Thursday, July 30, 2009

Oh, the places she'll go!

My baby girl, at 2 months old, is ready to get going. I can just tell. She's ready to move. Enough of this being carried and held and swaddled and strapped in a car seat and a swing all the time. Work, legs, work! she's saying. Let's start this running routine.

I am kidding about the running.

But I do think she's anxious to go places, see the living room sights, on her own.

While she is nowhere close to being able to move around with any sort of efficiency on her own (she can't even roll over yet), she has figured out how to flip herself completely around in her crib and how to move herself around on the floor with her feet. She just sort of digs her heels in and pushes.

It's pretty awesome.

Look what she can do. She started out this morning under the activity bar playmat thing. This is at least a quarter-mile she's traveled, right?

And here's a close-up of her happy look-where-I-went-Mommy face.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Someone should have told me

Alright, stay-at-home moms of the world, help us maternity-leavers out, would you?

It's been eight weeks and two days since I've been on maternity leave. Yes, this means some days I don't change out of my jammies until 3 in the afternoon and it means showers happen about every other day. I don't necessarily like those two things. But it's just the way it is. Today, I did get dressed before 9 a.m., but I'm wearing a running T-shirt and shorts. And my glasses. Not sure how much that counts.

Anyway, I never realized that besides taking care of the infant there are other things with which I would be tasked during the day. Simply because I'm at home.

Number one: Answering the door.

Working full-time, I hardly ever heard our doorbell ring. That was nice, I now realize. Because the people who ring that doorbell during the day only want to bother me. Most of them want me to give them money.

A girl in her mid-teens stopped by last week with a pitch that was less than impressive. Her story was that her softball team had qualified for nationals in Orlando, Fla., but in order for her to compete she had to raise $2,000 or some ghastly amount by TOMORROW. So in return for my donation she would be of my service for an entire day. I could use her to mow the lawn (this is what most people choose, she said), but she doesn't do windows. At one point, she whipped out some pledge forms from her back pocket and handed them to me, as if they meant something. There were different levels and numbers written by them. And nothing was fully clear. This is the common theme among people who come to the door, I have learned. They want to confuse me!

Another very nice, very chatty college student came to the door recently hawking early learning books. She did not ever tell me she was selling books, however. Instead, she said she was going around to all the families in my neighborhood who had children about to start school in our district to give them early learning tips. Did I know so-and-so down the block? She'd just been to their house, she said, and they'd welcomed the tips. (Softball girl, by the way, asked me if I knew her grandfather who she said was a sheriff and lived on Orchard Street. I have never heard of Orchard Street, nor do I know her grandfather). I asked college girl if she worked for the school district. No, she said, she's an intern from Oregon. She attends Oregon State, and would I have five minutes for her to share these tips with me? Well, alright. I don't want my poor child to be at a disadvantage because I turned away the spunky blonde with a backpack from the West Coast. But then as we sat at my kitchen table, I realized: she is selling me something.

Are you trying to sell me something? I asked.

Oh, yes, she said. Books!

Me: Oh, I'm not going to buy any of your books.

And then she left. She even said she hadn't meant to be sneaky. Really, college girl? Because you seemed pretty sneaky.

Another door-bell ringer wanted to come in and clean my carpets FOR FREE! Really, no strings attached! Why would you clean my carpets for free? I asked (no one else is pulling a fast one on me!). Turns out she wanted to sell me a vacuum. But I didn't have to buy anything, she kept saying. Uh, no thanks. Just go away.

And then yesterday. It wasn't a salesman. No, it was much, much worse. It was a woman from the county assessor's office who had just a few questions about my house. Two bedrooms? she asked. No, I said confused, we have three bedrooms. She made a note on her clipboard. Two bathrooms? she asked. No, I said, we have 2 1/2 bathrooms. Another note. Finished basement? she asked. Yes, I said. Another note.

About three minutes after she left, I realized just how mad my husband was going to be at me. For telling the truth. But I don't want to pay higher property taxes either. I wish my common sense or quick-thinking skills were just a little bit quicker.

So, stay-at-home moms, I salute you for not only raising those kids but answering the door. My skills still need some polishing.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Fourth of July

I have never been much of a fan of the Fourth of July. Blowing stuff up just seems sort of dangerous and expensive to me.

But Rye was exposed to at-home fireworks this year, and I'm pretty sure it was love at first kaboom.

So we indulged his new passion with such heavy hitters as sparklers, snaps, Roman candles and these ground bloom flowers on crack that spin up into the air. I'll admit those were cool.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


So this summer is the first time since I was 14 that I haven't had something I had to do.

Sure, I have to take care of the baby. But it's not the same as having to go to work (or volleyball two-a-days, as I did the summer I was 15).

I like summer. And the weather this week has been just about perfect. Warm but not too hot. Sunny. No clouds. Little, if any, humidity. Cooler nights. If the weather was like this in Nebraska all the time, this might just be a way cooler place to live.

Might be.

I was trying to think about my favorite summer memories this afternoon (I've got time on my hands, you see). And I'm not sure I can come up with an accurate favorite summer memories list.

I can think of generalities, for sure. Things like fireflies, sprinklers, bikes, swimming, flip flops, Popsicles, sleepovers. There's lots more.

Specifics, I don't know. Is it possible to have one favorite summer memory? I always have a hard time narrowing things down to one favorite experience or thing. You know, top five lists? I always seem to have some sort of caveat.

I remember the summer I was 5 playing until dark in the sandbox my dad made in the backyard. I remember being terrified of the June bugs that gathered around the back porch light above that sandbox. I remember waiting for the ice cream man outside that same house in Norman, OK. I used to like to get bomb pops. Simple. Yet exciting. I also remember occasionally getting some sort of snowcone that had a gumball at the bottom. My friend of that era and I used to have picnics in her grandma's backyard, too. The meal consisted almost always of Saltine crackers with butter on them. Her grandma would put two crackers together for us, forming a gross sort of sandwich. I liked them at the time, though.

Later, when we'd moved to Nebraska, I have lots of memories of riding my bike to one of the two city swimming pools (where I'd lifeguard throughout my high school and college summers). Jenny and I rode our bike to one of those pools every day one summer. The summer either before or after third grade, I think. Often, we would go to her grandma's house either before or after the pool. Her grandma always offered us Squirt. Jenny and I wore goggles at the pool. We liked to dive for pennies. But sometimes, the lifeguards would tell us not to do that. Jenny also had a slip and slide, and we went to Girl Scout camp together at least two summers, if not more.

In junior high, I spent countless days at my bff's house. We'd sleep late and then I'd wait (usually impatiently) while she took an excruciatingly long time to get ready. Then maybe we'd ride our bikes to McDonalds or maybe Valentino's or maybe just nowhere. We played softball two summers. I was not good. But like with everything, I tried really hard.

As an adult, that first summer in Grand Junction, Colo., is probably the best I've had. It was all just so new and so exciting. And it was a cool place to be.

In Omaha, I guess I associate the various road races I've done the past couple years with summer here.

I wonder five or 10 or 20 years from now how these summers with my children will fit into this haphazard sort of summer memory album.

What are your favorite summer memories?