Tummy Time

on 29 September 2008

So, tummy time is highly entertaining. More for me than for the Boy. He is not yet so fond of it. Neither are the cats. For your viewing pleasure--here is tummy time in Burnstopia:

The Agnes is determined to remain out of reach. Never mind that the Boy can only roll from his tummy to his back, once he's on his back he's stuck and she's sitting about 3 boy-lengths away from him. Nevertheless, it cracks me up.

And another?

The Agnes says, "You will not trick me with your cuteness. I am ON to you BOY!"

Hold on to your Pancreas!

Apparently, we here at Burnstopia believe that Sundays are for sending yourself into a diabetic coma of bliss. So, for your Monday morning pleasure I have yet another tale of sugary love for you.

You start with a revivifying nap and then add one of these:

Then you gather up some yummy ingredients--like 2 cups of sugar in a sauce pan of LOVE.

And a creamy and delicious custard-y filling like this:

Then you start making the magic...you have to cook the sugar in the sauce pan of LOVE:

It crystallizes first and then it melts and browns and
turns into this beautiful pot of sugary goodness:

Then you add the creamy and delicious custard-y goodness and it turns into a big ol' mess:

But then the sugary goodness and the custardy goodness come together in a melty, romantic sauce pan of LOVE and look like this:

Then that melty romantic goodness has to BOIL and once it does it starts to look like this:

Then you add the last two elements of a happy marriage:

Pour the whole creamy, fat-laden, sugary mixture of BLISS into the aforementioned pie crust and voila!

That, my friends, is Butterscotch Cream Pie--requested by and assisted with by the Husband here at Burnstopia. Recipe courtesy of mi familia. The name says butterscotch but it tastes more like caramel. It's good hot or cold, summer or winter. I like it warm and in the fall but the Husband likes it cold and year round.

The Boy is unimpressed:

Vaccinations and Stripes

on 28 September 2008


It's been a rather vexing week.

First there was the UNexpected growth spurt which left the Boy exceedingly fussy (oh boy! Something new for him!) and hungry and me...well, I did a lot of feeding him and sitting in the rocking chair telling him that it will all be ok.

Then there were the vaccinations which were expected and occurred on Friday and the piercing scream and the holding his breath and the turning beet red which nearly broke my tiny little heart into a gazillion pieces and then led to much more rocking and many more "it will all be ok"s.

And then today there was this:

A big shout out to Aunty Krista for the awesome striped jumpsuit thing that had the Husband singing "the Age of Aquarius" all day long!

I'm a little sad to admit that by the time I realized that it would fit him, it's almost too small. Grrrr. We'll pack it away for his future sibling.

Which segues nicely into our admissions that the Boy is perfectly average! He weighed and measured in the 50th percentile on everything. He's perfectly healthy and developing normally which is no small feat given his parentage! I myself am inordinately pleased given that I haven't even been able to keep a plant alive and here I have kept a whole HUMAN BEING alive and thriving for nigh unto 3 months. Look at me go!


on 24 September 2008

I am a MEAN mom.

And here's why.

The Boy and I were hanging out the other day. He was in his bouncy chair while I ate some lunch and he started a-fussing so I got down on the floor to make weird faces at him while I finished my lunch.

He started making some hilarious faces back at me so I ran and got the camera. And the hilarious faces--so very expressive of his many strong opinions quickly deteriorated into this:

Look at how pitiful he is! Nobody loves him! People only laugh at his distress! WOE! Woe to him!

And when that doesn't work, he tries this:

Look at that LIP! The pout! The look of EXPECTATION in those eyes! I'm doomed when this kid hits 2.

I showed the pictures to the Husband when he got home from school and he said, "What do you mean he looks like me?"

Truth is I'm a sucker and it works every time!

We are still HERE

on 21 September 2008

I've been thinking a lot lately of how I got here.

Here being this place in my life. Wife. Mother. Homemaker. Etc. All places that I really never believed I'd end up. For the record, I'm not complaining--particularly since the Boy is learning how sweet sleep can be--it's just so very different from where I thought that I would end up. And it strikes me as odd and funny how differently life turns out from what we thought it would or even what we planned it to be.

8 years ago I was on the fast track to a lively, maybe even brilliant career in academics. 5 years ago my 10 year plan was to finish my MA, move on to my PhD and then go abroad for a while. After that, a tenure track assignment at a stateside university. Not married. No kids. My cats and my books and my wonderful friends for company.

Now? No PhD. I'm working on a graduate degree in home/family/life management. Whimsy wrote about the Special Math you need to learn--yeah, that's me right now...constantly making calculations of time, weights and sizes in my head. To say nothing of the money calculations --well, if we save this amount on X then we can reapply it to Y, or better yet, if we don't spend X on Y then we can use X for Christmas, birthdays or an eventual move as necessary. Then there's the house schedule of when all the day to day crap that is necessary but tedious and time consuming is going to get done and you add to the things that I would rather be doing and it all makes for a very tired and somewhat befuddled Wife.

It's at those moments that I can't help saying to myself, "I'm just not made for this. I was Born to be an Academic!" Ask me about post colonialism, post modernism, the new critics or other theories of interpretation and I could sound like a rational, maybe even intelligent person. Ask me to go for a walk with you this afternoon and it will take me an hour of theorizing before I can say, "Yeah, I think we can maybe do that."

I suppose it's all for naught since I wouldn't change a thing. Well. I'm quite excited for the day when the Boy can actually articulate what is wrong with him when he's screaming his head off, but I'm still trying to enjoy him as he is. Don't get me wrong, I have days--many days, well, if I'm honest, MOST days when I long to be in a PhD program and learning and researching and writing about more interesting things than the management of my LIFE (for crying out loud!) but I know that if I had that then I could never have this and this--this moment, this place--it's GRAND.

The Namesake

on 19 September 2008

The Husband and I finally watched the Namesake. I had intended to see it while it was in theaters, but well, life sort of got in the way. I taught this book when I taught at a certain University south of here. I love this book. It's bittersweet and beautifully written, so I was a bit nervous about the film. I need not have been, it's amazing. Beautiful and faithful and wonderfully sad in all the right ways.

Mira Nair directed it and she included one of my all time favorite parts from the book. It seems like a minor scene at first, it's only a childhood memory after all, but it means so much more than what it is.

And now that the Husband and I are on this totally different journey, both together and with the Boy, I was thinking about that passage. I got it down this morning and read it to the Boy while trying to tire him out for his nap (it didn't work, he's still wide awake and hanging out here beside me...c'est la vie).

Gogol and his father walk to the end of a jetty off of Cape Cod together. Gogol is maybe 5 years old and his father is bemoaning the forgotten camera--they will now have no picture of this moment. Jhumpa Lahiri writes,

"All this way and no picture," he'd said, shaking his head. He reached into his pocket and began to throw the striped stones into the water. "We will have to remember it, then." They looked around, at the gray and white town that glowed across the harbor. Then they started back again, for a while trying not to make an extra set of footsteps, inserting their shoes into the ones they had just made. A wind had picked up, so strong that it forced them to stop now and then.

"Will you remember this day, Gogol?" his father had asked, turning back to look at him, his hands pressed like earmuffs to either side of his head.

"How long do I have to remember it?"

Over the rise and fall of the wind, he could hear his father's laughter. He was standing there waiting for Gogol to catch up, putting out a hand as Gogol drew near.

"Try to remember it always," he said once Gogol had reached him, leading him slowly back across the breakwater, to where his mother and Sonia stood waiting. "Remember that you and I made this journey, that we went together to a place where there was nowhere left to go." (187)

It was one of those passages I made my students analyze again and again and again and every time I got wonderfully different responses. I always managed to lose myself in Lahiri's description of the landscape and completely overlooked the father and the son and the journey that they are on in the course of the book. I had to take my own journey to find that one.


on 18 September 2008


That was unexpected.

After days of not napping well at all, the Boy has decided that he wants a schedule. And he has sort of put himself on the aforementioned schedule. Just when I was becoming accustomed to our unstructured days.

On the upside! He naps! Twice! Every day! For more than 20 minutes! I guess he naps three times if you count the nap he has on top of me in the evenings after dinner but before bed. I call it his apéritif nap...since it's usually an hour before he goes down for the night.

And I've been using the Baby Bjorn to go for long walks with him in the morning as a sort of concerted effort to NOT live the rest of my life in a woman-suit 8 sizes too big. It's actually quite fun, when I'm not schlepping red-faced uphill with 12 pounds of baby strapped to my chest. He opens his eyes so wide and just STARES at the world...and I tell him about the sky and the trees and the weather and the world. He usually drifts to sleep and I wrap him up when we get home and he finishes his nap in peace.

Sorry for not having written much about the Husband of late. He's been sort of absent. It's ok. It's just school is keeping him a lot (A LOT) busier than it did last year, so the result is that I don't see much of him, and what I do see of him is after a looooong day and we're both exhausted. You'll have to get him to tell you about his Impostor conference yesterday and he can tell you about the impostors we both are and how we cope with our impostorness.

In other exciting news, I'm thinking of making this CAKE for the ward activity this Saturday. I think it would go over beautifully, what do you think?


on 16 September 2008

Day 456 of my napless captivity...and the Boy has decided that if he can't get one THUMB into his mouth he may as well increase his chances by trying both fists...

Not featured: the SLURPING sound he makes as he tries suctioning his entire hand into his wide open mouth.

One More Hour

on 15 September 2008

Maybe it's just the sleep deprivation, but I find myself thinking this phrase a lot lately.

Just one more hour
. It's half whine, half prayer in my mind. Most often it comes at 6:30am when the Boy is whining for his first breakfast of the day. But lately it's been creeping in throughout the day as well.

Though during the day it's more specific...

just one more hour to read.
just one more hour to clean.
just one more hour and I can finish this laundry.
just one more hour of happy baby and I'll think I can totally have another!
just one more hour and I'll call Mom (or Sarah or Whimsy or my sister or the half million other people I owe phone calls to).
just one more hour and I can get to work on that research project.
just one more hour and I'll get those pictures off the camera on and on the computer.
just one more hour and I can finish that editing job.
just one more hour and I can get those post cards ready to mail out.
just one more hour to make cookies.
just one more hour to work out.
just one more hour to write.
just one more hour of nap time and I can play with the poor neglected cats.
just one more hour and I'll get the trash out and the mail and go for a walk.
just one more hour to get the check book balanced.
just one more hour to make dinner.
just one more hour with the Husband before he gets sucked in to homework and I pass out.

But mostly it's just one more hour to sleep...please, baby, Mama needs to sleep.

What's Making me Smile

on 12 September 2008

The Boy is trying to suck his thumb. Which is nothing short of hilarious because in the process of attempting to put his thumb in his mouth he manages to get his whole fist in his mouth.

NOM NOM NOM delicious baby fist

What the poor child doesn't realize is that thumbs are wily, tricksy, illusive little digits.

NOM NOM NOM delicious thumb is in there somewhere...

Ah. That fickle thumb, it sneaks behind the finger rendering it inaccessible even to the most determined gnawing. I could probably attempt to help him out here but I'm having too much fun laughing at him.

Things Fall Apart

on 11 September 2008

I am indulging in my annual funk at this time of year. I was sitting in the rocking chair with my small son and rocking him. Last night I had cooked dinner and eaten, he had cried and cried as he usually does while I'm cooking and eating dinner. I picked him up to rock him and calm him and as his breath settled, first those ragged breaths--residual from too much crying, and then that slow steady breath of a sleeping child, I began to think about this day seven years ago.

I was in the air. I was returning from a brief trip to Europe. I was diverted to Halifax, Nova Scotia--to this day one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. We landed and disembarked. I had seen such a strange mix of the terrible and the beautiful in people that I felt bruised. We were bussed to an empty hockey arena where we would eat and sleep until such a time as our country would let us back in.

I saw adolescents, fresh from their summer vacations, blowing up air mattresses for us. Handing out blankets and food. Playing with small children whose parents were distressed. I saw people step up and show selflessness that cannot be described. I saw people fall apart like houses of cards under too much wind. I went 3 days without sleeping. I saw the people of Halifax come in droves to the arena to take total strangers back to their homes for hot showers and home cooked meals. I was one of those total strangers. We ate blueberry pancakes with maple syrup.

As I held my small son I was thinking of all of those people. Of how they died. And I wonder, what would be worse, the dying at the hands of those whose hate is so strong and so blind that they would willing take the lives of so many strangers as well as their own? Or the moments before dying when you could remember and wish that you had held your child longer, that you had told your husband or wife how much you loved them, that you could laugh one more time with your friend?

We talk a lot about the people who died on That Day. We talk of them in terms of numbers and the senselessness of it all. We talk of them in political contexts of the 'war on terror.' What we don't talk about are those moments...moments when their grief, their regret at the things they did not do in their lives must have been so intense that it would seem to crush them.

I guess I've learned that the more you love the more you have to lose. And the more you have to lose the more you realize the delicate balance we are all living, how we could lose everything in a moment, that it could all come fluttering down like so many leaves of paper.

One of those Days

on 08 September 2008

Do you ever have one of those days? Those days where no matter what you do or try to do nothing (and I do mean NOTHING) goes the way it should?


It started at 4am. The Boy woke up at 3:45 to eat so I fed him and was in the process of changing his diaper when he pooped all over me, the changing table, himself...in short it was a pooptastrophe, it was pooperiffic, pooptastic, poop to the end of time. So I did what any rational person would do at 4am. I got the Husband out of bed to help me. He was awake anyway so it wasn't a huge sacrifice. (Krista, he said he had some weird dream in which you and Evan figured prominently.)

Anyway, after cleaning up the mess and getting back in to bed and then hearing about the Husband's weird dreams I didn't really get back to sleep.

The boy woke up again around 6:30 so I fed him again and then really couldn't go back to sleep (but he did!) so I just got up. I cleaned the apartment, ran a load of laundry, ate breakfast and puttered around.

The Husband woke up at 8 and did some reading for school...the Boy woke up around 9 and ate again. And then...oh, internets, I decided that today we would start the cloth diapering. Yes, internets...of all the crazy ideas we have come up with, this would be one of them. (Or you might all think it is, the Husband and I have our reasons for doing it and we would appreciate it if you all remembered the Burnstopia motto of Live and Let Live--remember, I've had a crappy day...no pun intended.) (And today was decided upon because we're nearly out of disposable diapers and the Boy is nearly 2 months old...it just seemed like a good time to make the transition.) Anyway, I got the Boy diapered up and dressed for the day and he was not remotely happy about it. But then, I consider this one of those life lessons that it's never to early to teach--we're not always going to be happy with the way that things are. So, we suck it up and take one for the team. My issue with the cloth diapering is that the Husband did a good deal of WATCHING me change diapers and not much actual CHANGING of the diapers. (People, I don't get it. Poop is poop--it's all gross whether it's in a disposable diaper or a cloth one...all gross. It's one of those nasty jobs that has to be done. And really, once you've cleaned up a blow-out or a pooptastrophe like this morning, you've essentially cleaned up a cloth diaper--only with more spray-age.)

Which brings me up to 10am. The boy goes down for a morning nap. On a good day this lasts for 2 hours. Today? 20 minutes. And he would not could not Sam I Am go back to sleep. So he stayed awake to fuss at me and remind me that I am an amateur and he is the Mini-Dictator of Burnstopia, thankyouverymuch.

More feeding him through the day...More Husband reading for school (which I don't mind, it's important to me that he works hard and succeeds...but remember, I've been AWAKE since 4am for all intents and purposes and I've been UP since 6:45. I am tired.

So, the lovely hour of 1pm comes. The Boy is fed and clean and goes down for his afternoon nap. Again, on a good day this can last for 3 hours! Or more! I can get stuff DONE! But today? 45 minutes. And he would not could not Sam I Am go back to sleep. I finally just set him down in his pack and play at 2:30 and went to eat some lunch.

The Husband abandoned ship at 3:30 for a meeting on campus and the Boy fell asleep at 4pm. I thought, "Hallelujah! He'll really sleep now!" HAHAHAHAHA! Yeah. 45 minutes later... WAAAAAAAAAAH. Aaaaaaand we're back up. He fussed and fussed and fussed while I cooked and ate some dinner. And then the fussing became sincere and earnest screaming. I fed, changed, and clothed him for bed. And he fell asleep! Waahoo! for 20 minutes.

And then the Wife burst into FLAMES.

The Husband is rocking him in the rocking chair while I vent my spleen to you fine people. I am tired. I am going to wash my face and crawl into bed. And it's 8:35. I live the life of a rock and roll star, y'all.

edited to add: The Boy did not go to sleep until after 11pm. I happily could have fedexed him to Siberia.

What's Wrong with this...

on 06 September 2008

This is the pack and play where the Boy usually sleeps:

Cozy, isn't it? Nice clean sheets, it has a vibrating function and plays music and has a nightlight...and that changing table is brilliant.

This is the crib where the Boy will sleep at some point in the near future:

Mobile of African animals courtesy of my Mom--it plays Mendelssohn y'all. And that blue blanket? Yeah, that was stitched by hand by the Husband's lovely cousin...I want to sleep in there.

Aaaaaand this is where the Boy is actually sleeping:

That, my friends, is what we call a coup d'etat of Bed Sweet Bed. Please note his current sleeping position. It is such that it will prohibit either of his parents from comfortably napping while he naps.

And that would by why I laugh when people ask me if I'm "sleeping when he sleeps."


on 04 September 2008

So, I meant to post this one on Tuesday so I'm only a couple of days late. Dude. Cut me some slack, I have a cold. And we've been very busy around here what with the sneezing and the coughing and all while trying NOT to sneeze and cough on the baby who is slurping up all my antibodies...it's very difficult work, requiring intense concentration and catlike coordination.

Who am I kidding? I've been napping with the Boy. But that other stuff too about trying not to contaminate him with (what I'm sure are) nuclear GERMS.

Anyway, I've been thinking about this week. If I had opted to return to my former workplace, Tuesday would have been my first day back at work. And it would have been the Boy's first day in childcare of some kind.

And as I sat around Tuesday trying NOT to sneeze and cough on the Boy with my nuclear germs, I thought about this fact and I sank under this wave of relief and gratitude. Gratitude that I can stay home with him, that I don't have to make that first horrible good-bye so soon, that I don't have to leave him in the care of strangers who maybe wouldn't try to shield him from THEIR nuclear germs. And as I thought about how grateful I am to be home with him, to have him all to myself for this short time, I thought about the other things that I'm grateful for and I thought that maybe I should write it all down as a little digital time capsule of this moment when the Boy was young and I was a very very beginner mom.

Things I'm Grateful for:
  • to be able to stay home with the boy. Both for the freedom to choose to do what is best for my family, and for the financial ability to do so.
  • to have such a wonderful husband who is funny and smart and respectful of me. He works very hard for us and I tease him mercilessly about being a caveman or a 1950s husband, but it's not true. He would love me and support me whatever my choice.
  • that we believe the same things and that we don't fight.
  • for our little home. It's small and plain and not fancy in the least but it's ours and it's home and I'm always so grateful and relieved when we walk through the door.
  • for other people's genius. I studied literature for years and I spend a good part of every day reading. Reading for myself and reading to the Boy. I studied literature because I do not have the necessary genius to write it and I'm always grateful for the genius of others, for their courage and tenacity in writing beautiful words for me to read.
  • fruits and vegetables in their seasons. I love fresh fruits and veg.
  • family. They were there with me at the beginning and they will be there with me at the end. We pick and fight and tease and sometimes we hurt one another, but I know that at the end of the day, they will be the ones still standing, waiting on me.
  • friends. Who are the family of our choice.
  • the peace that comes from loving and from being loved.
  • the small, quiet face that goes with the tiny sleeping body who is napping in his crib right now.
That's not everything, but I don't have time to write everything...there are cheeks that need to be smooched even in their sleep. And also I have to read this book for book club...I've sort of gotten sidetracked with family and the boy and being sick and I'd really like to at least read half of the book so that I can sort of talk somewhat intelligently about it.

Holy Canoli!

on 02 September 2008

So, you know how I said that there were no pictures of the blessing in the previous post?

Yeah! Well, look at THIS!!

And this other one!

And I love love LOVE this one too!

Even though, most of the weekend the Boy looked like this:

Thank you MUCHO, Kristi!!! The pictures are awesome and thank you for loving my boy and thinking he is cute even when he looks like he does in the above picture! Thank you for coming all the way up here and for taking so many awesome pictures! You're the best!

And the rest of you! Check out Kristi's new blog!


on 01 September 2008

So this weekend was the Boy's blessing. In our church we don't christen babies, we give them a name and a blessing. And...you guessed it! We have no pictures.

That's not entirely true, there are pictures, those elusive ethereal things, but they're on my SIL's camera and NOT in the state of North Carolina. So we'll see. Maybe I'll post some when we get some...but maybe not. But my sister did this huge party for the Boy and it was spectacular! There was barbecue and salads and fruit and veg and cake and cookies (homemade by my mom, natch!) and tons of friends and family (naturally) and everyone wanting to hold the boy and the Boy really wanting to go and lay down! I was telling my sister (laughingly) that it's no wonder babies cry a lot at the beginning, they go from this warm, dark, muffled environment to being out in the air and the light and surrounded by big noisy people who all want to hold him and our faces must seem ginormous to them and we get up close and personal and probably freak them out.

In the meantime, we have visited and visited and visited until the Boy has howled (and I mean HOWLED) with exhaustion and over-stimulation. Example! Last night he slept from 9pm until 5 am STRAIGHT. I fed him and put him back down and he slept again until 8am. Yeah. He was pooped. We said good-bye to the Husband's family this morning, went grocery shopping, came home, fed the Boy and put him down for a nap at 2pm and he slept for 3 hours. Poor kid. We've worn him out and he's on 7 weeks old. But! Now that he's slept some, he's so happy! It's actually quite fun having a happy baby...he's rather entertaining.

And as much as I've enjoyed having family up here, I'm ready to go back to normal life...well, as normal as it can be with a baby in tow. I've planned NOTHING for this week so that he and I can go back to our routine and have some down time.

Sitting here, things are awfully quiet, I think I need to go check out what's going on...now it's your turn, what did you do this weekend?