Come, Mommy

Monday, July 30, 2007

Morning Cnversation, 6:00 AM

Liam: "Mommy, why are you so grumpy?"

Me: "I guess I just don't like being up this early in the morning."

Liam: "Oh. You know what?"

Me : " What?"

Liam: "I love you. Even when you're grumpy."


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Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Rest Of The Chicago Story - With Pictures

Here are the pictures I promised the other day...

Kevin and Liam spent a morning at the Chicago Children's Museum. It seems Liam's new best friend, Big Bird, came along for the ride. Actually, Big Bird was very helpful this trip - he pecked elevator buttons right and left, and also "ate" his way down Ontario Street one afternoon and trimmed away excess shrubbery.

A fun time was had playing drums.

And here's Chef No Name Diesel Engine creating a tofu stir-fry at the wok station.

We had lunch outside at the Navy Pier one day, and Liam had fun letting his little brother play with his hair.

A quick shot of the older son at lunch.

More brotherly goofing around.

The conference ended as well as it began, and I just wish it could have been a bit longer. The last morning of the conference, Kieran and I caught a cab to the Hilton. The cabbie turned out to be a recent immigrant from Somalia. He saw Kieran's Maya Wrap, and then he asked me if all the mothers at the Hilton this week were American. I told him not everyone was, but the majority were. He thought that was interesting, as apparently he'd never seen so many babies in slings outside of Africa, and he asked what the conference was about. I told him it was about breastfeeding and other aspects of raising babies and young children. He got me with this comment...

"Why do you need a conference about nursing and carrying babies? Isn't that just what you're supposed to do with them?"

Yes, sir, it is, but not everyone has that idea yet. We're working on it.

(And then I realized some parenting frustrations are universal. Our cabbie went on to ask, only half in jest, if I knew of any conferences discussing how to get five-year-olds to brush their teeth and go to bed at a reasonable hour.)

We had one extra day in Chicago, and we had the distinct pleasure of a playdate in the park with Amy, Kevin, Carter, and Archie. Amy and I have known each other on-line for almost four years, and I have always admired her parenting style, so it was exciting to finally meet in real life. The boys got to burn off some steam playing ball, the adults got to visit, and a fun time was had by all. Thanks for the meetup, you guys. I hope we can do it again next year!

We then played around at the Navy Pier a bit more, and then that night we walked up to Watertower Place and had dinner at a 50's-style diner that had the best mushroom burgers I've ever eaten.

The next morning we came home, fortunately without major problems. There was my ID issue. My wallet was never found, and my passport was safely tucked away in the safety deposit box at our bank (no, they wouldn't let anyone else in to get it, even with our permission), so I had no picture ID. When we checked in at the airport, no one even blinked an eye. It turns out you can fly without ID. You just have to be willing to go through the extensive hand search (Kevin and Amy, you two were right!) That was all kind of a relief, but Liam wasn't prepared for me to disappear for as long as that took. Kevin ended up trying to convince a crying 3-year-old to go through a separate line with him and Kieran. No one was happy until the four of us were back together again, and then all was well.

Today we've been doing the laundry and opening all our mail that accumulated during our trip. And lookee what came:

This bracelet was made by the lovely Kate as my prize for guessing how many odd socks her boys had squirreled away in their room (28). It is gorgeous - I love the color of blue, and the heart clasp - the picture does not do it justice, trust me. Thank you, Kate! It's is so pretty, and it fits perfectly.

And that is the tale of Chicago '07. I hope we get to go to Chicago again, whether it's for a conference or not, and I hope there is another La Leche League International Conference in the next few years, whether it's in Chicago or not. And next time I won't lose my wallet!

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Chicago Update

When I left for Chicago, I was dealing with a bit of a funk. Things are looking up now. In the last two days I've heard talks ranging from a fairly hard-core breastfeeding pharmacology session by Thomas Hale (I loved this talk being a medicinal chemist and all) to a discussion of natural childbirth by Ina May Gaskin to a discipline session given by William and Martha Sears to a talk celebrating the importance and value of breastfeeding from Peggy O'Mara. Everything I have heard has driven home for me the importance of gentle, loving guidance for kids starting at birth with the first nursing session and evolving as the child does to encompass lots of touch, respect, and safe limit setting. No one ever said that parenting is easy work, and it may in fact be harder to follow an attachment parenting paradigm, but if you look at the evidence, and you look at all the healthy, sweet kiddos roaming the halls of this conference, then you can see why parenting is such an important job. It's been affirming to hear all these greats in the field of breastfeeding/attachment parenting while at the same time tickling my baby and looking at all the other kids in the room. I'm feeling better about the world in general and parenting in particular.

I also love Chicago, and with the cool days that the Chamber of Commerce clearly ordered up for this anniversary conference, it's been fun being outside. Kieran and I sat outside at a coffee shop on Michigan Avenue yesterday. I looked down at the Congress Hotel. It used to be the Pick Congress, and my parents and I attended a fancy dinner there one night back in middle school when my dad passed his CPA exam and all the new CPA's were honored. I felt like such a grown-up that night. Then I remembered how I played in a concert with my high school band for a music educators' conference at the Hilton. And here I am again, at the Hilton, this time as a grown-up, attending my very own conference with my very own baby by my side.

Liam and Kevin have been having a great time doing the tourist thing. We were here last summer for a conference for Kevin, and Liam's now playing the old pro and showing his dad how cool the Navy Pier, the Museum of Science and Industry, and other spots are. As opposed to last year when it was really, really hot and humid, it's been dry and cool here, so no one has collapsed with the heat, and we've been eating outside whenever we have the chance. Kieran and I met the guys for lunch at the Navy Pier today. We sat outside and tried to explain the difference between the ocean and Lake Michigan to Liam - "But, Mommy, there's a lighthouse! That means it's an ocean!" I got some great photos of the boys, but I may have to wait until I get home to post them as Blogger isn't being photo-friendly tonight. (What's up with Blogger?? The other night it wouldn't let me post paragraphs. Anyway.) Trust me, though, everyone's having a fantastic time.

No one found my wallet, so that's the one thorn in all of this. We're going to see if we can get a photocopy of my birth certificate and/or a photocopy of my driver's license to help at the airport on Wednesday. However, since this is a post-9/11 world, we may not be able to, so things could get interesting trying to get home. If all else fails, the back-up plan is to run out and buy two car seats and then rent a car. It's about 15 hours home....hhhhmmmm, how many times can a 3-year-old ask, "Are we there yet?" in that time frame????

Wish us luck, and pray we never find the answer to that question!

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Safe Travels

We arrived in Chicago safe and sound, although I think Liam set a new record as to how many "why????" questions one child could ask in the time it takes to drive from our house to the airport. He was terrific during all the check-in and security rigamarole, even though he was obviously tired and on the verge of a meltdown....

...and in fact he collapsed shortly after take-off. He didn't even wake up for the snack service, so I know he was tired.

Kieran was awake for a lot of the trip, although he did sleep at the end. He was quite happy the whole time, though, so it was a fun flight. As we were getting off the plane one of the flight crew said to us, "You guys have great kids!"
Well, yup, we do think they're great kids, but don't you love it when the equation
1 Quiet Baby + 1 Sleeping Preschooler = 2 Great Kids
is the rule of the day?
We got a car to the hotel, got registered, and took went back to the room for a room service dinner. Both kids are sound asleep, and I think they'll be sleeping late in the morning since they are both really tired.
We had one small crisis today - my wallet got lost on the plane, which went on to LA after landing in Chicago. We called Southwest's lost and found in both Chicago and LA, but no one has turned the wallet in. If it hasn't been found by morning we'll have to replace a couple of credit cards. Of course, my driver's license was in there, so it might be interesting trying to get me back on a plane for home next week since I have no other forms of ID with me.
Oh well, there's nothing to be done about it tonight...
Tomorrow is another day - Kieran and I are going to hear Peggy O-Mara of 'Mothering' magazine fame speak, and Liam and Kevin are going to the Museum of Science and Industry, aka "The Jet Museum." It should be a fun day!

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Last Minute Scramble

We're flying out tomorrow morning to Chicago. I was afraid we wouldn't be able to go after getting sick last week, but I'm much better. After all, how ironic would it be to miss this because I was home sick in bed with mastitis?

After a mad last-minute scramble involving a) several loads of laundry that we needed for the trip, b) a dryer that was finally repaired at 4:30 this afternoon ( a whole 'nother post there, for now just say don't buy these dryers unless you want the repair guy as a frequent guest), and c) a realization by my husband someone that we never told the airline we were bringing a baby along, all is under control. Or as close as it gets around here.

See y'all in a few days, and Amy? See you Tuesday night!

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

16 Weeks Of Brotherhood

Thank you to everyone for your get well wishes. I'm feeling much better, and I have a newfound respect for mastitis. I didn't quite appreciate before how it could just knock you flat, but boy howdy, it can. Thank goodness for antibiotics!

Here's the current round-up, abbreviated since I'm still trying to get some extra rest...

The boys and I have developed this ritual of going to the park every morning. This happened to be the morning I got sick. I had Kieran in the stroller as it was a bit hot for slinging.

LiamNo Name Diesel Engine on his new favorite thing, the swings.

No, I have no idea where this name came from.

Then I got sick and went to bed, taking the baby with me. Here he is contemplating whether 'tis better to chew the Wild Doggie or the thumb.

Look out world, it's a rolling baby!!

The elder son continues to inflict unfortunate fashion choices on his sibling.

And the classic brotherhood picture - look how big Kieran's getting next to his brother.

And that is it for now. I'm going back to bed. More posts to come as health and circumstances dictate.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

M Is For Miserable

Remember that migraine I mentioned? What I didn't mention is that I spent most of Sunday in the local ER with it. We finally did manage to defeat it, but at a cost.

Kevin had the boys for the day while I was there, and Kieran was getting milk from my freezer stash. It turned out that eight hours is too long for me to go without nursing. So now I have mastitis. Lovely.

As soon as the antibiotics kick in and I no longer feel like I've been hit by a truck, I'll be back. Until then, blogging will be sparse...

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cute Conversation

This is for my friend Robbie, who is quite the fan of biker culture. Liam was watching Sesame Street this morning. Elmo was up to his usual slapstick antics; this time driving a motorcycle around at a great rate of speed.

Liam: "When I get to be as big as Elmo, I mean when I get to be his age, I'm going to buy myself a big motorcycle."

Me: "Oh? And What are you going to do with this motorcycle?"

Liam; "Um, well, mostly wear a black jacket and drive across the neighbors' grass. 'Cause that's what Elmo's doing."

Elmo, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being such a positive role model for the youngsters of America..

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Great Maple Tree Takedown

Thar she is in all her glory. You can see the split down the middle that the lightning caused. What's not apparent from this view is that that split isn't even a quarter of the way up the trunk of the tree. Hence the instability and danger.

Here's one of the tree dudes making his way up for a first inspection. It's a good thing we have this side yard for them to run the trucks on, or else they'd have had to climb neighboring trees and drop the branches from there, leading to both increased danger for the crew and increased cost for us. Liam was quite impressed with the trucks these guys brought.

There he is sawing down the first of the branches...

...and now the right-hand side of the tree is down.

Liam and Casey take a break from spectating. They were both out there the whole morning watching this operation.

Taking the branches off the left side of the tree...

And that's the main truck that's left. That's about twenty feet of trunk you're looking at. This was one huge tree. Fortunately there are crabapples and maples on either side of this picture that should grow in and replace the canopy in a couple of years.

The remaining stump has been a great toy. We counted the rings - the tree was 29 years old. It's a shame to see it go, but better that than having it fall on the house.

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Monday, July 09, 2007


I'm around, I've just been dealing with a vicious migraine. Gotta love postpartum hormones. Or not. I should be back soon with the Great Maple Tree Takedown.

"How's your headache, Mommy?"


Monday, July 02, 2007

14 Weeks Of Brotherhood

It's the usual bimonthly round-up of brotherhood pictures...

We are all about bad humor around here, so I must show you my "bug-eyed" son...

And look! The Super-Bug glasses open for indoor use!

Last weekend we went to the 1st birthday party of Violet, the little sister of one of Liam's best friends. Her mom, Lisa, is one amazing cake maker. The theme of the party was "drums", and look at the drum cake!

I'd show you a picture of the birthday girl, but I have a self-imposed rule against posting pictures of other folks' kids. Trust me, though, Violet was as cute as a button and had a great time.

This was the biggest gathering of people Kieran's ever seen. He alternated between being happy...

...and being a bit freaked out.

Last week, Liam, Kieran, and I took Stormy and Houdini down for their Lupron shots. As you can see, Kieran was perfectly dressed for the occasion.

The white ferret in the picture is Stormy. She's doing much better since we started her on theophylline for her heart block. She's got a lot of energy now that her heart's pumping in a more normal fashion. Here she is with Pippi, spending some time grooming.

And here is Houdini. Note two things about her - her hair is back! And I am able to hold her without being bitten. Clearly she's doing better as well.

More of the bad humor...say "Cheese", guys! (Kevin asked me to crop him out of this picture because he didn't like the expression on his face. But if I did, his mom might get mad at me, and I don't want that!

(Just kidding, Mom!)

Kieran is all into holding things these days. Here he is with his favorite toy, a wooden spoon. It's clearly The Best Thing Ever, and woe befall the person who separates boy and spoon.

This is a great shot I got of Liam at a local park. Doesn't he look like a junior coach with that sweat jacket and the whistle?

We spied this mommy duck and her babies as we were crossing over a bridge on our way home from the park. I took this picture from up on the bridge with the zoom lens, but without the zoom, those babies just disappear into the bank of the stream.


And that's it from around here. Coming soon - exclusive coverage of the Maple Tree Take-Down!

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Ah, The Joys Of Home Ownership - Updated!

Anyone who's been reading here for any length of time has figured out that I love meteorology, and I get all excited when severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are predicted. Last Wednesday night karma came to bite me in the you-know-what in the form of a thunderstorm the likes of which I associate with Spring in the Midwest. There was one blinding flash of lightning and eardrum-shattering blast of thunder that left me hoping none of our neighbors' houses were hit. As it turns out, they weren't. Instead, it turned out to be one of the fourty feet tall swamp maples in our backyard:

Kevin found it yesterday, bark blasted off the tree in ginormous pieces and thrown several yards away from the tree.

And, worse still, the tree is splitting in two right down the middle of the trunk. We've already sent out an SOS to our arborist. I hope we can save the tree. It provides so much shade in our yard, and lots of birds and squirrels live there.

Also? Our dryer and dishwasher are both on the fritz, so I'll be calling about those tomorrow as well. And there goes the July budget

On the other hand, it's still better than renting and waiting for a landlord to take action. I think.

Evening update - The arborist was fairly alarmed at the sight of the tree, saying it could come down at any moment, even in the light breeze we had today. The tree unfortunately has to go for safety reasons. Since more severe weather is predicted here for Thursday, and Wednesday is a holiday, the crew will be here tomorrow bright and early to take it down. On the plus side, all the equipment will keep Liam entertained. On the down side, the estimate is $2200. Ouch.

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