Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Our Park

Ferris is three weeks old today. The old cliche is true: time flies when you're having fun! I love his squawks, squeaks, yawns, stretches, cries, smell, hair, back fuzz, startle reflex, impatient breathing, flailing limbs, crossed eyes, sleepy smiles, eyelashes, hiccups, spit bubbles and surely there's more I'm neglecting to list. A 3 week present for me- I tried on my prepreg jeans (you're not supposed to do this!!) and they fit. Oh, snap.

We just finished a little stop motion video that we've been working on for the past nine months. Nick and I adore it and hope you enjoy it too! It's about as good as you can expect out of a project by two people who are good at math! It was so fun to finish it, but a little sad that such a big "to do" is crossed off and all of the mysteries I once mulled over have been solved.


Lots of celebrating- Nick's first father's day and our 6th anniversary over the weekend!
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I've spent just about every day at Central Park. Sometimes the ball fields or pickup basketball or the Great Lawn or meeting a little Dutch baby friend. Ferris sleeps so well when I take him in the stroller; it's the one certainty in his tiny world. He's a little like the garden gnome in Amelie that travels all over, his sleep face popping up in random places.

A new tree planting in the park: new tree, new baby! The last picture is on one of the engraved benches and says "How perfect is this, how lucky are we." Officially my favorite bench. I love to read them as I pass and sit on good ones. We were daydreaming about having one engraved for Ferris, but a quick little search revealed that it's $25,000 (!!!!)
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Sometimes the walk to the park is just as interesting as the park itself. How many infants get to meet Heidi Klum?
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With a former colleague and his new baby at the Central Park Boathouse
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His first bath, only one of us cried. Not Ferris.
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Yawny faces, love!
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And I leave you with one last video from this week. I can't possibly find the stamina to keep this level of documentation up for long!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sleep

Sleep is the theme of the day. The first couple of days, Ferris woke up and needed to eat from 2-6 a.m. (at least!) I sat at 4 a.m. in my hospital bed smiling down at his screaming little face. I was just so happy to see him and so happy at how he appeared in the world. Now that he's home, he's a little more unpredictable. Two days of late nights, followed by two nights of sleeping from midnight-5 and 5:30-9 (heaven!) and most recently, falling asleep in his bouncy chair at 9 p.m., which sets him for a 1 a.m. wake up. Yay for Conan! And Conan reruns!

Photos and videos from last week (Ferris at 9 days old)... no surprise that we're running on a delay!
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Nap faces, so in love!


Monday, June 6, 2011

Ferris

Our boy is here! Ferris Theo Caligiuri was born June 1 at 8:32 a.m., measuring 7 lb. 4 oz. and 19 in.

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So tiny, even though he arrived 5 days late; I guess he just needed some extra time to cook. There are so many different birth stories, and you never know which one has your name on it. The abbreviated public blog appropriate version of ours: Nick sweetly told our families "Erica kicked giving birth's ass!" I did! My water broke around midnight, and after 8 hours in the hospital and a mere 8 minutes of pushing, he was here! The time flew by, it was unbelievable how fast midnight turned into Wednesday morning. They put him on my chest, and he didn't look anything like I expected. It's so funny how that one split second clears up all the wondering and waiting about who your baby will be. It's too much for one little second to bear. The doctor asked who we thought he looked like: Nick said, "Erica" and I said, "A random old man." After further deliberation, I think he looks like my brother and Nick thinks he looks like his brother. How about I post 800 pictures so you can decide for yourself?! 

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6 hours old
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In the hospital, he looks like a little elf in the sweater my grandma made for him
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Meeting Newman, who jumped back after he realized that Ferris can move

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First day home (Friday-2 days old), still has moments of confusion about being on the outside

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One of my favorites

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Frog legs

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Adoration

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BUT I DON'T WANNA GO TO A STATE SCHOOL!

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Batman likes to lick his feet

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5 days old (today!)

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So flexible!

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We came home on Friday, and have been having such a great time hibernating with Ferris. Nick is such a a great daddy, which is unbelievable for a guy who had barely held a baby before. I am doing great- I made cupcakes, painted my nails, and we've taken him on little walks for the past few days. He's only 5 days old but already the time is passing too quickly and I get teary about silly things like cutting off his hospital band, or putting away his first hat that was covered in gunk and blood. I wish I could hit rewind and do it all over again and again and again.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

...and wait....

No rapture, and no baby. In the meantime, yes to waiting, yes to Central Park Zoo, yes to espresso granitas and chocolate mousse pie.

9 Months Pregnant!
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Couldn't resist another sign
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I want a panda!
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Lately people keep asking if I'm ready. Yes! You know when you're to the point of shopping for champagne and summer perfume, that the baby stuff is as ready and fluffed as it's going to be.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

And now we wait...

Walking around pregnant in New York has been like having a key to the city. When you live here, you quickly learn that Crazy comes in all shapes and sizes. As a consequence, people here tend to move through their daily routines in a protective shell, often taking great care to avoid eye contact and interaction with strangers. But my belly seems to crack people open, and has served as an unanticipated social experiment. Instead of wondering about the strangers I see, I get to find out who is polite, who will pretend not to see my big belly, who stares, who catcalls, who will ask about the baby, who will tell me to order decaf, who will be a first time aunt in July. And who will give me free stuff! Zoltar has made me the queen of "on the house"! Within the past two weeks, I've received free cookies on two separate occasions, a free bottle of water, 4 free sea salt caramels, and a free mascara.

An update on the subway seat game: young men are still taking it to the house, by far offering seats most often. My favorite: a young guy with baggy jeans and baseball hat pulled over his eyes offered me a seat. I thanked him and we started talking, and it turned out he was on his way to the hospital because his wife just went into labor with his second daughter. In a distant second place, middle aged women. In a tie for douchebaggery, middle aged men and yuppie white women.

Tomorrow is my first mother's day; how strange that I'm a mother even though I have no idea what our baby looks like! We are going to buy a cookie from Levain's Bakery and I'm going to try to finish an entire quart of skim milk in one sitting. Because I'm still craving dairy, and also because I don't know when else I'd be successful at such an endeavor. Wish me luck!

Here we are! Zoltar at 37 weeks, estimated weight 5 lbs 15 oz.


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...And now for some fun signs that have caught my eye. Maybe the next time you hear from me, I'll have a baby on the outside. Or maybe not!

Window of the iconic Strand Bookstore:
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What? People accidentally mistake a furniture store for a bus service company?
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Even his adopt-a-highway sign is loud and obnoxious!
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Visitors, 2011 edition

A lot has changed since the 2010 edition, but the one constant is that New York City attracts visitors. As we now hit the 8 month mark, our small apartment is transitioning from visitor crash pad into baby bed and breakfast. We had back to back friends visit us over the past week. First, Minnesota girls and I soaked up the relative sunshine in Central Park, which is finally filling with cherry blossoms and tulips.

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After the girls left for Minnesota (which is still getting snow, what?!) we had Iowa visitors. One important order of business was to eat together at Babbo, which requires a reservation exactly a month in advance (no sooner, no later.) Clearly, we're running out of time for this nonsense.

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35 week belly
Nobody warned our visitors that women who are 8 months pregnant are lame! Well, that's because I didn't know I would be so lame! I nap, I go to bed early and give them a set of keys, I bow out of walking around Times Square (and long walks in general!), I insist on stopping for ice cream and mint lemonade. Five more weeks can seem like a disproportionately long time in this state of discomfort.

Luckily my lameness seemed to wear off a little on everybody else!
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And now we're all off to the Knicks/Celtics game for some Easter celebrating!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bundle of WTF

We have to take what we can get for nice weather, as we've learned from snowy Minnesota, rainy Maastricht, and late bloomer New York. Last weekend, there was enough sun to justify a little trip to Roosevelt Island for a picnic, so that's what we did. Roosevelt Island is a place that few people visit, even though you get there on a tram with a fantastic view of Manhattan (or in our case, a shitty view of other people blocking the fantastic view!) Roosevelt Island is a strange little island situated between Manhattan and Queens. The history of the place is strange- it was passed from the Dutch to the English to a private family, and finally to the City of New York. It's famous for having an old insane asylum and smallpox hospital. Present day, it's home to a single coffee shop, drugstore, subway stop, the only lighthouse in NYC, and very few residents. It was strange to be in a place that's part of New York City and so deserted. But it's good for picnicking and wandering, since there is a good view of Manhattan's east side, as seen from the kickball fields, community garden, and Nick's sunglasses!
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The mint lemonade has nothing to do with our picnic, it's here simply because it was delicious enough to remember!


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We had some professional maternity shots today (so excited!) but in the meantime, here are some 32 week shots in front of the lighthouse.

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Now that we're down to the last two months, I'm impatient and exhausted in addition to the natural excitement and curiosity about who our baby will be. What I really hate is the books that can't talk about pregnancy and birth without referring to cuddling my cliched "bundle of joy." Did these women give birth to stuffed animals or something? Joy is just one of many complex things that Zoltar is a bundle of, and I'd be in for a rude awakening if I believed that caring for a real infant approximates hugging a baby doll all day.  With regard to birth, I feel about as bad for our baby as I do for myself. Poor Zoltar's life to date experience consists of floating alone in a dark and wet enclosed space. I imagine his tiny creature brain will zip through the following thought process:
  • WTF is this air?
  • WTF is this light?
  • WTF happened to my thump thump sound?
  • Who the fuck are you?
The three of us will have a lifetime of WTF moments together. And if we're lucky, we'll all be ok when we wrap him in a little ball and let him hear a heartbeat and sing his favorite song.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Boyz in the hood

Enough talk about the boy in my womb, how about my other boys? There are the ones we all know and love and love to photograph (Nick, Batman, Newman).

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Nick, enjoys feeling fetus kicks to his back

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Batman, smells change

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Newman, wild card. Will either sit on baby's face or ignore baby.

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Recently I've been surprised to find that New York City is full of young gentlemen. I first noticed this surprising politesse last summer when some boys extended a generous invite. Now that I'm obviously pregnant, day to day subway travel serves as an impromptu social experiment: will anyone in this town offer me a seat? Although I have two months left, the data so far has been overwhelming, and I feel confident publishing some conclusions. Here they are:

Most likely to offer: far and away (at least 90% of seats offered to date) young men in their 20's are the most likely to offer a seat. Preppy undergrads, grad students, tourists with arms around girlfriends, pants pulled down ganstas, but the common denominator is young men will offer me a seat, and I love them for it. It gives me hope for the world and for our son (!).

Least likely to offer: tie between women my age and middle aged men. I've even learned that straight up rudeness isn't out of the question for these demographics. I've had these winners put their fat purse or cheap briefcase on the last seat right when I go to sit, or push in front of me to get on the train. (For the record, a simple and cold "excuse me" is an effective bag removal device.)

There you have it- I won't offer my theories to maintain the integrity of the scientific results. And for now, let's all have high expectations for young men and their manners.

The past two weekends, Nick and I did the unthinkable- visited the ..... wait for it..... boroughs! Technically NYC includes a lot more than Manhattan, but I tend to round down and get my money's worth without crossing a bridge. Last weekend, it was Brooklyn, and this weekend, Queens. We first wandered around Union Square (on Manhattan's east side) which hosts a bustling market featuring locally sourced (and expensive!) beef, cider, produce, and a few free gems.

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Then we headed to the 7 train for our first Queens visit (unless the airport counts.) We had a dinner party to attend, but first visited an art museum and an outdoor graffiti mecca called 5 Pointz.
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Ten weeks left, give or take, before another boy will be joining us and entering the ranks of New York gentlemen!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

When life hands you rain, make purple rain

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Yesterday, I decided to stop for breakfast before work. I turned to open the door of my chosen establishment and BAMMO! there was dude in front of me changing his pants. Standing in his boxers, digging through a duffel bag. I turned in a circle, my mind adjusting to this sequence of events. But as you can guess, no man will stand between me and a breakfast sandwich. So I just went past him, told the manager there was a dude changing his pants by the door and laughed with the employees about this strange morning. Today, it rained all day, and to top it off, the strap on the shoes I was wearing broke! So imagine me, almost seven months pregnant, running around in the rain with no umbrella and broken shoes. 

I'm a crotchety old man under normal circumstances, so I don't know how I'm in such a good mood after all this. Maybe it's because Starbucks is offering free treats today through Saturday, or maybe because now I have a good excuse to toss the old shoes I wore today. (I couldn't toss them when they were still "perfectly good," curse you practical Midwestern upbringing!) Whatever the reason, I felt compelled to document my rare optimism, so when I'm holding a screaming baby, I can look back and say, "Remember that time I encountered a dude changing his pants at Cosi? Those were the days."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Last Ditch Efforts

I'm having the opposite reaction of most moms to be. Instead of accepting the fact that my grooming habits will soon go downhill, I'm making a last ditch effort to figure out the rites of womanhood while I still have time. Lucky for me, I'm lazy and my grooming habits are already at rock bottom, with nowhere to go but up. I literally don't know how to fill a half hour getting ready or "doing my hair." There is only so much eye shadow that will fit on my eyelids! When I hang out with other girls, I'm baffled by the time we need to build in for "getting ready to go out." Why aren't we ready now? My hair is a prime example. Current styling habits include: air dry, brush. Back in third grade, I was a teased bang aficionada, and I became determined to make a comeback.

Playing around with new hair tool (which made my hair too curly so I had to pull it back!)
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This weekend, we took a tour of the 42nd street New York Public Library and visited the Frick Museum. Another last ditch effort, just in case Zoltar is one of those babies who doesn't want to sleep peacefully in his carrier while his parents walk around the library. We had a lot of fun, and figured out that recently I have a new limit on walking and going without food. Poor Nick discovered this the hard way when I snapped, "I said I was hungry a half hour ago, that means we need to eat NOW."

Nick in front of the lions!
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Zoltar, 28 weeks, me with presentable curls!
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Ghostbusters reading room, scene of this hilarious Improv Everywhere stunt (NYPL was in on this as a publicity stunt)


 So while this has nothing to do with the library, I have to share the funniest IE video ever. Around the 1:10 mark, I start peeing my pants from laughing, despite not having seen Star Wars for a good 15 years.