Happy 7-Month Birthday, Alex!

Today marks Alex’s 7-month birthday! I cannot believe that he has been in my life for 7 months. On the one hand, it feels like he just got here yesterday. The fact that I’ve been a mom for 7 months is weird. On the other hand, it feels like he has been around forever. I can’t even remember my life without him.

Here he is at the hospital, a chunky big baby (he will not get this chunky again! He dropped to below 9 pounds, from 9.12 at birth, during his hospital stay, was 9 pounds the day he left the hospital, and even though he gained weight well throughout the next months (12.1 at 2 months, 15.5 at 4 months and 17.12 at 6 months) he just grew too tall (21 at birth, 24 at 2 months, 27 at 4 months and 28 at 6 months) and became a relatively thin baby boy):


Here he is smiling, at 3 weeks old:


Here he is smiling again, at 6 months old, looking like a real person (sometimes I am shocked at how person-like he is. He went from being this weird fish thing in my belly, to a newborn-human (which, we all know, is not a real human!), to this…little person):


The day he was born I thought he was the most beautiful baby in the world. Looking at him today, I still do. What can I say? I’m his mom, and I have never met a mom who didn’t think that their baby was the most beautiful baby in the world. It’s true, every baby is the most beautiful baby in the world. (Mine in particular! ;))

He’s taking a nap right now, after a really rough night. He has been typically not waking up more than once during the night (nurse, rock, put back to down in under 25 minutes), but last night he woke up not once, not twice, not three times, but four times. I had to wake Zach up at one point because I was having such a hard time getting him back down (I was up with him for about an hour and half, going through our usual process but not succeeding).

Needless to say, I am very proud of my little man. He smiles, laughs, baby-talks, stands for long periods of time holding on to something, sits, and crawls. And some part of me just *knows* that he will be walking soon. That part of me is probably the part that notices that most of the time when he is “crawling” he really is walking with his hands on the floor!

Tomato Soup FTW!

I made some tomato soup (from scratch) the other day that is just incredible. I very loosely followed this tomato soup recipe, but mostly I just followed the length of time you are supposed to let the tomatoes simmer.

I didn’t have a strainer, so it wasn’t quite as smooth as, say, the Cambell’s variety. The tomatoes I used also weren’t particularly great, so the flavor was not quite as “tomato-ee” as I would have liked.

All the same, it was good! I will definitely make it again, as it ended up being 5 (big!) bowls of soup, and wasn’t nearly as much work as I thought it was going to be.

Here is the finished project:


And our delicious meal of grilled cheese with ham, mayonnaise and mustard, and, of course, the soup!:


The bread I used to make the grilled cheese, by the way, was a recipe fromEmily and was absolutely delicious! She posted the recipe here, and I used half whole wheat and half bread flour, but no spices. It ended up being a really nice, versatile, bread!

Alex is Crawling!

Alex has been attempting to crawl for almost 2 months now. In early February, after waking up from a nap, I found him in the crawling position: on all fours, rocking back and forth. For about 2 weeks that is all he would do. Any time I would put him on the floor he would go into the crawling position and then plop down on his belly and “swim.”

Well, eventually he started to figure out that he could move. He would pull his feet in close to his body and then plop down, moving himself forward a few inches at a time. After getting bored with that, he realized that he could move his hands and his feet, and that he would move a little farther that way. He would do that two or three times before plopping on his belly.

Today, finally, he really figured it out! He now crawls! Very slowly, but crawling no doubt! Check it out:

I’m so proud of my little man! Now I’ll just have to keep an even closer eye on him at all times.

Alex Update

Alex has thoroughly enjoyed his first visit with his great grandparents in Florida. They, too, have enjoyed this visit thoroughly!

Yesterday, my grandmother and I took him to Echo, where she volunteers 20 hours a week, to visit all of the cute little old ladies. He was adored! Everyone commented on how “big” he is–for a six month old, of course. After that, we went to Target and got him lots of adorable stuff: polo shirts, khaki pants, sweat pants, toys, sippy cups, sunglasses, sun hat, baby tylenol (for his poor teething self!) and bathing suit!

Today, Alex went “swimming” for the first time. I’ll post pictures when I get back from vacation and can upload them to my computer. He was extremely cute in his little blue speedo, new red sunglasses, and navy blue sun hat!

Tomorrow, we leave. Our flight is out of Tampa at 12:15, so hopefully I will be walking into my apartment no later than 6. We have to leave here very early to ensure that we get to the airport in time, so I will be awake at 6:45, unless, of course, Alex wakes me up before then.

On a side note, I have planned my CVS trip of the week and hope to get some good deals, and have started to plan a Giant Eagle trip, but will have to finish that list when I decide what dinners we’ll be having this week.

Sunny Florida

I’m in North Fort Myers, Florida, basking in the 85 degree sun on my MacBook. Brilliant.

My mother, Alex, and I flew Southwest into Tampa yesterday. After the lovely news about Southwest, it wasn’t exactly a flight I was looking forward to; however, it went extremely well. Alex slept for all but take off, twenty minutes while I was getting him to sleep after we reached altitude, and landing. He was excellent! I love being able to take a baby on the plane and have everyone compliment him as we land.

What most people seem to not understand, I’ve come to realize, is why babies cry on planes. Sure, babies do cry for reasons other than this, but as far as I know this explains the inconsolable baby on a plane:

Their poor ears hurt as the pressure changes! I know that my ears will “pop” as we take off and land, but I know how to respond to that: swallowing. Babies do not know that they need to do that, so you just have to make them do it!

Of course, I’m amazingly lucky to have such a well behaved baby, but feeding him on take off and landing seems to erase any pain that could amount from the change in cabin pressure.

For Zach

Zach is spending the next five days in Bradenton, FL, where the Pittsburgh Pirates have Spring Training. Because he is already missing us as much as we miss him, he asked me to send him a picture. So, here are two pictures from today:

Alex and I saying, “Hi, Daddy!”:


Alex being a good sitter:


And for good measure, here is a really cute picture of Zach and Alex laughing and playing together, taken a few days ago:


Community College Writers

I’ll make this quick, as it is something that I am ashamed to admit bothered me as much as it did.

I got to my Introductory Psychology class a bit early yesterday and unfortunately had left my current reading materials (Newsweek or American Gods) at home. I figured there must be a school newspaper laying around the building somewhere, so I went on a short walk down the hall to find a newspaper rack with the community college student-run newspaper stacked up. It was a February issue, so I wasn’t expecting to be able to read any new news, but thought it would be enough to entertain me for 20 minutes.

Boy, was I wrong! On the first page I counted 12, 12!, grammatical errors and typos. These were not complicated words being used, or complex sentence structure. And even if they had been complex, it is a published newspaper–where was the editor?

It made me very sad to read about the “…trails, tribulations and acheivements” of black Americans on the cover of the paper.

I know that this all has to do with education, and I know that quality education is linked with higher socioeconomic status, so this is why I was frustrated with myself for being so appalled at the paper. Who am I to judge a community college newspaper when I have been given opportunities that most of the people who are attending community college (not all, by any means!) could never have even dreamed of. I was lucky enough to be born into a highly educated family. While we are not rich (in fact, my mother has less money coming in each month than if she worked a minimum wage job full time), I was able to go to a private high school and then attend an elite liberal arts college. Because of these things, I can only suppose, I have also gained a bit of arrogance when it comes to certain things, including sloppy writing.

I put the paper down without having finished a single article. Every article I turned to I was unable to finish.

When I got home last night, I was thrilled to be able to pick up American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Reading such a phenomenally written novel made my night.

A quick end to a starter

Yesterday, I decided that I am going to make bread. Why not? If not for every day use, at least once in a while. I have made bread in the past, and it is always unbelievably good. There is just something special about home made bread that you can’t find in the store-bought variety.

So, I went to the store today, carrying Alex in one arm, not wanting to bother putting him in a sling to just run inside, and bought some yeast and bread flour. Carrying an almost-18 pound baby in one arm, bending all the way to the bottom shelf to pick up two bags of bread flour, and then reaching up to the top shelf to grab the yeast was, well, not fun. My arms hurt.

Anyway, I came home and mixed 2 cups of flour with 2 cups of warm water and added the yeast. I followed some advice I had found online about the initial fermentation of a sourdough starter and placed the flour-water-yeast mixture into the oven with the pilot light on. It started bubbling and growing within 30 minutes. I could tell that this would be a good starter, and I was excited about making some bread in the near future!

At the beginning of my Religions of the World class this evening I got a text message from Zach:

“I think I may have ruined your starter :-(”

I knew right away what that meant:


Needless to say, I’ll have to make another starter (and purchase a new plastic mixing bowl)!

Learning how to move

Alex can’t crawl, yet. He tries really hard, though. The day he becomes mobile will probably be the happiest day of his life so far. Instead of crawling, he pulls his knees in to his chest then plops down on his belly. This moves him forward a few inches every time he does it, so he eventually gets to where he wants to be.

Here he is: