Friday, July 27, 2012

See ya in a week, Baltimore!

Ok, one quick post, then off to bed. Tomorrow we leave for Myrtle Beach at 2am (yes, you read right). I am SUPER excited to leave that early. I will try to update once or twice while on vaca, but I am not making any promises. I will definitely have tons of pictures upon our return to Baltimore. We are definitely looking forward to a little relaxation. Wish us luck traveling with a one year old!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I am pooped! Today was a really good day. Lily had her final swim lesson this morning, which is kind of a relief. To be honest, she didn't love it. I am glad we did it because it gave her another chance to get used to the water beyond the shore. I think it is important for her to have many different experiences, even if she doesn't love them, to get comfortable with other kids and settings. She did do a bit of a better job today, and didn't start crying until after she was put under water. I enjoyed getting to see my friend, Kara, every week. Kara and her son Ben (who is 2 weeks older than Lily) were in the same class that we were in. It was really nice to see them every week!

After swim, we had a little down time, and then Campbell and Keller, our cousins, came over to play. We had a really fun time doing a little bit of everything! While Lily was still awake, the girls played with her in the basement. After that, we went outside (it was amazingly gorgeous outside) and played on the swing set. Then, we got some arts and crafts stuff out and the girls made very sparkly pictures with flowers. We decided to work outside because the weather was so amazing. After they finished drawing and sparkling, we set up the water table and the girls splashed for a while. We got out the aluminum foil and made some boats that they quickly started testing to see how well they would float. It was a great afternoon!

This evening we had dinner with my parents (paninis!) while Tom played softball. Dinner was lovely, as always, and Lily enjoyed time with pop and grandma. Starting tomorrow, I really need to kick into packing mode because we leave for the beach on Saturday morning. I am looking forward to the vacation, I am not looking forward to all of the prep in the next two days!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

13 Months!

At 13 months Bean loves...

1. ...walking Fred on his leash
2. ...eating Cheerios
3. ...sitting in her rocking chair
4. ...flipping pages in books
5. ...drinking milk from her sippy
6. ...people watching (or being nosey)
7. ...a delicious grilled cheese
8. ...practicing walking as much as possible
9. ...blowing kisses
10. ...mommy and daddy!

13 Months Old!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Aurora, CO

When I woke up this morning the news was broadcasting the movie theatre shooting in Aurora, CO. Right now, they are saying at least 12 people were killed and dozens of others were injured, including a 3 month old baby. In my lifetime, which is now a span of 27 years, I can recall other senseless acts of violence-- the school shooting at Columbine, the shooting at Virginia Tech, an office building shooting in Atlanta (I think), and 9/11-- to name a few. As I watched each act unfold on the television I felt the same way each time: numb, confused, scared. I was in 8th grade when Columbine happened, I was a junior in high school when 9/11 happened, I was still young. During those times, I really had to only think about myself and how I felt about each situation. Today, I am a mom and I have to think about my daughter. How do I help her make sense of such things? How do I help her navigate such a confusing, sometimes cruel, world?

Right now, Lily is only 1, so her biggest worry is learning how to walk without falling. I know I don't need to immediately worry about teaching her to cope with crisis and tragedy, but I also know that day is coming faster than I would like to admit. We certainly live in an imperfect world. There are definitely moments of pure wonder and beauty. I don't, and can't, believe that the world is completely broken. But these acts happen and they cause me to pause and wonder how someone can feel so isolated that he needs to cause pain for others.

I suppose the best I can do for Lily is teach her to be good. I need to teach her to find her own happiness and grasp it and live it. I need to show her that there are wonderful, amazing things, and people, in the world. I need to show her that even when bad things happen, the world does keep moving, life continues, and things will get better. I know Lily had wonderful examples of good, honest people in her life. I am confident that she will always feel supported and encouraged throughout her whole life. She is SO loved.

I guess, when it comes down to it, I don't want her to feel pain or to be hurt. I also know that isn't realistic. She will be hurt, she will feel pain and I (and Tom) will always be here to pick her back up. I also know that she will feel joy. I just need to remember that the joy she will feel will far eclipse the pain that she will feel. The moments that she will remember will always be the ones that made her the happiest. Even after my grandparents passed away, and I felt pain from their deaths, the things I remember, and that I carry with me, are the happy times I shared with them.

So, this post was a little all over the place. As a parent, I realize I have so many more things to worry about than I did before. I also know that I have more joy in my life than before. I love my little Bean, and look forward to helping her learn and grow...through life's wonderful moments, and its hardest ones.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Here comes Lily's first vacation...

In 9 days we are leaving for Myrtle Beach. I am excited to go on a vacation because we rarely go on vacations. This will be Lily's very first vacation, which is so exciting and also a bit nerve wracking. I am most nervous about the long car ride, it's about 8 hours. I am not really sure how to handle a long ride with a 1 year old. It will definitely be an adventure. We have a car DVD player, so she can watch movies while we are on the road. We also plan on leaving pretty early, so she will (fingers crossed) sleep most of the way.

Now to nitty gritty things...what to pack. We know we will need the essentials: pack and play, diapers, wipes, clothes, etc..What about toys? Do we bring some? Lily is a very go-with-the-flow type baby, so I am not worried about her adjustment to a different place for a week, but I know she will want something familiar (besides mommy and daddy) around. There will also be a lot to do in Myrtle Beach, so she won't have a ton of down time in the room. I figure we will have some time to play though, so she will need something to do. I suppose I still have a week to figure out this whole packing process (ekk just a week!).

Finally, I know, I have been a bit lax with pictures lately. I have taken a bunch on my phone, so I need to upload them to my computer. I really should charge the camera battery and get some updated pictures of Lily. Tomorrow she will be 13 months old! Time flies!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I am going to have to forgo my confessions for today to rant. This rant is probably a long time coming, and, to be honest, I am fairly excited to write this. To preface my rant, I was born and raised in Catonsville, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore. I attended public schools in the county until high school, when I decided (yes, I decided, my parents didn't decide this for me) to attend Seton Keough, and all girls Catholic school. I went to Loyola College, located in Northern Baltimore City, not too far from Towson and Charles Village. Upon graduation I moved to Federal Hill and lived there for two years. After getting engaged, my now husband and I decide to move to Catonsville because it is a lovely family community and has strong public schools. My dad's family is from Sparrows Point where most of my relatives (at least in the older generations) worked in the steel mill. My mom grew up in Silver Spring, MD, though her parents were born and raised in Northeast Pennsylvania.

I preface my rant because it is important to know that I am a Maryland girl through and through. I root for the Orioles and Ravens (yes, sometimes the former team is hard to root for, but I do it anyway). I love big crab feasts. I worked hard to learn and explore the city that I never knew very well growing up. I wrote history papers on the War of 1812 in Baltimore, which is of interest to me, as our family shore house is located in Edgemere not far from Fort Howard. My relatives worked at Bethlehem Steel, a huge employer during its peak years of production. I attended Maryland schools my whole life. I will raise my children here. Maryland is my home.

That being said, I have many friends who live in Maryland who are not from Maryland. Typically, they come here for jobs or for school. These are also the people who loudly voice their displeasure with Baltimore, or Maryland (not all, but at some point or another I have heard the same complaints over and over). I have heard everything from Marylanders don't know how to drive in the snow (please don't say this to my father-in-law, he will give you an ear full about how many Marylanders DO), Marylanders are not friendly, Baltimore is dirty, etc. etc. I rarely speak up about my feelings on the subject because, usually, I am the only actual Marylander in the room. At Loyola I was one of few students who was actually from Maryland, most Loyola students are from the New York/New Jersey area. Even at school, most of my co-workers are transplants from the Northeast or the Mid-West. So before you tell me how horrible my state is let me tell you this...

If you say Marylanders never say hi, then you never met my pop-pop Frank or my grandma Fran. Pop pop would sit on our porch and say hello to every person who walked by our house. I would sit on his lap and he would greet everyone. Grandma Fran had an ability to know you within minutes of meeting you. She would chatter your ear off no matter who you were. She always said hello and somehow always knew everyone.

If you say life here moves too fast you have never been to our shore house in Edgemere. You haven't gotten to sit on the porch and watch a storm roll in. You haven't enjoyed a real crab feast and sat for hours listening to family stories.

If you say Baltimore is a shit hole of a city you haven't strolled the grounds of Fort McHenry and enjoyed the history of area. You haven't explored Federal Hill, or Fells Point, or Hampden. You haven't seen Maryland celebrate any number of its historical accomplishments, most recently the Sailabration. You did probably sit in front of your television watching The Wire or listening to the news.

If you say its restaurants can't contend with those in bigger, better cities you probably haven't been to the Charleston or Woodberry Kitchen.

Maryland has mountains, farms, beaches, and cities. You can drive from one end of the state to the other in less than a day and experience the beaches of the Eastern Shore and the mountains and farms of the West.

Now, I am not denying that wherever you are from is probably (in most cases, not all) the place you love and the place you think is best. I so strongly defend Maryland because this is my home. Please don't generalize or stereotype Marylanders because of 2 or 3 you met who you didn't like. Chances are, they probably aren't even from Maryland, but came here for school or for a job. In fact, the place where I experienced the most "rudeness" was probably at Loyola, where most students are NOT from Maryland. I wrote a sociology paper about how students never say hello or make eye contact when they walk by. I wrote this because it was so foreign to me NOT to say hi.

If you don't like Baltimore or Maryland. That is fine. To each his own. Not everyone will love every place. Plenty of people love New York City, and while I can appreciate the city, I just don't like it. It's too big and busy for me. Despite it's size, it makes me feel claustrophobic. However, I don't visit other areas of the country and bash them. I don't say they are ugly, or horrible, or everyone is an ass who lives there.

This isn't aimed at anyone or anything in particular. Just an outpouring of things that I have been building up for a long time. Let me show you my home. Where I come from, and maybe, just maybe, I can change your mind just a little...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Diaper Changes

Dear Lily,

I love you. However, changing your diapers has become something of a nightmare. Most people would say, "yeah, diaper changes are a nightmare because of the smell." Yes, the smell is less than pleasant, but you have decided to make it that much harder to change your poopy diaper. You have decided to roll, twist, scream, and kick your way through every diaper change. IT IS NOT FUN. In fact, I dread it. I try to be quick about changes. I sing, give you toys, make faces, and you still fight me. I am not sure how to make this better for you, other than for you to potty train yourself quick (and that isn't happening...). So, to save your mother's sanity, please calm down during the changes. I promise to be quick.

Love, Mama

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

When did it become Wednesday?

Today we had swim lessons again. Lily loves the pool at the shore, but at swim lessons she is less than happy. Today wasn't as bad, but she definitely whined the entire time. She did do much better when she was put under water, but was very happy to get out of the pool.

After swimming, we went to see Becky. We brought some lunch and chatted. Lily was very happy to see her aunt Becky and loved snuggling with her. By the time we left school, Lily was pooped (and so was I!), so we both took good naps.

So, since it's Wednesday, I suppose I should confess (I don't know how many of these I have this week)...

This summer has been wonderful. I love having Lily time and watching her grow. I am, however, looking forward to school a little bit. Really, I am looking forward to seeing my friends and chatting in the office. I am sure the actual teaching part will be fine during the "honeymoon" period, but after that well...sometimes it gets a little dicey.

I am excited for Lily to walk. Is that a confession? Most people don't look forward to the walking stage, but sometimes it would be easier to put Lily down and let her run. She is getting so so so close, which is super exciting. She walked across half of the basement tonight! She looks like a little Frankenstein, and I love it!

I am so bad on confessions lately. I am sure once school starts I will have many more confessions, but right now, things are just kind of swimming along. I am enjoying my time off and having a great time playing with Lily.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, a few pictures to compare my 1 year old pics with my Bean!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Congrats to the Newlyweds!

This evening Tom, Lily, and I went to Ashley and Dave's wedding reception. Ashley is my best friend since high school. We were on the yearbook together, and really, very quickly, became inseparable. We went on "spooky" rides through Spring Grove, drank countless coffees at Barnes and Noble, went on one amazing cruise, and shared countless memories. She had a baby just a few months before Lily was born and was my maid-of-honor. She is one of the truest, most genuine people I know. The reception was a lot of fun. It was a beach theme, which was perfect for this hot weather. The food was yummy- especially the crab dip!- and Lily loved the fruit! We had a really nice time.

At the reception, I got to talk with Mrs. Kenney. Mrs. Kenney taught me English 10 in high school, and is probably the reason I teach English. I LOVED her class. I had two English classes that really inspired me, her class and Mrs. Randle's 11th grade class. Talking to Mrs. Kenney is funny- tonight I spoke with her about how I teach AP Lit. How I teach it! Crazy! She commented that it is so crazy that I have my own child. And, I suppose, it kind of is. I am sure that, on some level, I am still that 10th grade student in her class (heck, I still view many of my 2012ers as little 7th graders who I student taught). It was really nice to catch up and chat about everything that has been happening.

Not much else as been happening. Oh! Our friend Becky had her baby boy, Garrett, yesterday! He is a big boy 9 lbs. 10 oz., 21 inches. I am excited to meet the newest OM baby. Becky is a member of the mommy club of OM. We have been waiting for Garrett's arrival as he was a few days overdue. I guess it was comfy in there!

I haven't posted many pictures lately, so I will get on that tomorrow. I have a few pictures of Lily from the 4th to post. I also have a few "comparison" pictures of me and Lily. My parents uploaded them to their computer right around Lily's 1st birthday because we wore the same dress. We do look similar, but Lily definitely has a lot of daddy in her!

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Well, I missed Wednesday confessions because we were celebrating the 4th! We had a very fun day. Went to the shore house and swam in the pool. Lily got very tired from all of the fun swimming and she took a 2 hour nap at the shore. We were all a little shocked! It was so lovely to be able to lounge in the pool and actually get something of a tan. I didn't get outside much last summer because Lily was so little, that it is very nice to be able to spend time outdoors with her. Today, however, it is far too hot to even think about going outside without a pool around, so we are sticking to staying inside and playing with toys.

Now my confessions...

1. I really love Ramen noodles. They are so darn salty, but they are so good!

2. It is hard to discipline my daughter when she is smiling and laughing and being silly. Those big dimples make me melt. I know she's only 1, so there isn't a lot of hard discipline going on (and really, she is a very good kiddo)...but on the occasion that she needs a little reminding...her cuteness makes it hard to really discipline.

3. I may have confessed this before, but I really love a good nap.

I know, my confessions are a little lame. I don't have anything pressing to confess, as summer is rolling right along. Oh, I suppose I could confess that I really, really, really need to start my summer reading. I have a ton of reading to do and haven't done one bit of it!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Mazel Tov!

Yesterday, we celebrated the Bat Mitzvah of my friend Becky's daughter, Emily. Emily is like a little sister to me. I met her when she was 8 years old and have had the pleasure of watching her became a beautiful, not always so graceful, teenager. We went to services in the morning, and then the Hunger Games themed party in the evening (no worries, no teens were hunted and killed in the making of this party!).

Religions other than my own really fascinate me (and my own religion also fascinates in many different ways). It is amazing to me that Judasim and Catholicism can be so different, yet, while sitting and listening to yesterday's service, I could identify so many things that were the same. I suppose that is what happened when religions are founded on many of the scripture readings, laws, and ideas. I think it would be beneficial for all religious to listen to each other a bit more carefully, they might find that share more in common than they think. Emily did a wonderful job reading her Torah portion. I even teared up when she read her interpretation of her Torah portion. That kid is really wise beyond her years (she even compared Moses to the Hunger Games, c'mon now, that is skill!).

Another thing I did, was watch Becky (yep, I am a creeper). I watched her because, now that I am a mom, I understand more the significance of these events. There is obvious religious significance for Emily, but I think there is an aspect of significance for Becky, as Em's mom. This is one more step toward "letting go", one more move toward Emily's future as an adult in the world. Freaky. I imagined Lily 12 years from now, and, man, I was really moved by the whole thing. I know you don't even really let your children go (goodness knows many keep coming back!), but there is a process of independence that happens, that has to happen. This is one of those steps. More than once, Angela and I have said how crazy it is that Emily is 13 and Steven will be 16 (in 4 days), and how they seemed so young not so long ago. Time really does fly. You really do need to pay careful attention, or you will miss it.

So, enough of the mushy, let's get to the party! The decorations were awesome! Becky really, really did a phenomenal job with everything. The driveway was lined with district banners, the tables were all different districts (each centerpiece related to the theme of the district). There were lights all around. There was a banner that read "may the odds be ever in your favor" surrounded by plants that looked like fire. When you entered you waked through an archway covered in black feathers, complete with an owl (a fake one, thank goodness, real birds scare me). Everything looked amazing. Big props to Becky for pulling that together!

At the beginning of the party I got to give Emily her gift from my family and Sarah's family. We gave her tickets to see Wicked (Emily loves dance, theatre, and anything that combines the two). Sarah and I will go going to the October 18th show, along with Em and Becky. I burned Em the CD soundtrack, and then wrote " Memorize this by October 18, 2012" on the envelope. When she opened the envelope the CD said, "Wicked, Hippodrome Theatre, Baltimore, MD October 18, 2012". And then I witnessed the best gift reaction EVER. Seriously, this reaction is the whole reason I give gifts. Emily SCREAMED then gave me the biggest, longest hug. Then she started crying (this girl wears her heart on her sleeve for sure). Giving Em gifts is really one of my greatest pleasures because she is always so thrilled. I love it! Needless to say, we are all VERY VERY VERY excited to see the show!

Lily did a great job at the party despite the heat and the later time (later for Lily, at least). My girl had a very busy weekend between the Bat Mitzvah (her first!), and playing at grandma and grandpa Blumenauer's pool, she was a busy bee. She is already snoozing.

Oh, and how could I forget, we had other excitement this weekend. Friday night we had a crazy storm that knocked out our power in the middle of the night. Saturday morning we went to my mom and dad's house and we stayed overnight on Saturday. Lucky for us, sometime Sunday morning power was restored. I am hoping that my friends who are still without power get it back soon!

Phew. Long post. Great weekend! Next up- The 4th of July!!