Thursday, September 29, 2011

My *SNIFF* Toddler

According to things I've read, babies make the transition to toddlerhood at differing points: a) when they begin to try to walk; and 2) when they turn 1 year old. Well, Zoey is on to both of those so I guess there is no escaping it any longer - Zoey is a toddler!! To only further my sadness, I gave her 1/2 cow's milk with 1/2 formula this morning and she either liked it or didn't notice because her bottle was gone in seconds. That's another thing, kissing goodbye to the bottle. Zoey is ready, I'm just not sure I am. :-(

So far, she is having fun being a toddler, while I'm just busy chasing her around with the camera; taking pictures has become increasingly difficult as she gets more comfortable tooling around on her turkey legs.





Figuring out the new blocks from her Grandparents.

 Every girl needs new shoes for her birthday. If not for the first one, then when?! :-) She is incredibly interested in them, and clomped around like a Clydesdale before starting to feel comfortable wearing them.

 All I did when I was little was stare at my shoes....


With these shoes, now I can really go places!!
 Backyard here I come! (Which reminds me, I should do a bit of cleaning up of land-mines this weekend)

 I really get the impression that Louis can't wait until she's really old enough to play. By then, though, he might not feel so up for it.


 Wearing our new shoes, playing with our new blocks, watching Go Diego Go.

 Diego! She loves Go Diego Go.

New blocks and her cartoon crush, Diego.

 Like every child, she thoroughly enjoyed playing with the wrapping accouterments as well - if not more so - than the actual toys.

 Like a moth to a flame, I put the blocks down to occupy Zoey, and Jacob is the first one on the floor.


 This is a pose. She can be so dramatic, I have no idea where she gets it from.

 Two of my faves while I was growing up (aka, starting college), Sam Jr. (named after our beloved Golden Retriever, Sam) and Elmo.


She found a black headband of mine in the bathroom and every time I put it on her, she beams and walks around with her chin up. If she takes it off, she hasn't figured out how to put it back on, so she freaks out until I help her. We've only just recently learned about the fun that is the toothbrush.

"A friend of mine confused her Valium with her birth control pills. She has fourteen kids but she really doesn’t care." - Anon

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Wisconsin Saturday: Humid Summer Style (Saturday)

I don't have the slightest idea of what we would have done with our time had we had electricity at my uncle's cabin. I'd like to think that we were more active with no TV, cell phones (mine was roaming, and since you couldn't charge them, they stayed off or inevitably died), but I don't think we would have spent much time with those mostly-beloved things anyway, and we managed to find ourselves pretty tired by days' end.

On Saturday (September 3rd) we woke up at 8:30 in the depths of the rainforest; or, at least, that's what it felt like. I had heard on numerous occasions from a variety of people that this was the more humid of summers for Wisconsin. Sweet. Well, yeah, we smelled pretty sweet, and our sweet clothes were getting dangerously close to being able to stand on their own. When we realized a truck-load of family we hadn't seen in a few years would be arriving the next day - and the flies swirling around gradually started to increase - we began to consider our shower options.

I've noticed that it takes a handful of adult people longer to get their stuff together and go somewhere than it does for Jacob, Zoey, and I. Relatively early in the morning, someone brought up the idea of renting a hotel room for the next 24 hours so people would be able to shower twice. Unfortunately, we weren't anywhere close to actually doing it until 1pm and Zoey had already had a very large morning nap. The bonus, though, was that Uncle Ken, Dad, and his friend, Brian brought back a generator and a truck-load of McDonald's breakfasts (it's a personal decision everyone must make for themselves, but if you chose to eat McGurggles, breakfast is the only way to go. The Maple Oatmeal is amazing.) The brown lining to this silver cloud, though, was that since the house was hard-wired, the water couldn't be hooked up to the generator, so we were still without water or a toilet. Someone very smart devised to pour a bucket of water into the tank so the toilet can be flushed. The only downside to this was that you were in full-view hauling water from the pond so everyone knew you had, or were about to, go number two. I sweet-talked my wonderful husband into doing if for me so, no, he really didn't have to poop that much.

We packed up our bathroom supplies and headed to the Knights Inn in Red Granite, Wisconsin. Due to the severity of the storm, we snatched up the last room, but it wouldn't be available until 3:30pm; and by available I mean NOT. UNTIL. 3:30. P. M. In the meantime, Uncle Ken, Dad, Aaron, and Brian wanted to go swimming at the quarry. That only took about 40 minutes so everyone went to the Stumble Inn for mini beers. The guys went to pick up a few things so Jacob, Mom, Zoey, and I went back to the hotel and tried the key. No dice. They weren't joking about the 3:30pm rule. So we sat in the car and vowed to never complain about air conditioning ever again.

By the time the key actually did work, we were running on stinky fumes, and living on borrowed time in terms of feeding Zoey. Stupid me hadn't packed any food, thinking this process wouldn't take as long as it did. She was a trooper, though, being more interested in her new surroundings than I anticipated, but MUCH appreciated.

After we experienced a small taste of civilization, everyone wanted to go out to dinner but we couldn't; Jacob and I needed to get back to feed Zoey and see about any sort of afternoon nap (the whole hotel revelation lasted until dinner time), so we were on to night number two of hangin' alone in the dark. I'm pretty sure the group went to the famed Home Bar so at least we got to try a little more of their menu since, for all we knew, it was just some dude killing and frying animals in his deep-woods shed. At any rate, the food was pretty good, we were just too tired to eat it (P.S. Sorry, Aunt Karen, for the fish frozen in your freezer!).

I had a monster headache and was pretty grumpy so I went to bed. No matter what time it was (before 10pm was the rumor), it was dark so everyone else went to bed as well. Nothing else to really do. Zoey was up later than usual in her crib but seemed to be ok; I was happy she was comfortable in the strange bed in a strange room. I'll admit, I went to bed a teensy bit irritated. It seemed like for all the good of this trip, there was something frustrating to match it. So, I suppose I could look on the bright side and declare I broke even. Well, hindsight is 20/20, but in the moment I was pissed we weren't just cut a break. And it wasn't anything major, it was usually just something small every few hours, or so. Like being lost in the cornfields while driving to and from the cabin, feeling hot, sticky, and gross, which is pretty much a given in humidity no matter your electrical circumstances, not being able to locate a vending machine that wasn't either $2.00 or actually had water, not remembering where something was last put down, in general, the things we deal with regularly just not within seconds of one another. But it brought us closer together and gave us a common enemy: the world.

We slept well and everyone woke early. It was 7:30 when I saw my brother walking up from my uncle's bunkhouse to the cabin. I said, "Why are you up so early?" The brother I knew was never coherent before 11am and a big bowl of sugar-covered Frosted Flakes (I mean, sugar sprinkled on top of Frosted Flakes). He chuckled and said, "I went to bed early, man." "Oh," I said. "Good point."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My 'Lil Grown-Up

video
Like Daddy, Zoey really loves Cheetos. Unlike Daddy, however, Zoey loves her baby Cheetos that are made from veggies and taste like veggies. But, like Daddy, she loves to shove 10 in her mouth at once. We haven't videoed that yet, but the above is her trying her baby Cheetos for the first time.


video
The Inaugural Playing With the Pots and Pan. The Dutch Oven might have been over-shooting things just a bit, but she seemed to manage.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Birth Story

*Heavy sigh* It has been one year since Zoey was brought into the world. I know I am her mother, but without a doubt I believe the world became a brighter place when she was thrust into it.

I know it is her birthday, but since she doesn't have the slightest idea of what it's all about, and since the memory of bringing her into the world is still all too clear, I'm going to take the opportunity to pat myself on the back and toot my own horn on behalf of her birth. The following [then slightly edited] was composed on October 8, 2010, two weeks after Zoey was born. So, without further ado, the story of how our Zo Zo came to be....

My belly button turkey timer never did go off, but two weeks ago, my oven shut off and Bun was done baking. Unfortunately, I had to keep my oven on warm because she wasn't sure she wanted to enter the world quite yet. Having being done with the super-fun roller coaster that is pregnancy, I alternated between being ready to shoot this baby out and freaking the fuck out about having to shoot this baby out. It seemed that neither the baby nor I were quite ready.

My final doctor's appointment was on Bun's due date but I left in tears after learning I was no where near delivering my baby. As much as I loved my doctor, he guesstimated that things would begin to happen in 3-4 days, but I'm certain he said this just so I wouldn't stab him in the forehead with the speculum.

So I continued life as a 10-month pregnant woman. I celebrated my 28th birthday in over-bloated beach-ball style on the couch wishing my birthday guests would just go away so I could sit and stare into space and feel miserable in private. I went to work - although only half-days - even though I had run out of appropriate clothing around month 8. Surprisingly I was more productive but I attribute this to the "nesting" instinct you get right before delivery, and the new girl lighting my anger-flame every morning with, "How you feeling? Anything happening?" No matter how many times I told her, "When I'm not here, then you'll know how I'm feeling," she insisted I would be deep in labor and still come to work. I'm not that dedicated, lady.
 

And then at midnight exactly one week after Bun was scheduled to arrive, something happened....

That something is known the world-over as contractions. They are known the female-world-over as the most painful, horrific things to ever really happen inside someone's insides. To make matters even more enjoyable, intense heartburn decided this was an awesome time to resurface, so not only were my insides being squeezed to death, I was also being engulfed in flames from the inside out.

I read somewhere that you're not supposed to eat while you're in labor. I - along with other soon-to-be mommies on babycenter.com - thought this was foolish. I no longer think this is foolish. Your body is preoccupied with delivering a human so no matter how fantastic those pancakes were, my body didn't want to have anything to do with them. Also, you run the very high risk of pooping on the table.


The intense vice-grip on my uterus began at midnight on the nose, lasting about 40 seconds and happening every 20 minutes. So I slept every 20 minutes from midnight until 7am, and by then they had started coming every 15 minutes. As a general rule, you aren't supposed to check into the hospital until the contractions are every 5 minutes, so for the rest of the day we timed my contractions on my phone's Contraction Timer app. Yes, it took the rest of the day....and well into the night.....and well into the next morning....and well into the next afternoon.

Gradually my contractions inched their way up the speedometer, still lasting only 30-40 seconds but coming every 15 minutes, then every 12 minutes, then every 10 minutes. You're supposed to breathe, but how you remember to do that when it feels like your entire mid-section is being slowly torn away is beyond me. This is where having a birthing coach - or the father - is extremely helpful. Jacob reminded me to breathe, how to breathe, and did it with me. If not for him, the entire excruciating experience would have been even more excruciating-er. He also helped to distract me so I didn't allow myself to tense up or become stressed. We played games, watched television, and made countless trips to the bathroom.

Around my second midnight - 12 hours in - the contractions were still coming every 10 minutes. They were more painful and it was getting harder and harder to distract myself from the pain, which now felt like I was being stabbed repeatedly in the lower back without the instrument ever being removed.

Then in the blink of an eye they were coming every 6 minutes, and then every 2 minutes, starting at 1am. By 1:30 we were on our way to the hospital.

We used to live 40 miles from the hospital. We now live about 3 miles from the hospital and I thank God, for that 10 minute ride was the most excruciating experience I hope to ever know. I would gladly endure bamboo under the fingernails in place of having contractions every 2 minutes in a moving SUV on roads the city refuses to maintain during winter. Poor Jacob wasn't really sure what to do - does he obey the traffic laws because he doesn't want to get us hung up by talking to a police officer; or does he screw all posted signs and lighting to get me to the hospital so Zoey wouldn't be born in the car? Since I was too preoccupied and scared shitless, he was forced to make the decision on his own; to this day, I still have no idea what he chose.
 

Jacob tried to pull the quintessential dude-move of, "Get out on the curb and I'll find a place to park." I said, "Um, NO!" so he helped me waddle to the door, dressed in one of his t-shirts, his Hustler zip-up hoodie, sweatpants, fake Birkenstock sandals, my hair in a rat's nest, in my long, pink bathrobe, carrying a stuffed Spongebob Squarepants. The security guard offered up a wheelchair after I walked in and posed, "Who's the fucking genius who put the birth center on the second floor?!"

I was only dilated 3cm and by general hospital standards, they won't admit you until you're 4-5cm. But since my contractions were pretty close together and they could see I was changing fast, they thought it best to admit me. I had still been vacillating between extreme fear and anxiousness for it to be over, but when the nurse came back into the room and said, "Good news! You get to stay!" that's when ultimate panic took over and my body started to shake. The nurse brushed it off and said it was the adrenaline pumping through my body since it knew what it was about to have to do; it was my body's way of psyching itself up (and it had, after all, been up for over 24 hours by now).

I made it quite clear even before I was officially admitted that I would be needing an epidural. She said she'd get right on it but it might not be right away. Aside from the 36-total-hour labor, luck was on my side. Just a few minutes after being shown my very own hospital room, the epidural-man came waltzing through my door, cart-o-drugs in tow.

I'm not going to lie, getting the epidural was pretty awful; even more so if you're one of those who's afraid of needles. The only upside is that there is no chance you'll see what is going on. In short, it feels like getting a shot. And then it feels like someone working pebbles up your spine inside of your skin. BUT the contractions are way worse. Plus it takes about 15 minutes for this miracle drug to kick in. Once it did, I was instructed to take a nap.

Throughout the night, I slept through the nurses coming in every 2 hours to check my vitals, and the blood pressure machine that was constantly strapped to my arm; a stipulation for epidural users. At some point in the night Nurse Polly (because she looked like Polly Pocket) came in to tell me they were giving me the drug to induce labor since the sainted epidural slowed my contractions to 10 minutes apart. Shit, as long as I could keep feeling nothing, this could take the rest of my life and that would be just fiiiiinnnnneeee.

But noooooooo. They turned my epidural down so I would know when and how hard to push. Trouble was, the time to push wasn't in my near future. They also wanted to make sure I could feel something down there, probably because they're all women and wanted to watch me suffer; a sort-of initiation into this fight club.

By 8am Friday morning (labor officially starting Thursday morning at midnight), Bun still hadn't dropped into my pelvis so Doctor Looks-Like-My-Cousin came in with a crochet hook and broke my water; a step they hoped would make the baby come down. And she did....a little. The contractions continued throughout the rest of the day while the nurses took turns flipping me from side to side like a hot dog in continued effort to bring the Bun closer to the oven door. Around noon, I got the dreaded news....I was 10cm dilated and it was time to push.
 

Nurse 90's-Bangs came over every 30 seconds to turn down my epidural and ask me what I could feel. I exaggerated as much as I could without coming across like a total liar, but - I swear - as nice as that woman was, if she so much as breathed on that dial, she would be in need of her very own room. Their fear was that I wouldn't know when or how hard to push, thus exhausting myself and putting stress on the baby, but I made a deal with Jacob: "If I'm not pushing hard enough, tell me to push harder." They wanted to see how good of a pusher I was and, it turns out, I was very good. Call it Exhaustive Motivation. And I was given the green light to have a baby.

The doctor doesn't actually come into the room until you've birthed the shoulders, but she didn't have anything else to do so she was in periodically. We had checked into the hospital at 2am Friday morning and I was the only one in labor. Throughout the day, the birthing center filled up with almost-there-mommies and by the time I was ready to start pushing, I was the only one still in active labor.

Doctor Looks-Like-My-Cousin came into the room before I was to start pushing and - with a big smile - said, "You're going to have a baby!" I looked at the space of wall between her and Jacob and burst into tears. No, not tears of joy. Tears of extreme, shit-your-pants-then-change-them-so-you-can-shit-again fear. I was scared of physically getting the baby out of my body, scared of what I would be able to feel, tired from 34-hours of no sleep and a lot of hard work, scared that something would be wrong with her or she'd be deformed in some way, and of what to do with her once she was actually out of my body.


Jacob was the calmest he'd ever been (or that I'd seen him. He told me later, he was anxious beyond the telling of it). Part of that might have been his 30 hours of no-sleep (I let him sleep through a couple of the early contractions), but he never showed signs of crapping his drawers. And throughout my many freakouts that came when I had the capacity to entertain my fear, Jacob never wavered. He would always calmly stroke my hair and tell me I could do this and everything would be fine. And then he'd shove the oxygen mask back over my face so I couldn't talk anymore.
 

Pushing Zoey out took about 2 hours. I had allowed a resident to observe my birth, and since no one really had anything else to do, my vagina entertained a roomful of oglers for those 2 hours. They got a clear shot of her head with my first push but Zoey wasn't havin' it. For most of my time spent pushing, she'd move out, then move back in. At one point the doctor feared the umbilical cord was around her neck since her heartbeat was very erratic. After about an hour, the doctor said she wanted to use the vacuum sucker if Zoey's heart rate didn't increase, but thankfully that didn't end up happening.

Finally she popped out, and I use the term "pop" loosely. I could "feel" something emerging from me, although I couldn't really tell where. And while I was working on getting her out, I couldn't determine that any progress was actually being made. All of sudden she was out and I felt relief like I'd never felt before. It was emotional relief, exhaustion, but it was also physical; like my body just heaved a giant sigh.

And just when I was thanking my lucky stars that baby, Jacob, and I had made it across the finish line alive, the doctor said the worst phrase a woman who just gave birth can hear: "Ok, I need you to give me one more big push."

Fuck you.

But I did, and, more out of anger than anything else, shot that placenta out like a water balloon from a cannon.

As soon as Zoey entered the world, Jacob - who had been expertly holding the dead-weight of my leg - was shoved to the side while billions of people bustled around me, sewed me up (baby girl gave me a smidgen of a tear), and helped me keep the slimy baby from slipping off my chest. So I gave him a very important job....When the doctors and nurses asked what her name would be, I looked to Jacob so he could spread the news: she shall be called Zoey, which if that grocery store clerk was correct, means life.

Nurse Likes-to-Turn-Down-My-Epidural sauntered out to the waiting room to usher all of the grandparents back to my room. "She's gorgeous!" She gushed. "Even her cry is cute!"

From there, Zoey Ann was introduced to her extended family.


And there is a chance I may have pooped on the table.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ch-ch-changes

Well, I blinked and summer is gone. The mornings have turned brisk, the sun is setting earlier, and we actually turn the heat on in the morning. The even better news is that I succumbed to the fact that I shall remain a stick insect and went out to buy a few fall items since I can only wear tights with a few of my summer dresses. Of course, as soon as I took the tags off, I started to gain weight. I'm anticipating it might be a schmidge easier to gain weight in the fall and winter (hello, season of potatoes!!).

Our summer wrapped up just as crazily as it began, although, thankfully, we were done traveling. But with new seasons, comes a desire for new energy and a start-over feeling. Plus, with us learning and growing (well, I seem to be heading in the opposite direction of growing), so began the most horrible time of year: buying new clothing. For me, it was a necessity but I was able to do it on the cheap. Jacob also needed pants of the only-two-holed variety, and some new shoes. I wouldn't know, but I understand if you wear the same pair of shoes every day, they tend to get worn out. Zoey always enjoys shopping, more so now that she is big enough to sit in the front of the cart and reach out to things; and so begins our teaching of Look, Don't Touch.

 I would like these, please, Mom, kaythanks! Unfortunately, Daddy said no.

 We found some princess shoes that were more her style. It was fun to try them on her, a glimpse of my very near future. But everything was too big and ultimately turned into a challenge for Jacob and I and our suddenly seemingly sausage fingers.

We went to my favorite place to buy new clothes, shoes, handbags, and whatever else random I might be able to find, like baby toys! (Seriously, instead of buying one pair of shoes for $40 at one place, I bought 2 dresses, a pair of shoes, and a pair of pants for $15 more. I'll still probably go back and get those $40 shoes, though...)

 Throwing around her new ball that sounds like an enlarged cat toy. Well, it has a bell thing inside that rattles when the ball is thrown so I suppose it is just a cat toy. Regardless, she enjoys it and it is marketed towards babies so that makes me feel better.


 We also found her a telephone toy (that doesn't have an off switch, FYI).

 Jacob took it out of the box and noticed that there was a way to write on the back. I don't know what they're specifically called, but you write with the special utensil, then erase it, no mess, blah, blah, blah.

 I learned a few days later that it has been an excellent observation tool for her parents in determining which hand she is more dominant with. Last night I watched her write on the tablet with both hands. Results: inconclusive.


 Could you please excuse me, Mother, I have an important call to make.

 Jacob and I showed her what it was, then the next thing she did was hold the receiver up to her ear and garble into it in her baby language, then said, "Hi, Mom."

 *GASP* "No way!"
 "What do you mean?! I said 'sell when the price hits 50!'"

Zoey's first picture she made herself. Too bad it's so easily erased but we probably won't be handing over the crayons any time soon.

We, of course, had to run the requisite baby-related errands but Jacob was nice enough to include those in his errands. Even nicer, he came home with something special for me. :-)


 His errands included whatever dilly-mo-bob he needed to get the Honda up and running. And it does!! It would totally and completely be able to drive if Jacob didn't discover shortly after putting it all back together that the clutch decided it didn't want to work. He fixed the minor issues that could have been causing it, which only lead him to believe he needs to replace the clutch, meaning a certain amount needs to be re-torn a part. Either way, it starts and the new-to-it engine sounds amazing. Of course, he needed to spend some time hosing it off, as well. :-)

Remember the 'before' pictures I took of my wannabe garden?


 
Well, as it turned out, my piddly idea for a garden would have been eaten alive, and I'm not just saying that because I largely neglected it. After it rained for a solid month in the beginning, tending to it was like trying to keep my head above water and I quickly got distracted by something else. Oh well, I'm all equipped for next year!

Taken last weekend. Like I said, my piddly little would-be garden would have been completely swallowed. It's nice to see the two slabs of white picket fence managed to survive the rainforest that sprouted around my deck, but I later used one to unclog a bee's nest from behind the faux window shutters.

Although the first week of September was the official start to me working part-time, last week was my first full week and, honestly, I thought Monday and Tuesday in a row might have been over-shooting things. True to form, though, since Tuesdays are my Thursdays they seem to take much longer to pass than Mondays, and the overall amount of work I have to do has diminished rather significantly. While working for a market research firm in Arizona, I once finished a project early and my supervisor told me I needed to manage my time better.

I'm surprised at how much more there is to do now that I am home more. But, I suppose, since it's being lived in more, it stands to reason there would be more messes to clean up. There are days where all I feel like I've been doing is cleaning the kitchen. My favorite day is Tuesday, though, since I don't have to pick up all of the baby toys before going to bed.

 ZoZo taking in some Super Grover on Sesame Street.

 I try to keep up with the laundry as much as possible throughout the week, but I slacked last week. Thankfully, Zoey is on hand to dump it all out of the basket for me. :-)

And I'm lucky enough to have a helping husband..............

 I said, "Baby, will you please fold this bedsheet?"

After he was done, and got us all laughing, he threw the sheet back in the basket. I said, "Why is this sheet still not folded?!"

 Daddy continued his helpful streak while showing Zoey how to use her Sippy Cup.

Teaching: effective.

Later in the afternoon, Zoey and I went to visit Jacob in the garage where I found a little purse perfect for Zoey. :-) But when I put a snack-sized bag of carrots in it, she freaked out and hasn't touched it since. I wonder if she's inherited her mother's penchant for irrational fears (birds, butterflies, moths, and small kitchen appliances), although I may require some counseling of my own if she winds up fearing shoes and handbags.


 A blurry picture of Mommy and Zoey playing. She's hard to get to sit still for longer than 10 seconds, and she's obsessed with playing with my phone/camera. I thought she might be interested in seeing pictures of herself, but she would rather just put it in her mouth.





 Already ready for those paparazi photogs!



Later Saturday afternoon, Jacob, Zoey and I packed up to head over to my friend, Pam's, house for an end-of-the-summer BBQ. It was very good food and very good company that we didn't get to enjoy enough of. Zoey took a later nap than usual and it always takes us a good hour to get ourselves collected enough to meet and survive the public. Sunday was filled with the usual honey-do (wow, I really hate that expression) lists and ample amounts of time playing with Zoey.

Yesterday marked the first day of the last year of my 20's. My friend, Mer, and I were talking about our 20s, her sad to see her's go, mine I'd throw a party to never have to think about again. I hope this end to my 20s isn't a foreshadowing of my 30s or they're really gonna suck. Perhaps my less-than-stellar birthday was merely a good way to book-end the worst of the two decades I've lived so far. As much as I hate this next expression, nothing is more true: it is what it is [and I'll make the absolute best of it it]. My work peeps definitely helped make me feel special on my birthday, sending me lovely flowers in a cute mug I can add to my collection and use ever day, and an absolutely fantastic card.


:-D

The first day of fall is tomorrow, which also marks the re-grouping of our book club. This weekend Zoey will be spending some much-needed time with Jacob's parents in the form of a sleepover. With them being able to spend time with her as our main objective in facilitating the sleep-over, Jacob and I have zero idea of what we'll do with a baby-free weekend. I'm anticipating a lot of reading and hoping for a night out to dinner; I can't remember the last time we ate at a restaurant where we didn't utilize the Curbside To Go service. When we pick up Zoey on Sunday, we'll celebrate both my and her birthdays. I am very interested in her first bite of cake; she's already started to turn her nose up a little at veggies.

A lot of things changed this summer, primarily our Snuggle Muffin, Zoey, but we did as well. We did a lot of traveling, saw a lot of friends and family, made new friends, learned old friends are evil soul-suckers, saw some great sights, and had experiences worth telling. So now we "turn and face the change."

"Always remember that the future comes one day at a time." - Dean Acheson