Today was muuuuuuuch better than yesterday. Much less crying, whining, fussing, etc. By this evening, I have acquired new crap from Babies 'R Us: Dr. Brown bottles, powdered formula container and Playtex binkies. Before having a baby, I never understood why people needed so much crap with a baby. Now, I get it. We use everything given to us or bought. I once thought that 16 wash cloths was a waste- we'll never use these! Oh no. They get used. All of them. Especially now that we're playing with foods like carrots, avocados, and cereals.

speaking of which. I tried the standing technique this evening in a vain attempt to feed Josh some oatmeal cereal. That so did not work. I think he just doesn't like oatmeal. He used to be ok with it, but not the last few times I tried. And no, I am NOT adding cinnamon. I'll try standing again tomorrow with carrots and/or rice cereal to see if it's the food or something else. For anyone thinking about trying to feed their baby standing, wear a plastic poncho raincoat.

I am now a member of a Yahoo group of moms. This is a great forum to share ideas, ask questions and feel a little more connected to others going through the same baby situation. I sent this today:

"I asked the facilitator (Tammy & her new side-kick, what's her name?) in this morning's group about tips for feeding solids. I explained that Josh has been fussy off and on during feedings and how can I get down solids better. There were no suggestions and only two others in the group are doing solids and experiencing the same challange I am. Then, I had success! Maybe it was a fluke, but maybe not.

To start my story, I have a weakness for candy corn. I love it. And every year near Halloween I can't get anough of it. So after giving Josh a bottle for "lunch", I stood in the kitchen holding him and started snacking from my candy corn bag waiting for him to burp or spit up. He was focused on my eating the candy and opened his mouth as the candy went into mine. Maybe he was imitating me or maybe he wanted some candy too. Anyway, I had a brilliant idea. My candy corn was orange and so are the carrot jars. So I casually opened a jar while we stood in the kitchen and offered him a spoon. Spoon after spoon of carrot went into his mouth and generally stayed there. He was great with this arrangement. The only drawback was getting a little carrot goop on my shirt (luckily it's black) and a lot on his white bib. We got through a whole jar standing up! I will try this again tonight and see how it goes."

In other news, this weekend is shaping up to be eventful. We're trekking across town tomorrow to get my husband's hair cut (we go to a fabulous gay guy named Richard), visiting a nursing home on Sunday afternoon with Josh dressed as a pumpkin and letting Rusty's parents watch Josh for a few hours in the afternoon. Maybe we'll get out to a park too and throw a few discs.

excerpt of an email sent to Melissa: "I'm cleaning out my inbox (i have many pages of messages that need to go) and this one stood out for some nostalgic reason. i think josh's 4th month has been the best so far. this month is shaping up with new challenges such as teething, sleeping interruptions, general fussiness, louder squawking and crying, stinkier poo and solid foods messiness. There are plenty of good things such as rolling over, more smiles, more laughter, more alertness and awareness of his surroundings, new sounds, longer attention span, self play, etc. I guess what I'm rambling towards is I passed the last month so fast and didn't appreciate how easy and pleasant it was until that time had passed.

today was an exceptionally bad day with food rejection, crankiness, loud cries, not wanting to be laid down, and spitting up all over my new jeans within hours of wearing them for the first time. i hope next month gets better and i pay attention to how easy things are compared to where we're headed next."

i had a mommy meltdown after dinner. i was so stressed out from josh's fussiness and loud crying, and so tired from being up half a dozen times over night. rusty casually mentioned "maybe we should start him on formula" and something in my brain clicked. i slowly turned from general tired and cranky to weeping. i still don't know what exactly got to me. I guess i had had enough and needed to purge.

we went to a Halloween playdate hosted by one of the moms in my new moms group. it was fun for about 30 minutes then i spent the rest of the time soothing a cranky baby. I brought a bag of milk to defrost and pour into a bottle. it takes about 5 minutes to defrost it with hot water and two hands to pour it into the bottle. not only did josh get pissed about having to wait to be fed, he really got pissed about being laid down on his back while i poured the milk into the bottle. so he's on a screaming frenzy while other babies and moms are taking pictures and playing. Then he was sleepy after his bottle so he proceeded to cry and whine and fuss. and spit up. so i spent another 15 minutes soothing him and trying to get him to sleep in my arms while other moms where socializing and showing off babies everywhere. i finally gave up, packed our stuff and left knowing he would sleep in the car on the way home- which he did.

one problem of late is my transition from the breastfeeding to bottle feeding. i only breastfeed josh in the morning now (twice) and the rest of the day is from a bottle. this takes time to prepare the bottle and then clean up afterwards. I'd like to keep pumping and giving him breast milk because it is so good for him, but pumping 4 times a day with one pump and using only two bottles is becoming a nightmare. i'm constantly cleaning and preparing for the next meal. and twice today josh was hungry before i expected him to be. so we did our first bottle of formula tonight. i think i'll buy a few more bottles tomorrow and solve at least one problem.

Matt Peck is over visiting tonight. I swear, I think he's Josh's best friend. He just smiled, laughed and lit up every time matt looked at him. We were supposed to be having a cheese and wine night but after stuffing ourselves with lasagna and playing a round of Tri-onminos, we've resorted to watching the tube and making fun of commercials. I should feel underwhelmed but ya know, it's nice just sitting around and not thinking or being responsible for keeping anyone alive.

rusty would like me to make a public announcement: he is the fixer of things broken. He has, in this week alone fixed my laptop problem by ordering a replacement (hypersonic, and no, not colored), installed a new wifi repeater that doesn't drop my connection every time the phone rings or the microwave is used, and he hung a skeleton on the porch for Halloween. Although he had to nag me to write something sappy and positive about him, he actually is pretty handy. And not in a honey-do way. He cooks, cleans, entertains Josh, keeps us online, maintains our websites, keeps plants alive, fixes stuff around house and more. So cheers. Here's to a guy worth keeping.

Don't feed babies cinnamon. I had heard from someone that they used to put just a little cinnamon in their baby's oatmeal cereal to give it a little taste. I tried this a few days ago without incident. We've been doing rice cereal and avocado since Sunday. Tonight I fed Josh some oatmeal with a little cinnamon added. He took it just fine and things seemed all fine and normal until right before bed time. While playing in front of the mirror with him, he all of a sudden vomited. Not like the typical baby spit up, no this was a lot coming out quickly. I cleaned up the carpet and didn't think too much of it. I figured it was pressure from not burping enough or just a really bad bout of spit up. I got him a bottle for the night and he fell asleep in my arms half way through the bottle. As I laid him down in his crib, he began spitting up so I picked him to get a good burp. But again he barfed up probably his whole bottle (about 2.5 ounces) and some more cinnamon oatmeal. I'm guessing the cinnamon was too hard on his immature digestive system although it seems harmless enough. I feel terrible now if that was what caused him to be sick. He's sleeping now (and still breathing last I checked) but when he wakes up I'm sure he'll be hungry.

In other news, he's learned how to stick out his tongue and blow air at the same time. So for the last two days he's been practicing this new trick when he's in a good mood. I've been doing it back to him, which usually cracks him up.

Other than our bad cinnamon incident, avocado has been going well. He doesn't really like it so much but we usually get through half an avocado. The last couple of times he fussed and screamed during the avocado feeding so I picked him up and had to soothe him before we try again. I've found I can feed him while holding him on my hip. It worked great this morning when he was cranky. He finished the last four spoonfuls like a pro. The other problem I'm having is his hands. He wants to put his hand(s) in his mouth after the spoon comes out. This of course prevents me from scraping the stuff that comes out off of his chin (which gets stirred with the remaining food for refeeding), and it makes an awful mess, and most importantly, it gets on his hands which he uses to rub his eyes. When food, like avocado oil, gets in his eyes, he gets fussy. I haven't found a solution yet because I don't have a third hand to use to hold his arms down. If I do restrain him, he yells at me which effectively ceases all feeding until he gets a grip. All of these complaints are exactly what I feared starting solid foods. It's super messy, takes more time to set up and clean up, there's no guarantee he'll like it or cooperate, and there's a chance he'll get it in his eyes. nose, ears, hair, etc.

One last update, I'm taking him off the breast except for morning feedings. His little tooth is sharp as a nail. He hasn't full on bitten me (yet) but I know my days are numbered. I figure early mornings he's hungry enough and sleepy enough that there's a lower chance for playing around. So far we've been adjusting ok. I pump an hour or thirty minutes before I think he'll be hungry then offer him a bottle. Unfortunately, I have one pump. Which means it gets washed about 4-5 times a day. I'll keep this up as long as I have patience for it. At some point we'll transition him to formula and solids, but I'm trying to use breast milk as long as possible because it's so good for him.

We tried avocado today as Josh's first vegetable. He did not like that! Not only did he grimace, he spit it all back out and barfed it up again later. I’ll try again this evening and if he still doesn’t like it, we’ll move on to green beans or squash or something like that. I thought cereal was messy. Now I know that messy is only the beginning! At least cereal doesn’t have the potential to stain and show easily when it comes up again. Avocado was very noticeable.

Now that Josh learned to roll over from his back to his tummy, he's doing it just about every time I lay him down. He even attempted to roll from his tummy to his back but got stuck half way. He's officially at a dangerous age where he must be watched every second while on the change table or sofa.

His little tooth is just waiting to draw blood while nursing. Every time I go to breastfeed him I'm nervous he'll decide to chew on me. I've begun to take him off as soon as he even hints at being done. Perhaps now is a good time to transition him to a bottle. We'll see how this week goes.

My laptop has a problem with the 'n' key. It does 't also go dow . So this blog e try is i ho or of the stupid key. Rusty subjected me to a old 80's movie starri g Ar old Schwarze egger called The Ru i g Ma . I watched some of it i betwee mome ts of avoidi g it. Wow. I k ew the 80's made some really bad movies, but that was aweful. Dumb li es, bad effects, big hair, and the all too typical 80's e di g where the guy gets the reluctant girl a d people everywhere are happy about somethi g. The o ly redeemi g aspect was the discovery of two li es used as samples i music by Messiah. But why stop with o e bad movie whe you ca re t three! That's right! He also got The Adve tures of Buckaroo Ba zia a d Death Race 2000. I'd like to show him my appreciatio of this mild torture by highjacking our etflix queue with movies I'd like to see:

Lost i Tra slatio
Spa glish
The Aviator
Team America: World Police
The Triplets of Belleville
Layer Cake
A Very Lo g E gageme t
Rabbit Proof Fe ce

There are others, but these stand out in the queue as more i teresti g to see tha some forgotte 80's flick. To Rusty's credit, he has dece t taste i movies most of the time. He i troduces ew thi gs to me I would probably overlook. But every so ofte we get stuff like Alie vs. Predator a d Retur er. I could list the movies I should be ashamed of orderi g- oh gee, look at the time! I should really get getti g to bed! :-P

This is the week of many firsts. Josh can roll over from his back to his tummy. He's done this several times today, quite to my surprise. He's also trying to crawl backwards when he's on his tummy. But he doesn't have it down right yet. He sticks his butt up in the air, pulls his knees under and pushes back with his hands and face. Yes, he uses his face to help push himself backwards. Silly guy! He'll rub his nose right off doing that! He has successfully endured both rice and oatmeal cereals so I'm looking at starting him on a vegetable this weekend. Another first- he's sticking his fingers in his mouth after each spoonful of cereal. I'm not sure if he's just playing around or enacting the eating process. Well let me assure you, it's WAY messier with his hands involved than just pushing goop in and wiping it off his chin, nose, cheeks, hair, ears, chest, back of the chair... Now the stuff goes wherever his hand goes- chin, nose, cheeks, hair, ears, chest, knees, legs, feet, clothes, back of the chair, my neck, my hair, my glasses, my shoulder, my face...

Today we went to the pumpkin patch to take pictures. I got a few cute shots of him propped up against a pumpkin. He discovered he could kick dirt with his feet and obsessed over that the entire time he was set on the ground. Maybe I should get him to a park to kick dirt around more often. He grabbed a piece of straw to chew on (I had an image of my son growing up in Kansas with wheat grain hanging out of mouth) but I had to take it away since he was not coordinated enough to avoid poking his eye out.

Speaking of eyes, Rusty claims the color has shifted to a grey-ish tent from the pretty blue he started with. I can't see it. I still blue as a Blue Jay eyes. If he gets any grey or green, it's from me. I have green-blue-grey eyes. I'm hoping he keeps a crystal blue color like his dad's eyes. Rusty has eyes that are very easy to look at. :)

My period came back AGAIN!!! It's the third time in a month! urgh! I wasn't very moody today but I was ready to cry after seeing a cancer survivor on Oprah. Normally stuff like that doesn't phase me, but it must have been hormones or something. So I went for a stroll with Josh. When the weather is good and I have enough energy, I sometimes trek from my house to the shopping center a mile up the road on Midway & Frankford. That walk did me in. Whatever energy I had when I left is somewhere on the sidewalk outside. I am pooped (no baby pun intended) and should get sleep while I can.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. I was busy from Tuesday night cleaning the house and making room for everyone until late Wednesday putting stuff away. I invited a group of moms to come to our house with their babies for a playday. I had six moms show up plus Melissa who is expecting. Josh had a pretty good time interacting with several of the other babies. A couple of babies tried out the Jumparoo but they didn't know how to jump. Josh demonstrated his jumping abilities but I guess that wasn't enough to teach the others.

I went to lunch today with Dorothy & Melissa. We went to Dream Cafe in Addison in the Village on the Parkway shopping center. I was surprised by how kid friendly it was (having a small playground area) and how healthy the menu was without being overly salady. I hate it when restaurants pack on salads to their menu to appear healthy. I had the Tuscan Salmon- salmon crusted with sun dried tomatoes, rice pilaf and fried zucchini. It was delicious! Their patio area was packed with patrons who opted to take advantage of the cool weather. The only gripe I had was the service. The waiter was slow to take our order, bring our dishes and present our bill. He didn't check on us after our meals were served but luckily our dishes arrived without incident and were very tasty!

Tomorrow is supposed to be action packed as well, but I'm sure if things will work out that way. Someone from the new moms group wantyed to organize a get-together at a pumpkin patch so we can take pictures of our babies in costumes. BUT over the past two weeks, the email thread of discussion attempting to organize this event has not materialized into any firm plans. I've emailed the lady wanting to organize this but she has not replied. I think the problem is that no one wants to make plans and invite others to join. Instead, it's turned into a discussion among many trying to decide when and where and how. If someone would just step up to the plate and make a decision and let others join or not, that would be better than this back and forth discussion. Maybe by tomorrow morning someone will have done that.

We tried the cry-it-out sleep method last night. Josh did not put himself to sleep. He woke around 2:20am wailing in his sleep. I tried to soothe him, offer him a pacifier, I turned on a fan for white noise, wound up a music box he likes- nothing worked. So I gave up trying and decided to let him cry himself to sleep. He cried from 2:2o to about 3:40am. At 3:40 I intervened. Not only was he not letting up in his cry and falling asleep, but neither was I. I gave it a whole hearted hour and almost a half. Despite the cry-it-out method not working, he did tire himself out and slept from 4am to 7:30 without a peep. I like the effect of getting him tired enough to sleep the rest of the night, but not at the expense of keeping me up and making him cry for so long.

On another front, Rusty declared to me last night that he feels he has a drinking problem. He doesn't have a destructive problem (anger, driving, doing stupid things) but it is persistent. Just about every night he ends with a "night cap" of either scotch or a rum and coke. Some nights he fills up on rum and coke and goes overboard. Like last night. Learning from my mother's experiences with my dad, I am determined to nip this in the bud. Today I will empty the house of our alcohol. Even the wine we sometimes drink at dinner. I haven't figured out where to put it, but it all needs to leave the home for a while. Next, we'll talk things out and work on his nighttime behavior. Get him a new routine for the night. I have to applaud him though. He did the best thing he could do- he involved me. He acknowledge this was getting out of hand and wanted my help. This is already a great start to overcoming the habit.

Josh didn't sleep well last night which means I got almost NO sleep. He stirred about a dozen times between 8:30pm and 7:30am. He doesn't fully wake up, but if left to cry in his sleep, he evetually does fully wake up crying making it more difficult to get back to sleep. This has been going on for a week and a half. Last night was especially rough. I'm thinking about calling the pediatrician for advice or guidance. I know he ca put himself to sleep, I've seen him do it for naps and a few nights. But it's the excessive night wakings that are causing us all to be sleep deprived. Except Josh.

Teething has officially begun, no doubt. I was holding Josh at church this evening letting him drool and chomp on my finger (I usually bend my finger and offer the joint between the knuckle and the fingertip), and that's when I left it. A small but definitely firm, slightly sharp spot on the bottom gum. I tried to get a good look but it's difficult. Babies don't exactly cooperate. In an effort to help him sleep better, I gave him .8 mL of infant Tylenol before bed. Hopefully this will keep him from waking every hour, like last night, and keep him asleep until the medicine wares off.

Feeding him solid mush is going well. I know most people (moms) go with rice cereal first because it's suppose to be the grain that is least likely to cause a food allergy. The problem with that theory is that it assumes babies will have an allergy. I took the assumption that Josh would not have a food allergy and started with oatmeal. No surprise- he's fine. I'll pick up some rice cereal this weekend and start him on that next week. For anyone looking for decent advice on feeding, I like But like most parenting articles and advice, it's a lot of guess work and little real science.

I also got some new toys for Joshy today. Inspired by his insatiable need to chew on stuff, and his limited toy selection, I found a few things to entertain him. I'm still bitching about the lack of things to do with a 4, now 5, month old babe. New toys will help tummy time be a little more interesting for a month or so- until Christmas. And getting out with other moms to do stuff will help curve mine and their boredoms. Of course, this is in regards to the at-home moms, not the working moms who have more than enough going on at home.

Today was a good day overall. Rusty's parents watched Josh for a couple hours allowing me to run an errand, do stuff at home and attempt a nap. They've offered to watch him a few hours each weekend to give us some reprieve. At first I was a little reluctant to hand him over so much. Now I've relaxed and decided that's not so bad. They really want to spend every moment with him they can and I really want a break beyond the few hours I get from Rusty each week. Even if I do nothing but snack on the sofa and watch TV for an hour, that's quality "me time" I couldn't do with Josh. So I'm glad they've offered to watch him once a week. It's nice having family in town to help out, even if they are in-laws! :)

Oh dear God I think we've started teething. Josh has been fussy during the night wailing in his sleep after only an hour or two of sleep. Speaking of wailing...

I saved time today feeding Josh his oatmeal cereal by just tossing half the container on his bib and face. (just kidding) He’s getting better at swallowing. I’ve sweetened the deal by using breast milk instead of water. I think he likes that better and it adds nutrition to an otherwise bland cereal. I think I’m getting better too at finding out how to make the spoonfuls stay in. But it’s still a holy mess.

A growing pet peeve of mine is the lack of friends contacting me/us. It seems like unless I’m hosting something (party, BBQ, game night) people don’t take the initiative to call or get together. I spoke to a few people last week I haven’t seen since Josh was born. That was five months ago. In our conversation, inevitably they close with “We should get together” or “I need to come see you guys”. And then nothing happens. In marketing, we use a term called Call-To-Action in advertisements. That’s the corny but essential line that tells people to do something in response to the ad, like get off their lazy butts and buy the product. “Call Today!” “Buy One Now!” “Visit Us Online!” “Attend Our Sales Event!” People who make comments like “we should get together” should make a call-to-action statement. “We should get together sometime- Are you busy Sunday afternoon?” If they don’t, their putting the initiation on me to contact them (again) to do something. It’s like the empty line at the end of a bad date: “I’ll call you”. If I took the initiative to contact them, and they feel the need to reconnect as friends, they should be the ones to make something happen. Propose a date and time to call, do lunch, have drinks, visit, whatever. I guess I'm tired of being the one to make the first call or schedule the events.

“Proof” is a decent movie but leaves you wanting more. It’s the fancy meal that looks good on the menu but the portion is way too small. Four characters make up this dish: Gwyneth Paltrow is the daughter who cared for her father before he died – Anthony Hopkins is the father - Jake Gyllenhaal is a grad student who idolizes the father’s work - Hope Davis plays a controlling sister who wants to sell the family house after the father dies. There are several potential stories going on: Half crazy recluse girl questions her sanity. Boy meets crazy girl and starts a fleeting relationship. Father makes some great contribution to math and science in his formative years. Girl learns from father her own flare for mathematical genius. Sisters fight over how to settle several matters. Sister tries to “fix” things after their father dies. All of these stories are started but none are fully resolved. This film was a cross between Beautiful Mind and Shakespeare in Love. I have a hard time deciding what this movie is about because so much is set up but nothing is really explored in detail or finished. It would have been great to know how the father went insane, why the controlling sister is so different, what motivates the daughter and the grad student to understand the math left in the wake of the father’s death. Anyway, it was fun to watch and worthy of a rental for those who are looking for my opinion.

So just how did I see “Proof” anyway? The Angelika Theatre has a Cry Baby Matinee for people with little ones. They put out a diaper change table and keep the lights dimmed so we mothers can see what we’re doing. Josh watched some of the movie with me, played on my lap a little then took a nap. About five or six other women with babies were there, along with a few non-baby people who either didn’t know it was a special matinee or didn’t care. No one’s baby cried loudly or caused a scene. Overall, it was nice getting out and bringing the babe with me. I’ll probably do this again. There should be more places that offer baby-friendly things to do in the daytime. Performance halls, theatre houses, comedy clubs, gyms, zoos, museums, and the like could benefit from offering discounts to stroller pushing patrons in the day.

Last bit of update about Josh... I'm slowly trying to teach him how to put himself to sleep at night. It's not going well. I like sleeping too much to try the cry-it-out method, even for two minutes. He doesn't nap long enough in the day to practice. Plus, I feel guilty letting him bawl if he wakes up and no one soothes him. His only way to communicating is through crying sounds, even if he's not really upset about something. So I've been popping the pacifier in whenever he stirs in his sleep at night. My only progress is laying him down somewhat awake but really sleepy to let fall asleep on his own. But I'm not sure how to best handle the waking from sleep and returning to sleep issue. Ahhh- a question to pose to the next new moms group on Friday. :)

Oh sweet nap time! I love it when Josh naps for more than 30 minutes. He's been down for an hour now. That gives me a chance to do stuff with two hands. :)

The weather is cooling off, finally! I've taken Josh to the park a couple times, strolled him around, gone for walks in the neighborhood and plan to do more outdoorsy things this week. One idea I have is to go to the Nash Sculpture Center in downtown. It's an outdoor museum with (yep) sculptures and a garden. I think he'd enjoy looking at weird objects and a change of scenary.

I'm also thinking about inviting some of the moms I know who have babies around Josh's age over to our house for lunch and playtime. This requires I baby proof the house a bit, clean up and prepare some munchies. Maybe next week.

Today was a very active day for Josh. We went to Melissa’s baby shower from 3pm until around 7pm. For him, that’s a long time. She got showered with gifts and well wishes from friends and family. I contributed three things for the mom-to-be (Boppy, Lansinoh, nursing pads) and three things for the baby-to-be (diapers, pacifiers, swaddle blanket). And two books, per the quirky request of the sister who sponsored the shower. Rusty joined for a little over an hour then ran off to run sound at church. Josh had a great time seeing people and playing on people’s laps. I managed to get him to sleep for twenty minutes during the gift opening. Whenever he sleeps at someone else’s house with lots of people around, I get paranoid about people waking him up. That didn’t happen but I kept my eye on the door and watched people walking through the hallway just in case.

Melissa is due in a month. I remember my last month well. I was leaving work. I got sick two weeks before his due date. I couldn’t fit into anything but three outfits and barely three shoes. I was hungry a lot. I tried various tactics to encourage a timely delivery such as acupuncture, evening primrose, nipple stimulation, sex, walking, making plans to do things. None of the above worked except making plans for lunch. I was never really uncomfortable either. Rather, I anticipated the arrival of the baby and got impatient waiting. He was getting heavy and had dropped well before I went into labor. I also remember savoring those days knowing that once I went into labor and delivered him, that my life would change forever and I would assume a new, busy role as a mom. My comment inside Melissa’s card read: Enjoy the moments. I wish I could repeat Josh’s first week again (without the breastfeeding problems). He was so tiny and easy to care for at that time. I used to go to yoga classes back when I was pregnant. The yoga instructor struck a cord with me one day when she said children begin their separation from us (the moms) starting with birth. It’s so true. First there’s the labor when the baby comes out. Then we cut the cord and we no longer supply blood, oxygen and nutrients to him. The mother carries the baby around for months until he learns to crawl. Baby starts to crawl away exploring the world. Then they start walking and running. Years later, maybe in junior high the child exercises independence and freedom. That continues in various forms until adulthood, when they move out of our home. It’s as if our babies are slowly pulled away as they grow up.

Josh successfully swallowed his first few spoonfuls of baby cereal this morning! I was surprised that he didn't totally reject it and spit it all out. He actually took in several hearty spoonfuls. After several minutes of feeding, spitting up and picture taking from Rusty, I breastfed him to make sure he was well fed. The goal today wasn't to provide a full meal. I wanted to see if he was ready to swallow food and able to be fed in the high chair. This is the first step towards solids and ultimately independence from me.

I tried the mall walking thing today. Around lunch time, I decided to load up the kiddo and wander around the Galleria mall for something to do. Many moms do this, and I suppose they enjoy it. I don't get it. I think this is another one of those role-reversal moments for me. When I go shopping, I seek that which I am shpopping for. If I need a blue skirt, I look for places that are likely to have skirts. I don't wander into other stores until I have my goal. So wandering around the mall without a specific goal was (is) foreign to me.

So why did I do it? I have a theory that Josh needs more stimulation than just hanging out at home. I thought I'd walk him around the mall and into a couple shops to give him something different to look at. For about 15 minutes after he woke up from his car ride nap, it worked well. He was animated and excited to see everything within his view. We walked into a toy store for him to look at and nearly grab everything. Then he was done and began to fuss.

I'm hoping if I increase stimulation (i.e. expereince more than what's at home) he'll sleep better/longer at night and be less cranky in the evenings. We'll see if this works. Luckily the weather is about to cool down making it easier to be outside.

I've been reading a book called The Poo Bomb by Jeff Vogel. It was a gift from a friend's ex-girlfriend. I was skeptical about the book at first because I didn't feel I related to the person it came from. You know, people with like-minds tend to enjoy similar things. I was worried this would be another lame parenting book or some boring account of someone's experience with their baby in the first year. It was neither. I am totally hooked on this book. The writer, the dad, cracks me up. It's refreshing to read about someone who is twisted describe the mundane, like diaper changes and blank stares from a newborn. Don't bother picking this up with you want a feel-good, "Betty Homemaker" type of book. For the new parent who wants a little comic relief, this is worth the read.

Here's a rant about Dallas. I'm not sure why I feel compelled to bitch, but here goes... Living in Dallas sucks big hairy balls. Especially in the summer. It's too damn hot to do anything. This last month was a record high in temperatures. If I want to enjoy going outside I have to do it at sunrise or sunset. Last week I was excited that the highs would drop ten degrees- from 100 to 90. It’s so hot nobody wants to be outside. We went from damn hot to real hot. And since no one is outside, everyone is either sitting in a car (read: SUV tank) with the AC cranked or hiding indoors with the AC cranked. And nothing is free here. I’m talking about things-to-do kind of free. We don’t have street performers or a nice park to wander around in or long streets of shops and cafes or anything fun worth looking at. No bays or mountains or rivers or beaches or forests or anything remotely interesting other than malls. And even those aren’t worth going to because they all have the same damn stores with the same crap for sale. You can’t go hiking or biking. There’s no place to walk to and no one knows how to drive with cyclists on the streets. The only place that gets interesting is Deep Ellum at night. Six blocks of shops, clubs, bars and restaurants uphold the evening entertainment for the entire city, and some of Fort Worth! Fort Worth at least has a nice downtown to wander around. Our downtown in Dallas is pitiful! Homeless people everywhere, no shops open after dark and only a handful of restaurants. The tourists go to the West End, which would be cooler to visit if there were more than just chain restaurants. Sure there’s historical sites and a few museums. But what does this town offer for those who have already been to the museum and seen the landmarks? We don’t have local coffee shops with old sofas and good music. We don’t have breweries. We barely have pubs. The daytime culture in Dallas is nil. People work then go home and stay home. A few get out to dance or play pool or listen to music at night, but other than that, Dallas as a community is nonexistent. Recap: it’s too hot to enjoy stuff in the day because I don’t want to go shopping just to be entertained and there’s not enough to do at night except eat, drink or dance. I can’t wait for the temperature to go down next week. I really can’t wait to move to a town that has pedestrians, local shops, things to do and interesting places to be. I’m convinced that if Dallas had more pedestrians, the town would be a little bit more hip. It would force people to be interactive and make being outside worthwhile.

I'd like to retract a previous statement. I reported recently that Josh was now sleeping through the night. This week has proven otherwise. For three nights in a row, he's woken up at least twice, starting around 1am. He may be going through a growth spurt because he's hungry a little more frequently.

Rusty leaves for Burbank, CA for business today. He returns Wednesday. To me, that feels like a week. I depend on having him home in the evenings to give me reprive from caring for Josh, to help me make and eat dinner, to entertain him while I relax and do things I couldn't do all day. ow he'll be out for a few days. This sucks.

I have insomnia. This sucks in a terrible way. I was already sleep deprived from a restless sleep yesterday only to find myself unable to sleep tonight. It doesn't help that I could hear Josh kicking around in his crib. He's managed to turn himself 190 degrees around in a circle on his back. He sort of woke up at 12:50am needing a pacifier to be reinserted (which has since fallen out again) and I just couldn't get back to sleep. First it was listening to him kick around expecting to hear him wake again. Then heartburn set in. Then my nose being stopped up made me uncomfortable. Then my brain just booted up. It's that type of restlessness where it takes energy to keep your eyes closed. Yesterday night it was several things that kept me up, including the neighbor's dumb dog barking forever. Not tonight. This time it's all me keeping me awake. :(



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