Monday, August 31, 2009

Mona Lisa Smile

So what have I been doing lately? Trying to catch Maddie's smile on film (or digital media as the case may be). Maddie is smiling all the time now -- except when she sees a camera. She is surprisingly sly with that. So I've been taking lots of pictures attempting to catch one of Maddie's two smiles: simperingly sweet and hugely joyous. Here's the product of my labors:

"Do what now?"

"I'm nervous. What if I don't do it right?"

"I'm a little scared!"

"And a little bored by you."

"I concede. But I will only give a half effort."

And of course my favorites:

"I am so over this."

"I'm done posing for your pictures, and I am not happy with you."

Friday, August 28, 2009

This is the definition of Murphy's Law

So Rob and I have a system. Maddie usually sleeps pretty well -- she'll get up once during the night sometime in the 2-4 am time range, have a bottle and then go back to sleep. But once she wakes up, sometime between 5 and 7 am, she is fitful. Happy, but fitful. She drifts in and out of sleep, wakes herself up by kicking her feet a lot, but clearly still wants to sleep. So what we do is, I get up during the night -- as I seem to do better with this and am able to fall back asleep. But anytime after 5 am is Rob's time, thus allowing me a little bit of uninterrupted sleep before he has to go to work. It works really well until we have a disruption and then everything that can go wrong will go wrong.

Like when Rob has to be at work by 5:30 am. Yeah, that's a sign for disaster, and I knew it. I totally knew it would happen. In fact last night when Maddie started getting ready for bed, as I gave her her bottle and she fell asleep after about half of it, I said, and I quote, "This does not bode well for me."

Even though Maddie has slept through the night (at least 10:00 pm - 5:00 pm) almost every night this week, and has been pretty much sleeping from 10 pm - 4 am and then sleeping more until 7 am for so long I'm having trouble remembering a different schedule -- last night would be THE NIGHT.

Here's a definition of Murphy's law: Maddie went to sleep at 9:30 am. She slept until 2:30 am. She had her bottle and went back to sleep at 3:30 am. She woke up at 4:00 am and every 15 minutes thereafter. Somewhere in there she had the hiccups. Somewhere in there she'd kicked off her blanket and kicked herself awake. I would go in and calm her, she'd fall asleep totally dead to the world, I'd put her down climb into bed and 15 minutes later, she'd be awake and crying. That's right, I got up 6 times between 4 and 5:30 am, when I finally decided to get up. At 5:30, I decided to give her another bottle. As I carried her to the kitchen, I stepped in cat puke. Nice treat. She fell asleep during her bottle. I went to bed, only to be woken by Grey Cat who had snuck into the bedroom while I was feeding Maddie and was meowing at the door to get out. She slept for an hour after that bottle. So at 6:30 am, we were up.

Luckily, Maddie is really a morning person. She was smiling and laughing so much and talking up a storm, so much so that it made me laugh and smile despite my lack of sleep. With all her energy, I decided to get out the activity mat and let her wear herself out. Which she promptly did. I was able to curl up on the floor next to her and the two of us fell asleep -- phew, bliss. Until 5 minutes later when the maintenance man arrived to fix our toilet. So I'm done for. Maddie has fallen back to sleep. I've given up. I figure at this point if I try to sleep, we'll get woken up again and at least Maddie should get some sleep. I have coffee, whereas she does not.

If I add up my sleep total for the night, I think it falls somewhere in the realm of 4 hours. But at least Rob will be home after lunch and a nap will be possible. The bad news is Rob potentially has to work both Saturday and Sunday at the same time -- so the chances aren't looking good. I may be calling Grandma tomorrow and asking her to come over for a spell.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Healthier Option

Thanks to Hillary for finding this article which compares international health care systems, while at the same time reminding me that we are often times to egomaniacal to effect change. Why do we always talk about what is wrong, rather than dare to dream of what is right?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I would give you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils...

For some reason I am particularly susceptible to the back to school marketing this year. Maybe I'm trying to find an excuse to look forward to summer ending and the thought of school supplies is just too appealing. This morning I heard a teaser for "Back-to-School fashions" on the Today show, and I thought, "Oooh, that'll be interesting."

But the weird thing is, my obsession with back-to-school trends is not idle curiosity but dedicated thought to Maddie going to school. And not just any school, but college! Seriously! I started thinking the other day about how someday I'm going to have to pack her up for college and all the things she'll need for her dorm. I could practically envision the Linens n'Things list -- except Linens n'Things doesn't exist any more. Then today I was trying to remember if I bought notebooks and binders and such prior to going to college, or if I just bought them there. Maybe if I think of these things constantly for the next 18 years I'll still be "with it" enough to advise my daughter once she actually finishes with kindergarten, elementary school, middle school and high school. It's best to be prepared.

Oh, and speaking of obsessive. I picked up my 483 pictures today from Walgreens. Not a bad one in the bunch.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Kissing Cousins

On Saturday, Maddie saw her cousin Annie. The two have met before but this was the first time that the two were old enough to recognize another baby in the room. Certainly enough that Maddie cried when I held Annie!

You can clearly see Maddie's thoughts, "Who is this baby and why is she laying on me??"

Annie was very kind to share her toys with Maddie.

And in this picture you can see the path that Maddie is on... Here she is stealthily stealing Annie's toys while simultaneously flashing for the camera. "Mardi Gras!"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Happy Birthday, Rob!

For Rob's birthday, I thought I would do a nice little photo collection of my favorite Rob pictures -- seeing as how he doesn't read blogs, only looks at pictures. So here we go...

And that's why I love him.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More on Health Care -- but Short

My friend just posted a really well-written blog on health care reform, which I think clearly explains why something needs to happen now and all too-poignantly describes the popular misconceptions of the opposition. It's sad to imagine so many people living in a bubble where they have no concept of how other people live or cannot empathize with anyone less fortunate than themselves.

As a side note: Dear Blogger -- why do you selectively let me know when blogs I subscribe to are posted?? Why do I have to hear from someone else that my friend has blogged? That's strike 2 -- one more time and I'm Google-Readering it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Them's is Fighting Words...

I just read an Op-Ed piece from the Wall Street Journal in which the author commenting on Palin's victorious style of debate, states, "Except that Palin didn't 'set off' this discussion; President Obama did by trying to ram through legislation postalizing the medical system with no time for debate or reflection." The article itself was rather interesting to me because Palin's style of debate is something that I think about often -- and truthfully worry about. I distinctly remember thinking during the pre-Bush years thinking Rove's campaigning techniques were preposterous and would easily be beat, the same sentiment most of us seem to have about Palin. But sadly, Bush and now Palin stir something in America's seedy underbelly of undereducated, easily incited mob-mentality voters and if we don't figure out a way to properly combat it, I'm afraid we're looking at a sad 2012.

Anyway it is those very mob-mentality voters who were on my mind when I read Mr. Taranto's article and subsequentially stumbled over his comment that Obama was ramming through the health care reform legislation with "no time for debate." I'm sorry, what? I'm confused as to what is going on right now in the US. I'm confused about things like this and this and this. Oh, and this and this and this. And yes that only took me two minutes to find those links of all the debating currently being done. I'm a new Mom I don't have more time to spend on that. So there.

My point is this -- there very clearly is time for debate and debate is being had. I could even point out from my own very partisan view, that if you think for one second such time for debate would have ever been offered under the Bush administration you are clearly delusional, Mr. Taranto. If you think Bush would ever have encouraged, let alone gone to a unscripted town hall meeting, let alone a press conference, you are out of your mind, Mr. Taranto -- but I don't need to comment on that because of course the comparison between administrations is obvious.

What I would like to point out however is that the mainstream media is that the debate is a little sad -- and that is not Obama's fault, or the opposition's fault though maybe Palin's. After all, people are very clearly following her example with sensationalized arguments against the health care reform bill. Such as my favorite smack-down of the moment:

The news is rife with such footage of angry town hall attendees, yelling out their questions to flustered congressmen, few of which have been able to react as admirably as Barney Frank. I would argue that part of the reason why is the sad, softening of our rhetorical standards as I have previously stated. But I have also occasionally come across coverage of people attending these meetings, having done their homework -- sometimes standing there with printed copies of the 1000+page bill all nicely highlighted and post-it noted -- with intelligent questions. I haven't attended a town hall meeting yet as I already know where I stand on the issue, but I like to believe that there is some actual logical debate going on behind all the crazy. It's interesting to me that these angry attendees are coloring the debate and swaying public opinion more than intellectual dissenters. Sad but interesting. I wonder if the opposition realizes that they have been colored in such a negative light by their own side.

At any rate, I think it is clear that debate has been had. And debate will continue. And that people are crazy! That's all that I'm going to say for now, because that takes the heat off of my anger at the moment, and also because again I have a new baby. I don't even have time to proofread this blog, so there.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Our "Weekend"

For many years, Rob has had weird schedules that rarely allow him a weekend off. Now that Rob is in charge of doing the scheduling, he's able to take off a weekend day -- just one sadly. But that's because he has to work 6 days a week. So that one day off feels like a whole weekend to us, and hey, we'll take it.

Yesterday was our weekend day -- and I took advantage of it to run errands and do some cooking, which meant that Maddie and her Dad spent some quality time together. See?

No, just kidding... Here's what really happened:

Maddie went with Daddy to get the paper -- turned out we didn't have one. Oops. But she really enjoyed walking with Daddy.

Then Maddie got to play on her new activity mat, which is an "Ocean Adventure."

Please note, Maddie's favorite playmat toy is ... an Octopus. No coaching was required.

She smiled and laughed and had a good time.

And then she fell asleep.

Of course there was also lots of this:

But vertically.

I also was thinking a lot of my friend Melisa, who is waiting for her baby to arrive any day now. I am so excited for her and her husband -- mostly because I know how wonderful it's going to be for them, but also because how cool is it that we can be Moms together? And she's having a girl too, so another playmate for Maddie (don't worry, Mela, I won't let Maddie kick your daughter in the knee). And I was thinking about her wedding, where her future-brother-in-law went around taking video of people giving the newlyweds advice. I must say, I hated what I said on that video -- I don't even think it made sense. And what I would tell them now is this:

I once read this article that said the more you look at someone the more you love them. So every time I'm having one of those days, when everything is frustrating and annoying and flustering, I remind myself of that article, and take a moment to just look at Rob. I mean really look at him. And when I do, I remember what it felt like the first day I saw him, and every wonderful day since -- and I remember how very much I love him. Then all of the bad stuff of the day just goes away. So my advice to you is to remember to just look at your husband, really look at him. That way, you'll always be in love.

Then I was thinking that if I had given that advice, it still wouldn't be enough to explain what an amazing, wonderful, fascinating voyage you are about to embark upon. No advice necessary, just happiness for you both.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


My friend Sarah got me thinking today about blogging on the issue of the recent universal health care debate. Usually I try not to blog on political issues because I know most people read blogs as a rather light-hearted amusement and unless you're prepared to read a blog of seriousness rather than see a bunch of Maddie pictures, you'll be pretty disappointed. But there are some thoughts that I think need to be out there.

Whether or not you are for the current health care proposal, or a revised proposal, or no health care proposal at all -- I think you can agree with me on this point. The state of American politics is sad and pathetic. I don't mean that the bickering is out of hand, or that there is corruption, etc... If that sort of thing bothers you, I'm not sympathetic. Take a history class, that has been part of politics since the dawn of non-monarchical government. What I mean, is that it is sad that politicians have dumbed down their purpose and message to such an extent that theory, philosophy and ideology have become extinct in the arena of public policy. This country was founded on principle. We plotted and planned our government in pursuit of the loftiest of goals -- being the political ideal, the government that all future governments would look to as a beacon of light in an otherwise repugnant world of corruption.

Throughout the debate on health care, I've heard numerous soundbites of politicians defending or opposing health care reform. While it's clear that neither side is particularly eloquent, I've been struck mostly by those defending it -- because their sales pitch is a cop out. It seems that the only way to argue for health care reform is rebuttal. What about standing up and making an argument as to why universal health care is needed? Most certainly the weakest rhetoric is 'we cannot not afford health care.'

Immediately following my ponderings on these poor speakers, I caught sight of this:
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Chuck Grassley's Debt and Deficit Dragon
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorSpinal Tap Performance

Poor Chuck Grassley -- being laughed at for doing something which has become all too common place -- dumbing down and gimmicking up a congressional speech because it's the only way to make a congressman pay attention to the argument. Remember when D'Amato got laughed out of Congress for doing that? Good times. Now it's the norm. Sad but true.

Our form of government does not enter into rivalry with the institutions of others. Our government does not copy our neighbors', but is an example to them. It is true that we are called a democracy, for the administration is in the hands of the many and not of the few. But while there exists equal justice to all and alike in their private disputes, the claim of excellence is also recognized; and when a citizen is in any way distinguished, he is preferred to the public service, not as a matter of privilege, but as the reward of merit. Neither is poverty an obstacle, but a man may benefit his country whatever the obscurity of his condition. There is no exclusiveness in our public life, and in our private business we are not suspicious of one another, nor angry with our neighbor if he does what he likes; we do not put on sour looks at him which, though harmless, are not pleasant. While we are thus unconstrained in our private business, a spirit of reverence pervades our public acts; we are prevented from doing wrong by respect for the authorities and for the laws, having a particular regard to those which are ordained for the protection of the injured as well as those unwritten laws which bring upon the transgressor of them the reprobation of the general sentiment. -Pericles of Athens

The World According to Maddie

Friday, August 14, 2009

I should blog, right?

I finished everything I needed to do today and it's only 11:50 am. Shocking. Rob was home this morning, so he watched Maddie and I did a ton of little around the house errands. Including clean. Yeah, I'm that kind of stay at home Mom now. Maddie is still taking a morning nap, after almost sleeping through the night (so close!) and I'm sitting here thinking, "Hmm, I know there are things I should be doing to take advantage of this moment of quiet." But I just can't think of any. So I decided to blog to say two things:

Happy Birthday Sarah!


(If you're not familiar with this story, ask Rob because it really is more amusing when he tell it).
Also, please note that Maddie's mouth is hanging open because her pacifier has just fallen out of her mouth. Sadly this is probably the last time that she can wear this onesie that her Aunt Nanny gave her. It's getting a little tight what with that enormous beer belly she's sporting. It's also become sort of a low cut wonder due to the stretch required to close it up.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Splish Splash

Oh, I swore I wouldn't do this -- because someday, Maddie will be googling her name like we all do when we are bored (fess up, you've done it. Mine comes up with an assignment from a syllabus for a course title Magic and the Supernatural that I signed up for only to kiss up to a professor who had to sign off on my major and an exhibition at the Albright that I helped with) and she'll find pictures of herself, naked and getting ready for a bath. But I haven't blogged in a while and seriously she's just so darn cute when she's completely traumatized.

Plus she is quite modest in this picture. Please note how she is grasping onto her pacifier as though it is her life preserver and the waters will shortly suck her under.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Oh Happy Day

So today is my brother and sister-in-law's 10 year wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary, JK^!

This has always been my favorite picture of their wedding, because I just think it shows how in love they were. And you know what? They still are.

And just for kicks, here's a picture that was actually taken by a professional -- and yes, there's me 10 years ago (um, I'm the bridesmaid on the right, just in case you couldn't tell what with my svelte figure and wind draped curves;))

And you know what else??

Today is this pretty girl's 2-month birthday!

And this is my favorite picture of the moment...

Because who can ever get enough of baby feet? Plus it's one more way she is 100% Fuss Family. Need a hint? Check out the little toe.

Sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Many Moods of Mad

It's been pretty obvious to me that Madeleine Gayle is most certainly a Fussell. See the resemblance?


Fuzzy Jr.

Green Fuzzy (to the right of Fuzzy Jr. in case that isn't obvious).

Little Fussy or as we like to call her: Fuss-Fuss

And here's why:

The Adjustment Period

And barely 2 minutes later:

The Adjustment Period Part II

Sadly, the adjustment period phase seems to be nearing an end or at least becoming more mild as time goes by. It was surprisingly hard to catch one on video. And now Fuss-fuss has a different reaction when she wakes up: Smiles.

Of course today, Fuss-Fuss has a good reason for her fussing. She still has a fuss going on from all her shots yesterday. She has had a smidgen of a fever here and there but mostly she's just kind of fussy. She really just wants to be held and she keeps crying or whimpering in her sleep. Maybe she's having nightmares about a nurse and doctor coming at her with needles. Of course, while most babies have a diminished appetite for a day or so after shots, Fuss-Fuss has been ravenous. But then again, this is her grandpa. Fuzzy. So yeah. Oh, and I just checked Maddie's horoscope for today: This is a very emotional time for you. There's a need to be nurtured and cared for and to share this experience with another person. Women in particular are a focus for this; your home and family environment, as well. Food may seem more important to you than ever before as you try to compensate for the lack of some emotional bond. So yeah.

That's our family. And I'm the only normal one:
A Fuss with Fuss-Fuss

Postscript: Sadly as I was searching for pictures for this blog, I discovered we really don't have many pictures of Rob's Dad. This is in fact pretty much it, except this family photo:
That's Rob to the left next to his dad, Fuzzy's second wife Hilda, Aunt Kakie, Gretchen and Joey.