Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve sledding

Today, we got about 2 inches of snow in the course of a couple of hours. This meant that my office closed even earlier than it was supposed to (at 1 instead of 3). It also meant that traffic was especially crappy coming home. But I got to pick up Annika early from day care and then we went sledding!!


It's been a long time since I had so much fun in the snow! I think Annika had a good time until her hands got really cold ... we have mittens, but they're at day care. I need to bring them home. 

Happy new year!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Post-Christmas reflections

It's hard to believe that, in the blink of an eye, Christmas is over. A week ago, we were a couple of hours away from getting in our car and driving in to Buffalo. Here I am a week later, and all that's left are some photographs and these paper bags with gifts all over the floor of the front hall. I sometimes think that the best part about Christmas is the anticipation of it all. Trying to pick out gifts that you think each person will like. Thinking about all the fun things that will happen when we're in Buffalo. Having a busy calendar where we get to see most of the people that we are close to in our lives.

It was certainly a full month. At the beginning of the month I co-moderated a two-day training on immigration basics. Annika got her first two teeth and we had our first "sick visit" to the pediatrician (where we learned that Annika was not sick, just teething). Annika saw her first snow. We picked out a Christmas tree and decorated it. We went to parties at my office, at several friends' houses, and a birthday party for our friends' two-year-old son. In between that, I did Christmas shopping. I finished my class at Isis. And then we had our big 4-day Christmas extravaganza in Buffalo.

As everyone predicted, Christmas is magical when you have a baby. It's also a juggling routine. We did our best to see everyone, but there seemed to be more that we could've done, if only we'd had more time. We missed a party at Jim's aunt's house because we had already left for Boston. We weren't able to bring Annika to some of the festivities because they were past her bedtime. It was hard to tell Jim's grandma that we might not see her again until the spring. I'd like to say that we'll be in Buffalo again this winter, but I just don't see when.

Back to reality, I worked Monday and Tuesday and tried to make some progress on the amicus brief that we're putting together for later this month. I have new lighting in my office (thanks to Jim!), but without windows, I feel like I'm working in a cave. I never know what the weather is like outside, or if the sun is shining. I guess I've been pretty spoiled up to this point - in my last two jobs, I had beautiful, large windows in my work area, looking out on urban Boston.

We have one more holiday party to look forward to. Our next-door neighbors are throwing a new year's eve party. It'll be great because they all have little kids too, and understand that little kids go to sleep early. Plus, they're right next door, so we'll be able to stay at the party longer before we have to bring Annika home for bed.

Happy new year, everyone!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


We are keeping busy here in Buffalo over Christmas. I posted some Christmas photos to Flickr. Here's a taste:

Mommy and Annika cuddle up on Christmas Eve morning:

Annie and Maddie as Santa:

With GG Mac:

Both halves of JK Squared:

Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I just got an early Christmas present from the First Circuit!



We are packing up and getting ready for another whirlwind holiday. All the presents are wrapped and stacked in bags. Annika's "lovie" blanket was washed and dried this morning (ready for tonight). Jim got the car washed yesterday, after the car had a run-in with a flock of birds.  We decided not to install the new car seat. Annie still marginally fits in the infant seat, and it's better not to mess with a new seat during a long car trip. We'll deal with that when we get back to Boston.

Holidays are a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I always look forward to them. I enjoy seeing family and friends. I enjoy being in Buffalo. I enjoy the traditions that come with the holidays. On the other hand, holidays are tiring. It's a long drive, and once we're there, we often seem to rush around and don't get to actually take things in and digest them. This becomes even more challenging when you thrust a baby into the mix. To some degree, we are different people - we are out of our home context, living out of a suitcase.  I have not figured out a way to avoid the big rush. The desire not to rush around conflicts with the desire to see everyone and do everything and cram all those things into the limited time that we are in town. I guess in the end, the desire to cram overcomes the desire to relax.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I was sure that as soon as Boston and the other towns started freaking out and calling snow emergencies and things that the storm was going to turn to rain and make everyone look silly. But no, there's a lot of snow. It started snowing after we went to bed last night, and continues to come down quite hard this morning. Jim is out snow blowing the neighborhood as I write this.

I was going to leave you with a photo, but it seems like I'm not able to upload photos this morning for some reason. Maybe later.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Early Wakings, Cookies, and The Storm

Here I am, sitting on the couch, with Zeus curled up at my side. Annika has been asleep for about an hour and a half. We ate dinner and watched an NCIS episode. It's a pretty normal evening, but what a crazy day.

We woke up this morning at 4:45 when Annika woke up and was crying. It could have been a number of things - her cold, the dry air caused by the cold and the furnace, hunger, or the reason that you use when you don't have any other reasons: teething. My friend Jen had slept over from babysitting the night before, so she woke up too. We tried everything, and finally after a bottle and some Tylenol, Annie fell back asleep at around 5:30 for about 90 minutes. We sort of fell asleep too.

We got up around 7:30 after Annie woke up again. We fed her and then went out to breakfast at our favorite Quincy diner, the Early American. Then we took Jen back home, went to the grocery store, and then rushed home to make cookies for the cookie swap.

I made pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies. They came out better than expected. I was so paranoid about burning them, that I was worried they weren't going to be cooked all the way through, but they were fine.

We tried to put Annie down for a nap but she was not having it. She completely resisted all of her naps today. I suppose it's difficult for her to sleep with the stuffed up nose and cough, but you'd think she'd be so tired from waking up at 4:45 that she'd want to nap. I know Jim and I wanted to nap!

At 1:15 we left for the cookie swap at J. and N.'s house. It was really, really fun. There were about 10 people there besides us, and everyone brought unusual cookies. We ate a lot of cookies. And amazingly, Annie was great. (We were expecting a melt down). I held her in the Baby Bjorn, and she sampled all of the food - I let her gum some of the cookies and things. One of the women at the party was playing with her and she was laughing and having a good old time. It was a really nice holiday party, without it being an official Holiday Party. This was J. and N.'s first Christmas in the new house and they had a Christmas tree set up in a little bay-window type area in their living room that looked like it was built for a Christmas tree. It was a cozy afternoon and I'm glad we decided to go. I think Annie had fun too.

We got home, played with Annie, and tried to keep her awake until bedtime. Here she is with Jim:

And here she is with Anya the Bear, who is almost as big as she is! 


(if you look closely, you can see Annie's two new bottom teeth in this photo!) You'd never guess it from the photos, but aside from a couple of short cat-naps in the car, she did not nap today. I don't know what happened. I hope she sleeps good and long tonight.

And tonight, we are waiting for the blizzard that is supposed to hit right around now. Washington and New York have gotten blanketed with snow, so it looks like we're going to get our share.  Thankfully, it's a Saturday night, and we don't have to go anywhere tomorrow. We'll watch the Pats game and wrap presents and have a cozy winter day!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I love weekends

My reasons for being happy that the weekend is here:

1) We went to a really nice Christmas party at my office tonight, and Jim and Annie got to meet all my new co-workers.

2) Tomorrow evening, Jim and I are going out on our first date since May. We are going out to dinner, followed by the Nutcracker. My friend Jen is staying with Miss Annika for the night. We are going to a different Nutcracker this year. Usually we go to the Boston Ballet performance in downtown. This year, we're going to a production put on by the Jose Matteo ballet company, which is being performed at a theater at Brandeis University in Waltham. My boss' daughter is dancing in the performance. It should be really nice.

3) Cookie swap party on Saturday!

4) Christmas wrapping with awesome ribbon

5) Only a week til Christmas! Only a little shopping left to do, and everything seems to be under control.

Monday, December 14, 2009

8 months!

Annie turned eight months today.

She was at day care today, and apparently played with green finger paint, because she needed a bath tonight. :)  She was so excited by her birthday that she decided to forgo her afternoon nap all together! And dinner too! Birthdays will do that to you. But I think (and hope) she'll sleep well tonight.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Highlights of the week

1) Our friends S. and B. were finally placed with a baby for adoption!! Yea! It's been a long process with a lot of setbacks. It looks like everything is finally going to work out though. It's amazing how many people I know have had babies this year.

2) Annika got another tooth this week. I brushed her teeth for the first time this morning, using baby toothpaste and this little rubber thing that fits on your finger. I was sure she was going to resist, but she actually seemed to enjoy it.

3) We decorated the house for Christmas, and Jim put up lights in our front porch too. Here are Annika and Zeus with our tree:

 Our Christmas shopping is going OK. I'm still very stumped on some people but it'll all work out, I'm sure.

4) I made cranberry orange nut bread last night. The first batch came out perfectly. The second batch ... well ... it sort of looks like cake, and completely fell apart when I tried to take it out of the cake tin. I am not sure what happened, although Jim suspects that I screwed up the amount of flour. And now that I think about it, I may have used the 1/2 cup measure, thinking it was the cup  measure.  Oh well. It tastes good, anyway.

Today we have a Christmas party at a friend's house in Arlington, and tomorrow we're going to a birthday party for a friend's little boy, who is turning two on Monday! And we have a ton of errands to run. The weekend will be gone in a blink, I fear.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


We got our first snow last night. This morning, we put Annika in the snowsuit that Jim wore as a baby and took her outside. The snow was icy so we didn't stay too long out there.

She looks like a natural snow bunny to me! Next: ice skating and skiing? Oh, maybe next year.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Got Tooth?

I am happy to report that this morning, when I felt Annie's gums, I felt a little razor edge. The tooth has finally come through. Thank goodness. Annie's sleep has been back to normal for the last two nights, although she does seem to have developed a bit of a cough. Both she and I are fighting a head cold.

Yesterday was a nice day because Jim didn't have to go into work, due to the crazy hours he put in this week at the conference. It was a nice, relaxing day. We got lunch at S&S Deli, and then checked out the toy store next door, called Stellabella Toys. It felt like a Saturday, even though it was only Friday.

Today Annie and I are going to a focus group at Isis for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. In exchange for our participation, I get a $50 gift card to Isis! Pretty cool. DPA is particularly interested in what Annie has to say about her first months on earth.

I also finally ordered a car seat for Annie - Evenflo Symphony. I got a deal on it at Albee Baby, with free shipping too. I ordered it on Tuesday night, and it arrived yesterday afternoon. We're going to see about installing it in the car later today. We still have to order another one, but I thought we'd try this one out. If we like it, we get another one. If not, we order another brand.

I'm off to pack up the diaper bag so we can leave for Isis.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Teething, ear infections, runny noses and the croup

Yes, as you may have guessed from the title of this blog post, today did not go well. Mom went home last night, Jim doesn't get home til nearly midnight tonight, and so, it's just me and Miss Annika. The fates that be decided to use this opportunity to introduce me to a part of motherhood that I haven't seen much of yet: the sick baby.

It all started shortly before my last blog post. Annika had gone to sleep around 7, but it was 9:15 and she was awake again. I suspected that it was teething and hoped that with a little Tylenol, some rocking and some singing, Annie would feel comfortable enough to sleep the rest of the night. But, of course, I was wrong. It took about an hour to get her back to sleep. I noticed that while she was crying, she was pulling at her left ear. When she finally went back to sleep, I looked this up on-line and learned that it could be a sign of teething. Or it could be a sign that she has an ear infection. Great. But what could I do at that point? So, I went to sleep.

At 12:30, poor Annie was awake again, uncomfortable. I was so sleepy that I decided to see if she was also so sleepy that she would also fall back asleep. And this worked.

It also worked at 1:30 when she woke up again.

But it did not work at 2:40, when she woke up and was really crying. Interestingly, this was also about the time that the Tylenol would've worn off. So perhaps it really was helping. I'm still not sure. Anyway, it took another hour to get her back to sleep. In the end, out of ideas, I gave her one of her old "soothie" pacifiers from the hospital that we hadn't used in the months. (Annie's a thumb sucker but wouldn't suck her thumb last night, presumably because her gums hurt). I didn't put the pacifier in her mouth; I just handed it to her. She examined it carefully, over and over again, as if it was the greatest and most interesting thing in the world. I also put her "lovie" blanket (the soft pink mini-blanket with the hippo head attached) next to her. She stopped crying almost immediately and within a few minutes she was asleep again. I have no idea why this worked, except that I suspect the Tylenol finally kicked in.

Annie then slept til her normal waking hour of 6:00, when she was quite hungry and took down her bottle. I decided to call the doctor to ask about the ear infection. I figured the doctor would just realize that he was dealing with a new parent and tell me that it was teething and send me on my way. But instead, he suspected an ear infection and said that I should bring her in. I should also mention that Annie has had a runny nose for a few days, probably from a cold that I also seem to be fighting.

I haven't mentioned yet that I just started my job less than 2 months ago, and already had to call in sick from work on Monday because I was awake all night with a stomach bug. This didn't look great, since it was the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday, but I didn't have a choice. Today, I was supposed to go to a conference in Boston that had required attendance for everyone in my office.

But again, I really had no choice. The pediatrician needed to see Annie and that meant that we had to go. We got the first appointment of the day, at 9am. I called my boss and explained what was going on. She was very understanding - she has two kids of her own.

The doctor took us quickly and ruled out the ear infection. He looked at her gums and thought that her top gums were definitely swollen, and that there was definitely a tooth coming through on the bottom. He recommended an aspirator for the runny nose and Tylenol for the teething.  So I brought Annie to day care, and then got on the T and went to work.

At 1:30, during my lunch break, I got a call from the director of the daycare center. Although Annie was "fine" and I shouldn't worry, she told me that Annie had a cough that sounded raspy, like a seal. She mentioned that she had heard this type of cough before in other kids and in her experience it didn't go away "by itself" without prescription medicine. She mentioned that it sounded like a croup-like cough. I'm not entirely sure why she called, because she wasn't asking me to come pick Annie up. Maybe she was just covering herself, in case it got worse? I don't know. Anyway, she said she would watch it and if it got worse, I would need to pick Annie up.

So I freaked out again, because I have a friend whose son was rushed to the emergency room in an ambulance because of the croup, since he was struggling to breathe.  Should I leave work? What if tonight, Annie gets the croup and I don't know enough to call an ambulance? I called the pediatrician's office again. They said not to worry - just get a vaporizer and elevate the side of the crib mattress where her head is. They said that if the cough gets worse, I should just call them and they can get Annie in for another appointment tomorrow.

So I went back into the conference, stayed til 4, and then picked up Annie. She was just fine. No cough at all. She was just tired. The day care teacher said that she only coughed when she woke up from naps, which makes sense for a kid with a runny nose, since all the post-nasal drip builds up in the throat. But I got a vaporizer anyway and set it up. It's actually quite nice. I gave Annie a nice long bath with the special "vapor" soap that is supposed to clear up your sinuses (it smells a little like Vicks). She had a good dinner (peaches and rice cereal), didn't want her last bottle, and then went to sleep. And she's been sleeping now for about 30 minutes. Let's hope it continues.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Not quiet any more

Reasons why my Wednesday is no longer quiet:

1) I decided to go to bed early tonight to get some rest. As I was climbing into bed, I stepped in something wet. It was cat puke.
2) As I was going downstairs to get paper towels to clean it up, Annika woke up.
3) It's extremely unusual for Annika to wake up like this, at 9:15. Usually, once she's asleep for the night, not even a train would wake her up. She was sucking on her sleep sack and pulling at her ear and crying, sometimes inconsolably. An hour later, I think she's back asleep. I gave her some Tylenol. I think we might have a repeat performance later tonight. I'm pretty sure these are all teething symptoms.
 4) The downstairs smells like skunk. For a while, I was worried that a skunk got into the house. Then I opened the back door and realized that it smells like skunk even more strongly outside, which means the skunk sprayed outside. I'm not thrilled that he sprayed but I am thrilled that he is not in my house and did not spray Solomon again.

Now I'm going to bed.

A quiet Wednesday night

We had a nice visit with my mom this week. She drove back to Boston with us from Buffalo and stayed with Annie while I was at work. Today, she sat in on my Isis class with me, then we went to lunch at the Biltmore Cafe in Newton, and later we took a walk around our neighborhood with Annie in the Bjorn. (She is getting awfully heavy in the Bjorn. I'm sad that her days in it are numbered. I love carrying her around in that thing).

Annie really enjoyed hanging with Grandma, and I'm pretty sure my mom enjoyed Annie just as much!

But, now it's back to reality. Jim doesn't get home til tomorrow night, very late. I am juggling the drop-off/pick-up routine at the daycare, although this should be a little easier tomorrow since I'm going to be in Boston all day at a conference, instead of Somerville.

I'm pretty sure Annie will have a tooth quite soon. Her gums are quite swollen and I can see a bump where the tooth is pushing through. She was a bit uncomfortable today at times. Perhaps the above photo will be Annie's last photo without teeth? :) Or perhaps this is yet another false alarm?

The house is very quiet, and at times, I wish I could hop on that plane with my mom and fly back to Buffalo with her. It's hard to be away from the warm blanket that is family.