I have never really seen a sick dog. But yesterday, I was sick as a dog, as the expression goes. Sore throat, mucus, very high fever over 100 degrees, no energy. I was fortunate that Rusty stayed home from work to help out. Which was needed. I put Josh down for a nap at 3pm headed to nap too in my own bed. He slept until 4:30pm; then Rusty took care of his diaper, entertained him, tried to give him a bottle (which he refused) and it wasn’t until an hour later that I woke up groggy trying to “pull it together”. I fed Josh and thought about dinner. Rusty made soup so I decided to lay down until it was done cooking. Well, I didn’t budge until that night. Essentially from 6pm to 2:30am. I was too sick to care for Josh, and barely well enough to care for myself from 3pm onward. Then, to top it off, I dreamt about Muslims and Jews all night.

Don't you hate it when your dream turns into an infinate loop?

You obsess about something in your sleep even if you don’t want to and have exhausted all thought about the topic. I fed Josh at 2:30am taking time to read a short article in The Week (great magazine for the news oriented) about Muslims in Britain who essentially are against Holocaust Memorial Day because its exclusive to one type of people. They propose instead to make it Genocide Memorial Day and include other massacres such as the Rwanda Tutsis, Bosnia Muslims and 4,000 Palestinians. (The Boston Globe covers the story fairly well.) Reading this makes so angry at these people for even proposing this. Six million Jews exterminated over the course of several countries over several years, many of them tortured before being killed, deserve some decent recognition. A memorial to that single event in history that we hope to never repeat. Yes the genocide in Rwanda is tragic beyond words. It’s sickening what the Hutus did to their friends and neighbors during that revolt. But that atrocity deserves its own memorial in a place closer to home. The Bosnian Muslims- same thing. They need a memorial that keeps their spirit and culture alive through a memorial of their own. I believe what these British Muslims are trying to do is put down Jewish people and slight that genocide. That memorial is not about current events. It has nothing to do with issues over land and government today. For these Muslims to suggest otherwise only demonstrates to me their total lack of decency, ethics, morality and compassion. ANYWAY, I read the article, which ticked me off and led me into some strange dream logic where my sheets were in conflict because the top sheet was Jewish and the bottom sheet was Muslim and the two sheets kept needing to be separated. The blanket represented something else but that wasn’t what kept me up. The Muslim sheets were fighting with the Jew sheets. My brain would wander off into other topics momentarily then it always came back to a Muslim vs. Jew issue and my sheets. I’ll bet I was thrashing around in bed too. I should stick to lighter reading in the future, at least for the midnight feedings.

I went downtown to have lunch today with my two business partners (Melissa & Dorothy) and people we worked with from SAMCO. I miss working there. It was such a great environment to work in with smart people who all get along. Too bad things didn’t work out. I had some yummy salmon dish from the Zodiac Restaurant on the 6th floor of the downtown Neiman Marcus. Although every bite was extremely tasty, it was too short. I was done (without scarfing my meal mind you) and still hungry for more.

The rest of the day was the normal business of being an At-Home Mom. Housecleaning, running an errand, letting Josh nap (on my lap), cleaning & feeding baby. Rusty came home carrying a bouquet of flowers. That was such a nice surprise! We played role reversal this evening. He bathe Josh and put him into pajamas and played with him for an hour while I took out recyclables and relaxed on the computer.

Random thought- why do baby clothes manufacturers put pockets on infant clothes? I realize it’s novel and cute, but pockets that are functional is the most absurd thing ever. No baby under 6 months is coordinated enough to put something in a pocket. They barely know they have feet, much less object permanence inside their pants!

Today was an eventful day. We started the day going to the pediatricians. Josh got weighed, measured and poked with vaccines. He was doing fine until the shots. I can’t help it. When he cries with pain and I see his eyes well up with little tiny tears, I can’t help to get emotional too. I kept my smile on when looking at Josh and gave him a good hug afterwards to soothe him, but I think I needed the hug as much as he did.

This afternoon, after he woke up from his nap and had lunch and was great for an hour, then he was exceptionally cranky. I tried everything to calm him to no avail. So I resorted to a car ride. We ran an errand to buy greeting cards and pick up photos. Worked like a charm!

I was greeted by Rusty when I got home. By this time, I finally could no longer deny that I was coming down with a cold. My scratchy throat moved from the top back corner of my mouth down down into the back of my throat. My sneezing became more frequent and full of mucus. Rusty was great at feeding Josh a bottle and encouraging me to take some Tylenol. I got this idea that I’d prevent Josh from getting sick too by feeding him breast milk in a bottle from my reserves. Then I read online that was not a good idea. Kellymom.com is a great resource for breastfeeding moms. Damn if I do, damn if I don’t. Basically, breastfeeding while sick is the best thing a mom can do because it passes on the antibodies created to cure the sickness. Chances are, if he’s going to be sick from me, he’d become sick well before I knew it.

Hopefully this is a quick straightforward cold.

Rusty's parents snagged me a new digital camera for my birthday. Yay! More pictures and better quality. Tomorrow is Josh's 4 month pediatrician appointment. Leaving the house on-time for anything, especially in the morning, takes planning and calculation to pull off successfully- and even then anything goes!

Josh is sleeping through the night on a regular basis. THANK GOD!! He's been going to sleep right around 9pm and doesn't stir much until 6am, where I feed him and change him. He usually goes back to sleep for another hour or so. I've noticed that my appetite for sleep is increasing. I used to be happy with 5 hours and several spirts of waking up. Now I'm getting greedy wanting more than 9 hours of sleep. Once you hit that addictive REM sleep, your body wants more and more. When Josh starts teething, that'll all change again. :(

Yep, I'm now 29. My birthday was Sunday the 18th. I suppose I need to think about what crazy, reckless thing I need to do between now and next year. After 30, I can't be reckless anymore, per society norm. By 30, one is supposed to have a career lined up, a steady relationship (past or present, with/w.out kids), a direction in life, a place of their own, financial stability or savings. I have all those but a career, unless you count "at-home mom" as a temporary j.o.b. Looking at my social circle, most of my friends have all but one of these. A few lack several of these. That doesn't make them less responsible or immature, it just crushes my perception of what 30 means.

I have my first period since Josh was born while on vacation. It kinda of freaked me out at first. My first thought was what's wrong!? I even asked Rusty for a second opinion. Poor guy. The next morning I walked across the street to buy a small package of liners and some juice. I was under some impression that women don't menstruate when they are breastfeeding. Heh, guess that's false! It was delayed by four months. That means we could technically get pregnant again. How scary that'd be. To have a baby while raising one still in diapers. Not for me. Thanks, I'll wait.

Besides, you have to have a sex life to get pregnant and, well, we, uh, eh-hem, need to, yeah- find more time and energy. Nothing kills the moment like a crying baby. And nothing zaps energy like caring for a babe all day. By the end, such as now, all I want is some time to myself and a moment to prepare for the next day. It doesn't help that we keep filling our time on the weekends. And now a period to worry about every month.

Updates on Joshy: He's holding his head up 3 inches off the floor during tummy time and not complaining so much. He's starting to grow little blond hairs in on his head. He tracks objects with his eyes and head pretty well. He's drooling like a laborador (but no teething yet, thank God). He likes people and responds well to them. He has been known to laugh when he's really engaged. Whatever he grabs goes to the mouth. He loves to smile at his reflection in the mirror. He grabs his shirt, bid and pee-pee every opportunity he has. The grabbing pee-pee trick makes diaper changes challenging. I've had to strap his arms down just to finish.

Still no rolling over. He rolls to his side then kicks the floor to move himself around in circle, like one of the Three Stooges. I suspect he'll roll over properly by mid-October.

Here's a long description of our trip to Vancouver and Portland. I worked on this while Josh was napping today.

We got back from our vacation yesterday evening. I was beyond exhausted. If it weren’t for Josh, I would have gone to bed shortly after getting home. But instead I was up until 10pm putting him to bed and getting ready for today. I can't seem to get him to stay up much later than 9pm. But 9 is better than 8pm and much better than 7:30. Anyway...

Where to begin! We left Wednesday afternoon for the airport and caught our flight without incident. I was worried Josh would cry the whole trip but he really only cried the first half of the DFW to Houston flight, which was about an hour long flight. He was cranky and didn’t want to be in his car seat. We were allowed to hold him in our laps during flight- which was a life saver to us and those near us! I managed to get him fed using a bottle in the airport before leaving Dallas and mostly again in Houston. As we were boarding our flight in Houston, we ran out of time feeding Josh. I fed him from the breast on the plane before take off. He fell asleep without much of a sound and was out for the rest of the flight. We landed just fine, found Matt at the airport and got to his condo in no time.

I knew he had a small place, but the smallness was still unexpected once getting there. It seemed smaller than his Deep Ellum loft (which was the coolest bachelor pad I’d ever seen!) but his place was cozy and warm. And tall. The tall ceiling didn’t make it seem too cramped. Rusty & I slept in Matt’s bed while he crashed on the sofa. Just as I feared, Josh woke up several times that night either wet or hungry or just awake. I got maybe 4 hours of good sleep. At around 5am Rusty and I were whispering about whether we should go to breakfast or stroll Josh around the neighborhood. Then Matt said, “Why don’t we all go to breakfast?”

We walked all around the neighborhoods until the Elbow Room was open. I had a fabulous spinach, ham, mushroom and muffin dish with pouched eggs on top. I was so famished by breakfast that I ate every single bite and stole Rusty’s toast and orange slice. One great thing about Canada- they put peanut butter on their toast as much as jelly. Here, places only provide jelly, which is ok, but peanut butter is the bomb! I dig that.

Towards the end of breakfast, Josh filled his diaper with poo. We heard it along with the grunting that Josh was doing to fill it with more. We scarfed our remaining meal and hurried back to clean the babe. We decided a shower was the best option for cleaning. Matt held the shower nozzle/hose while I held Josh. Aww- baby’s first shower! He was all happy and clean afterwards.

We proceeded on our walk going all over the place. We reached the beach then headed up hill in a search for coffee. We found some small café that happen to have a small group of other new moms toting their babies. I felt I was in good company. I didn’t feel bad that Josh woke up crying or that my stroller stuck out from the walk-way in front of the bathroom. I was only one of several other moms. Power in numbers!

I was getting a sore on my foot from my shoes rubbing on me so we walked further on to find socks. We finally found a Payless Shoes and got some funky polka-dot socks for me. Ahhhh! Matt planned to take us to a nearby pub for lunch but they wouldn’t allow us in with a baby. “He’s underage” they said. Well, yes, he is! He’s also sleeping and wouldn’t think to sneak a drink illegally. Our logic didn’t work on them. It was some silly ordinance. But luck would have it that we’d find a sushi place a few doors down that was super yummy. I’ve decided eel sashimi is- I can’t think of a comparison that accurately describes the deliciousness.

We pit stopped at Matt’s place (everyone napping for a bit) before picking up Oana from her museum. It was a cute small rail road museum in Port Moody. She tells me there’s a ghost hanging out there. I’m more interested in that than rail roads.

The ride back into Vancouver was wrought with crying baby. We stopped at a library to let Josh get out of his car seat for a moment. Little did we know it was a demonstration of the road trip on Friday. We walked through the park that Matt sometimes walks through on his way to work. We got to meet his squirrel friends. These squirrels are wacky. They KNOW who Matt is and come running to see him. They also know he probably has nuts to share.

That evening, we decided to put Josh to sleep then head out for dinner. A few blocks from the condo, we ate at some restaurant decorated like trendy-gothic. It has some neat sculptures, candles everywhere, iron gate on the door, wait staff with semi-punkish style. Oh yeah, and the food was good. I had salmon.

That night a miracle happened. Josh, for the first time, slept through the night without a budge. I was the one who kept waking up thinking he should be up by now for a diaper change or feeding or something. Nope! He slept from roughly 8pm to 6am. We got very well rested, which was needed for the road trip to Portland. Matt made us some tasty potato perogies with onions and sausage. Num-num!

Josh was cranky off and on during our trip to Portland. Sometimes he slept, often he cried. We finally broke the law and took him out of this carrier during some portions of the trip to hold him, play with him and let him see out the window. Traffic was steady and not too fast in some stretches so I wasn’t too concerned. There’s just no way we could have gone through our trip with him screaming for hours on end. However, in Portland, we didn’t take him out in the car no matter what. I guess I saw the road trip and slower highway driving as safer than in-city drivers. On the way, we told Oana all the Lee stories we could muster. That was fun. Lee makes for good story telling.

That evening, Lee & Barb took us out for fish and chips. Lee demonstrated that even Portlanders can get lost from ill-marked streets and winding roads with no turn lane. Josh was really cranky at the restaurant (it was his bedtime) but we stopped his crying and got him to sleep before the end of the meal.

Our hotel (Four Point by Sheraton) was great. Friendly staff, nice room, convenient location, and a decent price after I negotiated for a family rate of $89. We had a nice view of the river and the Max Train line.

Saturday! Josh, again, slept all night waking once for a quick diaper change and feeding. There was a bottle fiasco but once the breast out, all was good for everyone involved. I woke up early and showered before Rusty & Josh were up. Ahhh- nice ME time. Our first activity was to meet Sohail and walk around the Saturday market for a while- which we did. Sohail looked good with his newly shaved head. I liked his hair back when it was long, but somehow his shaved head looked natural on him. As if I’d seen him like that before. I’m glad we got to catch up with him for a few hours. Sohail is the type of guy you can have an engaging conversation with or joke/rant about the little things in life. He’s a thinker and a recluse. Not a bad combination.

Rusty & I split for the next few hours. It was overcast and that usually drains him of energy. He went to help Lee and Barb prepare for their house warming party while Matt & Oana picked up Josh & I to hang out at Powell’s bookstore and check out the Rose Garden. Powell’s is an awesome bookstore, by the way. I spent most of my time checking out baby books for Josh (I got three) and quickly perused the parenting books. If I didn’t have the stroller, I would have had more fun going up and down the stairs checking out other sections. Luckily they had an elevator. Next, we had fun walking through the Rose Garden. Matt took a lot of pictures there. After an hour of smelling flowers, we developed a fierce appetite.

Back at Lee & Barb’s, the grill was already pumping out burgers and over-sized hot dogs and mushrooms and other tasty things. I scarfed my burger before Josh woke up from his nap. He had a great time meeting people and being the center of attention among a few folks. I met another lady, also names Sarah, who is getting ready for a homebirth of her own. I shared an abridged version of my birth story with her and congratulated her for her choice to go natural. Natural births aren’t exactly common so I applaud and support those who go that direction.

In the evening, my “cousin” Alysia showed up. I put cousin in parenthesis because she’s technically a cousin by marriage and that marriage is not dissolved. (Real quick history: my aunt married a guy, they had my cousin Luke, they divorced. Luke is a cousin by blood, Alysia is a cousin by marriage even though I consider both equally cousins.) Moving on, I put Josh to sleep around 9:30pm then hung out with the remaining partiers for a couple hours. For some reason, they thought I should have a vanilla vodka coke- twice. We stood in Lee’s kitchen for a long time cracking up over this guy who is obsessed with his hair and has tricks for checking out chick’s boobs. He was a riot to converse with!

The next morning we went to breakfast with Alysia at a little café. There was a long wait and Josh was fussy during breakfast, but we had a good meal and people near us were patient. (Oh yeah- I forgot to mention the Breast Cancer Walk. We woke up to thousands of people walking to support a cure for breast cancer. Which is a bit funny because no one walks to oppose a cure. That made getting out of downtown a challenge.)

Alysia took us through the Chinese Garden at the edge of downtown. We spent a long time there looking at the plants, watching a mah-jong game (non-Taiwanese version!) and snacking on tea, moon pie, a coconut pastry and turnip cake. I didn’t care for the turnip cake, but everything else was good. She drove us around town landing us in a shopping strip a few blocks from Lee’s. Rusty hung out at Powell’s (a different location) while Alysia & I walked around window shopping and strolling Josh.

We spent the night with Lee & Barb waking up before the sun in order to make our flight. Things got a little stressful on our way when we realized we left my purse and a red bag in the bathroom. So we went back for that. We were all stressed that we’d be pressed for time, but we ended up early and without incident. Just as I feared, Josh was awake and fussy off and on for both flights. I was very pleased flying North on Continental but Alaskan Airlines (or maybe it was Expedia.com come to think of it) didn’t have our flight in their records. They had oversold the flight by exactly three seats. They got us on the plane, but we had to trade seats with three guys in order to sit together. If I hadn’t been sitting next to Rusty I’d have been much more stressed and probably put into a grumpy mood. We shared a movie and ate our lunch together.

Last stretch of the trip- paying for parking. I was dummy driving into DFW airport and went through the tolltag lane. Which is great if you’re picking up and dropping off. It becomes complicated if you plan to park in the Express Parking lot. They require a ticket that I didn’t get on my way in. So on our way out they were supposed to charge my tolltag for the parking. Instead, the lady at the gate only charged us one day’s worth of parking. We didn’t argue with her, we just scrounged around our pockets for change and went on our way.

Overall, Josh had a good time. He slept a lot, got held a lot, saw new things. I was lucky to get three nights of uninterrupted sleep and extra hands to help with him. We breastfed in public more than I ever had before (all without too much problem) and handled a fussy baby quickly when we had to. It was a great vacation that, as they all are, was over too soon!

If anyone wants to make traveling moms happy, invent an inflatable nursing pillow. I have a very good idea of how to make one, but I suck at selling and I'm not very good at finishing the projects I start. Something that takes three breathes or less to inflate to 4 inches with padding and a washable cover. Why these don't exist yet is beyond me. It seems like a handy thing to take along with the stroller, diaper bag and other baby essentials.

A quick note before I turn into a pumpkin. Whew! This week has kept me busy with selling stuff online, keeping up with Josh, and preparing for the trip. Oh, and today I spent about 2 hours trying to get rid of Darwin, our adorable yet needs-a-more-tolerant-home cat.

I called my grandmother's nursing home in Kansas thining they probably would say no thanks to adopting an in-house cat (which would prepare me for calling homes in Dallas) or they would say yes and I could just ship the cat. Well, damned if nothing works out the way you'd expect. They said yes, they'd love a young cat for one of their residents. I was feeling good about this. I was going to send a great cat to someone who could no doubt appreciate the companionship. So I called around for how to ship an animal. FedEx does not do live animals. That figures. They recommended three numbers, of which two worked. One guy quoted me $375 and soemone would have to pick up the cat from the nearest airport, which is in another city. That doesn't work. Another company said they don't deliver animals if the climate is over 85 degrees. That means I'd have to wait until late October at the earliest. That doesn't work either. I tried another guy but he was in Mexico delivering a dog and couldn't talk when I called. I'll try him again tomorrow.

That leaves two options, neither of which I'm keen to. One option is to drive the cat to Kansas as a personal delivery. It's an 8 hour drive there and I'd be taking the cat and Josh with me. The other option is to call the home back tomorrow, explain that sending the cat isn't feasible, and begin finding someone in Dallas to take him. I did call six senior homes in the Dallas area, and they all said no in some manner. Isn't that just the way it is! I wasn't expecting the Kansas home to say and it turns out they are the only place willing to take him.

Meanwhile, I'm prepping the house for our trip today. It's clean. Tomorrow I'll pack, do laundry, take a good long shower, and triple check my packing and to do list. Luckily I have Melissa coming over to watch Josh for three hours. That will give me a chance to do everything and be ready to leave on time! I got her a small gift to say thanks for baby sitting.

I'll bet you anything I don't sleep well tonight. I'll probably be thinking of everything to do, what I expect the trip to be like, what if this or that, rehearsing my schedule, double checking everything. I guess I better get started. My night will be over before I know it! :)

I've increasingly had trouble posting to my blog due to being busy. If Josh isn't commanding attention, it's planning a vacation or selling Mary Kay stuff online or cleaning messes. Here are a few highlights from this week...

Josh is developing so much in the last two weeks. He's beginning to grab onto small toys in front of him. I got him a Jumparoo this week which was wonderful in getting him to reach for things. He hasn't figured out how to jump yet though. He kind of wobbles with straight legs or picks up his feet and leans forward. This morning he was able to hold up his head pretty well during tummy time without complaining too much. I was so proud of him! I was getting worried he would take forever to arch properly. He’s also making new sounds like squeals when he’s happy or frustrated, he’ll vocalized during a yawn, and even laugh. Yes- Rusty got him to laugh this weekend for the first time. He does what we call “roller-coaster”. He’ll hold Josh with both hands and sway him back and forth like a pendulum on a grandfather-clock. Josh is also becoming a social baby. He responds well to new people and still thinks the baby in the mirror is alright.

Emily came to visit this weekend for a day. Josh had a great time playing with her, but was fussy this weekend. I think he got over-stimulated playing with people all the time. We invited a few people over to play mah-jong on Sunday night. That was so much fun. I wish I could play more. It’s not so much the game as the social element that I enjoy. I do enjoy the game, but I really enjoy playing my friends. I was goofy sleepy during the last two rounds. That’s where everything is funny and you can’t help but crack jokes at everything. It’s a contagious feeling.

Rusty and I survived an argument this weekend too. He’s been going to bed later than me (no surprise since I usually crash so early), sometimes until 1am or 2am. I’ve expressed that I wish he’d join me in bed because I tend feel lonely after several nights of sleeping alone half the night. Sometimes he falls asleep on the couch reading, but other times he just hangs out reading his books. I don’t expect him to go to bed with me at 10pm, but I do hate sleeping alone, especially when I don’t see him much in the evenings during the week. Anyway, I waited for him to come to bed Sunday night. At around 3am, I shoved his pillows off the bed and laid in the middle. I was so mad that he wasn’t coming to bed that I was going to keep him out. My anger simmered keeping me awake. Around 3:30am, he came to bed. I explained I was mad at him and he could go sleep some place else. He said he fell asleep, it wasn’t his fault, let’s have a truce until tomorrow. I relented and let him have room on the bed. After an hour of laying awake still mad, I turned on the light and began reading my magazine and letting him how pissed I was that at 4:30 I was still awake. We talked it through a bit that night and more the next day. I could have handled it better, but I was mad and feeling selfish. Our solution is that he’ll spend more time with me as I’m going to bed, both of us knowing he’s likely not to be tired yet and will go to bed later. I’ll feel less lonely and he won’t feel pressured to go to bed early or guilty for staying up real late.

Speaking of bed, I’m outta here!

One fear every new breastfeeding mother has is being bitten. Josh started biting recently which resulted in a shriek from me and a quick end to nursing. I think I may know why. I've recently started trying to teach him to grab things like a small stuffed elephant and a plastic teething ring. Usually he just pulls these things to his mouth and tongues them or sucks on them. But I've noticed he'll take the teether just inside his mouth apply pressure on it. I'm sure if it's biting per se, but it looks like it. He's not teething yet (thank God!) but I think he's learning to do new things with his mouth.

On a side note, I think he's going through a growth spurt or something because he's been sleeping a lot lately and feeding more frequently. He's already 16 lbs. at 14 weeks.



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