Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It was inevitable...

Well, I'm sad to say that my fantasy football gloating has had to take a time out...

I had a pretty bad week, points-wise, but managed to win one of my two matchups. That makes me 7-1 for the season, and back to being tied for first place. Unfortunately, the guy I'm tied with had a better week points-wise, so he's now in the overall lead. The good news, however, is that it's only a 6-point lead. So there's still hope. And this week was hopefully my low point - a bunch of my players were on a bye week, so I had to put in a bunch of subs, who just didn't play particularly well. Hopefully once I get my "first string" back next week, I'll be back on fire again!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What is it they say about pride before a fall?

Yeah, so I'm pretty sure I just jinxed my fantasy football team...

But I could NOT help it - I just HAD to gloat!

I'm in first place - the only team that has an undefeated season after three weeks, and I'm 60 points ahead in overall points!

I'm pretty sure it can't last, and by bragging, I have probably just caused my luck to take a turn for the worse. But I just know that all the "boys" are cursing under the breath, or perhaps even out loud, when they're checking the standings this week, and I had to rub it in a little bit.

I wasn't TOO bad. I just asked them how it felt, let them know that I was thinking of them and their bruised male egos, and reminded them that it's OK to cry.

:-) It's been fun while it's lasted...

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's a matter of perspective

As Monkey's next well-child visit approaches (a bit on the early side, since the doctor decided to combine an ear infection follow up with an early 15-month visit), I've been a bit anxious about the fact that he still doesn't have much of a vocabulary. In my mind, he says exactly one word clearly - "uh oh" (and boy does he love that word!). He also does lots of dadada and mamama, but the former only sometimes appears to relate to my husband, and the latter is actually a string of requests for "more." He also says "baba," which I've recently figured out is his request for his sippy cup, probably a carry over from his bottle.

But my mom and sister were in town this weekend, and according to them, he's saying TONS of stuff. Am I just not hearing it? Has constant exposure caused me only to hear a string of undifferentiated babble? Are my standards for what constitutes a "word" a bit too exacting for a kid who just turned 14 months old last week?

So we talked about some of the words, and I tried to catch them when I could. It's really all in the intonation. I couldn't tell you exactly WHAT he said when I handed him his sippy cup, but the number of syllables and the intonation have mom and sis convinced he said thank you. They also heard "hi," "bye bye," "night night," "peek-a-boo," "mommy," and several others that I can't remember right now. Yet if you look Monkey in the eye and say "can you say bye?", he will most likely just smile and say nothing at all, or perhaps he'll say dadada or something else entirely. While he's big on mimicking actions, he's clearly not so much into verbal repetition yet (which I guess is something of a blessing as my husband and I struggle to clean up our language a bit!).

I guess the important lesson for me is that he's making progress, and I suspect (and hope) that the doctor will tell me on Friday that Monkey is doing just fine in terms of those milestones we all worry about. In the meantime, would it be wrong if I keep trying to coach him to repeat just one or two more words by the end of the week??

Cool Nature Lesson

My husband and I were out taking Monkey and our dog out for a walk around the neighborhood this evening, when we noticed a bunch of geese. Not an unusual sighting - they like to hang out in the various ponds spread throughout the neighborhood (and leave their droppings all over the streets and sidewalk - thanks!) As we walked past, hoping our dog wouldn't freak out, we started to notice that they were all looking in the same direction, and almost starting to get in a line, although not single file or anything, yet very deliberate looking nonetheless. Just as it occurred to me and I asked my husband - "do they have to line up to get realy to fly in formation?" - they all took off, going right into their trademark "v." Funny how I never thought about HOW they get into that arrangement, but I guess it makes perfect sense. I just found it amusing to see them all lining up, and wonder if they were complaining amongst themselves that one of the geese was holding them up as he was checking out my dog or something. :-)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


This is so awesome...

I am in FIRST PLACE in my Fantasy Football league!

Now, granted, it IS only week two. Which means I have a LOT of time to fall.

But I am one of only two teams to be undefeated, and I am beating out the other team in total points. And I just know it is killing all the guys in the league that they're being beat by a "chick." :-)

And yet, perfectionist that I can be, I'm kicking myself for not playing a different kicker and tight end, which would have netted me about 11 additional points. My husband things I'm greedy.

Now the question is - Do I send out an e-mail to the boys, doing a little trash talking? Or will that jinx it? Hmmm....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Taking a moment to remember...

It took until about 11:00 this morning for me to realize/remember that it was September 11th today. Well, maybe I knew from looking at the calendar what day it was, but I didn't immediatey remember it was 9/11, and the significance of that day.

It's amazing what seven years can do. A day that consumed our lives as a nation for so long, I feel is actually beginning to fade. Not that I'll ever forget - I can't. I lived in Pittsburgh at the time, about an hour from Shanksville, the crash site of Flight 93. That flight in particular has touched me, perhaps because it was so close to home, but also because of the incredible strenth and heroism of the passengers on that flight. I often wonder if I would have had the courage to do what they did, or if, terrified as I might be, I would have clung desperately to the ever-slimming hope that the terrorists would not do what seemed inevitable. I don't think you can ever know what you'd do until put to the test - and what a horrendous test it is.

Yet in the past seven years, so much else has happened in my life. I met my husband, got married, had Monkey. I've moved across the country and back again. And two years ago, my sister-in-law gave birth to one of my nephews on this day. I now know two 9/11 babies, one born before, and one after, and it is their birthdays I have written on my calendar, not any reminder about the national significance of this day. In a way, I think that's a form of healing.

Nevertheless, I did want to take a moment from a busy workday to stop and remember. Our nation has suffered many tragedies, as have so many other nations, but this one will always be burned in my memory.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Baby, I'm Amazed

I can never remember if the name of that song by Paul McCartney is Maybe I'm Amazed or Baby I'm Amazed... I just looked it up, and it's Maybe, which kind of kills the title of this post. Although I'm pretty sure the lyrics to that Lonestar song are "baby I'm amazed by you." So let's go with that.

But I digress. The Monkey - he never ceases to amaze me.

I don't know when, and I don't know where, but Monkey has learned how to go down the stairs. I'm thinking maybe day care, but it's a one-story building. They do have steps on some of the things on the playground, so maybe that's it.

Maybe it's just intuitive. But he is SO deliberate. It's like someone taught him a process and he's following it step by step (no pun intended).

I discovered this trick last night. I took Monkey out back with me so our puppy could do his business. Monkey and I were on the deck, which is only three steps from the yard, but there's a big flagstone pad on the bottom step, so I obviously don't want him to go faling down the steps. So there I was, letting Monkey play with his water table on the deck and strategically blocking him from an accidental fall down the steps, when suddenly he got down on his hands and knees and started deliberatey backing up slowly towards the edge... I continued to spot him, but watched, facsinated, as he lowered one leg down, then the other, then moved on to the next step, backed up a bit more for the final step, and then stood up and went toddling through the grass to his car! Seriously - how did he do that without ANY prompting whatsoever from me??

Now, of course, going up and down steps is all he wants to do. Sigh... So I'm being the devoted spotter, helping him work up his confidence, since it can only make things safer for him.

I'm just so tickled that he manages to continue to find ways to surprise me like this.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hold your babies close...

Brace yourselves, for this is not an amusing or happy post...

I read this morning that a woman who posts on my birth bulletin board lost her son last night in a tragic drowning accident.

I don't know this woman, and have only communicated with her via indirect posts on our board. But I am simply gutted right now, and the tears keep coming, even after I think I've gotten them back under control. I've read stories of this woman's pregnancy, her son's birth, and the joys and trials of his first year. I feel like I know these people, and yet there is nothing I can do for them other than share my condolences, which I have done.

I cannot imagine what her family is going through right now. To lose a child at ANY age, let alone so young...? How does one cope? I don't know how a parent begins to deal with something like that - I just don't.

And part of my sadness is my own renewed fear. It's a selfish thought, but what if something like this were to happen to my family? Ever since Monkey entered our lives, my husband and I have become so much more sensitive to tragic news involving children. It's not like stories of this kind didn't touch us before - they did. But we just didn't know... We hadn't experienced the joys of parenthood, the all-encompassing love for a child, and we hadn't had to contemplate such a loss. And the mere thought alone is devastating, enough to reduce me to tears. The actuality? Simply unimaginable.

So if you're reading this, I'm posting this not to make you sad, or to make you cry. I'm posting this because I feel myself wanting to express my immense sadness, and also wanting to take some small step to memoriize this young life, ended far too soon. And I want to remind us all to hold our young ones extra close tonight, and every night, and to treasure what we have. We are so fortunate, and we should remind ourselves of this every single day.

Rest in peace, Reed.
6/17/07 - 9/8/08

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fantasy Football Week 1 Results

Well, the good news is, I didn't humiliate myself!

As much as I would have liked to have come in first place and kicked all those trash-talking anti-feminist butts, I did respectably well, and at least won't be laughed out of the league.

I'm 2-0 in my match-ups, so you can't knock a perfect winning record.

As for the overall points race, it looks like I'll be in 3rd or 4th place, depending on how the Vikings defense handles the second half of tonight's game. Not bad, not bad at all.

And my two sweetest victories?

1. I beat my husband in a head-to-head matchup. Actually, I pretty much wiped the floor with him.

2. Some poor schmuck who drafted before me got Tom Brady as his QB, who I would have picked if given the chance, since he was pretty widely viewed as the #1 fantasy QB pick. Sorry, buddy - looks like you're gonna have to find someone else. Not that I'm sitting pretty - I got Peyton Manning, who looked like he needed a lot more warming up prior to last night's game. Fortunately, he gave me a decent number of points, but nowhere near the killer numbers my husband scored with him a few years ago. And I kind of want to feel sorry for Tom Brady for missing the season, but I just dislike the Patriots so much that I just can't.... sorry.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Tiny Dancer

The Monkey is finally finding his groove!

I don't know what it is about toddlers dancing that brings a smile to everyone's face, but I just can't get enough of it!

Monkey has become a big fan of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cartoon on Playhouse Disney. Well, let me revise that statement: Monkey has become a big fan of the opening and closing songs of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse - the actual cartoon, he could care less about!

If you've seen the show, it starts with Mickey Mouse inviting the kids to come to his playhouse, then cuts to an empty field. Back to Mickey Mouse, who tells the kids that first they have to say the magic words. A couple of Mickey-centric magic words later, and poof! The clubhouse begins to pop out of the ground, and all of the other characters appear. Alex watches the first part intently, right up until the clubhouse begins to appear, at which point, without fail, he turns to me with a big smile, like "here comes the good part!" Then the song starts, and his attention is 100% focused on the TV. But in the past few days, he's added a dance!

Actually, the first time he did it, I wasn't sure he was dancing, as it kind of looked like what he does when he's losing his balance - kind of one foot forward, one foot back. But then he kept going, and added some side steps as well. He's working up to hand movements, but for the most part it's just him stepping around to the music. After the song ends, he tunes out, and goes back to whatever he's doing, up until the closinig "Hot Dog Dance" comes up, at which point it's time for a reprise! I have got to get this on video...

Oh, and he's a bit of a singer, too. I'm a little worried about this, however, as we've yet to determine if he takes after me or my husband in the musical department. You see, I am somewhat musically inclined - I took piano lessons for 8 years, and was active in chorus and musicals during high school and college. My husband, on the other hand? Well, let's just say he's tone deaf and leave it at that - there's no need to get insulting, right?

Anyway, my husband will just do a "ah ah ah ah ah ah ah" sort of singing scale (kind of a "do re mi fa mi re do," minus the pitch), and Monkey has started to imitate it. So far, he's about as on pitch as his Daddy, but what can you expect when he's just mimicking what he hears? Perhaps we're raising a future musician? I may need to intervene before the musical training goes much further, to make sure we keep him on an audibly pleasing path...

In all seriousness, though, I do hope he has inherited my love of music. I'm merely an appreiative listener at this stage of my life, but I couldn't live without it. I listened to it a lot when I was pregnant with him, in the hopes that he would find it as entertaining, calming, and comforting as I do. I even have a "baby" mix on my iPod that I used to play while I waited for him to make his arrival. But I've recently noticed that I listen a lot less than I used to now that Monkey is here. We need to work on changing that, even if for now that just means some quality time listening to the Wiggles or Sesame Street CDs. :-)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mommy Guilt

They should warn us about this before we have children...

Not that it would make a difference in the decision, but still, a warning would be nice.

Before I had kids, I used to watch other people with their kids, and think about what I would do differently, better, etc. It was so easy to be a critic when we were just sitting on the sidelines, wasn't it, not having to scrutinize our OWN behavior?

Now that I'm a mother, I always wonder "how am I doing?" Monkey is generally happy and healthy, so those are good indicators, but we all have those days (or at least I hope we all do) where we're tired, frustrated, and maybe we don't enjoy our little ones as much as we think we should, and at the end of the day, after they're asleep, we feel guilty that perhaps we yelled more than we should, we didn't read our little ones a story, we didn't feed them the healthiest food, we didn't teach them anything new, etc., etc., etc.

Just one example - before Monkey was born, I was so excited to teach him sign language. I had a friend who had done it with her daughter, and it was so amazing to see her daughter asking her for milk at a young age - imagine how much easier life will be once we can communicate, the sooner the better, right??

I bought a sign language book. It sits on a shelf, still shiny and new, opened only a few times, glanced at, but not really read... Ah, the best laid plans... I always blame it on there not being enough time, but maybe, just maybe, I'm not making good enough use of our time? Should I be making a better effort to do things like this each day, focus more on trying to "teach" than just playing? Or am I being overly concerned? I do read to Monkey when he'll allow it - I try to do signs when I remember - I'm a smart person, married to another smart person, who will manage to raise a properly educated kid, right?

As luck would have it, however, Monkey has finally learned one sign - "more." He's been doing it for ages, and I didn't even know what it was at first. Turns out, he appears to have picked it up at day care, and started doing it before he even knew what it meant. But we seized on it, and tried to get him to do it with purpose, which has finally happened in the past couple of weeks. He will now reach desperately for that food item out of reach on the table, and when he gets my attention, will make the "more" sign, and even say something that sounds like "mo." And now we're working on the opposite - "all done." It helps, just a bit. When Monkey starts throwing food on the floor (which is inevitable, either as a show of his feelings toward a particular type of food, an attempt to feed the ever-present under his highchair dog, or general playfullness), I can now often stop him mid-toss, and take the food away, quizzing him as to whether he's all done or still wants more. It's a bit of a game for him, and it isn't foolproof (like when he asks for more, only to immediately turn to throw it on the floor!), but it's progress. Baby steps...