Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving II: Electric Boogaloo

We spent Thanksgiving at my parents' house, which was crazy. First of all, it's about 20 degrees warmer in North Carolina, and second, they still have most of the leaves on the trees. Thanksgiving itself was spent with my parents; my brother; my dad's parents; my dad's sister and her two kids; my dad's other sister, her husband, her daughter, and her daughter's boyfriend; my mom's sister and her two girls; and, briefly, Brandon's grandmother. We were all in my mom's house for the first time in about 7 years (I think that's the last time we hosted) and it was a CHORE. I made Paula Deen green bean casserole that I hear was pretty good, but I don't actually like green bean casserole so I didn't eat any. We also had sweet potatoes, cranberry casserole, four different kinds of stuffing, turkey, ham, rice, rolls, gravy, I don't even know, plus pies and cookies and cake. I eated too much :(

I also may have eaten at Bojangles' three times in four days.

On Black Friday I got a nifty pair of snow boots, a football for Calvin, and an NCSU shirt that I was sort of embarrassed to wear after the atrocity that was Saturday's game. We should have played better, but the spot at the end was so off it was disgusting. People have said it's nice to be able to blame the refs for making such a poor call, but we should never have been in that situation, so the blame is shared. Still, we should have had a chance.

Anyway, since it's Thanksgiving (or just after) here is the list of what I am thankful for:

-My son, who is noisily falling asleep in his swing behind me while I type, and the fact that he is paid in full by the hospital that took care of him for two weeks. I can't tell you how thankful I am for that.
-My husband, who keeps me sane.
-My friends back home, whom I can click with immediately upon returning from months away and who are great about keeping in touch.
-My new friends here, who make this place a lot more enjoyable.
-My family, who love me and help out however I need it.

Brandon and I are going to try going back on South Beach to counteract the damage done over the last several months since we stopped doing it. I have to make a grocery list and go to the store today, so hopefully we can stick with it again and make things happen. I hate admitting this, but I weigh more now than I did at my heaviest point during pregnancy. Eek.

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22, 2010

Dear Calvin,

Well, we've made it through the last month (of five) with lots of smiles and giggles and these ridiculous laughs that your father elicits from you that sound like you're going to choke with happiness. And we've also had runny noses, scratched faces, achy teeth bumps, inexplicable crying jags, and remarkably few late-night wake-up calls. On the whole, I give this relationship an A+, but I'm biased.

You rolled over the other day. You were so mad about being on your belly and you started squirming and twitching and attempting to fling yourself around, and you got onto your side. Your daddy got on the floor with you and we cheered you on, and then with one big heave, you flopped onto your back. The next day, you did it like six times, like it was no big thing. But then you forgot which way you knew how to roll, so you haven't done it since. I don't mind. I know you can do it, and you'll get the hang of it and start doing it a lot soon. I've decided not to rush you, and to be happy with what you're doing and when you're doing it. Before I'm ready for it, you'll be sitting and crawling and walking and then I won't know how to keep up.

You have made friends this month--or, rather, I have made friends for you. We go to playgroup every week to see Hunter, Christopher, Tyler, and Jack, and you sit in my lap and watch them play. They all move so much, and I know you want to. But you don't get mad, not even when one of the older babies reaches out and pokes you. They're just curious about you. I'm sure soon you'll return the favor. Making friends has meant a lot more to me than it does to you right now. I needed it, and I just happened to get lucky enough to find someone in that group that I like a whole bunch. We don't have to be shut-ins anymore!

It's getting colder outside and the trees are pretty much bare. Soon it will snow and we'll get to experience our first New England winter together. You'll be taking your first plane trip tomorrow, back to North Carolina for Thanksgiving. Please be good, OK? I will find you something to chew on to help with the pressure change and I will give you bananas for dinner.

Love, Mama

Friday, November 19, 2010

Short Baby Update

Calvin did a great job rolling over for a couple of days. I'd set him on his tummy and he'd immediately roll over. Unfortunately, sometime between then and now he forgot which direction he was able to roll and tried to go left instead of right. He hasn't got that figured out yet, so then he gets frustrated and spins himself instead.

My little Derek Zoolander.

I've also discovered that he LOVES watching the Food Network, and (in one of many bad mommy moments this week) we were watching the South Park episode where Stan's dad is obsessed with Food Network, and he was sitting in his Bumbo LAUGHING AT THE TV. My kid is going to be so warped, y'all.

Thursday, November 18, 2010



Wait a minute.

No one even reads this blog right now. I'm writing it almost exclusively for my own entertainment. I never get comments. I never have people tell me "oh, hey, I liked that blog post you did." It's a great big internet, and not everyone cares about my life and my baby, even if he is the best baby in the world.

(Which he totally is, Meredith Babb.)

That realization is important, but I have not yet figured out why, because there are two paths I could take from this point:

1. Sink into a deep despair and stop writing.
2. Give the internet the ol' middle finger and enjoy what I write about.

I CHOOSE B! I mean 2!

There have been times in the past when people haven't read or commented, or at least haven't commented because Brandon USED to read my blog all the time, and I've quit or switched sites or...something. I don't know.

I hate the internet.

Anyway, given that I no longer care what any of you think about what I'm writing, here are some observations about my soup:

-Target's potato soup has disappointingly thin potato pieces in it. It's like, I go to make the soup and it smells like cheese, not potato. Nothing will ever compare to Chili's potato soup, and if this stuff is gross, I MIGHT GO GET SOME.

-I am eating lunch at 11AM. This is like being back at school my first year when we started at 7:20. That sucked.

-Oh God, this soup is not good. It is far too watery. The bacon I added is the best part.

-A soupçon means "a small amount." This soup could use a soupçon of awesomeness, which it is lacking. Why am I still eating it again?

-This stuff is going down the drain.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ooh, boy.

Here's today NaBloPoMo topic:

Are you spiritual, religious, agnostic, or atheist? Do you think there is one path to God, or many?

It's really hard for me to label myself as any of the above. I think I'm somewhere in the middle, but it takes a bit of explanation to make my beliefs make sense. I also think that I'm in the same place spiritually speaking as a lot of people, and that I'm part of a group that is not well represented by organized religion. I don't even know if we COULD be.

I was raised Christian. Originally we went to a Methodist church; when I was in high school I started going to youth group with my friends at an Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) church and we eventually joined. Those two churches are nothing alike, and I will admit that my reasons for changing churches were purely social. And then I became completely disillusioned with the social structure of churches in general. At the Methodist church, my brother and I never really made friends. We weren't originally from Gastonia, and that kept us on the outside even though we'd lived there and gone to that church from the time I was 3. At the ARP church, it wasn't about WHERE you were from, but WHOM: there were several established families whose parents and great-grandparents had been church folk, and they ran it. Apart from that hierarchy, there was a lot of catty gossiping and alliances made and broken and so on that created a social structure that would rival that of any school. I may have just been at the wrong churches, but that was my experience.

I stopped going to church when I came home and went to, I think it was an Easter service at the ARP church. The pastor actually used the morning prayer to ask God to guide the hearts of Congress to strike down a gay marriage bill. I disagree with that mentality and I disagree with using public prayer as an avenue for political opinion. My parents had never been that into the ARP church anyway, and my brother had started going to church with his girlfriend when he went. I never found a church in college or when we lived in Raleigh because I knew that my situation was temporary in both places. Now that we're kind of settled and have a child, I want to find a church, not least because I promised my grandfather before he married us that I would raise our children in a Christian household. Can I do that if I don't go to church? I don't know.

I am definitely not an atheist. I can't possibly discount a higher power, because there are things I can't explain and that kind of give weight to the argument. It's also a comfort to believe in something bigger than yourself, and it seems really narcissistic to think that we're all there is. But at the same time, I've become extremely distrustful of organized religion and what it stands for. Religious zealotry scares the crap out of me. As much as I believe that there is a God, I believe that it's insane to use him/her/it to justify whatever you want to do. That's not how it should work.

That said, I believe there are many paths to God. That goes against the traditional Christian teaching that Jesus is the only way to heaven, but I never could buy that. God shouldn't be exclusionary. Exclusion leads to hate, and that leads to all kinds of horrible actions. The things that result from exclusionary religion are things that I can't believe that God would condone, because if he/she/it would, that's not a God I could get behind.

I hope I can find a church that fits me well enough to make me happy, or at least comfortable. I really want Calvin to grow up with some kind of religion because I think it can be really helpful in a lot of ways. We're going to start looking soon, and probably check a few out in the coming weeks. It's just one more day of the week that Brandon will have to suck it up and wear long pants.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I skipped writing yesterday because I was far too busy watching Avatar and giving Calvin tummy kisses and taking a nap and going to baby playgroup and coming home to find that my wonderful husband had done all the dishes. And then I repaid him by not cooking dinner, which means we went to Five Guys and ruined our semi-decent eating habits for the week.

Before I get myself back on track with these writing prompts, which I really do enjoy, I thought it would be good to take a day here and there to write about things that are happening NOW and are important to me.

Last night Todd, Molly, and Jack came over to watch Youth in Revolt with us. They're our NEW FRIENDS! and that makes Massachusetts suck a whole lot less. Jack is two months older than Calvin and let me just say, I have seen the future, and it ROLLS. I tried putting Calvin to bed at his normal time and he was not having it (couldn't I see that there were people in the house? People who were not normally in the house? How could I put him to bed when there were new people here?) I put him, instead, on the blanket where Jack was chilling on his back. At which point Jack rolled onto his side and flopped one leg over Calvin and started poking at his face and arms as if to say, "Hi, what are you?" Molly pulled him back across the blanket so he wouldn't pinch Calvin, and he rolled over...once...twice...three times, and did the exact same thing as before. After we removed the obstacle of the four-month-old, he managed to roll himself all the way over to the swing, which is fully half of our living room floor space covered. At that moment all four parents in the room began envisioning mobility in their children--we were seeing something new and terrifying, and we knew that the next several years would be spent chasing down these mobile boys and taking away things that definitely should not be stuck in their mouths, or possibly saving them from making their own ramps to jump bikes off of in the driveway (true story: my brother did this).

Eventually Calvin went to bed, but then this morning he decided that hey! 4AM is a great time to wake up! He ate two ounces of a bottle and went back to sleep until right around 8, which was great because I don't think I would have functioned any earlier. Unfortunately, the diaper I changed around 8:15 contained a seriously offensive present created by our foray into solid foods, which so far include sweet potato and mango, neither of which seem to be particularly interesting to the boy child. I'll probably try peas or carrots or green beans next, but the more I feed him the packaged baby food the more I really want to make my own. It's just so much work, so I doubt I will, but I keep thinking of things I want to feed him and not finding them at the store. Target, however, has a better selection than most, so we'll see what we can scrounge up this afternoon.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hazy Shade of Winter


What do you like most about cold weather? What do you like the least?

Did I mention that apropos is one of my favorite words? I'll have to actually sit down and make a list one day, but it would be pretty long.

In North Carolina we didn't ever have REALLY cold weather, but we got enough to satisfy me, because I don't care for it too much. I don't think it ever got below 20, and if it was 20 (or, God forbid, in the teens) it never lasted long. We rarely got snow, usually sleet or wintry mix a couple of times a winter, and if we did get snow it would ice over and make it impossible to drive. Now, I have yet to experience the famous New England winter, so I will have to go with my experiences to date.

I like cold weather because it makes me more fashionable. No one has a problem with you wearing multiple layers when it's 30 degrees outside. There's no need to worry about, say, shaving your legs, or having a tan, or looking fat, because everyone is totally hidden under all those clothes. And since I'm pale and super-body-conscious, I like that. I also like being able to see your breath when you exhale, and I like snow in moderation. I like running the heat in my car and keeping it nice and cozy, and I like building a fire, except now we don't have a fireplace.

Autumn is probably my favorite season. I like when the leaves change; it gets cool, but not cold; it's football season...but then when you get into winter, there are some drawbacks. First, daylight savings time kicks in, and it gets dark really early. Up here, it gets dark at 5:00. Also, a lot of snow and/or ice make it difficult (and unpleasant) to go places, and to be perfectly honest I don't like being cold. I could hibernate through the winter and be fine, provided I was stocked up on food and stayed someplace warm. Bears have the right idea.

In short, I'm not looking forward to the winters up here because it is going to be COLD. On the bright side, I have an awesome fuzzy hat and the baby has an adorable snowsuit. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Song That Goes Like This

What was your favorite song this year? Five years ago? Ten years ago? Twenty?

What? Seriously? I have a hard time narrowing it down to five songs I like at a time, let alone a favorite. But let's give this a shot, because it's fun to reminisce.

The Beatles - Ticket to Ride
I'll start at the beginning, because that's simpler. I was very small twenty years ago, and a big fan of the Beatles. I remember watching Help! multiple times, and my favorite song was "Ticket to Ride," because I loved the skiing scene and it's a good song. There's a lot to be said for this movie: A cult is after Ringo because he is in possession of a ring traditionally worn by a person who is to be sacrificed to the goddess Kali. They're trying to get the ring off of his finger and escape the cult and it's just completely ridiculous. The early Beatles films, Help! and A Hard Day's Night, are excellent examples of farce. I think that my love for them is why I'm such a big fan of farce and the comedy that goes with it, especially that dry British humor.

Hanson - "This Time Around"
Ten years ago was 2000. I honestly have no idea what my favorite song was at the time, but it was probably something like this. I was a major Hanson fan in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and I still like them but I'm not as hardcore into it as I was then. Obviously, I'm a bit older now. So this song, "This Time Around," was the lead single for their album of the same name. It was released three years after Middle of Nowhere and was the last anyone heard from them for something like five years. Following its release, Hanson left their record label and started an independent label because of some kind of creative dispute, I don't know the whole story. I'm always still a little excited to meet people who like Hanson, because it was such a big part of my middle school and high school years.

Jack's Mannequin - "La La Lie"
Five years ago, I was in college. That would have been 2005, right before I went abroad, so my sophomore year. Right around that time I got into Jack's Mannequin, and "La La Lie" was one of my favorite songs from the album. I think I've seen Jack's Mannequin live more than any other band, which is weird, but they played Elon and opened for Panic at the Disco, so that's cool. I've also met Andrew McMahon twice, and both times he was really drunk.

will.i.am - "What I Am"
And so we come to this year. I don't have a clue what my favorite song is this year, but I've been listening to a lot of different stuff lately. It's easier to look back and say "This WAS my favorite," or "I liked this the most," but when you're in the middle of it, it's tougher. I've decided on this one because it's representative of where I am in my life: I have a new kid, and he has his choices in music, and I can like that music, too. I've started looking at songs to see what the message is and what Calvin can get from it, and "What I Am" by will.i.am is one of the first songs for children that I really like. Calvin likes it, too.

If I take these four songs and look at where I've been and where I'm going, I think it's a pretty accurate depiction of myself. As a child, I listened to what my parents listened to; as a teenager, I found my own music made by people my own age and threw myself behind it 100%; in college I branched out of the mainstream and found music that I could relate to; and now, I've come full circle and listen to music for my own children. Funny how things work out that way.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Barbie Dream House

So there is this thing called National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo for short. It's abbreviated in the same way as National Novel Writers' Month (which I considered doing, but decided against) but I hadn't heard of it before. Also, I'm not sure if there's a specific month or what, since prompts go back to June. But I LOVE writing prompts! So, without further ado:

What would your dream home/apartment/condo/yurt look like? Where would it be? Who'd live in it with you?

Let me start by saying that I kind of found my dream home. It isn't 100% perfect--nothing that you don't build yourself ever is--but it's pretty damn close. Here is some of the description from the real estate posting:

"For the buyer seeking privacy and serenity, this location has it all. A long driveway winds through the woods, into a large open lawn with the house sited atop a gentle hill. A separate driveway leads to the two barns, located on the lower part of the property. The large farmer's porch across the front is the perfect spot for relaxing and enjoying the view."

It would be difficult to improve on this setup. And there's more: 5" maple plank flooring! A mudroom! A kitchen with an island, a pot rack, AND a pastry counter! A whirlpool tub! A craft room with built-in shelves! And to top it all off, an in-ground pool! So what's not to love?

Well, for starters, the price tag. This home will set you back $999,900 (why not just say a million? I hate tricksy pricing like that) and, for a place with only 4 bedrooms/2.5 baths, that seems excessive, even if it is 4.628 square feet on 8.51 acres. OK, well, maybe it doesn't seem THAT excessive for all you get, but did you notice that last bit? 8.51 acres of grass, trees, and driveway that you have to take care of yourself--also, a pool. It requires a lot of maintenance. And, the most important thing in real estate? Location, location, location.

This house is located in Berlin, MA. It's a solid half-hour from Brandon's work, and lest I forget, purchasing a house in Massachusetts gives us a little bit stronger tie to Massachusetts. And I want to go back to North Carolina someday. So let's take this house, move it to North Carolina--and really, there are a few places I could take it--give me a lot of money, including enough to hire a landscaper; and make some minor changes, like to the color of dining room, which is currently red. Then Brandon, Calvin, and I can move in, get a dog for me and an ATV for Brandon, and get to living happily ever after.

Of course, since this house is for sale now and we do not have anything LIKE the means to purchase at this time, it won't happen. How do we overcome this problem? Copy all the photos from the real estate listing, copy all the descriptions, and build it ourselves several years down the road when it's actually a possibility.

Also, just so you know, Calvin was leaning over the Boppy and managed to pull himself forward and faceplant on the floor so that now his feet are up on it. He is eating his hand and making happy noises, so I left him.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rain is a catalyst for long naps

So Adele over at Mila's Daydreams wrote a lullaby for her daughter. I kind of love it. I'm also extremely jealous of her talent and wish I could come up with something awesome for Calvin, who is currently asleep in his swing with the blanket over his face. I worry sometimes that he might not be able to breathe under it but he never has trouble, and the fact that he's napping now for a long time means that he should be alert for playgroup!

Apparently Baz Luhrmann is remaking The Great Gatsby. I am a big fan of Gatsby despite my students' inherent dislike of the novel, which I don't blame them for. The language is admittedly stilted, which comes from Fitzgerald's own sense of superiority and that of the narrator, Nick Carraway, so it's at least justified. But they don't get into the story, and besides, it's a bunch of white people in the 1920s. They don't relate. Anyway, Luhrmann has allegedly cast Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, which I have no qualms with. I love Leo and think he's a phenomenal actor. There's speculation about who will play Daisy, though, and the two frontrunners are allegedly Scarlett Johansson and Blake Lively, neither of whom I approve. I saw somewhere a list of people in consideration and I'm throwing my vote in for Zooey Deschanel, because she can do vapid with hints of substance (and I mean that as a compliment; I'm thinking of her small role as Anita in Almost Famous). And also because I firmly believe that Daisy Buchanan is a brunette.

I need to feed the baby (and myself) before playgroup and I have a couple of errands to run, so I'm cutting this short, but if I think of more interesting things to share I'll post them at some point.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Someone has a birthday coming up in a month and a half, and I'm not talking about Jesus

YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT: ME. I've always felt awkward about sitting amongst friends and opening gifts. It's why I felt awkward about bridal and baby showers (although in those cases, I really needed the stuff). There isn't even much that I'd like, but I did find these two items on etsy:

This will set you back a mere $26.50!

These are only $14.50!

(via http://www.etsy.com/people/linkeldesigns?ref=ls_profile)

As you can see, I am a very reasonable gift recipient.

HOLY CRAP THANKSGIVING IS IN THREE WEEKS. And that means...Calvin's first plane trip. WHOA. As thrilled as I am to be going back to North Carolina for a few days, I'm a little nervous about how he'll travel. So far he's been good in most situations--at seven weeks, he made the drive up here without incident. But he's a little older now, and a little more vocal. He learned how to yell over the weekend. We got him laughing and he started just yelling happily, which he's never done. He also learned to make kissy noises, which was fun. He sat in the car seat all the way to Hopkinton smacking his tongue and lips.

Calvin's also learning to sit up, which is BANANAS. He can hold himself up for a few seconds before tilting over, but he's very much on his way. Wednesday we're getting his Christmas photos taken. WHY IS EVERYTHING HAPPENING SO FAST.

EDIT: I also want these: