Diana v. Poison Ivy

I seriously don’t remember the last time I got poison ivy, but I know I’ve had it at least once before. Elementary school? Who knows. At any rate, I certainly didn’t expect to get it in my own backyard.

It was about a month ago, before Connor started pulling up to standing and attempting to walk. Used to be that we’d rarely go out in our backyard, thanks to the annoying dog next door who barks at everything and everyone — even us. This particular evening, though, I decided, “To hell with the neighbor dog! We’re going outside to enjoy the weather!”

So we did. I brought a big green blanket outside and spread it on the ground, plopped Connor down on it, then plopped myself down next to him. Of course, Connor made a break for the open grass, and I was fine with that. He played with weeds and sticks and leaves and whatever else he could find, and I took pictures.

playing in the yard

(And video.)

After a while, Connor got bored and made for the bushes. I wasn’t keen on him getting into the years-old mulch under the arborvitaes, or getting stuck back by the chain link fence behind the trees where I couldn’t reach him, so I followed him and scooped him up and called an end to Outside Playtime.

I didn’t realize at the time that I’d stuck my right arm through this:

Fast forward to the next morning at work, when I found myself scratching at a mild rash on my right wrist. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized what must have happened, and by then, I assumed it was too late to do much of anything but ride it out. I know now that there are other options, like steroid shots and over-the-counter topical washes and lotions — but at the time, I figured I’d just see how bad it got.

Oh, boy.

First, it cropped up on my right wrist and right shoulder, since that’s what had actually touched the ivy as I reached through it to grab Connor. Then, since I hadn’t realized at the time, I managed to spread it to my chest and my other arm and my right knee. But it kept going (I’m assuming it’s because I didn’t change the bedsheets that night or the night after), and I got little spots on my torso, as well.

The itching was fierce. Aaron suggested I take the antihistamine he had on hand for his seasonal allergies — that was a major lifesaver. Eventually, Aaron insisted on getting me something topical to put on my rash, and he picked up some Ivarest lotion. It did help, but by then the damage had been done. The rash on my wrist was oozing and disgusting, so I covered it with a giant bandaid — until it got too large to cover, after which point I just started wearing long sleeves to work in the middle of summer. The rash on my chest was red and nasty-looking, as well, so I wore blouses with rather high necklines — also not a normal summer fashion trend for me.

It took three weeks for my rashes to completely clear up, and I still have pinkish spots in places — hopefully it’s just new skin, and not actual scarring.

So, how is it that we hadn’t noticed until now that we have poison ivy growing in the backyard?

Truth is, we had.

When we had our tree trimmed a couple years ago, the tech mentioned to Aaron that a particular vine growing up our tree was poison ivy. Since we rarely used the backyard, and hadn’t planned to have any kids, and since Aaron is one of the few percent of the population who isn’t allergic to poison ivy, we took little heed.

After the fact, Aaron sprayed all the ivy and other weeds with extra-strength weed killer, and that seems to be taking care of the problem… for now. As for me, I started playing with Connor exclusively in the front yard, and changed the plans for Connor’s birthday party to be indoors, just in case someone were to find some poison ivy that’s not quite dead.

Poison Ivy – 1, Diana – 0.

Dear Connor: Month Eleven

You’re almost a year old! Not a little baby anymore, but not quite a toddler yet.

Every new month is full of new milestones, and this month was no exception. You really got the hang of pulling yourself up onto the furniture, and you became quite the speedy crawler, so Mommy and Daddy bought baby gates to keep you corralled in the living room.

Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

Dear Connor: Month Ten

It’s like something clicked in your brain this month, and everything started making sense.

First, you became a champion sitter overnight.

Champion Sitter!

Then, you figured out crawling.

Exploring the Unknown

Then, you pulled yourself to standing for the first time.

Look, ma!

Not only that, but you finally started cutting teeth! One of your bottom teeth has made it through the gums, but isn’t all the way out yet, and one of your top teeth has just finished breaking through. You’ll be getting another top tooth soon — before long, you’ll look even less like a little baby and more like a little boy.

You’re still not so into solid food, but you do like your purees. We introduced you to peaches this month, and you’re a big fan! You’re not quite ready for finger foods or things that need any chewing; they get onto your tongue before you chew/gum them properly, and you gag on them. Someday soon, though.

You’ve started showing a preference for things being a certain way; you fuss when we take a toy away from you, or when you hold your arms up and we don’t pick you up, or when a routine doesn’t go exactly the way you expect it to (like getting fetched from your crib or the swing as soon as you see Mommy or Daddy, or not getting fed as soon as you see your bottle).

We did some fun things this month! We spent an afternoon walking around Bowling Green (where Mommy and Daddy went to college, and where we lived when we first got married), and we took you to the Waterville Community Garage Sale (but we only saled for an hour because it was so hot outside), and we took you to the park for the first time, and we all drove up to Michigan for a Fourth of July BBQ with friends.

You’re growing up so fast! Slow down, won’t you, please?


Almost Ready to Crawl

Almost Ready to Crawl
[Taken 19 June 2012 | 1/30sec @ f/3.5 | SB-600 flash, bounced | ISO 200]
Four days after this photo was taken, Connor figured out that whole crawling thing. Now he’s successfully getting into everything — mainly the cat’s toys.

Dear Connor: Month Nine

This was the month of being social with friends and family!

Connor and Grammy

Grammy came to visit in May, for the first time since you were just two weeks old. She showed up before Mommy got home from work, and Daddy said that you were excited to hear her voice — until you realized that she wasn’t me! Then you got confused and freaked out for a minute, but were plenty happy by the time Mommy got home.

We went out and had plenty of fun times — at the zoo, at the park, and at restaurants — but Mommy should really write more about that some other time, in detail, with lots of pictures.

Mommy and Connor at the Zoo

Jason and AaronMommy and Daddy took you up to Michigan to meet our friend Jason and his fiancee Colette. They live in New York City, but were visiting Jason’s family in Michigan over Memorial Day weekend, so we made sure to get together, since they hadn’t met you yet, and we hadn’t met Colette. We all had lunch at the Cracker Barrel, and had fun catching up about everything from babies to Japan trips to jobs to restaurants in NYC. It was a good time!

That same weekend, Mommy and Daddy went on their second-ever date night without Connor! You fell asleep for Missy at 8:00pm, which is really early, so she got to hang out and read books until Mommy and Daddy got home at 10:30pm. For the two hours you were awake, though, you loved hanging out with Missy as much as last time. And Mommy and Daddy enjoyed getting to go out for sushi and then watch The Avengers.

Mommy and Daddy also took you to your first Old West End Festival this month. Actually, Mommy and Daddy only really go to the garage sales, not the festival itself, so you got to go garage saleing for the first time, too. You got to meet our friend Traeonna, who hadn’t seen you since you’d been born, so that was fun for everyone. She’s a redhead, too, so Mommy asked her some stupid questions like, “Do you think he’ll stay a redhead?!” Since, you know, all redheaded people are experts in genetics. Mommy’s silly.

You love being in your stroller and seeing the world around you… but, as usual, you eventually fell asleep.

Connor asleep by the records Connor asleep while Daddy buys us water

After your stroller nap, we hung out on a bench outside the Art Museum, where you got to crawl and stand on grass for the first time. You always love being outside, but you especially loved being on the grass.

Connor outside the Art Museum

After dinner that evening, we all went to The Sheets’ house for a Baby S’mores Party! You and Daddy had gotten to have a Baby Taco Party with Mark and Harper at San Marco’s earlier this month, so we continued the baby party theme. All the babies and all the grown-ups (and even the doggie) had a good time!

Baby S'mores Party!

Other stuff that happened this month…

Mommy had her first Mother’s Day! You and Daddy got Mommy a gift certificate to a local spa. Mommy’s planning to get her nails done and her feet all sparkly soon.

We’re introducing you to new foods slowly but surely. Tilapia and sweet potatoes, plus some organic pre-packaged foods like cherry/apple and broccoli/apple purees. You seem to like them, for the most part.

Still no teeth, and you’re still not crawling yet. You love to stand up while holding on to Mommy or Daddy’s fingers, though, and you roll around like crazy, and you rock back and forth on all fours. The doctor says we shouldn’t worry about the crawling unless you haven’t started moving around on your own somehow by 10½ months, and that we shouldn’t worry about the lack of teeth until you’re a year and a half old. So, plenty of time for both. No worries!

Your favorite toy right now seems to be the Totoro rattle that Erika got you for your baby shower. Mommy and Daddy like to give it to you while we’re changing your diaper, since another of your favorite things is to roll over while you’re on the changing table, so we need to distract you from doing that.

You love to meet new people, and everyone always comments about how happy and talkative you are. You’re not saying any real words yet, but you love to babble and smile and giggle. We have the feeling you’re going to be quite the talker once you have some words…

You’re such a cutie, and we love you so much, little dude.

Connor Closeup

Breastfeeding Is Hard

When I was reading up on breastfeeding before Connor was born, the general gist I got was that breastfeeding is hard. Or it can be. Sure, it seems like it should be straightforward — whip out boob, baby eats — but there are so many things that can go wrong. I knew moms who had trouble breastfeeding, but I also I knew moms who loved nursing and did it with barely any problems at all. I was convinced that, since it’s such a natural thing, I would take right to it. I wouldn’t have any latching or supply or dietary issues. It couldn’t possibly be that hard.

I was wrong. Breastfeeding is hard.

Mommy and Connor in recovery


My First Mothers Day

I’ve had this tendency lately to let somewhat notable days pass by without blogging about them. Once upon a time, I would have blogged every mildly interesting day in painstaking detail; now, though, I find that I’d rather use my free time to read a magazine or watch TV than write. If I’m not careful, though, these days will slip by undocumented, and when I look back on these early months and years of motherhood, the details will be vague and fuzzy.

So, my first Mothers Day:

Connor was a sweetie and let me sleep in until almost 7:00am. Usually, he’ll get me up around 6:30, but sometimes as early as 5:30. This morning, he woke up happy — actually a pretty normal thing for Connor, but still a pleasant start to the day. (Sometimes he wakes up upset, but not often.)

When I went into Connor’s room to fetch him from his crib, I found that he (and his Daddy) had gotten me a Mothers Day present!

Mother's Day Gift Certificate

This was actually pretty amusing to me because we’d just driven past this place yesterday evening, on our way to dinner, and had been making jokes about how we should have gone to the Beauty Bar when we were looking for someplace to have a drink after our last date night. Because, you know, it’s gotta be pretty in that bar.


Connor and I had some breakfast, and we hung out for a while before I put him down for his morning nap (sort of an extension of his night’s sleep, but in his swing). I read some of the latest Runner’s World magazine — a treat, since I am WAY backed out on my magazine reading — then indulged myself in a relatively lengthy shower, during which I shaved my legs and scrubbed my feet. Yes, that’s an indulgence; usually I rush through a hair-washing and pit-shaving and call it good enough.

Connor still hadn’t woken up yet after my shower, so I read some more of my Runner’s World until he decided he was done with his nap. Pretty standard Sunday morning stuff after that: gave Connor his morning snack, played for a while, then went upstairs to get Daddy out of bed. I got dressed while Aaron was in the shower: slightly gussied up in my new maxi halter and Skechers sandals from Zulily and my black cardigan (which is actually a maternity piece, but you can’t tell).

Me in my halter maxi dress with cardigan and sandals

(Incidentally, I LOVE this dress. It fits and drapes perfectly, is super comfortable, and is made of a nice light and stretchy material that’s perfect for a spring or summer day. I might hunt down another few dresses like this one.)

Aaron had said that I could pick the restaurant for lunch — and, if I chose our normal dim sum lunch, I could pick the items we got. So, I got a little fancy with the dim sum and ordered some stuff we don’t get all the time: baked pork buns, sticky rice wraps; nothing too “out there,” like tripe or chicken feet, but things we usually reserve as “sometimes foods.”

The restaurant was packed when we got there around 1pm, so the New Empire Connor Schnuth Fan Club (i.e. all the servers) didn’t get to stop by and say hello as often as they usually do. That was actually a bit of a treat in itself, I’m a little ashamed to admit. Sometimes, we’re just not in the mood to have our child fawned over. Sometimes, we just want to eat our lunch. I love that they love his cute little self, don’t get me wrong, but we’re not always keen on the attention. So, the busy-ness of the restaurant was a nice change of pace. Our food came out plenty quick, too, which was also nice.

After lunch came our standard Sunday Starbucks run. Nothing special there, but it’s always nice to have a little time to chill and feel like normal adults. Our Starbucks trips are like a tie back to our pre-Connor days to me, and a reminder that not everything has to change now that we’re parents. We’re still us, just like we were before, and just like we will continue to be. We still like the things we’ve always liked, including chilling out at Starbucks.

Connor playing with a Starbucks paper bag

At least, until Connor gets tired and hungry and cranky and bored. Then it’s time to go home. Such was it today.

The rest of the day was normal Sunday responsible-type stuff. Aaron dusted and vacuumed, and I sorted laundry and wrangled Connor. Then we sat down and got the grocery list together while I fed Connor. Then Connor fell asleep in time for Aaron to go to the store and for me to do laundry and do some blogging (i.e. start this entry).

The remainder of the evening involved us eating a dinner of falafel lettuce wraps and fruit salad while watching the episode of No Reservations I’d taped (yes, taped, as in VCR) from last Monday. Like I said, typical Sunday night.

As I finish writing this, Aaron is upstairs in the living room, rocking Connor to sleep. All in all, it’s been a good Mothers Day, and a pleasant Sunday, and I’m happy.

Dear Connor: Month Eight

It’s been a month of firsts — but, then, at your age, every month is a month of firsts, I guess!

Connor napping in the strollerYou took your first shopping trip at the mall! Fake Aunt Sheryl was pretty much Mommy’s personal shopper for an afternoon. All three of us hit up several stores at one of the local outdoor malls. You were pretty chill for most of it, until you got bored and hungry. After we fed you, though, you took a short nap in your stroller while Sheryl and Mommy hung out at Starbucks.

You got to meet your Auntie Amy for the first time! Amy hadn’t come to visit since your baby shower (one week before you were born), so it was super fun to introduce you. She’s used to being a baby roadie for her friends with babies, so it was fun to go out to lunch with both you and with her, and have her playing the part I usually play when you and Daddy and I go out.

You took your first ride in a shopping cart! Mommy and Daddy and Auntie Amy went shopping at Big Lots while Amy was visiting, and you got to ride in the cart, since you’re getting to be a big boy. You loved it, mostly, but you did get bored for a while, so Mommy carried you on her hip. You loved looking around the store, though, and not being stuck in your carseat. You also are a big fan of the wind and the outside in general, so you enjoyed the cart ride to and from the store.

You also spent your first evening with a babysitter! Mommy and Daddy spent a long time figuring out who to watch you, and we weren’t sure who would be the best choice. We had several options in mind, but then Uncle Mark said that his sister Missy would love to watch you. Perfect! The two of you got to meet each other a few days before Mommy and Daddy went out, and you got along smashingly. When that Saturday evening finally came and Mommy and Daddy went out for grown-up time to celebrate Mommy’s 36th birthday, you and Missy had a great time. Mommy and Daddy thought for sure that you’d be tired and cranky and upset when we got home, but you were sitting in the chair with Missy, reading a book, looking a little tired but not cranky yet. You seemed surprised to see us! Mommy and Daddy are hoping to go out once a month, so you’ll get to see Missy again.

You ate in your high chair for the first time! Mommy bought you a Fisher-Price Space Saver High Chair that straps into a dining room chair. It works out really well in our small dining room, and you seem to like it. You like smacking your hands on the tray, and it’s easier to get you to eat when you can’t see the TV (yes, Mommy has the news on while she’s feeding you).

You have quite a few new tricks, too: you’re rolling around like crazy, for one. Even though you’ve only tried the military-style belly crawl once, you’re plenty mobile. We really can’t leave you alone on the floor like we used to — you might end up with your head stuck sideways under the couch!

You’ve also started copying Mommy and Daddy when we stick out our tongue at you or make raspberry noises or cluck our tongue. Just the other day, you figured how to clap your hands, and now you love to copy us when we do that, too. That’s an improvement on you smacking your one hand onto your head!

Your clear plastic beach ball is one of your favorite things to play with, since it’s just the right size for you to hold with both hands, and you can wiggle it around to move the little yellow ball inside. You’re also a big fan of your bunny head and your catbus — the catbus lives in the diaper bag to keep you occupied while we’re out to eat or chilling at Starbucks.

You’re becoming a little 19.2-pound person with a personality and likes and dislikes.

It’s kind of cool.

Rolling on the Floor