Dear 2009,


Dear 2009,

Jenni does a wonderful job painting a pretty picture of our lives on this blog. The truth sometimes doesn't smell so sweet. In fact, the past 8 months have been down right shitty. One mysterious daughter-stealing regression/illness, one failed (and very expensive) business venture, and one father with a very blocked artery -- these things by themselves are fairly shitty, but when combined tend to, even more, conjure up thoughts of a steaming pile of used-up food.

Forget about the recession, wars, gas prices, global warming... I don't really give a crap. I just won't open my 403b statements, ever vote for a Bush, or drive my car to work in warm weather! Instead, someone please tell me what's wrong with my daughter, promise me my next kid will be okay, and tell me my dad will live to meet his great-grandchildren!

I can honestly say that I have never anticipated a New Year so much in my life. The symbolic flushing of 2008 into the sewers of recent history should provide some momentary satisfaction as we wipe clean the slate that was 08.

Is that Baby New Year punishing the porcelain one last time in '08? Hope she lit a match...

In anticipation of good things to come,

PS. I really took that "Please don't shit here" photo. And no, I didn't stencil it myself; it was already there, behind the hardware store near Kroger here in Grandview.

PPS. I didn't have the opportunity to use all of my toilet euphemisms here, so expect future blog entries to contain references to growing a tail, launching the corn canoe, that one's shaped like Michigan, etc.


Single Digits

No, not the weather... despite the fact that it is December, the high in Columbus today was 67 degrees.
The weeks. If this baby arrives as predicted, even if he/she is a few days "late," like Celia was, we have fewer than ten weeks before we get to meet this little one!

It's hard to believe how easy it is to fall in love with someone you don't even know...
Someday, maybe he'll be a high school science teacher, or she'll be a famous pianist.
Someday, maybe she'll travel the world and send postcards from Bolivia, or he'll phone from Rome where he's honing his culinary skills.
Someday, maybe she'll be a confident corporate executive or he'll be a strong swimmer.
Someday, he'll have his own hopes, or she'll have her own dreams, never knowing how much we hoped and dreamed to have him/her in our life!




We recently took Celia to the Columbus Zoo, in order to enjoy the brilliance of the holiday light display. She was fascinated, but is still partial to the aquarium. And because we're partial to what she's partial to, and because it was way warmer inside the aquarium building, we spent far more time watching the fish than looking at the lights. There, our hearts thrilled to the wild magic of her elation and to the radiant sound of her enjoyment.
We'll take her back next year to let her get her twinkle on...



Well, it's not really home. I mean, I didn't grow up in that house. But family lives there now, which makes it home. And even though it's not the same couch I grew up resting on, it's still the kind of couch that takes me captive, physically and mentally, reminding me how cozy it is to be back in my childhood.
We celebrated Christmas with Dad and Sandy this weekend. And their couch took Celia captive, too. She napped there, and in Aunt Stephanie's arms, and in the car on the way home. And then last night she wanted nothing to do with bedtime. She was the epitome of a spoiled grandchild, given back to her parents to "deal with." And although it was late (we're talking midnight) she was in a super mood, and we enjoyed her energy. It crossed our minds that perhaps someone slipped Celia one of Stephanie's frosted Easter-like cookies?
If our camera time-stamped photos, this one would read somewhere in the vicinity of 11:30pm.

Andy and I are always grateful for a happy baby, no matter the hour, and we're very lucky to have so many homes to return to.


Rub A Dub

I understand the words "bath time" may evoke about as much excitement in you as say "nasal decongestant," but humor me here. At our house, bath time is often the highlight of Celia's day. Which, in turn, is a highlight of our day, too.
Andy and I have entirely different methods of bathing...I use a washcloth, he uses a loofah. I choose a couple bath toys, he throws them all in the tub. I use a little soap and am careful around her face, he uses lots of soap and piles suds on her head. Andy's bathing method often requires an extra towel to mop up water that splashes out of the tub, but his ways also seem to elicit more smiles, so I sure don't complain.



For the Love

I love you, I love you, I love you. The words tumble effortlessly from our mouths, again and again.
I hesitate hardly a second before hauling her into my arms. I lean in closer so as to breathe the scent of her hair. I notice the tiny rolls in her neck and feel the bony points of her shoulder blades, terrain I've mapped before.
There are certain details I wish I could freeze in amber: the red ringlets at the nape of her neck, her iridescent pink fingernails, and those eyebrows, raised as if they've had help from a forklift!

And Andy is no less guilty. Celia. He balances her name lightly on his tongue, as if it's made of feathers, and when he whispers in her ear, the words - so comforting, so full of love - sound like they're covered in blankets. Entire conversations take place in silence between the two of them, because the heart has it's own language. And he will wish to remember everything she says, even though she doesn't say a word.

I love you. Three little words. One huge truth.



Sleep in Heavenly Peace

So there haven't been many silent nights around here lately, but Celia has been resting a lot. She crawls over to be held, and snuggles her legs in tight around my belly, burrowing in like I might have developed a marsupial pouch when she wasn't looking. And I stop folding laundry, or whatever is I'm doing in an effort to be productive, and enjoy the rest myself (all the while trying to ignore the 30 0r so pounds of extra weight on top of extra weight). And Andy captures this on film. You know, not so much so that we can remember what sleeplessness does to the fabric of marital cooperation, but more to document for the next baby how much he/she is loved by his/her big sister.

Because Celia has been nocturnally slumber-challenged, she's particularly lethargic during the day. This morning she had breakfast shortly after 9am, we played a bit, and then she needed a break. Here she is, in a self-determined location, about 10:30am:

Although she seemed perfectly content, I moved her to the couch...
Getting up multiple times through the night hampers my creativity and hurts my sensibilities. But instead of laying here festering with self pity, since Celia is sweet-dreaming (in her crib this time) I may try, too.



'Tis the Season

It's snowing. The tree is up, twinkling with white lights. The house is quiet, holiday music playing softly. Stockings are hung. Several doors have been opened on the advent calendar. There's a tricky balance this time of year, between the magical and the overwhelming. Right now our scale is tipping toward the magical. Hope yours is, too.



How many

times can we blog about Celia's affinity for H2O, about how much she seems to relish swimming? Swimming in her grandparents' pool, swimming in her grandparents' big red tub, almost swimming in the backyard pond...
We took Celia to a local community rec center's open swim last weekend, and she wore herself out. We didn't get the camera out till we were all dry, so this photo is more about post-swimming than swimming, but she sure enjoyed the fountains and slides, almost as much as she delighted in cuddling with Daddy to dry off.

And not completely unrelated, but admittedly somewhat random, for some reason I was thinking of some additional "how many"s recently. Like how many nails I am responsible for keeping trimmed around here - currently it's 60 (because I do a good job with Colby's nails and it makes Andy kind of nervous - funny, considering he spends lots of time cutting and sewing people...) Anyway, that's a lot of nails to keep trimmed.
And soon it will be 80. Oh. my. goodness.



Light Fantastic Daddy Fantastic

Well, the nursery is done. Early, if we're talking about the newest Betz. And only about 21 months behind schedule for Celia, but she'll get to enjoy the new light for a few months...
We've had this chandelier, from Mom's basement, for a couple years - Andy rewired it and painted it white and cleaned the crystals, all in anticipation of Celia's arrival. We just didn't get it hung. What, with a working light in her bedroom and all, there really was no hurry. But now it's up, and boy is it sweet. Almost as sweet as these two, napping during the Macy's Parade on Thanksgiving morning!




This time of year, when we're reminded to give thanks, we've been especially grateful for the time we got to spend with Kate. It was a busy week, not quite the marathon of Thanksgiving meals it's been in the past and we didn't get to visit all the family we would've liked to see, but it was still a holiday filled with good things.
  • Aunt Kate spoiled Celia; she cooked her squash pancakes and watched cartoons with her and sang to her and even held her while she got some blood drawn.
  • Kate took me to lunch and we shopped and she did like 8 loads of laundry for me and she reminded me that someday, maybe, I can be "half an Olsen twin" again.
  • Kate took Andy ziplining in Hocking Hills and shared Yuengling with him (and with Colby).
We can't wait till Kate comes back in February!




We had really good intentions of a sweet fall photo shoot which entailed finding lots of squash and gourds and pumpkins to pile around Celia (Andy even threatened to put her in the bin of gourds at the grocery store) for a picture entitled "Gourd-geous."
It didn't ever happen. If it had, be assured you would've seen the photo on this blog. We'll just tuck that idea away for next fall.

So, with another holiday picture idea in mind, we pledged to be on top of it this time. And with football season essentially over, it was a good chance to change the Go Bucks blog header... Here is one of the pictures we did not decide to use in the header. Perhaps the photo shoot wasn't an entirely joyous process for Celia? But, be assured that we had more photos that we could have used than couldn't. And, be assured that we will continue to post lots more holiday-type pictures over the next month or so... And finally, be assured that she really is a bundle of JOY!



Holy Guacamole

We had tacos for dinner tonight, and with two ripe avocados on the windowsill, we had some work to do for the meal to be complete. And so, cooking class commenced...
There was lots of tasting involved in the preparation.

When they determined that the guacamole was ready to share, I jumped right in. And I could detect a delightful balance of flavor - a hint of lime, the perfect kick of jalapeno, and a hearty portion of the team's effort - in every delicious bite!

So, if you happen to be in the neighborhood, and you happen to have a bag of corn chips with you, stop in for a snack!




I made cookies this afternoon and the scent of baking filled the house, like comfort vaporized.

And Celia wore a cozy hand-knit sweater, keeping her snug and warm and making me wish I had one just like it, maternity size...
instead, I found comfort in an old fleece of Andy's and in stealing cuddles with Celia in her soft sweater.
And yesterday I spent the morning with old friends with whom I used to teach.
You know, the kind of friends who dish out the sort of compliments that deserve to be tucked away inside your brain for those inevitable insecure days. The friends who give you a hug that you can still feel later that day. The ones who share confidence in you enough to make you believe that you can do whatever needs to be done. Good friends. The kind I hope Celia makes someday. The kind who provide comfort when fresh cookies and warm sweaters are insufficient.



The Hills are Alive

Well, the dining room is anyway. With the sound of music (if you'll allow me to call it that). It's just me and Celia at home today - no errands, no appointments, not too many chores on the agenda. So after lunch we slid the highchair up to the piano, and Cel spent some time banging on the keys.

As for Celia's little sibling, he or she rocked out to the "music" too - I imagine Celia's song was a pleasant diversion from my heart beat, 24 weeks at number one on the womb hit parade...



20 Months Ago

we had a baby. She is a fine little person, with ever-watching eyes and lips that should be cloned. We've had some good times together so far, all leading us to proclaim - we'll keep her!



What a Re*leaf*

Celia participated in her first presidential election yesterday, and by participated I mean she went to our polling station and sat in her stroller and waited patiently in the short line and made only a few quiet noises as we pushed the buttons and then played with her sticker when we were done. We grabbed coffee for the walk home, and spent a few minutes playing in the leaves before heading back inside.
Today's news is likely captivating most people, and whether it makes you smile or kick the cat, I imagine many of us can agree that it's nice to be done with TV ad torture and too many phone calls from politicians, middle of the day doorbell rings that interrupt nap time and all the yard signs littering lawns...
Here at our house, we're relieved that election season is over, and we're proud to live in this country.



Wish I May

I grew up believing that eyelashes were lucky. Today I found a stray eyelash atop one of Celia's rosy cheeks, and remembered the childhood game -- if you lost an eyelash (it's not the same if you pull one out on purpose!) you could close your eyes and blow the lash off your fingertip, and your wish would come true.

Celia's lashes are fairly ordinary - brown, with lighter red tips. They're not the kind of lashes that are going to enter the room before she does. You know the kind I mean. Maybe she'll use her own lost lashes for those kind of wishes someday...
I look forward to lots more lost lashes and shooting stars and birthday candles and ladybugs for Celia to wish on! And I'll be using all the wishing methods I can find to wish that all her wishes come true...



Two Dog Night

Well, not really - this evening was one of the mildest Halloweens in recent memory so no need for extra body heat, and we don't allow dogs in our bed anyway, but we did have two good dogs tonight!

And, once she figured out that the lollipops were more fun unwrapped, Celia enjoyed spending part of the evening on the front porch, sucking on candy and watching trick or treaters and visiting with neighbors.

And then it was time to put the dogs to bed...


Wild, Wonderful

We went to visit Poppy John and Grandma Sandy in West Virginia for a couple days. Poppy John put in new playground equipment for me to play on -- this is "Sharkie." He also built a tree swing, but I preferred swinging with him by the pond.

After playing outside, I needed to take a bath, and Poppy John and Grandma Sandy have a big red bathtub; I love the water.
I could even watch the cows from the bathtub.
I had fun in West Virginia, playing outside and in the big red tub. I watched "Porch Cat" the kitty through the glass, and Grandma Sandy got me princess cookies, and let me play with her fancy doll. I can't wait to go back to visit again soon.



Resisting Temptation

Of course, Andy and I find Celia endlessly lovable and fascinating. The temptation, the instinct, is to talk about her, and write about her... What happens to this singularity of focus when the new baby arrives?

We had an ultrasound appointment yesterday; this baby put on a good show. The sole of a foot flashed by, with five tiny toes, a diminutive profile emerged, allowing us to see the baby's sweet face, the heart beat wildly, the mouth opened and closed (Andy's pretty sure
he was saying "O-H") The only thing we didn't explore were the baby's gender "parts." We resisted the temptation to learn this baby's sex - what a fun surprise that will be in March!

And the temptation to share photos of Celia --- irresistible!