Posted by: cameronmarch | November 19, 2008

Counting to “Jack”

Don’t you love how kids put the things that we teach them together in their mind?  Jack’s birthday was on Monday, so we spent the better part of last week drilling him with, “How old are you Jack?  Two!”  Again and again we would ask, and again and again he would refuse to respond.

Today, at naptime, we were reading a leftover Halloween book (Five Little Pumpkins) and I asked Jack to count the pumpkins on the page for me. 

His response?  “One. Two. Jack.”

Today’s Show Tune: A Chorus Line: One

Posted by: cameronmarch | October 30, 2008

Why I Don’t Bother Looking Nice Anymore

Every once in a while, I get in these moods where I get tired of everything in my closet and I go on a massive clothes shopping binge.  This happens about 3-4 times a year.  Of course, since I left the corporate world and became a full-time mom, the objects of my binges have changed considerably.  Now, instead of shopping for cute skirts, dresses and funky tops, I’m looking for fun new t-shirts and comfy jeans.

So, the past week or two I’ve been binging.  Of course, this time around, there was a dual purpose – I needed to pick up a few more “fat girl” clothes to tide me over until I take off some more of the baby weight since I figured I look decidedly silly still wearing maternity clothes every day.

So while I was at NY & Company (my favorite “fat girl” store – generous sizing and pants in “short” length) I picked up a pink top.  It was a little dressier than I normally would have bought for just hanging out with the kids, but it was on clearance and it made my rack look good (bonus) so I bought it.

I wore it today since we had plans outside of the house. Everything was going ok until after one of Jane’s feedings when she decided to unload all over my left shoulder.  No problem, I just wiped it off and kept going with my day.  After all, if I changed my shirt everytime I got spit up on it, I’d be generating as much laundry as Steve.  Then, at lunchtime, Jack decided to give me a big macaroni-and-cheese-handed hug.  It was special.  And messy.  After dinner when Steve got home I decided to check my text messages at the kitchen counter.  When I stood up and turned around to Steve he started laughing – I looked down and saw that my right boob had leaked a big wet spot onto my now sad-looking brand new pink shirt.

With one more task to do before pajama time, I thought my shirt was done with its initiation into the SAHM world.  But unfortunately that task was to give Jane a bath.  The actual bath went just fine, but the second I picked her up out of the tub and held her up against me to dry her off, she peed all over me.  And my shirt.

So I finally removed my spit up/macaroni and cheese/breastmilk/urine soaked shirt and tossed it in the wash pile with all of my other wardrobe victims.

Tomorrow I think I’m going to play it safe and just wear one of those free t-shirts I got from participating in some 5K ten years ago.  I probably won’t get a thing on it.

Today’s Show Tune:  West Side Story: I Feel Pretty

Posted by: cameronmarch | October 8, 2008

Blog in 60 Seconds

So I haven’t posted in quite a while.  And yes, there is a reason for that.  During the past few weeks, my life has been reorganized into two categories: that which can be put off until tomorrow, and that which can be accomplished one-handed.

Since Jane is in that newborn phase where she doesn’t like to be laid down anywhere, I find that I spend the bulk of my day carrying her around with me wherever I go.  So, everything I do, I have had to find a way to do one-handed, or it gets put on my list to do someday when the kids are both well-behaved, quiet, or sleeping (in other words, in about 18 years).

And it hasn’t helped that Steve is frantically trying to prepare for a big trip to Singapore and Australia, so his evenings are spent in the office doing work.  So, I am taking advantage of a rare opportunity of two-handed freedom, as Steve Bjorns-it around the kitchen with his laptop, to quickly type a post for my three faithful readers.

Here is my quick list of activities I have recently learned to do one-handed with my (literal) side-kick Jane:

1. Peeing.  Because let’s face it, sometimes you just gotta go.

2. Updating Facebook status.  Thank god they cap the number of characters in your status – it takes me about 5 minutes to type with one finger, but if I can’t update my Facebook, I just don’t want to live.

3. Putting together a puzzle, while holding all of Handy Manny’s tools, while rescuing a Matchbox car from under the couch, while reattaching the door to the Little People bus, while preventing jack from biting my leg.  C’mon – who can’t do this with one hand?!?!

Today’s Show Tune:  West Side Story: One Hand, One Heart

Posted by: cameronmarch | September 25, 2008

The First Time

The following post is part of a writing exercise suggested by a fellow mom and blogger.

I had, what many might call, a very “socially active” life during college as well as in my post-college years.  And as with most young people with this type of active social life, I’ve had a number of experiences with overindulgence of alcohol – both on my part and that of my friends. (Note to Mom, if you end up reading this: it happened, it was years ago, let it go)  I remember thinking at one point that for all the crazy drunk stories I had, one experience I had managed to avoid was being on the receiving end of someone else’s vomit.  There were years I considered this quite a coup.

As I approached motherhood, I realized that the percentage of moms out there able to maintain a vomit-free track record was probably infinitesimal at best.  Still, as the months passed, my status remained intact.  However, I slowly realized that I was missing one thing many other moms had and shared with each other like blazing badges of honor at each playgroup: a really good disgusting “war” story.

Then, one night, when Jack was about 15 months old, he started getting a little warm after dinnertime.  We went through his bedtime routine and I turned out the light and sat with him in the glider in his room to rock him to sleep.  As we sat in the dark, Jack coughed twice and then proceeded to unload his entire dinner, and probably part of his lunch all over me, my hands, my shirt, my pants, and my hair,as well as himself, his blanket, and the glider.  I called for Steve who helped me clean up the horrible mess, get Jack in bed and gather everything up and load the washer.

Somewhere around the rinse cycle, we heard another cough over the baby monitor. I went up to check on Jack and found that he had vomited again in his crib.  So once again, off came the sleeper, off came the crib sheet, out came the blankets and another load of laundry was taken downstairs.

By the end of the night, we had gone through four sleepers, three crib sheets, six blankets and 1/2 a bottle of Tide.

But I finally had my first good disgusting mommy “war” story.

Posted by: cameronmarch | September 18, 2008

I Used to Be Organized

Prior to the year 2006 BK (“before kids”), I prided myself on being organized.  I used that term to describe myself to my friends, in job interviews, and on those stupid chain emails that I used to have time to complete and send out to all of my friends (14. Choose three words that best describe you.  Now send this to 10 people in the next 10 minutes or suffer greatly for the rest of your life).

I wrote down appointments on a calendar, kept my email inbox neat and tidy and had the cleanest in-box you ever saw on my desk at work.  I attacked projects at work and home with a well thought out plan and plugged away at them until they were completed. I never missed an appointment, a meeting, an anniversary or birthday.  And then I had kids.

Now, my definition of “organized” has morphed to mean the following:
– I can remember the last place Jack left his binky and return to the scene of abandonment to retrieve the binky for bedtime.

– I usually, or at the very least, sometimes have the dishwasher run and emptied before needing to open it to hand wash a single dirty plate in order to feed Jack lunch.

– I remember that my friends and family still HAVE birthdays/anniversaries/special events, even if I let the dates pass me by without sending a card or email or making a phone call.

– The clothes strewn on my bedroom floor are separated into two piles –  “can be worn again” and “biohazard.”

This past Sunday night, I was faced with a dilemma I find myself in nearly every Sunday – other than my standing Thursday and Friday playgroups – I had nothing on the books for us to do for the week.  It makes the week so long to not have other people to pass the time with and force us to get out of the house.  And poor jack gets so frustrated being stuck inside the house with his boring mom and sister. And every Wednesday, I resolve to plan the upcoming week and fill it with lots of fun playdates and activities.  And then another Sunday comes.

So, who wants to get together next week???

Today’s Show Tune: Avenue Q: There is Life Outside Your Apartment

And just because they’re cute – some new pictures of Jack and Jane…

Posted by: cameronmarch | September 12, 2008

Celebrating Our IPO: Initial Public Outing

Today was a big milestone for myself and the kids.  We ventured out to the mall in our first public outing since Jane’s arrival.  We’ve been to a couple of playdates at people’s houses, but this was our first trip to a public place (using the double stroller for the first time), journeying to a land where the kids outnumber the moms 2 to 1.

First, the good news.  I survived.  And more importantly, I returned home with the same number of kids I left with. 

We met up with Kristen and her two boys and hit Old Navy.  I was determined to avoid the dilemma I found myself in last fall when the 60 degree weather hit, and Jack had nothing to wear other than shorts and rompers.  Hence, the pre-emptive trip to the mall for pants and long-sleeved little boy shirts.  I made it out of the house on time, got the Phil & Teds set up with the doubles seat and got both kids into the stroller without a struggle and rolled everyone into Old Navy for some shopping.  Then, somewhere between the Item of the Week (boatneck T’s for $12) and the 40% off Baby Sale, both kids decided to have a simultaneous meltdown.  Jane was unhappy because I stopped the stroller to look at some striped cardigans (how dare I) and Jack was unhappy because Jane was unhappy.  Determined to complete my mall mission, I grabbed some pants, a few pair of fall PJ’s and two long sleeved T’s and headed for the checkout.  I even managed to throw a Jack Snack in the back of the stroller to quiet half of my brood before making my way out of Old Navy. 

Then, after a quick stop at the Redskins Store, Kristen and I rolled the kid quartet to the play area to let the boys run around.  Of course, Jack got overwhelmed by the chaos, as he sometimes does, and decided he didn’t want to play.  He was pretty miserable and only wanted to run out of the play area and through the mall. Thankfully, Jane slept through the entire thing.  After running into a few more friends (all moms of 2-year olds and infants) we headed to the food court for lunch.  Jack did really well and ate some Chick-Fil-A and even let Mommy get some lunch and chat with her friends.  Jane continued to sleep. Yay!

At one point, Kristen left the table to take Roy to the restroom to change his diaper.  As she walked away, carrying 40 lbs of kid (baby Jack in the Bjorn on her front and Roy on her hip) and armed with her diaper changing supplies in her “free” hand, I just started to laugh.  All of the tension and apprehension I felt about how I would manage both of my kids in public just melted away as I realized that I was not the only mom struggling with how to keep up with two little ones.  It’s going to be hard sometimes, but what makes it easier is having people to share, “OMG-guess-what-my-kid-did-to-me-today” stories with.

I did learn one valuable lesson today, despite my attempts to plan every aspect of our outing.  I neglected to throw the sling in the car in case of a Jane-meltdown.  Luckily, I didn’t need it, but it sure would have made the trip easier at times to be wearing her rather than having her in the car carrier.

Next time… If there is a next time.

Today’s Show Tune: Into the Woods: I Know Things Now

Posted by: cameronmarch | September 8, 2008

Is It Time to Panic Yet?!?

Since Friday evening, I’ve developed a new motto which should probably serve me well for the next indeterminite number of years:  “Sanity is best left to other people.”  Yep, that’s right – since Friday, I’ve received my crash course in Parenting 2 Under 2: 101.  Steve’s mom left Friday evening, a few days early – because of Hurricane Hanna, she had to get back to Norfolk before the storm hit.  Boo!  So Steve and I were on our own for the entire weekend.  We actually managed fairly well – we mainly played some one-on-one with Steve taking Jack and me taking Jane (who, by the way, has been feeding pretty much every hour for the past 4 days and is now over 7 lbs.).  Nights were not fun, but not torture since Steve got Jack up in the morning and let me catch a little extra sleep with Jane.

However, this morning I was thrown into the deep end, as Steve had to get up early to head into work.  For the WHOLE day.  So, for the first time, I had both the monster and the mouse by myself for an entire day.  It actually wasn’t that bad, but I think Jack got a little bored at times.  We stayed inside most of the day, except when we ventured out for a walk with Jack in his little car and Jane in the Hotsling (which I don’t think I had on correctly because she almost fell out the side a couple of times).  Steve came home for about 2 hours to play with Jack and help do his bath before he headed out on a late flight to Boston.  Yes, that’s right.  Jane made it to almost 3 weeks before Daddy had to go away on a business trip, leaving me to fend for myself with both kids.  To say the situation is scary is a bit of an understatement.

So, now, here I am.  Alone in the house with the monster and the mouse for the next 24 hours and 30 minutes. 

If nobody hears from me by Wednesday morning… send reinforcements.

Today’s Show Tune: Les Miserables: On My Own

Posted by: cameronmarch | September 5, 2008

The Monster vs. The Mouse

When Jack was born, it took about 48 hours after coming home from the hospital before he earned the nickname “Monster.”  We thought we had the loudest, fussiest baby and couldn’t imagine that any other babies were as difficult to manage as ours was.  Although the nickname was lovingly bestowed, it has managed to stick since then.  Now, however, “Monster” is more of a term of endearment than a label of the type of behavior exhibited by our little boy.

Almost two years later, Jane has also earned herself a nickname shortly after arriving home.  So far, “Little Mouse” is content to sit in the bouncer or pack and play and make quiet squeaking noises.  She has been known to exercise her lungs, but thankfully, so far, it’s been sparingly and mostly during daylight hours.

Steve and I, in a rare quiet moment the other night, found ourselves wondering just how honestly these nicknames were earned.  Was it really that at 2 weeks old, Jack was unconsolably fussy and monstrously loud and Jane easygoing and subdued?  Or have we, as parents, just gotten better at caring for a newborn and anticipating their needs?  I’d tell you what the conclusion to that discussion was, but we fell asleep before we decided.

Posted by: cameronmarch | August 29, 2008

Jane Price Keifer

Wow.  What a crazy eventful past 10 days since we welcomed our newest addition into the family.  I’m only now finding a few spare moments to get online to do a post.  But here is what we’ve been up to in Keifer-land since I’ve been gone.

August 20 – Steve and I left for the hospital around 6:30am.  I think the longest part of the entire labor and delivery process is the hospital registration.  Seriously.  But we finally got settled into our delivery room where I nestled snugly in my fashionable hospital gown (I do look hot in that blue diamond pattern) and waited patiently for my “feel-no-pain” drug cocktail.  After starting out at a good 3cm dilated, the doctor broke my water and the fun began.  At about 9:30am, a low dose of Pitocin was administered and quickly followed by the epidural (thanks to Steve insisting that the epidural immediately follow the Pitocin – a learning experience from Jack’s delivery).  Then we settled in to watch some Olympic coverage.  Steve was less enthusiastic to watch those crazy Today Show anchors frolicking around Beijing and interviewing obscure Olympians.  At precisely 10:55am, I started feeling mad pressure and called for the nurse who checked me again and told me that I was fully dilated and that the baby was indeed coming.  I reminded her of my history of quick delivery and she called for the doctor.  The doctor (not the one who delivered Jack – she is new to the practice) told the nurse she would be there in 20 minutes.  Ha.  The nurse then suggested I try pushing in the meantime.  Ha ha.  After giving ONE completly half-assed push, the nurse tells me “OK, let’s not do that anymore or the baby will be here.” Ha ha ha.  So I spend the next 10 minutes holding the baby in waiting for the doc and then once she shows up, I spend another 10 minutes waiting for everyone to finish setting up (um… did they not hear “history of quick delivery”?).  Fortunately, I had The Price is Right (and Steve) to keep me company. Unfortunately, the pricing games were lame that day.  Squeeze Play? Really?  Boring!  So finally, everything was ready and Jane came sliding out at 11:51am, just in time for the Showcase Showdown.  We spent the rest of the day relaxing in our room. 

August 23 – After being discharged the day before, we head back to the hospital for a bilirubin check.  Unfortunately, Jane’s number had climbed up to 18 and she was admitted to the hospital for phototherapy.  So, we all settle into the Pediatric ward for the night.

August 24 – Another day in Pediatrics. And Steve and I thought we wouldn’t have anything exciting to do on our 6th wedding anniversary.  As Steve said, “At least we get to spend the whole day together!”  Luckily, Jane’s numbers start to drop and we were released that evening to go home.

August 25 – Jane’s 1st appointment with the pediatrician.  Her bilirubin numbers dropped to 15.5 and the doctor gave her a glowing report overall.  Yay!

For the rest of the week, we just hung out at home – Queenie was on hand to entertain Jack, clean the house, make dinner and basically do everything required to keep an entire family alive for a week.   Jane has adjusted well to Keifer-life and so far, Jack is absolutely obsessed with his little sister.  We’ll see how long that lasts, but for now, it is the cutest thing ever!

Today’s Show Tune: The King and I: Getting to Know You

Posted by: cameronmarch | August 19, 2008

Pondering the Big Day

It’s the night before we head into the hospital for the big induction and I think I may have finally figured this whole thing out.  See, I had a thought earlier today that any woman who has given birth will laugh hysterically at.  I found myself thinking, “Good God.  I can’t wait to just push this little watermelon out – it can’t POSSIBLY feel any worse than I’ve felt the past few days.”

Now for anyone who is not ROFL at the moment (i.e., for my male readers), this statement is funny in an ironic sense because anyone who HAS pushed a little watermelon out knows full well that, although rewarding in the end and totally worth the pain (blah blah blah), childbirth is definitely one of life’s biggest “ouchee” moments.

But for me, the past few days have brought me more aches and pains than I care to remember.  Over the weekend, I developed severe heartburn which turned into upper back and chest pain from my inflamed esophogus and settled into a nice case of nausea.  Couple that with still needing to entertain (i.e., pick up and carry everywhere) my Jackmonster and be on full mom-duty, and it made for a very unpleasant few days for me and anyone within 20 yards of my presence.

But here comes the epiphany… I thought about it and realized that if the last few days of pregnancy were so wonderful, would I be as excited and happy for tomorrow morning as I am now?  Probably not.  I’d probably be nervous and apprehensive of all of the hospital hijinks awaiting me that I remember only too well from just a scant 21 months ago.  But now I happily say, “Bring it on!”   Nothing lasts forever, right?  I just know that in about 12 hours or so, there’s gonna be another little monster out there lookin’ at me and singin’ out for Mama.

Sing out Louise!

Today’s Show Tune: Jekyll & Hyde: This Is The Moment

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