Growing a Critter

We’re growing him on the outside now

Travel and 12+1 months September 22, 2008

Filed under: family,profession — crittermama @ 8:52 pm

On the high seas, the crew never uses the number 13 – they say 12+1. In deference to my paranoid (yet wonderful) husband and his superstitions, I’ll do the same. I believe he got this from Linda Greenlaw’s book The Hungry Ocean: A Swordboat Captain’s Journey. She’s the other captain in The Perfect Storm – the one that actually finds the fish (sorry, seafaring George Clooney). All that being said, we’re very happy that the Critter has hit the 13-month mark as of this weekend. Hooray!

I recently took my first out-of-town trip away from my boys. We all survived! I left early last Saturday morning on the train for NYC, heading up to do 3 focus groups with African expats living in the city about their food preferences and attitudes. I learned a LOT. On Sunday evening, I flew to Milwaukee where the AZA annual conference was held this year. It was different, more spread out than previous years, and a bit more difficult to find everyone I was looking for. But I was still so busy meeting people and going to sessions that I didn’t have time to dwell too much on being away from my boys.

Of course I did end up showing my baby’s pictures to friends, colleagues and even the stranger next to me on the plane! Dave and the critter did just fine, though we were all very happy to see each other when I got back on Wednesday! It’s good to be home but I’m glad that I know I can travel and not freak out.

The boy is walking more and more now, and I feel like he’ll be picking up tons of words once he gets the walking down. Rob says the same thing happened with Abby – that she was in a holding pattern with language and signs until she figured out walking. We’ll see what happens!

We’re looking forward to fall and enjoying autumn traditions with our little guy. Gotta go back to the pumpkin patch! Something tells me that it will be a little different this year…



oh eight to the third power! August 7, 2008

Filed under: birth,family,holidays — crittermama @ 9:30 pm
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Oh eight oh eight oh eight, people!!! I’ve been waiting for this day since I learned to count! I’m only slightly less excited than I was on 08/08/88! True confession: I still forget which is the month and which is the day when I write the date as above, since I never had to figure it out for my own birthday. Another true confession: there is a freakish convergence of birth months and birth dates in my family. Among my sisters, we are 08/08, 02/02 and 01/11. SERIOUSLY. My mom is only one digit off, at 05/04. Oh, for want of one day!!

And there’s this HUGE global, ceremonial (state-sponsored) celebration going on, halfway around the world. And it starts at 08:08:08 PM! Hee!

Ok, enough nurd-dom. August is, and always has been, my favorite month. But as I’ve gotten older, more and more things have added to the fun of the month. Dave and I are celebrating BirthAversary this weekend, with A REAL DATE. We’re doing part I of a babysitting swap with our friends & neighbors on Saturday and we’re going to a movie (Bottle Shock) and out to eat (Tabard Inn). SO EXCITED. We’ve only been out on our own – just the two of us – ONCE since the critter was born. WHOO HOO.

And of course we’re looking forward to the critter’s birthday in less than two weeks! It’s so strange to believe that it’s already been a year. He’s amazing and hilarious and growing & changing all the time. We finally had our ENT appointment yesterday, and the doctor doesn’t think he needs tubes at this point – hooray! They did some tests, and he has some negative pressure in his right ear, but his left ear is just fine. We’re going back in October for a check up (when cold season arrives) and we’ll see what happens then. Fingers crossed.

Finally, here’s a picture of our little guy (he inadvertently was playing elephant games):

Baby elephant

For more (including a video of our elephant baby), go to my Flickr page!


Dear God, thank you for the Muppets July 24, 2008

Filed under: family,silly — crittermama @ 9:32 am
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Also, tonight is our episode on Emeril! Here’s my hometown paper’s article on it: TV Chef Emeril helps Dalton family with Supper. They got a few things wrong, but generally got the right idea. I just hope I don’t embarrass myself too much!

With Emeril, after the taping of our show

With Emeril, after the taping of our show


Chattavegas July 14, 2008

Filed under: family,home training,profession — crittermama @ 8:34 am

Ah, land of my youth, infliltrated by godless liberals and conservationists from far-flung areas of the globe. I’m here and have my official conference badge, canvas bag and ceramic coffee mug. And yes, the conference is at the same location where I made my debut in the Cotton Ball. A friend asked me to bring a picture, but I’m afraid I cannot, as my bangs were about as puffy as the shoulders on my dress.

The critter is in the Carpet Capital with his Dee Dee, and so far, everything is ok. We had some Griswoldian escapades setting up a place for the critter to sleep last night, but three tries and a pack-n-play later, and he’s good. Who knew that with three full-sized cribs in the attic, that none would be suitable (or fully supplied with parts and attachments)?


4th of July July 4, 2008

Filed under: family,health,holidays — crittermama @ 9:52 pm
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Happy Independence Day, everyone! I hope you’ve all had a terrific day, full of family and friends. This is just a collection of semi-random thoughts on the holiday – thank you for indulging me.

One of the best ways to start this day is to read to Declaration of Independence. I love it so much that NPR hosts read it out loud on the radio every year. It helps get me in the right frame of mind. I missed much of it this year (including the part about “the merciless Indian savages”) since I had to get some new pants for the critter during that time, but still.

We had a big breakfast this morning, but not quite as big as the 4th of July breakfasts I grew up with at the lake. Lots of extended families would be out there, and we all got together in the meadow for the biggest breakfast you’ve ever seen. HUGE amounts of rich, southern food. And of course this is after the adults had already fortified themselves with bloody mary’s and milk punch (I still cringe, just considering the fact that such a beverage exists. blech.)

We were invited to two parties today, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, and we each made it to one of them. The critter woke up with a fever this morning and hasn’t been doing so well today. The highest the fever got was 102.7, even with Tylenol – kind of scary. He slept a lot and was cranky when he was awake and didn’t eat very much. So I went to the afternoon party and Dave went to the evening party, so the critter could rest and also not infect any other critters.

I did make some deviled eggs for each party. Gotta love some deviled eggs. It turns out that neither Dave nor I actually ate any however. The critter woke up from his nap while I was at party #1 and I had to leave before getting any. When Dave was at party #2, he put the deviled egg plate (yes I have a couple of deviled egg plates now!) down and they were all GONE before he had any. Hee!

Fireworks when I was little were a smallish (but fun!) affair at the lake, usually shot off by whichever adults had had the least amount to drink. Kids shot bottle rockets and sparklers (sometimes at each other, but not many fingers were lost). There was also a fireworks display that the city did from the Rec Center, and our neighbors down the street had the best view from their back porch. It’s a crazy cool house that’s been on the market for years because few people want such a funky house (with an elevator!). The view from our side yard was pretty great, too, but lacked seating other than a blanket on the grass. Tonight’s fireworks were viewed from our couch, due to sick critter and rain. But we did see some of our town fireworks out our bedroom window. We’ll take the critter out to the mall sometime in the years to come.

Now we’re finishing the day off watching the end of Jaws. I need to get Dave to do a write up of the shark fishing expedition that he, Daddy and Brandon enjoyed while we were at the beach. He loved it, unsurprisingly.



beach beach beach June 30, 2008

Filed under: family — crittermama @ 9:48 pm
Tags: , , ,

Back to reality now, but the beach trip was terrific! Here’s a small sample of the good times:



Catching up: Critter stats June 10, 2008

Filed under: development,family,home training — crittermama @ 7:24 pm

Howdy folks!

It’s hot. It’s Africa hot – and I should know. So we’re hunkered down inside, with the curtains drawn and fans running. The thunder has started to roll, so hopefully things means that the coming storm will bring some cooler weather.

So it’s time to catch up on some recent developments:

  • The boy hit the 9 month mark and is heading for 10 months
  • He’s upwards of 19 pounds now
  • He has a neverending ear infection – we’re on antibiotic #3 now. Sigh.
  • He recently discovered his tongue and is sticking it out all the time. He also loves to go bla blah blu blue bla balah all the time, tongue a-waggin’
  • He’s pulling up on everything, and laughing when it doesn’t go so well. We hope he’ll hang on to that particular personality quirk for a while.
  • As of the past 48 hours, he’s cruising. On Sunday, it took him 30 minutes to move one foot to his left. This morning, he was halfway around the coffee table within a few minutes.
  • He laughs ALL the time.
  • We’re heading to the beach in a couple of weeks and we can’t wait to see everyone on my side of the family. The Alaskan contingent now officially lives East of the Mississippi and South of the Mason-Dixon line and we’ll get to see them – hooray!!!