Carter's Fall Hat

Last night we did a little shopping for Carter and got him the cutest stinkin' hat for Fall. There's just one problem ... try as I may, I just can't get him to keep it on. I could barely get a picture of it for this post.

Try 1: Kinda funny feeling on my head, get it off.

Try 2: Give him something he's never played with before, so his hands are occupied, and he doesn't think about the hat.
Three seconds later, the bananas are flung to the floor. The hat follows.

Try 3: Look Carter, even Mommy likes to wear your hat!
Good for you, Mom, but not for me.

The onset of a bad mood for the rest of his afternoon.

Daddy gets home to help. Together we coordinate the sting operation. The hat's quickly assembled onto his head, & pop, pop, popping of my camera. Tah-dah:

Along with the hat and a couple long sleeved knit polos for Carter, I picked up a Macintosh Spice Yankee candle. I wish Fall would get here already!

(I told you that bad mood was for the rest of the day)

[Insert curse word] cats!

Speedy Carter yanks on a cat's tail at least five times a day. The cats have tolerated him; they get flustered and scramble away. I've been naive in thinking I have pretty good cats, they
would never intentionally defend themselves. Yesterday Tigger proved me wrong.

I was cooking dinner.
Baby giggles.
A cat snarls.
Hysterical, tear-filled cries.
Blood trickling out of Carter's plump, little, once flawless arm.

I want to drop Tigger off at one of those bookstores who have cat adoption agencies. I'm sorry, our animal adoption program is only here on Saturdays. We leave the cat in the middle of the Self Improvement aisle, make a mad dash for the car and speed off.

You'd think Carter learned his lesson yesterday. Today the first thing he did after he finished his breakfast was make another beeline toward his begrudging cat.

I can't believe this is my second blog post about cats in the past week. Because I think I hate them.

cabinet capers

Yes, we had to do an outfit & diaper change halfway through the pictures, but he got right back down to business when I put him back on the floor.

Moving on is a simple thing. What it leaves behind is hard.

When I joined my husband in his home state, Pennsylvania, six years ago, my conversations almost always included the phrases I hate Pennsylvania. I'm not a Yankee. I like the South better. Mostly, it was just I hate Pennsylvania.
And I didn't hate it just because I wasn't used to being here, I had reasons. The weather was so gloomy. The roads were torn up and bumpy. They didn't sell beer in grocery stores. Everything's so congested that I never knew what town I was in. Nobody had a tan.
We've been lucky, though. Matt has a great job, and we've lived really close to his parents and all his siblings. His siblings have even grown to be our best friends.
From the minute we moved here, we promised ourselves we'd be back in the South by the time we had children. We wanted to raise our babies there and buy a big house with a yard. But, until then, we settled for apartments, and lastly, a cramped, newly constructed townhome smack dab in the middle of an old, run down neighborhood. Most homes in North Carolina are twice as big, for the same price. What a frustrating thought.
The house we live in right now has about a hundred flights of stairs too many. The half bathroom is literally beside the refrigerator. Ninety percent of our kitchenware and wedding gifts are stored in our garage because we only have enough cabinet space for dishes and glasses. Our front yard is black asphalt. We have to go outside, down through the garage and into the damp basement to do laundry. I've caught myself muttering under my breath constantly, The day we move out of this house will be the happiest friggin' day, ever ...
Matt was flown down to North Carolina for interviews twice in the past six years. If they're flying you down, they must really want you for the job, right? No. Every time he didn't get the job, I lost hope a little more. I cried and, as time passed, I mentally made Pennsylvania my home. I accepted that Carter would grow up here; it didn't seem so bad anymore. Aside from our house, we've gotten to know our checkout person at Target. We like our doctors. We have a giant mall two miles away. We have a barber. A hairdresser. We know all the roads, backroads and the fastest routes to Starbucks. Our house isn't a dream home, but I knew we'd get a better one ... not soon, but some day.
Out of nowhere, the same company e-mailed Matt for yet another interview a couple weeks ago and he - again - flew down. He's more than qualified for the job, but I wasn't getting my hopes up. I was actually even a little mad at them. They were wasting his time and causing him needless travel stress.
But he got the job.
Out of nowhere. He got it. They really, really want him. Sheer joy should have passed through my body, but instead my reaction was mixed emotions and confusion.
My stepfather put it best: You've been chasing this car for years. Now the car's stopped; what are you going to do? Well, for a couple days, we just stood and stared at that stopped car. Are we really going to do this? Are we picking up everything and moving 400 miles away? It's a strange thought knowing Carter won't be growing up around Matt's family anymore.
I'm glad I can say I lived in outside Philadelphia for a good chunk of my life. I learned a lot about a different culture and a faster pace of life. I got to know my husband's family really well and make them my own. I learned what people up here really think about the South. I was converted into a Phillies fan. I learned about Tolls. Beaches are called shores. Subs are called Hoagies. Snow isn't a big deal. You have to wear socks in the winter. It's not the end of the world if you don't have a tan; there are even ways around it. We discovered my fertility problems here and met a doctor who ultimately gave us Carter.
We brought Carter to his first home and battled sleepless nights, took turns napping, calculated the quickest way to change a diaper without getting peed on, tossed pacifiers across rooms. We watched him grunt, smile, sit, crawl, laugh and sink into our hearts.
I'm going to miss being here.
I'm so excited for the future, though. It doesn't feel real yet. I can't wait to live in a neighborhood we can take walks in and have a yard with a swing set. I want to have parties, barbeques and soak up the southern sun. I want Carter to be proud of his new home as he grows up.
The upcoming weeks are going to be jam-packed; we're going to take a weekend to go house hunting, then put our house on the market, search for a new pediatrition, fertility doctor, barber, cable company, grocery store, dentist, the list goes on and on.
I'll be doing a few more YouTube vlogs from this house before we go. It's going to be crazy. It's going to be awesome. It's going to be bittersweet.

Poor Cats

Our cats only have access to about a third of our house since we installed another gate, guarding Carter from a tumble down the stairs. It's nice to have a pet hair-free kitchen and wake up knowing they weren't sleeping on the counters all night. But I do feel kinda bad for them. The whole situation amuses Carter.

Grandma lets me ...

Bang on her piano

Explore her house

Plant sloppy kisses on her cheek

Make a mess in her living room

Clang her pots

Watch sparklers

Play by the pool

Feed the ducks

Carter and I rode the train down to North Carolina last week to visit my mom. The seven hour trip holding a temperamental ten month old was a definite challenge. Any survivers onlookers sharing our train car surely had reports of the hysteria for their friends and family.
On the trip home, I met a really kind woman. I don't even like the word kind, but I'm using it here because nice or sweet just doesn't cut it. She was the type of person whose heart was so pure, you could see it in her eyes. When Carter fell asleep on my lap after hours of crying, she tucked her blanket around him him. Of course, I protested, and she just assured me over and over, I promise it's clean, then proceeded to go back to her seat and curl her knees to her chest, fighting the crisp air condition. When Carter wasn't crying, he stood on the edge of his chair, smiling at her and reaching out his hand.
While I was there, Matt called me with some amazing news (I'll share it with you soon). We stayed busy. Here are a few other pictures from our trip.

Under the wisteria vines

Zoned out in the tub, exhausted from travel

Sitting outside, waiting for his uncle to come over

Uncle Benton making his hat into a cowboy hat

The train ride home. Yo Gabba Gabba. No volume allowed. I couldn't get him to sit; he only fell off the chair once, though.

Carter's ninth month

Here's home video footage from Carter's ninth month. While I was making this, I kinda felt like I didn't pull out my video camera enough this past month, but I still managed to get cute footage.
Make sure you scroll down to the bottom of this page and pause the music player before you click play.

Away from the world and its toils and its cares,
I've a snug little kingdom up four pair of stairs.
-William M. Thackeray

It's back!

I've been bummed ever since Target stopped carrying Throwback Pepsi a few months ago, I was in LOVE with the stuff!

A couple days ago, I was actually online considering buying it on Ebay. There. Now you understand how much I love it. (Also, note that I'm devoting an entire blog post to it, along with that crooked, blurry phone picture.)

Today I was buying enormous amounts of fatty baby foods and fragrant organic cleaners when I rounded the chip corner and couldn't believe my eyes. There it was, $3.33 a case. Oh happy dayyy! I got three cases, out of fear it would suddenly vanish before my eyes or someone as crazy as me might try swiping it out of my cart on my way to check out.

I would have gotten more if Matt was with me, but I knew I couldn't carry anything else, along with balancing Carter and trying to shush his just-for-fun-because-we're-in-public screams.

In an attempt to make this post somewhat baby relevant, and in honor of Throwback Pepsi, here's a throwback Meghann. My dad gave me this picture while I was visiting last week.

My favorite Pepsi is back!! Happy tooth-rotting to all. Or just me - it doesn't matter.


No, not bananas.
Or Grandmothers.
This post is about boobs. Tah-tahs. Or, as Carter would have it, Nanas.

I'll start by saying that I'm extremely proud of myself for being a part of the 11% of nursing mothers who (will probably) nurse my baby up to 12 months of age. I never thought I was that kind of person. You know, that determined, nursing kind. I'm happy Carter's so healthy. I love that it bonded us. I feel like I learned more about myself and my son that not everyone has the opportunity to do.

But, as it turns out, I'm finding that I don't really have a choice in the whole nursing matter anymore. Forget trying to make it 12 months, we'll be lucky if we stop before he's 20 years old. I'd love to start weaning him. In fact, about four months ago, I declared it was time to start formula (which, obviously, didn't work).

I'm a primary witness that too much of a good thing can go bad. It feels like we're on a runaway train. All aboard:

I was pregnant, I didn't think I'd be able to nurse. Everyone made it sound so hard.
The night Carter was born, I wasn't even sure if I was allowed to put him on my boob. It seemed weird, wrong, and I didn't know how.
The first month, I spent 20 minutes at a time trying to get him to latch on and position his head so he could eat. I still remember the sound of his hungry, frustrated grunts.
The second month, I couldn't believe I was really a successful, exclusively nursing mother. It felt so special, I loved it. Go me!
The third and fourth months, when we started to get out of the house a little more, I noticed how hard it was to feed, pump and have social freedom at the same time. I still loved it, I persisted.
Around six and seven months, I budged a little and decided we could mix nursing and formula. Carter wasn't having it. He pushed away formula and cried.
Around eight months, Carter developed a new passion for nursing. He does it for fun. Food. Comfort. He rolls around, sits and stands while he nurses. He'll lay with me for an hour and start humming when there's no milk left. He sucks, plays with a toy, then sucks again. He pinches. He owns it, it's his, he freaks when he wants it. And he always wants it. If nursing were a sport, Carter would be an Olympic medalist.

If you've extensively nursed your baby (like for a few months), you might understand what I'm talking about. After time, it can get to be a lot of weight on your shoulders, having the baby exclusively rely on you in this physical way - whining to you whenever he's hungry, bored or falls down and needs a comfort that can only be given by your chest.
It's frustrating not being able to leave him alone with his father - or anyone - for too long, knowing he'll get cranky and cause stress if he goes more than a few hours without nursing. Forget pumping bottles or shaking up some formula. Carter demands his nana.

I cringe when my husband asks him, Do you want some nana? The second the word hits the air, the baby turns into a Nana Machine, built to seek out and drain every breast created on planet Earth. Nana! Nana? Nana! Nana? Nana! Nana? Nana!
My instinct is to hide. Matt laughs, The boy loves his nana.
I've truly started to slightly avoid using words that start with the letter N around Carter, for fear of sparking his passion. Obsession. Fixation. Mania. Call it what you will.

Talking to a lot of moms via YouTube, I learned that the majority of us whose babies co-sleep and/or wake every couple hours to feed are nursing babies. At ten months old, I've finally got him partially in the crib, but the regular feedings withstand our sleeping situation. By the time the sun rises, he's somehow ended up in our bed.

Consequently, I noticed that it's a little strange he hasn't formed an attachment to any of the blankies or teddy bears I hand him before he goes to sleep. He literally tosses them all aside; looking any of the poor bears in the eye isn't even a consideration.
It's also a no to pacifiers. To bottles. To favorite books. To rocking.

He has interest in none of it, as his stellar blue eyes bore into my chest.
And then I realized it. I am his blankie. I am his teddy bear. I am his mommy. His little voice quietly whimpers and beckons his demand, Nana.
Major sigh.
Exhausted as I am, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Today I have a 10 month old

Let's celebrate! I'm happy he's not a year old yet. Technically, I still have a baby. Although the smarter he gets, the more I wonder if I'm dealing with a baby, or some kind of superhuman undercover spy, posing as a baby. Seriously, anyone who learns something before I even have a chance to teach it should be considered suspicious.

Ten fun facts about my ten month old:

1. He dances (bobs his head up and down) every time I sing to him.

2. Last week he got his first case of bad breath. It bummed me out. I always wondered how many teeth it would take until he woke up with dragon breath one day. The answer is six.

3. He will stop whatever he's doing if he hears Yo Gabba Gabba on TV.

4. His daddy can always make him smile.

5. Every time we leave the house, someone comments on the bright blue color of his dazzling eyes.

6. We think we've deciphered that he's right handed. My husband and I are lefties, but we decided to keep him anyway.

7. Watermelon is his pacifer. His happiness. His drug. He'll quietly sit at his highchair and indulge for an hour with a slice, if you let him.

8. He flirts with little girl babies in the shopping cart. He waves and devises grunts that could be easily mistaken for the word Hey!

9. He panics when strangers hold him. Sometimes, when I finally put on makeup after going a week without it, he panics when I hold him, too.

10. He remains unimpressed by swimming pools. I've taken him swimming at least 20 times this summer. Chasing his cats around the living room is much more fun.