Adults only.

We have dinner plans tonight with 4 other couples – sans babies. The last time we did anything like this was the first week of December (it has taken us that long to plan this, ahem).  My parents are taking Aubryn overnight.  I am so excited!

(Just don’t tell my mom that Aubryn was up twice in the middle of the night last night.  I finally brought her into our bed which was TK4’s cue to sleep in the guest room.  No fever so I think that she is just cutting her two top front teeth.)

Published in: on February 28, 2009 at 2:22 pm  Comments (3)  

Are you ready?

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Spring training is in full swing.  The Phillies played their first spring training game Wednesday.  Opening day is April 5th.

Around here, certain people live, breathe and die by the Phils.  I grew up in a house where Sundays were for church and baseball.  Some of my earliest memories were going to Veterans Stadium with my dad to a Phillies game – he even taught me to “keep score” in the program.   Great quality time – just me and my dad.  My heroes had names like Schmidt, Carlton, Hayes and Samuel.  (I can even remember their numbers – 20, 32, 9 and 8, respectively).

I can remember where I was when the Phillies lost the ’93 World Series (coming home from a high school football game on the student bus – listening to it on the radio) and I am not embarrassed to say that I shed a tear (or 100) when the Phillies won the World Series in ’08 (sitting in my family room by myself because I could not stand to watch that game with anyone else).

I’ve been to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown 3 times.  I can remember summer vacations to Maine where my dad sat in the car listening to 1210 because the Phillies game was being broadcast and if the car was positioned just right, he could get reception.  We’ve been known to plan summer trips around the Phillies out-of-town schedule so that we can catch a game in a different stadium – planning on Pittsburgh this year.  My parents have season tickets and TK4 and I have our own season tickets.  My dad is absolutely among the Phillies’ biggest fans – he never misses a game or spring training.  We’ve been fans when the Phillies have been really awful.  We are fans now when they are really awesome.

I can’t even describe how happy a stadium hot dog with spicy brown mustard and relish and a beer make me!  The perfect date with my husband?  A Friday or Saturday night Phillies game (maybe with a stop at Starbucks on the way home…)  Just thinking about it is getting me all nostalgic and excited.

What picture was used in my parents’ Christmas card this year?  Well, see for yourself:

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And my little family of 3?

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I hope that Aubryn grows up with heroes with names like Utley, Victorino, Hamels and Moyer.  They just seem like a nice group of guys and a great group of players.  I am ready for the Phillies this year – are you?

Published in: on February 27, 2009 at 6:00 am  Comments (2)  

Fashion Advice.

Jo-Lynne at Musings of A Housewife is giving me some fashion advice.  It’s for TK4’s cousin Rachel’s wedding in May in Austin.  Check it out and leave her some comment love if you have any advice for me…

Published in: on February 26, 2009 at 5:08 pm  Comments (2)  

Gender Selection. Would you do it?

I read this article today about selecting the gender of your baby.  For about $4000 plus the cost of IVF, you can select the gender of your baby with a pretty good degree of certainty.  The couples interviewed for the article each have their own reasons for wanting one gender child over the other.  I can understand some of the reasons but not all.

But is it right?

Is it moral?

Is it ethical?

Is it not enough to just have a healthy child?

Have we gone too far?

Full disclosure:  I really wanted a girl.  I had a girl.  I’m not sure that I would know what to do with a boy – I grew up in a house of all girls and only have sisters-in-law.  All of the grandchildren are girls.  Basically, the girls in my family and TK4’s family greatly outnumber the boys.

Would I have been disappointed with a boy?  Nope.  When I was pregnant with Aubryn, the doctor could not find a heartbeat at the first ultrasound and I was devastated.  I had some bleeding at 10 weeks and was devastated again.  Both times, my doctor prepared me for the fact that I may lose the pregnancy – lose Aubryn.  I am blessed to have carried her to term and have a beautiful, healthy child.  After carrying her and loving her for 9 months, I would not have cared at all if she were a boy.  I would not love her any more or less if she were a boy.

If parents like the ones in the article are willing to pay for gender selection, it’s their prerogative to do so.  I suppose that it does show how much the child is really wanted – although I do wonder if the gender selection is to fill some other void in the lives of the parents.

Do I think that it’s a bit crazy to use sorting, spinning and unnecessary IVF to predict the gender of your baby?  Absolutely.  Is it for me?  Absolutely not.

(I don’t want to give the impression that I think that fertility treatments for couples who truly are having difficulties having a baby are in any way wrong.  I have good friends who have beautiful children as a result of fertility drugs, IVF and even surrogacy.  Each of these are wonderful options that I fully support.  TK4 and I would consider any of these options if we were facing infertility.  Fertility truly is a gift.)

Published in: on February 25, 2009 at 9:27 pm  Comments (3)  

In current rotation.

I’m really enjoying my current music choices in my car (when I’m not listening to Eclipse on CD, that is)… 🙂

* Viva La Vida – Coldplay.  Love, love, love this album.  I have always been a big Coldplay fan and I think that this might be my favorite album of theirs yet….

* Coming Up to Breathe – Mercy Me. This has been an old faithful in the car.

* From the Wood – Pat McGee Band.  I have always loved this album.  A favorite since college that seems to make its way into my rotation every now and then.

* Circus – Britney Spears.  No judging.  It’s actually fun to listen to while you drive and it was a Christmas gift from my hubby.

* The Road and the Radio – Kenny Chesney.  Another old one but I really enjoy this one.  And yes, I am a country music fan.

And last but certainly not least:

* Yummy Yummy – the Wiggles.  Hot Potato or Fruit Salad anyone?

It’s an eclectic mix but it gives me something for just about every mood…

So what are you listening to right now?

Published in: on February 24, 2009 at 6:00 pm  Comments (4)  

What I learned this week.

Jo-Lynne at Musings of a Housewife is having another What I Learned this Week Carnival.  Join the FUN!

Here’s what I learned…

That I truly value quality time with my husband.

So often the stress of life, parenting, home-ownership and work can consume not only my week but my weekends too.  With TK4 and I both working full time, parenting, keeping a house, TK4 being in grad school, and trying to be a good, faithful friend, sibling and child, often our weekends are as crazy as our weeks and by the end, I realize that TK4 and I have not spent any quality time together.  Last weekend, we spent some good, quality time together and it was wonderful.

On Friday night, TK4 gave Aubryn a bath and put her to bed while I cleaned up the kitchen.  After Aubryn was down, TK4 and I “rented” a movie on demand, opened a bottle of wine and made popcorn.  We didn’t worry about laundry or cleaning, we turned off the computers and put our blackberries away and just spent some time together.  It was so wonderful that we did it again on Saturday with a different movie.

When we were dating, we were both poor (I was in law school and TK4 had just bought his first house).  We spent many Friday and Saturday nights renting movies or making dinner instead of going out.  It was laid back and wonderful.  Over time, other responsibilities have crept up and left us both exhausted come Friday night.  My recent pattern has been to go to bed early on Friday nights as a result of my sheer exhaustion from the week.  I realized this week how much I have missed spending that time alone with TK4.

I know that it will be hard replicate every Friday night but I am hoping that sooner rather than later, TK4 and I can have another laid back Friday movie night and spend some time just being us.

honeymoon

(Okay, and in looking at this picture, I realized something else that I learned this week – I am looking OLD.  This picture is circa 2006.  Having a child really does age you!  Sheesh!)

Published in: on February 23, 2009 at 8:31 pm  Comments (11)  

Perfect Sunday.

Today was what I consider to be a perfect Sunday.

Aubryn slept until 7:00 this morning.  I gave her a bottle cup of milk and TK4 took her downstairs and fed her leftover french toast from yesterday while I showered and dried my hair.  I got her dressed and we were out the door by 9:15.  We actually made it to church on time this morning!  Quite a feat for our little family.

Aubryn did well upstairs until the sermon started and then I took her down to the nursery.  I usually stay in the nursery with her because she is the smallest one in there.  The 4 year-old boys make me, well, nervous around her.  They really don’t understand their own strength.  After church, I got to catch up with some church friends and we went to my parents’ for lunch with them, my sister and my Gram.

Aubryn fell asleep in the car on the way home and TK4 was able to get her back to sleep in her crib.  She slept 2.5 hours and while she slept, I took a nap too.  I never, ever get to nap and it was heavenly!  Aubryn and I even got to watch a movie on TV this afternoon.  TK4 is studying for a final he has this week and I am catching up on blogs while doing laundry and making dinner.

What a great, relaxing Sunday!

Published in: on February 22, 2009 at 6:27 pm  Comments (1)  

I need to get some things off my chest.

I have some confessions to make:

*  I still let Aubryn have a bottle at night before she goes to bed… and one in the morning when she gets up.  I know that she’s supposed to drink only from a cup but I do only send cups to school.

*  Aubryn woke up at 5:00 yesterday and I let her have her bottle in my bed so I could get 20 minutes more sleep.

*  We are out of size 3 diapers and I briefly considered rigging two size 2 diapers together instead of calling TK4 to pick up more diapers on his way home.

*  I opened the dishwasher last night and let Aubryn play with the silverware and tupperware in the bottom rack so that I could get some peace and quiet cook dinner and pack tomorrow’s lunches.

*  I let Aubryn play on the stairs from the kitchen to upstairs last night so that I could make her bottle (I could see her the whole time!).

* I DVR 90210 and One Tree Hill..  and Real Housewives of Orange County…. and New York.

*  I finished listening to New Moon in the car yesterday morning and obsessively checked the status of my Eclipse hold all day.  It’s been “in transit” to the local branch since yesterday.  Argh.  I’ll probably do the same thing today.

*  My dinner last night consisted of what Aubryn did not eat of her dinner and cake batter ice cream right out of the carton.  (Yes, my husband was out).

*  If I don’t recognize your number on my caller i.d., I don’t answer my phone.

*  I often sometimes don’t bother to wipe Aubryn’s nose because it’s just not worth the drama.

*  When Aubryn screams in the car for some unknown reason, I’ve been known to turn the radio up so that I can focus on something other than the screaming.

*  My next career is going to be something that I don’t bring home with me at night (physically bring home work or mentally bring it home), like a news reporter.  My friend from college is a reporter for the CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh and she always says that the best thing about her job is that today’s news is today’s news and will be yesterday’s news tomorrow so when she leaves work, she never feels like something is hanging over her head.

*  Aubryn is starting to take a step here and a step there.  Mostly she’ll take one step from holding onto the coffee table to the couch.  I am finding it to be very, very exciting.

*  I hate to be told that I can’t do something.  Part of what motivated me to become a lawyer is that a man in my church once told me that Christians could not be lawyers.

*  Despite how overwhelming Aubryn can be at times, I really want to have another baby.

*  I am canceling my membership to the Y.  I have only gone twice.  Maybe I’ll rejoin in the summer.

*  I wrote all of the thank you notes from Aubryn’s birthday party last week and addressed them.  All that I have to do is put stamps on them and drop them in the mailbox and I just can’t seemed to pull it together to do that this week.

*  I am thinking of growing my hair.  Thoughts?  Opinions?  I know some of you have some – especially my sister…

I feel better.  Thanks for letting me get those things off my chest!

Published in: on February 19, 2009 at 5:00 am  Comments (3)  

Not so immune.

We had an appraiser come to appraise our house yesterday.  We are in the process of refinancing.  (Interest rates are so low that if you have not financed or refinanced your house in the past year – do it!)  The appraiser did a drive by appraisal of our home a few weeks ago and the appraisal came back way low.  $70K less than the last house that sold in our section of the neighborhood (last summer) and almost $10K less than we paid for our house in December 2004.  Less than we need in order to make our refinancing work for us.  So yesterday, the appraiser came back to see, measure, oogle, gawk and form opinions about the inside of our house.  And maybe to judge my messy family room a little.  At least I made the beds and picked up the dirty clothes – Aubryn did get tubes yesterday!  He asked us straight out how much we need to make the refi work and we told him.  I am crossing my fingers that the number comes back where we need it.

Besides the historically low interest rates, we are refinancing now because we may not be better to do it later.  There are two houses in the other section of our neighborhood (the section built by, in my opinion, an inferior and less prestigous builder) which are short sales.  What this means is that the owners can no longer afford their mortgage.  Instead of foreclosing on the property, the mortgage company will let the owner stay in the house and sell it for less than mortgage left on the property.  The bank takes a loss but does not have to carry the property – banks are really bad at managing foreclosed residential assets.  The bank has to approve the sale, realtor commissions, etc.  Both houses in the other section of our neighborhood are larger than our with all of the bells and whistles (we’re talking three fireplaces, including one in the master bath) and are for sale for less than we paid for our house.  One of those houses is for sale for more than $100K less than we paid.

For those that know me in real life, you know that we tried to sell our house last summer to move closer to my parents’ house and my office.  Although we got three offers, we weren’t able to get the price that we needed and decided to stay.  Now it looks like we’ll need to stay for at least five years.

Before the first of the year, I had lived in a bubble pretty much thinking that we were immune from what is going on in the economy.  A bit naive given what Tom and I do for a living?  Perhaps. I now realize that we are not so immune.  Some of our neighbors are avoiding foreclosure on their houses by selling them at a short sale.  Some people who were just like us in 2004, 2005 or 2006 are now have their credit scores in ruins because they cannot afford their houses.  Are they different from us?  I don’t know.

What I do know is that TK4 and I are incredibly fortunate to both have our jobs.  If you follow legal news, you know that last week saw more than 800 attorneys losing their jobs from firms just like mine.  Another large law firm announced that they are asking their associates to take a 10% pay cut.  Almost every large law firm – including mine – has frozen salaries and virtually eliminated bonuses.

My husband does not exactly work in a stable industry either.  He has seen his company lay off 60% of their workforce in the past 2 years and we have seen his salary reduced by 25%.  We have seen many friends lose jobs.  We are blessed to not count ourselves among them, yet.

So we are not so immune from what is going on around us.  I know that it is much, much worse in other areas of the country but what I see here scares me.  How did we get this way?  When did our nation (our world, really) come to this?  I know that God will not leave us or forsake us and that we should depend on Him for all of our needs.  But some days it is so hard not to worry.  In the end, I know that as long as Tom, Aubryn and I are together and healthy, that is all that really matters.

Published in: on February 18, 2009 at 5:00 am  Comments (4)  

She came home with more than just tubes.

When they discharged Aubryn from the hospital yesterday and sent her home with me, she came home with more than just tubes.  She came home with an a-t-t-i-t-u-d-e.  Well, that’s not exactly correct – she’s had the attitude pretty much since she turned one.  Best of all, it seems to be reserved for me.  Sweet!  I never knew it would start this early.

Generally when we are home, Aubryn is either being carried around by me, sitting on my lap or hanging on my leg.  Most of that time she is either whining at me or fussing.  Maybe she’s frustrated because she really wants to walk and talk and just can’t yet?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that I cannot go to the bathroom or take a shower without her banging on the door or the glass shower stall to get in.

This morning, I was drying my hair when Aubryn woke up.  By the time I had made it into her room, she had worked herself into such a screaming fit that she had thrown-up in her crib.  Fabulous.  A little 7 a.m. present for Mommy.  She calmed down when I picked her up but when I dressed her (did I mention that we sit on the floor to dress because she screams bloody murder if I even take a step towards the changing table these days?) the screaming commenced anew.  She screamed when I put her on the foor in the kitchen so that I could pack up her food for school and my lunch and screamed again when I put her in the car seat.

She screamed at dinner because I would not let her have my knife.  She screamed in the car the whole way home from my parents’ house.  She screamed when I got her undressed for her bath and had such a fit in the bathtub for Tom that she held her breath until she passed out (don’t worry – it’s not the first time and my pediatrician says not to worry about it – she’ll always pick breathing over screaming).  She screamed while I put her pj’s on and Tom was finally able to get her to bed.

Maybe her ears are bothering her?  They told me that at school she laughed and played and had a wonderful day.  Maybe it’s just for me?  Hopefully it’s just a phase.  Please tell me it’s just a phase!

In the mean time, what parenting books should I be reading?

Published in: on February 17, 2009 at 8:43 pm  Comments (5)