Some really wonderful things about life with a 10 month old

Posted on December 3, 2014


Julian James is now a mere two months away from being a year old. We were lucky enough to get to meet up with Ted’s family for Thanksgiving, including our barely three month-old niece, and it made me realize that I have already forgotten what it was like to have a three month old. Funny what memory and sleep deprivation and babies that are constantly changing can do to our perception of things like that. So this is what Julian is like right now at 10 months and five days old.

He has four teeth and two coming in and dimply fat fingers and the softest head. I like to rub my cheek all over it while I am holding him. If you offer him a finger to chew on, he will bite down with such relish that his head shakes back and forth ferociously a little bit like a puppy. He bites hard, but I keep letting him do it because it’s so cute. He’s making all different kinds of noises including one that’s sometimes almost mama and sometimes almost dada but probably actually just gaga.

He got his first ear infection about a week ago and he can not get enough of those delicious pink antibiotics-sucking it down, then crying when it’s gone. He is definitely not a vegetarian. He growls loudly at people we pass in the store and we have entire conversations where we growl back and forth from each other. He gets it now when we are playing a game with him and takes great enjoyment in playing along. Putting his pacifier in my mouth and waggling it back and forth in front of him causes lots of squealing and arm flapping before he steals it back. Pretending to drop him and flipping him upside down is probably his favorite game.

After months of loving all people in the world equally, he is starting to prefer us. Sometimes when he is extra tired, seeing me makes him do this sweet excited hiccupy whimper. He will crawl up to us and tap our feet then look up to let us know he would like to be picked up. He’s not super snuggly, but sometimes he wraps his chubby little arms around my neck or rubs his face on my shoulder and it is the best. He is so sweet and so silly and still such a happy guy most of the time and we really love him so much.


Part deux: baby Julian’s first time in the big citay

Posted on October 31, 2014

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We had such a great time in the city, mostly due to our wonderful hosts, my cousin Janelle and her husband Ryan. We got there around noon on Saturday, found a miracle free parking spot right outside their apartment, and pretty soon we were walking down Amsterdam Ave in search of lunch. First stop: Levain for some warm-falling-apart-perfect cookies that we shared right outside the store because we couldn’t let their just-from-the-oven-ness wear off. Trust me, if you had smelled the inside of the shop you would understand. There were lots of tempting options as we continued down the avenue but my heart was sort of set on The Smith. Saturday lunch at the Smith means potato waffles topped with creamed spinach and poached eggs, vanilla bean french toast with maple butter and caramelized bananas, a pitcher of sparkling water (the way to my heart), and family pictures from the old fashioned photo booth in the basement. Needless to say, we did not regret a thing.  IMG_0213


From there we kept walking over to Central Park. It was beautiful there and clearly we weren’t the only ones who thought so. The leaves were just starting to change there, as opposed to further upstate where most everything was already changed. We even saw some people there getting married, in a very public ceremony in the tunnel by the Bethesda fountain. We left the park around the Museum of Natural History and Ryan and Janelle headed home to get some work done while we hopped on the subway down to Brooklyn. I hoped to get a ride on Jane’s Carousel in the park under the Brooklyn Bridge so we walked down to the waterfront. The carousel was closed, but still fun to see, and we also saw the coolest tiny house made of stained glass on the boardwalk. From there we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and headed back to the apartment (because guess who’s phone was dead yet again…that would be the only one of us who had Janelle’s phone number and address womp womp.)  IMG_0234

When we got back, Julian was pretty ready for bed and was being so adorable and giggly, like he sometimes gets when he’s extra tired. Such a mystery how sometimes tiredness=extreme crankiness and sometimes it makes him the most delightful snuggly agreeable bug. We all played with him for a while, then Janelle and Ryan totally won hosts of the universe by offering to stay home with a sleeping Julian while Ted and I headed out to get some dinner. I had been craving a big bowl of spaghetti for days, and really wanted to go to an Italian place nearby we had seen earlier on our walk until we looked at the menu and realized it was way too expensive for us. So we compromised and split a pizza at Patsy’s Pizza and enjoyed being on a little date, just the two of us. IMG_0236

Sunday was really nice and low key. We got a little taste of what it would be like to be a local which is one of my favorite things. Janelle was in the middle of doing a Whole 30 diet, and she still made us delicious blueberry bread for breakfast even though she couldn’t eat it herself (again-hosts of the century) and later that day we cooked a Whole 30 approved curry over spaghetti squash with steak on the side that definitely didn’t make any of us feel deprived. We bundled up to walk around in Riverside park, and when we got outside it was beautiful, so we piled all the coats on the stroller. We tossed around a football and pushed Julian on the swings, then they let us tag along that night to a get-together with some friends who lived in the coolest apartment in Harlem. We headed out the next morning and I left wanting to someday live there more than ever. It’ll probably never happen, but a girl can dream, right?

“Grave” Encounters

Posted on October 31, 2014


Around this time of year, I always like to take advantage of the fact that we live really close to a beautiful old cemetery. So close, in fact, that a slightly longer way to get to and from the med school goes right through its windy roads. The other day, Julian and I were coming home from dropping Ted off and I decided to cut through the cemetery. We were driving along, admiring the leaves and tipped-over-headstones when all of a sudden we got to a section of the road that had been blocked off for some reason with three orange cones. I pulled to a stop, trying to figure out what to do. The road was pretty narrow with not much room to turn around, but it was either that or go past the cones. As I was considering my options, I heard frantic honking behind me, then someone yelling “Go! I have to keep driving!!!” over and over. I glanced behind me and saw an older woman surrounded by tiny white barking dogs. My mind might be exaggerating but I’m pretty sure I saw at least nine dogs crawling around all over her and the front seat of the car. I hopped out of the car, deciding to move the cones out of the way but apparently was taking way too long. Very quickly she grew impatient with my efforts and I heard tires squeal as she slammed on the gas pedal. As I watched, she pulled around my car, drove over the grass very narrowly missing a headstone, then zoomed away leaving me with so many questions. Why would someone drive through the cemetery if they were in such a huge rush? Who was this old lady and where was she headed with her band of distraught poodles? Was she even real?

Fall Trip Part 1: Philly

Posted on October 26, 2014

During fourth year of med school, there is a big test that everyone has to take that is only held in a few cities. The closest city to us that has one is Philadelphia and since Julian and I aren’t known for passing up a party, we decided to tag along. Then Ted found out about this big pumpkin festival in Sleepy Hollow, NY and my cousin and her husband were nice enough to let us stay with them for a couple days in Manhattan so it became a whole trip.

We drove down to Philly Thursday afternoon and once we got there we drove straight on through to New Jersey because we booked the cheapest hotel we could find. We met up with some of Ted’s classmates who had also scheduled the test for the next day and went to Chipotle because when in (the suburbs of) Philly…


Ted got a ride to the testing center in the city with his classmates early the next morning while Julian squirmed around in the bed with me. We ate a really gross continental breakfast, then I waited until after Julian took a nap at the hotel (during which I hid out in the bathroom painting my toenails and reading) and then packed up and figured out where the train station was. The plan was to sightsee until Ted was done with his test, then meet him at the testing center when he finished.

First stop: Reading Terminal Market. I had been to Philadelphia once before and this was the main thing I wanted to do but didn’t get to do. It’s an indoor public market full of delicious food. Julian and I walked around every booth twice and finally settled on Thai. At this point I realized my phone battery was getting low. I grabbed some Amish doughnuts on the way out and headed for South Street which I heard on the internet was a cool neighborhood.

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The actual street was kind of a letdown for me. Like a normal city street with way more adult shops. I didn’t really have anywhere else planned after that, so Julian and I started wandering back to the subway station to figure out how to get to Ted. We had a great walk back and I was snapping pictures of Julian on charming cobblestone streets, Julian by a statue at Penn’s landing, Julian in front of a random cool building I ran into that just happened to be Independence Hall when I got a voicemail from Ted about two hours earlier than I expected and my phone suddenly went from 30% battery to 0%.

I was a little panicked that I was about to be lost in downtown Philadelphia with a cranky baby and no way to find Ted. In desperation I ducked into a bank and begged them to use a phone. Luckily they took pity on me and I was able to reach Ted who had finished his test early and told me where he would be waiting.  Julian and I headed back out and found a subway station close by, unfortunately a station without an elevator. We got to the station that I was pretty sure Ted was close to, hefted the stroller up another flight of stairs, then realized that the address I had in my mind did not exist. I was right in the middle of Drexel campus, which seemed promising, but I couldn’t find Ted anywhere. The kind students running the front desk at the Drexel recreation center let me use their phone and after a few unsuccessful tries, I reached Ted again. I had remembered the address wrong and he was about six blocks further down. This time he came to me, and we were finally reunited.

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Julian fell asleep sometime during that mess I described above but he really had been such an amazing sport all day long. Like better than we deserved. We decided not to push it too much and after a quick walk over to the art museum so Ted could see the Rocky steps we grabbed dinner (at the market again), Julian made friends with some nice people on the bus, and we caught the train back to our hotel.

Taking Stock

Posted on October 19, 2014

Making: Halloween costumes! It is always so hard for me to commit to a costume and even trickier now that we are trying to do a family costume. There will probably still be somewhat of a last minute scramble, but hopefully we like what we end up with.

Drinking: sparkling water

Reading: East of Eden for the second time, gosh it is so good; The Robber Hotzenplotz to Julian. Julian’s third chapter book! It’s a book my mom accidentally sent me that was translated from German and has an English/German glossary at the end of each chapter. One of the characters’ grandma has plum pie with whipped cream every sunday which makes me crave plum pie with whipped cream every time I read a chapter…

Wanting: This scarf, These jeans since my favorites of the past 5 years just got a crotch hole and I am so sad

Watching: Rear Window with a bunch of friends this weekend-probably seen that movie seven times but it just gets better

Listening: To a super addicting podcast called Serial, about a real murder case

Eating:  Spanish Tortilla I made this morning and can’t stop snacking on. Julian likes it too. Ted does too as long as it is completely smothered in salsa.

Smelling: The last of my volcano candle from Christmas last year. Gotta stretch those guys out as long as possible

Wishing: Julian would stay this age forever. (OK not really, but it’s just a really good age) He is learning to crawl and it is so exciting.

Enjoying: Ted’s relatively easy schedule this month on his community health elective. We get to see a lot more of him, even though he still works really hard during his “free time.” Interviews are starting to come in and the financial aspect of all the travel and hotels he will need is stressful, but it is so exciting every time he hears from a program.

Wondering: Where we will be living this time next year. It is really crazy to have no idea.

Loving: Fall beautiful fall! Chilly nights and glorious days. Even drizzly cozy days. Yesterday we went to an amazing pumpkin patch where you can get 5 pumpkins for $10 and picked out some strange specimens. The only way I can describe the one Ted picked out is that it reminds me of a passed out fat guy.

Hoping:   I can figure out how to volunteer again with the community nutrition education program I got trained for before Julian was born.

Needing: To exercise more this week

Feeling: Excited for Thanksgiving in Virginia with all the Rysers

Wearing: Wool Socks

Noticing: That I don’t realize how grateful I am for being healthy until I get sick. We all had a pretty bad cold cycle through us, then Ted and I had a stomach flu, then Ted got a cold again. Being sick as a mom is hard!  I never realized how much before. But now I’m trying extra hard to enjoy being healthy.

Bookmarking: Capsule wardrobes 101.

Song of the Summer

Posted on August 27, 2014

It seems like each summer there is a song or album that I play on repeat and then whenever I hear it after the summer it brings me right back to that point in time. Bon Iver’s self titled album was the soundtrack of the summer right after we got married, Of Monsters and Men was for the summer/fall we moved to Rochester and this song will always remind me of the first summer we had with our baby. (also the video is pretty cool)



Right Now

Posted on July 24, 2014


Right now banana bread is baking in the oven, smelling impossibly delicious. I like the taste of banana bread, but nothing has ever tasted as good as baking banana bread smells. It’s just one of those things, like movie theater popcorn. Ever since I met Ted, he has been a banana fiend-at least one per day, I have gotten used to buying more than it seems possible to consume. But lately the heat and humidity means bananas have been blackening like crazy on the counter, and so, I make banana bread.

Julian is napping, sleeping off our exhausting adventure of accidentally running 5 miles earlier this morning. We were meeting up with a bunch of moms in the park and I underestimated how long it would take me to run there. (I don’t know what he’s all worn out about though.) This mom world is a whole new thing for me, and I’m still not that good at it. I’m used to talking to a 6 month old all day who thinks that everything I have to say is utterly fascinating, and I’m not yet able to commiserate with all the frustration that parenting entails for other moms  – Julian and I are still in the honeymoon phase I think (6 month olds are magic.) But still it’s nice to be invited.

I’m reading Harry Potter to Julian because I am ridiculous and also because I really wanted to read through all of them again. He can handle about 3 pages before he gets antsy, but we’re making some good progress. We like to discuss things such as why Neville Longbottom wasn’t a Hufflepuff and Hermione wasn’t a Ravenclaw (see above regarding babies who have to be enthralled by what their mamas say.) Just getting him started early so he’ll be prepared when we go to Harry Potter land together someday.

I’m off to go get my boy and then eat a banana muffin or three.


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