Monday, November 19, 2012

Sunday in the afternoon

Caught having a few minutes to myself:  my boys are on their way back from watching football with other boys (babies and dads), my papers are graded, and the diapers are hung to dry.  It's not bound to last long, but for the moment, the couch is really comfortable, Arnie is at my feet, and I am looking at a sun drenched front room.  I am so grateful to be where I am in this little moment.  It's been a FULL past few months, hence the random, sporadic updates.   We've had visitors, we've been spending time with friends, we are on the other side of 3 teeth, and the holidays are imminent.  That pretty much sums it all up, oh and, Nick and I are in agreement: we work equally as hard at a go away to work job and at a stay at home job.  We are both exhausted at the end of our 10 hour days.  And Nolan is walking.

We had a visit with Uncle Matt and Aunt Maggie about a month ago.  

Matt took a turn carrying him on the way back from the park, and by the time we were home, he'd grown huge muscles  (read, was exhausted) from our little 25 pounder :)
We caught Nolan's first pen and ink drawing.  (I modeled the squiggly line)

Nolan's 10 month photo: why do I love the light in this picture so much? It must be the boy being lit in the light.

Love this kid. 
This is pretty much a constant. Surfaces have to be completely baby friendly and toss- able.  The Montessori globe is a favorite:  it's very noisy hitting the wood floor.

This was before our very own episode of "life happening," to be continued another day. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Grutz says, "Here be dragons. OK, here be A dragon."

A brief Halloween for Nolan.

"Yep, Dad, I'm  going to get some candy!"

"What do you mean, 'I'm too young for candy'?"

"Ok, no candy, so I'll play with this noisemaker with Mom."
  This post took me 15 minutes to post.  Life during baby-time, huh?  Hopefully I'll post something soon, like "Hey is this water or pee?  Oh, it's pee." or "I love the smell of urine in morning." or "Wha, it's Friday?!?!"  Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Catching up with us

Sitting in the backseat, next to my sleeping baby.  The now sleeping babe has been resisting sleep like nobodies business.  It has been such a struggle to get him to let go of the wonders of the world, which are increasingly available to him.  He can’t relax when scooting off the bed and exploring the room are such at his fingertips.  And in the car as well, it took an hour and a half for him to let gravity do the job on his heavy lids.

We must not be the first family to have sleep issues, and Nolan is clearly in a phase that, as we’ve learned don’t last long.  This one is especially trying.  Now I have to wear him in the Ergo in order for his little active body to be contained enough to succumb to sleep.  He is so all over the place right now.  In less than a month, he has crawled, stood independently, squatted back down with control, walked himself along the wall and around free standing furniture, and has 2 teeth.  This has been an explosion of learning and I imagine his little brain to be making connections at an exponential rate.  So it’s not surprising that he can’t sleep, but it makes for a baby whose wobbly legs are a little wobblier. 

Nolan is also turning into an eater like others in his family: carb- centric.  He loves breads, crackers, cereals, cookies (yes, I’ve given him cookies), anything with a dry crunch to it.  Vegetables and fruits not so much.  Yogurt is another favorite.  And apple slices are delightful on those gums, but other than that, we have to mask foods by putting them on bread.  For example, he loves lentils and squash and hummus only when smeared on tortilla or pita or bread.  He won’t eat it alone.  Over the next 3 days of this increasingly short October break I am making it my job to offer/ prepare as many fruits and veggies as possible so that Dad has ready made choices for him while I’m working.  I guess I’m being extreme: now I remember that he likes roasted carrots too.  

So, as I alluded to earlier, we are in the car returning from a quicky visit to Dubuque.  And I am on my 1 week October break, cut down from 2 weeks because of the Chicago teachers strike.  I am pretty bitter about missing out on a week of break, but I am glad we aren’t tacking it on to the end of the year, which would be absolutely brutal. 

I have been meaning to upload this pic for weeks now.  We recently relocated our camera battery,  the picture flood is coming soon!

Our mini Dubuque trip can be summed up by what we ate.  On Monday night, Theresa treated us to Mario’s the ultimate family old fashioned Italian (reminds me of Norwood, OH restaurants).  My spinach tortellini was so rich that only a few bites were consumed, and Nick’s panzerotti was fried and filled with layers of meats, cheese and sauce (let it be known that he’s been eating the leftovers for breakfast for 2 days now).  Mario was sitting at the bar, and he kissed my hand like my Popsy used to, and he kind of looks like him too: same tummy and hair.   Nick wouldn’t let me finish this without mentioning the pizza bread, garlicky deliciousness that we just about finished before the meals came.  Nolan was a huge fan of the pizza bread.  I also would be remiss if I didn’t revisit  that our wedding reception in Dubuque was in the basement of Mario’s.  And that is such a good memory.

Tuesday we punctuated our morning with a visit to Hy-Vee (a grocery store), which if you’re wondering about the wonders of you can please ask Nick and he will wax on about what a great place it is, how the aisles are wide and there are friendly workers just waiting to help.  Nick stopped at Jitterz for a coffee, which would be where I would sometimes write when we were in transition before our road trip.  The real reason he needed a coffee was because the best bookstore around, River Lights honors a 10% discount with a coffee receipt from across the way at Jitterz.  I went a little crazy at the bookstore.  I’ve been feeling a little negligent with what Nolan has to play with lately, and some of the hard books there were so beautiful and irresistible that we treated him to early birthday presents (all books and 1 set of super cool stacking cups).   For me, books are guilt free purchases, even baby books.  I also got one book for my class, it is a Frankenstein version of Madeleine, and it is awesome.  Tuesday night, after a swing at the park and a visit with Lucy and Stella (cousin and cousin’s baby), we swung by Pancheros which is an expensive and delicious Chipotle.  For the record, I just finished my burrito for breakfast. 

And now we are over half way home, and I am grateful to be writing.  Lately I’ve been feeling such writing lust when I walk by coffee shops and see people (made interesting by their ability to sit in a cafe and write), just writing.  I am even jealous of the ones that are clearly writing academic work, quoting, probably in MLA style, and considering deeply esoteric notions.  The day that I get to just sit and write is going to come, but it won’t be for quite a long time.  Meanwhile, I will look at my still sleeping baby, and feel grateful for all that has been given to me. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Grutz says, "Rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated."

Quick photo ketchup.  He he.
"Look Aunt Peggy, moose!!!"

Crawling at the park.

King of the jungle gym.

At the Children's Museum today.  Oh, is that shaving cream?

Oh it is!!!!

Nolan and Gus.

I'll write with the details of Nick, Nolan, Kristina, & Gus' adventure to visit Mary Sue at the kids' museum.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

missing my sweet family

Written yesterday, 10/10

What a few days.  I am sitting outside Hamlin Park, waiting for Nick and Nolan to get off the bus and meet me for a quick visit before I have a tech rehearsal.  I am performing in Octet, a structured improvisational piece by Ayako Kato next weekend.  This is a throwback to my days as active dancer/performer.  It feels familiar and bizarre at the same time.  The dancing part is delightful, the missing my family part is really hard.  Today I left the apartment at 6:40 am, and won’t be home until after 9 pm.  This would have been a singular thing, but yesterday was open house at school, and I forgot to register to vote at our new address until last night.  (I left a message at our new Alderman’s office about registering and he actually called me back.  It was a welcome small town moment inside a huge metropolis. Two long days in a row and I am a bit of a mess; willing to have my family visit me at tech rehearsal for some cuddling and nursing.  My regular day is about 10 hours (leaving at 6:45 am and getting home at 4:30 give or take a little.  It is feeling SO long (non-stop at school, the only time I sit is in the closet pumping at lunch), and then dinner, bath, bed at home.  I am really struggling with how to get enough of my sweet family.

Monday, October 8, 2012

baby becoming a kid

Two things Nolan related:

1.  Yesterday morning Nolan would only eat when Nick fed him.  He refused to take the spoon when it was coming from me.  The food was the same, the method of delivery the same, everything identical except the hand.  And his resolve was strong throughout breakfast.   While I guess this is a sign of great attachment to Daddy, I am still nursing the sad, stingy feeling of not being the chosen feeder on the weekends...

2.  Last night we had frozen pizza for dinner.  I spruced it up with a layer of arugula and goat cheese (our CSA was over abundant with arugula so I am adding it to everything).  After Nolan ate half a piece of bread with hummus, he was still showing signs of wanting to eat with us (these signs are usually grunting and grabbing).  I gave him little pizza squares, with the bulk of the cheese removed, and the greens still present.  He proceeded to pick all of the green off of the pizza square before he ate it.  And again, and again.  He consistently picked off all of the arugula (and spinach underneath) from each pizza square that we have him.

These two Nolan things can point to only one other thing:  he is becoming a kid.  Moving away from infancy and early babyhood, he is making choices and has preferences.  Crawling babies make their wants known, and Nolan's continue to get clearer each day.  Also, this kid is stubborn.  We are learning that very quickly.  I guess we could also name stubborn something more positive such as resolute or strong mindset, but for now, we'll go with stubborn or maybe headstrong.  He is definitely that.

Here is the most recent picture we have:  already posted to facebook so it may be a repeat for some of you.  We have cozy matching sweaters that we wore on Saturday. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday thinking

 So I left the apartment with two different shoes on this morning.  In my defense, it was dark in the vestibule, but it goes to show my state of mind these days.  Rush to work, rush around in the morning preparing for the day, rush home, dinner, bath, shower, bed for Nolan.  And if I don't fall asleep with him, check a few things on facebook or the internets and then bed for me.   Yesterday was a little exceptional because Nolan and I had a quick visit with friends after work, and then I got to have a bath.  It was amazing, I think it's the first bath I've had since the few weeks post partum when baths were important for healing.  Nick lit candles for me and I soaked in super hot water.  I think my cold moved on to it's next stage (closer to being done), just from that hot bath.

Up for us this weekend: find camera battery charger so you can see our beautiful boy growing up!

Quick school anecdote:  Last Friday, someone from my class put a banana peel on the floor in our closet.  I made a huge dramatic deal out of it, and while I was expounding on the dangers of banana peels, my most mischievous student said, with complete innocence, "I thought that only happened in the cartoons."  The student whom I would have least expected confessed later.  He said he did it because, this other student (the mischievous one) told him to.  Of course I went in to the jump off a bridge analogy.  Ahh, the delights of 4th grade. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Grutz says, "My son's a show off." or "Best birthday present ever????????"

Enjoy.  Sideways. Or not.........

pumping in the closet, day 2

We have an outbreak of lice at our school, and given our recent encounter with bugs of another variety (I will dedicate another post to that discussion), I am paranoid, and itchy all the time.  I have a student that is almost constantly dealing with lice, and this morning, when I sent her to the office for a check, they sent her back with "only a few eggs," so she can stay today.  Albeit, with this particular student, attendance is as much of a problem as lice, so I understand, but it doesn't help with my psychosomatically itchy head.

Thoughts from the drive today:

Flock of birds making a figure 8 in the sky, I wish I was up there riding with the wind under my wings.

Pink fire sunrise over the lake, consistently makes me happy to be living where we are.

Again, fishermen to my left, always reminding me of my dad, and our (few) attempts at early morning fishing expeditions of past vacations.

And because I know you are hungry for a Nolan update: he is a crawling machine.  Nick just called me to say that Nolan crawled out of bed (our mattress is on the floor), over to the door, and was waiting behind it for Nick to come and get him.  He couldn't get the door open, otherwise, I am sure Nick would have found him chewing on Arnie's kong, or playing in his water dish.  This boy is on the move.   Also this morning, Nick updated me that Nolan stood up on his own, from sitting, pushing himself up with his little muscles.  He is changing and growing so fast.  (The lack of pics can be explained by our missing camera battery charger- it's in a bin somewhere, and hasn't been unpacked yet.)

I better stop before I leak milk all over the floor again, and... there it goes. Full bottle :)

AND it's Nick's birthday! Happy Birthday to my LOVE!

Monday, October 1, 2012

pumping in the closet at lunch

New title: quick thoughts while I am pumping in the closet.   I have been lamenting the loss of writing as my role is increasingly defined as NO FREE TIME AT ALL.   Mother, teacher, wife, friend and weekend homemaker have all superseded writer of late.  The drive to work is made nice by the sunrise over the lake, and it offers me a little time for thinking about what I would like to be writing, if I were to have the time for that.  Today on the drive, my thoughts were of gratitude for the early morning fishermen on the right, and the lone sailboat on the horizon to my left.  I wondered if it was a leftover sailor from last night, or an early riser, greeting the sun.  Seeing this beauty made me want to photograph it, and then share it somehow.  And I thought about how sad I was not to be writing about our lives and how maybe, I could get in a paragraph or two while I was sitting in the closet pumping milk for Nolan at lunch.  And here we are, hearing a wet, drippy sound, and noticing that the bottle is full, and I am leaking milk all over the closet floor.  Great. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Grutz says, "We're fine, I guess." Or "The title of my new memoir is 'These Trying Times', subtitled 'A calamitous journey through death, moving, bedbugs, moving, babies, dogs, and a strike. In under 3 weeks.'"

Actually, I won't go into detail now....
But Carleen, Nolan, and I are doing well.  We've been busy.  We still are busy.  I haven't unpacked everything from the bins, so our camera battery waits and waits for it's charger.  So to keep our intrepid audience happy, here's a photo from last week.  (I'm sure many of you saw it on Carleen's facebook.)
Nolan playing on the deck.  "Quick, Dad, look away so I can crawl away and get into mischief!"

Yep, he's fed.  Yep, he's happy.  Yep, he's still a Hawkeye (even after Saturday's game!).  More news to come.....

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Grutz says, "We are busy." or "Nolan, how on earth did you get in there?!?"

Busy is as busy does?
The summer has not been nearly long enough for the Grutz-Healy gang.  Carleen goes back to work full time tomorrow along with the planning, class-prep, and many, many to-do's.  We're still in need of an apartment in approximately 25 days.  Or belongings must be packed in order to move to yet-unknown-apartment.  Though we've decided that I'll be staying home, that's right, Mr. Mom, I've been away visiting my ailing father.  And there's the little matter of managing all these things with our one and only Nolan.

But save your pity for someone who needs it.  We've had ample vacation time this summer.  And, on a whim, we packed up the car and spent a night in Holland, Michigan.  It was lovely and very beautiful.  I hope we can explore the west coast of Michigan in the future.

Our family enjoying the sunset in Holland, Michigan.

"Ooooooooo, the sand tastes funny in my mouth, Dad."

My son is impressive.
I couldn't find Nolan for awhile this afternoon.  Then I did.

"Oh.  Hi, Dad.  What's new?  I'm in the dryer."

"And then it was spinning 'round and 'round like this!"

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Today and every day, but especially right now, I am so aware of the fleeting baby hood before me.  
Nolan is 7 months old and I am seeing him turn into a little boy.  Today he swung in a swing for the first time. Held on to the chains while I pushed him, it was like he knew where to put his hands.  While he was swinging, I noticed the remnants of lunch on his cheek, yellow squash and orangey mango puree.  I saw him sucking in his lips and kicking his legs with glee and self determination. I saw his uncut toe nails peeking up at me, reminding me that now it takes a song and dance and two people to cut his nails.  I think about how he rolls away from me when we are napping, as if to say, “I’ve got this sleeping thing down.”  Or how he chooses sometimes not to nurse, turning his head to more important things in his world.  Today I caught myself saying out loud, “Do you need me now?” after some independent play time in the jumperoo, and thinking, there will be a day really soon, when he says, “No.”  For now the answer is yes, and, now please. He gives me flirty looks that will always get me to say yes, pick him up, kiss his nose, tickle his tummy, and smile back at those blue eyes and gummy grin. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sand slipping through fingers

This is the only time of year when finding grains of sand under my nails and in the creases of Nolan's toes does it elicit a smile and some nostalgia.  The visceral memories of little waves on my feet and sloppy wet sand piled on my legs and Nolan sitting in my lap in the tide pools are still lingering recent in my head.  We are just home from a week at the beach with my parents and Nana! I know I've missed a few weeks of our lives in this online forum, so this is going to be a reverse chronological post.

But first, remember last year at the beach....

Last year, at this time, we'd just announced that the belly I was growing indeed had a baby in it.  

And this year, the baby is here, and swimming!

We played in the water a lot.  And Nolan took off my sunglasses and hat, a lot.  We learned that he only tolerates the fancy SPF hat I got for him if it was wet- a useful revelation for the duration of the week!

And we all lounged and napped under the umbrellas.  We managed to stay relatively unscathed from the super hot North Carolina sun.  Nolan had fancy SPF suits, and the rest of us were lathered/ sprayed up with plenty.

Nolan played a lot with Gramma, who brought him special toys from Cincinnati.  They were a huge hit.

We drank morning coffee and sat in rockers on the porch with Nana.

We sat in the surf.

And I wore a long sleeve shirt because my pale skin was getting cooked.

Nolan was thrilled to eat toy boats and bury his toes in the sand.

We took afternoon breaks from the beach to read with Nana.

And we had afternoon hugs.

Nolan and I took an early evening walk on the last day.  Felt the ocean breeze,  and the salt spray one more time.

Freckly self portrait for the two of us.

Everybody sat around and marveled at the little one.

This was pretty much the scene, Nolan getting tons of attention from the grams and greats.

Till next year!

And now I hear him calling from the other room.  Mama, come save me (don't worry, Arnie is watching :).

Tomorrow I will keep going back in time and update on our trip to Iowa, and Nick's dad's birthday party, which was right before the beach.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Grutz says, "Life: Decision after decision." or "Man, I've got a lot on my plate now, but I'm more than content to rock out with my son."

Carleen and I have many important choices about our lives and our family that must be addressed, well, now.  Since we'll be out of Chicago for the first 2 weeks of July and I start back working on the 16th of July.  (BTW, I am a teacher, my last day was JUNE 15th.  So to anyone who complains about teachers getting 3 months off.....) so we don't have much time. So this morning I was presented with a choice: look for apartments/jobs/future home (IA, OH, Java, etc.)/Illinois teaching certification renewal bs OR play with Nolan.  Ah, priorities, priorities.
"Hey, Dad!  Is this how you play this thing?!  Dad!  Check it!"

"Oh! Right! This way, right?! I'm so stoked!"

"What's that Dad?  Huh?  What?!  Who's Keith Moon?!  Speak up!"
"Two-handed, Dad!!  Uncle Mike, I need a snare!!  Wooo-hooooo!  Rock and/or roll!!!"
I am very confident in my decision.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Massive Update Part 2

Today I danced.  I took class for the first time since November! I've been to the Contact Improv Jam a few times, but today was the first time reuniting with class.  It was really wonderful.  My body is definitely a different one entirely, but the muscle memories came rushing back.  And I made some new muscle memories too.  It was great, such a reminder of what I love, and also that I need to take time for myself on a more regular basis.

On with the updating.  I think we left of at Memorial Day Weekend.  A few weeks later, my cousin Amy graduated from DePaul, and we got together (ie- had a delicious barbeque) with more family in Aurora.  Uncle Jeff indulged Nolan in his constant desire to be jumping.

Nolan was pretty thrilled about it. 

We got to see Nana again! How lucky!

And I wore my new green shoes.  The are called TOMS, I don't know if you've heard of them? (joke- as soon as I made the purchase,  I started to see absolutely everyone wearing them, for the record, they are super comfortable, and I'd buy them again in a heartbeat)

More happy time with Nana. 

And then we tried food!  Nolan has been showing signs of food readiness for a while now (grabbing for absolutely everything we are eating, and is clearly not satiated for very long after nursing).

We tried applesauce, it looked like fun at first, but he wasn't too interested. 

This was still while he was entertaining the idea. 

Turns out he wants to feed himself, and that is the only way he'll take it  Give me the spoon!

We also have a mesh feeder (thanks for the idea Gus!) and so far, frozen mangoes and grapes have been a huge hit. 

But like most things with him, the novelty only lasts 5-10 minutes. 

It's still fun for the time being though!
And then it was almost time for school to be over. Here are some of my darlings. (Roxy can you believe how big some of them are!)



Check out the poses!

In the midst of the craziness of the last week of school, Nick and I got to have a date at a Cubs game! And they won! Yipee.  The highlight of the night was 1. riding my bike to the game, and 2. the soft pretzel with mustard. 
Go Cubs Go!

Before Julia left, on my first day of summer we had a mini photo shoot, starting with a self portrait of my boy and I. 

Gaze into the mirror, see the camera! 
And here's Julia and her charge...

We miss her! Come back Auntie Nanny Sister!

I cannot resist this little face!
And back to Iowa for Fathers Day and a few days after.

Grandma TT has delicious spoons. 

Only if I can do it by myself, and 2 at a time please.
Hanging with Papa Danny! All smiles.

Nolan's head completely covers Papa Danny's,  it's been said that Nick had a huge head as a baby too... 

 We also visited with cousins and aunts and uncles and beautiful baby Stella! (Who is a month older than Nolan).

Giant baby vs. petite princess... 

Solids take 2.  This time sweet potatoes!  He seems to tolerate them, but really wants to do it him self.  
This kid has had a mind of his own since day one (deciding to stay an extra 2 weeks past his due date!)

No worse for wear.  He likes food all over his face. 
And now we are pretty much up to date.  (Happy Fathers Day Nick!) 

I am sure I've exhausted all of your eyes with the superfluity.  I promise we won't go two months again without a word!