seven months!

Dear Oliver Fancy,

Well a few days ago, you officially became a seven month old. I have been telling people this for weeks however, because a) it is easier than saying 31 weeks (which you are--congrats) and b) because people believe me. They often guess that you are much older, due to your height and your "alertness"--a compliment I have yet to interpret. I think you will appreciate this trait much more as you approach your 21st birthday.

You are wearing size 4 diapers and can wear anywhere between 6 and 12 month clothes. With it getting colder around these parts (and with me being a heat Nazi in the house) you have been wearing alot of footy pajamas, which are too stinking cute on you. You still have those bottom two teeth more firmly establishing their territory as well as FOUR (!) top teeth making their way down. We have had a handful of biting incidents, one co-starring your brother and a few featuring mealtime--gulp--but we are handling this teething pretty well overall. Your hair is coming in much thicker, and appears to be my shade of dirty blonde with a faintly detectable ginger cast. (I still have my fingers crossed for you to be a full out redhead, but I will settle for strawberry blonde.)

You are sitting up on your own now, which is awesome, and you love playing with toys in the kitchen while I am cooking dinner. You smile and laugh at everyone and everything and like to peer over at things that pique your interest like cell phones and remotes. Lately, you have taken to not just leaning over for a better look, but throwing yourself at your target. Grandma says Uncle Alex did this too; maybe it is a guy thing. You cluck with your tongue and make raspberry noises all day long--sometimes you wake yourself up doing that! No crawling yet, but that is okay by me. I keep meaning to make note of this, but one of your best attributes as a boy baby is that you aren't real big on peeing on me and your surroundings when I take off your diaper, so thank you. You are your daddy's boy through and through and love watching sports on TV, and especially love it when we push you past the giant wall of big screens in Target, a favorite hangout (see below).

At the end of this month, we will be celebrating our first Halloween together. We bought you a giraffe costume, but Daddy's grandma gave you this pumpkin costume that actually fits you better. Plus, I was a pumpkin for my first Halloween, and you look so stinking cute in it. Daddy took you outside for a fall photo shoot. I am excited for Halloween to be here because it means that the rest of the holidays are on their way, and I cannot wait for your first Christmas!

The truth is, we look forward to everything a little bit more because it means we will get to experience it with you. You make me laugh and make me melt every day and I challenge any one out there to find a cuter baby. I love you very much, pumpkin, and you will be a big boy before I know it.
Your Mama


spoon me.

Dear Olly Noodles,
This month we have expanded your palate with things such as: squash, pears, and the old stand-by, rice cereal mixed with squash. You aren't really thrilled with any of it, but you don't hate it either. Which is a relief, because I have vivid memories of Uncle Alex gagging on broccoli as a young baby--side note: I don't think they even make broccoli baby food any more; I looked, so I could determine if the aversion runs in the family.
There is this whole wives' tale that if you give a baby vegetables first, then the baby will not be spoiled by the sweetness of fruit and be a more adventurous eater and all that jazz. I mean, it might be a wives' tale, but you still got the squash before the pears. Who knows. I was going to make all of your food myself, but I broke down and started you off with jarred food in case I made a big batch of something you hated. I will test out your tastes and then make you fresh food accordingly. Maybe that is really what the wives' tale should be: real food vs. processed food.
The other day, you also ate a lemon slice and a lime slice. We kept waiting for you to make funny, overly sour faces, but they never came. You drooled alot, as a natural reaction to the acid, but seemed to like it. I think lemons and limes seem sour compared to lemon and lime flavored things, like Sprite, but to a baby (you) and your unadulterated taste buds, they taste just fine. If you do not eat cupcakes, you will think fruit is sweet enough for dessert.
Going back to a few months ago, when I said raising you is akin to internet dating, today I will take it a step further. Much like a courtship, I must be the kind of person I wish to attract, or in this case, create. So because Daddy and I have realized just how observant you already are, and how much more you are going to pick up, we need to be better role models in the nutrition department. To steal a line from the show "Roseanne" (way before your time), we eat like our parents are out of town for the weekend. We want to show you by example a healthy way of life. Are you going to eat a Happy Meal eventually? Probably. Are you going to be a gluten-free, free range, all organic, vegan child? Probably not. But you will not be running around with Pepsi in your bottle and Cheeto dust in your hair and a Kool-Aid mustache.
You have brought about so many more good things than you will ever know in my life and for your life. You inspire me to be a better person for you and for myself and I love you and eat your vegetables. The end (for today).


hoop dreams.


Cleveland used to be a basketball city. By the time you are reading this, that will probably seem like a long time ago. For seven seasons, Lebron James, the number one overall draft pick, revived the Cleveland Cavaliers and brought us close to a championship, or at least the finals, or at least the playoffs. Then, earlier this year, he announced he would be playing for another team. The city of Cleveland at large (including Daddy) were up in arms, insisting this was about loyalty and betrayal. Others, like myself, have since suggested this was actually a fable about not putting all your eggs in one basket(ball) and why televised sports should not be that big of a deal to one's daily life.

Whether you like it or not, at some point in your young life, you will probably be on a basketball team. Grandpa, Daddy, and Uncle Alex all play/ed basketball and they have designs on you, my dear. So I hope that you do like it, and are good at it, and are friends with the coach's son, and are tall, or some combination of those, mostly that you enjoy it. I, of course, would not mind if you were a tap dancer, or a writer, or into web design, or something quieter and more creative.

If it sounds like we are trying to (gently) force our interests on you, that is because we kind of are. Maybe because we want you to succeed where we failed, or because we want you to experience the same fun we enjoyed at those activities, or because we want to have something in common with you. But don't feel like you can't say no. We will still love you the very same if you do not go varsity as a freshman, or take creative writing workshops, or any of that.

But while we are on the topic, two things. One, I think you are going to be a lefty, which I am pumped about because lefties (a.k.a. "Southpaw"--weird) are supposed to be more creatively minded, in addition to being rare (a.k.a. special, which you already are, duh). But also, Daddy met John Wall, see below. Who is this year's number one overall draft pick, see above. And when he met him, he also snagged you the headband of some Wizard named Al Thorton. It was all damp and sweaty when he brought it home for you, sick.

So I guess you owe him at least one season of Little League, or whatever the basketball equivalent is.

Sorry, pumpkin.
Love, Mama




There is a little joke that adults sometimes say to one another, when someone is not getting "it" or acting a little "off." We might say to this someone, "Were you dropped on your head as a child?" (Can you guess where I'm going with this one, guys?)

Olly, I let you fall off the couch today.

It was the worst moment of my life. This is no hyperbole.

First of all, the sound was the absolute most disgusting noise I have ever heard, not because it was a splat, or bones breaking, or anything like that, but because I instantly knew exactly what it was. You screamed this horrible heartbreaking scream, and it sounded like "Why? Why would you do this to me?"

I was crying and holding you very close to me and cursing myself for turning my back for one second. (I had gotten up to turn on a nearby light.) I was crying because you sounded so betrayed. I am the one who has been trusted with your care while you are on Earth. I was crying because I am supposed to keep you safe. No one but me (and gravity) could be held responsible. I am so relieved and so overwhelmingly thankful that you are okay. Every peep you make or peep you don't make I had myself convinced were signs of your concussion, but you seem to have escaped unscathed.

It reminds me that some mistakes can be undone, lesson learned, the hard way or otherwise, while others cannot. This is the closest that I would like my calls, thank you. Prepare to be strapped to my body for the remaining waking moments of your childhood, little boy.

I love you very much, my precious cargo, even though I sometimes handle you with less care than you deserve.

Love, your mama.


reel disappointment

Oliver Fancy,

There is one thing that I am kind of bummed that I probably won't be able to do with you. (Hint: it isn't marry you, though sometimes I wish I could.) It also isn't embarrass you with lame puns, (see title) because I will certainly find time and make a way to do that. When I was growing up, every summer we would go to see whatever animated Disney movie was coming out.

They would release previews in agonizing advance, allowing us to get whipped into a froth for nearly an entire year before we'd drag our parents, friends, siblings to go see it. We would then: sing all the songs after buying the cassette tapes, create synchronized swimming routines to these songs, buy the biggest stuffed animals in the likeness of the film's characters that our allowances would allow, beg for the VHS tapes of the movie for the following Christmas and watch and rewatch our favorite parts, singing along and exchanging the dialogue with our friends who had done the same.

After your Uncle Alex was born, Grandpa took me to see The Little Mermaid. I was enraptured. Ariel was beautiful, her sidekicks were hilarious, the graphics were so realistic, it was suspenseful, haunting, heartwarming. (My dad slept through most of it. Apparently, there is something exhausting about having a small child(ren) at home.) I would fan my out behind me in the bath tub, I would warble to her mermaid solos, my favorite Christmas present was an ornament of the crab character wearing a scarf and mittens and earmuffs.

The Fox and the Hound made me cry. Like hyperventilatingly sad, the kind where after the credits are done, you can't even talk about it.

101 Dalmations was a favorite. We did not have a family pet when I was younger and I became fixated on this movie, and The Aristocats due to all the dogs and cats. When my Grandma took me to 102 Dalmations, or 101 Dalmations, the live action remake, I won a tee shirt for correctly guessing the number of spots featured on a banner. (I guessed 1001, clever girl.)

The Lion King was so central to my childhood. I rented it last month to "watch" with you and though you obviously didn't understand what was going on, you seemed to like to look at the screen. (We have noticed this when strolling through the electronics section at Target--you are mesmerized by the wall of televisions. Definitely your dad's genes on that one.) I was amused, and a little embarrassed to find myself singing along. Not muttering the parts that I kind of remembered, but really singing along, fifteen years later. The Lion King was the template for many of the aforementioned home productions performed on my parents' deck at our house in Oklahoma.

Anyway, I'm sure you have skimmed this post, because you have no idea what I mean when I say VHS or cassette tapes, but maybe one day you will see these Disney movies on Blu-Ray or 3D or whatever new technology there is, and you will agree, they were a good (if not old fashioned) way to pass ninety minutes. Oh, did I say maybe? I mean you for sure will, and I will help you re-enact any old scene you set your little sights on.

Love you,


parlor tricks.

please excuse:

the song i am singing
the dance i am doing
the chirpy noise i keep making
oliver's unbearable cuteness

summarily speaking.

I am in a bit of a blogging slump.

Which doesn't necessarily coincide with a life slump, but has me feeling a little blah none the less.

It seems like everything is going okay, and is almost great, but not quite to the point worth bragging about.

Tom is plugging along at work and school, I am keeping busy at home and working hard to find Olly-friendly work, I had a nice birthday (turning 26--yikes!), Russell has been misbehaving as usual, and Mr. Oliver now has two bottom teeth and according to the doctor, weighs 20 lbs, 3 oz and is 27.5 inches long.

We have all recovered from our various ailments; we are doing a little better financially and even have a little left over for fun extras; and I wouldn't say we are officially baby whisperers, but we are improving our levels of figured-Olly-out-ness, which always helps. So while we may not be healthy, wealthy, and wise just yet, we are getting there.

So Olly, look for the good, because it is there somewhere. Even when things seem just okay, or even bad, there are blessings to be found. And you, of course, are one of them, duh.

And because I've been stingy with the pictures lately, here is a funny picture of you, Daddy, and Brother: