Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, Zane!

My darling Zane -

As I write this entry, you are asleep; snugly enveloped in your beloved blanket, pacifier in your mouth, breathing (oh, how I love to hear you breathe...) steadily, and skipping happily along in dreamland. You cannot understand - or, maybe you do - that your birthday is nigh. And not just any birthday; your very first birthday on Earth, and quite a special occasion for all of us.

Exactly one year ago today, God made us a family and the well of love in our hearts became bottomless. Your name means "gracious gift of God," and we chose that name for you because you are the greatest blessing in our life. I hope whenever someone asks you about the meaning of your name you will always remember that: YOU are the greatest blessing and gift in our life.

As I reflect on the last year, my heart overflows with gratitude and love. Gratitude to God: He said to Pop and me, "you are to be parents; but trust in me." We did, and he gave us you. You, the love of our life: a sweet, happy, confident, loving and content child who has filled our life with more joy than we ever imagined was possible. And Love. To our lives you have brought love in its purest form; unconditional, unrestrained, say-it-loud-and-act-all-proud love!

December 12, 2007, a Wednesday, was a beautiful day: clear, sunny and warm with gentle breezes. It started as any other day: Pop got out of bed early, made coffee and sat down to email and the Today Show. I slept late, following advice to "get as much sleep as possible before the baby arrives." Thankfully, that was never a problem. I had a dream pregnancy until the last three, scary weeks. But, back to that Wednesday. You were due to arrive, via scheduled c-section, on Friday, December 14th. Pop and I were very excited to finally meet you. But, first, there was one last visit with Maternal Fetal Medicine, at 3:45pm on Wednesday, December 12th. A formality, really, since we already had a date in the OB/OR with Dr. Stubbs.


Auntie Ashley drove me to the doctor, and we both ooohhed and aaahhed listening to your strong heartbeat and gazing at your perfect face during the sonogram. Mama's vital stats: 37 weeks, 4 days, 140 lbs, BP 155/100. The meeting with the doctor went something like this:
  • Dr. Salamat: "How are you?"
  • Me: "I'm great!"
  • Dr. Salamat: "No, you're not. You're sick. You're blood pressure is high."
  • Me: "Well, yeah, but it was the same as it was yesterday and Dr. Stubbs let me go home. Besides, I'm having the baby on Friday."
  • Dr. Salamat: "No, you're having the baby tonight."
  • Me: "Are you serious?"
  • Dr. Salamat: "Yes."

At that point I started crying and the room began to spin. They asked us to wait in the office while Dr. Salamat wrote up admission orders for OB Triage. Orders in hand, Auntie and I walked from Maternal Fetal Medicine directly to OB Triage.

When Pop arrived he presented me with a book of well-wishes and messages from all of our family and friends. We read the messages as day turned to evening, and finally it was time. What happened next is blurry but, in the end, in a quiet operating room, at 9:13pm, you emerged from me, took your first breath and cried. It was, to that point, the most beautiful sound I had ever heard.

Pop never left your side as the medical team performed the necessary tests - you scored 9s on the Apgar tests, and you weighed 7 lbs, 3 oz. After your very first bath, Pop took you into his arms and introduced you to Pappi, Auntie Ashley, Uncle Kevin, Kyle and Todd. When I was finally settled into our room, Pop laid you in my arms and you nestled close to me as we both slept.

And so, my sweet child, that is how your life began. And we have enjoyed every single, solitary minute with you: the middle-of-the-night feedings; the diaper explosions; the tummy gas-induced crying at 7:30pm every night during your first 8 weeks; the thousands of expressions your stunningly beautiful face can make; how you always snuggle up to us when we are sleeping; all of your sweet little yawns; all of your smiles, your laughs, and your tears; everything. We are so proud of you, and how you are growing. You are healthy, and happy - oh! so very happy! - and a true joy. It's a little bit hard to say goodbye to infancy today, but our life with you just keeps getting better!


So, Happy Birthday, my little buddy, sweet bean, honey bunny, darlin' bean.

We love you. xoxo.

-Mama and Pop

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The End of Infancy

Yes, Anonymous, I know I failed. See there in the sidebar to the right? I admit it. So there. Whatever. On to more important things.


I have been so scattered for the last week. I know the source of my lack of focus: Zane is positively careening toward the big 0h-1! just three days from today. Try as I might, and no matter what I do to distract myself from this fact, I can't help but reflect on the last year and wallow in sentimentality, which leads to lack of focus, which leads to scatterbrained-ness and so on and so forth.

I'm not the type to live in the past, forsaking the joy of today, tomorrow and the next day. But the last year - actually, the last eighteen months - has been amazing. The greatest joy I've ever known is Zane: a tiny, sleepy, snuggly, contented bundle of sweetness who has grown into the happiest, smiliest, most expressive, sweetest little boy.

All of my friends who are mothers comfort my sadness by reminding me that it "just gets better." It's hard to believe that when your own baby is a newborn, and you are enjoying every minute of their baby-ness, and you want so much for life to revert to time-lapse mode.

But as we approach Friday, I am more sure that my girlfriends are right. Zane is every bit the baby who arrived on a clear and balmy December evening, under a waxing crescent moon flanked by bright stars. A calm, alert and observant child from the first minute of life. Confident in himself and his parents, and trusting in his sense of place in this life. He has thrived and, of that, I am especially proud.

It will be hard to say goodbye to infancy on Friday; but that's life. There is always a new adventure.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Catching Up

As my Anonymous Blog Stalker "politely" reminded me, I haven't kept up with this NaBloPoMo thingy very well in the last five days. Whatever! Thanks for the suggested new daily mantra, but I think I'll stick with what works for me: Recommit daily to your goals. So, getting back to business. Starting with Sunday, five days late. Cheers to all us thieves! It may be late, but this meme is a perfect metaphor for the chaos that has reigned in my universe during the last five days.

1. Do you like blue cheese salad dressing? Yes, but not the creamy variety. I like blue cheese vinaigrette.

2. Favorite late night snack? Cherry Garcia, or Hash Browns scattered, smothered and covered.

3. Do you own a gun? Yes. A shotgun.

4. What’s your favorite drink at Starbucks or other specialty coffee shop? Venti Shaken Iced Passion Tea with three Splenda instead of the classic (sugar) syrup.

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Not anymore, after bi-weekly, then weekly, OB visits with two doctors when I was pregnant last year.

6. What do you think of hot dogs? Ewww. But necessary.

7. Favorite Christmas song? Sailor's Christmas, Jimmy Buffett.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Either Orange or Cranberry juice, or Diet Coke.

9. Can you do push-ups? Yes.

10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? My Ah Ring.

11. Favorite hobby? Cooking.

12. Do you have A.D.D.? No, I have Mommy Brain.

13. What’s one trait that you hate about yourself? Lack of self-discipline.

14. The last disease you contracted? Toxemia.

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment:
  • I really need to organize my to-do list.
  • How soon can I leave work today?
  • I need a nap.

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Diet Coke, Red Zinger, wine.

17. Current worry right now? The sluggish economy, and whether it will start to affect my family even more than it already has affected us.

18. Current hate right now? Ain't got time to hate.

19. Favorite place to be? Anywhere with my family.

20. How did you ring in the New Year? PG and I were new parents of a three-week-old, so we enjoyed a lovely surf 'n turf supper with my sister, brother-in-law, nephews, and mother. We decided to not attend the party we were invited to attend, but we did cruise through Albertson's for ice cream and champagne. Then we went home, just the three of us. And we fell asleep before midnight, without eating the ice cream or popping the champagne. Somehow, it was perfect.

21. Like to travel? Do fish know how to swim?

22. Name three people who will complete Sunday Stealing this week:

23. Do you own slippers? Yes. Ugg slippers, and I loooooooooove them.

24. What color shirt are you wearing? My shirt is the color of a newborn fawn.

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? No. It feels a bit sleazy. 400-thread count cotton, please.

26. Can you whistle? No.

27. Favorite singer/band? Jimmy Buffett.

28. Could you ever make it 39 days on the show Survivor? No.

29. What songs do you sing in the shower? I don't sing in the shower. I chatter away with my son.

30. Favorite girl’s names? Gracelia, Ava Grace, Lila Sutton. Those are the girl names I chose before learning my Z was a He.

31. Favorite boy’s name? Zane.

32. What’s in your pocket right now? A pacifier.

33. Last thing that made you laugh? Last night's episode of Mythbusters.

34. Like your job? Yes, on most days.

36. Do you love where you live? The 239 is awesome: beaches, palm trees, sunshine, gorgeous winters.

37. How many TVs do you have in your house? Seven.

38. Who is your loudest friend? Allison, with two "L's." Alison with one "L" is quite soft-spoken.

39. Do you drive the speed limit or speed? I speed.

40. Does someone have a crush on you? I think so.

41. What is your favorite book? The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

42. What is your favorite candy? Loves me some Twizzlers, yo!

43. Favorite Sports Team? Florida Gators.

44. What were you doing 12 AM last night? Sleeping.

45. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up today? Is that a stinky diaper I smell?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Vignette From our Home at 9:58pm Last Night

Mr. Robert P. Tracey (in a thick New Yawk accent...): "Yeah, someone from this number called PetFinders about placing two cats."

Me: "Um, no we didn't."

Mr. Robert P. Tracey: "Are you sure?"

Me: "Um, yeah. Pretty sure."

Mr. Robert P. Tracey: "Is this 239/245-2859?"

Me: "No. This is 239/245-xxxx."

Mr. Robert P. Tracey: "Are you absolutely sure nobody from that number called about placing the cats?"

Me: (Inner dialogue: Mr. Robert P. Tracey, sir, I assure you that no one from our household called PetFinders from our home line to inquire about placing two cats. Really. I promise. Beyond the fact that we rarely use our home phone, much less at 9:58pm, and that our number isn't 239/245-2859, we are not cat people. Oh, Mr. Tracey, if you only knew just how vehemently we are not cat people...) "Yes. I am absolutely sure."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Haiku for Stalkers

A Friday haiku for my Anonymous Blog Stalker (Hi Kevin!):

It is not Lupus,
Silly no-name commenter.
It is BRONCHITIS.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Random Things About Today

  1. I have officially given up on this week. I spent another day meandering between the sofa and my bed, covered and uncovered (depending on my fever), watching smut on the telly. Bravo disappointed me today; but, Oh, VH1! Your Celebrity Rehab made me feel like I could run a marathon today, even in my pitiable, tired, feverish, congested, coughing-up-a-lung state. And, by the way, am I the only one who thinks it is so very, very sad that Kenicky is a chronic addict?
  2. Zane is officially 11 months old (as of yesterday), and he is now officially waving "bye bye." And so far, so good on our mission to keep him safe from invasion by the germs infecting his Mama.
  3. PG is tired. Bless his dear soul, he has been Super Papa, nurse maid and full-time employee all week. He even made homemade "junk" soup for supper last night because that was the only thing that sounded even remotely good. And it WAS good.
  4. Tylenol Cold Nighttime=good. Claritin D=no bueno.
  5. Gas prices have fallen to $1.99/gallon in Southwest Florida. Woot!
  6. I just realized I used the adverb "officially" three times in this post. Under normal circumstances, I would ponder substitute word choices; but I have no brain power left today. See #1 on this list.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Illness, Thy Name Is...

...severe respiratory infection and bronchitis. So, "Anonymous" thanks for suggesting it may be Kuru (what-the-shutchermouf???) or Lupus; as if I didn't feel bad enough already.

Anywhoo, it's Day Five of "not feeling so good," and Day Three of laying on the sofa watching the ever-entertaining smut on BravoTV.

Until this week, I thought the powers-that-be at Bravo had really hit a low note with The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Now I understand its value: providing seriously sick mamas with a dose of indulgent, guilty pleasure between bouts of coughing up nasty green stuff. One question, though: why are they ALWAYS DRINKING on that show? Seriously! That Kim person was actually holding a full wine glass while sitting in her Porsche. I'm sure she wasn't driving but, still, open container law much?

Also, my new favorite expression is "black don't crack," another Kim-ism. Throw me some love, internets, post some comments with clever uses for that phrase. I think it will add to my street cred.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ugh.

I do not know what has infected my being but, apparently, I'm providing a nice, cozy environment and it has decided to stay for a while. I (still) feel miserable, but I'm thanking my lucky stars for several things today:
  • PG, for skipping work to take care of me
  • Zane, for his super-happy, contented demeanor and for his habit of sleeping through the night
  • Miss Diana and Miss Victoria, for taking such wonderful care of Zane today (on my day off, while I was at home)
  • Tylenol Cold
  • Crisp, clean sheets on my bed
  • A long, hot shower
  • Plenty of accrued sick leave
  • Leather sofas that are cool on a feverish body
  • Remote control television
  • Non-stop, smutty entertainment on BravoTV; and
  • Wireless internet

Also, I heard a story on the BBC World News this morning about a political dissident in Burma who was on the run and in hiding, and who had not seen her 7-month-old daughter since she was 4-months-old. The details of the story are hazy...I was still groggy from last night's medication. But, it struck me how lucky we all are to live in a country where we can disagree about politics, openly criticize our government and leaders, and still not live in fear that we will be separated from our family because of that dissension. So, I'm thankful for that, too.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mamas Aren't Supposed to Get Sick

I cannot believe how awful I felt all day today. What started as a lingering, worsening two-day sore throat morphed over night into something resembling a flu, including all of the fun gastrointestinal issues that go along with that. Sigh. The bright side is two-fold: PG is an AWESOME nurse, and an even better father. So not only were all of my needs met today, so were Zane's. That's some good stuff, right there.

Also, thank you to Karen, Aunt Laura and Lisa for the shout-outs from the fan club. Reading your comments was also a bright spot in an otherwise truly miserable day.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Making a Brave Effort

I'm no longer in the running for the NaBloPoMo booty. Heck, I don't think I was EVER in the running since I never really got around to sending my blog name to Mrs. Kennedy; but, whatever. I digress.

Given that the only two people who read my blog with any regularity were with me for supper tonight (awesomely yummy vittles, by the way, Ash...), I am taking a pass on truly thoughtful posting in favor of nursing my two-day-sore-throat-that-just-isn't-getting-any-better. I'm currently drinking Ashley's preferred remedy: two bags of Sleepytime steeped in a cup of boiling water, mixed with two TBSP each of lemon juice, honey and (halleleuia, thank you Lord for the Hollow at Lynchburg...) Black Jack. I'll be out in three minutes, without my $200 in Monopoly money.

In other news, it was a B-E-A-YOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-TEEEEEEEEE-FUL weekend in Southwest Florida, and the Gators are now #3 (or #4, depending on which poll you favor); they are #4 in the BCS poll - the ridiculous three-computer-generated list of who plays who in the bowl games. Ashley's prediction: UF vs. TX in the BCS Title Game. I concur. South Beach, woot! woot!

Also, I really wish someone would tell me how to do that strike-through font so I can be clever without parentheses.

If I were speaking aloud right now, I'd be slurring my words. It is past time for bed.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I Failed.

Amid all the merriment that was my Friday, I forgot to update my blog for NaBloPoMo. Sigh. New mantra: recommit daily to your goals.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mini Me

When Zane was born the refrain sounded, "he looks Just. Like. His father." He still does look a lot like PG, and that is a good thing; PG is smokin' hot. As he gets older, though, he is starting to look like me, too (finally...)

Useppa Island Club - September 2008

Labor Day 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It Is Morning in America Again

Today feels like "It is morning in America again." Yes, that is a reference to Ronald Reagan. And yes, I am connecting President-elect Barack Obama to Ronald Reagan.

I am a Republican, but I am weary - let me capitalize and properly punctuate that: WEARY!!! - of the nastiness that has pervaded our political system during the last 14 years. It IS time for a change. Not just a change from one party to another, but a departure from hatefulness; negativity; rudeness; acrimony; bureaucratic inertia; stale ideas; political zealots; dogged ideology; dittoheads who don't think for themselves; and antipathy. We've had too much of it, for too many years, and it's time for it stop.

It is past time for Americans to start thinking for themselves again, to engage, and to become part of the solution by actually participating in their democracy. While I may not agree with all of President-elect Obama's policy ideas, I believe in his core values and I am praying for his strength to foster in our nation the change and civility we so desperately need and deserve. We are fellow Americans and, as John McCain said last night, that is an association that should mean the most to everyone.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Awesomeness

For Epiphany.


Here is how I was awesome today. I:
  • got up at 6:45am (on time for once...)
  • made bottles, lunch and snacks for daycare
  • finished loading the dishwasher with dishes in the sink from last night (yuck!)
  • washed other dishes that cannot be cleaned in the dishwasher
  • ate breakfast (re-committing to do that every day...)
  • played with my son (PG takes the morning shift of feeding the morning bottle, changing diapers and dressing Zane for school...I get the fun part of just snuggling, kissing and playing with him...)
  • took a shower (and actually shaved my legs!)
  • brushed AND flossed my teeth (normally I have to floss before bedtime because I am too rushed to do it in the morning...I know...eewwwww...)
  • actually blew my hair dry AND styled it!
  • applied makeup, including lip gloss
  • selected an outfit I liked, on the first try
  • remembered my dress shoes for work (I always wear flip-flops until I arrive there...)
  • took Zane to daycare
  • communicated clearly and effectively with the daycare director about my concerns from last Wednesday
  • arrived at work on time!
  • put in a full day of work
  • picked up Zane from daycare right at 5:05pm
  • rocked Zane to sleep for his late afternoon catnap
  • started the dishwasher
  • started a load of laundry
  • went to a Pilates class for the first time in, oh, I don't know, 6 months?
  • picked up Crispers salads for dinner on the way home from the gym
  • managed to eat my dinner while holding an infant who was all about Mama tonight
  • put the laundry into the dryer, and pulled out the load that was already IN the dryer
  • folded the laundry, and actually put away all the kid stuff while Z was getting ready for bed
  • fed Zane his bedtime bottle and put him down for the night
  • washed the dishes in the sink (am I really the only one who sees them in there?); and
  • managed to stay on track with the NaBloPoMo thingy.

If you notice that the forgoing list of my accomplishments today does not include "I voted" that is because I voted three weeks ago via absentee ballot.

Also, an UPDATE (as of 10:20pm...): I just finished filling the warm steam vaporizer with water, the pinch of salt (to mitigate the hard water), and the VapoSteam, and plugging it in next to the crib - all without waking a soundly sleeping (but coughing...) baby.

And, for Joy.

Here is what I am thankful for today. I am thankful that God made me a Mama so that I can fully appreciate and enjoy what it means to take care of my family. See list above.

Monday, November 3, 2008

New Things About Zane

We are 39 days away from the big OH!-1 and little changes are appearing daily. Sweet little nuances that make our Zane the precious boy he is. Here are 7 new things since our last update:

  1. Zane has always been ticklish; but, now he is AWARE of his tickle spots (ribs, knees and neck). When PG and I get anywhere near those spots, he starts laughing before we can even make skin-to-skin contact.
  2. His current favorite food is a lentil & brown rice recipe that I make for him. But we still have great success with sweet potatoes, squash, peas and all fruits. Except prunes. The Z-man thinks prunes are definitely no bueno.
  3. He regularly pulls himself to a standing position - using a table, a chair, his high chair, or his parents' legs for support - and, while standing, he frequently pushes up to his tippy toes and balances there with a pseudo-dancing motion. First steps are coming any day now...we just know it!
  4. In the mornings, as I take my shower, Zane loves to play peek-a-boo with the shower curtain. When he gets bored with that game, he pulls himself to a standing position at the tub and just laughs and laughs at Mama behind the plastic curtain liner.
  5. His favorite plaything is the waste basket in the dressing area of our bathroom. We are careful to not discard anything sharp or poisonous into that bin; but, still, it's a bit disconcerting to see my precious one playing with used Q-tips and Kleenex.
  6. He has the most unique "Hi" sign I've ever seen in a baby: when he sees someone he knows and/or likes, he reaches out and points at them as if to say, "Hey dude, I know YOU!" It never fails to make PG and me double over in giggles.
  7. He understands "Mama" and "Papa" and will look for us when encouraged to "go find Mama/Papa." Does it get any better than that?? (Probably when he understands and says, "I love you, Mama...")

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Little Black Cat Crossed My Path...

Given that he is only 10-1/2 months old, PG and I were understandably more excited than Zane about his First Hallowe'en. Energized by the first true cold snap of the year, I spent all of last week creating the Hallowe'en I remember from my own childhood: a visit to the pumpkin patch; a carved Jack 'o Lantern; roasted pumpkin seeds; my mother's oatmeal cookies; homemade caramel apples; costumes created from scratch based on imagination, ingenuity and a few inexpensive craft supplies; a ginormous bowl of candy for trick-or-treaters; and fun with my family. Still, Zane was a good sport about the whole thing, even after I drew a kitty's nose and whiskers onto his sweet face, and topped his fuzzy little head with ears made of pipe cleaners and felt.


"Laverne" joined us for an early supper of chicken & yellow rice (complete with sangria!) because it is important to have a good supper before trick-or-treating...(especially if you plan to join your fun next-door-neighbors to pass out candy while drinking wine...)
We all had a great time...even Zane. He was the most adorable black cat, and he did a pretty good job of hauling in the loot.


Getting into the spirit of the evening...
GRRRRRRRRR!!!
Losing patience with the photo-snapping. Hallowe'en IS about trick-or-treating, isn't it?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ewwwwwwwww...


Recently, my friend Karen posted about mold. I am extraordinarily impressed, though, with her husband, Chris, who "was impressed early on by [her] ability to grow mold on things he didn't know would mold..."

I am just a tad OCD about my fridge (a story that requires a LOT more sobriety than I am able to muster after enjoying many Heinekens and Jell-O shots during UF's butt-whoopin' of UGA); so, in keeping with the "wow, I didn't know THAT would grow mold" I present the moldy peppers.

Yuck!




Thursday, October 30, 2008

Even though an arctic blast chilled the evening, there's something a bit odd about a pumpkin patch that is surrounded by palm trees. But that's the way of our world here in Southwest Florida
This was what I did last year for Hallowe'en. And this year:
Zane was not very fond of climbing around on the pumpkins, to my disappointment. We visited the patch during his usual catnap time.

The upside-down Jack-o-Lantern.

Baby It's Cold Outside!


This week we reached a record low temperarture for October in Fort Myers. 43 degrees. That's pretty chilly for Southwest Florida. This is what Zane chose to wear for school that day.

Third Generation Baby Gator

College football, Gator football, has always been part of my life. On the night that my mother went into labor with me, my father was with my Uncle Lenny in Jacksonville for the Florida-Duke football game. The story goes that my dad and Uncle Lenny made it home to Clearwater in 3-1/2 hours and, as soon as he arrived, I was born at 7:16am. That was in 1970.
By the 1971 season, my dad and mom had season tickets - three to be exact - and our Saturday afternoons were spent in Section 15, Row 71, Seats 10, 11 and 12 at Florida Field. That was well before Ben Hill Griffin gave the UAA a boatload of cash for upgrades and naming rights. It was also well before the first Glory Years of Gator Football (1983-1985), before Emmitt Smith, before the second coming of Steve Spurrier, and before most everything that now defines Gator Football.
Back then, we sat through day games, in dress clothes, and suffered 0-10-1 and 0-11 seasons. We ate Original Recipe Kentucky Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes, cole slaw and rolls for lunch before the games; parked on campus, no pricey parking permits required. The north and south endzones were not built high, the stadium was not closed in, and fans were invited to exit the stadium across the playing field after each game. We often got to meet cheerleaders and football players as they joined their families after the games, which was really cool. We listened to "Dial-a-Score" as we sat in traffic on our way out of town.
I went to my first football game at 11 months old. My sister, having been born in May, attended her first game at 4 months old. Even when our family of three became four, there was no need to purchase another season ticket. Back then, children did not require a ticket for admission; and there were plenty of empty seats in the stadium. My dad would always carry Ashley through the gate - Gate 4 - and the same ticket collector (he was an old, old man and I think his name was Charlie...) took our tickets at every game. Even when the UAA changed the rules to require tickets for admitting children, our ticket collector never questioned my dad carrying Ashley into the stadium. We did it that way until she was at least 10 years old, maybe even older.
Once inside the stadium, we sat next to Betty & Gordon Grant of Ocala, and behind their friends Evelyn & Ruel, also of Ocala. Betty and Evelyn smoked those super-skinny ladies' cigarettes and always left fascinating lipstick marks on the butts. Dressed to the nines, they also spiked their water with bourbon they had brought into the stadium in a small, round cooler festooned with the Fightin' Gator logo. It mattered not how much they drank during the game...the entire Ocala crew rode "Lolly the Trolley" to and from the games.
Betty & Gordon sort of adopted Ashley and me as "grandchildren." At halftime in the games, Betty would take us downstairs to the concession stand for treats - usually M&Ms or Cracker Jacks.
Also in front of us sat Bill & Ronna Davis of Gainesville. And behind us sat Keith Gilles, and eventually his wife Leslie, a converted Seminole. And next to our left were Ken & Martha Eilermann of Jacksonville.
So much about Gainesville and Gator Football has changed in the last 38 years: the Gators have won two national football championships; UF now boasts three Heisman Trophy winners; winning seasons are the norm; the stadium is massive and "fans are reminded to stay off the playing field following [the] game"; parking on campus is nil, unless you own a pricey parking permit; halftime pass-outs for re-entry (the coolest tradition we ever had...) are a thing of past, as is the halftime Kamikaze Party at the Purple Porpoise (R.I.P.)
But, probably the biggest change in my Gator world is that my dad is not there. After he died in 1997, it took a while to regain the zeal for anything, much less a silly game. But as I took Zane to his first Gator game last weekend, all of those childhood memories came flooding back to me and I realized that my dad was there. He was the foundation of all those memories, and the reason I have such a wonderful family tradition to share with my son.
I also realized that so much about Gator Football is still the same, all these years later. For one, Gator fan loyalty is unmatched. Say what you will about Alabama, Michigan, Penn State and others with legions of loyal fans; I submit Gator Nation is the most loyal of all, simply based on the fact that we really didn't start winning - at least not with any frequency or consistency - until the early 1990s. That's a long time to adore a team without a strong winning record. I think that's why Gator Nation is so strong.
Also, we still sit in the same seats my dad bought all those years ago; and our seat mates have passed their tickets down through their families, too. We now sit next to Betty & Gordon's daughter, Henrietta, and her husband, Mike. And, Keith & Leslie still sit behind us, and Miss Martha (her dear husband Ken died shortly after my dad...) still sits to our left. In many ways, a Gator game is like a family reunion, and I was so proud to introduce Zane to so many "extended family" last Saturday.
And the traditions, Oh! the traditions..."HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRE Come the Gators..."; "We Are the Boys..." after the third quarter; the "orange & blue" cheer; Gator jaws; baby Gator jaws; and so many others. Mostly, though, it's another Saturday spent as a family in Section 15, Row 71, Seats 10, 11 and 12.
Toddles, Zane & Paige

My, what pretty pearlies you have...

With Pappi at the "tailgate."

Silly Auntie Ashley with Toddles

Makin' friends with Joe, Joe Jr., Keith and Frank

Laughing with Auntie Ashley

The SWAMP...only Gators get out alive.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

175 Years

What do you get when you add one 85th birthday, one 65th wedding anniversary and one 90th birthday?...

A GREAT BIG OLE' PARTY!

Ever since I can remember, summertime meant "Grandmama's house." Ashley and I didn't go to camp; we spent six weeks at Grandmama's in rural Alabama. Our grandparents hail from large, tight-knit families - as do most folks their age, in that part of the country - and they created a large, tight-knit family with six children. When grandchildren started arriving, close relationships with the new members of the clan were forgone conclusions. The challenge was creating those close relationships, since all of the Top 5 Grands lived far away from Fort Deposit.

My grandmama is a strong woman, and she loves her grandchilden, and she wanted us for the summer. Think about that statement for a moment: she wanted us - all five of us - for the summer. There was no question of where would we all sleep, or bathe, or what would we eat, or however would she corral five children and still maintain her sanity, much less continue to run her household. She just did it. And she loved it, and so did Grandaddy - who (to our parents' surprise...) was way more involved with us than he was with our parents.

To say that our summers were fun would be a tremendous understatement. In a word, those summers were magical, and the memories are too personal, too precious and too abundant to share with the internets. My grandparents succeeded in creating close relationships with all of their grandchildren and, still, when we go back to visit it seems like no time has passed. The fact they have enjoyed such long and healthy lives means that our relationships with them have continued to evolve and change and strengthen. For me, personally, being grounded with so much love from a large, extended family is one of the greatest blessings in my life.

On October 18th, the "siblings" threw a party celebrating the milestones Grandaddy and Grandmama reached in 2008: Grandmama turned 85 in May, their 65th wedding anniversary was in June, and Grandaddy turned 90 on October 16th. The siblings outdid themselves, and it is fair to say a great time was enjoyed by all.


Grandaddy and Grandmama

Some of the grandkids...the two girls next to Grandaddy are part of the Top 5, and I have the distinction of being the first grandchild!

Still crazy in love (and totally best friends!) after 65 Years.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ch-ch-ch-changes...

In one of my recent posts here, I said I wished that time would just STOP for a while so I can memorize every small, changing detail of my sweet and beautiful baby as he careens toward the one-year-old mark. In much the same way that time moves faster in the fourth quarter of a football game, it seems like time is moving at warp speed in these last two months before Zane turns one whole year old. Where monthly updates were sufficient during the first seven months of his life, it seems weekly - or even daily - updates are not only warranted but necessary. So, here's what is new in the last week:

  • He has five teeth now. Desi has joined Lucy & Ricky on the top choppers. Fred & Ethel are still enjoying their alone time on the bottom choppers.
  • Zane has been officially crawling for about three weeks. Until last week, however, he was content to "crawl in place," never leaving one room for adventures in the great beyond. Now he CRUISES! He may start in the office with Papa, but he soon ventures into the kitchen or bathroom or den to find Mama, guided only by the sound of encouraging voices beckoning him to come "get" us. When he finds us, it's a riot of smiles and laughter. This is truly one of the most fun things about parenthood.
  • Baby babbling is so sweet - especially when the sounds resemble words that bear meaning for Mama and Papa. Zane says "ma-ma-ma-ma" indiscriminately, but it warms my heart just the same.
  • We took him to the doctor yesterday for a quick check of cold-like symptoms (he's fine...just a cold...no fever...just give it time...) and the nurse did a weight-check. The baby who was "underweight" at the six-month check-up now weighs...drum roll...19 pounds, 12 ounces. Solid!
  • I think we may have a climber. Z regularly pulls himself to a standing position and, once he's there, continues reaching for the next highest point (usually a Mama or a Papa)
  • I now understand the term "ankle biter." Enough said.
  • Zane definitely understands "kisses." He will give us smooches on our lips, and he just loves when I give him "Eskimo kisses."
  • Yesterday, while grocery shopping, Zane was riding shotgun in the grocery cart. As we finished our shopping, I stopped along one aisle to find a particular item. Zane sighed loudly and put his hand on my arm. When I leaned down to give him a smooch and reassure him that we were almost done and would be home soon, he reached up, put his arms around my neck and nuzzled his face into my shoulder. Make of that what you will, but I choose to believe my darling son gave his Mama a sweet hug.

Can you tell we are just in love with our sweet baby boy?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Two Months to One

Three months ago I posted the Seven Month Update about our Zane. Three months! It is a truism that infants change by the minute; but it is also true that, as time passes, and if you pay close attention, babies become less a mystery. The more things change, the more they stay the same... So, here is what is still true about our little man - three months later:
  • He is still the happiest and smiliest child I have ever known.
  • He still LOVES people.
  • He still has 100 different variations of his smile, and I love that his face is so expressive.
  • His fingernails still grow faster than mine.
  • Blowing raspberries still cracks him up.
  • He is still a very good eater. He will eat most anything we prepare for him, but his favorites are lentils/brown rice, yogurt, squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, pears, peaches, applesauce, bananas and apples with any other mix-in. We have not tried the prunes again (no need) and we do not push the green beans (there is plenty of time for him to learn to love them...)
  • We still call him "baby bean", "stinker bean", "lovebug", "little buddy", "Ziggy Zane", "Peter Z.", "little man", and "punkin-head." I've added "bunny" to the mix...it is shorthand for "hunny bunny" (which becomes "funny bunny" when he is being silly...) and that just becomes "bunny."
  • He still feeds himself, and he still loves the Gerber stars. But his new favorite thing is the Gerber Yogurt Melts.
  • He still loves his crib.
  • His still has his Papa's legs, and his Mama's cheeks.
  • He still hasn't had a fever.
  • He is still a very content, secure and confident little baby.

Now, the big changes:

  • He is on formula exclusively now. We breastfed for a full nine months, and I'm really proud of both of us. At nine months, Zane was giving me all the classic "I'm ready to wean, Mama" signs and it was time. Plus, he had cut two teeth by then. Nursing a distracted baby with two teeth equals OUCH!
  • We are EXTREMELY lucky that Zane will drink the store-brand formula (small rant: I spent 30 minutes comparing ingredients. It's the SAME stuff, 1/2 the price.)
  • He is sitting unsupported, crawling, and pulling up.
  • He is now in full-time daycare, and he loves it!
  • He has four teeth: Fred & Ethel (bottom teeth) and Lucy & Ricky (top teeth)
  • His babbling is starting to make more sense: "ma ma ma," "ba ba ba," "pa pa pa"
  • He loves to hang upside down - he just laughs and laughs and laughs when we hold him upside down
  • He goes to sleep at 9:00pm and sleeps until 7:00am-ish...(God never gives us more than we can handle...)
  • To his Mama's GREAT delight, he is a blanket boy! Woot!
  • To his Pop's great delight, he LOVES the pool!
  • He understands "Mama" and "Papa" and will look for us when our name is mentioned. We both love that he will crawl to us - always with a smile on his sweet face.
  • His parents are his favorite people, but he also loves his Pappi, his Auntie Ashley, his Uncle Kevin, and especially Kyle and Todd.
  • He also loves Miss Diana at school and his buddies Landon, Kai and Griffin. Little Megan loves Zane, and Z indulges her by holding her hand on the buggy rides.
  • "Lookout" (the teddy bear), his "drumsticks" (two wooden spoons), and his plastic alphabet links are his favorite toys.
  • Oh, and Zane is now bi-coastal and international: he enjoyed a wonderful vacay in British Columbia with his main peeps back in August, and he's heading to Hope Town for Thanksgiving with PopBoot and Kent. He doesn't mind that his passport photo was taken when he was only 6 weeks old...see note above about "content, secure and confident" little guy...

PG and I are still having the time of our lives. Parenthood...who knew?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Status Report - Friday

One of my favorite bloggers used a very clever device to update her blog on Monday. Joy explains that her writer's block is a result of lack of time to express herself, or at least lack of time to express it well. I feel the same way. So often I will compose a witty, cogent, topical blog entry in my head and then, before I can either commit the words to paper or reach my keyboard, poof! it's gone. And I'm back to the mundane. One thing I've learned during my foray into blogging is, internet thievery is sort of okay as long as you properly attribute the source. So here, now, is what's current in my world:

I'm:

Sitting...at my desk at work, spending the last 20 minutes of the work week composing a blog entry. This week has been tough because I've had to carry 90% of the parenthood load - including the entire morning routine - all week, AND still arrive at work at a reasonable time, ready to give my "110%," only to re-trace my steps in the afternoon and do it all over again. Plus, we received some not-so-welcome news about PG's "job" yesterday, so Thursday was my tipping point (read: the day I opened a bottle of wine.) Things are better today...except for a protracted tour of wastewater treatment facilities in 90-degree heat, oh, and wearing heels...

Smelling...a cinnamon-scented votive candle burning on my desk.

Listening...to the ridiculous nonsense that is The Rachel Zoe Project on BravoTV. I love Bravo, but I think they are hitting new lows with Rachel Zoe and the Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Drinking...water. I've already had two Diet Cokes today. However, I will be enjoying a glass of chilled pinot noir when I get home.

Reading...Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Also reading...Your Baby's First Year: Week by Week by Glade Curtis and Judith Schuler. I love this book. Good, common sense advice.

Loving...that today is Friday and tomorrow I can take a morning nap with Zane after giving him the 7:30am bottle.

Dreading... the elections. Life gets crazy busy for me at work after the elections. So much enthusiam, so many BIG IDEAS, so many plans...SO. MUCH. WORK. Sigh.

Eagerly anticipating...a trip to see my Grandparents & extended family in October; making caramel apples; Hallowe'en; our Thanksgiving trip to Hope Town to see PopBoot and Kent; and Zane's First Birthday!

Worrying...about the economy and wondering if there will ever come a time when I don't feel so panicked about money being tight.

Wishing...that time would just STOP for a while so I can memorize every small, changing detail of my sweet and beautiful baby as he careens toward the one-year-old mark.

Praying...a lot. God is always good.

Grateful...for so MANY things in my wonderful life: my beautiful, healthy, happy, joyful and super-content baby; my caring and committed best friend and partner; our awesome family; my health; the fact that I am not in debt; that today is Friday; that there is chilled pinot in my wine fridge; that Happy Hour at home is more fun than going to a bar (and there's no cab necessary!); that Zane sleeps through the night and never gives us a moment of trouble (I'm sure that will change...); and sooooooooooooooooooooooo many other things.

Sharing...positive energy with everyone for a great weekend.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bath Time

Yes, we still bathe him in the kitchen sink. But, our kitchen sink is large enough to bath a 5-year-old, so this practice does not qualify me for Worst Mama points. Besides, see that kid-stuff drainboard in the background that is chock-full of bath toys? Yeah, he loves them.
Zane at 8-1/2 months.

The bath toys are great, Pop, but what I REALLY want is that camera!

He has a crooked smile like his Mama.

Such a sweet face!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

SOOOOOOOOO Big!

A longer update about our Z is in order, but these shots can't wait for my writer's block to subside. These are some of my favorite current pictures of my baby:

Sitting up like a big boy, playing with his favorite toy.

Oh, please don't ever stop doing this...

Silly Mama

Silly Baby

Adapt-a-Baby asleep in the rented infant seat traveling through Canada

Friday, September 19, 2008

Marathon!


When Ashley and I were growing up, we spent a lot of time in the Florida Keys. Our dad spent his high school years in Homestead and loved everything about the Keys: boating, fishing, spearfishing, snorkeling, diving, lobstering, drinking green-bottled beer after a great day on the water, everything. Our mom fell in love with the Keys, too, after going there with our dad.

Our parents are really cool people. They took us pretty much everywhere, including most vacations. Every summer, after returning from our annual 6-week stay with Grandmama and Grandaddy in Fort Deposit, we headed to Marathon for three weeks of swimming with angel fish and sargent majors; tickling lobsters from their lairs; eating cuban crackers topped with squeeze cheese; drinking ice-cold Chek-brand flavored soda from Winn-Dixie; boating; lots of sun; fish, dirty rice and beans for supper; one day-trip to Key West; and always one night at Pizza Hut.

Until our parents built the house at Quiet Water in 1985, we spent our three weeks at the Valhalla Beach Motel - a 12-room efficiency motel on a spit of land that is a child's dream come true. There is a big beach, a small beach, a lagoon, a mangrove forest with intersecting canals, and nowhere to get into trouble. Our parents always let us roam free, and we had a blast. So it's really no surprise that Marathon, and all that goes along with it, has been the fabric of our lives.

Now that we both have families of our own, Marathon has become even more hallowed ground as we pass down the traditions of our parents to our children. Quiet Water is our family haven. It is "Pappi's BIG house" to the little boys, and it's a landmark of memories for Ash and me. Memories that are the loom on which we weave the fabric of our children's lives.

My little pirate baby. Zane at 5 months.

At Ryan and Kylene's favorite sand bar.

Chiki-Tiki Lounge at Burdine's Waterfront.

This just cracks me up.

Summer Farewell

I don't buy into the idea that summer ends on Labor Day. It must be a by-product of living in Southwest Florida where daily high temperatures remain solidly in the 90's until mid-October. Even so, tomorrow is the autumnal equinox (the forecast high in Fort Myers is 90 degrees...) that marks the official end of "summer." This summer has been really special for me because I vowed to do nothing this summer except spend time with Zane and PG. It was a lesson in letting go.

Pre-baby and, to a great extent, during Zane's third - fifth months, my life was a whirlwind of Junior League, work, Session, travel...Always more "stuff" and always go-go-go. Last summer and fall, despite being pregnant, I worked my tail off. I kept a regular schedule at work, and I filled every spare minute with coordinating the largest fundraiser of the year for the Junior League. I was managing everything pretty well, but I was not spending any time on ME, or basking in the wondrous pregnancy I enjoyed. And I was not spending any time with my growing baby. It still makes me a little sad to think about all the time I spent doing other things until my doctor ordered me to bed for the remainder of my pregnancy. It was hard for me to accept bed rest: I had too many things to do! I had to let go and slow down.

I thought of that lesson as I drove home from Tallahassee after Session, emotionally and physically exhausted. Something had to give. I did not want to spend this summer as I spent last summer; I did not want to spend so much time focused on work, or on planning Taste of the Town (a full-time job in itself) All I wanted was to just be a mama; to spend lots of time hanging out with the two loves of my life and, frankly, myself. The biggest impediment was ME: me giving myself permission to let go and slow down.

Now that summer is coming to an "official" end, I wonder where the time went. But I'm not sad this time around. It was a wonderful, fun-filled summer*. And, best of all, I learned how to let go, slow down and balance this tricky thing we call life.

*Pictures of all the summer fun are forthcoming in subsequent posts...

Adventures in Eating Solid Food

One of the most fun adventures of the summer was getting Zane to eat. Compared to stories we had heard, we think he is a very good eater. However, at first, we tried very, um, creative, strategies for getting food into his mouth (read: using a pacifier as a spoon) In these photos, Zane was soooooooo tired and he was a hot mess; but, he ate!



First Father's Day

PG's first OFFICIAL Father's Day
This photograph makes me smile.

Zane at 6 months. PG at 42 years.

First Mother's Day

My first OFFICIAL Mother's Day*
PG and Zane treated me to the most excellent Mother's Day ever. PG let me sleep in while he and Zane made my favorite blueberry pancakes for breakfast in bed. We spent the remainder of the day chilling on our back porch and enjoying the pool and jacuzzi.
Mother's Day 2008 was also Zane's 5-month birthday. After we enjoyed blueberry pancakes, Zane wowed us with his rice-cereal-eating prowess. He ate like a champion from the very first bite of solid food!

Zane at five months. Paige at 37 years.


*(yeah, we're not going there about last year...when I didn't KNOW I was pregnant...and was recovering from bronchitis...and enjoying MANY pina coladas with Myers floaters at the pool at Useppa...no, no, we're not going there...)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Our Little Skater Boy

PG and I are still laughing over this video clip we shot yesterday. Poor Baby Z, I'm sure he had NO idea what he was getting into when he chose us as his parents:


No actual children were harmed in the making of this film.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Oh, Internet, However Did You Know?

I've been tagged. To this point in my blogging tenure, I have resisted posting memes - even when writer's block causes the blog to grow stale and moldy. But Lisa just couldn't help herself this morning, excited as she was over the "needs" meme and, I suspect, pleased with her internet thievery, and tagged creation before it tagged her.


So here's the drill: Google your first name with the word "needs" behind it and post the results. The internets spit out 3,250 results for me in Google. A paltry showing, but them's the breaks when your name is not at the top of the 10 Most Popular Names list for any year. Even so, the results are hilarity in hyperlinks; especially since I chose to create my list from the pages inmediately preceding the results that are all porn-related. That Haley Paige sure is something... And since it's my very first meme ever, I am breaking from the standard set by Mimi and listing all of the results that made Diet Coke squirt out my nose when I laughed. Here then are all the things I ever needed, but never knew it:


Paige needs to find a dead man to save her daughter's life
***
Paige needs hearing aids in both ears (no doubt PG concurs with the internet on this one)
***
Paige needs to lose weight BAAAAAD! (sheesh! I've lost all the baby weight...)
***
Paige needs help finding a 10th player for the ballot
***
Paige needs CPR
***
Paige needs new jeans (true dat!)
***
Paige needs to avoid exposure to viruses (don't we all?)
***
Paige needs to forge a strategic alliance with a world class manufacturer (I guess the internets know about my plan for world domination)
***
Paige needs to get over herself (oh, snap!)
***
Paige needs your prayers as she cannot get on her computer for a virus so please pray for her
***
Paige needs her hair done so she doesn't get a mullet
***
Paige needs more of a 'life structure.'
***
Paige needs a tan, and to stop wearing white and black
***
Paige needs something to relieve her anger and stress
***
Paige needs to be run through a woodchipper
***
Paige needs all the support she can get under the circumstances
***
Paige needs to do a stretch session and a cool down sit
***
Paige needs to move to Denmark
***
Paige needs a lot of information
***
Paige needs to be taken to the nurse
***
Paige needs to develop some specific measure of shampoo quality
***
Paige needs to marry someone quick
***
Paige needs breath freshener for Christmas (pay attention, family, the holidays are approaching)
***
Paige needs a chocolate (just one?)
***
Paige needs only to add weight and strength to become an impact player at Tennessee (WTF? The internets are ALL wrong on this one. I would never, never, never, ever, never wear that tacky rocky-top orange...no matter how weighty and strong I was, or how much they paid me...)
***
Paige needs a good nap (um, duh? I have an 8-month old...)
***
Paige needs a pool
***
Paige needs to shop 'til she drops
***
Paige needs so little direction, and is always at the top of her game (WOOT!)
***
Paige needs to administer the blinding medicine
***
Paige needs to do some face squats
***
Paige needs a bone marrow transplant
***
Paige needs to find enlightenment
***
Paige needs more sex
***
Paige needs some high heels and a purse
***
Paige needs to be asked Tough Questions
***
Paige needs to live her luxurious lifestyle
***
Paige needs to make a come back

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Just for Fun

When your kid smiles and laughs and does cute things constantly it is extraordinarily hard to not snap photographs. These are some of my favorites from the last two weeks.
This is what Zane looks like most of the time:
Except when he looks like this:
Or this:

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cool Portrait Series

PG snapped these shots last Friday, just after returning from shooting his first movie! While on set, he was able to use all of the super-cool bells & whistles on his "big" camera and fully maximize his creativity through techniques like "temperature shooting" (instead of white-balance shooting, because flash photography is a definite no-no when the panavision cameras are rolling...). These shots are an example of temperature shooting, using only ambient light and NO FLASH! It was a harmonic convergence of PG's creativity and Zane's hambone-ness.




I'm Ready for My Close-Up, Pop!