I Finished It

Well, I did it. I finished the last Harry Potter book. While I am still in a haze from reading the entire 759-page book in about 30 hours (stopping only to eat, sleep and take care of Ana) I am deeply mourning the fact that there will never be another Harry Potter book. Sure, I will continue to re-read the series, allowing myself to slip into the mystical world J.K. Rowling created. I will be able to share the books with my daughter and experience the wonder and magic with her. But still. This is the ending of an era, and for that reason I am saddened.

While you will find no spoilers here, I will admit that there were deaths. So very many deaths. But there was also life. For each feeling of sadness, despair, and anger there was also happiness, laughter, and love. I am still trying to process all I have read, but I welcome anyone who wants to discuss the books to email me or leave a comment. As a courtesy to those who have yet to finish, I urge you not to leave any information in the comments. But I will say this: Oh. My. God.

Avoiding the Internet

As the seventh and final Harry Potter release date quickly approaches, die hard fans such as myself have to do all they can to prevent the last book in the series from being ruined. Leaks and spoilers run rampant on the Internet, the news, and just about any media you come across. Wanting to actually enjoy the story the way J.K. Rowling intended, I plan to attend my local Barnes & Noble Midnight Magic party with my girlfriends then quickly haul ass home, lock myself in my house, and read the book cover to cover before anyone can ruin the story. So my isolation starts now. I am avoiding the Internet. I am ignoring the news. And I am using my husband as my own personal shield from the outside world. So things will be a little quiet over here for a bit as I do all I can to preserve the literal and figurative magic of the final book. I’ll be back, eyes glossed over I am sure, once I have finished my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Anyone leaving comments with spoilers will have their IP banned quicker than I can say “Azkaban!”

It Takes A Village

I was just watching a TiVoed segment from yesterdays Today show (I don’t normally record the Today Show but there was an interview with Daniel Radcliff about the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix movie that I wanted to watch) that mentioned how the majority of mothers are overstressed and therefore unhappy. Well I am pleased to report on this issue, I remain a minority. And it is in no small part due to the amazing people in my life.

I am a firm believer in the old adage that “it takes a village to raise a child.” While on day to day matters from diaper changes to middle of the night feedings, I may be the representing member of the village, the majority of the time I have help, or at the very least, support. I am surrounded by wonderful people who really step up to make my life what it is and I just want to take a moment to that them for all that they do.

Thank you to my best friend, Heather, who has been there for me going on 15 years. She is always there whether I need a coffee break, a trip to the zoo, or just some time to vent.

To my girlfriends, Megan, Kimberly, and Kerry “with a K,” who support me in my Harry Potter addiction and are willing to talk for hours on end theorizing about the series, critiquing the movies, or even discussing the merits of Sirius Black’s butt.

To Carole, Chelle, Jen, and the mothers in my playgroups who remind me that I am not alone in this and are always there with a lovely anecdote, some motherly advice or even just a friendly smile.

To Freedom, a friend and co-worker, who, asking for nothing in return, offered to babysit Ana yesterday so Simeon and I could watch the latest Harry Potter movie.

To Megs, who gets me out of the house, keeps me sane, and never fails to bring a smile to Ana’s face.

To my family who are always there when I need them, are willing to do anything for me in a moments notice, and who never fail to stop in for a welcomed visit.

To Simeon, who supports me in all that I do, loves me unconditionally, and allows me to have the perfect life that we have created together. For being the kind of husband who never forgets a birthday or anniversary, who always puts me first, and who never forgets to put his dirty clothes in the laundry. For being the kind of father who never misses one of Ana’s doctor appointments, who takes off from work early to watch a Baby & Me swim class, and who is always willing to let me “tag out.”

To my beautiful baby girl, Ana, who has changed my life in the most amazing way, who never fails to make me laugh, and is the first person who had actually caused me to cry tears of happiness.

I love you all and am so happy you are a part of my life, a part of my village. Thank you.

A Letter: Seven Months

Dear Ana,
Today you turn seven months old, which may not seem all that exciting to you, but it is very exciting for your father and I. Actually we are pretty much constantly excited because over the last month you have had so many firsts. The one that impacts our lives the most has been the addition of eating solid foods. Rather than just nurse you for every meal, I now have to plan ahead. I set you in your Bumbo, with a bib around your neck and a spoon in your hand, and prepare your baby puree and cereal. But rather than being an inconvenience, it is actually the highlight of my day. I love watching your reactions to the various tastes and textures. So far you have eaten rice cereal, avocados, bananas, sweet potatoes, applesauce and prunes. You are still not sure about this whole food thing, and spend a large portion of the meal gagging…which I will gladly take over spitting or throwing up any day! As long as you keep opening your mouth for more, and reassuring me with a smile from time to time, we are going to keep right on trying new foods.

About two weeks ago you and I started a Baby & Me swim class, which at your age isn’t so much about swimming as introducing you to the water. We sing songs, splash around, and play with fun water toys. At first you were a little skeptical, but once you realized there were other babies and toddlers in your class you were very excited. You spend the majority of the time kicking and splashing around as you watch all the other children around you.

As a result of your swim class, I have noticed your increased confidence with water in general. You now play in the water during bath time where as before you merely sat still in the water while we cleaned you up. Now we have toys to keep you entertained–and keep the bath water in the tub and not all over my kitchen! But your favorite part is when we rinse you off because you constantly try to drink all the water we spray at you. Your Daddy lets you take occasional sips and we watch you wiggle and shake with all the excitement.

Your bottom front teeth are totally visible now, and while we got a slight reprieve from the torment of teething for a couple weeks, the obvious signs are back once again. You have an abundance of drool, spontaneous shrieks of discomfort and the most obvious sign of all, you chew or bite on everything. You love chewing on your Daddy’s cold pop can or my water glass more than anything else.

In the last couple weeks you have really gotten good with your hands. I have to keep a really close eye on you because you are suddenly able to grab just about anything within a couple feet radius. I think you also view my hands as an extension of your own because as soon as I pick something up you instantly stick out your hand for me to give it to you.

Every night as part of your bedtime routine you read a story with your father. But only recently have you actually started showing signs of favoritism in your reading material. In particular you enjoy the Fluffy, Snuggly, Cuddly Baby Animals book. It is a touch and feel book we bought to teach you how to gently pet animals. You love the book so much you have taken to “reading” your book alongside Daddy outside of our nightly rituals. Apparently you inherited both your parents love of reading.

On two separate occasions in the last month you have been with a babysitter. That is, someone other than your mother or father. While it was important to help you adjust to being around someone other than your parents, it was equally important for your father and I to go out on a date. Even if all we did was go out to dinner and ended up talking about you the majority of the time anyway. One thing we did discover on both of these occasions was your You-Are-Not-My-Mama cry. Now I would never in a million years wish tears upon you, but a tiny part of me was happy that you missed me. You wanted me. As soon as I picked you up and wrapped you in my arms I saw the smile spread across your face and you knew all was right in the world again. Just know, my sweet little girl, I will always come home to you and I will do everything in my power to keep that beautiful smile on your face.

All my love,

First 4th of July

Ana’s first 4th of July went wonderfully. Sure we had to give one of the dogs a sedative (Molly, naturally) and I wasn’t able to fall asleep until the last residual fireworks trailed off well after midnight, but Ana wasn’t disturbed at all. In fact it got so loud in our neighborhood at one point that Simeon was sure our baby monitor wasn’t working and went to check on Ana just to find her sleeping soundly in her crib. What a perfect little angel.

But before she slipped off into her peaceful slumber, we took her outside to share with her the simple pleasure of fireworks. Well, sparklers anyway, because really who are we kidding? Sparklers are the best part of the 4th of July anyway, right? She was a little skeptical but kept her cool despite the smoke drifting into her face. You can see all the pictures here.