Friday, February 26, 2010

The Castrucci Weekend: Sunday

So, I feel like I should get this done before another Sunday comes up... you know, like in 2 days.  I've been a real slacker with this post... my apologies.

So, our itinerary for LAST Sunday:

2:00 AM: Evan wakes up.  It is Brian's one morning to take care of Evan (and my one morning to sleep in).  Brian doesn't hear Evan, so I wake him up.  Brian asks for a reminder of what he is supposed to do.  Brian attempts to put Monkey back to sleep (incidentally he chose to use the mobile instead of the aquarium - usually no biggie except for the fact that through our HIGHLY sensitive monitor, the mobile sounds like it is screaming in my ear).
2:30 AM: I get back to sleep.
2:40 AM: Evan is back up so I wake up Brian. 
2:43 AM: Evan can't be soothed.  Brian asks me what to do.  I tell him to feed Evan, then hang with him for a little bit and put him back to sleep.
6:30 AM: Evan wakes up and I wake up Brian (see a pattern here?).
8:00 AM: Brian wakes me up and offers to take me to The Flying Biscuit if  get going now.  I get up, do something to my crazy hair, Brian dresses Evan, and somehow we make it out of the house by 8:30 AM.
8:45 AM: Wait at the Flying Biscuit.
8:50 AM: Still waiting.
9:00 AM: Breakfast... yummy eggs, cottage cheese pancakes, grits and hello biscuit (almost as wonderful and waist heavy as the queso - melted cheese - I feel in love with in Texas).
9:35 AM: Brian agrees to visit Sevananda Natural Food Market with me (I've been meaning to go here for some time).  Sadly, it was not all that I thought it would be and couldn't hold a candle to Wheatsville Food Coop in Austin.  Plus, Brian kept walking around and asking me where the meat section was (it's a vegetarian coop) so I knew we had to get out of there.
10:05 AM: We decide, what the heck, let's go to the zoo (small reminder here that I'm still not showered... oh it's pretty folks).  The Atlanta Zoo is about 10 minutes from our house and Sunday was b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l.  We had been meaning to go and get a membership (remember Brian's love for all caged animals?) so today was perfect.
10:15 AM: We go to the zoo and buy our family membership.  Basically, as long as Brian and I go 3 times (or one of us goes 6 times, or a combination thereof - yeah, math not my best subject) it pays for itself. 
10:20 AM: Once we get in the zoo I realize that we've yet again fallen into the category of unprepared parent.  We are about to walk around the zoo for at least an hour, in the sun, and our fair-headed absent of hair child has no hat.  Oh yeah, and I'm a little cold.
10:25 AM: We buy a cute hat for Evan and a little jacket for me (with our membership discount I might add).  Here is a close-up of the hat (Evan is a little tired in this photo - it's towards the end of our journey):

10:30 AM: We start our trek through the zoo.  The Atlanta Zoo is split up in to continents (and is a very cool zoo).  We saw all of Africa and some of Asia before Evan started to wilt (as seen in the picture above).  I took a picture of Brian and Evan by a gorilla statue:

Brian got the only picture of me walking back from the restroom (unshowered and all... pretty pretty hair):

And because I'm being lazy, you can see more pictures on your own at Snapfish (the zoo photos are mixed in with other pictures because I'm not that organized - get over it).  And, I'm supposed to tell you that the zoo photos are courtesy of Brian, which I'm sure you would have figured out since they are missing my signature cropped people, blurriness, and other photo errors.

12:30 PM: We take Evan home for a nap.
2:30 PM: Evan wakes up from his nap.  We feed him, and then we go out for Mexican (one of the things we miss from Texas) to El Matador.
4:00 PM: Back home.  Lots of sitting on the couch and overall exhaustion.
6:00 PM: Time for Evan's first solid food.  I do an awful job of mixing the formula and rice cereal (because that's like rocket science) and his first food resembles paste.  And, come to think of it, I tried some and it kind of tasted like past - like that tub past that everyone has a taste of in kindergarten / first grade.  He was not (and still isn't) quite sure what to make of it:

7:00 PM: Evan goes to bed.
9:30 PM: Brian and I pass out.  I'm exhausted all over again writing this.

Tomorrow we plan on going to the outlets.  This could be another marathon weekend... I need a vacation - again.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Just Too Darn Cute

I know, you are expecting a post about last the Sunday portion of "The Castrucci Weekend" but I promise you what I'm about to offer you is worth the deviation.

Monkey and I just made our daily trek to the mailbox (I know, contain your excitement).  It's a little chilly here in the ATL, but I didn't want to bundle him up for just a quick walk (you know, because he is already wearing his feetsie pajamas and he would be held by me... a human blanket) so I decided that all I needed to do was put on a hat for him.

So the question became - which hat?  Monkey has an obscene amount of hats - some because my mom is obsessed with keeping him warm and some because it's what people give you.  While they are all cute, I decided it was time to try one that was made for Monkey but hadn't yet fit him... this monkey hat:

This picture doesn't do it justice (blame the photographer, not the knitter) but this hat is super cute.

And how did it look on Monkey:

And, since I'm not the selfish type, you too can have this hat (not this one, I'm not taking this off of his head).  Our friend and her sister sell handmade items (and her husband makes gorgeous crosses) at Hodgey Podgey. Once there, if you click on "crocheted creations" on the left hand menu, you might recognize the baby sleeping under a blanket (another beautiful gift from our friend).  We are still receiving royalties on that photo shoot.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Because I'm a Helper: How to Post a Comment

Recently I've had a lot of people tell me they wanted to leave comments on a post but didn't know how.  As a former trainer, I can't let that slide.  And of course there are the selfish reasons that 1) comments tell me people are reading and how they feel about it, and 2) comments allow for a dialogue which makes the post more interesting.

So, here is a little tutorial on how to post a comment...

Step 1: Decide that you are so entertained by a post that you need to leave a comment.

Step 2: Click on the green link at the bottom of each post that tells you how many comments there are.  In the photo below that would be the link that says 0 comments.

Step 3: When you click on this link, it will open up a comment box for you to type in. Go ahead and type your comment.  There's no pressure to be witty.  I think only about 10 people read my blog so you won't embarrass yourself in front of a crowd or anything.

Step 4: Now you have to select your profile.  Click on the down arrow to the right of the box under where you type your comment that reads "Select profile...."  You will see the options as they appear below.  If you don't know how to leave a comment than you should select "Anonymous" as your profile (don't forget to leave your name in the comment if you select anonymous as your profile... unless of course you want your comment to be anonymous).

Step 5: Before your comment can be posted you will be asked to type in a random word that the computer will generate.  It's some sort of security precaution because you know, there are all those rogue blog commentators out there.

Step 6: Click on "post comment" and sit back and let the magic happen.

Step 7: Congratulate yourself.  Pop the cork, uncap that bottle, smoke 'em if you got 'em... do whatever you do to let yourself know you succeeded.  Because you are a rock star.

Now, go ahead, try it out and leave me lots of invigorating comments.

The Castrucci Weekend: Saturday

Sorry it has been so long since I've written... but we had a super busy weekend and Monkey and I are still recovering.  It was sunny... all weekend - yippee.

What did we do you ask?  Well... check out our itinerary:

Saturday, February 20

3:30 AM - Wake with Mr. Evan, attempt to put him back to sleep
4:00 AM - Realize that Mr. Evan is not going to go back to sleep, so go and get him so he doesn't ruin the one morning Brian sleeps in.
4:15 AM - Feed Mr. Evan
5:00 AM - Evan and I go back to sleep
7:30 AM - Brian wakes up (apparently this is sleeping in when you normally wake up at 5:00 AM every day)
7:35 AM - Brian tries to see if I'm awake, I say something snarky to him and he stops bothering me
8:00 AM - I'm up and trying to shower before Mr. Evan wakes up (Brian has already showered at some point)
8:10 AM - Mr. Evan wakes up and makes it very clear that he is hungry.  I throw on some clothes, put gel in my hair, and go and feed him
8:30 AM - Brian has 2 choices: 1) Take Mr. Evan so I could do my hair and get dressed, 2) Be selfish, sit on the couch and watch TV while I take Mr. Evan AND try to do my hair and get dressed.
8:32 AM: Smart man chooses option #1
9:00 AM: We are out the door (me without coffee I may add) and on our way to Athens, GA
10:30 AM: We arrive at the "Babies Can't Wait" informational session in Athens (Brian funds this program and wanted to see how they do things in GA).  The turnout was pretty good and the bonus is that as we speak, sign language flash cards and DVDs are on their way to our house so I can teach Evan.  I was my usual awkward self as the "Director's wife" (a role that doesn't feel comfortable to me - especially since I'm not a Public Health wonk) and I only got offended by one person (she asked me what I did and when I told her I was a SAHM, she said "Well, you must have done something before - no?").
12:00 PM: On our way to downtown Athens (also known as the University of Georgia). 
12:15 PM: Find some really good restaurant to eat in (of course, I have no idea the name so I'll never be able to eat there again).  Mr. Evan fell asleep in car and sleeps through most of lunch.  Still no cofffee so give up and have a beer with lunch.
1:00 PM: Get check quickly as Mr. Evan woke up.  Walk around downtown.  Brian finds someplace to buy a Constellation Turtle for Evan (because that is what every boy needs) and I spot Ben & Jerry's.
2:00 PM: Ben & Jerry's break.  Mmmm, chocolate chip cookie dough.
2:15 PM: I make Brian pose for pictures with Evan on an Uga sculpture (bulldog mascot of the university). 

2:17  PM: Brian returns the favor and makes me pose on a more girly version.

2:30 PM: On way back to Atlanta.
2:45 PM: Screaming baby.  Pull over and I get in the back seat.  I feed him, sing to him, nothing works.  Apparently my decision to say "no highways" for the drive home on our Garman was not the smartest (as Brian pointed out).
3:30 PM: Make it back to Atlanta.  Of course, Evan falls asleep less than a mile from home so I have to wake him up to change the EXTREMELY smelly poopie he had in the car, while screaming in my ear.  But luckily he goes back to sleep.
5:00 PM: Evan wakes up.  We give him a bath. Play with him and feed him.
7:00 PM: Evan goes to sleep.
7:15 PM: Brian and I ate.
10:00 PM: Brian and I are in bed, impressed we made it that long.

(Exhausted yet... well that was only Saturday)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Musings

So, I’ve been musing recently (did you hear that ominous soundtrack playing?) and nothing good comes out of musing – not for anyone. You see, with musing there is no one definite problem so there is no answer. It’s the kind of thing that makes my husband’s logical head explode.

And what have I been musing about you ask… schedules – more specifically, baby schedules.

For some reason, this topic has smacked me in the face a lot recently. Maybe it was being in Cancun and people asking me about Monkey’s schedule (in a very nice way as to not interrupt it, nothing negative at all). Or maybe it was coming home and reading a string on where a member asked about other’s baby schedules and people wrote out their schedules in detail…down to the 15 minute increment – seriously. Or maybe it’s that I start out every day thinking about what needs to get done and when I can get it done based on Monkey’s schedule. Whatever – the point is, I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

And here is what I think (with the disclaimer that I don’t have any fancy letters after the “i” in my last name and I’m only writing from the experience of one child)… I’m not sold on the belief that strict schedules are for the baby.

Huh – what did I just say? Did I seriously just go against generations of medical and behavioral beliefs? You betcha’… read more for the reasons why.

What I have been told since before Evan was born is that I had to get my baby on a schedule. I was told baby’s like schedules – they like being able to anticipate what is coming next. I received advice on all different types of schedules (for those of you without children – yes, there are “types” or “theories” on schedules) and being a new mother diligently listened. And I tried to put my baby on these schedules. I woke him at certain times, fed him at certain times, played with him at certain times, and put him to sleep at certain times. I followed this for a while… and my baby rebelled at every turn. But, I didn’t stop chasing this Holy Grail of a schedule because it was what everyone told me was supposed to happen.

And then we moved and all schedules disappeared. I had to fit in packing, moving, unpacking, etc. and Evan had to be flexible. He didn’t particularly like this either.

Apparently, Evan didn’t like me enforcing a schedule nor did he like having to follow a non-schedule. And so I started to pay attention to him and here is what I learned. If Evan wakes up early (like 5:00 AM… yes, you read that correctly) then usually about an hour after waking he will need a 30-45 minute nap. He will then take 2 more 45 minute naps in the morning and early afternoon and a long (2 hours) nap in the late afternoon. Since he is up a lot in this “schedule” he eats more – about 5 bottles a day. And he tells me when he is hungry. If he wakes up later, (like 6:30 / 7:00 AM) then he usually takes a long (2 hours) nap in the late morning and one in the late afternoon. Since he sleeps for longer periods in this “schedule” he usually eats about 4 bottles a day and tells me when he is hungry. That’s it – there are no times associated with the events and when he isn’t sleeping he is eating, playing, or running errands. And… as you might have seen, my baby is more than happy.

So what have I learned… what if babies are like grown-ups? Some of us do really well on schedules and some of us don’t? We apply this to baby sleeping habits (some babies are early risers and some aren’t) so why not apply it to other places? What if some babies need the predictability of a schedule and other babies get bored with it (contentment and boredom might look similar in babies)? And babies can’t tell time – so why do we create schedules that are so based on the clock? What is the difference between a schedule that indicates the baby will eat, play, then sleep and a schedule that indicates at 7:00 AM he eats, from 7:30 – 9:00 he plays, from 9:00 – 9:30 he reads a book to settle down, and at 9:30 he goes down for a nap? Could the difference be the parent? For instance, my sister thrives on a schedule and so do her fabulous children. As I’ve said maybe once or twice, schedules just stress me out… and so maybe I’ve passed that to Evan?

Of course, as I stated in the beginning of this post, there is no answer. What I’m doing works for Evan right now… this could change tomorrow.

And maybe I’m musing on this because I “failed” miserably at the schedule and I refuse to have this mean I’ve “failed” as a parent. I’m sure I will screw up enough things – why do we have to manufacture things for me to screw up as well?

I feel the need to add one more thing. I’ve really tried to keep this blog to all about Evan since that is the intent. But sometimes I can’t resist the temptation to use this space to let out some of my musings… at least they are Evan-related. I’ll resume more Evan things on Monday.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's Official

After telling me I’m crazy and seeing things… Mr. Monkey Pants finally opened his mouth for Daddy last night and made Daddy eat his words. There, on the bottom of his mouth, Daddy saw that Mr. Monkey Pants has not one but TWO teeth coming in… aaah, my son, the overachiever. And then Daddy did lots of apologizing for calling me crazy. And promptly called me crazy about something else 10 minutes later (I’m still waiting on the apology for that one).

We tried to get a picture to share with you all but it started to seem a little crazy that we were poking and prodding a completely content baby while he sat in his high chair (especially since I’ve spent a lot of time making the high chair a happy place because we weren’t so sure about it when it was first introduced weeks ago). I can’t even share with you the few photos we took because you can’t see anything . Well, that isn’t entirely true – in one of them you can see Brian’s thumb.

But all is not lost, I do have photos to share with you about something completely different.

When we were in Cancun, Evan mostly went barefoot in an onesie (and on one super hot day he let it all hang out in just his diaper). Since the last time he was barefoot he was about 2 months old, I think he saw his feet for the “first” time and he fell madly in love with them. He would play with them, try to put them in his mouth, and eventually play with anyone else’s foot that was within his reach.

Then we came back to Atlanta, back to snow, back to 30 degree weather, and back to feetsie pajamas, socks, and shoes. Well, here is what my son thought of that:

(You can't have them... those are my piggy toes - I mean Evan's piggy toes)

This is the look of joy AFTER he disposed of the socks and shoes.

I give up, the boy knows what he likes.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Photos from Cancun

Wow - you all really like me... well at least my last post.  There was a lot of love given to me about how funny my letters were. Well... I have 2 confessions to make:

  1. The idea of letters to tell a funny story isn't my own.  I know, it's a shocker, but I'm ever truthful. I'm sure, in some way, I was influenced by Letters from a Nut.  A hilarious book believed to be written by Jerry Seinfeld (and I think I received it from Sarae in college - thanks Sarae!).  However, showing only one side of the correspondence is all my own.

  2. I'm really not that funny... my life is.  I swear it's all true.
So, I don't really know how to follow-up from yesterday.  I've decided to let Mr. Monkey Pants do it for me - through photos.  Here are a few for your viewing pleasure (and sadly I only have a few because in typical Ellen fashion I did a poor job of documenting our trip in Cancun... apparently I was off enjoying it too much):

Here is Mr. Monkey Pants in his swim shirt that is too tight (notice the way it hugs his adorable baby rolls - well done mom) and a hat that he wants nothing to do with.  Oh yeah, and Maga is in the picture too, but we all know who the star is.  But most importantly, why does my son look like he is pointing "pistol fingers" at his grandmother?  Boys will be boys... (god I hate that saying)

And here is Mr. Monkey Pants with his cousins - also known to Monkey as the Court Jester, Princess Entertain-Me, and Princess Sing-Me-a-Song-Because-I'm-Bored.  What - you only see 2 cousins in this picture?  Oh, right, that's because I'm an awful person to have document anything and I only got this picture of him with the cousins.  But don't worry - here is the missing one:

And I won't be winning any awards for photography.  But seriously, Mr. Monkey LOVED spending time with his minions... I mean cousins.  And they adored him as well.  Aaah, youth.

Here are Monkey and Daddy in the ocean.  He didn't like it and he didn't hate it.  Actually, if I was a better photographer and you could see his face, you would see that it looks a lot like it did when he was with Santa.  This was Monday... just minutes before the ocean took away Brian's glasses (see, he still has them on).

Okay - a lot going on in this photo.  Let's start with Daddy... no glasses.  As you will recall this is how he spent most of his vacation.  Next, we have Mr. Monkey Pants who, while you can't tell in this photo because it isn't close enough, pretty much decided he did NOT like the pool.  I think it was a combo of tight swim clothing (again, well done mom), cold water (who thought of bringing him in to the ONLY unheated pool - I'm blaming Daddy), and exhaustion... we did this on day one - he probably needed some time.  And finally, yes, that is me in a bathing suit.  Go ahead, look at it with all the adoration you want - I know I cut a fine figure in my skirted suit (easier to hide the tattoo... but my nieces and nephew saw it anyway... oh yeah, and hide the cellulite).  Now, stick your tongue back in and wipe off that drool as we go to the next photo.

And now to answer the final question...

How did Mr. Monkey Pants like Cancun?

'Nuff said...

(My apologies to Grandpa, Uncle Ian, and Aunt Amy who were in Cancun and did enjoy Mr. Monkey Pants but don't have photos.  I don't know what I was doing the whole time but it apparently wasn't taking photos - probably drinking Strawberry Daiquiris.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cancun Vacation

We're back... I'll post photos over the next few days but I felt it was important to get the story of our vacation out first.  I feel the best way to tell it is through letters.  This one is kind of long... but worth it:

Dear Cancun Weather,

Thank you so much for listening to my many prayers for sun… for just one week of sun. I didn’t even mind the 10 minute rain on Wednesday (which took away a lot of the humidity) or the afternoon thunderstorm on Friday. I will take what I can get. Oh, and I also greatly appreciated the breeze you had throughout the week so that the heat never got to be too much.

Yours always,


Dear Atlanta Weather,

You sucked before I left, you sucked while I was gone (snow… really?), and you suck again. At least you are consistent.

Here for a while,


PS – Please make spring come soon. This is ridiculous.

Dear Mexican Ocean,

Thank you for keeping your salt content low so my baby could dip his piggy toes in you and so that I could even go out in the ocean for the first time in 5 years.

But, then you ruined it all. Did you really need my husband’s glasses? I mean, I understand you wanted to check them out, but after you tore him off of his face, couldn’t you have given them back to him… you know, have them wash up on the shore?



Dear Royal Caribbean,

Overall, I’m impressed. I hadn’t been there in 8 years, and you didn’t even look like you had aged a day. Your lands were beautiful, the new beach was fabulous, and the rooms were nice. I even appreciated the crib for my baby (although you might want to look up the newest standards for cribs which recommend that the slats not be large enough for my baby’s legs and hands to fit through).

My husband enjoyed watching the kids paint their t-shirts (although we would like to put in a formal request for adult size t-shirts for next year) and painting his pottery. He was very impressed by your resident artists who “touched up” his pottery and made it look even better.

But, you really need to talk to your front desk staff. When my husband notified them that he was supposed to receive a FedEx package and that they should call him on his cell phone to let him know it arrived, someone should have told him that the front desk won’t call cell phones. Then, when my husband checked to see if his package had arrived and a different man at the front desk told him the package had come 10 minutes before but that they sent it back because money was due on it, someone, anyone should have shown some empathy in the fact that my husband had been waiting 3 days for his glasses and JUST missed them. This includes the manager; he might have showed a flicker of emotion about my husband’s plight. If anyone had cared, maybe I wouldn’t have these bad feelings lingering about you.

I might just need a banana monkey (or 2) before I can look at you again.

Annoyed in Atlanta,


PS – My husband would like you to figure out how to have high-speed Internet in the rooms by next year. Thanks!

Dear Lens Crafters – Branch in Cedar Park,

You rock – seriously. Thank you for picking out some cool glasses for my husband and going above and beyond to get them sent to Cancun ASAP. It wasn’t your fault that the package didn’t arrive until 2:00 PM on Thursday – you asked for it to arrive by 10:00 AM on Wednesday.

Genuinely impressed,

Ellen (wife of Brian)

Dear FedEx,

I am writing you this letter on behalf of my husband because he is so angry with you that he doesn’t even know where to begin.

First off, you have to understand that he was an avid supporter of all things you do – the overnight mailing, your packing supplies, your customer service, and your ability to ship anything. He used to go on and on about how you can always trust FedEx… and now, he doesn’t know if he can use you again.

His first concern came when, after waiting 24 hours for an update on his glasses, the online status showed that his glasses were “delayed in Cancun customs” Wednesday morning but still showed a delivery date of 6:00 PM on Wednesday. He waited and waited, checking the Internet every hour, and finally, at 4:00 PM, when there was no change of status, he started calling FedEx.

After 3-4 phone calls, he found someone who could tell him that it was stuck in customs due to the fact that there was $80 in duties on the package and some other mysterious reasons that are only known to the Cancun airport security (who will also receive a letter from me for a whole different reason). After phone calls to the Cancun FedEx, the airport, and us, a customer service rep was able to get the package released AND had us set up a FedEx account so the money charge would be taken care of. We were assured it would arrive Thursday morning.

Please refer to the copy of the letter I sent to the Royal Caribbean (enclosed) to learn that this did not happen. It didn’t arrive on time, the FedEx account wasn’t charged, etc. The only redeeming factor was that you were able to send back the driver so we could receive the glasses at some point.

We will never use you again.


Ellen (on behalf of Brian)

Dear Mexican Airport Security (specifically the Saturday manager),

Phlbbt (that would be the sound of me sticking my tongue out at you).

Here is a quote, directly from the TSA website: “Medications, baby formula and food, breast milk, and juice are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces (100ml) and are not required to be in the zip-top bag.”

The only thing that stopped me from jumping you, El Jefe, when you decided to tell me what would be the appropriate amount of formula for my baby was my fear of Mexican prison… and that was it. If you want to reinforce the rules, then learn the rules. And don’t step between a mother and her ability to feed her child.

Screw you,


Dear Delta Airlines,

I’m about to say something I never thought I would say… I mean NEVER. US Airways is a better airline than you. Yes, I said it. The airline that is generally known as the worst in the United States is better when compared to you. And how is that? Well, first off, they are family friendly – you can skip long lines at check-in, get boarded first, and they have baby changing stations in the bathroom. You – none of the above.

And, I understand that the snow in Atlanta caused delays, but it didn’t cause mass chaos at the boarding gate (no lines, no zone boarding – seriously?) and it didn’t cause your dumb ticket agent to assign us the aisle in front of the exit row and it didn’t cause your equally dumb stewardess to not notice this FAA violation until we were in the air when she then decided that for landing we would need to switch with the row in front of us, and it didn’t cause your careless baggage crew to lose the cup holder and dent the handle on our brand new stroller. Nope, all of these things happened because… well… you suck. Kind of like the Atlanta weather.

And even though I know you will do nothing about these problems, I’m going to make on request – please stop thanking me for “choosing” you – I live in Atlanta… I have no choice.

Looking for other options,


Dear Atlanta Airport Security,

Where do I start? First, the obvious question, why do you and Memphis make EVERYONE re-check their luggage and go through security when entering the US from another country? Why did you make me wake my sleeping baby so that I could put the car seat and stroller through the security x-ray again? So, I go through security in Mexico, get checked at the gate before getting on the plane, and then I need to go through all the bull again? Are you trying to see if someone left me something on the plane that I want to smuggle in the US? Or do you just hate everyone who comes to Atlanta?

Next question, why would you put bad TSA agents (although I’m beginning to think this is redundant) on the Special Assistance line? You want them to “help” people with special needs? Do they do that by referring to them as “The Hulk” and getting in to people’s faces? Was it okay that I had to get in the face of a TSA agent while holding my baby since he decided to take on my husband (and if you saw my husband you would know that I’m the better option to pick a fight with)?

And your “manager”… come on. Having a back bone should be a requirement for that job.

And one last thing… I’m sure all your employees were cranky because Atlanta was such a cluster due to the snow storm… but I was cranky because I had been traveling for 13 hours due to the snow storm. And… your employees get paid for their discomfort – me… I paid you.

The next time I have to leave the country, I’m flying in to another airport and driving to Atlanta.

Completely exasperated,


Dear Mom and Dad,

These letters might make it seem like I’m only complaining, but I’m not. I want to thank you for this vacation. It was wonderful to be somewhere warm and be able to spend time with my family. I really appreciate it!

Thank you,

Your favorite (sorry siblings, the truth hurts)

Dear Mr. Monkey Pants.

Thank you for being the BEST 5 month old in the world. You spent 13 hours traveling and had maybe 45 minutes of crank. You reminded your father and I that it wasn’t all bad.

Love always,

Your mother (calling myself your mother never gets old)

Dear Bubs,

Thank you for enjoying yourself in Cancun in spite of your trials and tribulations. I know it must have been difficult for you to be without sight from Monday to Thursday and to not be in contact with a job you just started. But, you didn’t let your mood impact anyone else AND you didn’t kill anyone.

I love you yesterday, today, and tomorrow,


Friday, February 5, 2010

Going Away

So, I was going to do this post about all the cute things Evan has - mostly what people have made us (because we have some seriously crafty people in our lives) but then something happened.  So, as you all know, the Northeast is getting hit with some gigantic snowstorm (actually, mostly the Mid-Atlantic but no one ever refers to them as such).  Anyway, Brian was supposed to have a meeting in DC on Monday and then on Tuesday we were going to fly down to Cancun to join my family for a vacation.  It turns out that his meeting is cancelled (some nonsense about 18 inches of snow being too much... blah blah blah) so lucky us, we changed our flights and we leave Sunday.

Because of this, I have some things to get done - mostly packing.  And there is a lot of packing.  Evan is smaller than a suitcase but he will need one of his own.  Here are just a few things I have to pack:
  1. Regular diapers
  2. Swimming diapers
  3. Wipes
  4. Butt Paste
  5. His special lotion and soap (cetaphil)
  6. Swim trunks
  7. Swim shirts
  8. Baby approved suntan lotion
  9. Raft with a hood
  10. Regular clothes (onesies, pants, mom said it was chilly so something for that)
  11. Dry Formula (damn not breastfeeding, it makes life MUCH more difficult)
  12. Wet formula for the plane rides
  13. Bottles
  14. Bottle cleaners (because of course Evan has "special" bottles which have "special" cleaners)
  15. Sleepers
  16. Blanket
  17. Pacifiers (because he still uses them to sleep and to teeth)
  18. Sleeping blanket
  19. Play blankets (thin little things just so I know he is putting something semi-clean in his mouth)
  20. Some things to entertain him (just a few because mostly he will have Mommy & Daddy, Maga and Grandpa, Aunt Amy, Uncle Ian, and cousins)
And yes, I did just write this list for me to follow more than for you to read... but I'm sure you enjoyed it too.  So I won't be posting for a while, but stay in touch because I'll come back with some photos... and I'm sure they will be cute because... duh... Evan will be in them.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Lied

Apparently interesting things can happen when you are cooped up in the house for a few days... like say bonding between a furry animal and a grabbing baby:

Look at the pure joy on Evan's face - Bubba does that to people.

Well, maybe bonding is a strong word to use.  But there is definite contact going on and no one is running away.  There was no hitting, hissing, or meowing (there was one small meow when Evan grabbed on to Bubba's knee but I took care of that).

It seems Bubba hasn't quite agreed to the fact that the changing table belongs to Evan. Something tells me, as long as Evan grabs, Evan will always win this power struggle.

And all is well at the Castrucci household.


Okay, so yesterday morning Brian's car got a flat.  This meant he took my car to work and Monkey and I spent the only sunny day this week in the house.  Today it's going to start to rain and apparently finish up sometime around Sunday - yay.  So, because I'm tired of taking pictures of monkey in his exersaucer and because not much post-worthy has happened since yesterday, today you get to read about my thoughts.  And what else would I think about being house-bound but the loft?

If I was younger... if I was cooler (even more than when I was younger)... if I was childless... if I was single... if I only had one cat... and if I worked full-time then this loft would be a fabulous place to live.  I mean it.  I could throw cool parties.  I could pretentiously tell people I live in a loft. My one cat would love sitting in the one window to watch the passersby.  I would have the itty bitty closet all to myself and the neighbors wouldn't bother me because I would either be partying with them or spending the night at my rich boyfriend's apartment in Midtown (come on, if we are doing fantasyland, let's do it right).

Instead, I'm older (not yet old), not as cool as I once was (which really wasn't that cool), with child, married, 4 cats, a stay-at-home mom and loft life really isn't that fabulous.  At the risk of sounding like a "whiner" let me tell you the downfalls of loft life in my current situation... it's loud.  I mean really really loud to my 35 year old ears. Because the ceilings are like 25 feet high and everything is exposed metal or brick (even the stairs are metal) there are a lot of echoes.  The TV echoes, the cats echo, and a baby echoes.  So, when the baby is sleeping (behind thin doors) I'm constantly worried about waking him up (even though a freight train couldn't wake up that boy).  And, for some odd reason, there are no acoustics in this place. For instance, if Brian is not looking at me when he is talking to me I honestly can't hear him.  Makes me feel like I'm 90 years old.

What else...
  • Being in the same room all the time can make for a little boredom (for baby and me). 
  • There is no storage so everything is out - coats on a coat rack, briefcases up against a wall, baby paraphernalia stocked wherever there is space.  It can make someone who is kind of a neat freak a little on the edge. 
  • I'm too old to hear my neighbors having sex. 
  • I'm too old to listen to college students party. 
  • With no walls anywhere, my entire house smells like what I'm cooking... and in some cases what I cooked the night before since there are only 2 windows and no cross ventilation.
  • It's hard to keep a concrete, cinder block, and brick house warm. 
  • If you don't put everything away as soon as you are done with it, the place looks like a bomb exploded.
  • Personally, I'm not a fan of having my kitchen wraps (Saran, Reynolds, etc) stashed on a shelf in the bathroom because the kitchen is too small.
  • I can only buy what I need.  In most cases that is a good thing... but this also applies to things like toilet paper.  Did I mention no storage?
  • There isn't enough room for the cats to really play, so they get destructive.  They get bored too.
There are some benefits.  The first is what lies beyond my front door - the city is at my disposal.  So far city living is fabulous. The other benefit is that I do like being able to put the baby down and wherever I am I can see him.

And it isn't like I'm living in Guantanamo Bay or anything - the loft is a really nice loft... if I was younger... if I was cooler... you get my point.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It's Raining... Again

So, to combat my S.A.D, which is rearing its ugly head with the lack of sunshine in Atlanta in the winter, and because Monkey was starting to get bored of his exersaucer, his floor mat, and me, we had ourselves a little outing today.  Monkey and I went to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History.

I have a love of museums... and I have for as long as I can remember. I especially like the ones that show archaeological finds (probably dates back to when I wanted to be an archaeologist before I found out it was a lot more about dirt and a lot less about Indiana Jones) and the Fernbank didn't disappoint.  It was also nice as an introduction to Georgia (it has a very cool exhibit where you "walk through" Georgia and see all the different wildlife and terrain).  Now I know some places I definitely want to visit.  Yay - day trips.

This is Monkey and I in front of the museum.  There are a few things not so good about this shot. First, let's cover the obvious - yes, I didn't frame this so well (or could we decide this is artistic and I framed it perfectly?).  Here is the deal.  On my right shoulder was a diaper bag and a baby carrier (much like the Bjorn but ours is a Jeep).  As you can see, Monkey is on my left side.  Well, the button for the camera is on the left side so I'm holding the camera and trying to snake a finger around to get a shot.  Didn't work so well.  The other obvious problem with this picture is that my baby looks drunk.  He is... I've given him lots of brandy for teething (just kidding, he isn't drunk, but have I told you that teething is my least favorite part of motherhood so far?).  Like a mo-ron, I waited until the end of our time at the museum to take a picture so he is literally half asleep.  He also was much more interested in a fountain than the camera.  The final problem is that you can't see his smile.  Sorry, teething + tired - thumb too small for teething = pacifier.  That's life folks - but it's a cute pacifier!

Here I did better... I switched Monkey to the same side as the bags and whatnot (so I wouldn't have to snake a finger to hit the button), flipped him around so that the fascinating fountain was in the background (see how gray the sky is... all I can say is S.A.D.), and at least I got his eyes open.  He is still using his pacifier but refer to earlier formula and stop asking me about it.... smiles.

So, I think Monkey enjoyed today.  It's hard to really know when he is strapped to the front of you so you don't see his face as he experiences things.  I saw his head swiveling around a lot and he was fascinated (maybe disturbed?) by all the bird noises throughout the walking tour of Georgia exhibit.  He fell asleep as soon as we got home (which was like 20 minutes ago) so I decided to write this post. You never know how long sleep lasts with teething.

One museum down... at least 10 more to go - which is good because the forecast is showing a lot of clouds and rain.  And bonus, on my drive to the museum (which was ridiculous - 10 minutes through neighborhood streets - hello city living) I realized we live around the corner from The Flying Biscuit -mmmm... Sunday morning breakfast.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Answer (to the quiz)

So, thanks to all of you for playing my first blog quiz.  Of course, there was no intellectualism behind this quiz, it was purely a guessing game.  And while most of you guessed something correct (in that he will put ANYTHING in his mouth - thankfully we don't have dogs so no rawhide yet Shelley, but once he starts crawling I'm going to have to corral the cat toys) no one guessed the specific item.

Yes, he likes the ball thing in the front with a lot of loops, but it doesn't make his eyes light up.  Yes, he likes grabbing the frog-alien thing, but he actually doesn't suck on it for long.  So, what is his favorite toy?  What is the one that when I dangle in front of him he starts to jump up and down (a reaction that also and only occurs when I show him his bottle)?

Hint: While my baby might reside in Georgia... he was born in Texas...

Yes, my friends, somehow, out of all of his toys, Evan is most enamored with the longhorn.  He LOVES to put the horns in his mouth and he likes to have it sit with him in his exersaucer.  This way, when he jumps up and down, he accidentally presses on the stomach of the stuffed animal and it moos.  And he just laughs and laughs.

I mean seriously, have you ever seen a love quite like this?  I introduced the animal to him on a whim about 2 weeks ago and I've washed it almost 6 times since then.  I've tried giving him other similar animals (like the pig from the original picture) and he just isn't interested... at all.  Well, the boy knows what he likes.

Thanks for playing!!

PS - the electrical cords you see in the background... the ones that look like he could grab and shove in his mouth, they are not that close at all.  It's simply the angle of the photo.  I swear.