Monday, July 27, 2009

He eats corn!

We've had the hardest time getting Little Elvis to eat his veggies. For the record, I know corn is not technically a vegetable, but we thought we'd start with the easier veggies and move our way forward.

He happily eats sweet peas and sometimes eats spinach in quiche and on pizza. But that's it on the veggie front. We've had massive food wars over the whole corn thing.

But if my father hands him an ear of corn, well....

He eats it right up. Little Elvis likes to eat his corn just like his Coachpa does, slathered in butter and pepper. This very well could be where I went wrong -- I just give him his veggies plain.

This corn cob comes courtesy of KFC, aka Popeyes. Little Elvis has become obsessed with Popeyes. He's seen some commercials and someone at church talked about how great it was. I think his fascination lies in the actual word -- popeyes is fun to say -- because he HATES chicken. Anyway, he woke up on Saturday morning saying that he wanted to go "Pee-pee in the potty at Popeyes." Since there wasn't a Popeyes near us, we decided to take him to KFC and call it Popeyes. He got to pee-pee in the potty, eat french fries and some corn on the cob. It was a very successful trip. He's talked about pee-peeing in that potty for days now.

I think we'll try tackling carrots or tomatoes next. Any advice? Not sure even my dad can make carrots seem cool.

Friday, July 24, 2009

One lucky guy

This is Meredith's husband, Bob, making a cameo appearance on PregnantlyPlump. As you've probably gathered, Mere and Little Elvis are already in Mississippi, while I'm wrapping up work and cleaning up our rental house in Northern Virginia.


There is a John Gorka song called "Gravyland" that starts with the line: "If all my luck ran out tomorrow, I do believe that I have had my share." That's exactly how I feel. I've had more luck and have more in my life -- a wonderful wife, a beautiful son and another boy on the way -- than I could ever deserve. I've been thinking about my charmed existence over the past few weeks in light of the many personal and professional changes going on.


I suppose I can reveal at this point what I've been doing and what I'll be doing in future. For the past 4 years I have worked as assistant weather editor at USA TODAY. If you've picked up a copy of the paper during that time, most likely you've seen some of my work on the back of the A section on the full-color weather page that has become so associated with the USA TODAY brand. However, you don't have to have read a newspaper recently to know that the paper business is going south in a hurry. Fortunately, education is also in my background -- having been a high school teacher in the mid 90s before embarking on my meteorological career. Again, I count myself lucky to have a viable option -- some coworkers in the USA TODAY newsroom and newsrooms across the country have only worked as journalists (oddly enough, I've never even taken a journalism course) and there are precious few job openings in the field.


I'll be teaching high school science and a community college course in Mississippi. I'll be working harder for less money, but know that the move is the right one for my family. This professional change in direction has also spurred me to take care of some unfinished educational business. A decade ago, I left grad school without having completed my masters thesis -- I got an offer for my first full-time TV weather job and answered when opportunity knocked. Now ten years older and wiser, knowing that I need my masters to teach full-time at the community college or college level, I decided to check into what it would take to complete my work. Fortunately, the graduate school took into account my old thesis research as well as my professional work as a broadcast and print/online meteorologist and have approved an extension -- permitting me to receive my masters by writing a paper this fall. What a lucky break! Not only will getting my masters mean more professional opportunities for me, but I hope, down the road, that my twisted tale will show my sons the importance of finishing what one starts -- especially when it comes to academics.


I read somewhere along the way that luck is simply when preparation meets opportunity. Perhaps that is the case for me professionally -- my background is well suited for some opportunities in the field of education. As for the rest of it, meeting Meredith, having Little Elvis, being accepted warmly into Meredith's family and all the rest, I like to think that I'm simply a lucky guy. Now here's hoping my MegaMillions ticket is a winner tonight . . .

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another year older...

We've been very busy the last few weeks. Very busy. Little Elvis and I are now in Mississippi, inhabiting the top floor of my parents' house. Most of the belongings that I didn't sell are safely ensconced in a storage unit. The rental truck has been returned. The 14 (no, make that 18-) hour road trip is over... for us. Bob has that joy to look forward to next week -- with two very whiny cats and a packed-full car. Lucky guy.

Yesterday was my birthday. And it's not really been a big deal for me. Last year was the big one I guess. This year I was just too busy, too tired, too pregnant and too itchy to really care (working on week three of poison ivy -- yay.)

Little Elvis and I started out the day house-shopping. Our realtor is a girl I went to college with. We looked at 11 houses. I remember some of them, but couldn't really take notes on any of them. My little helper was not happy with the whole idea of house-hunting at first. But once we started hitting houses that weren't empty, he had lots more fun. Most of the houses we looked at were owned by families with little boys. There were lots of new trucks and planes and things to keep him occupied. Leaving wasn't all that fun, though...

For some crazy reason, I decided that a big yard was all I wanted. Why? I'm not so sure. We want to grow a garden, but my mom's parents have a huge one and welcome our help. But that's what I focused on. I have a huge feeling that me being pregnant and feeling extremely rushed (I want us into a house and a room done for Little Elvis BEFORE Baby Plum is born) is hampering my judgment.

My parents took us shopping and out to eat for my birthday last night. We then went to see my grandparents. It was a nice day. No pictures, though. Bob has the digital camera.

Little Elvis looked adorable. I dressed him in a big boy outfit, and he looked like such a big little boy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Waterfall! Waterfall!

We've lived in this area for about 3 years now. We are moving at the end of the week. So it makes sense that we would discover a super fun place that Little Elvis adores the Saturday before we leave.

Practically across the road from a grocery store we go to at least once a week is a bank with two arches in front that spray water continuously. It's not exactly a water pad...

Little Elvis dubbed it a waterfall and had the best time on Saturday. We went back on Monday just because he had so much fun. (I was also better prepared with a towel...)

Look at the sunglasses! That is a once in a blue moon occurrence. I haven't been able to get him to wear them since.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Saying goodbye

While Little Elvis will be relocating closer to one set of grandparents, he'll be moving farther away from another. We currently live a couple of hours from Grandpa Stew and Grandma Shan.

Both came to visit and say goodbye this weekend. Little Elvis received several cars (including a Lightning McQueen! And a car with a hood that opens!) and a puppy that rolls over.

In return, he renamed his Grandpa Stew. He just started saying "Pawpaw" when referring to Bob's dad. It was very, very cute.

Here he is with Grandma Shan and "Fido." I decided to name the dog, which I'm hoping will put off the eventual adoption of a real dog for a while. The thought of an infant, a toddler and a real puppy, is just too much right now.

Little Elvis loves Fido and tried to nap with him on Monday. That's why this post went up today instead. He didn't nap, because Fido was way too much fun. I learned my lesson. Fido stayed with me during naptime today.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Oops!

Ever since we told Little Elvis of the baby in my tummy, I have wondered when he would approach some non-pregnant woman and ask about her baby.

It seemed like that wasn't going to happen. He was more interested in showing my bare belly to unsuspecting strangers than pointing at theirs.

But, a couple of weeks ago he did it. He went up to the nursery woman at church and tried to lift her shirt to look at her baby. She is not pregnant. But she is one of the nicest people ever. I felt awful, but I guess since she works around kids all of the time it didn't bother her.

Little Elvis isn't the only one of us who makes gaffes about people's weight. Wow did I stick my foot in my mouth last night.

We, once again, dressed Little Elvis up as a cow for Cow Appreciation Day at ChickfilA (aka free food!) He got a kid's meal, and the prize was a cow figurine. He loved his cow figurine and when we headed for Wal-Mart, he decided to keep a tight hold on his cow.

At the moment, Little Elvis likes to say things over and over and over until one of us repeats him.

LE: Mommy girl!
Me: Yes, Mommy's a girl.
LE: Daddy guy!
Me: Yes, Daddy's a guy.
LE: Mommy, Daddy, Mommy, Daddy!
Me: Mommy and Daddy.

You get the picture.

Every once in a while, he would hold his cow up and say, "Cow!" to which I would respond, "cow." Sometimes he'd ask where the cow was going, but for the most part he was content to yell cow.

When pushing a cart, I tend to follow the rules of the road. I "drive" the cart on the right hand side.

At one point, a bigger woman was approaching us in the center of the aisle. She absolutely refused to move to the side with her cart, and since I do like to follow the rules of the road, the bigger vehicle always wins. I maneuvered us out of the way while thinking the woman was rude.

Right as the woman passed us, Little Elvis held up his cow and yelled "Cow!" to which I promptly responded, "Yes, cow," without thinking.

Oh yeah.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Timing

When we first told some of our friends about Baby Plum, we got a shocked "Was this planned?" reaction.

It kind of upset me, although our friends knew of our circumstances and it sure didn't seem like we had planned to expand our family right then.

We had, though. Baby Plum was as planned as babies can be.

But the week before we officially knew about him, Bob's company announced mandatory furloughs for every employee during the first quarter and pay freezes. And our landlord decided to up our rent several hundred dollars.

So, our timing didn't seem all that great at the time. We were so excited to finally be pregnant, but also very worried.

Our landlord backed off considerably when we said that we would just move. With the understanding that he would increase the rent at the end of August.
That gave us what we had needed all along -- a reason to start really working to get out of this area that neither of us like.

Since working remotely wasn't an option, Bob looked into getting his teaching certificate re-instated. He found out that he would need 150 online credits to get recertified.

In a period of about three months, my husband completed all of those hours. While holding down his full-time job, being a great father and husband, and doing other freelance jobs.

And the furlough couldn't have happened at a better time. The week Bob took happened to coincide with the worst of my early pregnancy symptoms. Little Elvis got lots of fun Daddy time and I got to rest.

When his company announced a second round of furloughs for the second quarter, the timing again worked to our advantage. Bob ended up going on several job interviews during our "furcation." He got two offers, one of which he accepted.

What does this mean? It means we are moving! We are finally, finally leaving this area. We'll be moving a whole lot closer to my family -- to an area that is affordable. We will be looking to buy a house, not looking at crappy rental properties with moldy walls.

Little Elvis will be surrounded by loving (and loud) relatives. He'll get to become buddies with his cousins. Once Baby Plum arrives, he will still be showered with attention, as will his baby brother.

When I was growing up, all I wanted to do was leave my home state. Get as far away as possible. But once I became pregnant with Little Elvis, something inside me changed. I wanted to be home. I wanted Little Elvis to grow up surrounded by relatives like I was. I wanted to be there for the impromptu cookouts. I wanted my grandparents to show up unannounced just to visit with Little Elvis. I wanted to be close to my parents, and I wanted our son to be close to them as well.

I consider myself extremely lucky, because Bob was fine with all of this. Lucky that he and my parents (all of my family) like each other. Lucky that he's willing to relocate once again. Lucky that he loves us so much.

At the beginning of the year the timing of everything seemed off, but it wasn't. It worked out very well for us, and I am so thankful for that.

So, next week, Little Elvis and I will be heading home. Bob will join us a few days later.

It will be a completely different leg on our journey, but we are all looking forward to it.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

He's NOT a girl!

We've been getting the girl comments about Little Elvis since he was an infant. It's always bothered me.

I am not that mother who dresses her son in pink, because it's his "favorite color" (Very obscure The Office reference.)

And since we knew he was going to be a boy, he didn't have very many gender neutral outfits anyway.

He could be dressed in entirely in blue, with a big on that said "Big Boy," and someone would ask me how old my daughter was.

Once he hit one, things changed for a while. He was pretty much bald, so I guess it was easier for people to assume he was a boy.

But for the past couple of weeks, we've been getting LOTS of girl comments. Lots. And it's frustrating.

One man in the grocery store told me I should cut off his curls, because people would think he was a girl. Apparently this man's mother never cut off his curls when he was young, and it stunted him to the point that he felt entitled to lecture me in the check out line. His son had a buzz cut. My son? Had a few blonde wisps curling under the edges of his baseball cap.

The next week, some woman in a different store asked me how old my daughter was. Little Elvis was wearing a black muscle shirt with a big orange car on it and carrying at least 2 or 3 cars. I told her that my son was 2, and walked off.

At our yard sale, some woman called him a girl. Bob said, he's a boy. The woman could not believe us. Why would we lie about that? Little Elvis was wearing his red Lightning McQueen pajamas and blue crocs. He was also carrying a flag, and parking his Little Tykes car between our cars.

I just can't believe that his hair could be the cause of the confusion. My dad fussed and fussed about the hair, but during our last trip, he admitted that it really wasn't that long. The curls make it look shorter.

And his clothes are pretty much all blue, bright red, or blue and red plaid. He has some bright orange and some bright yellow shorts with SpiderMan on them.

If Little Elvis wanted to run around with a doll or stuffed animal, I would let him. But he doesn't. He runs around with cars, flags, trucks, street signs and miniature orange cones. Some parents have commented on his low-ish voice (for a toddler.) He's fairly rough and tumble.

What is wrong with these people?

I think a new rule should be added to that unwritten list of questions not to ask unless you are completely sure of the circumstances. For example, we all know better than to ask the woman with the belly when she is due, because you just never know.

Asking about the little girl, when the child is dressed and acts like a little boy, needs to be added to that list!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Portrait of the artist as a toddler

Little Elvis may not be the biggest fan of craft projects, but I think he has an artist's spirit.

It took him several minutes to organize these objects into just the right pattern. Usually, he prefers to work with only cars and trucks. But I was digging through his plastic dishes the other day, and he was inspired.

Monday, July 06, 2009

How to make a cat into a turtle

Little Elvis still hasn't tired of playing make believe with Wally. While watching Finding Nemo this weekend, Little Elvis grabbed our laundry basket, placed it on Wally and said, "Turtle!"
This was the only picture I could manage. Little Elvis saw the camera, and wanted some face time. And for some reason, Wally didn't like having a laundry basket on his back.

It's easy to understand why Slappy won't let Little Elvis within 5 feet.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Hiding out

So, I was very wrong about the extent of my poison ivy rash. The entire left side of my face is covered with tiny blisters. My cheek, lips, nose and chin are all swollen. I'm trying not to look at myself, because it seems to grow by the hour.

My right hand and arm now have big blisters on them, and I have spots on my chest and upper arms as well.

I called my doctor this morning, who called in some prescriptions for me that are safe for pregnancy. So far, I'm still itching and burning... a lot.

Bob works on Sundays, so I got to treat the world to my swollen, red face when picking up the medicines. I think I scared some people, although I tried to hide behind sunglasses and a ball cap.

The worst is that I'm not comfortable holding Little Elvis. He is extremely affectionate and just wants to rub my right arm and snuggle or kiss my hideous face. I try to redirect him to my mostly ivy free left arm, but he is determined to rub all over my right arm.

I've already cried twice today because I just can't let him touch these blisters. My brain knows that my rash isn't contagious at this point and that children under 7 rarely get it (according to Google) but I can't risk that. I am completely miserable with itchy, swollen, painful blisters and I refuse to put him through that because I want to hug and kiss him. (Plus, Google has been wrong before.)

Bob's poison ivy on his face and neck were remarkably better the day after he started taking his prescriptions and using his creams. My medicines are different, and possibly not as strong. I'm so hoping that I do feel some relief tomorrow.

For now, I am hiding out in our house and trying not to touch anyone or anything.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

No sleep for the weary

It's 1:25 a.m. on Saturday morning. We have a big yard sale in about 6 hours. And neither of us is sleeping.

It's not that we're so excited about the prospect of dealing with rabid (and usually rude) bargain hunters.

No, Bob's top half is almost completely covered in poison ivy. He had to get shots and prescription creams this evening. His face, neck and arms are a mess of ugly red splotches. He's miserable.

I am staying up in solidarity. Ok, I have about 4 small poison ivy patches (2 on my face and 2 on my right hand) and they itch like nobody's business. I've got phantom itches everywhere.

We were pulling the neighbor's vines off of our fence when it happened. Obviously, Bob was the one doing all the pulling, hence the fact that he's completely covered.

I most likely touched some with my hand and spread it to my face.

Bob has amazing willpower and is not itching, although I itch just looking at him. I've already scratched two scabs on my hand and arm.

Luckily, Little Elvis doesn't have any... yet. It's hard hugging and cuddling him, though. We're so worried that we'll pass this mess along to him.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Imagine this

Little Elvis' imagination is really growing. He likes to get goofy with his dreamings.

This morning, after Bob left for work, (this is sometimes traumatic) Little Elvis began calling Wally (our big cat) Daddy.

Poor Wally was passed out on a chair, and Little Elvis ran to him yelling, "Hi Daddy!" He hugged his furry father stand-in and began giggling.

I asked him if that was his Daddy. He said yes and kept on laughing.

Bob found this pretty funny. Wally was not so amused.