Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day 2

Another day with Grandma! We went to Isis in the morning for our play group, and Annie got to play on the bouncy giraffe:

Later, she made friends with a muppet:

Later we went to the neighbors' house so that Annie could get foot-printed by the police. (Just for safety purposes!)

Here we are with her footprint card. She has to get it done again in a few months because they couldn't get a good print.

After a nap, Annie played with Grandma and her new muppet friend.

And then, Annie tried some squash. Here she is with a bib that her great-grandma Mac made for her:

It didn't go so well. She had about two bites, gagged, and then threw up not only the squash, but also most of her last bottle. Poor little kid. We'll try the squash again in a few days.

Tomorrow is my last day of work! Pretty crazy. The only thing left to do is finish up and file an appeals brief. I'm sad to be leaving, but I'm also relieved to finally have some stability.

Grandma's Visit!

On Monday, Grandma Kogler came to visit Annika for a whole week! Here is a pictorial summary of their first day together:

They read lots of stories:

They went on walks with the stroller:

They played in the exersaucer:

They tried to talk to Great-grandma McAvoy (but the line was busy):

They had take-out Indian with Mommy:
(those are not horns on my head, they are from the wind chime behind me :) )

 They even talked to Rich Frog:

All in all, a good time was had by all.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Photo comparisons

Some photo comparisons for you.
First, the Gerber baby:

Then we have Annika, with Gerber baby food all over her face!

Perhaps she will be the next Gerber model.
Then we have Annika in her cradle at 2 weeks old:

And here she is today in the cradle:

(No room for Coco the Sheep now). Pretty remarkable! We can't really see how quickly she is growing until we look at photos like that. She literally weighs 3 times more than she did when she was born, and is 8 inches longer.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Do You Recognize This Train Station?

So I have this very old photo of a man in front of a train station. I have no idea which station it is or who the man is. It is probably an old Erie Railroad station, probably somewhere in New York State, possibly near Elmira, Waverly, Barton, Binghampton, Johnson City (formerly known as Lestershire), or Buffalo. The photo is probably from the 1890's. So I'm sending it out into the Internet world - does anyone out there recognize this station?

If so, please leave me a comment and tell me which station it is and whether it still exists.

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

Sing it! "Rolling, rolling, rolling. keep those doggies rolling, RAWHIDE!"

Today I went to the first day of "Social Butterflies," which is a child development class through Isis, the same people who did the new moms' groups I did this summer. Afterwards, I went to lunch with one of the women in the class, Clair, who had also been in the first new moms' class I took. We were talking about the babies rolling over and I was saying how I was getting a little concerned that Annie hadn't rolled over yet. I have heard of babies who are several months younger than her rolling over, but I've also heard that rolling isn't tied with any particular age. It just happens, and there's a wide range as far as when it happens. Clair said that her baby, who is about a month older than Annie, had just rolled over a couple of weeks ago, which made me feel better.

We got home, I fed Annie, and then I put her in the Pack-n-Play to try to get her to take a nap before the plumber showed up. She likes to nap on her belly, so I put her on her belly. But instead of sleeping she lifted up her head and shoulders and was looking around. (She's not used to sleeping in the Pack-n-Play, particularly because she's too heavy for the bassinet now, so she's now lying in the bottom of the playpen). Next thing I knew, she had spun herself around so that she was perpendicular to the position she was in initially. Then she started rocking back and forth, and the next time I looked, she was over on her back! She was very happy about it (or reacted to my happiness).

This actually may have been the second time she rolled. The first time, we were napping on the bed a couple of weeks ago. She was next to me on her belly, and she seemed to roll over onto her back then too, but I thought that I might've given her some help, since she sort of pushed off of me.

The rolling is really good, because it means that she'll next figure out how to roll from her back to her belly. Then, when the daycare puts her on her back to nap (as they're required to do), she can roll into the position that is easiest for her to nap. Hopefully this will mean more rest at day care.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

More Plumbing

We are getting to be good friends with our plumber. Ah, the joys of owning an old house.

Today Jim is going to Home Depot to look at toilets. The mechanism that flushes our toilet is broken (the second time this has happened since we moved here). The vertical part of the toilet is also cracked (although not all the way through). The crack is not a new thing, but we haven't been able to flush the toilet all week without pulling off the back and manually flushing it that way. And since we've been doing that, the mechanism has further deteriorated. Initially, it was just the chain that was broken. But now, the suction cup part of the mechanism is no longer attached to anything and could get swept into the pipe at any time. This would cause the toilet to keep filling constantly, requiring a plumber right away.

For all of you who are in an apartment but would like to buy a house, take note. If we were in an apartment, we could just call maintenance and they would've taken care of this. (That assumes, of course, that you have a responsive maintenance person). But now that we own this house, it's all up to us. Broken toilet? Great! Hire a plumber. And stay at home while you wait for them to come. And then shell out the money. And by the way? If you decide to fix it yourself and end up causing a leak that destroys your ceiling? Well, you get to deal with that too! And while this is all being fixed, no toilet or water!

Anyway, it would be nice to get a new toilet and not have to worry about the crack getting larger and causing a huge leak when we least expect it. According to Jim's Plumbing "How-To" book from Home Depot, replacing a toilet is one of the easiest plumbing jobs you can do. Takes 1 hour. Unless you own an old house (pre-1940). Then the pipes and holes might not be the standard size, possibly requiring you to have to cut new holes and replace some of the pipes, etc. And of course, judging from our prior experiences with this house, it would just be our luck that after Jim pulls off the toilet, we'll realize that this is actually a bigger job than we can do in a day. Then we don't have a toilet and need to get a plumber ASAP and pay their elevated Sunday rates. And the water cut-off valve for our toilet is also broken. Which means that we'd have to shut off water to the whole house to fix it.

Jim is pricing out toilets to figure out if we can afford to replace the whole toilet, or if we're just going to fix the mechanism and wait longer for the new toilet.

So, in conclusion, for all those out there thinking of getting a house, here are things you need once you move in and have to do plumbing work:
1) a good plumber;
2) a good plasterer;
3) a sturdy bucket to place under the destroyed ceiling so you don't have destroyed floors too;
4) a Home Depot nearby;
5) 2 bathrooms with functional toilets would be a nice bonus; or
6) nice neighbors who would let you use their toilet; or
7) a membership to the YMCA to use their toilet and shower.

Makes you wonder whether owning a house is really worth it, eh? :) (But it is)


Well, Saturday turned out a little different than planned. We did go apple picking and it was quite fun:

We got tons of apples, all different varieties, and I'll probably be making apple crisp soon. Then we went back to our friends' house and had apple pie. Jim helped with the shed roof too. Our friend had built the shed entirely by himself, including the framing, etc. It was really impressive. All it needs now is the roof and it'll be complete.

By the time we got back to Quincy, none of us was feeling great. Annie was stuffed up and cranky because she missed her afternoon nap. Jim was feeling sick, and I was exhausted because I haven't been sleeping well lately. So unfortunately, we didn't get to go to the quilting bee. Instead, Jim stayed in with Annie and I went next door to the neighbors' cook-out. They got a fire pit a few weeks ago, and wanted to try it out. A lot of the neighbors were there and it was a good time.

Today is home maintenance and cleaning day. See the next blog post. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009


Today was a pretty low-key day. Annie and I went to the last meeting of the "Caterpillars" moms' group. We talked about traveling with the baby. It was somewhat useful, as I got some ideas for my flight to Buffalo next month. The big question is whether transporting Annie around in the Baby Bjorn will be sufficient, or whether I need to bring a stroller with me. I'd rather not bring the stroller, because that would mean also bringing her car seat. The stroller is a "Snap-n-Go" which means it doesn't "go" unless you have a car seat to "snap" into it. I wasn't planning on lugging the car seat around because my mother-in-law has one that we can use while in Buffalo. Anyway, we'll figure it out. Unfortunately, I think it'll probably be the most planned 48-hour trip that I've ever taken. :)

After Caterpillars, we came home, had lunch, and took a big long nap. Happiness is sleeping out on the front porch with a warm, cuddly baby on your chest. Extra points if there is also a cat nearby or on you. :)

This evening, I gave Annie a special bath. Annie has a bit of a cold and is a little congested. As a present, I received something called "vapor bath," which is supposed to provide "comfort" to babies with head colds. It turns out that it's just liquid soap that smells nice. But silly me, I followed the instructions on the bottle and dumped a cap-full of it into the tub before Annie got in. By the time I finished filling up the tub with water, the top of the tub was covered in bubbles! So Annie got a very aromatic bubble bath. It was all good until I had to rinse her off. I ended up having to pull her out of the tub, still slippery with bubbles and soap everywhere, then I drained the tub, and refilled with clean water. And miraculously, Annie didn't complain at all. She was actually pretty happy about the whole thing. Here she is, after the bath, in her special grandma pajamas:

Tomorrow will be a busy day, as most Saturdays seem to be these days. We're going apple-picking in the late morning with friends, followed by lunch, apple pie, and possibly some roofing of a shed at their house in Marlboro. Later, we are going to a "quilting bee." I'll have to write a separate post about that, I think.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

National Parks

The Boston Globe held a photo contest of photos of the National Parks. They posted the finalists, and all I can say is Wow.

I also think it's cool that I've actually been to many of the parks in the photos! All from our road trips. It makes me want to see more.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Three special birthdays this week:
1) Annika turned 5 months old yesterday. Big girl! In celebration, she drank formula, ate 2 bowls of oatmeal cereal and had a bath. She also went to bed early (at 7) because she was pretty tired out from day care.

2) Jim's birthday is today. He celebrated by opening presents last night, working all day, then going to his class. Hopefully he will come home early enough tonight to have some pistachio cake!!

3) My friend Jess is being induced probably as I write this, so her baby will probably be born late tonight (if she's lucky) or tomorrow! Good luck, Jess. Of course, who am I kidding? She won't be awake enough to be reading this blog again for a while. :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"This Is What Cute Looks Like"

Warning: gratuitous baby photos ahead. You can still turn back now. :)

Yes, I have to post some photos from my most recent "photo shoot" of Annie. They're just too cute not to post.

I especially like the second one, where she's peaking at me through her legs! :)

Oatmeal, night wakings, and Sunday

Today we started Annika on oatmeal baby cereal. It looks basically the same as the rice cereal, except it's a little browner. To me, the taste didn't seem to be too different from the rice cereal. Annie didn't seem to notice a difference either. She gobbled up a bowl of it. So we'll try that for a week and look for allergies.

We also moved Annie to the "fast flow" bottle nipples. I sort of think that the different speeds on the nipples is a bit of a scam. But she was starting to have difficulty getting the milk out of the medium flow nipples. I wasn't sure if that was because the nipples were shot or she needed the next stage. I decided to try the next stage.

Yesterday Annie had a hard day. She didn't want to take her afternoon nap. She finally went down around 6pm but then it looked like she was down for the night. Except that she still had one more bottle on the agenda. We woke her up at 7:30 and she barely woke up. She took down about 3/4 of the bottle and then promptly went back to sleep. I was thinking, "Now we're in for it." Knock on wood, Annie has been sleeping through the night for 2 months. But once in a while, if things are off during the day, she will wake up around 2 or 3. I remember that once she did this because we put her in different pajamas and she was cold. Another time, she was legitimately hungry.

Well, at 2am, we hear Annie talking to herself in the next room. It's really cute. This is how she normally wakes up in the morning now. She babbles and says "Ah-goo" a lot. If you go in to check on her, she usually has her little legs up in the air, sometimes she's rocking from side to side, her eyes are open and she'll give you a big smile. We were debating what to do, but she didn't sound upset so we thought we'd let her be and see if she went back to sleep. And she did! Very cool. And slept til 7:15, her normal waking time. I wonder why she woke up. Perhaps she was ruminating about her day, just like Mommy does.

Today we're going to see my friend Jen's new condo that she bought 2 weeks ago. It is in Arlington Center. (Arlington is just north of Cambridge). We're going to pick up sandwiches at Hi-Rise Bread Company and head over.

Later, we have to make a trip to BRU, the second one this weekend. I think I'm going to get one of those "exersaucer" things for Annie. I think she'll be able to sit up in it now, and it'll be more interesting than the bouncy seat. They're quite ridiculous-looking, but they also look like they would be fun for a baby.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

We made it (so far)

So we survived our first week of "back to work" and day care. Annika's first day of day care was Tuesday. They took photos of her and she looks pretty happy:
I missed her like crazy though. I think she did OK but it's going to take her a little while to get used to napping there, I think. It must be pretty noisy, and of course, she's not used to that. I bring her home and she is really tired.

Meanwhile, back at work, it's the same old stuff (which I won't get into here), plus, I have to say good-bye to all my clients. A drag.

Annie has been getting used to the rice cereal. We've changed the consistency so that it's quite a bit thicker than when we first started a week ago, and that seems to work better. The first time we fed her the rice cereal, it was so runny that it just went everywhere and I don't think she was able to swallow most of it because it ran out of her mouth too quickly! Now that it's thicker, she will open her mouth for the spoon, move the cereal around in her mouth a bit, and then swallow. Her formula consumption has gone down a few ounces, but she's still in good range. I'm going to weigh her at Isis tomorrow to make sure she's still OK, but she sure looks healthy!

Tomorrow we have a busy day planned - moms' group at Isis in the morning, and then a new playgroup in the afternoon! Some of the moms from my last Isis group are getting together at someone's house in West Roxbury. It should be fun. I'm praying Annie doesn't have a melt-down from all the activity.

This weekend, we might go apple-picking on Saturday, and on Saturday night, the neighbors are having a little cookout with their new fire pit. And a new baby was born across the street yesterday! He was born at home (which was planned - they had a midwife) and he weighed in at over 9 pounds. Another friend for Annie. Our next-door neighbor thinks that there are now 8-9 kids under the age of 5 on the street, and about half were born this year. We're already making Halloween plans.

Another weekend is almost here!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Rice cereal

At Annie's last pediatrician appointment, the doctor told us it was OK to start solid foods with her. We then had to get a high chair, which took a while. It finally arrived a few days ago, and after the usual hassle of putting it together, Annie has been hanging out in it during meals. She really likes it - I think she likes being able to sit up with us during meals.

Here's a photo of her, clearly impressed with the high chair:

Yesterday, we started Annie on rice cereal. Basically, you mix 1 Tbsp of cereal with 4-5 Tbsp of formula. So it's really, really soupy. Then we put her in a bib, and I had a special baby spoon, and we fed her the cereal. It mostly ran all over her face and some of it went on the bib:

But she didn't complain, and in fact, at times she even opened her mouth for us. I gave her some more this morning, and made it a little less soupy. She ate some of it.

The trick is that she is still supposed to be drinking the same amount of formula. The cereal is merely to introduce her to the texture of food, and perhaps give her a few more calories. (If the baby doesn't sleep through the night, the rice cereal is supposed to help with that, although a lot of people say that that's a myth). The problem, of course, is that after I give her a bottle, she's not really that hungry for the cereal. Yesterday, I waited about 30 minutes before I fed her the food. That might have been a little more successful than this morning, since I waited a little less time. Some people give their babies the cereal first and then the formula, but I worry that that would impact the baby's formula intake. Anyway, like everything else, I think we'll figure it out. We have to continue with just rice cereal for 1-2 weeks to see how her system reacts to it, and then we can try other things, like other grains (oatmeal, barley, etc.). Vegetables come next, then fruits. We have to try each food for a few days before introducing another one, to check for allergies.

Today we're going to try again to drive up to Freeport, Maine to go to L.L.Bean and get out of the house for the day. Hopefully the traffic will be better than the last time we tried this!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Post Office Square

I just saw this nice article in the Boston Globe about the park where I often go to eat my lunch in Downtown Crossing when the weather's nice: Click Here. Be sure to view the little video at the top of the article. It gives you an idea about the atmosphere. The article is about the seat cushions that the park provides to anyone who comes to the park and wants to sit on the grass. Apparently they've been providing the cushions for 10 years and no one has ever stolen one. That's pretty cool. The park really is a treasure. They usually have classical musicians playing during the lunch hour, and there's a fountain in the middle, where kids go and play in the water spray. They have one area with a pergola, with benches underneath. There are trees and lots of perennials. I love this park.


I've noticed that blogging is much easier in bullet points. :)

But first, a big "Happy Anniversary" to A.Fuss and Rob who are celebrating 3 years of marriage today! Have 3 years really gone by since the wedding??

Some thoughts about today:

1) Our neighbor with the very loud scooter who rides up and down our street all day, every day is driving me crazy! Really, doesn't he have anything better to do? Has he not discovered Facebook yet? :)

2) The daycare drop-off/pick-up test run was not as bad as I thought it would be. I only cried a little. We went out for breakfast at Early American, which we hadn't been to in years. Everything was totally the same there, of course (that's why my dad liked it so much, I think). When we came back, Annika was still awake, looking around at everything. We brought her home and she took a nap. The real thing starts Tuesday. That will be harder.

3) We had our second car-seat diaper blowout last night (the second time this week). We went out for a picnic in Hull and ice cream last night. When I got back in the car from ordering ice cream cones at DQ I picked up on that special diaper blow-out smell. Jim couldn't smell it. We quickly drove home, hoping it stayed in Annie's pants. But when I looked in the back window, I could see it all over the car seat. Apparently, Jim had buckled her into the seat in such a way that the diaper did not block the blow-out. Thankfully, it did not run onto the back seat of the car.

We put the car seat cushion in the washer again, which is against the manufacturer's instructions. Apparently you're only supposed to spot-clean the cushion. But seriously, how does one properly "spot-clean" a car seat that has been soiled in that way? Last time, the cushion was soaked all the way through. Anyway, it seems to do fine in the washer, and Jim has figured out to reassemble it into the car seat. For safety reasons, you're not supposed to put any sort of pad in between the baby and the car seat. So I have a feeling the cushion will see many more washings over the next 6-8 months that we use the seat.

Looking forward to the weekend!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Some of our clematis vines are in bloom. They are incredible. My favorite is the one that, from a distance, it looks like snow.

And then there's this clematis, which never bloomed in the spring and we didn't know why. It seems that it is also a fall-blooming variety:

It's another clear, beautiful day today. I wish I felt as bright and sunny as the weather.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


One of the things I've enjoyed about this summer has been all the picnics that Annie and I have taken. I think our favorite picnic venue is Houghton's Pond, which is a swimming hole about 15 minutes from our house in the Blue Hills Reservation.

Today, I had to go into Boston to drop a file off at work. My boss contracted me to do an appeals brief that was due right after she got back from vacation. So over the last couple of weeks, I've been working on that when I could. I finally finished it on Sunday, and needed to bring back the file so that my boss can submit the brief and attachments to the board of appeals.

After dropping off the file, I picked up some lunch at Bruegger's, and then we walked over to the Boston Common for a picnic. I should mention that the weather is just about perfect - about 70 degrees, sunny, clear skies. Here's Annie, taking it all in (and chewing on her rings):

It's hard to believe I'll be back to work in a week.