so ears to the wall and listen for a shred of hope

For Ethan, the first days of the new year will bring his first taste of solids. I decided I'd be making his own baby food and after determining a feeding schedule with our awesome pediatrician, it was decided that greenbeans would be Ethan's first official food. Cue in the anxiety, nervousness, excitement and the host of other feelings that come with your little one beginning solids -- or, you know, the realization that your baby is actually big enough to begin solids.

It didn't seem like a big deal -- the greenbeans, I mean -- until I realized the hard way that organic and locally grown greenbeans were hard to find. "Hard to find" being an understatement, of course, as (*deep breath*) two farmer's markets, two organic markets, two Whole Foods, three Fresh Markets, four Publix's and a gourmet market had exhausted their supply of organic greenbeans. Well, then.

After nearly falling to my knees in an exhausted stupor after attempting to hunt down the commodity that is organic greenbeans, one of our mommy friends located some and tipped me off. I could swear I heard angels singing -- minus the fact that the market that carried my precious greenbeans was about thirty-five minutes away. Ethan screamed the entire way to the market in protest of his carseat, the car and the fact I can't drive and sit in the backseat with him at the same time; all things which he despises equally (and lets it be known). My nerves were pretty fried by the time we reached the market so it only made sense that the first face we saw was an elderly woman lecturing me on how my baby's feet were freezing and "hadn't I ever heard of a pair of socks?" Stuttering over a defense, I noticed Ethan had pulled one of his socks off somewhere between the car and the market's entrance and was sporting only one sock.

And then I saw them.

The pile of USDA organic greenbeans, locally grown right up the road. They were almost like a mirage. How beautiful, green and fresh they were! This time I was sure that I heard angels singing as I tossed the greenbeans into our basket and wheeled my sockless child towards the register (but not without another sigh of disgust from the same woman who was now sampling all of the grapes before she selected a bag).

It was an insane day made only crazier by the fact that an hour later, I was in a car with my parents, sister and Ethan, barreling up the highway to our lake house. With my husband working on New Years Eve, the idea of sitting home alone wasn't sitting well in my stomach and I couldn't shake the very sweet idea of Ethan having a relaxing time up on the lake with his grandparents, aunt and cousins who live just up the road (and maybe I'd get to relax, too. Hunting for greenbeans is exhausting!).

And so this morning, Ethan and I woke up to the sound of birds singing in the tall trees outside of our bedroom window and a subtle fog hugging the water of the lake. I realized early on I'd forgotten to pack my toothbrush and underwear, but I did bring Ethan a pair of socks. That'll make some very ornery old woman happy!


my little superstar's television debut.

It's that time of year where everyone -- the cashier at Target, the barista at Starbucks, the stranger you encounter while walking the mall who stops to admire your cute baby -- asks what you're doing for New Year's Eve. The truth of the matter is I've probably never done anything for New Year's Eve and probably never will...if you don't count climbing into my bed and falling asleep by 10. I mean, last year I was sick and pregnant and threw myself into bed with my Snoogle at 8 o'clock and called it a night. Give me credit here. This year I'm planning on staying up until 10. I fully admire anyone who is able to make New Year's Eve a holiday that is something more than waking up a little after midnight filled to the brim with rage and annoyance to the sounds of your neighborhood erupting in fireworks and car horns. Kudos to you.

What I am looking forward to this New Year's Eve is Ethan's television debut! Quite a few months ago now, Ethan filmed a cute little cameo for an episode of my dad's television show. I posted the recap of the filming process back when it happened, but now it's time to remind everyone to tune in, set your DVR or whatever it is you've got to do.

If I need to sell you a little bit on why it's imperative to spend a half an hour on your New Year's Eve day watching a fishing show on television, can I just point out the cuteness overload trifecta that is my son getting kissed by a dolphin while wearing his adorable custom-made fishing hat? No big deal or anything.

Here's how to tune in (or set your DVR):

George Poveromo's World of Saltwater Fishing
December 31st, 2011 @ 11:00 A.M. EST
NBC Sports Network (formerly VERSUS!)


goodbye, christmas

The holiday cards are gone and in their place is a stack of thank-you notes ready to be written. We all have a lot to be thankful for this year and I'm afraid the 5x7 cards won't be able to properly fit all of our gratitude.

Ethan's first Christmas was a success and this has been made apparent by how soundly he's been sleeping in after days filled with family, friends and boundless love. A few times today I've stood in the doorway of Ethan's playroom and stared down the piles of boxes, books, toys and clothes with the notion that I would find a place for everything...and each time I just closed the door and slowly backed out of the doorway. Can I blame my intimidation by the piles of Ethan's new presents on still being wiped out from copious amounts of cooking, baking and cleaning? (And most importantly, how long can I run with that excuse?!)

Despite the fact it was an 85 degree Christmas here in Southeast Florida, it was still a perfect Christmas. Santa came yesterday and after opening Ethan's goodies from the North Pole, we began the clean-up process by feeding the remnants of our vegetable platter to the cows that Ethan loves to visit who reside in a nearby field. We spent half of the day with my parents and sister having a more intimate Christmas get-together at their house before making our way to my father-in-law's house for dinner. (Ethan passed out before dinner even began.)

Part of me is a little sad the holiday has come and gone so quickly but it's also been wonderful to watch all of the children playing outside with their new Santa gifts. This morning it looked like a parade of wagons, tricycles, bicycles, scooters, baseball mitts and sports equipment around our neighborhood and as I pushed Ethan around on his new 3-in-1 Trike, it was pretty awesome to be a part of the "parade" rather than an outsider. Children make every day more magical than you could ever imagine, but especially the holidays.


ethan's first christmas (eve)

In honor of Ethan's first Christmas, I decided we would host Christmas Eve at our home this year. Our home isn't big by any means so my husband was a little nervous about comfortably fitting upwards of 25 people. I was too busy slaving over a hot stove the entire week to worry about that and it was for the better as everything worked out wonderfully. (My meltdown over the fact that my snowmen cupcakes more accurately resembled George Washington was totally unwarranted. I can admit it!)

The catch phrase of the evening was definitely "where is Ethan?!" as he was being passed around to and from all of our friends and family members constantly! We have so much food leftover (oh, you want to admit that two hams, a turkey, 30 stuffed peppers and myriads of side dishes weren't necessary? NEVER!) and our house looks like a bomb detonated smack dab in my living room but that's okay because it was a wonderful Christmas Eve and so worth it all. When your home is completely filled wall to wall with friends and family members, there's really not much better.

My husband is in the throws of revamping his home office so Ethan and I had gotten him two enormous framed motivational posters a la Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother. He did equally great this year as I opened a gift certificate for my hair salon and my favorite spa. Did I mention that in addition to a pedicure and an hour long massage, my spa package includes quiet time in a plush robe with time to quietly, calmly sip herbal tea?! Never were more blissful words spoken.

Ethan is in the midst of his morning nap (all of this Christmas stuff wore him out!) and we'll let the Christmas Day festivities begin. I thought I'd take this time to document Ethan's first Christmas Eve, made possible (and special) by all of our wonderful family and friends, near and far!

And how did Ethan fare? Well, he had no troubles getting to sleep to ensure he was immersed in dreamland before Santa's arrival!

...Did I mentioned he was completely spoiled?! (To our friends and family: you guys are crazy but we love you anyway!)

Merry Everything from Ethan (and us, too!) to everyone!


six months.

Today Ethan is six months old. I'm the mother to a six month old; a concept I'm having trouble grasping. Six months is half of a year, a milestone age that represents the halfway point between infancy and first birthday parties. In a few days, he will be starting his first solids and I'm struggling to hold onto these fleeting days of Ethan being my itty-bitty newborn.

As with most parenting endeavors, I've learned to not feel failure when my resolutions and best-laid plans end up being a bust. If you asked me last month where Ethan would be sleeping when he turned six months, I'd proudly boast that he made the transition to his crib just as I had planned. Truth is, Ethan is still shoved into his bassinet and sleeping pushed up against the side of our bed. It isn't completely my fault. Exactly one month ago, Ethan was in the throws of battling a nasty case of RSV and our plans to transition him to his crib were obviously put on the back burner in exchange for sleepless nights of monitoring his breathing even more meticulously than usual. He'll get there. I've also traded in my desperate concern for his sleeping habits for a desperation to keep him a baby forever. Six months. Did I mention that's half of a year?!

Ethan has his two bottom teeth and is working on some more, meaning he's rarely seen without his entire fist jammed into his mouth these days. Natural maple teethers have become a necessity in our daily lives, as has a $5 stuffed Winnie The Pooh that he slobbered on while holiday shopping at The Disney Store. (Years of working retail in college has taught me that if your child slobbers on it, you buy it!) Winnie has become our best friend these days, making Ethan fall into a fit of hysterics each time he "kisses" his nose. We've been spending wonderful, warm winter days (how's that for an anomaly? Thanks, Florida!) in the company of our new friends and My Gym playmates. Ethan continues to surprise me with how social and happy he is, never too overtired or agitated to flash a smile to a stranger who smiles at him in passing. A few weeks ago in Target, a crowd of tired, frazzled holiday shoppers -- all mothers to teenagers or adults, they pointed out, missing the charms of a baby -- gathered around him for games of "peek-a-boo!" and giggles that put a little more light in everyone's day. He's good at that, knowing just when to turn up the sides of his mouth in a coy and loveable little grin and flash a sparkle in his bright blue eyes.


ethan's first hanukkah.

Yesterday was the first night of Ethan's very first Hanukkah.

Our families celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah and, for me, Hanukkah is always the peaceful distraction from the chaos of Christmas. This year was no different. It was wonderful to push aside the ever-growing pile of unwrapped Christmas gifts taking over our dining room table and make room for the latkes. My mom helped Ethan light the menorah and helped him as he opened two pairs of cargo shorts and two equally adorable sweaters.

Tonight, the second night, we read Hanukkah Bugs and played with the singing, dancing dalmatian that he opened this evening. The holidays this year have been wonderful, a sneak-preview of all of our years to come with Ethan in our lives. (It was also pretty great to inhale copious amounts of latkes as last year, with Ethan just a few weeks in utero, I wasn't able to eat much more than ginger ale!)
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