Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pictures of Home

One of the highlights of my trip home a few weeks ago was a half-hour walk in the woods around the home where I grew up. The family was keeping an attentive eye on Jack, and I had my good camera so off I went.

Cattails used to grow around the pond, but they died and a small patch of yellow irises took their place. The flowers ring the pond and look much prettier than how they show up in pictures. Above, you'll see a picture of the flowers in front of the fishing shack.

This is the time of year I love in Arkansas. The temperatures are bordering on hot and humid and there are frequent storms passing through. Everything is green and blooming, unlike late summer when everything dies from the heat and you can't possibly venture outside in the scorching temperatures. The woods smell differently this time of year, and it's a warm, green smell that's hard to describe. During childhood, I made forts and houses out here and played all sorts of make-believe games with siblings, cousins, and
friends. The memories whisper back to me when I go for walks. We ran these woods, and we didn't think anything of it. I memorized the types of flora like it was a game. We always kept a sharp eye out for snakes, and we all could identify Arkansas' venomous six.

Now that we are adults and contemplating buying properties and raising children in various parts of the country, we understand the value and benefit of such large pieces of land and wish we could somehow have our own wilderness in the corners where we live.

I never thought I would rely on my time in the outdoors for my livelihood. But when I moved to Minnesota, I happened to connect with a group of naturalists and historians. That job served as a bridge back to my profession, and I loved the gateway it provided to the Minnesota woods. Nature here has its own beauty, and I can appreciate the huge cottonwoods, the lack of snakes, the four seasons, the bald eagles, and the clear, clear bodies of water.

I don't ever plan on living in such a rural place again, but I can definitely appreciate the many parks and trails in my present state. And I don't think I'll ever go out on a trail anywhere without reflecting back on my time in the woods back home.

Monday, May 17, 2010

They're baaacckkk!

You may have heard my diatribe about the psycho squirrels that live in my neighborhood. In short, they destroy stuff. They eat stuff. Like plastic bird feeders. Like anything you put in your yard. Or bury in your yard. They first crossed paths with me when they ate the face off my jack-o-lantern, and their status hasn't improved much in my book. Except I did outsmart them last fall when I dipped all the tulip bulbs in hot sauce before I planted them. I didn't see one squirrel dig them up and we have lots of red tulips in our yard right now.

This week I kept noticing a half-eaten dried corncob in the backyard. I didn't know how it got there, but it looked like it came out of the stupid squirrel feeder up the street. (Wonder why they stick around?) Then the cob disappeared one day.

This week, I spotted a squirrel carrying the thing around the yard. Upon closer inspection, I saw he (or she?) was pulling off kernels and burying them all around the yard.

So, I told Dave we could put horseshoes in the yard. If rodents are going to dig holes, we might as well dig bigger ones.


When I saw Jack's picture from baby class today, I saw something familiar. I saw a little bit of myself.

This is a photo of me taken a short time after my birth.

Before today, if anyone asked me if he looked like me, I would have said no. Jack has has my long fingers, long skinny feet, and long toes, but that's it. He looks like Dave and my brother. This picture makes me think a bit otherwise.

Baby class comes to an end

For the past six weeks, I've been attending New Mom & Baby class at the hospital where I gave birth. It's been an extremely helpful sounding board of new moms bouncing ideas off each other and an expert baby person. We've talked about sleeping, baby poop, breastfeeding, sleeping, losing weight, working, sleeping...

It's been a good barometer of finding out how my baby stacks up against the rest. He's normal. He's one of the biggest babies in the class-- and he's the youngest.

Today, at the last class, we took pictures and went out to lunch. During the pictures, I thought that Jack was extremely well behaved, even if some of the babies weren't.

Sometimes I think they conspire against us. Here, Jack's being all chill and photogenic preserving his good nature in photographs for history's sake...but what is he thinking?

"Dude, why are you crying during the pictures?"

"You should wait and cry when all the milk ladies go out for lunch. That's what I'm going to do."
And he did.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Jack on tour

Jack made the rounds last week, visiting his parent's friends at their work. He was very unimpressed with Dave's place and then he was so bored he slept through the tour at my station.

Luckily he didn't spit up on the anchors, although they were warned.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

First Mother's Day

Mother's Day took on a whole new meaning this year. It became my day too.

I have to brag on Dave. He made sure the day was extra special for me with jewelry and then a really nice brunch. We'd planned to walk the Race for the Cure, but since the temperature has hovering around freezing, we decided not to take Jack out there. The chilly temps did give him the opportunity to wear his alpaca sweater. His chunky self won't be fitting into it this winter.
Dave had the day off, so he let me decide what to do with the rest of my day. I made the lame decision of running shopping errands around town, since it was easier to do with two people and a baby than one. Bor-ing. Such a 'mom' decision.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Raising a Twins fan

It's an exciting summer for Jack's first season as a Twins fan.

He didn't have a mobile for his crib, so I lucked upon this Twins mobile at a great secondhand store that exclusively sells kids junk. This item had never been out of the package. It plays 'Take me out to the ballgame' and features TC Bear(s) circling around a baseball.

Jack loves it. He coos and kicks and just stares at it. When the music stops, he cries for more and stops crying when he sees my arm go in to wind it back up.

Twins Territory has been cooing over their new stadium too, and for good reason.

To say the stadium has been highly anticipated is an understatement. I have coworkers who have salivated over the possibility of outdoor baseball for years. Stations did big stories on the GRASS that was being grown to go in Target Field and even flew out to Colorado to get video of it. The stations have a 'Twins forecast' now and it's routine conversation to ask about season tickets, games, etc.
The Stadium is beautiful, and it's been a media circus. Opening day was crazy. Everyone wants access... even a sports guy from Shreveport was up here. If there's a link to the new stadium, press people have been here with their angle. Dave hasn't even gotten a seat some games. So, he'll roam around doing his job from the concourses on his feet.

This hasn't come without advantages. On one such occasion, he happened upon a Food Network star and Minneapolis native, Andrew Zimmern. Zimmern travels around the world for his show, Bizarre Foods, eating bizarre foods in exotic locales. The show is entertaining and a favorite of Dave's, although I stopped watching when I saw him eat a beating snake heart. No joke.

Anyway, Dave saw him and went up to say hello.... but before he could get the 'I'm a fan' part out of his mouth....Zimmern trumped him by saying he knew who he was and appreciated his work! Talk about crazy. They spoke for a few minutes and went back to the game, but now they follow each other on Twitter.

With hometown boy Joe Mauer signed back with the team, (the sports writers call him 'baby Jesus') fans hope it could be an exciting year for the Twins.

And hopefully, we'll have our own little Twins fan in the stadium during his first summer to see TC Bear in person. We wonder if he'll be as enthralled as when TC is floating above his crib.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Redneck Baby.

You can't visit Arkansas without getting your picture taken by a dead animal. When a cousin-in-law stopped by with a 15 pound catfish, we decided to compare Jack since according to home scales he weighs 15 pounds too.

Why is he in a diaper? I had a temporary brain lapse (see entry below) and didn't pack appropriately for late April/early May in Arkansas. Everything I brought was too hot for him, and the few things that were cool enough stayed in the washing machine more than on him.

So completed his role as a little redneck baby by hanging out in diapers.

Long time, no Blog

In the history of my blog, I've never taken a hiatus quite like this. Yet I did, and the blogging world went on blogging without me. I'm pointing fingers. The Jack above is completely to blame. But like an addict, one hit of a smile, and we're ready to go again.

I worked on a morning show shift for 3 years in Louisiana. (I got up for work normally at 1:45 am. And was generally supposed to get home around noon...but you know how that went.) It's time my husband refers to as the zombie years. I could fall asleep anywhere, at any time. I was known for going on 15-hour plus sleeping stretches. Some weekends all I wanted to do was sleep, eat, and sleep again.

The more tired I got, the crazier things I would do. Once while going home, I stopped at all the green lights and didn't understand why people were honking when I drove through the red lights. I didn't quite realize what I'd done until I got home. I'm curious just how much I would've argued with a cop if I'd been pulled over.

Now, I'm back in that reduced sleep fog. I put milk away in the cupboard instead of the fridge. I discovered a pacifier in my shirt when undressing for bed, and I have no recollection of how it got there. I have bizarre conversations with my husband that include mostly 'go there, get that, no that other thing. The thing by the that.' I somehow can fall asleep while feeding Jack on a straight-backed hard chair and not realize I'm dozing until I wake up 3 hours later. (A shout-out to my dedicated WordsFree players. That iphone keeps me from dozing off more than you know.)

In new mom/baby class at the hospital, Jack is the youngest baby by a few days.... and he's the only one NOT sleeping through the night. So, we're more dedicated now at finding that perfect sleep pattern that will give us shut eye too.