Thursday, June 30, 2011

Diary of an Angry Pink Baby #3: Montauk, NY 2011

Since James was born on Long Island, I figured he should take in some Long Island sights. Unfortunately, most of those sights are shopping malls, so I chose the tallest sight. Montauk had the added bonus of being farthest away, so as to maximize the things that could go wrong between here and there.

Oh, the things that went wrong!

For a while, James enjoyed riding in cars, but that was before he transitioned to his current state, where he hates everything. As cars are part of everything, James hates cars. As of this last car ride, these posts should be renamed "Diary of an Angry Red Baby with Tears Streaking Down His Cheeks." When we stopped for the second time, Ericka held up James, not so I could hold him or help in some way, but so I could see his color, which is a color normally associated with firetrucks. James cries so much in cars, I just ask one question from the driver's seat, which is whether he's red or yellow.

Ericka is the one who offers wisdom, but I will add one thing based on today, which I encourage new parents to take EXTREMELY seriously: nothing is fun with a crying baby in a confined space. If we were at a Flaming Lips concert with James in the car today, it would not have been fun. If we were at Game 7 of the World Series with James in the car today, it would not have been fun. If we were Spanish explorers seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time with James in the car today, it would not have been fun.

We wanted to do two things: eat a lobster roll and see a lighthouse. This took eight hours.

By the time we got the lobster roll, all three of us were covered in sweat. The only other person at the restaurant told her friend--in front of our table--that she was sitting as far away as possible. The waitress commented that James was well-behaved, a comment she took back thirty minutes later when she observed that he really liked to be held. I meant to tell her that he doesn't like anything, but he immediately threw up all over the following things: his neck, his bib, his infant bodysuit, my hand, my soul. Ericka went to the bathroom to wash her hands, which I understood to mean weep quietly over the sink.

Montauk, NY 2011
At Montauk Cafe (9 weeks + 6 days)

The lighthouse was covered in fog. It cost nine dollars each to get close enough to see it. We did not see the lighthouse.

Did I mention that we'd been wearing our bathing suits all this time? In my original vision of this trip, we'd zoom out to Montauk, enjoy a leisurely lobster roll outdoors where James couldn't bother anyone, admire an architectural feat, and then I'd body surf while my wife cheered at my physical prowess and my son began to want to emulate me. Nobody stepped in the water. It was just another thing we couldn't see from the place where the lighthouse was supposed to be.

The ride back was uneventful, except that James insisted--for the first time in his life--on eating hourly. Ericka assured me that this is entirely normal, and that if I read "babycenter," I would know this. The sad thing is I DO read "babycenter." The rhetoric isn't exactly to the level of the Lincoln-Douglas debates on "babycenter." Most of the spelling is purely speculative. But I'm thinking about getting active on the forums. Lying is implicitly encouraged, so James should be considerably less red there.

Montauk, NY 2011
Foggy Lighthouse behind a fence

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Josh and Anna's Wedding Celebration 2011

As previously reported, Josh and Anna semi-eloped in Germany last November (some family were present). Last Saturday they followed up with a beautiful garden wedding reception for family and friends. (There was also a private ceremony on Thursday for family, and a no-rehearsal-rehearsal-dinner on Friday for a slightly larger group.)

The party was held at Anna's mothers' house in Connecticut with white tents and linens and lavender-colored accents. Everything looked beautiful especially the bride and groom. Perhaps because they are on the Caveman diet that the groom praises on his blog.

Grubaugh Wedding Celebration 2011
The beautiful bride and handsome groom

The party was small and intimate and friendly.  Weddings like that are truly wonderful because you get to spend time with the bride and groom, the people you are there to celebrate. They even had dinner with us at our table (we were honored). We also got a chance to spend time with Josh and Anna's parents, and meet some of Josh's college friends and Anna's high school friends.

And oh the cake! The cake had three flavors, my favorite of which was cookie dough. So delicious it made me sad all cakes are not cookie dough-flavored. Thank you for a wonderful evening!

Grubaugh Wedding Celebration 2011
Ericka, Kevin, Anna, Josh, Donald, and Sarah

Grubaugh Wedding Celebration 2011
Cutting the delicious cake

Finally, I would like to point out that Josh has loved Anna since he first met her as evidenced by this blog post he wrote in August of 2009 entitled, The Future Ex-Mrs. Fantastic. Note, "Mr. Fantastic" is what Josh, and only Josh, calls himself. Also, don't read anything into the "Ex" part, that's just Josh's sense of humor. Though kudos to him for actually getting her to be the Misses A guy once called me his future ex-wife and I didn't marry him (or date him), so I guess that didn't work out for him. Anyway, I encourage you to click on the link and see the original yourself, but I am going to totally violate his copyright and repost the whole thing right here in case he ever takes his blog down. So here goes:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The Future Ex-Mrs. Fantastic

So I've fallen in love with a woman. She's the one on the left, screaming and pointing. That's what I love about her the most, how she screams and points at everything. Like on our first date when she kept saying, "Who are you and how did you get into my apartment? Seriously, what the f*** is going on? This isn't funny."

But the best part about the new lady is how she doesn't mind how ridiculous I am. Like how I told her I loved her even though we'd only known each other a few hours. And that didn't scare her off a second date. And then on that date, when I sung "Can't Find A Better Man" and dedicated it to her, she didn't leave with another guy.

Any who, so my point is that I may have found the one. Here's hoping that I don't have to reedit this post because I marry someone else or she starts hooking up with one of my friends. 

Josh, congratulations on marrying your true love, and congratulations that she never hooked up with one of your friends.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

James is 2 Months Old 2011

James is two months old! In the last month, James has started cooing regularly, smiling more, giggling (a bit). He says "coo," "goo," and a variant "a-goo" regularly. When he's hungry, sometimes he says, "meh." He makes some other random noises sporadically. I am looking forward to his first words, but Kevin insists that he has already said his first word as he interprets "coo" as "coup" as in "coup d'état." I hope James is not planning our overthrow, though given my family history perhaps this would not be unexpected.

He can bat at the toys on his "activity gym" in a way that may or may not be intentional, but since he didn't do it before, we're going to go ahead and give him the benefit of the doubt. He can't grab and clasp items yet, though.

He enjoys bathtime except that he hates having his hair or face rinsed of soap. He prefers to drink from the bottle during the daytime, which is a hassle. He goes to bed between 7:30-8:30 p.m. now, which is a huge improvement from 11 p.m. in the first month. He wakes up for the day at 5:30 a.m. He sleeps in his crib at night (since the third day he was home) but won't for naptime. He is still the boss of us.

His interest in screaming has not waned, but on the days that I force naps on him the most, he seems most peaceful. Forcing a baby to nap is hard, so oftentimes he wins that battle of wills.

One thing is clear, though. James is already learning to smile for pictures. Did any of you expect any less from me?

James at 2 Months 2011
James at 2 Months Old

James left newborn clothing at around 5-6 weeks old. He now wears "0-3 months," "3 months" and "3-6 months" clothing, but "0-3 months" and "3 months" are getting tight on him. They fit on his body but I need to stretch them to snap them so I'm thinking it has more to do with his length. He is still too small for outfits labeled "6 months"

Janice Visits 2011
Janice visits James again (7 weeks + 5 days)

<Upstate NY 2011
Mom with James in upstate New York (8 weeks + 3 days)

James at 2 Months 2011
With me outside our place

Since the weeks and the months don't quite align, James is also 9 weeks old today.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dr. Raj, Dad's Neurosurgeon 2011

The strangest most awful thing happened on Fathers' Day. My father's brain surgeon, Dr. Viswanathan Rajaraman, the one who gave him two brain surgeries, died in a plane crash. He was piloting his own plane and died in a runway crash in Ohio along with his wife. It's hard to explain how terrible I felt when I heard this news.

Dr. Rajaraman was the Head of Neuro-Oncology at Valley Hospital in New Jersey. He was a genius who saved many lives. If my father had only had a brain tumor, Dr. Raj's surgery would have saved his life as well. Unfortunately, my dad's cancer was advanced in other organs. Dr. Raj never treated him like a lost cause, and he spent time explaining everything to us. And because of his surgery my dad was able to regain his speech and mobility in the last months of his life. Dad could tell us how he felt, and what he wanted, and call his family who wasn't there. For a man who was so physically fit his whole life, it was equally important to him that he was able to walk and move his arms thanks to the surgery. He was only able to come home because the surgery and rehab allowed him to walk up the stairs of his apartment. Dr. Raj did so much for us, and for so many other people, and he did it with kindness.

It's eerie and upsetting to think that I sat in a room with these two men last July, and that less than a year later, they're both gone; that they had this then-unknown shared fate. At 54 years old, Dr. Raj was even younger than my father.  He could have helped so many more people. His wife was also a physician, and she was only 50 years old.

My heart breaks for one person in particular, his daughter Kaavya.  When we met Dr. Raj he inquired about my job. When he learned that I'm an attorney he told me his daughter was a student at Georgetown Law. He was clearly very proud of her. She just graduated from law school in May, and her parents had come from visiting her before the accident.  I can barely imagine the horror and pain of losing both of your parents in one day.  Kaavya is just 24 years old and deserved so much more time with her parents. In the midst of this terrible personal tragedy, the reporters covering the story have been unkind to her. She is clearly a very smart and talented young woman, and I hope that she is able to find some peace.  I hope that she has family and friends that provide her with the support that she needs. And I hope she knows her father was very proud of her.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day 2011

James at 7 Weeks + 2 Days 2011

On Saturday, my mother, Kevin, and I honored my father's last wish.  Sunday, I took the nighttime feedings and let Kevin sleep as late as he wanted.  I also had a series of treats for him throughout the day.  But ultimately, I had to crash and nap for a while, so Kevin and James still got to spend lots of quality time today.  I know that James is only (almost) two months old, but so far, Kevin is the best father ever.  He takes care of James, plays with him, listens to him, and tries to teach him (where his hands are).  In the future, I can see a bond forming between the two of them not just based on genes, but on mutual respect and a sense of fun. I love you both very much.

James at 2 Days Old 2011
Kevin and James in the hospital (2 days old)

James's One Week Birthday 2011
Relaxing, One week old

James at 13 Days 2011
Snuggling and freaking out, 13 days

James at 25 Days 2011
Helping with a sore tummy, 25 days

Memorial Day 2011
Winning! at a BBQ, 40 days

James at 6 weeks + 1 Day 2011
Looking at Daddy, 6 weeks + 1 day

James at 7 Weeks + 2 Days 2011
Naptime, 7 weeks + 2 days

Fathers' Day 2011
Fathers' Day 2011 (8 weeks + 4 days)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Shout-out 2011

Happy first Father's Day to Kevin! And happy Father's Day to James's great-grandfather, George! My dad is very missed today.

James at 2 Days Old 2011
Kevin and James in the hospital, be still my heart.

Cape Cod- May 2011
Great-grandma Ruth and Great grandpa Buff meeting James

Happy first Father's Day to our friend Pete C! And happy Father's Day to all our other friends who are veteran fathers: Jim S, Ben C, Mike Sh (first as a dad of 3!), Matt L, Brandon G (first as a dad of 2), Casey (first as a dad of 2), Tim D (first as a dad of 2), Jason, and Mike St.!

2010 08 Oliver born 03
Oliver, Laurel, and dad Casey, August 2010

Dennis Family 2010
Tim (the one with the eyes shut) with his little family, August 2010

Friday, June 17, 2011

Girls' Night- June 2011

At Kevin's encouragement, I have started going out with friends again on my own. Thank goodness! Janice was visiting this week so we all got together for dinner and drinks in Manhattan. We met up at Christina's in the Wall Street area, close to where Janice was staying for work. Then we walked over to Nelson Blue a yummy New Zealand-themed restaurant. Perhaps because we had contemplated going to a Spanish tapas place before selecting the Kiwi restaurant instead of ordering entrees we ordered every appetizer and side on the menu and shared. So delicious. And the Kiwi panty-puller martini is amazing.

Sadly, because the restaurant has outside seating with wide doors to the inside a mosquito found me and today I have 33 bug bites on my legs. I was indoors!

Girls' Night - June 2011
Pre-dinner drinks at Christina's

Girls' Night - June 2011
Post-dinner at Nelson Blue in South Street Seaport

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Diary of an Angry Pink Baby #2: Drinking Problem 2011

James is growing so fast. He went from a giant baby to a somewhat longer giant baby. After having him remeasured, one of his doctors worried if James was eating too much. She was only being polite, though. What she meant is that James is DRINKING too much.

There are at least twenty reasons why I'm worried James has a drinking problem:

1) Drinks until he can't keep all of the liquid in his mouth.
2) Passes out while drinking
3) Urinates himself
4) Unhappy when not drinking
5) Rapturously happy while drinking
6) Happy, chatty, even flirty immediately after drinking
7) Sullen and distant when effects of drink wear off
8) Moody to the point where there are "two Jameses": the lovable coquette and screaming madman
9) Stares at women's chests
10) Licks women's blouses
11) Irish
12) Throws up on himself
13) Throws up on the people closest to him
14) Throws up on strangers
15) Never apologizes for his behavior
16) Acts, in the morning, like nothing happened
17) Has few interests beyond drinking
18) Averages eight bottles a day
19) Sleeps through much of the day
20) Rarely bothers to put on pants

Unfortunately, James shows no sign of letting up! You can't talk to him about it because he doesn't understand language. We're going to have to wait, at least, until he understands what his hands are. But I worry those hands will only be facilitators.

James at 17 Days 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Belmont Stakes and Clous Visit 2011

Andrew Visits 2011
The Clous!

What an exciting weekend! James's uncle Andrew planned to visit us as soon as he was done with his Masters program, and based on our schedules and convenient flights we thought it would be fun for his trip to coincide with the Belmont Stakes. Since Andrew lives in Florida and we don't get to see him often, Kevin and Andrew's mom decided to come visit at the same time. She stayed and babysat James while we all enjoyed the horse races. The Belmont Stakes are a big deal in our town, so the day before we had fun little street fair here.

Andrew Visits 2011
Uncle Andrew meets James (at 7 weeks)

FloPa Street Fair 2011
At the local street fair

We started our gambling day with mimosas and bagels at our house. Then we put on our most ridiculous hats and walked over to the horsies. We got there in time for five races before the big race of the day. I put a $2 bet on the winner of the first race, but then Kevin taught me about Exacta bets where you pick the winner and the second place for the chance to win more money (because your odds go down). Brady taught me about Exacta Box bets which are really two bets on a winner and a second place horse or the two horses in the other order. With Exacta bets I was able to lose cash more efficiently. Meanwhile, Andrew stuck to regular bets and quietly won the most money of anyone there. Hm.

Belmont Stakes 2011
Mimosas and bagels at our place

Belmont Stakes 2011
Everyone headed to the race + James - surprise guest Brady

Belmont Stakes 2011
Off to the races!

Belmont Stakes 2011
Outdoor area at Belmont Stakes

Belmont Stakes 2011
In the grandstand, after losing a bunch of money on races, beer, and food

This weekend was also the first time that Christina, Dan, and Brady met baby James. Christina brought the baby these awesome socks that look like shoes that I wish they had for adults (for use at carpeted job places). And Brady, well Brady got our child a boomerang. Seriously.

James at 7 Weeks + 3 Days 2011
Dan and Christina meet James for the first time

James at 7 Weeks + 3 Days 2011
Brady meets James

If you're still keeping track, James is 8 weeks now!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rachel's High School Graduation 2011

My cousin Rachel graduated from Cape Elizabeth High School in Maine. Congratulations!

2011 06 Rachel HS Graduation
Rachel in cap n' gown!

Wedding Readings 2009

In honor of our anniversary and for posterity, I wanted to post the readings from our wedding.

During the ceremony Janice read part of a poem I selected in 2007 while Kevin and I were in Florida for Megan and Ed's wedding. We were staying with Kevin's brother Andrew and I was killing some time online when I found the poem. Kevin hadn't actually proposed yet, so I put the poem in my back pocket. The poem turned out to be prophetic. Janice agreed it was almost spooky how the poem fit by the time it was read in 2009, but since then, the poem fits even better. Except this: I went to East Hampton, not Kevin; I have yet to wear sunglasses in Balboa Park; and Kevin has yet to rake leaves in Ithaca. But we'll see what the future brings.

284

From "When a Woman Loves a Man"
by David Lehman

When she says margarita she means daiquiri.
When she says quixotic she means mercurial.
And when she says, "I'll never speak to you again,"
she means, "Put your arms around me from behind
as I stand disconsolate at the window."

He's supposed to know that.

When a man loves a woman he is in New York and she is in Virginia
or he is in Boston, writing, and she is in New York, reading,
or she is wearing a sweater and sunglasses in Balboa Park and he is raking leaves in Ithaca
or he is driving to East Hampton and she is standing disconsolate
at the window overlooking the bay
where a regatta of many-colored sails is going on
while he is stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway.

When a woman loves a man it is one ten in the morning
she is asleep he is watching the ball scores and eating pretzels
drinking lemonade
and two hours later he wakes up and staggers into bed
where she remains asleep and very warm.

6-6-10

My mother read a poem in Spanish, that I loved, but she said sounded a bit "stalkerish" to her. It's romantic! Not stalkerish.

Quiero decirte algo
by Nestor Oscar Morris

Yo creo que lo sabes pero igual te lo digo,
quisiera ser tu sombra, por eso te persigo,
quisiera ser la almohada que acompañe tus sueños,
ser el acto oportuno y apoyar tus empeños.
Quisiera estar contigo cuando mas lo requieras,
cuando te sientas sola, cuando sufras esperas.
Quisiera ser el balsamo que calme tus dolores
y detener tus lagrimas en cada vez que llores.

Yo creo que lo sabes pero igual te lo digo,
te quiero como a nadie y Dios es mi testigo.

Translation: 
I think you know, but I'll tell you just the same,
I'd like to be your shadow, that's why I follow you,
I'd like to be the pillow that accompanies your dreams,
be the opportune act and support your desires.
I'd like to be with you when you most need it,
when you feel alone, when you suffer hopes.
I'd like to be the balm that soothes your pain
and stop your tears every time you cry.

I think you know, but I'll tell you just the same,
I love you like no one else and my witness is God.

295

Finally, Briggs read a poem that Kevin selected. This one turned out to be my favorite.

somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond
by e. e. cummings

somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look will easily unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Our 2nd Wedding Anniversary 2011

Kevin and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary on Monday.  Last year, we went to Niagara Falls to celebrate a week early during Memorial Day Weekend. Then on the actual day of our anniversary we went to the Brooklyn Bridge Park, smashed our wedding wine bottle guestbook, and then ate some famous Grimaldi's pizza. (Note: Because of my guestbook idea that post was added to some wedding search engine, so the post is by far our most popular with hundreds of hits.)

This year, and I might have mentioned this somewhere here, we had a baby on our hands, so we had to tone it down. Besides, we had our night of dressing up, dinner, and dancing on the night of the Kosmidis wedding two days earlier. So Kevin and I celebrated by taking a family walk in our town's bird sanctuary garden, taking some photos, and ordering copious amounts of sushi for dinner. James did not cooperate by being happy or quiet, but he's making up for it today by being the angel baby he always is when we leave him with someone else.

Our 2nd Anniversary 2011
Taken by James (well, the automatic propped up on his stroller)

Since James was so good, I had an opportunity to scan photos for the first time since I was pregnant. Some of you know how happy such a thing makes me. The first thing I scanned was a few more guestbook messages I couldn't find last year, and look, my friend Cate's message was prescient of life after our first anniversary when we opened the bottle.  I was pregnant for much of the last year of our marriage, and Kevin got MLB.TV a streaming television application so he can watch Red Sox games that aren't on the networks in our area. Um-hum, lots of baby, and lots of Red Sox.

2009 06 06 message in a bottle 33 part 1
Cate's message in a bottle for our first anniversary

On a more serious note, it's difficult to express how my love and respect for my husband has grown over the past year because of his incredible support during the illness and death of my father, and during my long and tiring pregnancy. And also, now, watching him be the most amazing father ever to our baby. You can watch all the Red Sox you want, honey.

Teresa and John's Wedding 2011

Kosmidis Wedding 2011
Teresa and John during their first dance

Saturday we went to the first wedding we've been able to attend since James was born. My friend Teresa married her boyfriend of many years at the Bronx Zoo. Teresa wore one of the most spectacular wedding dresses I have ever seen at a wedding I've attended.  It was both attractive to her form, and artistically exciting.  My theory on wedding dresses is that it should first of all make the bride look good (obviously), but the second most important thing is that it not be a dress you could get away with wearing to a fancy cocktail party because you could wear that dress some other time.  Your wedding is your chance to bring it, and Teresa definitely brought it.

The Bronx Zoo was also a really cool venue.  The ceremony took place outside in a beautiful garden, and then cocktail hour was inside the Lemur house, Madagascar exhibit. The reception hall was beautifully decorated with flowers and clear vases that gave the illusion of jungle vines, and each table was named for a zoo animal. Congratulations on a beautiful wedding day and on your new marriage, Teresa and John!

Kosmidis Wedding 2011
The outdoor ceremony

Kosmidis Wedding 2011
Cocktail hour in the lemur house

Kosmidis Wedding 2011
The lemurs

Kosmidis Wedding 2011
With Teresa

Kosmidis Wedding 2011
The seals during cocktail hour

Kosmidis Wedding 2011
Inside the reception hall

Kosmidis Wedding 2011
I LOVE this! Kevin and I also have laser beam photos but mine is NOT cute.

Kosmidis Wedding 2011
Peacock wedding cake (plus penguin, monkey, and seal)

Kosmidis Wedding 2011
Me and Kevin at the wedding, and 2 days before our second anniversary

P.S. My friends Rachel and Tim graciously babysat 1-month-old James, whom they knew from the blog to be a little terror. Just to make me seem silly though he behaved really well for them. Maybe James is just a very polite baby in public, and saves his bad behavior for his private life? James had a great time snacking and sleeping and apparently playing catch with Rachel and Tim's son Isaac. I think their version of catch involves Isaac throwing a ball at James's face, and Tim diving to save James's face from impact. James will be playing baseball in no time at all.
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