Thursday, January 29, 2009

2009 so far

So far this year is...underwhelming (with the exception of the new president!). We got a new mattress, which is just plain awesome - I wake up in the mornings without a backache, and I am totally sleeping better at night. I can't believe that we've been putting this off for two years as a "luxury expense." It's been worth it.

Aside from that, we're just going through what the whole country is going through. This economy blows - we both still have jobs, but have the feeling that they could disappear at any minute. No yearly bonuses, no overtime, and a wage freeze. I try not to think about it too hard - it's so hard to find a legitimate job where I can work from home. Even if I wanted to put Charlotte in day care (which I don't) I can't imagine where the extra money would come from - and the extra car. Right now we have one functional car, which isn't a big deal since I work from home and Matt works literally three miles away. If there is a problem in the middle of the day, Matt can be home with the car - and car seat - in five minutes. If our company laid us both off, we'd have to find new jobs, which would probably be for two different companies, in two different locations, with two different schedules, all of which would require us to negotiate that balancing act that most families with two working parents are required to negotiate. And I would hate it. So for now, we're keeping our fingers crossed and our resumes up-to-date.

In family news, my stepsister Julie (who is my favorite stepsister, I'm not gonna lie) is scheduled for a C-section on February 9th with a baby girl. I'm very excited for her - this baby was a total surprise, but she's embraced pregnancy and upcoming motherhood with a maturity and panache that I don't think a lot of people expected. I'm so proud of her I could bust - and I'm knitting like a crazy woman in hopes that the baby blanked arrives before my niece does.

My sister, Nicole, is also pregnant. This is even bigger news - Nicole is my best friend, and my closest family member, and I'm so thrilled for her. The timing, in my honest opinion, is not great - but she wanted to do it this way, and Josh went along with her, so we're all riding it out with them. She's due July 28th, and I just cannot wait. Nicole and Josh don't want to find out the gender of the baby, and I think that's awesome. I really wanted Charlotte's gender to be a surprise, but Matt couldn't take it, so we found out. I'm going back and forth on what I think Nicole's baby is going to be. Charlotte has voted girl, boy, cat, so really, it's anybody's guess.

As for my baby girl, her new hot trick is singing. Charlotte has always loved music, but since she has been picking up on this talking thing, the ability to speak the words of her favorite songs has been a fun new hobby. She's been requesting "row, row" for some time now, but now she sings along with Old MacDonald, too. She can make her requests known, too - she's very into "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond right now. It's one of her current top three. In fact, here are Charlotte's top three favorite songs, as of today.

3. "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel
I love this song, so I've been playing it a lot. To Charlotte, the best parts are the lines where she can sing along - she sings "boom" to the line my heart going boom-boom-boom. Her favorite part is the part on each chorus when Peter Gabriel sings "I've come to take you home" or "I'm going home" - she loves to sing "home" in this sweet, wistful tone that I know she got from me.

2. "The Hoppity Song"

Her other favorite song right now is the cover of The Hoppity song, originally sung by John Ondrasik...I think that Uncle Rock does the cover that Charlotte loves, but I'm not sure. I couldn't find what I was looking for on YouTube, but this video is hilarious, and it's the right song, so even if it isn't the performer, it's appropriate. There's a part of the version Charlotte likes where he sings, "Everybody sing hi(gh)" and the chorus sings back a high-pitched "hi!" and then he said "Everybody sing low" and the chorus sings back a low-pitched "low!" Charlotte loves to say "high!" and "low!" and have us sing back. We're an easy bunch to amuse around here.

1. "Sweet Caroline" - Neil Diamond
For those of you who aren't from Massachusetts, let me explain that "Sweet Caroline" is played at Fenway Park every game between the 7th and 8th innings. During the 7th inning stretch they play "God Bless America" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" (as do many parks, I believe) but a few years ago the music director started playing "Sweet Caroline" because they really liked it. A sort of call and response has grown during the chorus - after the line "Sweet Caroline" the whole park goes, "bum-bum-bum", and then after "Good times never seemed so good" the park says, "so good! so good! so good!" Charlotte has learned these, and requests the song by singing, "Ba, ba, ba." To add to this, my mother-in-law got me a Wally the Green Monster doll that plays the chorus to "Sweet Caroline." (That sentence is such a Boston Red Sox fan in-joke that I can barely unravel it - sorry if you don't care.) Charlotte loves Wally, of course, and will request him by singing "ba, ba, ba" and pointing. She can be appeased by either squeezing Wally's hand so he plays, or by playing "Sweet Caroline" on the stereo. We do a lot of both.

Here is a video - it's kind of dark, but Charlotte is holding Wally, and sings the response *almost* in the right place.

Matt says that today Charlotte made her first two-word sentence that didn't consist of the word "hi" or "bye" as the first half. Apparently when he microwaved his soup for lunch she said, "Ha noo-noos," which means "hot noodles," if you don't speak toddler.

I think that's just about all the news that's fit to print - and I have some baby stuff to knit, so that's it for now.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Apparently, quality print media is dead. Bummer.

Just found out that Disney Corporation is gonna shut down Wondertime magazine. I'm utterly bummed - this is the only "parenting" magazine I get, and for good reason. Most of them suck, or have a heavy mommy-bias. Matt actually really enjoys Wondertime, too. I also got Cookie, but my subscription is almost done, thank god. That I subscribed to for 10 dollars to get the cute diaper bag. It sucks. Everything is about buying and shopping and expensive world vacations. I did enjoy the whole Amanda Peet vaccination who-hah, but other than that, I recycle Cookie as soon as I've read it. Wondertime gets saved on a shelf and referred to time after time. That's where we found the World's Best Mac N Cheese recipe.


AND they were local, based out of Northampton, MA. What a bummer, dude.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Obama Day!

Charlotte and I watched CNN's coverage of the inauguration on mute while listening to NPR. Her favorite part was Aretha Franklin singing - Charlotte was utterly transfixed. My favorite part was Obama's speech, and the closing prayer actually made me cry.

Will post more later, re: babies, baby showers, employment, and my new mattress

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

We spent a quiet New Year's Eve with my sister Nicole and her husband Josh, as well as my best friend Kelly and her husband Chris. It was low-key, Charlotte got a few more Christmas presents that she really liked, and went to bed at 8 like usual. Chris and Kelly headed out at 10:15 because Kelly had to work today, and Nicole and Josh left about an hour later, to get home to their puppy before midnight. Matt and I played some Mario Kart on the Wii until 11:52, watched the ball drop, and went back to Mario Kart before going to bed way too late. Of course I didn't take any pictures. But here's a good one of Charlotte from last Sunday, while everyone else was at church and we were enjoying a leisurely breakfast at Grammy's.

Christmas was awesome, and I may post more later. Charlotte had a doctor's appointment and got a jillion vaccinations. Matt and I have been half-jokingly checking her every day for signs of autism and chicken pox. God, it's exhausting to be a nervous parent.

Have a happy and healthy new year, to anyone who might actually read this. :)