Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Houston, we have a sleep problem

Namely, none of us is getting enough.

Certainly not surprising, considering we have a baby at home. It doesn't really bother me that DH and I are tired, I think it comes with the territory. But I don't think our poor little man is getting enough sleep either, mainly during the day, and that's where I have the problem. We are nowhere near desperation, as he is usually in a good mood until that bit of fussiness in the evenings typical of most babies, but he is not fond of napping and much prefers to party with his mom from sun up to sun down. On the rare occasions that he does get some decent shuteye, I notice an even happier baby, so I think the all-too-brief snatches of daytime dreamtime he usually gets just aren't cutting it.

Being a mom has really made me appreciate the deep truths of typical remarks dished out to new parents, such as "Don't you wish they came with an instruction manual?" Yes, yes I do. Because there are a million of them for sale on Amazon, and as all of them conflict, it'd be nice if he had come with his own. Whether it's two top respected pediatrician authors or two strangers at the grocery store, no one seems to agree on even the major principles of raising a baby. In fact, each side insists that the other is doing irreparable damage, and if you don't follow the right advice, your child will grow up to be stupid, lazy, fat, and emotionally impaired.

While I don't believe that for a moment, I do struggle with how to work on improving Bean's sleep habits. Somewhere between co-sleeping and crying-it-out, there exists a murky gray area with little instruction from "experts." It's time for Bean to transition to his crib, and although I'm not morally opposed to the cry-it-out method, I'm going to experiment in that murky grayness for a while in the hopes that it won't come to that. I bought two books that are highly recommended by friends and Amazon readers, so I'll start there. I've received a couple of very helpful pieces of advice so far: 1) instead of following one book like it's the Bible, pick-and-choose the techniques that work best for you and your baby, and 2) aim for improvement, not perfection, and don't beat yourself up over the hiccups that are bound to occur.

Wish me luck.

In other updates...

My mom left on Saturday. We missed her immediately! Thank goodness she was here, I think I would have had a nervous breakdown coming back to the house in the condition it was in without her help. Although we still have some boxes in the loft, mud room, and garage, by and large the house is looking great. And I love love love it here. Just as I suspected, the drab rental house was zapping my will to live. DH and I both agree that it feels like we've lived here for years -- it is our house. We still haven't met many neighbors, but I'm working on it. Yesterday, when I was walking the dog and baby, I passed a car in someone's driveway that had a University of Michigan alumni license plate cover. Inside their garage, I saw the parents holding a six-month-old little boy. Unfortunately, they were busy doing something, or I would have introduced myself. When I relayed the story, DH remarked that it's too bad we can't be friends with U of M fans. Only a man can hold a grudge for a college rival when we are 2200 miles from the schools.

Speaking of DH, he is galavanting around Washington, D.C. this week with my friend who lives there as a tour guide! (Okay, so he'd probably say he's suffering through a long, boring work conference with some fun side trips as time allows. Clearly we conceptualize the situation differently.) I've never been to D.C., and for a mere $1300 plane ticket, Bean and I could have joined him. Needless to say, I'm here pulling single-mom duty while he's across the country. It's a bit frustrating that I can't get anything on my 35-item to-do list accomplished, as my hands are constantly full of Bean, but I am enjoying time with him nevertheless. He's mama's buddy right now, and I'm absolutely eating this time up. I do have more of an appreciation for single parents, though. Bean decided to take full advantage of his brief diaperless state on the changing table the other day, and there was no DH to come running this time when I yelled, "We have a poop situation!"

He's coming back into town tomorrow, but there won't be much relief for me yet, as one of his friends from St. Louis is flying in tomorrow for a weekend visit as well. Unfortunately, Bean's got a few more months before he'll be ready to trek around Mt. Rainier, so I'll be hanging out at the casa by myself until the friend leaves on Sunday. It'll be worth it, though, if I can meet that Michigan couple on a walk. Maybe they have an extra "Go Blue" flag I can hang up in the loft while DH is out watching the Blue Angels air show.

Now that my mom's gone, the worry that she's going to start looking for a new job soon, because I can only offer her 21 hours a week at slightly more than minimum wage (which is extremely high in Washington, but nevertheless). I am tired of fighting so hard for day care in order to work, so I'm still flirting with the idea of staying home full time. I have a few other ideas for professional pursuits that I could follow on my own timeline, as I know I would need to keep that part of my mind engaged somehow. Not that the extra activity seems to be helping my brain much now anyway, but I can imagine how much worse things could get. Who knows, maybe you'll get lucky and I'll accidentally send my next credit card payment to you!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Six years (and counting!)

Today my DH and I celebrate six years of wedded bliss. Seems like the perfect opportunity to inject some nostalgia and record for posterity how we met, dated, and became Mr. and Mrs. DH. (The good news is that once I hit one year of blogging in September, I'll have run through all these "anniversary" posts. Are you excited?)

When we were in the second grade, DH's parents moved the family from San Diego back to Michigan, where they fortuitously landed less than a mile from my family's house. It wasn't until fifth grade that DH really caught my eye, though, when we were in Mrs. H's class together. Must have been his huge mop of curly hair, I couldn't really say now.

Seventh grade was really the foundation of our budding relationship. Separately, we had each wanted to play the saxophone -- along with half of our bandmates -- and had been convinced by the band director that the clarinet was equally as sexy an instrument. (Okay, perhaps she didn't phrase it quite like that.) Anyway, the disappointment turned out to be a blessing, as our romance grew over notes passed on sheet music. All written by me and my best friend M, of course. This was also the time I was allowed to get my own phone line at home. Remember, it was before the age of cell phones, and my parents wanted to keep the main line clear of all my early teen chatter. Poor DH became the main entertainment for me and M, who would call him and talk about God knows what. That changed the day DH and I admitted, via pointing to yearbook pictures, that we "liked" each other.

After that admission, all phone calls and sheet music note passing ceased. I suppose neither one of us were quite sure what to do next. But he still had a place in my adolescent heart. In fact, in 8th grade, our English teacher had us write notes to ourselves as we entered high school, which she kept and mailed out to us at graduation four years later. Imagine my delight upon receiving the letter to read about my crush on DH, then my boyfriend of nearly two years. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Back to the summer following 10th grade. I went on the first date of my life with a boy named J. We were at McDonald's (long and unimportant story involving an Arch Deluxe sandwich that explains why that particular restaurant) when who should walk in but DH and his friends. The group came over and we all exchanged greetings. DH actually gave me a high five when he said hello. When I got home from the date, I immediately called my best friend C (yes, new best friend) to spill the details of our fast food excursion. When I mentioned seeing DH there, she asked, "Do you still have a crush on him?" I responded, "Yeah... he's one of those guys you always have a crush on but never get to date." One of the many times I've been wrong (see mention of credit card payment in previous post), but surely the luckiest.

Obviously my relationship with J was not a love match. Come the beginning of our junior year, I was unattached. I remember sitting in Spanish class and overhearing DH talk to one of his friends from the football team. The friend was asking DH why he was always the designated driver when the team was drinking. "I don't know," DH shrugged. "I just don't want to drink." It hit me at that moment that DH really was still the sweet, good person that I had always had a crush on. (Had his first beer at 21, right, sweetie? *ahem*) When I was relaying the story to my best friend C after school that day, she convinced me to call him. And by convinced, I mean she dialed his number, handed me the telephone, ran out of my bedroom, and slammed the door.

When he came to the phone, I stammered some stupid question about the school parking lot and when football practice started. It was a brief and lame call. But it gave me some confidence, so I called him again later that week. "Maybe we could go to a movie sometime," I suggested. "Well, when would we go?" was his response. Now what happened next is an area of contention between me and DH. The way I remember it, we decided to see a movie the following Saturday. I had a cross country meet that morning, then I would call him and we would get together. He remembers it differently -- that I would call him, but we didn't necessarily have plans to do anything that day. Which I discovered after the meet when his mom informed me that he was at a college football game.

Adding insult to injury, it was the University of Michigan football game.

A Spartan to the core, he hates the University of Michigan.

I was really disappointed, of course, thinking I had been stood up. I instead drove my brother to the driving range so he could hit some golf balls, and then spent the evening with my friends from cross country. Doing something insanely fun like "sporking" the yard of someone on the boys' team, no doubt.

On Sunday night, my phone rang. It was DH. He immediately launched into normal conversation, no mention of our missed date the previous day. I responded to him in a brief and perfunctory manner, not wanting to make the same mistake twice. Until the magic question.

"Do you want to go to the homecoming dance with me on Saturday?"

To a sixteen year old girl who had never been to a school dance, much less with her crush, it was like being offered the Holy Grail. It didn't matter that we were less than a week before the event and I had no dress. I had hit the jackpot. "Yes!" I squealed.

I spent the entire week on another planet, eagerly anticipating our first date. After two unsuccessful trips to the mall after school on Monday and Tuesday, my mom called me in sick to school on Wednesday so we could spend some serious time searching for a dress, shoes, and accessories. It was my own private "Pretty Woman." Well, except the whole prostitute part.

We had a great time at the homecoming dance, and rarely spent a weekend apart after that for the rest of our high school career. (Insert montage of happy couple moments here.) Then came college, four years of me in Chicago and him in East Lansing. While it was really tough to be apart, it also gave us time to grow up independently and realize that what we had was truly worth saving. He proposed the summer before our senior year, and one month after my graduation, on July 26, 2002, we were together again -- this time forever.

Five years ago, we were at a friend's Indian wedding ceremony. One of the traditional blessings is that the couple will have 100 years together. I made some comment to DH about how that sounded a bit long to me. (Come on, who wants to be 122?) He feigned insult and insisted that he's up for that challenge.

In that case, here's to 94 more fabulous years.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Aww, shucks!

I am honored to receive an award from Deb over at Postcards from the Edge.

I'm not so sure about the word "Brillante." She obviously wasn't aware that last week I mailed our entire credit card payment to DH's corporate card instead of our personal card. (No worries, his employer says we'll get our money back in anywhere from 2 weeks to 7 months. Doh!)
Anyway, here's how the award works...

1. Put the logo on your blog.

2. Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs (I'm only going to do 5) and 4. Add links to these blogs on your blog.
Here are mine:
a. Mary at Our Life with Twins After IVF for not only having the best captions around, but having twice as many babies as me and posting three times as often...

b. Holly at The Evans Family for making me laugh with her witty posts and go "awwwww" at her cute kiddos...

c. Lisa at The Amazing Adventures of the Z MAN! for giving birth on my birthday (and being a sweet person!)...

d. Jen at Despite the Best Laid Plans for being clever, handy with a knitting needle, and sunny in Seattle like me...

e. and Kathy at So These Are the Days of My Life for being a good sport in the face of defeat (Red Wings 2008!).
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.
I can't think of a more brillant way to end this post than with pics of my cutie pie!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sometimes you just need your mom

The whole family (plus my mom) are all back in Seattle. Whew! It was a great trip to Michigan, but it took a lot out of us. Flying home by myself with the baby was the grand finale. He was fussy a few times, but overall he was a star on both 3ish-hour legs of the journey, which the other passengers noted appreciatively. Except one. As we were boarding the plane, one particularly smarmy guy standing in front of us commented loudly, "Man, my wife must hate me! This is the second time in a row she's booked me the middle seat." A lady laughed politely, "Yes, she must be mad at you." Lucky me and Bean, we were in the row directly behind him. As we were getting settled into the seat, Bean started to cry. Mr. Smarmy was on his cell phone with his wife, presumably to complain about her choice of seats. He held up the phone and pointed it back at Bean so she could hear how ever-suffering he was.

I guarantee your wife hates you, jerk.

I briefly considered letting Bean cry for the next 3 hours and 45 minutes, but out of respect for the other 285 passengers, I soothed him to sleep. (Yeah, that sounds a lot easier than it was.) But eventually we landed at Seatac, to be greeted by DH, my mom (who had hopped a direct flight earlier that day), and eventually the pooch. It's good to be home.

Except it's an utter, absolute mess.

My dream to be surprised by "While You Were Out" turned out to be just that -- all those stupid boxes waited patiently for my return. I think some of the boxes I previously unpacked had actually repacked themselves while I was gone.

This is where my mom comes in. She has been a life saver, not only unpacking and organizing while I am occupied by Bean, but lending her keen design eye to each room. She's staying for another week, and I intend to make the most of it! It will probably take me and DH a few years to finish the entire vision, but hopefully we can complete Bean's nursery before he hits middle school.

One of my mother's genius finds was a new kitchen table set to replace our 1980s atrocity. She called me on Friday from her cell phone when she was out walking the dog, as the neighborhood garage sale was this past weekend. It turns out this couple had only eaten on the table 10 times since they bought it several years ago. Seems they couldn't see the television from it, so they just ate on the couch. They finally decided to replace it with one that had taller chairs to solve the problem. A family after my own heart! They were very nice -- the husband made three trips to deliver all the parts to our house, as DH was at work -- and they also have a two month old son who shares his name with a certain Republican former president. DH remarked that if they don't like camping, they could be my ideal friends. And to make the purchase even more perfect, we were able to donate our old table and 5 chairs to a man who wanted it for a needy family of 5 who attend his church. Can I get an amen?

Speaking of television, when we moved into this house, I decided to upgrade our cable box to a DVR, since the cable guy had to come out anyway. My father-in-law had been after us for a while to do this, even suggesting that I forgo Netflix in favor of the DVR (as if!). Everyone who has one has insisted that it will change our lives. Verdict so far: not impressed. It has totally interrupted the viewing style I had perfected. Commercials, not only a source of fun little jingles for me to sing to Bean during diaper changes ("There ain't no bugs on me, no there ain't no bugs on me..."), are also the perfect opportunity to empty the dishwasher, get the mail, or start a load of laundry. I have no need to skip past them -- with a 4 month old, I don't have a solid 20 or 40 minutes without interruption in my day anyway. The other supposed benefit is that you never have to miss your favorite show. Well, that never really bothered me... until now! For example, I am now obsessed with catching every episode of The Soup, which I rarely got to watch before. But because they are never marked "repeat" on the guide for some reason, my record-only-new-episodes setting also catches 20 reruns of each week's show, and I am forced to frequently manage my DVR queue. Also, as the queue fills up with shows that I don't have time to watch, I have to decide what to delete if I want to record anything else. While I wouldn't have been upset to miss the newest episode of "Property Virgins" before, now I'm brokenhearted to erase it unseen. My heart belongs to Netflix.

Meanwhile, Bean has been changing and growing so much. He now not only recognizes me as a familiar face ("Hey, it's you again!"), but he has realized that it is my sole purpose in life to attend to his every need. He gazes at me lovingly like I have rainbows shining out of my ears, and I'm his number one choice when he's upset. Which both turns my heart to mush and makes me sigh with frustration, depending on whether it's 2 pm or 2 am. We have also started transitioning him into his crib. It started off pretty well, he slept for an hour and a half. But then he caught on to the plan, and he now wakes up immediately when set down in it, with screaming soon to follow. From what my mother-in-law says, Bean takes after his father in his general refusal to do anything that would be convenient for his exhausted new parents, such as nap. Someone else made the necessary observation about payback. But this is where I have a problem. According to my mother, I was an easy baby. Never cried. She actually said I never cried. While this may be an exaggeration, I'm wondering where in my vows I agreed to pay for the torture that my husband heaped on his mother when he was an infant. I don't call that payback, I call that injustice. Nevertheless, I fall deeper in love with Bean each day as his personality emerges. Here are a few of my little man's recent developments:
  • He can roll over, back to tummy and tummy to back.
  • He can sit up for a bit when propped, before doing a face plant into the carpet.
  • He reaches very purposefully and grabs objects, which then immediately go to his mouth.
  • He carries on meaningful conversations with his toys and the baby in the mirror.
  • He is teething big time.
  • He is 25 1/4 inches tall (51st percentile) and 14 lbs 15 oz (50th percentile).
  • And he reads at a 2nd grade level.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A meme and some cuteness

Okay, I'm trying to get back to more frequent posts, but I'm still crazy busy (it's tough work, being Bean's tour manager) -- so I'm going to cheat today. This is a meme that went around during NaComLeavMo. Only the ones that are bolded apply to me.

Bought everyone in the bar a drink

Swam with wild dolphin

Taken a Ferrari for a test drive

Been inside the Great Pyramid (who knew you could go inside!)

Held a tarantula

Taken a candle lit bath

Said I love you and meant it

Hugged a Tree (I'm a moderate Republican)

Bungee jumped

Visited Paris

Watched a lightening storm at sea

Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise

Seen the Northern Lights

Gone to a huge sports game

Walked the stairs to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Grown and eaten your own vegetables (but I've made my own Jell-O pudding!)

Touched an iceberg (just the lettuce)

Slept under the stars (technically I always sleep under the stars...)

Changed a baby’s diaper (just a couple)

Taken a trip in a hot air balloon

Watched a meteor shower

Gotten drunk on champagne

Given more than you can afford to charity (we donate what we can afford)

Looked up at the night sky through a telescope

Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

Had a food fight

Bet on a winning horse

Asked out a stranger

Had a snowball fight

Screamed as loudly as you possibly can

Held a lamb (but I did hang out with some llamas!)

Seen a total eclipse

Ridden a rollercoaster (Cedar Point rocks -- it's America's roller coast!)

Hit a home run

Danced like a fool, not caring who watched (baby loves disco coming in September)

Adopted an accent for an entire day (moi?)

Actually felt happy about your life, even for a moment (more than just a moment!)

Had two hard drives for your computer (I'm married to a computer engineer, what do you think?)

Visited all 50 states

Taken care of someone who was too drunk

Had amazing friends (hopefully they are still my friends!)

Danced with a stranger in a foreign country

Watched wild whales

Stolen a sign (I remember trying to steal a sign with my cross country team, but I'm pretty sure we couldn't get it off the pole)

Hitchhiked in Europe

Taken a road-trip

Gone rock climbing

Midnight walk on the beach (it was close to midnight, I don't stay up late)

Gone sky diving

Visited Ireland (finally, something cool I've done!)

Been heartbroken longer than you were in love

In a restaurant sat at a stranger’s table and ate with them

Visited Japan

Milked a cow (if you count me as the cow...)

Alphabetized your CDs (you know me too well)

Pretended to be a superhero (does She-Ra count as a superhero?)

Sung karaoke

Lounged around in bed all day (that's all I do these days)

Posed nude in front of strangers

Gone scuba diving (for about 60 seconds until I had a panic attack and the dive master pulled me from the ocean)

Kissed in the rain (it was snow, but I'm counting it!)

Played in the mud (I asked my mom and she said, "You weren't that kind of kid.")

Played in the rain (My mom immediately answered, "Yes." Apparently I was that kind of kid.)

Gone to a drive-in theater

Visited the Great Wall of China (there is that restaurant down the street...)

Started a business (kinda!)

Fallen in love and not had your heart broken

Toured ancient sites

Taken a martial arts class

Played a computer game for more than 6 hours straight

Gotten married

Been in a movie (not counting the one we made for Humanities as seniors in high school)

Crashed a party

Gotten divorced

Gone without food for 5 days (I haven't gone without food for 5 hours!)

Made cookies from scratch

Won first prize in a costume contest

Ridden a gondola in Venice

Gotten a tattoo

Rafted the Snake River

Been on television news program as an “expert”

Got flowers for no reason (hope you are seeing this, DH)

Performed on a stage (I was a dancer back in the day and actually performed at Disney World -- this was obviously before my love affair with doughnuts)

Been to Las Vegas

Recorded music

Eaten shark

Had a one-night stand (but I do have two night stands)

Gone to Thailand

Bought a house

Been in a combat zone (does being on Clomid count?)

Buried one/both of your parents (in the sand, maybe!)

Been on a cruise ship (toured the Greek Islands)

Spoken more than one language fluently (otnay ountingcay Igpay Atinpay)

Performed in Rocky Horror

Raised children (four months and counting...)

Followed your favorite band/singer on tour

Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country

Picked up and moved to another city

Walked on the Golden Gate Bridge

Sang loudly in the car and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking

Had plastic surgery

Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have

Wrote articles for a large publication

Lost over 100 lbs

Held someone while they were having a flashback

Piloted an airplane

Petted a stingray

Broken someone’s heart

Helped an animal give birth

Won money on a TV game show

Broken a bone

Gone on an African safari (But we did actually go on a Canadian safari when I was young! My parents have always had a sense of humor.)

Had a body part below the neck pierced

Fired a rifle, shotgun or pistol

Eaten mushrooms gathered in the wild

Ridden a horse

Had major surgery

Had a snake as a pet

Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon

Slept for more than 30 hours over 48 consecutive hours (okay, torture me with fantasies why don't you!)

Visited more foreign countries than US States

Visited all 7 continents

Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days (and never will, unless there's a hotel involved)

Eaten Kangaroo meat

Eaten sushi (yucky)

Had your picture in the paper

Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about (I always change DH's mind, and I assume I've cared deeply about something)

Gone back to school


Petted a cockroach (what?)

Eaten fried green tomatoes

Read the Illiad

Selected one important author who you missed in school to read (unless historical romance writers are considered important)

Killed and prepared an animal for eating (I only eat animals that I don't meet personally beforehand)

Skipped all of your school reunions (won't be at my first one, this summer)

Communicated with someone without sharing a common language (I ordered a Coke in Turkey and the guy brought over a table umbrella.)

Been elected to public office

Written your own computer language

Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream (or nightmare, depending)

Had to put someone you love in hospice care

Build your own PC from parts

Sold your own artwork to someone that didn’t know it was yours

Had a booth in a street fair

Dyed your hair

Been a DJ

Shaved your head

Caused a car accident (just my own, spinning out on the ice)

Saved someone’s life

Now that you are thinking how completely lame I am, I will close with some cuteness.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Thank goodness for concealer

While I have no qualms about blogging to my friends and family about the lackluster physical appearance I am sporting out in Seattle, it's another thing to show up back in Michigan looking sallow with dark circles under my eyes. We've been here since Thursday, and I am beyond exhausted. From attending countless gatherings (which are lovely) to sleepless nights with Bean (which are not), I am eternally grateful for the lovely folks at MAC and Bare Escentuals who help me look like I am member of the living human population. I'm also feeling entirely out of it, like someone slipped a moron pill into my chocolate milk. My DH keeps looking at Bean fondly and saying, "I hope you are smart like your mama!" But I suggested that he rethink that particular wish, as my intelligence has proven to have a shelf life. Best if used before Bean. And unfortunately, there's no concealer for that problem. But before I get ahead of myself, let's go back to last week in Seattle as we settled in and prepared for our trip.

Unpacking at the new house is going slowly -- VERY slowly-- but surely. We have three categories of boxes to go through: the ones from our recent move, the ones from the move to Seattle eight months ago, and the ones from our move to St. Louis almost six years ago. Fortunately we used different moving companies each time, so we have some idea what boxes contain useful kitchen utensils and which ones are home to the My Little Ponies that I played with in elementary school. I'll let you guess which ones I go after first.

Among items on our to-do list was change the code on the garage door keypad, in case some of the neighbors were privy to it from the previous owners. DH tackled that task while I carried a sleeping Bean upstairs and began to ready myself for bed. I kept hearing strange sounds, like rocks hitting the side of the house and the bedroom window. That's bizarre, I thought, but shrugged it off. And the dog kept barking out the front window, running upstairs to stare at me, and then curling up in her favorite spot among my shoes in the back of the closet (rinse and repeat). After a few rounds of that, she stayed by the front door and continued barking excitedly. I marched down the stairs to scold her when I caught a glimpse of DH standing on the porch, staring back at me with an exasperated expression. He had accidentally gotten locked out after the garage door closed before he had finished reprogramming the keypad, leaving him stranded on the driveway with a locked front door and back door. His attempts to get my attention by throwing rocks at the house and sending Lassie to get mommy had failed. On the bright side, DH met lots friendly neighbors who were out walking, and none seemed to notice that he was attempting to break into his own house.

I am still experiencing acute stress disorder following our late-night and early-morning packing fiasco as we readied for our Michigan trip, so forgive me if I gloss over those details. But despite the bone chilling fear that DH and I faced when flying with the Bean, he was an excellent traveler. He only got about 5 hours of sleep the night before, which turned out to be a good thing, as he slept through most of both three-hour flights. I am still terrified to fly back to Seattle with Bean by myself, though. (DH is heading back tomorrow, while I can work remotely from Michigan for the rest of the week.) I am fairly certain I won't be able to eat or use the bathroom for 12 straight hours. But that's a worry for another day.

On Saturday my parents hosted an open house, attended by friends and family who were meeting Bean for the first time. We couldn't have asked for a more gorgeous day, and the food and decor had my mom's signature flair. I was introduced to an Oreo cookie truffle, thoughtfully homemade and brought by one of my dad's cousins. Those cookies and I were immediately best friends, it was like we'd known each other forever! I'm hesitant to ask for the recipe, though... DH is already tired of me complaining about my extra pounds in the same breath that I beg him to take me to T.G.I. Friday's for one of my favorite desserts. (What can I say, we don't have any of those near our house in Seattle. Or a Bennigan's or Olga's, for that matter. Oh the humanity!)

Sunday was Bean's baptism at DH's family's church. Prior to the event, we had to watch a 20-minute video on the meaning of the sacrament. I struggled to pay attention (I zoned out at "Water is necessary to sustain human life..."), but DH caught me up on what I missed. He explained that all babies are objects of wrath, due to the nature of conception among other factors. The baptism regenerates us in Christ. Which made me wonder if babies conceived via infertility treatments are still considered objects of wrath, due to the *ahem* lack of passion involved in the process. (I liked our doctor, but not in "that way.") Anyway, I think it was wise to continue with the baptism, just in case.

In all seriousness, the service was beautiful, and I was touched at how many of our family and friends were present. Bean looked beyond adorable in his little white outfit, and again was a trooper during the day's events. He saved his explosive poop for the final round of picture taking after the reception, so the paparazzi was able to capture my horrified face as he filled (overfilled, more accurately) his diaper during a shot with mommy. No matter how much baby poop I deal with in a day, it's always disgusting. I think we lost a onesie to the cause that time, too.

To digress a moment, during the open house on Saturday, I was in the kitchen confronting my mom about a serious issue: the proper position of the toilet paper on the roll. I think it's obvious -- the end of the paper should come over the top for quickest access. So since arriving, I've been helping my mom by switching the roll into this position every time I use one of the bathrooms. Sure enough, next time I go, the paper is turned under again. One of my mom's friends of over 25 years, L, overheard the conversation and rightfully agreed with me. She went on to suggest that unlike the previous surveys I had done, this would be a meaningful poll to put on my blog. So L, this one is for you. Please everyone vote on the sidebar.

Now a few pics of Bean enjoying his first visit to Michigan.

"I missed you, Grandma!"

This is the Happy Apple that DH used to love as a baby. Or as Bean calls it, the Indifference Apple.

Grandpa pushes him on the hammock.

He's either flashing a gang sign or practicing to be the next white rap sensation. Either way, watch out.

We went with the rest of DH's family to visit the grave of Bean's great-grandfather Pops. It was a beautiful day, and I know Pops was smiling down on us.

Hope everyone enjoyed the long Independence Day weekend!