January 8, 2011

New Year’s Resolution: RUN!

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:30 pm by Lauren

Two words: half marathon.

2010 was supposed to be the year of the half marathon, but by gum, I’m doing it in 2011. As of right now, this is my race schedule for this year:

April 2: Monument Avenue 10K, Richmond (registered)

April 10: GW Parkway Classic, 5K or 10 Miler (undecided on distance)

October 1: Freedom’s Run Half Marathon, Harpers Ferry

October 9: Army Ten Miler

November 13: San Antonio Rock N Roll Half Marathon (perhaps)

And of course, plenty of 5Ks sprinkled in (because my second resolution is to beat my 5K personal record of 28:29) and possibly a spring half marathon as insurance that I actually get one in this year. Ah, the year of the half marathon! The year of the jogging stroller!

One of those mornings

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:43 am by Lauren

Poor Colin had to get a handful of vaccine’s at the pediatrician yesterday, so he woke and fussed a little more than usual last night. It amazes me that in the first two months a fever is an emergency requiring a visit to the emergency room, but at two months and one day, it’s safe to give vaccines that will cause a fever for the next 24 hours or so.

So poor Stinkerton has a fever, and we don’t like it. Fortunately, once we calm the original upset after he wakes, he’s back to smiling and cooing, if he does look a bit glassy-eyed.

After nursing him, I need to pump, so Allen and Stinks entertain each other with dueling cooing. I leave them smiling at each other on the bed while I go to bag up the milk.

I get no further than the bottom of the stairs because a large puddle surrounds one side of the doormat.

After I clean the cat pee (undoubtedly The Beast’s doing), I come back upstairs, rinse the towels, and throw them in the washer.

Back downstairs, I begin a mini battle with the bag of milk because I can’t get my grip on it just where I need to in order to squeeze out all the air bubbles. I move my operation to the counter on the island where the light is better. Trouble jumps up to see me, and as I sweep him off, he takes with him the tooth-shaped box that Allen’s mother brought over earlier this week.

The top of the plastic tooth pops open when it hits the floor, and now Allen’s wisdom teeth are scattered on the linoleum, so big they look like caricatures of teeth.

I bend down to gather them and throw them out, but stop myself. I need to finish storing the milk with clean hands. Trouble and The Beast sniff the teeth and then lazily bat them around the floor, only half-interested in this new toy.

Back upstairs (urine cleaned, milk stored, teeth disposed of), Allen and Colin have fallen asleep next to each other on the bed.

Good morning and good night.

January 7, 2011

This is for Elliott.

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 am by Lauren

I wouldn’t want anyone to get a skewed vision of parenthood from all the smiling, happy baby pictures. So when Colin started to fuss yesterday, I grabbed the camera and took this picture:

And then I took one step closer, Colin realized I was coming, and the next picture looked like this:

He’s a real pistol, that one. It takes entire seconds to comfort him.

January 6, 2011

They grow so fast…

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:45 pm by Lauren

Colin is a baby giant.

That kid you see is two years months old today.

Already, I look back at pictures of him from when he was first born, and you’d hardly recognize the kid. (I never really believed I could have produced such a lean baby in the first place, but apparently the master plan was to be born small and then inflate himself to an appropriate size for taking over the world!)

Once upon a time, when he was a wee little baby (two months ago, for about three minutes), his Tati Stephie had the great idea of making a plaster mold of his handprint. When several visits passed without accomplishing the task, Stephanie put the handprint kit under the tree on Christmas. So yesterday, Colin and I started our little project.

I rolled and kneaded the clay while Colin supervised. Then I pressed it into the tray, and Colin obliged by letting me press his foot and hand into the clay.

Actually, he was not obliging about pressing his hand into the clay at all. For several minutes, he refused to unclench his fist. I was just considering doing the other foot instead, when I finally got his hand open, but the impression we made in the clay wasn’t very deep. Colin didn’t care because he was hungry by that point.

After nursing, Colin fell asleep, so I came back to the kitchen, mixed the plaster, and poured it into the mold to sit overnight. In the morning, we had this masterpiece:

Then Colin painted it. Those fine moter skills are really coming together for him.

And voila! The “German shepherd puppy feet” (said his pediatrician) and hands are immortalized in plaster.

January 3, 2011

Itchy, itchy, scratchy, scratchy!

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:19 pm by Lauren

The sudden appearance yesterday of 13 bug bites (unknown origin) on my legs has really taken it out of me, mentally and emotionally. I’m terrified that a pair of pajama pants I bought last week could be the culprit – I was lazy and didn’t wash them before wearing. All of the bites are on unexposed skin that the pajama pants would cover (and range from the ankles to the waist). If this is bed bugs… I have already lost sleep over it, googling pictures of insect bites (they look like mosquito bites), treatment for bed bugs, signs of bed bug infestation and so on. I’ve washed all the linens and, of course, the pajamas. And all that on top of the itching is driving me mildly nuts most of the time and absolutely insane when I’m nursing and can’t address it right away!

Before I forget to mention, I wanted to write down that two days ago, I was laying in bed with Colin, and he scootched his body (or perhaps his head) closer to me. He accomplished this entirely by flailing, which is why I was so impressed. I moved my pillow away from him to give him more space, and he flailed and flailed until he was right next to my head again. It only looked like foolish baby antics; clearly it was calculated and meticulous physics-based flailing. Or so the child’s mother would have you believe…

January 1, 2011

Welcoming the new year

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:15 pm by Lauren

I had already opened this page to start a post on my so-called New Year’s resolutions, when a friend’s post on Facebook stopped me in my emotional tracks. I am reminded that I am fortunate to look forward to 2011 with a light heart. Several of my close friends experienced deep tragedies in 2010 – too many of them – and the coming of a new year, the significance we put on the passing of one minute to the next in the dark of night, does not erase their losses.

So I’ll save my resolutions for another day and instead, kiss my husband, cuddle my child, and leave a moment of silence for what saying goodbye to 2010 means to some of those I love.

December 31, 2010

Goodbye, 2010!

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:28 pm by Lauren

In retrospect, 2010 seemed to have been all about being pregnant, for me. Or about doing things while being pregnant – or about not doing them. (Fortunately, being pregnant is something I turned out to be really quite good at, and I count myself among the fortunate for that!)

January and February were a mess of snowstorms (and 7 days off from school!), and by the end of February, we’d just gotten serious about training for our half marathon(s). Then I found out I was pregnant on March 2, Allen turned 30 on March 10, and during the last week of March, we ran the awesome Monument Avenue 10K in Richmond with Rebecca and Chris and then lazed away the rest of the week in Harpers Ferry, feeling blissfully secluded from the world.

In April, the baby and I ran 10 miles but then had our half marathon dreams crushed the week of the race when I had some spotting. Instead, I spectated at 3 different mile markers along the Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon while Allen, Brandi and Steven, and Melissa and Naqi completed their first half marathon! I fully felt the meaning of bittersweet that day. Or perhaps, “opportunity cost.” Then in May, Rebecca finished her first half, the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon in Fredericksburg. I am so proud of all my awesome friends who completed their first half in 2010, and I can’t wait to join them in 2011.

Where were we? I have a love-hate relationship with June, aka Anger Management Month. School ended, and I said goodbye to a well-loved group of 5th graders. I packed up my July and August with math workshops – some kind of light came on this year, and I am still well into my honeymoon period with teaching math. I spent a week in August with my mom in Orlando and got a visit in with Jill as well. We began a major renovation of our master bathroom and closets in August, and Allen and John worked around the clock for a week, while I made runs for food and materials (and did a bit of tiling and grouting and painting myself). I squeezed yoga and a handful of indoor runs (waddles?) into the holes in my summer schedule, and suddenly, September was here, and school was back in. Those nine weeks of summer seemed to have gone by so quickly, and I only had nine weeks until my due date. Terrifying!

September and October were a total frenzy at work, punctuated by two lovely baby showers, one empowering 5K, the completion (after so many weekend and evening and early morning hours put in by Allen) of our bathroom renovation, and daily comments on how big I was. (Word to the wise: the word big need never be said to a pregnant female, not even when conversing with a rhino.) And just as quickly as the summer passed, the next nine weeks had ended, and I found myself on my couch, waiting for the baby to arrive.

And then, November 6, Colin arrived, and I don’t remember anything that’s happened since then. I’m sure I’d look back on it fondly if I did, but regardless: 2010, goodbye. You were a good year.

December 29, 2010

Back in the saddle?

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:36 pm by Lauren

I never know what to say after long absences from the blog. For that matter, Chez Schmanz was all but forgotten in 2010! And that’s probably okay, because nobody really wants to hear the minutae of my pregnancy – but you get to opt in to the minutae of life with a baby. Maybe.

Colin is 7 and a half weeks old, and I may just be able to steal time to post updates on my blog and save for myself some of the experiences of his early days. Goodness knows I am not actually moving any of this to long-term memory, with how tired I am. It will all be soon forgotten, and he’ll standing in the kitchen, towering over me, heading off to college or something.

He has just started “talking” more, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Two nights ago, I was in the bathroom and heard the baby crying. I came out to the bedroom to find him in bed with Allen, calm, and chatting up a storm. Allen was smiling at him, as if he hadn’t just been rudely awoken. Colin was laughing and cooing and making all kinds of noise. Now I can tell the pediatrician at his two month visit that yes, he laughs. At the one month appointment, I said I didn’t really know, but I guess he does make happy noises. At that point, it all sounded like crying or neutral to me. But now that boy is smiling and cooing. My favorite sound is still that relieved half-cry he lets out when we pick him up, and he decides that everything is going to be alright. But it’s still a little sad. So, “Lehhhhhh.”

February 12, 2010

Chapter 3: Johnny the Beast

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:31 am by Lauren

To find a new friend for Trouble, we went back to Homeward Trails. We rescued Pax and Trouble from Homeward Trails in August 2008, and they have been nothing short of amazing in their compassion and helpfulness since we let them know that we lost Pax. We suggested some cats that we thought would make a good companion for Trouble (we looked for cats who adapted well to other cats in their foster homes) and would be super affectionate with humans. (Let’s be honest – we like to pick up, pet, and generally harrass our cats with attention, and a cat who didn’t want to be petted or picked up or bothered at all by humans would not be a good match for us nor us for him.) Homeward Trails staff suggested other cats that they thought might fit our criteria, and we began the search.

During the first weekend of February, we met six cats! They all seemed like they would be great with other cats. They all seemed affectionate too – but not exactly in the way we were thinking. Several of them needed to warm up first, which is fine, but we want to be met at the door. Some of them were affectionate but too playful for us (and for Trouble, we thought). We met some truly lovely cats, including Lucy, Chip, Ivy, Emma, Jacob, and Sweet Judy Blue Eyes. I could say lots and lots of complimentary things about all of them.

Tonight, we also saw Tuxie Boy and Max, who made me wish we could take two (even though they are not bonded and can be adopted separately too). We were having so much fun watching Tuxie play that at first we didn’t notice Max cuddling sweetly in his foster’s arms, and then we thought we might be looking at the wrong kitten!

With each cat, we talked about the pros and cons, but we didn’t have that moment of certainty about bringing one of them home until we met Johnny tonight. We only had 10-15 minutes with Johnny, but we thought we’d at least know if we wanted to see more of him. He met us at the door and was immediately affectionate. A few times he started to wander back into the room, but he ran right back over when we called him back. Within moments, he was flopped down onto the floor, showing his belly for petting. Allen picked him up, and Johnny stayed happily on his lap. That is definitely our kind of affectionate cat! We were also happy to hear that he was an easy-going cat who didn’t mind that the foster’s cat took some time to get used to him.

We’ll be bringing Johnny home tomorrow (Friday) or Saturday. Next order of business: a new name. Since he looks so big in his picture (not so much in real life), we’ve been jokingly calling him Johnny the Beast. But he might actually be a Chuck Norris, or The Law. Bruiser, Crusher, Bulldozer, Muzzle? We’re getting a good laugh out of naming this mini-puma. But we won’t dare laugh in front of THE LAW!

Chapter 2: Trouble, Alone

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:46 am by Lauren

Since we lost Pax, Trouble has not been entirely himself. Fortunately for us, most of his behaviors have been positive. He has been a lot more vocal, and he never leaves our side. For a while, we really had to remind ourselves to spend some time in the kitchen so that he would eat. As I write this, he is curled up on the couch cushion behind me, with his little face close enough to mine that his whiskers and ear keep brushing my cheek.

The saddest thing to watch is the way Trouble acts when we need to leave. He notices me putting on my shoes (I do not exaggerate!) and runs to the door. He stands on his back legs with his front paws on the door and meows. When we open the door, he tries to squirm out the door with us. It’s not new that he’s trying to get outside, but his efforts have become much more frantic since Pax has been gone. We move him to the couch gently – we used to throw him out of the way, but that resulted in biting, which we accurately diagnosed as a reaction to our brusque behavior – and he runs as fast as he can back to the door.

Trouble now lets us pick him up and hold him. Before, he would wiggle loose shortly after being picked up, and he would only allow himself to be held with his front paws on your arm. Now, he climbs up towards your chest, with his paws on your shoulder, and he rubs his face against yours. At night, he’s sleeping up near our faces like he used to do when he first came to live with us.

We’ve also noticed that he’s a lot less active, probably since he has nobody to run around with. (Probably since he’s sitting around when we lumps are sitting around.) Occasionally, he will take on a burst of kitten-like energy, pouncing on a mouse or a ribbon, but it lasts for just a minute or two before he curls back up. He’s also showing boredom in other ways – he recently taught himself to open the drawers of my nightstand.

All this is to say: Trouble needs a friend.

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