Thursday, April 30, 2009

This and That

Today is my last day of unemployment! I’m so thankful to have a job in this economy, and especially to have found such a seemingly great job as this one at FIT. I’m looking forward again to my mornings on the train, listening to my songs and watching New Jersey breeze by out the window, people watching on the PATH train (if anyone thinks printed books are a thing of the past they should hop on a commuter train in the morning—everyone’s reading…some people have Kindles but most have actual books). I’m looking forward to getting to know my new work neighborhood, the new restaurants, the new stores. FIT is really close to Penn Station, Madison Square Garden, the Chelsea Hotel, Mood, lots of great clothing stores and bookstores. And lucky for Mr. S Buy, Buy Baby is right next door. I’m also looking forward to getting to know my new co-workers and my new library. I’ve never seen an academic library as alive and bustling as this one. During my interview walk-through, the place was packed. Students had boards, markers, fabric swatches, stacks of books sprawled all over the tables, the computers were full, there were numerous study groups and the director told me it was a slow day that day. It’ll also be really cool getting to know the collection—500 periodicals (most of which are fashion and design magazines from around the world), fashion look books from every designer imaginable, lots of art history books.

That being said, I’m also quite a bit sad over not getting to spend as much time with Seamus as I’d like. He’ll be in day care from Monday-Thursday (since I have Fridays off—except for tomorrow) from 7:00-5:00. That seems like an awfully long time to be away from him, but at least he’ll have a three-day weekend. While school is in session I have to work Sundays, but as soon as classes end I’ll have three-day weekends too! I’m also quite a bit nervous about Thomas going off to Rhode Island this summer for his internship with Hasbro. He’ll be home on the weekends, taking a train from Providence to Penn Station every Friday night, but it will be hell during the week. I still haven’t figured out how I’m going to drop Seamus off at day care at 7:00 when the center opens and make it to work by 8:00. My commute is just at an hour. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch the Bayonne Flyer every morning. I’ve been trying not to dwell on these worries too much since I knew what I was getting into when we decided to start a family. I knew it’d be awhile before we were financially able for me to stay home or at least work part-time.

In other news, I’ve been reading a new parenting book and trying a new approach to handling toddler behavior. Over the past few weeks, I found myself saying no a lot to Seamus and putting him in timeout more than I wanted. I finally broke down and purchased the classic (and well-researched, peer-reviewed), The Power of Positive Parenting. This book has truly been a lifesaver. The goal is to have as many positive interactions a day and to try to eliminate negative interactions. This builds self-esteem and teaches children appropriate behaviors without anger or force. The author also suggests ignoring inconsequential normal toddler behavior. By saying no to those types of behavior it only strengthens that behavior. Since I’ve started making less of a big deal about Seamus throwing toys, he’s started throwing toys less often. It’s working very well so far and I haven’t used a time out in days.

Seamus has been a little chatterbox lately and speaking more and more in long, complex sentences. Everything is big right now. He eats a big orange in the morning, along with big yogurt and a big egg and drinks from a big cup. Animals are big, people are big (this can be embarrassing, especially when he calls every lady he sees a big lady), the bathtub is big, his bed is big, etc.

He’s also been having a lot of fun at school and cries less when I drop him off. Some days he just says, bye, Mom and runs off to play with his friends. When I pick him up in the afternoon, he’s so excited to tell me all about his day. He loves it when the weather is nice and he gets to play outside on the playground and in the big toy castle.

He’s also started to talk about his dreams. The other night after Seamus had been asleep for about an hour, I heard him calling for me from the bedroom door. When I opened the door to check on him, he was standing right in the door way and I realized that he was still half asleep. His eyes were open but he was in the middle of a dream. He started talking about holding big worm and a man grabbing it out of his hand and taking it away. I called for Mr. T to come witness what was going on and we both sat in the kitchen floor and listened to Seamus tell us all about a dream he had just had (or at least that’s what we think was going on). In the dream a big alligator swam in some big water, a big dolphin swam in some big water and a big lizard swam in some big water. After those few sentences he was fully awake and started talking about the playground slide at school. Then around 3:30 that morning, I woke up to Seamus crying. When I looked in on him, he was still asleep and mumbling something about “the big dinosaurs.”

I hope Seamus will be able to handle the schedule of my new job—I hope I’ll be able to handle the schedule of my new job. There will surely be lots of juggling in the near future. But I’m really looking forward to those long weekends this summer. We plan on spending lots of time at the big pool.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thunk

Ryan Manning interviewed me for his blog Thunk. Check it here.

The American Museum of Natural History

We had the loveliest of Spring weekends up here in the North, temperatures approaching 90, blue skies, light breezes. It was so nice, Seamus and I spent three hours at the big park on Saturday, and on Sunday Mr. T and I took Seamus to the American Museum of Natural History. We had meant to do this on his birthday, but he was too sick. We took over a hundred photos and would have taken more, but our camera batteries died half-way through the museum. So we missed photographing the Reptile and Amphibian Room, the Hall of North American Mammals, the Hall of Asian Peoples, the Mammals of Asia and our central park outing afterwards. It took us most of the day to go through all four floors of the museum. We left the house right around Seamus's nap time, but he was so excited he couldn't sleep. He ended up running around the museum for hours with a constant stream of whoa-s coming out of his mouth (you'll see this in a couple of the pictures we took).

The subway stop for the museum is really cool, with mosaic turtles and dinosaurs, insects and frogs.



And the museum itself is a marvel, with a big bronze statue of Theodore Roosevelt (my favorite president) on the front steps.








When you walk inside the first thing you see is an enormous Barosaurus protecting her young from a pretty vicious looking Allosaurs. The Barosaurus was so big, I couldn't capture the whole diorama in the photo. Seamus was very interested in this scene and kept saying, Allosaurus is very mean. No, Allosaurus!










In the Hall of African Mammals, Seamus was scared of the gorillas and wouldn't even look at them, but loved the elephants and the lions. We had to pay them a second visit on the way out.







We spent the majority of our time, however, looking at the prehistoric ocean life and dinosaur bones. These were just some of the guys we saw there:



















Seamus was very excited to see his favorite dino--the Ankylosaurus. They even had bits of his armor and his boney club on display, as well as a skull.









At this display we learned about all the different ancestors of Ankylosaurus and were happy to find one named Shamosaurus (pretty close our little Seamusaurus's nickname).

We also saw boneheads and Seamus got to touch the actual skull of one.






He also got to touch a real dinosaur egg!



He had fun walking over the spine of an Apatosaurus.



The triceratops was unbelievable...





as well as the Stegasaurus...





and the T-Rex.





Protoceratops and eggs:





Dimetrodon (much smaller than we imagined):



Prehistoric armadillo-creature:



Prehistoric Bear:



Prehistoric Megaloceras?:



Mammuts:





After the museum we headed to the turtle pond in Central Park. Seamus chanted turtle pond, turtle pond, turtle pond all the way there and then fell asleep right as we arrived. Everyone in NYC was at the park that day, sun bathing, taking photos, having pick-nicks. It was neat to be in the middle of the city and not be able to see the skyline, only trees, rocks and grass.

We had such a great time and left the museum saying we'd come back a few more times before we leave this place.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Some writing things I should mention...

Fox Force 5, the chapbook collective featuring work by Suzanne Burns, Elizabeth Ellen, Andrea Kneeland, Brandi Wells and me, with cover art by Christy Call is now available for preorder from Paper Hero Press. Five little books for only $10! So if you still haven't bought a copy of my chapbook, here's your chance. And the cherry on top is that you'll get four other chapbooks by tremendous writers. That's five chapbooks for the price of two of mine!

Also, I somehow forgot to mention that The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field is available for pre-order from Rose Metal Press. My story, In the Air a Shining Heart accompanies an essay by Rusty Barnes.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Big 0-2!

Seamus turned two over the weekend, and as promised I have lots and lots of pictures to post. Grandie and Grandpa flew up for the occasion and stayed with us.





They came bearing lots of gifts, birthday and otherwise. Some of Mr. S's favorites were the Superman pjs complete with cape, and the Thomas dinosaur trains.



Anytime we have house guests we take them to our beloved bakery and load up on cannolis. This time we also brought home Polish cakes and cream puffs. Seamus likes to sample a little of everything. Notice the little hand in the box.




Grandie and Grandpa also accompanied us to the pet store to buy a couple of mollies for the birthday aquarium Mr. T and I bought Seamus. The lady at the pet store called them our test fish. We're supposed to bring her a water sample in two weeks before we're allowed to add more fish. It was Seamus's idea to buy Mollies (which he calls Mommies). He named them Lucas and Katie, but sometimes he calls them Lucas and Nemo. For some reason, he names everything Lucas. This alarmed me at first because this was my brother's name, and I haven't told Seamus about Lucas, but then I remembered there's a boy in Seamus's class with that name. So far the test fish are still kicking.





On Saturday, we threw Seamus a big birthday bash. We had fun decorating the house with dinosaurs and balloons and making the dino cake.













My uncle Mike and aunt Janet showed up, along with cousin Sallie and her husband Mush and cousin Alex and his little family Rachel and baby Isaiah. We love it when uncle Mike visits because he's an amazing photographer and always brings his camera with him. He and Mush took some fabulous pictures of the party.




























Tomatoes:





Feeding Grandie carrots:




Georgia gets dangerously close to the birthday cake:



New books (Little Critter! and Dinosaurs!):






Seamus made out like a bandit and even insisted on removing his dino shirt and putting on the pirate shirt aunt Nora sent up with my parents. Sallie and Mush got him his first Yankees cap, and even though we're a Red Sox family, we think it's a cool NY memento and Seamus loves wearing it around.





Mike and Janet got him a toy guitar. He's been playing it ever since.






Seamus was acting rather cranky during his birthday party, and at the time I thought he was just overly tired since he hadn't taken much of a nap that day, but you can see in the pictures how his cheeks start to flush and how they grow redder and redder throughout the party.



He woke later that night with a fever and a terrible ear ache and had it all weekend. I took him to the doctor yesterday, and it turns out he has infections in both ears. He's been in a lot of pain but mostly at night. The pressure of lying down makes his ears hurt worse. During the day, he's just a grouchier version of his normal self, still playing with toys and running around. However, we didn't want to drag him all over Manhattan with an ear infection, so we ditched our plans for the Museum of Natural History on Sunday.

Instead, Seamus tried out the new tricycle Grandie and Grandpa got him for his birthday. We love this tricycle because it has a parent steering wheel!





Seamus rode it all the way down the park, where we threw rocks in the bay and played on the play ground and bought ice cream from the ice cream man.
















Despite the ear infections, it was a lovely weekend and a lot of fun was had by all. And it was so very nice spending time with my parents. Seamus thought so too.



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