Monday, December 31, 2007

Think the kid is a little spoiled?!

And this is just the haul from my parents' house.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Visions of sugarplums...

All in all, Becca did very well throughout the Christmas chaos. She went on nap strike on Christmas Eve and carried that through Christmas Day, which led to a handful of meltdowns, but I can hardly blame the girl given the number of places we dragged her and the number of people to whom we showed her off. And her efforts were rewarded with more loot than we have room for in this little house. If Toys for Tots were still accepting donations, they'd get quite an armload from me. As it is, many of the toys will remain in their boxes for later on in the year.

The sheer amount of colored plastic, loud songs/noises, and moving parts has formed a cacophony that makes The Banker nervous. This is a man who likes things neat, organized, and properly stored. (We had a kid. How he thinks his detest for clutter would survive, I've no idea.) So with three carloads of new stuff and a house that was already pleasantly snug at the seams, the house hunt now goes into high gear. The two lots we were eyeing won't be ready for development for another two years, which is just too long in The Banker's estimate. So one of our goals for 2008 will be to find a new place to roost. Let the craziness begin!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas...

to all and to all a good night!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Choice words

Although she's only 9 months old, Becca is really working on speaking. Her pediatrician has assured us that she's only mimicking and doesn't comprehend what she says. But I have to wonder at that, because every time she sees a cat (or a dog, or any other animals for that matter...), Becca breathlessly utters "titty tat." Yeah, she's dropping the "k" and "c" but her intention is unmistakable. This kid loves kitty cats. As for the butchering of the English language? Well, let's just say she's also a big fan of clocks...but she keeps dropping the "l"...yikes.

Past lives

It's funny how the tiniest thing--the tip of a boot--can trigger a memory so powerful that it floods your being, and suddenly part of you is screaming to shed your outer skin, to reclaim 10 years and be the person you once were, younger, free, living on exotic soil. Impossible to fulfill, the desire leaves you empty and sad, just for a moment.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A surprise in the bedroom

When The Banker came home late last night from one of his various board meetings, he went upstairs to change and begin to unwind from his long day. There was a little something waiting for him in the bedroom, though, something that caused no shortage of an uproar, let me tell you. It looked something like this:

She was just hanging from the molding around one of our windows, quite content to be in from the cold, thank you. But The Banker is not quite at ease with such wild things in his house, and with the fear of rabies, I can't quite blame him. Although I thought her rather cute and pet-able.

At that late of an hour the city's Animal Control office was closed, and it didn't seem worth calling the cops over, though by no uncertain terms would we be sleeping with that thing in the house. Thankfully, we have some incredible neighbors, one of which is a Nature Boy. He delights in catching the mice, ground squirrels, and other such creatures that occasionally end up inside our homes. (He's under continual call by our mutual neighbor--a single mom of two young girls. None of these ladies has much of a penchant for spiders, squirrels, and so on.) With a plastic pitcher and lid, he eased the little bat into a makeshift cage of sorts. After we all marveled at her (most likely a big brown bat from what I can find online, though she wasn't very big at all), we let her go down the block.

First thing to do this morning? Find someone to inspect the house and ensure we don't have any more such bedroom surprises. With Becca in the house, it's not something we can mess around with.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


The train circling the Christmas tree is a new addition to our holiday decor. It was purchased last Christmas by my dad, who was just giddy at the thought of a grandson or granddaughter (and for the record, continues to be both giddy and adorable with Becca).

But Becca was less than enthralled with the train when we first showed it to her. In fact, it scared the shit out of her. Her whole body shook and then she turned and frantically grabbed--for me. She buried her head in my neck and held on for dear life. And while it was heartbreaking that the train scared her, I can't even begin to describe how it felt to be the one she wanted when frightened. Becca knows I'm her mom and that I'm there to protect her, and knowing that she knows that is just incredible.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sparking my anger

I was all ready to post happy pictures of our tree--complete with train set--which we finally set up last night at about 10:30. Check it out:

But then this article on caught my eye this morning. It details how Christmas tree light strands are just dripping with lead. Um, you mean the lights we playfully draped over Becca yesterday? Then took photos of?

This pisses me off more than I can adequately express. I am so careful with what I let come in contact with Becca. I researched the safest car seats, the safest crib, we don't let her watch TV, she eats organic when at all possible, we use distilled water in her bottles--which I carefully hand wash instead of throwing into the dishwasher where the heat can expedite the breakdown of the plastic. I get a fair amount of flak because I'm so neurotic. But Becca's our firstborn and until I'm worn down, this is how we'll function. The next kid will no doubt play with rattlesnakes in the middle of a highway, but for now, we're a cautious household. So I'm pissed I didn't know about Christmas lights and lead. I'm pissed that though we've known for decades that lead is bad for us, we continue to crank out products laden with the stuff. And I'm pissed that nothing seems safe anymore.

Maybe we're more paranoid as society. Maybe we just make more cheap junk that's bad for our health. Regardless of the reason, I don't think we should force our children to live in a world where their blood will have to be tested for lead as they grow. Aren't we smart enough to know better?

Sunday, December 09, 2007


It's not often that I bask in the glow of The Banker's job-related perks. For the most part, these "perks" entail a lot of dressing up in uncomfortable clothes and playing nice with customers. However, last night I thoroughly enjoyed The Banker's job. We were the recipients of two unused tickets--suite tickets--to Trans Siberian Orchestra. I love Christmas and I love Christmas carols. And I really love carols that wail with energy and electric guitar. And if I can help myself to limitless pinot noir, delectable sandwiches, and palm-sized shrimp while listening to this incredible music, well that's pretty darn close to a perfect night.

Friday, December 07, 2007

My new addiction

I love popcorn. I mean, I adore it. It's slightly salty, carb-filled, and not that fattening. I'll eat an entire bag for a meal. And right now I'm totally digging Paul Newman's Old Style Move Picture Popcorn. It's so dang yummy I have trouble not eating several bags a day. Mmmm.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

"Let me juggle these flaming clubs..."

This is sort of what the holiday season feels like. It wasn't always this acrobatic juggling act where at any moment I could get burned. I used to love the holidays. Christmas was my favorite because of my family's traditions. But once another family was thrown in to the mix--one that's demanding and different from my own--the season came to mean stress, too much running, and the constant possibility of hurt feelings, and on occasion, tears. Happy Birthday, Jesus, indeed.

This year the stakes are particularly high, because it's Becca's first Christmas. In my head, this is the perfect time to start making our own family traditions. The perfect time to start saying "no." But here's the hypocrisy: I really only want to cut out the headaches on The Banker's side of the family. Not very charitable or understanding, is it? I know. It's shitty. I can be flexible as Gumby any other time of the year (okay, more or less), but this time of year is SO. DANG. HARD.

Typically, my family has a Christmas Eve brunch, almost the only time of the year I see my dad's brother and his family. Then there's the race to church, and the race to The Banker's uncle's annual Christmas Eve party. (The fact that The Banker is Irish and comes from a HUUUGE family should be kept in mind.) Then we usually spend the night at my parents', followed by Christmas morning there, then on to The Banker's parents' house, then back between the houses two more times for Christmas dinner. (Be thankful The Banker's family finally did away with the Christmas Day movie, which was another three-hour headache!) And this three-ring circus does not include a trip to The Banker's brother's house where his son gets a visit from Santa. The fact we weren't in attendance last year was greatly noted. (Much guilt + Pregnant me = Tears.)

And while this two-day ordeal is insane, I'm just not sure what "fat" can be cut without letting people down. The Banker's mom is particularly sensitive to any such slight and his family doesn't take well to anyone breaking away from the tried-and-true traditions to start their own.

Thus far we've decided to spend the night at our own home, with our own Christmas morning. But then there's still this insane back-and-forth between homes after that. To complicate matters, Christmas is my dad's birthday, so we've always tried to celebrate a bit on Christmas Eve (the man has spent almost 60 years getting screwed out of his b-day). We used to sneak that in between the Irish Christmas Eve party and an exhausted drop into bed at my parents' house. The new schedule has no time for this little added extra.

I do have this dangerous dream of reclaiming Christmas Eve from the Irish. When I was growing up, it was the perfect time to cuddle in with the family around the tree, put out cookies for Santa, and unwrap a new pair of pajamas. With the family's standing party, there's no room for this sort of thing. And I've seen how The Banker's cousins trudge into the party, make a beeline for the TV, and hunker down with some food. These kids don't enjoy the shindig at all. Why would I want to put Becca through that? But this is a sacred tradition and I could be risking life and limb to dare suggest that we not attend.

This is Becca's first Christmas, and I want it to be an enjoyable one. (Freudian typing: I originally typed "run." Yikes.) Juggling flaming clubs is something I've come to hate--and with it the entire holiday season. I just don't know how to reclaim the day and make it what it was intended to be: a time to celebrate, give thanks, and enjoy the love of family and friends.