August 27, 2008
what Lisa's been up to, July edition
This month, I launched my biggest site yet (nearly 150 pages!), for Gynecologic Specialists of Northwestern. This new practice was established by three prominent area gynecologists. (For instance, Dr. Lauren Streicher frequently appears everywhere from print to TV to radio, addressing issues of women's health and was recently named one of Chicago's top doctors by Chicago Magazine.)
In collaboration with the introduction of their new practice, the doctors wanted to launch a site that would allow them to interact with their patients in a variety of ways. On the site I created for them, you can search for detailed information on more than 100 different gynecological conditions, surgical options, or procedures. You can access post- and pre-operative instructions and request appointments and prescriptions online. You can even log in to access test results or send a secure message to any of your doctors.
As someone who has spent a lot of time in her ob/gyn office over the past seven months, I really believe that sites like this are the future for medical practices. It was exciting to work with such visionary and talented doctors on this project.
Also, my article on how to take your site to the next level came out in the most recent issue (October 2008) of HOW. This one has been generating a lot of interest and mail from readers. You can read it here.
February 18, 2008
What Lisa's been up to, January edition
Better late than never on my monthly updates. The first site is for Macali Communication, a Chicago-based golf marketing firm. The interesting thing about this site is that I built it in synergy with a service that provides an administrative interface that allows the users to modify any page on the site. (We in the biz call this a CMS.) It was really interesting to integrate this site with the CMS--it was a whole new way of thinking about Web design.
Also, Sara Paretsky's new novel, Bleeding Kansas just pubbed. So I made a bunch of changes to her site to support this new book. We updated the homepage with the book cover, added all the tour dates, a Q&A with Sara, personal photos, a newsletter heralding the release and more.
An article I wrote for HOW magazine months ago about design for the book industry finally came out in the April issue. (On newsstands now!) Obviously, this is a subject close to my heart. I interviewed incredibly talented designers from HarperCollins, Quirk Books, Picador, and (of course!) Chronicle. You can download and read the article here.
And you can also find an article I wrote for The Artist's Magazine about design for fine artists on newsstands now. You'd be surprised to see how many exceptional artists have sites that look like their junior high neighbor kid built their site. (In many cases, maybe he did.) Here, I interviewed five different artists with exceptional sites to determine what other artists could learn from them. You can read that article here.
And I wrote a new article for HOW magazine about productivity tips for creatives. Although we tend to have great ideas, those of us who are artistically inclined tend to be a little lax in actually seeing all our brilliant ideas through. In this article, I interviewed the folks from Behance, who have made it their personal mission to educate creative professionals so their projects live to see the light of day. And here's that article.
I've continued writing a number of reviews for MomFinds.com. I did my Best of 2007 Round-Up, which was fun to write, as I saw a ton of wonderful products come my way last year. Some of my favorite recent reviews include my article about the best yoga accessories for moms ("Put the 'Om' in Mom"), the Cosmedicine Spa-It-Yourself Kit, the customized polos from from Simply Colors, and my new favorite thing--the Triple Circle Necklace from Five Accessories.
Lastly, here's a placeholder for Fringe Home Design, a local interior design firm. I'm working with them on building their site next month. Stay tuned!
December 12, 2007
what Lisa's been up to, November edition
Insanely busy as usual here at the corporate headquarters of Lisa Hazen Design & Editorial. As I wrap up my work for 2007, I'm on an article-writing, site launching extravaganza of sorts. Most significantly, the redesigned, ecommerce-ready site for Margot Madison Creative Stationery (MMCS) launched. The high priestess of MMCS, Margot Madison herself, is actually one of my best friends. There was a time when, freshly sprung from college, we chased boys together in Cincinnati. Margs is now a successful small-business owner, a wedding-invitation designer to the stars and now the purveyor of different customized paper product lines.
This site has been my most ambitious project to date. It involved customization, AJAX coding, ecommerce, and many things I don't really understand. Mad props to my multi-talented programmer, Alex Killough, who put up with the various incarnations this site went through over the months. Please visit the site at margotmadisionstationery.com and place a nice big order. Margot owes us some serious cash. Use the coupon code: baggermaniac and you'll get 20% off your order.
The second site was designed for a new client: the author Michele Weldon. Michele already had a best-selling book, I Closed My Eyes. (She even appeared on Oprah to promote it!>) Her new book, Everyman News is about the evolution of the daily newspaper in the Internet era. After all, no one is waiting for the morning paper to get the sports scores anymore— they just go online. She evaluates a shift to more feature-based reporting and how that will change how we receive our news.
For this site, I used a traditional newspaper grid and "black and white and red all over" palette. My friend, Samira, created an interactive Flash map to help deliver results by location. I'm really happy how this one turned out.
November 08, 2007
what Lisa's been up to, October edition
Have I mentioned that I've been busy before? Really? Because I feel like I'm busy like never before. And while, yes, there were days when I worked for Chronicle Books when I would duck out early to go to yoga, and then take a hour lunch with friends, then leave early to have a glass of wine with Brenda (sorry, Chronicle), working for myself is a whole different animal. My boss? She's is a slavedriver.
One of the coolest things I launched in October was a series of podcasts for world-famous author Sara Paretsky. Sara came over to our home and we set up some of Shawn's old microphones and my copy of GarageBand. We went ahead and recorded a series of ten different podcast episodes. Sara read from her new novel, Bleeding Kansas (which will hit bookstores January 1st) and her series of essays on her journey as an author and advocate of free speech, Writing in an Age of Silence. My liberal soul especially admires her writing in the chapter entitled, "Granny, look what we're doing in the land of the free," a meditation on her immigrant grandmother's experience as an American, compared with her own today. You can subscribe to her podcasts via iTunes, or listen to any of her podcasts on the site. It was an absolute delight to work with Sara, particularly in this new medium. There will be a major media push for her new novel when it pubs in January, so look for more interesting developments in the coming months.
Next, I designed an email newsletter for Incorporating Movement, a New York City-based Pilates studio. I've been doing a ton of email newsletters lately for clients, a medium that presents interesting challenges and results. Like with Sara, it's been exciting to see my long-term clients further expand their businesses.
If my butt looks kind of big these days, it is because one of my new clients is Cincinnati-based Madisono Gelato. This new and delicious client is building a business that supplies Cincinnati's best restaurants with his creamy confection and a new store that sells direct. In the coming months, we'll be working on selling online. I have been generous enough to test Madisono's shipping services by receiving sample pints because I should really know my clients as best as possible.
Lastly, my article for HOW Magazine about design for the Christian market entitled "Putting a Fresh Face on Faith" has hit newsstands with the December issue. I spoke with a variety of incredibly fascinating designers who are working to elevate the level of design for the Christian audience from the likes of clip-art doves, praying hands, and dusty-leather bound Bibles to innovative and (yes) inspirational design. My favorite folks were the provocatively petulant Brad Abare of ChurchMarketingSucks.com (a blog dedicated to challenging churches to actively market themselves as a way to reach their members) and Relevant Media, who are creating some of the most progressive design I've seen, Christian or otherwise. And Ty Mattson, who has sucessfully worked with a number of faith-based organizations to help them elevate their design to better promote themselves. (One of his biggest clients is the author for "The Purpose Driven Life.") You can read the entire article here.
Lastly, I've been writing about a ton of fun Chicago adventures with kids for Kids Off the Couch. Finn has definitely benefited from this one, as I was totally in the know of where to go for art exhibits for kids, fruit-picking, and even an adventure to Greek Town.
Phew! I told you it was a lot.
September 02, 2007
Congratulations, Elle and Bob!
This weekend was the long-anticipated wedding of my dear high school friend, Bob, and his new bride, Elle. Over the past two years, they have had to endure an overseas romance, visa issues, involuntary separation, and serious phone bills. But the wedding underscored just how worth it this all was. The setting was perfect--Bob's Wicker Park backyard, the site for much celebration and events over the past decade. They married on the front porch, with friends and family scattered in the yard in front. And it bears mentioning that the weather was ridiculously cooperative. After weeks of being pounded by storms and searing heat and humidity, all weekend, the weather was auspiciously sunny, mild, and overall just excellent.
It's a huge testament to Bob and Elle that people flew in from all over the country--not to mention, the world. Of course, Danny was in from L.A. and Nick, Lisa, and Dave from Cleveland. But then there were friends Elle and Bob met in Thailand in from England. The Brophies from Canada. And--my stars!--my favorite German girls, Barbara and Babette. It was like a parade of awesome people. I was smiling so much that it hurt.
During the toast portion of the day, I was seriously enjoying myself. The lineup for toasts was excellent: Nate, Danny, Steve Catalano... Good material all around. And then Bob did a horrible thing.
Let me back up. Three years ago, at our wedding, I asked Bob to do a toast something like ten minutes before he needed to give it. Suffice to say, the toast was great, and I hadn't thought of it much since.
But apparently, he has. Because one thing I didn't know about Bob was that he can totally hold a grudge. So he grabbed the microphone, told the aforementioned story. And then, on the spot, made me come up and give a toast.
Let me just say that I never would have asked Bob to give a toast at our wedding, had I known what a jerk he was in the first place. You think you know a guy after 20 years. I'm not what you would call a "toastmaster" under the best of circumstances. I went up and stumbled through what could be considered not so much a "speech" as it was awkward rambling.
What I would have said, had I had the ten minutes I generously gave Bob at our wedding, would have been much more heartfelt and clever. I would have mentioned the great energy that was going on that day, that the perfect weather, in the perfect spot, on the perfect day, was a fitting coda to what had certainly been a frustrating journey for Bob and Elle. That they definitely deserved every minute of happiness this wonderful day. That they'd really pulled together something wonderful in such a short time period. It was of little matter that Nate was cleaning the bathroom 30 minutes before the ceremony. Or that the bartender seemed confused that she should have brought ice. That's what made it Bob's wedding. (And bless Elle, for her understanding of such matters.) But just that I'm so happy that we are just a short drive away so we can spend more time as they build their lives together. And that even if it was borderline horrifying, I was still flattered to be invited to deliver a toast at their wedding.
Enjoy these great photos that Shawn took.
July 05, 2007
This is one of my favorite of Finn's expressions, what we here in the Hazen Home call "line face." It's when he turns his face into a series of horizontal lines, save some smirky little lips. This photo was taken after he had just polished off a slice of his most cherished delicacy--birthday cake. An occasion for line face if there ever was one.
It is now possible to hold entire conversations with Finn. He's putting together sentences five and six words long, assigning ownership ("Mama's shoes" or "Daddy's shirt"), and telling tall tales. Tonight, he screamed bloody murder when I put him down to sleep. We checked in on him, thinking something was terribly wrong. He'd immediately stop crying and blirt out something like, "Santos eat Bella food" (translation: Santos ate the neighbor dog's food when she stayed with us last week) or "Shoes off sandbox mama" (translation: Mom, the sandbox is so much more fun if you'd take your shoes off).
But the best part is when he cracks himself up. Last week, he started saying "Daddy eating flowers with mouth." And both of us were like, "Did you just say Daddy ate flowers with his mouth?" And he'd insist, laughing, that (and I'm paraphrasing here) yes, can you believe how absurd Daddy is? I swear, the guy eats flowers. Even better, he eats them with his mouth.
He's also started saying "love you," and words cannot describe what it's like to hear your child say this. Back when Finn was hazing us--when he was just a few months old he'd scream his head off for hours a day. He'd sleep only in his infant swing, and only long enough to gather enough energy to scream his head off again when he awoke. I always loved him, but I wasn't so sure liked my new role. Screaming was the only kind of feedback I was getting, so I figured that I pretty much sucked at this being-a-Mom business.
My friend, Meg, told me that one day the little guy would throw his arms around me and tell me he loved me. At the time, seemed about as likely to me as his Daddy eating flowers with his mouth. But now, the memory of that wild, colicky infant is dimmed by this sweet, funny, smart child who he grew into. A child whom I love as much as I love the privilege of being a Mom. (Which is more than I ever thought possible.)
April 05, 2007
What Lisa's Been Up To, March Edition
In March, I was busier than ever. I launched the promotional Web site for the new book, I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids at iwasareallygoodmom.com. This book is a funny and wise exploration of the demands of modern motherhood—specifically, the expectations surrounding work, family, and marriage. Look for the authors' appearance on The Today Show May 1st!
Other than that, I did a great deal of freelance writing and editing. Did writing/editing for Amy Keroes' organizer project. I wrote a fascinating article for Steven Addis on his concept of the emerging "Curator Culture." Hopefully, this article will be placed in Business Week. Stay tuned! I will be posting the final article in my portfolio when it is approved.
I also wrote email newsletters for Chronicle promoting the books Stuff On My Cat (seriously), Inside North Korea, and Killer Pies. I also wrote a number of reviews for SheFindsMom.
Lots more to look for in April, including (hopefully!) the launch of my portfolio site, lisahazen.com. In a case of the cobbler's kids having the worst shoes, that site has suffered due to all my client work.
March 19, 2007
five things you don't know about Finn and his Mama
A few weeks ago, the Rookie Moms tagged me with the question, "Name five things you don't know about me." I'm just now getting around to writing this, and thought it would be fun to do it for both Finn and me. So, I'll start with Finn.
Five things you don't know about me, by Finn, as told to Mama.
1. I recently gave up my binky. When I started throwing it, Mama figured enough was enough and took it away. Sure, sometimes she caves and gives me one when I really start jonesing for a hit. But I don't need it to sleep anymore and rarely even ask for it anymore.
2. Finding the letter "F" on something is the most exciting thing I can imagine. (I'm starting to learn my letters, and we started with "F" for Finn.) When I find an "F" on something, I start flipping out, jumping up and down, and clapping.
3. I dance like my Mama. That's not really a good thing.
4. Most of the kids at daycare are girls, so I'm well-schooled at playing with dolls, having tea parties, and even playing princesses. I figure this will help me develop my sensitive side and woo the ladies when I grow up.
5. My favorite song is currently "Fergalicious."
Five things you don't know about me, by Finn's Mama
1. I once drove away from a gas station with the pump still in my tank. It came off, and gas went everywhere. The fire department had to be summoned, and when I returned to work, I pretended like I didn't know what people were talking about when people said I smelled like gas.
2. I had dinner with David Byrne from the Talking Heads when I worked in San Francisco. He ordered fois gras.
3. I know all the words to Sir Mixalot's "Baby's Got Back."
4. I once took a class in trapeze.
5. I'm uncomfortable writing for Finn in the first person.
Bonus fact: Two of the above fun facts about Lisa involved Brenda Tucker. Try to guess which ones!
To keep the meme going, I'm tagging Susan and Anna, H and Fiona, Misha and her boys, Jenn, and Leesh. Feel free to bug them to finish their entries!
January 16, 2007
My little lovebug
Lately, my ardor for Finn has reached epic proportions. I mean, I've always love-love-loved Finn, but lately we've fallen madly in love and we don't care who knows it. When he sees me in the morning, he practically leaps out of the crib into my arms proclaiming "Mama!" When I leave the room, he can't bear it and collapses into sobs. When I return, mere moments later, it is again a cause for jubilation. He crawls into my lap, and brushes my hair out of my face, gives me sloppy baby kisses, and sometimes lovingly feeds me from his prized stash of pretzels. At the end of the day, he waits for me by the window of the daycare. When he sees me, you can hear him yell my name from the street, and starts spinning in circles out of excitement.
And I eat it up, every bit. If this little guy turns into a mama's boy, I'll only have myself to blame. But he is absolutely too darling and scrumptious to resist. Forgive the sappy post, but I started thinking the other day that there is something almost primal about a mother's love. Those early months, when Finn was colic-y and I was sleeping only four (not necessarily consecutive) hours a day, I wondered if I was really cut out for this. But now I get it. Should anyone dare harm my precious child in any way, I would do things to them that are not suitable to print on a baby blog. He can create spectacular poops, throw huge tantrums, and wake me up at night any time he has a nightmare. I've got it bad for this guy.
December 11, 2006
I feel pretty...
Since I review products for SheFindsMom, I get a lot of fun stuff in the mail. One thing I got to review last week was an adorable tutu. Which, as a responsible reviewer, I had an obligation to test out by putting on Finn. As soon as I put it on him, he started twirling, twirling, twirling around. I had to snap a photo, which will prove useful when he gets older so he can show his therapist how his mama used to torture him.
This guy has been so much fun lately. His language skills are just exploding. He's added "banana," "socks," "wow," "water," "bottle," "up" and many other words to his vocabulary. But most notably, he now understands "no." In what has to be an imitation of me, he walks over to the off-limits areas and stomps his feet, shakes his finger and sternly says "No! No, no, no!" Man, I must look like such a shrew.
November 14, 2006
Look at this friendly little guy in his footie pajamas. He's quite the miniature goodwill ambassador, waving "hello" and "buh-bye" to everyone from the grocery checkout person to his daycare pals.
Here are some of the other words he knows now:
* "Mama" This is used to address me, but also Shawn, and sometimes even his favorite adult friends, like Lisa J.
* "Mamamamaaaaaaaa!" This is different from "mama" as it is used only in duress or when he's reallly ticked off.
* "Da-doo" This is what he calls Daddy when he's not calling him "mama."
* "Ba-ba" For some reason, Finn calls all dogs "Ba-ba."
* "Ba" For ball.
* "Uh-oh" Often said after he deliberately chucks something off his highchair.
* "PREZZEL!!" Often screamed when he sees a pretzel.
* "Peez! Tankyu!" An attempt at "please" and "thank you" when he sees pretzels.
* "Up" Then he points up.
* "Ooooh!" Not really a word, per se, but he loves to point at things and marvel in their "oooh"-ness.
P.S. That's a pen in his mouth. He loves pens and there has been many a tantrum when I've taken them away from him.
November 08, 2006
It's a big day, Babymaniacs!
Finn was so excited, he went and slathered himself in avocado. First, the Democrats take both the House and (fingers crossed!) the Senate? Rick Santorum* is out? Nancy Pelosi is house leader? (We've loved Nancy since our San Francisco days!) Then, the news that our very own Britney is finally leaving that no-good K-Fed?
Friends, a (great) new day is dawning.
UPDATE: Rummy is stepping down, too? Is it Christmas?
* This is the first and the last time you will see Rick Santorum's name on this blog
October 17, 2006
What Lisa's been up to, October edition
Since I got a shout-out on the very popular 37signals blog, I figured that today was a good day to show you all what I'be been up to. (Especially since my portfolio is is still woefully—woefully out-of-date.)
On newsstands now! My HOW article on 37signals. Pilates Pro recently launched. I designed a mini-site for the No Plot, No Problem sweepstakes. And another for Stuff on My Cat. I've been consulting with the brand-new matchwriters.com site. I wrote a bunch of email newsletters. And wrote a ton of entries for SheFindsMom.
Coming soon! The site for the National Center for Lesbian Rights' 30th anniversary is almost ready to go live. And hopefully, I'll launch mystery writer Sara Paretsky's redesigned site next month as well.
September 29, 2006
I'm in Parent Hacks today!
Here's my entry:
Oatmeal bath soothes serious diaper rash
Sore bottoms, rejoice! Note Lisa's subtle use of puns:
This hack is for those babies with majorly red little bums from diaper rash. I was literally painting my baby's butt white with Desitin at each diaper change, but(t) it wasn't enough. Our daycare provider advised me to take an old stocking, fill it with oatmeal, and put it in the bath with the babe. It softens the bathwater and--no s***--really does really help those sore bottoms. Just let the babe soak away in there for 20 minutes or so and the redness goes away. The only downside is that my dog would not stop licking the baby afterwards. I think he tasted extra delicious.
September 08, 2006
Happy First Birthday, Finn!
Dear Finn, (shown surrounded by his birthday loot and wearing the T-shirt Daddy made him)
I can't believe it, but a year ago today, you were born. A huge 9lb. 1oz baby boy—in Berkeley, California. Here we are a year later with a significantly more enormous boy—23lbs.—and in Chicago, no less. I can’t really imagine how we got here so quickly. (Both literally and figuratively.) Especially since 11 months ago, I couldn’t picture a time when I would be using the bathroom without you peering up at me from a bouncy seat, much less your Daddy and I accomplishing a cross-country move with an infant.
Your first four months are a bit of a blur—a cycle of eating, napping, and crying. Especially eating. I wondered why I didn’t gain much weight while pregnant with you, despite having a three-pint-a-week Ben & Jerry’s habit. Little did I know, I was incubating an incredible metabolism machine. You literally nursed 7-8 hours a day, and even then we were supplementing with formula. You logged hours of your early life in your infant swing. A swing, that if outfitted with an odometer, would have rocked you the equivalent of the distance to the moon. We also had the stereo tuned to static to soothe you. Truth be told, you were kind of kicking our butts there for a while.
Something magical happened right around month four, however. You started sleeping for longer periods and crying less. You were smiling more. Nothing escaped your attention. Right around this time, you became this happy little guy, who would just hang out with me and entertain himself with his toys.
Today, you have more energy than anyone I know. I remember when you first turned over on your own, and thought that was pretty neat. Now, you’re hitting and exceeding milestones every day. You’ve always been chatty, but now you’re babbling in full sentences. Imitating every sound you hear, particularly sirens, horns, and cars (you’re a city boy, after all). You climb on everything you can, crawl at top speed, and experiment with standing alone. You eat—and eat everything—with absolute gusto.
You are constantly experimenting in your new world. Your pattern is this: pick up toy (or sometimes not a toy), shake it, drop it, pick it up again, throw it, taste it, discard and repeat with a different toy (or not toy). You take your job as a miniature gravity tester/item taster very seriously, and when you make it through your overflowing bin of toys, you look around for something else to test. You find the tiniest speck on the floor and go after it, the slimmest corner, and crawl into it.
You are also tremendously social. I was worried about taking you to daycare, concerned that you wouldn’t get the attention you seemed to need. But you have absolutely flourished there. You actually already have friends (I recently heard one kid call you “The Finnster”) and you kick and smile and wave with both hands when you see them. You don’t even look back when I leave—you’re too busy climbing into the group of kids and commencing your very important gravity experimentation. When we walk in the neighborhood, you wave enthusiastically at anyone walking the opposite direction and say “buh-bye” in the cutest little baby voice. Andwhen you see a dog? You’re pointing and exclaiming “ooooh”, while offering your mouth for kisses. (We are discouraging you from doing this.)
For such a young guy, you really do have a great sense of humor. Your taste leans toward the slapstick right now. For instance, when Daddy pretends to fall, that is hi-larious. When we make funny faces? A hoot. Other kids make you laugh in a way that makes me wonder if you have some secret language where you babies make fun of your silly parents together.
I’m so proud to have such a smart, funny, adorable, sweet little son. I wish I could keep you at this age forever, because every day, I think “This is the best stage! I just can’t bear to watch you get any older!” But this happens almost every day. So, just imagine how much I’ll love you this time next year. Happy Birthday, my Finn.
Letter to baby idea thanks to Dooce.
September 06, 2006
What does Lisa do all day?
Some of you have written in, noting that I've mentioned that Finn is in daycare, wondering what it is that I do all day. The answer is quite simple: shopping. That is, when I'm not at the spa. Or lunching with my garden group.
I kid, I kid. I'm actually working Monday through Thursday doing Web design work for a bunch of different clients. Last month, I launched the Milk It Mama sweepstakes site, I'm working on the launch of Pilates Pro, and today launched the site for Ark, Wiley, & Jobson. I have a bunch of new, exciting clients that include a Chicago mystery writer, a Chicago OB/GYN group, the NCLR, and possibly a new assignment to do Web promotions for the new, revised edition of (wait for it...) The Bible. For reals.
I'm also writing email newsletters for Chronicle, articles where I can get them, and product reviews for SheFindsMom. The latter has been a lot of fun, as I get to try new makeup and hair products, put Finn in clothes to see how they hold up under the cutest of circumstances, and fancy myself a fashion maven.
Of course, I have to get the obligatory plug for myself in here. If you know of someone looking for a Web designer, copywriter, or feature writer, do let me know!
P.S. A much better designed and updated version of lisahazen.com is coming. Slowly, but it's coming.
August 21, 2006
So, yesterday, I had a spa day, where I finally used birthday gift certificates from Nana, Uncle Clintie and Aunt Sudi. (Thanks, guys!) I returned home to find Finn and Daddy with a bunch of new inside jokes (apparently, opening and closing the refrigerator is just hilarious), and the previous photos posted on the blog. I can't imagine what ended up on the cutting room floor. I have to say what I don't know won't hurt me&em;I returned smelling of expensive spa products and muscles de-knotted. If Finn learned to blog in my absence, more power to him.
August 10, 2006
hot child in the city
When I picked Finn up from daycare the other day, one of the little girls told me, "I think Finn's going to be a movie star when he grows up, because he flirts with all the girls."
And if flirting portends life as a thespian, I think we've got a future Oscar nominee on our hands. Finn will go from being completely grouchy and obstinate to a twinkle-eyed charmer in the presence of a lovely lady. I have tried over and over to capture his flirty, toothy grin, but every time I pull out my camera, he tries to grab it and he becomes all business. Clearly, I'm going to have to distract him with with some little cutie, or perhaps on of our stall of gorgeous babysitters. (Yes, he flirts with them, too.)
This future career comment got me thinking about what Finn do in the future. Based on his current interests, came up with the following:
* Restaurant reviewer ("This dish gets an 'MMMMM!' while this dish gets an 'MMMMMMM!' + plus a fist pump.")
* Demolition man (He really likes nothing like putting a bunch of stuff on a chair, and knocking it off, clear across the room.)
* Dog trainer (Or dog chaser, take your pick.)
* Boy Band Singer (He's got an a capello singing voice)
* Camera Inspector (see above)
* The George Clooney Equivalent of 2025 (the kid's got charm, and we'll need a new George Clooney by then, anyway!)
July 05, 2006
trying so hard to crawl...
He's getting there...
Although I'm excited to witness that little diapered butt zipping around the house on his hands and knees, I have to say, I will kind of mourn the passing of his pre-crawling days. And not just because I can plop him in one spot and know that he will be in the same general area when I return. But because my little baby is growing up. The next thing I know, he will be walking, talking, and eating corn on the cob with those newly minted teeth. (And believe me, the way this kid eats, he is going to put those teeth to some serious use as soon as he can.) From there, it's a slippery slope to the first day of school, riding a bike... Before we know it, he will be borrowing the car keys and locking himself in his bedroom and listening to objectionable popular music. Consuming entire pizzas with his grown-up teeth and calling girls on the phone, not just doing the baby drunk-dial he does with the phone right now every time he gets his little mitts on it. My baby! The little guy who cries like he can't bear to see me go when I leave the room, will purposely avoid making eye contact with me when his friends around. But for now, he's just my pre-crawler.
June 27, 2006
music soothes the savage beast
Finn loves it when Daddy plays guitar for him. At first, he flips and squeals, but then becomes tranfixed by the strings and puts his little hands on the guitar to feel the vibrations. And since his hands are always a little bit clammy, his hands kind of squeak against the wood of the guitar. But since Finn has become so much more active (in the past two weeks, he's gotten two more teeth, eaten everything in his path, learned how to scoot himself backwards and curiously knows how to use the remote). So these moments with Finn really relaxes and focuses on the music are very special.
June 08, 2006
9 months today
Today, Finn has officially been on the outiside as long as he was inside. He's really getting a hang of this baby thing, as he is achieving milestones almost daily. He now sits without any help, claps, is able to grab things big and small, can stand assisted, feeds himself, and tries to feed us (as shown here offering one of his delicious baby puffs). Not yet crawling, but trying his hardest to do so.
And this is still up for debate, but he does say "da" around Santos quite frequently. And when we went for a walk the other day, he said "da" when we saw another dog. Coincidence? I think this is merely another confirmation of his genius, but Shawn remains unconvinced. Or perhaps he's holding out for the first word to be "daddy."
June 02, 2006
a little tour
So, many of you have said to me, "That baby is fine and all, but let's see some Chicago." So here's a little slideshow of the house thus far and a tour of the neighborhood. If you want to see the neighborhood's culinary treats, check out Shawn's site. And let me just say, Bowser Dog is every bit as good as it looks.
May 17, 2006
what the hail?
I had totally forgotten about the schitzophrenic Midwestern Spring weather. That happens when you've lived in a place for eight years where the weather is pretty much 65-70° and sunny year-round. Except the winter, when the worst Mother Nature has to offer is a week of rain.
This morning, when I dropped Finn off at daycare, it was 70 degrees and there was not a cloud in the sky. By the time I picked him up this afternoon, I heard what sounded like rocks hitting the window, looked outside, and hail the size of quarters was raining down everywhere.
It was actually kind of exciting, but I'm sure it will get old. Like when it's 95 degrees and humid this summer and the Bay Area is 65-70°.
May 15, 2006
ready for his close-up
Much, much to write about as we are finally getting settled and moved into our place. However, forces are conspiring against keeping the blog current, including this site's fussy muse. Finn is cutting two teeth right now, and despite the fact that our pediatrician said that teething is a "myth," has been howling for the past hour and rubbing everything he can grab (including the dog's tail) on his gums. Finn rose at 5:15am today, and it wasn't just to wish me a Happy Birthday.
The best birthday present so far has been from the clerk at Jewel this weekend who, when confronted with my order of baby food, cleaning supplies, trash bags, and a bottle of wine, sternly carded me. Apparently, 35 is the new 20. Thanks, Jewel cashier!
May 09, 2006
bear with me, Finnatics...
I have received many emails from frustrated readers just like you, wondering where the heck Finn is and why there hasn't been a new photo in weeks. Unfortunately, I can't find my camera's battery charger in any of the half-opened boxes that dot the new house. It's also possible that the charger was in one box that we think got lost in the transition. (Everything lost from now on will probably be blamed on that one missing box.) Anyway, I will probably go to Best Buy today to buy a new charger so you can see Finn in all his tubby glory once again. He's eight months old now! You wouldn't believe how large this guy is. And did I mention he is regularly sleeping 12 straight hours at a time? This is so not the kid he was months ago.
April 17, 2006
what's finn reading these days?
All the best-read babies are wondering what books are piled on Finn's nightstand. Lately, he's really enjoying Woof-Woof, a book given to him by Uncle Mockus. Finn seems to enjoy the flip-a-face page layout that suggests: Are we so different from a doggie? A lamb? A duckie?
He also enjoys Where is Baby's Belly Button, another flip book that leaves readers guessing up until the last moment "Will the belly button be under baby's shirt? Or am I just taking the easy answer?" (Spoiler Alert.) Sometimes, gentle reader, the easiest answer is the right one.
Lastly, the book of Baby Faces is Finn's absolute favorite. Recommended by Marilyn Abney, this book is like meeting up with a good friend. Every range of emotion seems to be covered from this book, from happy to sad to "uh oh."
Finn also recommends Auntie Leesh's book blog for suggestions for grown-ups. And please feel free to suggest any books in the comments (for babies or adults). We're always looking for new recommendations!
April 16, 2006
The wonderful women at Rookie Moms asked me to write up a feature on a Week in Oakland for new moms. As this provided another opportunity to postpone packing and keep me occupied when I'm up late not packing, I gratefully accepted. (Usually, I'm just playing Weboggle.) I look forward to using this itinerary when Finn and I stay with Heather, John, and Fiona this week after the movers come and before we fly to Chicago. (Shawn and Santos are driving.) Heather and I plan on being uber stay-at-home moms together for a few days before I go.
Anyway, here's the piece. Coming soon: A week in Chicago!
February 07, 2006
And Finn loves it when you blow little raspberries on his belly and cheeks. So it should stand to reason that his favorite new thing is imitate us doing this. He wants to practice all the time. In fact, during his 3am nursing time last night, he stopped, looked up at me and went "pfffffffft."
February 05, 2006
All of the sudden, I care about football!
I got home just in time to see the Rolling Stones and a giant mouth-shaped stage. Clearly, they weren't taking any chances with a Janet Jackson episode this year. Anyway, approximately two hours of football is all I could take, and I must say it was pretty interesting! There was some guy named "The Bus" who looked like a huggable bear and plowed through the opposition. The Seahawks coach looked like he was ordering Chinese food off a menu at several times during the game, but was really just carefully advising plays from behind the protective barrier of a laminated sheet. And I'd be remiss if I mentioned the firey rivalry between David Hasselhoff and Somebody Rothsberger.
At the risk of my husband sounding fey, he was more interested in the historical significance of each team's logo than the game, but he got into it, too. He was disappointed that his favored logo lost, but forgot all about it once The Simpsons came on afterwards.
Sorry to all the Seattle supporters. But in Pittsburgh, Grandpa Pete is certainly plotzing!
January 18, 2006
a quick note...
It's my second day of work and in many ways, it feels like I never left. Same desk, same view. Most things exactly as I left them five months ago.
But what you really want to know is how Finn's doing. I rushed home last night, even taking a cab from BART. (When the cabdriver asked me why I was taking a cab such a short distance, I told him I needed to rush home because I missed my baby. He said, "Your boyfriend?" No, my baby! "Your husband?" No, sir, this is an actual BABY I'm talking about here. He's four months old.)
When I came home, I expected to find a fussy little guy and exhausted nanny. Rather, Finn had just risen from a nap (she got him to nap late in the afternoon--Fuey is a pro!) and the two of them talking to each other from his favorite conversation perch--the changing table. He stayed up for another two hours with me, and I gave him a bath, played with him, and when Daddy got home, we got him ready for bed and gave him his final meal.
He then slept until 5am this morning! And yes, it may sound awful to get up that early, but all those hours of uninterrupted sleep are heavenly. So Finn is doing just fine, and I'm adjusting to work as well. I miss the little guy a ton, but at least I know he's doing well.
January 16, 2006
four months old
Unfortunately for me, four months (plus a few days) means that it's time for me to return to work. My generous maternity leave is maxed out and I'll be working four days a week (three in the office, one at home) starting tomorrow. Our nanny, Fuey (pronounced "Fay") came over today to train--Finn really seemed to love her. She was the recipient of lots of his signature toothless smiles and animated coos. Tomorrow, I'll most certainly head to work with a big lump in my throat, but in the Bay Area, cost of living dictates that both mama and papa need to bring home the bacon. (Or in this case, the milk.)
Although it hasn't always been easy (and sometimes not even close to being easy), it's always been a blessing and an absolute privilege to be with this little guy during his first months on this earth. And as I mentioned before--I can't believe how far the two of us have come in just four months. There were days early on when I waited expectantly every day for a smile or some form of recognition (beyond rooting for my boob). And now? Well, let's just say you get a grand kicking and squealing reception when you walk in the room (and a indignant squawk when you leave it). I can usually tell just by looking at Finn if he's hungry, sleepy, bored, or just being a fussbudget.
When I went into work last week for a meeting, I realized that I was still instinctively listening for Finn's cries, peeps and squeals. I was careful when I crossed the street (like I would be if I was carrying him, not the daredevil free agent I once was) and my lap felt sadly empty of a little diapered behind and squirmy body.
Wish me luck as I return. I know Finn is in good hands--it's me who I think will take this hard.
Confidental to Santos: Don't think I won't miss days with my favorite mangy mutt. You were the one who kept me company while I waited for the baby to arrive and protectively fended off suspicious people from your hugely pregnant mama on our neighborhood walks. You were our first baby, dog version.
January 15, 2006
He had his four-month checkup on Friday and he is now a chubby 15lbs. 12oz. (which would explain why my back has been so sore lately), and 26" long. He got a bunch more shots (oh, do I hate those) and a directive from the doctor that he needs to start sleeping better. (Lately he's been waking us up twice to eat and about three more times to have his binky put back in.) I hope he listened--I start work Tuesday and can't keep up these late shifts.
January 11, 2006
"Mom! Stop posting naked photos of me on the Internet!"
Next Tuesday marks my triumphant return to Chronicle Books, and I'm feeling very conflicted. On one hand, I am much less likely to get barfed on during the course of the day and I'll almost always get to use the bathroom by myself. On the other, there's no one there who is going to light up and kickkickkick when I walk in the room or who is likely roll over for the first time in my presence. Although I have a great job, what can compete with that?
Five months later, maternity leave ends very differently than it started. After a brief nanny shakeup, I've spent the last few weeks interviewing the person worthy enough to care for Finn. (Let's just say there were over a dozen interviews.) We've secured a wonderful, experienced woman who didn't blink once when Finn fussed through her interview, and hope to have a family to share her with by this weekend.
We've come so far in four months. Yesterday, Finn and I went grocery shopping, clothes shopping, walked the dog, had a bath, and cooked dinner--all milestones that individually seemed completely out of our reach just four months ago. (And three months ago and two and, for that matter, last month.) I'm going to miss my little drooling daily companion terribly, but will treasure the time we do spend together even more. (Sob!)
January 10, 2006
that's one strong mother
I told her that I wouldn't really call myself "amazing," especially since I frequent the slowest lane, even when not pregnant. And have been asked on more than one occasion to move from the medium lane to the slow lane by the teenage lifeguards.
She seems to think I'm being self-effacing and asks, "You used to swim Master's, right?" I tell her that I did, (for only about three months, and once again, slow lane, barely keeping up). She tells me, "Well, I like to watch you swim." Which is odd, but it is kind of entertaining, especially when I'm getting asked to leave the medium lane for the slow lane.
And then the New York Times did a story on Bay Area athletes, and lo and behold here's the real Lisa Hazen, renowned swimmer. The caption reads, "Lisa Hazen rises at 4am to train and skips lunch to lift weights." (click to enlarge)
Let me assure everyone here that the only thing that I rise at 4am for is to feed a little fellow. And I never skip lunch. Otherwise, I can understand how one might confuse us.
Thanks to Stacey for clipping this out for me!
January 07, 2006
- Motion. The boy likes the stroller, his trusty swing, walks in the bjorn, his bouncy chair, and the car (but only when it's moving, please!)
- Diaper changes. I know! This was once on the dislike list! But the changing table is now like our little corner cafe, only stinkier. The boy just sits there and talks and laughs and kicks and chats away.
- Kisses. Oh my, is this boy a lover. He loves kisses and he likes them on his hands on his lips and on his fuzzy head. He even tolerates the kisses that Santos tries to sneak in every chance he gets.
- Kicking and gesticulating wildly. You know that guy at dinner parties who loves to entertain the crowd by telling the most hilarious, colorful stories? (So, you know Shawn?) Well, Finn is just like that, only it's harder to follow his train of thought. (Sometimes.)
- Greeting you in the morning. It should be noted that the moment prior to this is marked by some serious boo-hooing. But as soon as you come in to greet him, he's all smiles, coos, and happy kicks.
- Watching terrible television with mama. Highlights include Access Hollywood, Gilmore Girls, The O.C., and America's Next Top Model (Nic was robbed!).
- White noise. Oh, how the static between radio stations soothes this little man. And makes me want to jump out the window.
- Most any wakeful activity for more than 20 minutes. If he's awake and in his swing, bouncy seat, or activity gym for more than 20 minutes, it has worn out its novelty to Finn. Next challenge, please.
- The hours of 4-6pm. It's the end of the day. You're a baby and you've already gone through the day's activities (feed, change, walk, bath, play). It's enough to make anyone cranky.
- Having to wind down to get to bed. Those first few minutes in the crib can be rough.
- When you get tired of walking and bouncing him and he's cranky. I mean really, what part of "I love motion" don't you understand?
January 06, 2006
The boy is changing every day. I never thought I'd use the phrase "sleeping" and "well" in the same sentence when describing Finn, but lo! The boy is sleeping well (and I'm aware I'm tempting fate by saying this--please knock wood for us). The former nightowl is now getting up only really once--3am or so--and sleeping until 6:00am or (when we're lucky 7:30). This might not sound appealing to those of you without infants at home--or for those of you with infants who have always slept well. (Should the latter be the case, I don't wish to hear from you.) But for those of us who were waking every two to three hours for weeks on end, this is some kind of heaven.
Finn has also just started laughing, which is one of the most adorable and hilarious things I've ever witnessed. It starts with a wide open-mouthed grin, and is followed by what is most definitely a chuckle. In terms of disposition, he's not one of those babies who sits quietly with a thumb in his mouth. Today, I hosted my Mom's Group gathering and who was the kid talking, kick-kick-kicking and wildly gesticulating as if he was spinning the most outrageous yarn? That would be our Finn.
I was relaying all of this to my friend and neighbor, Sarah, who was reminding me that it wasn't long ago that I thought this day would ever come. Especially the sleeping part. It's amazing what a good night's sleep can do for your perspective.
January 01, 2006
Lazy SundayLazy Sunday in the Hazen household. After a brief awakening at 6am, Finn ended up going back to bed and we all slept until 10:30am. It was rainy, so we built a fire, stayed in our pajamas, made some black-eyed peas, and snuggled up in front of the TV. Finn's shown here with Daddy, learning about pop culture with a VH1 "I Love the 90s" marathon. (My child must know Vanilla Ice from MC Hammer.)
Happy New Year, everyone!
December 25, 2005
Merry Christmas, y'all!
December 23, 2005
who needs naps?
What followed was a nearly three-hour battle of wills. I'm talking the most mournful, pathetic, hysterical boo-hooing of Finn's short life. I tried calming him with a bath, white noise, the ever-effective swing, nursing, sleeping in my arms--nothing worked. I started to worry he might be sick, so I changed back into my housepants and T-shirt, cancelled my meeting, and put Finn down while I pondered calling the pediatrician.
These photos were taken shortly afterwards. As if to say, "Gotcha!", Finn proceeded to smile, giggle, and play like all this boo-hooing had never happened. The kid had been awake for six straight hours by this point, and was acting like he had just awakened from the most refreshing sleep. He let out the most ebullient toot, (to punctuate his point) and proceeded to stay awake for another two hours.
I rescheduled the meeting for next week.
December 22, 2005
So, this blog is now getting 150+ visitors per day (!!!), and I'm wondering who out there is tuning in. Please sign in and say hello to Finn in the comments section below!
December 20, 2005
hey, everyone! i'm back!
December 13, 2005
yes, that is drool all over his shirt
In terms of milestones, he's all over the map these days. Last week, he slept for TEN WHOLE HOURS in a row, a phenomenon that had me up, checking him every few minutes to make sure he was still breathing. But then last night, he decided to mix it up and squeal at 2, 3:30, 5:00, and 7am.
He's almost rolling over, readily smiling and squealing, and chewing his darn fingers all the time. He loves looking in the mirror and batting at his toys from his bouncy seat. But we're holding out for another ten-hour night soon.
December 11, 2005
December 10, 2005
get yourself a flu shot!
Believe me, the flu is nasty this year, a fact that Clint, Mom, Susan, me, and now Shawn can attest to. Unfortunately, Clint, Susan, and I were riding the porcelain bus during our visit last week. Today, two days after I returned home, Shawn has qualified to commandier his own fleet. Poor guy hasn't left bed all day. At least I know the drill: Gatorade, 7UP, Pepto, and lots of blankets.
Luckily (knocking wood), the most important person, our vibrant Finn, has escaped the flu. He's as energetic as ever. A bit exhausting right now, but much much better than the alternative.
P.S. A note to all of you on our Christmas card list--expect yours a little late. We were planning on working on them this weekend, but my photographer is sleeping with a bucket next to his head right now. Promise, they'll be really cute when you get them.
December 09, 2005
we're back, Finnatics
Finn was oh-so happy to visit, smiling and cooing and even submitting to bathtime without a fuss. He loved all the attention showered upon him, and despite the fact that the swing wasn't his favored model--the "Cuddle Duck 2000," he decided that he could slum it for a week.
After experiencing what shall forever be known as "The Old Navy Incident" days before we left, I was very nervous to fly alone with him. (How can you make a major scene in the chaos that is Old Navy? Just ask Finn.) But the kid was GREAT. He barely fussed at all the entire flight, sitting quiet and content on my lap, or looking up at me, smiling. Now that we're home, we just need a pressurized cabin in our house with a lot of white noise and we'll be in business.
moments after going through airport security
Then you are expected to reassemble said parts while holding said infant and refrain from snapping at the people swarming behind you whose laptops are slamming into your items from the conveyor belt.
I was dreading the security screen more than any other part of the travel process. Especially since getting Finn in and out of a carseat is like detonating a bomb. (Bad analogy, I know.)
But look at this photo I snapped with my phone moments after going through security! The child practically slept through the entire process! The same kid of the infamous Old Navy Incident! The same one who WON'T WEAR A HAT.
I'm not sure this is my child, but I'm keeping him.
November 26, 2005
In family news, I got interviewed by Redbook about budgeting with a new baby, and this is the photo they will be running. Look for it in the February issue (since it's Redbook, does that mean they will automatically have Kelly Ripa on the cover?). I really don't remember exactly what I told them, so the article will be a surprise to me. I vaguely remember mentioning that Shawn refused to greenlight the purchase of a Bugaboo stroller ($750, but oh-so fashionable!), which will sound very shallow when, in the next breath, I state that I'm afraid that with childcare costs and my part-time salary, we will be cutting out all luxuries except Tivo (of course!) and batteries for Finn's swing.
November 17, 2005
Finn at 10 weeks (double digits!)
When the doctor asked me if he's smiling yet, I told him that he's so far beyond smiling that he actually flirts with anyone who will make eye contact with him. I distinctly heard a giggle this week, and he now has control over his hands. Thumbsucking can't be far off. And don't get me started on his exceptional neck control.
To calm him through his afternoon fussy time, I've been experimenting with a variety of methods. Today, I broke out the iPod playlist* that I listened to constantly when I was pregnant ( titled "gestational jams") to see if this would soothe the savage beast. And to my surprise, he seems to have an instinctual affection for old school rap (Run DMC), talented Scientologists (Beck), and moody alt-rock (Bright Eyes). That second photo is him listening intently to The White Stripes' "My Doorbell." Doesn't it look like he's trying to remember where he heard that song before?
*In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably admit there is some Justin Timberlake and "Hollaback Girl" on there, too.
November 16, 2005
Dad and Paula's visit
November 11, 2005
the hungriest baby on the block
See that little glimmer in his eye? No doubt he's thinking about his next meal. There are not enough hours in the day to feed this hungry little fellow. We're supplementing nursing with formula now, which he sucks right down and is hungry for more in another hour or so. And while he's tall, he's not one of those really chubby babies--we're guessing he's about 12.5 lbs now, which is on-target for babies his age who don't eat 10 times a day. The pediatrician thinks he has high metabolism. I think this boy has a future in competitive eating. I can't imagine our grocery bills when he's a teenager.
November 05, 2005
the finn hazen comedy show
He really gets cut up when you make funny faces at him, and earnestly tries to engage you in what appears to him to be the most hilarious stories from his bouncy seat.
Here is a slideshow of a typical comedy routine by Finn. The boy just may have his father's gift for comedy.
October 27, 2005
Click for the caption.
October 21, 2005
six weeks and a day
We're starting to learn his likes and dislikes. So far:
- cuddles, specifically sleeping in a lap
- milk, milk, and more milk
- watching the first season of LOST on DVD with mama and daddy
- belly tickles
- laying on his playmat and looking at his toys
- riding in the car
- his swing
- when you go "bbbbbbb" or "lalllalllalala"
- walks in the Baby Bjorn with Santie
- watching the duckies
- wearing a hat
- the hours between 5-7p.m.
- being stuck in traffic in his carseat
- trips to the pediatrician
- when it takes longer than 2 minutes to feed him when he's hungry
The jury's still out on:
- Santos (doesn't like it when he barks, but kind of likes the feet kisses)
- bathtime (screams initally, then thinks it might be OK)
- diaper changes (such a hassle, but who likes a dirty diaper?)
Also worth noting that last night, for the first time in three weeks, the boy slept for longer than 2 hours at a time! He took one four hour nap, followed by a three hour nap, followed by a two-hour nap. Ohhh, this was such a welcome development. Considering Finn's mama has been known to hold entire conversations in her sleep (seriously--ask her college roommates), and daddy can sleep through nearly anything including an earthquake (again, seriously), we're holding out for those sleep genes to take root.
October 16, 2005
meet the robot nanny
October 15, 2005
talking the talk
- tummy time
- nipple confusion*
- my "breast friend"
- the difference between the "diaper champ" and "diaper genie"
- a diaper cake
- fundal height
- a "nipple nazi"
- pump and dump
- sleep sack
- attachment parenting
- latching on
- the "no-cry sleep solution"
- a silent birth
More to come...
* "nipple confusion" would be a great name for a punk band, in my opinion
October 11, 2005
so hungry he could eat a horse
I talked to dear Margot for a long, long time the other day and she said that one of the things that is most amazing about being a mother is that these little ones grow literally in your arms every day.
Here he is in all his ever-expanding adorableness, chewing on a stuffed horsie. (A gift from Allison and Bryan.)
October 10, 2005
little man finn
More photos soon, but we took this one today of Finn and I sitting on the back porch. He's clearly contemplating something of great significance like quantum physics or when the next feeding will be.
September 26, 2005
Finn's Birth Story
Anyway, here's the recap. Keep in mind that I'm currently very sleep-deprived, and currently consider making it through an issue of US Weekly an intellectual feat. So here I go piecing together the whole thing as best as I can.
Afternoon of September 7: I am huge, hot, swollen, and no longer enjoying the state-subsidized disability leave. I am also one week over my due date. Bring it.
5:00 p.m. Shawn and I go to the doctor's. I'm 3 cm dialated, which I learn doesn't mean anything. To induce labor, he strips my membranes (which is as fun as it sounds) while asking, "How would you feel about having this baby tomorrow?" I remain unconvinced that the kid is going anywhere.
7:30 p.m. We return home with Thai food and Arrested Development on DVD (Jason Bateman: who knew?) I am crampy, but figure that is due to the stripping of the membranes.
8:30 p.m. I'm not as amused as I should be by the Bluth family antics. In fact, I'm really uncomfortable. But this still doesn't feel like what (I imagined) contractions would feel like, so I chalk it up to the doctor's appointment and (now) the paad thai.
10:00 p.m. Maybe this is something. Shawn has my cheesy NIKE stopwatch and is timing my "cramps" just in case. They seem to be coming quite often. I'm getting increasingly belligerent.
10:30 p.m. Things quickly change. Call the doctor. Get the bag. I am in agony. Everyone has told us that it takes hours of labor before the hospital will admit you. The thought of hours of this is too much, and there isn't a consistent rhythm to the contractions. Shawn emails his work into Apple, which is very conscientious of him, but conscientiousness gets you nowhere with a pregnant, laboring wife.
11:30 p.m. I don't care how long my contractions are or how far apart. We're going to the freaking hospital. I'm barfing, pooping, and am exhibiting the all the charm and grace of Linda Blair in The Exorcist.
12 a.m. We arrive at the hospital. The admissions guy takes one look at me and waves me to the third floor.
12:30 a.m. Things are now a blur. I remain in agony. We are lucky to have a very sweet nurse who talks me through my breathing, helps me calm down, and most importantly, promises me pain medication. She checks me and I'm 5cm, and can be admitted. She leaves my side for one minute and I try to rip the monitors off me during one hairy contraction. I worry they will tie me to the bed.
1:00 a.m. I am admitted to a labor and delivery room, which Shawn notes is nicer than some hotels we've stayed in. I get hooked up to an IV, and they administer something that makes me feel like I've just had a pitcher of margaritas. The pain still comes, but suddenly, I don't care!
1:45 a.m. Margaritas wearing off, I was just about to go off on someone else when the wonderful anesthesiologist comes in. I never thought I'd be so happy to have a huge needle in my spine. I swear to you, the guy looked just like George Clooney, and within minutes, I feel about 100% better. My mood is suddenly much better and I'm able to laugh and joke and for the first time since arriving at the hospital, stop asking when my epidural is coming.
2:00 a.m. I chill and let my body do its contracting without fighting it. I sleep. Shawn even curls up on the couch next to my bed. It's actually quite cozy. I can totally do this! The lights are dimmed and it is peaceful.
3:30 a.m. My nurse informs me that the baby's hearbeat isn't varying as much as it should be with the contractions. They are worried and my epidural bliss is gone. My doctor is paged and comes in from home. A specialist comes in with a huge, scary-looking contraption that will be able to better gauge the heartbeat. Everyone looks grim as they waits for her to get started. I am no longer feeling peaceful.
3:45 a.m. God bless the specialist and her scary contraption, because it verifies that the kid is still thriving in there. They make the mistake of telling me the range of beats per minute in the average healthy heartbeat. I sit there and offer constant commentary. "Oh, he's up to 50 beats! And now back down to 38. That's OK, right?" (It is.)
4:00 a.m. We're back to being peaceful, and I'm now up to about 7cm. They tell me to get some sleep, send the doctor home and keep checking on me.
6:30 a.m. Party's over. I'm stuck at 8 cm, and need to get a move on. Pitocin is administered.
8:00 a.m. We're back in business--10 cm and good to go. My nurturing, sweet nurse has left her shift and been replaced by a tough-love, Bobby Knight kind of nurse. She's not here to coddle me, she's here to get that baby into the world.
8:15 a.m. Where the heck is my doctor? I start pushing. Bobby Knight gives me the tough talk. ("You call that a push? No! Try again!") And Shawn is the cheerleader. ("You're doing great! Just keep going!") Truth is, he looks as terrified as I do.
9:00 a.m. Still pushing. Bobby Knight gets more focused and Shawn looks more terrified. I'm told that the baby has moved down the birth canal and is crowning. And that he's "vacumable" at this point. Where is my doctor?
9:15 a.m. There he is. He comes in from a meeting downstairs, and frankly, looks a bit grumpy. He starts talking about how he hates these Thursday meetings, while I think, "Um hello? I'm pushing out a baby here!" Hardly the place for small talk about hating meetings. What's next--Mondays?
9:30 a.m. Enough with the pushing. I'm not getting anywhere, but more importantly, neither is baby. Out comes the vacuum. And before I know it:
9:36 a.m. ... Welcome to the world, little Finian! Before I know it, there is a little squirmy baby on my belly. This is surreal! Look at him! He's got hair and long fingers (and fingernails! Howard Hughes fingernails!) and toes, and... He's crying and the nurse wraps him in a blanket and suctions out his nose and throat. Then Finn just kind of looks at me, and I look at him. It's amazing! This is the little fellow who was squirming in my belly for 41 weeks? He's, he's... huge! Did someone say 9 lbs. 1 oz.? Are they kidding me?
9:40 a.m. Shawn and I make awestruck smalltalk with the little guy. ("Welcome, Little Finn! We're happy to meet you. We sure hope it wasn't too stressful on the way out... How was your trip?") The doctor and nurse are still down at the foot of the delivery bed. I ask if I tore at all (thanks to my pal epidural, I haven't felt anything!) and the response? "Let's not talk about that right now." I get a little faint.
9:45 a.m. It's confirmed that we have a genius baby when he aced his Apgar tests. The nurse cleans him off and puts him back on my belly and Shawn and I continue to hold him and talk to him while I get pieced back together. This takes quite a while and I get a bit squirrelly as this is happening. While I know the epidural is some magic stuff, I also know that I won't get to take it home. I try to forget and focus on the baby. I'm high on adreneline and can't believe that I just birthed this baby. I figure it's a good metaphor for motherhood--if I can do this, what can't I do?
And thus, I end on a sappy note. We love you already, Finn!