Year-end survey

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:43 pm

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
Squeezed a complete human out my body.
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t remember making one, so I’m going to call that a win.  I think for next year my resolution will be to do the difficult things one has to do as a parent instead of taking the easy way out.  I need to learn to let Miles fail a little.  Perhaps I’ll sleep 8 consecutive hours in 09!
3. did anyone close to you give birth?
Well, yours truly.  My cousin Betsy also had a sweet little girl, and of course the new friends we made through our birth class.
4. did anyone close to you die?
My Granddad died in February.  It was time for him to go.
5. what countries did you visit?
For the first time in probably 10 years, I stayed in the United States for a whole year.  I did go to the Pacific Northwest (Oregon and a tiny smidge of Washington) for the first time, though.
6. what would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
The aforementioned 8 consecutive hours of sleep.
7. what date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Man, this is easy.  Actually it’s kind of a tie between January 6, when my water unceremoniously broke a month ahead of schedule, and January 7, when I met Miles.
8. what was your biggest achievement of the year?
Thus far, Miles is not a sociopath.  Triumph!
9. what was your biggest failure?
One time when Miles was really tiny, I accidentally cut him while trimming his fingernails.  I felt like the worst mommy in the whole world.
10. did you suffer illness or injury?
Really, no.  Recovering from childbirth was a tad challenging, but I wouldn’t really call those issues injuries.  I didn’t have any unexpected complications.
11. what was the best thing you bought?
The Wee Gallery art cards were a real lifesaver for a while there.  I made a mobile out of them and hung them over Miles’s changing table, and they really kept his attention.  Before that he was wigging out during diaper and outfit changes, which happen a lot when a kid is extra oozy in those early months.
12. whose behavior merited celebration?
Oh, there was a lot of applause in our home for Miles’s various accomplishments.  I would also like to publicly thank the American public for electing Mr. Barack Obama.  U.S.A.!  U.S.A.!
13. whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Negative campaigners on all sides.  So gross.
14. where did most of your money go?
Baby accoutrements.
15. what did you get really, really, really excited about?
All of Miles’s little accomplishments:  rolling over, sitting up, standing up against the furniture, saying Ma and Da.

The election.
16. what song(s) will always remind you of 2005?
The various Miles song parodies (“My Girl” with “Miles” substituted, “Islands in the Stream” morphed into “Miles in the Stream”).
17. compared to this time last year, are you
i. happier or sadder?: Both.  I feel both ends of the spectrum more strongly than ever before.
ii. thinner or fatter?: Waaaaay thinner.
iii. richer or poorer?: A bit poorer, since I’m only working half time and we have more expenses, but Denny’s been doing well
18. what do you wish you’d done more of?
Sleeping, duh.
19. what do you wish you’d done less of?
Waking up and checking to make sure Miles was still breathing.  Dumb, but I did it a lot.
20. how did you spend christmas?
Jaunting around the state to various family celebrations.
22. did you fall in love in 2008?
Every single day.
23. what was your favorite TV program?
What’s TV?  Actually, I do manage to watch a little; I’ll vote for House.
24. do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hate is a strong word, but I didn’t know anything about Sarah Palin in 2007, so I guess she was my least favorite person of 08.
25. what was the best book you read?
I’m almost done with Cien años de soledad, and it’s something else.  I also really liked The Time Traveler’s Wife.

26. what was your greatest musical discovery?
I don’t think I really had any.  I didn’t do a lot of recreational music listening, I’m afraid.
(I don’t know what happened to 27 and 28)

29. what did you want and get?
A healthy baby.
30. what did you want and not get?
A natural childbirth experience.
31. what was your favorite film of this year?
I saw three movies this year:  Juno, The Dark Knight, and Milk.  I guess I liked Milk the best.

32. what did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I actually don’t remember.  I turned 31.  Maybe we went out to dinner.
33. what one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
It’s hard to imagine a more satisfying year, really.  Yeah, the sleep thing, but it’s worth it.
34. how would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Jeans (it felt like I was going to be wearing my maternity jeans forever, but fortunately that ended) and a fleece jacket.
35. what kept you sane?
Baby laughter.  Denny being an awesome night-time parent (he’s good in the day, too, but night is when I’m most likely to go insane, and he really steps up at those times).
36. which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Probably my perennial favorite, Angelina Jolie.
37. what political issue stirred you the most?
Election!  Does that count as a political issue?  The Iowa Caucuses were really exciting.  As for specific issues, I guess I followed gay rights the most closely, with the whole Prop 8 debacle.
38. who did you miss?
I miss my coworkers, whom I haven’t seen much since I’ve been working from home.  But I’ll be back at the office soon.
39. who was the best new person you met?
If you don’t know, you haven’t been paying attention.
40. tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008:
Perspective:  find it and use it.
41. quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Miles in the stream
Splashing with his arms
Having so much fun
Like a wiggle worm
Come away with me
To Cannon Beach
And we will splash on each other, oh
Having fun with one another, oh.

–“Miles in the Stream,” lyrics reimagined by Denny Crall

New Year’s Eve

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:39 am

I’ve had a few fun New Year’s Eves in my day, but mostly they’re pretty blah.  It’s always too cold out to do anything really fun, like, you know, watching fireworks on a beach while you drink champagne while wearing a bikini and maybe Snoop Dog is there.

This year promises to be calm, but at least I finally have a good excuse.  Our favorite restaurant is doing a 5-course prix fixe, and they delightfully have a 5:30 seating so we can bring Miles without causing too much distress to ourselves and others.  It’s not as sexy as a dinner closer to the midnight hour, but the food will be great, and I’ll be able to buy a glass of champagne.  My current champagne situation is tricky, because Denny never wants more than half a glass or so, and thus I end up having way too much, because what are you going to do, waste champagne?  That hurts my feelings.

Over the last year I’ve never had more than one or two glasses spaced out over an entire evening, what with the breastfeeding, and frankly I think that’s a better quantity for me anyway.  I’m getting prone to hangovers in my old age.

Once, relatively early in Miles’s life, back during that two-month span when he’d actually take a bottle of previously pumped milk, I decided to get a little wild and have several glasses of wine, then I did a pump-and-dump.  I didn’t like doing that.  For one thing, breast pumps aren’t exactly easy to use under the best of circumstances, and being schnockered doesn’t help (in fun news, my spellcheck recognizes schnockered).  Also, it just felt dirty and wrong to dump the milk down the sink.  If we had a cat, I might have given it to him/her just to see what would happen.  That’s probably illegal, I don’t know.

I’m thinking of my brother and his sports team, who are playing in their first bowl game since he joined the staff.  My parents and aunt and uncle are there in Jacksonville to watch, and I know they’ll have fun.

Anyway, happy New Year, everyone.  Be safe tonight; there will be a lot of drunk drivers on the road.  Please wear a silly hat and take a picture.


Four short films about Miles

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:07 am

These cover the last month or so.  Each is around 2 minutes.

In other news, I was dancing for him a few minutes ago, and he wasn’t too impressed with the kicks, but he clapped after the butt wiggle.

For some reason the titles got all messed up; they keep appearing much later than I expected them to. I think something turned weird in iMovie during the export process. I’ll get those fixed later. In the meantime, don’t fret about the non-sequiturs.  Fixed now.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:22 pm

I am so glad the days are getting longer.  I find it distressing when it gets dark so early.

Today Miles and I had a playdate at Jessa’s house.  Jessa is going to be Miles’s care provider when I go back to work in a couple of weeks.  Her little boy, Jonah, is just a month older than Miles, and the two of them did a good job together.  I’m feeling pretty okay about it.  It will be good for Miles to have a playmate and maybe even good for me to have some time away from him.

At one point this morning I picked Jonah up, and it was strange how he felt different from Miles.  They’re about the same size—Jonah might be a little bigger, but not a whole lot—but he was just not my little boy.  The whole balance of holding him was different, like his proportions were a bit different or something.  It’s funny how well I know every aspect of Miles, from his smell to how he feels in my arms to the sounds he makes.

I was listening to an author interview on NPR, and the interviewer asked the author about a scene in her book in which a young boy shuts his bedroom door and asks for privacy from his mother for the first time.  In the book (the title and author of which I’m sorry to say I don’t remember), the mother muses on the transition from his body being completely her business to less her business.

That hasn’t happened with us yet, but it’s an interesting moment to consider.  Right now I feel like Miles and I are more or less the same person.  When he bonks his head I can almost feel mine throbbing.  When his dad tosses him in the air, I can almost feel the tickle in my stomach.  That can’t last forever, of course, nor would I want it to; I don’t want to raise a little Norman Bates.

I guess it happens gradually.  This will be a good way to start.


Citrus season

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:14 pm

It’s full-on citrus season now, both at the grocery store and my basement.  Denny’s Meyer lemon tree has some lovely fruit on it, some of which I used to make that delicious lemon pudding cake from last season.

What you see below is a grocery store acquisition, an orange that looked regular on the outside but on the inside looks more like a pink grapefruit.  It tastes pretty much like an orange, though.  It was good.

I think we have decided

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:35 pm

I get antsy if I don’t leave the country once a year or so.  That’s why I am particularly pained right now, because it has been nearly 1.25 years since I have used my passport, and that last time was just to Canada.  At least it was Montréal, where they have the good sense to talk funny, which makes it feel more like a true adventure.

To that end, I told Denny all I wanted for Christmas was a trip to somewhere exciting.  I’d like to fly one more time while we can still have Miles as a free lap-child (though something tells me we’re going to be doing a lot of aisle-walking, since he is not very pleased to sit on a lap for very long).

There were no plane tickets in my stocking, nor were there any glossy brochures or Lonely Planet guides, but to be fair, Denny knows that for me, half the fun of a trip is the planning process.  He has mostly just gotten out of my way and let me sort it out.

So, here’s what I think we’re going to do.  I think we’re going to rent a condo in the Lucaya area of Grand Bahama Island for a week.

You might say, “That’s less foreign than Montréal, even.”  You might be right.  But you know what?  I’m going to have a 17-month-old with me, and simpler sounds better.  We can make there in two relatively short flights (Delta flies to Freeport with just one stop in Atlanta).  I picked Grand Bahama Island as opposed to New Providence (where Nassau lies) for these reasons:

  • It is known more for its natural attractions (an underwater cave system, for example) than the glitzy casinos of Nassau.  Glitzy casinos do not interest me, as I do not share my brother’s talent for poker, and I am too Midwestern for much glitz. Plus, you know, the baby.
  • Especially in the off-season, which is when we’ll be going, it apparently is still possible to find unspoiled, uncrowded little beaches.  I like that better than the miles-of-bodies model.
  • Despite these things, it’s still developed enough that it shouldn’t be too inconvenient to manage with the kiddo.  It has a relatively major airport with car rental agencies I’ve heard of.

Why the condo?  It just seems like a better deal than a hotel.  We don’t drink all that much, and an all-inclusive model doesn’t seem like a very good value unless you were going to drink your way through the rate.  I get kind of tired of eating in restaurants all the time on vacation, so having a kitchen will let us save some effort and money (maybe; I’ve heard groceries are expensive) by eating in.  Plus, this is intended to be more of a relaxing vacation than an adventure vacation, so it will be nice to have the extra space that a condo provides.

Here are a couple of condos I’m thinking about:

Option 1

Option 2 (I certainly hope that the image captured on the TV in the living room shot is representative and that Anna Nicole Smith is a 24/7 fixture there)

For the sake of full disclosure, I should also say that one thing I’m really excited about is getting Miles his first passport.  My friend Ken’s son has a passport with a photo from when he was a baby, and it’s about the cutest thing in the whole world.


First Christmas

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:12 pm

Predictably, Miles was more interested in the bows and boxes than the contents.  Still, he had fun, and there’s more celebration on the way with Denny’s family and our own little celebration back at home.

Miles was a good sport about the elf outfit Mubby got him.


Seven and seven

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:59 am

Okay, I know these things are kind of cheesy, but to tell you the truth, I enjoy it when other people write them, so I’m going to do it too.

Seven things about me (of my own choosing), then I tag seven people to do the same.  This tag came from Darah.

1.  I’m really good at approximating the time without looking at a clock.  I can usually guess within five minutes.  Of course, then I run to a clock to find out how close I was, because I enjoy the thrill of accuracy.  I think this is partly related to my punctuality obsession interest.  I don’t say obsession anymore because it has relaxed somewhat post-Miles, but I still really like to be places on time.  I just build in more prep time now than I used to.

2.  I know this isn’t exactly revelatory, since that’s exactly what they’re supposed to do, but those St. Jude’s commercials before movies make me cry and cry and cry.  There’s just about nothing sadder than a little bald cancer kid.  I worked a summer job at the hospital one year in college, and even though it was in OB/GYN and thus totally unrelated to children’s oncology, I would still see those kids walking around sometimes, and it’s really heartbreaking.

Denny and I have decided that as a family we want to do a charitable project every year.  This time we just donated financially, because Miles is still more of a hindrance than a help when it comes to actually accomplishing anything, but in the future we want to do something more tangible with him.  This year we donated to the UIHC Children’s Hospital, in part because of my memories of those cancer kids, and in part because Miles benefited from their services in his early days and we appreciate it.

3.   I am a total slob.  Seriously.  The only place I’m not messy is the kitchen because that’s gross.  It really doesn’t bother me at all if my clothes are in a big pile on the floor or if the mail is all over the counter.  Lately I’ve had to be more conscious of where I put stuff, though, what with the grabby little hands and all (and I don’t mean the zombie hands).

4.  I don’t like to eat an odd number of cookies.  I feel like one would get lonely in my tummy without a friend.  I can make an exception to this rule if the cookie is huge, then I can just eat one.

5.  I have particular ways of eating a lot of things, actually.  With pizza, I like to scrape the cheese and toppings off, then eat the outer crust, then the middle crust, then the toppings.  Certain types of pizza have special rules, like with Great Plains in Ames, I eat the center crust, then the outer crust with honey, then the cheese.  With a DiGiorno frozen pizza, I rip the bottom layer off the center crust and eat that second, after the outer crust.  There are other foods that have special rules too, like apples and Ritter Sport bars, but the details are not very interesting.  Just hang out with me some time and I’ll show you.

I’m awfully persnickity for a slob, aren’t I?  Also, what’s with the phrase “aren’t I”?  Shouldn’t it be “amn’t I”?  You never say “I are,” just “I am.”  Which leads me to…

6.  I like to think about words and language.  I used to care about crap like “correct” grammar until I studied linguistics in college, at which time I realized there’s no such thing.  Don’t get all huffy—I acknowledge that there is a set of rules for standard English, and it’s a good idea to be able to follow those rules if you want to come across as smart and educated.  But standard English is not inherently better than any other variant that can be effectively used to communicate.

It’s kind of fun to think about what sounds right to my ears versus what doesn’t.  For example, contracting “want to” doesn’t bother me at all, and I think most people, even people who are proponents of so-called correct grammar, would agree.  “Do you wanna come with me?” sounds just fine, though it might look a little weird written out.

However, “Do you wanna come with?” does bother my ears.  It’s not necessarily ending the sentence with the preposition, because I’m okay with “He’s a person I’d like to have dinner with.”   In sum, language is evolving, and it’s interesting to ponder the changes and how they affect our communication.

7.  Early this morning, Miles had me scootched way over to the side of the bed (to the degree that when I got up to go to the bathroom, I looked back and couldn’t believe that I could physically fit into such a small space), and I didn’t mind at all.  Priorities change.

Okay, now:  whom to tag?

How about Mark, Collette, Janna, Katy B., Jamal (partly as revenge for doing something similar to me on Facebook, which I haven’t completed yet), Jack, and Sabine.


Chatty baby

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:55 pm

Today in the grocery store, a lady came up to Miles and me and said, “Is that your baby talking?  He’s saying daddy clear as day.”

I don’t know if I’d call it “clear as day,” but he was definitely making daddy-like vocalizations.  I also say daddy a lot at the grocery store, as in, “Let’s get some of that cereal Daddy likes,” or “Even though I think it’s vile, your Daddy drinks chai, so let’s get him some.”

Lest I appear jealous, I can assure you that Miles has also been known to yell “Ma” (as in, short for mama) on occasion when he sees me.


Curry baby

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:28 pm

This just in:  Miles likes the peas in mild curry from India Café, but he most vehemently does not like the carrots in hotter curry.

I hope this doesn’t turn him against carrots altogether, as they’re among his favorite vegetables.  I think it’s a good sign that he enjoyed the peas, though.

It’s a medium-crappy day out, with cold temperatures and falling snow.  I get antsy if I go an entire 24 hours without leaving the house, though, so Miles and I ventured out with my friend Mose who’s in town visiting and got some Indian food.  The driving wasn’t bad.  Snow isn’t nearly as scary as ice.  Plus, I’ve had a driver’s license almost half my life (in fact it will be a full 50% come March, since I think I got it on my 16th birthday), and it snows every year.  I feel pretty competent at handling it by now.

Miles is still small enough to be in his rear-facing 5-point harness carseat, which is about the safest kind out there, so I wasn’t too concerned from a safety perspective.  Soon we’ll have a dilemma to face:  technically once he’s 20 pounds and a year—which will be in January because he’s already over 20 pounds—he could move into a front-facing carseat.  Our rear-facing one is rated to 30 pounds, and I guess it’s always safer to be rear-facing, but he really doesn’t like that perspective.

I guess we’ll have to weigh the safety benefits of staying rear-facing for another few months versus the likelihood of Denny or me driving into a ditch because Miles drove us insane with his yelling.


Sorority sisters’ complaint

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:09 am

The lead story in the Daily Iowan (campus newspaper) today:

Sororities say they were duped by man posing as self-defense instructor

Hundreds of sorority members showed up to presentations this year expecting to learn self-defense from an accredited instructor.

But the man – who called himself David Portnoy to some and David Parker to others – was a fraud.

Portnoy…Portnoy…unusual name, no?  Does it remind you of anything?

Say, Philip Roth’s classic novel Portnoy’s Complaint?  The title of which has come to mean “a disorder in which strongly-felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme sexual longings, often of a perverse nature…” (Wikipedia)

Luckily, it looks like the guy was more of a financial opportunist than a true creepo, as he seems to have just been trying to sell pepperspray under the false auspices of a self-defense organization.  Still, I guess none of the sorority members was an English major.


Holiday party and lite profanity

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:19 am

Today is my office holiday party.  It’s being held at a local food/drink/music venue (The Mill for you locals).  I remember last year—at least I think it was last year; maybe it was two years ago—at the analogous event, my friend Darah had her little girl with her who was probably about Miles’s current age.

Darah had ordered some food, and when it arrived her daughter was being a little squirmy.  I said, “Would you like me to hold her while you eat?”  My primary motivation was “Oooh, I want to hold the cute baby,” but the look on Darah’s face told me that perhaps it had been a while since she’d eaten a meal in peace.

I now understand where she was coming from.  If anybody’s interested in holding Miles tonight, consider yourself welcome to do it.

And now for the lite profanity.  Yesterday I was changing Miles’s diaper and he was not in the mood for it.  He registered his displeasure not by screaming or crying, but by letting loose a string of very rude-sounding baby talk.  It really seemed like he was chewing me out for being so discourteous as to inflict hygiene upon him.

It went a little something like this:  “Ba ba BAH gah ah BOO ba BLOO,” all with a very grumpy expression and tone of voice.


Drowned rat

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:40 pm

Miles has been really unhappy about being alone for even a couple of minutes lately.  I think he’s going through a separation anxiety phase.  I used to be able to plunk him in his Exersaucer and go take a shower, but for the last week or so, that’s been really not okay with him.  Today I tried to put him in his crib with lots of toys, but as soon as it became clear that I was leaving the room, the screaming started.

He’s really been enjoying playing in the bathroom lately (related story:  we always keep the toilet lid down now after a certain little hand dipped in mid-flush).  I thought maybe it would work if I put him in the bathroom with me, closed the door, and peeked out at him frequently.

He pulled up to the edge of the tub, whipped open the shower curtain, and got a good soaking.  We’ll try something else tomorrow.

Immigration patterns

Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:00 pm

Miles and I just got back from the mall (which was exhausting and I don’t recommend it).  I’m just about done Christmas shopping, though.

One thing I noticed:  is it only at the Coral Ridge Mall where the center kiosks seems to exclusively employ Mediterranean immigrants?  This isn’t a problem or anything, just a peculiarity.  You don’t meet a lot of Greeks and Turks and possibly Israelis in Iowa, but if you ever want to, just go to the mall.  They’ll try to give you a Dead Sea Salt Scrub or something.


Holiday cards

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:54 pm

Miles is napping next to me with his butt up in the air.

I’m trying to get our Christmas card addresses in order.  It’s sort of a wasteful thing to do, throwing all that paper around and spending money on the cards and stamps, but it’s an indulgence I enjoy.  It’s so nice around the holidays to find good stuff in the mail every day.  I know some people don’t like those form letters with the family updates, but I always enjoy it when someone includes one, so I do it too.  If people are offended, then they don’t have to read it.  That’s a weird thing to be offended about if you ask me, but people can be very touchy.

We cut our list way down last year because I was giantly pregnant and thought I was too tired to do too much.


That’s me remembering what I thought “tired” meant back in the old days.

Anyway, I realized it’s not that much more difficult to send 50 cards than 20, so I’m beefing the numbers back up this year.  If you’d like one, give me your address (I must restrict this to people I actually know; the Internet is too giant and potentially weird for me to start sending photos of my baby to people I’ve never really met).

Yes, I realize I post pictures of my baby on here.  For some reason sending a physical card seems more intimate.  Also, I’m too tired to defend the various inconsistencies of my life.  I’ll call on my usual response when someone (read:  Denny) calls me on oxymoronic behavior:  the modern woman is conflicted.

I’m not a religious person, but I do enjoy Christmas (or general holiday or whatever) cards and celebrations.  I figure there’s nothing wrong with celebrating with your loved ones, and if a particular time of year is a good time to do it, then why not.  Besides, the modern woman is conflicted.


I’m rethinking Mexico.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:08 pm

I’ve got this white middle class guilt situation going on with regard to Mexico.

Or, more specifically, resorty, Mayan Riviera-type Mexico, which perhaps I ought to refer to as “Mexico.”

I have never in my life been the kind of person who would stay in a resort.  Having never been to a resort, I guess I’m not exactly sure what that kind of person is, since I’ve never seen them in their natural habitat, but I imagine them as people who want to visit an exotic land without ever seeing any poverty or doing anything slightly inconvenient.  I was all about “authentic” travel, which I defined as doing things like staying at small, locally-owned hotels or renting apartments in actual neighborhoods, making a valient attempt at speaking the language, that kind of thing.

One time I even went to actual Mexico, as opposed to “Mexico.”  My cousin and I went with a person we knew from Cuernavaca and stayed his family.  It was super fun.  We went places a couple of güeras probably wouldn’t have gone, ate interesting things, and had a generally good (and informative) time.

I was extremely conscientious about not drinking the water.  I never had drinks with ice in them, I kept my mouth clamped shut in the shower, and I even rinsed out my toothbrush with bottled water.  I still got the runs.

For that reason, I’ve kind of avoided Mexico since then.  There are so many other places in the world to see with so much natural and cultural splendor.  Many of them would require similar vigilance for my tender gringa gut, but many of them do not (c.f., all of Europe, Puerto Rico and many other parts of the Caribbean, Costa Rica).

I need a beachy-type vacation.  The last time I saw the ocean was a year and a half ago at my cousin’s wedding in Sarasota, and while that was lots of fun, it didn’t scratch my itch for tropical fish viewing.  I am also for the first time considering a resort.  Adventure travel is great, but now that Miles is in my life, everything is about twelve times more complicated.  I suddenly feel a lot less stuck-up toward people who want to take the easy route and just relax on their vacations.  I did some research and was feeling good about the Cayman Islands.

But then I read about and saw pictures from a friend’s trip to Mexico.  She assured me that she didn’t get sick.   It’s so close by, it’s so reasonably priced, it’s so easy to fly there.  There are some resorts that have gotten really good reviews and purport to be family-friendly.  But is it exploitive to go to Mexico and just do lite travel?  Miles is probably still too young to really be swayed, but I don’t want to give him the impression that the world only exists for white people with enough money to insulate themselves from the challenges these countries face.

I don’t know.  Ponying up for a resort is a pretty swell thing for the local economy.  When Denny and I went on our honeymoon to tiny Nevis, we stayed at a locally-owned property and avoided the Four Seasons, but when we talked to locals, they kept bringing up the fact that the Four Seasons has been a huge boon to their island.  They say if they get one more resort hotel, they’ll finally be able to secede from St. Kitts.  I’m not sure if they’re joking or not.

What to do?


Monthly Miles Memo #11

Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:28 pm

Dear Miles,

Dare I say it?  Has this really been your most exciting month yet?

You’ve made huge strides this month, literally:  you’ve loved to walk while holding someone’s hands for months now, but over the last weeks you’ve graduated to giant steps (your Skittergramps calls it goose-stepping, but we’re trying not to encourage that particular analogy).  You want to walk up stairs, and you don’t do it the weenie way of stepping up with one foot and bringing the other up to join it.  No, you want to do it grownup style and alternate feet, one step per foot.  You can pull yourself up on the table, the couch, the hearth, and (your favorite) the edge of the bathtub.  You can cruise between pieces of furniture when you’re feeling really ambitious, and when you’re willing to take a break from standing up, you can crawl so fast your dad and I have trouble keeping up with you.

This sudden upswing in mobility has forced us to do some emergency babyproofing, which so far is working out okay; you haven’t stuck any forks into outlets yet, though you’ve eaten many a stray Teddy Poof off the floor.  It’s hard to keep up with the sweeping when the Poofs fall faster than snowflakes in a blizzard.

Speaking of snowflakes, you experienced your first ones this month.  We were visiting Mubby and Skittergramps around Thanksgiving time, and lo and behold, there was a brief storm of fat, fluffy snowflakes.  We took you outside to check it out, and your little face went from confused to interested to delighted.  You laughed as the snowflakes melted on your nose, and you grabbed for the little piles that had gathered on horizontal surfaces.

The cold has lost its charm, now.  You aren’t so crazy about getting bundled up, especially if it means getting wedged into your carseat with all your layers on.  You look adorable in hats but are always trying to get them off.  Mostly we’ve been staying inside the last couple of weeks, save a brief sledding expedition that had about a 3:1 preparation-to-activity ratio.

Thanksgiving was probably the most exciting event of the month.  You got to see lots of relatives, including all your grandparents, dozens of cousins, and Uncle Michael.  Uncle Tyler couldn’t make it home, but you talked to him on the phone (or rather, we held the phone up to your ear and Uncle Tyler talked, and you whipped your head around in confusion, trying to figure out where he was).

You have a newfound fascination with babies, which was well-timed considering your recent hang-outs with brand-new cousin Emma and your contemporary, cousin Anna.  Those names are probably going to be confusing for you in the future, but for the time being, you are crazy about both of them.  You smiled and laughed at tiny Emma and wanted to crawl into her bouncy seat with her, and you wouldn’t keep your hands off Anna’s face.  All eyeballs remained in their sockets, thank goodness.

You still haven’t said mama or dada, but you’ve been saying a lot of baba lately.  It doesn’t seem to refer to anything in particular, but from a linguistic perspective, it kind of splits the difference between mama and dada (d and b are both occlusives, and m and b are both bilabials).  Maybe you just don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by saying one before the other, so it’s a collective term.  That sounds like you.  You’re empathetic.

You definitely understand many words and phrases, such as “brush your teeth,” “not in your mouth,” and “Miles, did you take off your socky-bock?”  That last one is usually met with a naughty grin.  I cannot keep your socks on you, and you yank them off even though you know it breaks the rules.  So far the only way I can keep your socks on is to put shoes on over them, so you’ve been wearing shoes a lot, even for naps.
We’ve been holding off on quite a few foods for fear that premature introduction could cause allergies (you’re at risk due to your dad’s asthma), but dairy, wheat, and sugar get the green light at the one-year mark.  Rather than introduce you to a host of new things at once in the form of a birthday cake that might blow your little mind and possibly bowels, I think we’re going to start small and give you a little bit from those food groups this month.  I picked out some yogurt for you today.  I bet you’ll like it.  It’s fruit-flavored.  You love fruit.

This also marks the last full month that I’ll be home with you.  It’s wonderful that my employers were flexible enough to let me work from home for the last year, but it’s really becoming infeasible.  You just don’t spend as much time lying quietly as you used to, so it’s hard for me to get any work done.  Plus, you’re getting big now, and it’s time for you to have some adventures with other kids.  You’re going to spend three mornings a week with your friend Jonah and his wonderful mom Jessa.  That means two mornings a week with Daddy, who’s going to use flex time, and every afternoon with me.

It will be good for you.  It will be good for me.


My boss is a mom, and she’s already told me she understands and that it’s okay if I spend my whole first day crying.  I might have to stretch that to the whole first week.

I’m sort of fond of you, see.




Writing a thing about a stuff

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:50 pm

I recently had the mis/fortune to discover a friendly acquaintance from college’s blog.  The fortune:  she’s a great writer, really witty with well-crafted work.  A lot of people, myself included, get lazy in the blogosphere and don’t write like we would when actively trying to impress someone.  She’s not like that.  Any piddly entry in her blog is better than most newspaper editorials you’d read.

The misfortune:  she’s really sick.  She’s at the Mayo clinic trying to get some of her very serious health issues addressed, and that’s been the topic of her blog lately.  She documents it so interestingly and well—it’s very compelling reading.  It’s honest and insightful and much more funny than maudlin, though it doesn’t skirt around the gravity of the situation either.

You may have noticed, those of you who still read this blog, that my posts have really declined post-Miles.  It’s not that I don’t have anything to say.  I say things to Miles all the time, and he sometimes even laughs at my jokes (especially the “Pew pew, stinky feet” joke, which is his favorite).  I just get tired and don’t feel like spending my small amount of leisure time blogging.

But crap, if she can do it, I can do it.  I hereby proclaim MORE BLOGGING IN ’09.

Mary’s blog


Miles Minute

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:20 pm

Miles has a new trick he’d like to show you.

I don’t know why they’re called that.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:43 pm

Just in case anyone is reading this who might be in a position to stuff a stocking of mine, did you know that my current favorite treat is a Ritter Sport dark chocolate bar with marzipan filling?

You used to only be able to get them in Europe (I think they’re German), and I discovered them in Rome.  Now you can get them at such fine retailers as Target and Walgreens.  I love America!

Now if only we’d get Magnum bars…

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