and other horrors

Over the last week or so, I've noticed that some of my pepper plants have lost all their leaves. A couple of the plants have peppers on them, but no leaves. It is very odd. Here's a photo of what they look like (ignore all the weeds that have sprung up around them!):
Today I was outside inspecting my garden, and I noticed what at first looked like a leaf on the pepper plant. Then I realized that it was moving. It was a caterpillar, and it's clear that he was the one eating up all the leaves. (You can see him here; he's the pale-green thing on the main stem of the plant):
He has also munched on the peppers on these plants, and there are big holes in them. YUCK!! I guess those are going out in the yard waste too.

Oddly, he hasn't attacked all of my pepper plants. It looks like he's only feasting on a particular variety of pepper - the California Wonder variety. My Cubanelle pepper has not been attacked so far.

I read on the Internet that this is a "tomato horn worm," which makes me worry about my tomatoes. Up until now, they've been totally fine. Apparently these caterpillars attack peppers, tomatoes and eggplant, which makes sense because I think they're all in the same family of plants. Later, they become moth-like creatures that lay more eggs.

In other news, I made pesto yesterday from the basil in my garden. As I was making it, I remembered that I grew garlic in my garden this year ... except that it's no longer anywhere to be seen in my garden. I really don't know what happened to it. Last week, I pulled out the lettuce that I had planted next to it, but I didn't pull out any garlic. It's just completely gone. I don't know if I just didn't notice when the stalks dried up, and it's still buried in my garden, or if the animals dug it up and had a garlic feast.

Really, it's been a crappy gardening year. Too much rain. Then my cucumbers and zucchinis didn't come up (which has never happened to me before). Then the stupid caterpillars ate my peppers, just when I was getting psyched that the pepper plants had lots of flowers. And then the case of the missing garlic. Really, if my tomatoes weren't doing well, I think I would just turn over the whole garden and plant buckwheat for the rest of the year. Better luck next year.