“Oh I wish I were a little sip ‘a coke!”

I don’t know many lullabies.

There are a few songs I know by rote, but lullabies aren’t in my repertoire.

However, I do know summer camp songs — some very well.  They were a pretty big part of my childhood.  During much of my youth, Wednesdays after dinner I’d spend at Girl Scout troop meetings in the basement of the Lutheran church.  When I was a Junior Girl Scout, we’d begin and end meetings singing peppy fun songs that prepared us for summer scout camp.  By the time we got to camp, we knew the words and all the extra-silly verses.

Yesterday, I was driving a screaming baby boy to Wash Park for an early morning walk with two other mommies and their babes.  He was not happy, having been woken up from a quick nap so I could put him in a sleeper.

By the time we got to 8th and Corona, he was bananas baby in the back seat.  After saying things like, “Oh Benjamin, why are you crying, baby boy?” and “Darling boy, please don’t get worked up…”  I did what I had to do, and started singing him camp songs.

It worked!  By 1st and Downing he was asleep.  Or maybe he was pretending to be asleep so I’d stop singing.  Either way.

I sang, “Oh I Wish,” and “I Went to a Chinese Restaurant.”  I also sung him what I remembered of “The Cannibal King.”

The songs are silly and fun and plain strange.  Luckily, my audience didn’t seem to mind.

Maybe one day he’ll be singing them around a campfire like I used to…


Oh I wish

Oh, I wish I was a little bar of soap (bar of soap)
Oh I wish I was a little bar of soap (bar of soap)

I’d go slippy, slippy, slidey over everybody’s hiney
Oh, I wish I was a little bar of soap (bar of soap)

Slice of orange…I’d go squirty, squirty, squirty over everybody’s shirty…

Sip of Coke..I’d go down with a slurp, and come up with a burp…

Church pigeon…I’d get up on the steeple and go “pfffft” on the people…

I went to a Chinese restaurant (a partner clapping really bizarre song)

I went to a Chinese restaurant to buy a loaf of bread-bread-bread
He wrapped it up in a brown paper bag and this is what he said-said-said

My name is…
huckleberry full of whiskey
Chinese chopsticks ciao!

(and that’s all I remember!)

The Cannibal King (warning: PG-13 lyrics!)

The Cannibal King with a big nose ring
Fell in love with a dusty maid
And every night by the pale moon light
Across the lake he wade

He hugged and kissed his pretty little miss
Under the bamboo tree
And every night by the pale moon light
It sounded like this to me

Ba-roomp, Ba-roomp
Ba-roomp, ah-de ah-de ay

Ba-roomp, Ba-roomp
Ba-roomp, ah-de ah-de ay

We are not alone.

Week three is in full swing here and we’re all doing okay!  Yesterday we brought baby out a few times — to Chef Zorba’s and then for a long walk in Wash Park.  Denver did its thing and gave us a beautiful 70-degree Sunday after a snowstorm dumped a few inches over city rooftops on Friday.  The park was packed with runners and bikers and volleyball players.  I lost count of the number of baby strollers.

We have been experiencing what are commonly called baby’s witching hour(s) with B.  We tend to experience this common newborn issue in the hours between the late afternoon nursing session and our seven p.m. bedtime each day.  He is fed, he is dry, he is being rocked and held and loved on…and he’s crying, even screaming.  No one told us about this in the baby care classes we took.

It is difficult to hear B cry.  Period.  I love him and I want to give him what he needs.  It’s especially hard when C comes home to us and B is inconsolable.  ”Has it been like this all day?” The answer is no.  We wake up, we nurse, we play and read and lay on our tummies.  We nap, we do it all over again.  Warmer days, we take walks.  We do a lot of nursing, and that’s a calm, quiet time.

I finally got a chance to catch up on a blog I read often, &Kathleen.  She and I were a few weeks apart in our pregnancies and it was a comfort to read the details of someone who was going through a similar situation for the first time as well.  Imagine my interest when I saw this post, titled Witching Hour.  Phew.  We are not alone.

Newborns are basically on information-overload from the moment they leave the womb.  There is so much stimulation.  So much noise.  So much to learn.  It’s exhausting for them.  Because communication is not a strong suit for these little tiny babes yet, the only way they can deal with their unhappiness and tiredness after being overly stimulated throughout the day is to cry…and cry and cry.

Throw a gross green diaper or a little gas in there and the game is all over.

The good news is that this phase shouldn’t last forever and as Benjamin continues to grow, he will learn how to tell us what he needs and become better at self-soothing.  And we will hopefully figure out his signals (before we enter the hour) to put him to bed without the incredible upset.

The UN-happiest baby on the block.

Thursday was a very difficult day at Base Camp B.  Our baby was unhappy.

It started Wednesday night when I noticed some green mucus in his diaper.  We looked it up in our “first year” book and confirmed it was newborn diarrhea.  Our normally placid little guy turned into a crying, screaming, super upset baby.

From six a.m. to noon he had nine wet-plus diapers.  He was so uncomfortable and I felt terrible for him.  Luckily, it was diaper service pick-up day, so I could say sayonara to the really yucky diapers we’d collected that morning.

I  called the nurse at our pediatrician’s practice who said her only concern was B’s moodiness as he’s usually pretty low-key.  She said I’d have to give it 24 hours.

The only thing that comforted B was nursing, which I understood because every bit of food going in was going right through.  By the time C got home both B and I were were in tears.

But then, we had a pretty good night.

And after that, we had a better morning.  We slept, we ate, we slept more.  Let’s hope this trend keeps up!  Today is a snowy day in Mile High and we’re happily camped out in the living room.

On B.

We welcomed Benjamin George to our family on his due date, Valentine’s Day, at 1:01 a.m.  He was 7 lbs. 12 oz., 20 3/4 in.

Of course, it didn’t take long for the love to take over and we’ve been staring at him ever since.  We keep saying to each other, “Can you believe WE made HIM?”  He is perfect in every way.  A beautiful little mister with dark blue-gray eyes like the Atlantic and a sweet-smelling head of dark brown hair.

On the hospital…

I’m not going to write B’s birth story here.  If you want to know more about it, you can meet me for coffee some time in the distant future and I’ll tell you all.  What I will tell you is that the stay I had after the delivery was very, very good.  Nurses are incredible people.  Every nurse we had we loved — through labor and delivery and postpartum.  I wanted to take two home with us.  It was overall a very good experience!

On sleep at home…

There isn’t a whole lot of sleeping going on here.  We are averaging probably an hour at a time.  Today, we both took naps.  At one feeding last night Chris said to me, “I feel like I just closed my eyes.”  Yawn!  B eats every two and a half to three hours and it takes anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to feed him.

On breastfeeding…

Well, it’s hard, but it’s getting better.  One of the lactation specialists in the hospital told us the first two weeks are hands down the hardest when it comes to breastfeeding.  That is why most women give up during this time.  Engorgement (when your milk “comes in”) came for me right on schedule and I was unprepared for how painful it was.  Of course, it all happened at night and there is no hotline you can call to see if everything you’re experiencing is normal.  Every website and book has differing opinions on how to relieve the pain of engorgement.  I was desperately writing to other friends who are currently breast feeding and looking for information I could agree with and work with.  Some books say to pump to relieve the engorgement, others say not to because you could mess with your production and end up over-producing milk.  My panic came after I realized the ONLY way I have to feed our baby is with my breasts.  I was not taught how to properly hand-express in the hospital and it was painful when I attempted it.  Finally, I pumped — twice — at three minutes at a time.  All seems well now and we’re back to it on the feeding schedule.

On lullabies…

Our pediatrician does not make rounds at the suburban hospital where we delivered, so we saw her Monday morning at 10:30, right around one of B’s mid-morning feedings.  We knew he would break down and he did, right after his temperature was taken (you-know-where).  I figured it would be just fine to feed him before we saw the physician, but I wasn’t sure.  I do imagine that second-, third-time parents just do what they need to do when they need to do it but I’m still not sure what kind of etiquette there is in the pediatrician’s office.  So we waited, as B melted down waiting for my breast.  In the meantime, I decided to hum to him.  Realizing I know very few lullabies, I did what I had to do, and hummed California Girls, by the Beach Boys.  B really seemed to like it and calmed down a bit before the PA came in and said, “Oh yes, just go ahead and feed him.”

On my husband…

What an incredible guy.  I am dreading him going back to work on Monday.  He was a wonderful birth partner and has been a natural dad and partner at home.  He and B just get each other and I will never get over my love for C when C is talking to baby or rocking him.

On B…

He is just a dream come true.  We know our lives have changed forever, for the better.

39 weeks, five days.

I received the following instant message from a co-worker today.

Hi – how are you doing?  I had a dream last night that you had your baby and then showed up to work right afterwards in a really cute dress!!!!  Everyone was asking you why you were at work and you said that you had some free time :)  haha … too weird.  You looked cute though!

After thanking her profusely for the dream compliment I had to ask her just what the dress looked like.  Because if there’s one thing I’ve really missed while being pregnant, it’s wearing dresses and tights to work.

It was a colorful stripe dress with a scoop neck and you had cute boots on with it and it was really form-fitting and you had just left the hospital!!!

My mom mentions often how she refused to leave the hospital (after having babies) in anything other than regular clothing — no maternity-wear.  Already, I know I’ll be glad to leave the hospital while it’s still winter and acceptable to wear a coat over whatever happens to my body after the birth of baby.  I’ve packed only comfortable clothing to wear home — leggings and a tunic.

I’m hoping not to be still pregnant by next Monday.  My doctor graciously informed me she will be out-of-town visiting her elderly parents this weekend so if I want to have the baby before or after Friday through Sunday, that would be better for her schedule.  Chris thinks Wednesday would be a good day because he doesn’t really want the baby to be born on the 13th of any month.  I’m going to try my best to accommodate all hopes and wishes surrounding baby’s delivery.

I’m craving sweets.  Lots and lots of sweets.

And meatballs.

I just wanted one.

…but I had to make 20.

MySweetValentineHere’s the recipe to the best. buttercream. frosting. ever.

You’ll have leftovers if you make it for cupcakes and you can keep it in the fridge for a bad day (or a good day!)

From Savory Sweet Life.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1 C. softened unsalted butter (2 sticks)
3 1/2 C. confectioner’s sugar
1/2 C. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. table salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 Tbs. heavy cream

Cream butter in a mixer with paddle attachment on medium speed.  Turn off mixer and sift 3 C. confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder into mixer bowl.  Turn on mixer to the lowest speed to avoid powdered ingredients blowing every which way.  Mix until powdered ingredients are absorbed by butter.  Increase mixer speed to medium and add salt, vanilla and heavy cream.  Should you want a thicker consistency to your frosting, add a bit more sugar.  Should you want a runnier frosting, add extra cream one tablespoon at a time.


Musings from a wee lad.

I used to think four was the most fun age for little kids.  Then Brady turned five.

Brady is C’s mom’s husband’s grandchild.  Wrap your head around it.

Brady lives in the same neighborhood as C’s mom and spends a good amount of time at C’s mom’s house.  He’s an absolute joy.  In fact, I’ve only seen him in a questionable mood one time, and that was at the art museum the day after Christmas.  I think he was just plain exhausted from the day before.  Generally, he’s got a lot to say and is very inquisitive.

Yesterday during the game (we won’t go there) Brady and I had some good chats.  He’s very interested in the baby and what’s going on in my belly.  So we had a talk and I let him ask me whatever he wanted about babies.

“Can you fit through a door?”  Yes.  ”But do you have to turn sideways?”  No.

“Do people know you’re going to have a baby?”  Yes.  ”Do they know this because your belly is fat?”  Yes.

“Can the baby see me?”  No, but he can hear you and he’ll recognize your voice when he arrives.  ”He can hear me?”  Yes.  ”So he’ll know who I am when he comes out?”  Yes!

“So your baby is just going to slide right out?”  That’s the plan!

“Will the baby be lumpy after he slides out?”  Quite possibly.

“Will he be covered in water and blood?”  Yes.

Brady, what should we name a boy?  We don’t have any boy names.  ”Golf Cart.”

Stocking up on comfy clothes.

In anticipation of kicking around home for several weeks postpartum entertaining only Baby Stroh and C, I’ve started picking up some of the world’s most comfortable clothing to hang in.

There’s really nothing better than lounge clothes.  Comfy clothes remind me of summers at Queechy–cold mornings on the lake and chilly nights in front of a bonfire or out on a boat.  There was no need for outside-world clothing (or while we’re at it, taking showers or washing my hair) as a lifeguard who spent her time between the beach and the cottage.  There was no one to impress.

Since I’ve long loved lounge clothes but never have an excuse to spend money on them, I’m thrilled that I can now shop a bit in anticipation of being cozy at home for a few months.

I’ve bought three of these Make + Model layering camisoles.  They are normally $18 each at Nordstrom.  I found three off-season colors for $3.97 a piece at Nordstrom Rack.  Score!


I bought a pair of Old Navy Compression Leggings.  Also on sale.  Old Navy is always running some promotion or another.  Today and tomorrow use code JUSTFORYOU to receive 20% off adult clothes.  Be sure to look online and sign up for their emails for extra deals and coupons.


Finally, my favorite new purchases, the Coobie Bra.  A few weeks ago, I was shopping with Micaela and an old Denver pal of hers, who is also pregnant.  We were at Kismet, a sweet little boutique on 32nd in Highland, where she bought two of these bras.  When we left the store, she showed them to us and told us hands down, she could not get enough of them.  They’re padded, they’re one-size fits many (sizes 32A to 36D — now a full-sized line is offered, 38A to 42DD), and they have detachable straps.  I went back and bought one to try.  Three days later, I bought two more.  They’ve also received rave reviews online for use as nursing bras due to their comfort, straps and ultimate “give” when it comes to cup sizes.


Today’s lesson?  Keep it comfy, lady pals.  And remember, postpartum isn’t the only excuse…we’ve got weekends too!

Kitchen whimsy.

I’ve lived in a few bizarrely-shaped apartments with small kitchens — and oddly-shaped kitchens — and kitchens that were at one time fancy parlors in pretty brownstones on parks.  No matter your kitchen set up, there is always room for inspiration, and of course, a bit of whimsy.

As I continue to nest during these next few weeks leading up to the full 40, I can’t help but be warmed by photos of light funky food prep spaces.




How fun to put an ornate mirror above the range.  Never-you-mind the curious lobster art above the pot rack.  I could easily make myself at home in this space.



This kitchen reminds me of an old farmhouse in Columbia County.  I adore the square windows above the sink and counter.  White on white on white.



How charming to paint the inside of an otherwise all-white cabinet a bold color.  And that wallpaper!  Very, very sweet.  With all these colors on the flat surfaces, why not add a fun-colored stand mixer on your counter top too as industrial, functional art? Check out this shade from KitchenAid – Buttercup!



What captured my eye in this kitchen was the wire-ware garlic basket hanging on the hooks over the counter top.  My mom has one in her kitchen.  I believe it is from her grandmother’s kitchen.  It always has a few heads of garlic in it.  I’ve never seen another like it.  In this kitchen, it really adds to the primitive, simple nature — and I love it!

Keep the whimsy in your eat space!

The wind.

Again last night I was woken up by the wind.  If I haven’t mentioned it before, it is VERY blustery up here and in Denver in general.

The first thing I did was see if I could spot my planet out the window from my place in bed.

There is a planet, or I guess more probably a satellite or some light in the clear night sky that is bright enough to see without my glasses and it’s been in the upper left corner of our bedroom window for a few weeks now.  It’s a bit of a comfort, flickering in the urban canopy.

I am having trouble sleeping, which I think is just part of being less than four weeks from my due date.  Where did our time as two go?  What will it be like to be someone’s mother?  How will we handle it all as a couple?

Chris has been working massive hours.  I mean, home by midnight at the earliest on nights we don’t have birthing classes and sometimes nights we do — when class lets out at nine, he goes back to his office.  He goes back to the office for seven a.m.  I have been handling things at home and at work (and not doing that great at either).  Yesterday it all came spilling out before Micaela arrived from Boston for a visit.  We are freaked out.

How do we fit this tiny person into our small space?  I totally get why people move to houses in the suburbs.  It’s so they can have a nursery big enough to fit a large tufted glider without having to sacrifice a guest bed.  It’s so they don’t have to get rid of dishes to fit bottles in their kitchen cupboards.  It’s so they don’t have to put their desk in storage so a crib can fit in the office.

How will we live with limited sleep?  Or at least, super interrupted sleep?  Will we be really cranky with each other?

Baby will be born during corporate tax season and I’ve been forewarned that Chris will not be able to take much time off to help me those first few weeks and unfortunately, we’ve decided my mom should come out when Chris receives radioactive iodine rather than when the baby is born.  We think this will happen some time in March.  What will I do without my mom or my partner here to help me?  Leaning on others is NOT my strong suit.  My mother-in-law has been very gracious and wants to be here to help and I know I need to take her up on this — “What are you doing from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day for two weeks because I’m worried I won’t be able to do this without a little help and guidance?”

I have been told over and over again to ASK people to come and visit.  Come hold the baby so I can take a shower.  Please feel free to do a load of laundry.  Clean our bathroom.  I’m not really comfortable with much of that kind of thing–you know, the asking for help thing.

Last night after worrying for an hour and writing an email to Micaela (who was right next door in the nursery) about my Wednesday and Friday schedule, I decided there was really not much I could do about it.  It is what it is and it’s only for a short while.  Just like that planet in the night sky.  It’s going to change position.  It’s going to shift.  And I have to have faith that all this concern will work itself out and in a few months I’ll be wondering what all this apprehension was about to begin with.

wind runner[source]