Friday, December 19, 2008

Been a long time gone...

Friday Dec 19, 2008

Been a long time gone...

Lord, I ain't had a prayer since I don't know when

Long time gone

And it ain't comin' back again

-Dixie Chicks

I know, I know. I have been a very bad blogger lately. I would blame it on being a single mom this week (Derek's gone to Pennsylvania with a group of students) but that really doesn't explain why I haven't written anything in the prior three weeks, does it?! Honestly, things have just gotten crazy and blogging has dropped down on the list behind more pressing chores like laundry, dishes, and feeding the kid. But blogging is still above vaccuuming, which explains why Jay is currently eating a cheerio that appears to have been around since I crawled around on this very same floor. That, or it says I haven't been so successful with the "feeding the kid" chore.

Seriously, though, I've had some good ideas for what I can blog about. I mean, I have whole posts floating around in my brain. So I do THINK about you, dear readers, even as I'm ignoring your need for updates. And I promise, I'll put finger to keyboard and share them with you soon.

For now, I'll just share one little story about my brief foray into single parenthood. One night, I'd nursed Jay to sleep twice only to have him wake up screaming as soon as I laid him down in the crib. (I know that nursing him to sleep is not a great idea, but sometimes you do what you gotta do.) On bedtime attempt #3, I'd JUST gotten him to doze off in my arms when my cell phone rang. I was sure it was dear hubby calling, so I ever-so-gently stood up to take Jay back to the nursery so I could call him back. Then, right as I walked past our landline phone with him in my arms, it rang. While I wasn't looking, someone had apparently changed the phone's volume setting from "Ring" to "SUPER EXTRA LOUD ALARM RING." (You see where this is going...) And yes, he woke up screaming, yet again. Sigh.

I put him down screaming, thinking that this time I'd just let him settle himself down by crying it out. (Yeah, that's not usually effective, but nothing else I'd tried was working either.) So I called dear hubby back. He proceeds to launch into a story about how the hotel staff was just falling all over themselves offering their group cookies and coffee when they arrived. (Remember, kid is still wailing in the background.) Poor baby, I know it's hard to sleep in a hotel room. I mean, you just can't really feel at home without having a layer of small toys & rattles scattered across the floor and eau de diaper pail wafting from the nursery. And it's just so hard to relax when the only sound you hear is peace and quiet...

I know it's hard to travel, and I'm sure I'd miss my little Torquil Jay terribly if I was on the road. But I do believe that it's easier on the person who's gone than the one left at home. This week has truly given me a new respect for single parents. I don't know how you do it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Turkey for me, turkey for you...

Sunday Nov 30, 2008

Turkey for me, turkey for you...

...Let's eat the turkey in my big brown shoe!

It's just not Thanksgiving without Adam Sandler's "Thanksgiving Song"!

And truly, we have so much to be thankful for:

  • a healthy heart (Jay just got a clean bill of health from his cardiologist last Monday!)
  • a big extended family who makes me laugh
  • friends who encourage me when I'm feeling overwhelmed
  • grandparents who actually *want* to babysit at a moment's notice
  • a hubby who likes to shop for groceries
  • big win by the Wolfpack that can get us to a bowl game
  • cow lovey that is (almost) guaranteed to get Jay to sleep
  • more food than either of us could eat in a month
  • warm flannel sheets
  • a daycare where both Jay and mom/dad are happy
  • a happy, healthy kid

We had a great Turkey day at the beach, enjoying time with family and eating loads of junk. We are so blessed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Running on - running on empty...

Tuesday Nov 18, 2008

Running on - running on empty...

...Running on - running blind
Running on - Running into the sun
But I'm running behind
-Jackson Browne

Yesterday morning, after arriving for work 15 mins late (yet again!) I asked my friend, "Does it ever get any better? Am I EVER going to get it together again?" She gives me a blank stare. "You know - am I ever going to have a reasonably clean house? A kitchen counter that isn't covered in mail? Get out of the house in the morning without spending 30 minutes searching for my keys?"

She looks at me in that way that only a true friend can, and gives me the only true, honest answer to that ridiculous question:
"No. It just gets worse as they get older."

Seriously? Please tell me she's wrong. When they are old enough to pick up their own toys, they will, right?! (Shut up, I can hear you laughing.) Eventually, he'll stop creating gigantic piles of laundry, right? (Who am I kidding?) I feel like I'm running up the down escalator. I have to keep going just to stay in the same place. I stop for a second to catch my breath, and suddenly I'm heading back to the bottom again.

And it's not just a clean house I'm after, though that would be nice. It's the feeling of having it under control - that I know what I'm supposed to be doing this week, I've got something in the fridge I can cook for dinner when I get home, I have clothes in the closet that fit, and I have a little free time in the evenings to enjoy my adorable kid and wonderful husband.

There are lots of other moms who really appear to have it all together, and I count my honest friend among them. These women never leave the house with their hair falling out of a ponytail and spit up stains on their shirts. They can pay their bills on time because the bills aren't buried beneath election junk mail (remember the election was 2 weeks ago!). They take the time to clip coupons - and use them. They go shopping and buy cute Christmas gifts for their kids well before December 24. And somehow, they manage to squeeze in 40 hours of work outside the house, and still get a chance to vacuum the carpet!

So, all you "Got it together" Moms ... what's your secret?!


Jen, Jen, Jen, Jen, Even the Moms that you think have it together, don't. We hate to admit it but most of us are hanging on by a thread. Would it make you feel better to know that I was 15 minutes late for Gabe's speech appointment and "yelled" my kids into the car. Oh right, probably not because I've never pretended to have it together. Just want to let you know that you aren't alone.

Posted by TOOJ on November 18, 2008 at 08:53 PM EST #

Nope, sorry to tell you but it does just get worse the older the get. They do help pick up but more times than not, they have left for school with their dance shoes in the same place they dropped them when they came home the night before. And the laundry, the piles never go away but the bright side is that as they get older, they don't mind living out of the laundry basket because they don't want to fold the clothes. Even with almost 11 years of experience under my belt, I still don't have it together and admit I never will.

And just remember, the ones who appear to have it all together are the ones who loose it in private. To be so secure to not have to maintain that appearance is what it is all about. Hugs!!!

Posted by Marcy McWhorter on November 20, 2008 at 09:54 PM EST #

Remember the wise words of this poem from 1958. (Google it for the rest of the poem.) Keep being the wonderful mother that you are and the rest will take care of itself.
Love, Mom

Cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

Posted by Mom on November 20, 2008 at 10:57 PM EST #

Your mom has hit the nail right on the head. Your most important job is to be the best mom you can be. Having an unkept and unclean house drives me up the wall but it is far more important that I love on P and spend as much time with him as possible to soak up every second I have with him that it is to have everything neat and in perfect order. Working from home and having an awesome hubby that helps out a lot allows me to be the mom I am.

Posted by Bethany Watkins on November 21, 2008 at 02:34 PM EST #

I think you're a great mom - but from one McLean to another, PERFECTION IS BORING !!! Why DO we try to do it all? In the end, it's all about the people (family, friends). Hang in there ~ Love, AJ

Posted by AJ on November 21, 2008 at 07:44 PM EST #

LOL! Jen, I've wondered on-and-off all day about what on earth you would have written about me on your blog. I'm finally able to get on and read, and, in fact, you ARE writing about me. Except I'm not even on the escalator -- I've given up and am sitting at the bottom with my chin propped in my hands wondering if there is a secret elevator somewhere! Drop by my house any time you need to feel better about your own housekeeping skills!

Posted by Amy Galvan on November 24, 2008 at 12:02 AM EST #

Monday, November 10, 2008

This here's the story...

Monday Nov 10, 2008

This here's the story...

...of Billy Joe & Bobbi Sue
Two young lovers with nothin' better to do
-Steve Miller Band "Take the Money and Run"

Storytime in blogsville:

Once upon a time in a house on the other side of town lived a little boy named Jay. Jay was generally a good baby, but one night he decided that he didn't want to sleep. So he woke up crying about 10:00 p.m. His mommy tried everything she knew - she rocked him, she nursed him, she changed his diaper, she quietly told him how much she loved him. But he STILL didn't want to go to sleep.

Enter SuperDad, stage left.
SuperDad: Uh oh! Little Jay doesn't want to go to sleep.
AverageMom (looking exasperated): Apparently not. We've tried everything short of driving him around in the car.
SuperDad: Let me try.
AverageMom: Go ahead. Good luck with that. (rolls eyes)

AverageMom exits stage right and heads into the kitchen.
Suddenly, she hears a strange sound coming over the baby monitor. It sounds like SuperDad is talking to Baby Jay. "HA!" she thinks. We tried that talking thing, and it didn't work. But as she listens closer, she can hear that they aren't just talking. What in the world?

She peeks in to find SuperDad settled into the corner of the bed, with Baby Jay snuggled cozy in his lap. And they're reading "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."
Superdad: "But he was STILL hungry!"

And AverageMom just can't hold back the tears. "This," she thinks, "is what it's all about."
I love you, SuperDad!


Awwwwwww... We librarians love stories like that. {Sniff, sniff}

Posted by Amy on November 11, 2008 at 01:18 PM EST #

Saturday, November 1, 2008

He did the mash...

Saturday Nov 01, 2008

He did the mash...

He did the monster mash
The monster mash
It was a graveyard smash
He did the mash
It caught on in a flash
He did the mash
He did the monster mash

Not a monster, not a basketball player, not a ghost, and definitely not a politician (though we saw all of those on the streets last night). For Halloween, Jay was a candy corn. So cute, it was all I could do not to eat him up!

It was a great first Halloween. We did what my friend D called "reverse trick-or-treating." Instead of asking for candy, we showed off our little candy corn to friends and neighbors. We loaded Jay into the stroller & walked around my folks' neighborhood where we have lots of wonderful friends. And the sidewalks were hoppin'! It was so fun with loads of costumed kids out and about - just like I remember trick-or-treating when I was a kid. It's funny to see how different trick-or-treating was for Derek. He imagined we'd load up in the car, which is an idea as foreign to me as eating Duke's mayo was. (For those who don't know, we've had an ongoing Duke's vs. Hellman's war for our entire 7 year marriage. Although I've given in, I'm still a Hellman's girl at heart.) I guess when you grow up half a mile from your next door neighbor, driving is the only efficient way to do it! But I think even he enjoyed the community feel of the neighborhood filled with kids (and a few grown ups!) laughing and walking and looking for treats.

Isn't he just adorable?


He is so stinkin' cute, I can hardly stand it! And the Turtle on his back video made me almost wet myself, I was laughing so hard. We think our baby, (our dog) is endlessly entertaining, but she's nothing compared to your little baby. Love you guys!

Posted by Aunt Jamie on November 02, 2008 at 02:51 PM EST #

Sorry we missed you on Halloween at your parents house. It was late by the time we made it over to there to show off Scott in his Winnie the Pooh outfit. I'll have to send you a picture so you can see it!

Posted by Diane on November 02, 2008 at 03:06 PM EST #

Hi! Your Mom told me to post what I told her. I told her to tell you that surely was an adorable "little niblet"!

Posted by Lynette Rhodes on November 04, 2008 at 09:19 AM EST #

Dear Candy Corn Parents,
Thanks so much for bringing the baby candy corn to my house. If I'd known ahead of time I would have provided you with your favorite candy (besides baby Jay). He was just adorable and his smile is so darling!
I am looking forward to next year...can't wait to see what Jay will be.
Happy Halloween indeed, love, Susie

Posted by Susie Hoffman on November 06, 2008 at 01:11 AM EST

Monday, October 20, 2008

I can guarantee that you're gonna have a ball...

Monday Oct 20, 2008

I can guarantee that you're gonna have a ball...

Learning how to do the watermelon crawl
Well we got a hundred gallons of sweet red wine
Made from the biggest watermelons on the vine
Help yourself to some but obey the law
If you drink don't drive do the watermelon crawl
Do the watermelon crawl
Have fun you all
Do the watermelon crawl!
-Tracy Byrd "Watermelon Crawl"

Remember back to the days when "Torquil" was a vegetable of the week? (For newcomers to my blog, I got an email each week I was pregnant that compared Jay to the size of some food - grape grows into lemon grows into cantaloupe ... you get the idea.) I was just sure he'd be watermelon at 40 weeks. Well, he was a watermelon all right. And a big 10 lb. one at that. But this watermelon has learned to crawl.

Yep, you read that right - Jay is crawling. He had been rolling for movement for about a month, and we thought that was an entertaining (if a bit odd) way of getting around. He started to scoot on his belly right before we left for the beach, and he got really good at it during that week. The funny thing is that it's not the traditional hands and knees crawl - we call it the Army Crawl. He never gets his belly off the ground and he pulls himself forward with his elbows. I call it the Army Crawl because that sounds cool and tough. Truth be told, he looks a bit like Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump, dragging his body behind him.

Now that our little guy is mobile, our world has really changed. In no way will I pretend to be a good housekeeper. I'm a slob, and my house shows it. I rarely vacuum, but I think this crawling business may finally get me going. Poor kid has a thick layer of cat hair all over his clothes, all the time. And those shoes I leave lying all over the house? Jay goes right for 'em, and they go right into his mouth. In fact, he'll crawl PAST a toy to gnaw on a nasty tennis shoe. That's just gross. And it's a whole new world for Jay's feline siblings, too. He's on a mission to grab that fuzzy tail. While he hasn't caught a cat yet, it's only a matter of time.

Check out the video from 2 weeks ago - this was what we called the "turtle on his back." It's like he knows if he wiggles his arms & legs enough, he'll move forward, but just can't QUITE figure out which way they need to go...

Turtle stuck on his back from Jen F on Vimeo.

And now, just 2 weeks later:

On the move from Jen F on Vimeo.

(Yes, I realize that he's crawling over to the trashcan so he can look at his reflection. Yes, I agree that's kinda gross. Just think of it as an inexpensive funhouse mirror where your face looks all distorted, and it's somehow more appealing.)
Oh, the things you never expected from parenthood...


Way to go, Jay! Oh, and Jen...where you pumping the "turtle" video? I couldn't mistake that sound in the background :)

Posted by Lisa on October 20, 2008 at 02:56 PM EDT #

were not where

Posted by Lisa on October 20, 2008 at 02:56 PM EDT #

Thanks for pointing that out to the entire e-world.

Posted by Jen on October 21, 2008 at 12:22 PM EDT #

eewhhooo...eeewhhooo...kind of hard to miss, TOJ!!!!
As always, Jay's a cutie!!!!

Posted by TOOJ on October 21, 2008 at 05:48 PM EDT #

Awwww! Jax just started doing the army crawl as well.. though no where near as well as Jay! We have the same issues.. slobness, cat (mostly dog) hair, & a new drive to keep at least the floor cleaner. Jax also HAS caught the cat's tail! Where did it go? Straight into the mouth (eww).. no idea why the cat just sits there & lets him do that.

Posted by Mickie Shipley on November 16, 2008 at 09:58 PM EST#

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I believe in the sand beneath my toes...

Tuesday Oct 14, 2008

I believe in the sand beneath my toes...

The beach gives a feeling, an earthy feeling
I believe in the faith that grows
--Third Eye Blind (from Semi-charmed Life)

The song may be mostly about sex & drugs, but I do love that line - and I do believe in the sand beneath my toes!

Jay doesn't just believe in the sand beneath his toes. He also believes in the sand inside his mouth, between his fingers, in his hair, behind his ears, under his armpits, and in his diaper. He didn't particularly like the taste of sand, but he kept putting handfuls of it into his mouth, as if the next fistful would somehow taste better than the last.

We had a great time at the beach - lounging around, reading magazines, admiring the cuteness of Jay and his cousin Camden, and taking pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. He was completely spoiled by having all of his grandparents around, since he spent the entire week being passed from one set of loving arms to another. And perhaps, just as bad, we were completely spoiled during the week, too. It's been an adjustment to go back to the bottle-washing routine. While Dorothy may have said, "There's no place like home," for me there's no place like the beach.


These pix are awesome!

Posted by Bethany Watkins on October 14, 2008 at 08:42 PM EDT#

I LOVE the picture of your family on the beach. Look at Jay holding his mommy and Daddy's hand. What a beautiful memory!

Posted by TOJ on October 15, 2008 at 06:58 AM EDT #

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound...

Wednesday Oct 01, 2008

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound...

...That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind but now I see

When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we'd first begun

**Update 10/1/08**

Little Gracie got her angel wings this morning . While we are certainly sad for her family, we can find comfort in the fact that she will feel no more pain. She was a fighter and her story has been, and will continue to be, an inspiration to many. Please remember the Lockyer family in your prayers as they face the difficult days ahead.

Many of you have heard me talk about a beautiful little girl named Gracie. We joke about all of Jay's girlfriends and future prom dates, but Gracie was his first love. Born on the same day, both Jay & Gracie spent their first day of life with their parents, oblivious to the serious heart problems that each had. Both arrived at Duke Hospital within a few hours of each other and shared a room in the PICU.

Jay and Gracie each had heart surgery, and both surgeries went well. Jay quickly moved to a step-down room, but Gracie continued to have lingering troubles that kept her in the PICU. She has been there ever since, battling infections, fluid build-up and continuing heart disease. That is nearly 7 months in intensive care. Can you imagine what that would be like as a parent? Seven months of watching your baby get sick, get better, get sicker again. To say it's been a roller coaster ride doesn't even begin to describe what they've been through. Her mom, Amanda, has invited everyone to learn about her story.

Gracie's ordeal is all the more touching to me personally because I can't help comparing her to Jay. When he learned to laugh, Gracie was still in the PICU with a breathing tube down her throat. When Jay rolled over for the first time, Gracie was still lying in the same position in the same tiny hospital bed. When Jay growled over his first taste of green beans, Gracie was still receiving food through a tube. She's never felt the sunshine on her face or seen anything beyond the hospital walls. My heart absolutely breaks for her, for her parents, her grandparents and for her big brother, Haddon.

Amanda's unwavering faith through the entire time has been amazing. Her journal is very personal, sharing her intense faith with readers. When I would have felt doubt, she has confidence in a miracle. And the miracles have happened! Gracie has nearly died so many times I can't even keep count. But her parents keep praying for a miracle. And if ever she needed a miracle, today is the day. She's having the second of her 3 open heart surgeries, and has been given a 10% chance of surviving the surgery.

Please take a minute to remember her, and then take a minute to hug someone that you love and be grateful for the sunshine on your face.


Since meeting Gracie's parents, Todd & Amanda, I have kept up with Gracie thru the journal. I have cried with them during the bad times and rejoiced in the good times and prayed daily for Gracie. I look at Jay and am so thankful to God for His healing. We are blessed. You have a lot of people who read your blog. Thank you for adding them to those who are praying for Gracie.
Jay's Granna

Posted by JANE FOSTER on October 01, 2008 at 08:01 AM EDT

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pump up the jam...

Monday Sep 29, 2008

Pump up the jam..

Pump it up
While your feet are stompin'
And the jam is pumpin'
Look at here the crowd is jumpin'
Pump it up a little more
Get the party going on the dance floor
(A little early 90's Technotronic to get your week started right!)

Well, I'd been avoiding the topic. I wasn't going to write about it in such a public forum. But after this article, I had to share with you the joys of pumping. (Short version of the article: the geniuses at PETA's have suggested to the makers of Ben & Jerry's ice cream that they use human breast milk instead of cow's milk. Yeah, good luck with that.)

As you may or may not know, I'm an exclusive pumper. I spend an inordinate amount of time with "the girls" attached to plastic parts to get the milk to feed Jay. Well, I'm not truly an exclusivepumper - we do nurse some, mostly at night before he goes to bed. But the vast majority of the time, he gets my milk in bottled form.

Why do I pump as opposed to traditional breastfeeding? We had a great deal of trouble getting him to latch in the hospital (the fact he wasn't getting any oxygen certainly contributed to that!). But even after surgery and after he came home, we really struggled with nursing "from the tap." We had a fabulous lactation consultant who helped and was able to get him to nurse a little. But by that time, he was good at bottle feeding, I was good at pumping, and it was nearly time for me to go back to work when I would have to pump anyway. Plus I have an enormous volume of milk - for a while, I was making enough to feed twins. I still pump more than 50 oz per day - that's 1 or 2 bottles more than he's eating. (Yeah, that pretty much makes me a rockstar in the pumping world.)

Do I tell people that I'm breastfeeding? Absolutely. That's how I'm feeding my child, albeit indirectly. He gets the nutritional benefits of breastmilk, which is the main reason we didn't switch to formula when nursing got tough. There are some great things about it - anyone can feed him, anytime, anywhere. It's free (and have you seen the price of formula lately?!) and it burns a ton of calories for me. But as with anything, there are drawbacks, too. I spend 2 hours a day hooked up to that thing. I can hear its rhythm (wha-wo wha-wo wha-wo) in my sleep. I have to take 2 breaks at work to close my door and pump. I've been interrupted at work not once but twice - once by a fire drill (uh oh) and once by a power outage (big uh oh). Fun times. And the washing of those aforementioned plastic parts is a never ending chore.

But back to our friends at PETA. I think it takes an incredible amount of gall to suggest that breastmilk be used for anything other than feeding babies. Some moms with extra donate it to milk banks who typically give it to sick babies/preemies. But because I'm not an eligible blood donor, I'm also not an eligible milk donor. (Long story, and no I do not have any diseases.) So the extra I'm freezing will probably be used to keep feeding Jay the good stuff past the magical one year mark. Heck, at this rate, I may be pouring it on his cereal when he's in kindergarten!


Amen to your faithfulness to brest feeding! I nursed all three of our babies until they were around a year. It was such a special experience I would not change a minute of it for anything! They never had any formula and I am proud to say that. God gave us "the girls" for feeding our babies!
re: PETA's idea, I think NOT!

Posted by Lynette Rhodes on October 01, 2008 at 11:02 AM EDT#

Jen - I appreciate that you wrote this about breastfeeding, for as far as I am concerned, it is about the product, not the process. I would worry a little if you were putting one of those hats on him with the beer can holders and a big straw - but you have been spotted actually holding your child while feeding him, so you're in good shape.

It simply isn't possible for all babies to feed from the breast directly. I suspect that had Jay been up to the direct deposit type of BF, he would have had no problems whatsoever. The easiest route that some moms resort to is to decide that if an infant won't or can't "take the breast", then it is off to the Harris Teeter (or maybe it's spelled Teater) for Enfamil.

You have taken the harder but wiser of the paths, and I applaud you for it. Like anything with parenting, it seems hard at first, and then, lo and behold, you all of a sudden seem to have a routine and a schedule going. That is, until your baby starts getting that first tooth or gets his first boo-boo, at which point you, like the rest of us, will question your ability to mother, and will be watching over your shoulder for Child Services to wrestle your child from your incompetent arms.

And then Appie's voice will remind you that, "You young folks worry too much. Just enjoy every moment for this too shall pass." Then you will smile and be grateful that the voice of reason does indeed live on in our hearts, nudging us to be a little wiser when we most need it.

Love, Aunt Beth

Posted by Aunt Beth on November 04, 2008 at 01:37 PM EST #

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Movin' to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches...

Wednesday Sep 24, 2008

Movin' to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches...

I'm movin' to the country, I'm gonna eat me a lot of peaches
Peaches come from a can, they were put there by a man
-Presidents of the United States of America

No, we're not moving to the country. And Jay hasn't actually eaten peaches, not yet anyway. I really struggled with the musical intro to this particular entry because food songs keep popping into my head. This one was a close tie between the Presidents of the USA (one of my personal favorite mid-90's one-hit-wonders) and "Day Old Banana Pudding" by Southern Culture on the Skids. Every time I eat banana pudding, which is pretty frequently, this song runs through my mind. And if you ever go to a SCOTS show, you will actually get to eat some day old banana pudding. Try it sometime - you'll love the food/music interaction!

Okay, I'll get on with it. I realize that no one looks at this blog to read my music or food ramblings - you want news & pics of the kid. Well, the latest news is that this kid loves, and I mean LOVES, to eat real food. He started on rice cereal and has moved right along through squash, carrots, peas (he's not so much a fan of peas!), green beans, apples, pears and bananas. When you've had nothing but milk for your entire life, a little variety is pretty exciting.

It's funny though - I guess he got accustomed to eating from a bottle where your food comes in a constant stream. When you eat from a spoon, you have to actually pause between bites as you re-load your spoon and get it back into the mouth. Jay is NOT happy about this pause. He wants me to have his next bite ready and waiting at his lips. If you're not prepared for this next bite, he makes a fist and growls at you. Seriously. My mom calls it the Incredible Hulk face, and it's pretty accurate, particularly when his face is smeared with the offending peas. Confession time: I sometimes pause extra long between bites just to see him make the face. While I probably won't win Mom of the Year for doing that, it is absolutely the funniest thing he does.


Ha! This is a boy after my own heart, for I, too, love eating real food a whole lot, and I also growl and shake my fist when I don't get it fast enough.

Posted by Brandi on September 25, 2008 at 11:00 AM EDT #

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jesus Loves Me, this I know

Tuesday Sep 16, 2008

Jesus loves me this I know...

For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to him belong
They are weak but he is strong

Sunday was a very special day in Jay's life - his baby dedication. I've gotten several questions from non-Baptist friends along the lines of "What the heck is a baby dedication, and how's it different from a baby's christening/baptism/(insert name of your favorite baby religious service here)?" Well, the short answer is that there's no water involved. This Presbyterian-raised Baptist convert won't pretend to be an expert on the finer points of Baptist theology and infant vs. adult baptism - you can Google that yourself. Traditionally we Baptists baptize by immersion (thus the name!) as adults, and present babies to God and to the church through a baby dedication. For me, the baby dedication is a way to thank God for the amazing gift of our child, and for us to publicly promise to raise him in a way that guides him to the opportunity to know Christ and develop his own sense of faith in him.

In the service, we as parents are asked to do two things - to promise to raise Jay in a home filled with Christian love, and to give attention to our relationship to each other. Piece of cake! We do that every day, right?

I'd certainly like to think so ... but when you think about it, these are the "big picture" things that can get lost in the day-to-day routine of diaper changing, bottle washing, and laundry. So how exactly do you guide a child into belief in God? You simply can't force faith. I've thought & prayed about this a lot, and what I've decided is that, for right now, the bottle washing and diaper changing are modeling God's love. Jay doesn't know where his next meal will come from. He certainly can't get up and warm a bottle himself. But he'll be fed every day, and he knows that when he cries, his needs will be met.

The same is true for us ... it's in the day-to-day, unexciting regular routine that our faith is formed & strengthened. We don't know what scary thing may be right around the corner. (And as first time parents, we really don't know what we're doing!) But I know that when I ask for guidance, when I cry for help, God places people in my path who are there to show me the way. So I head off to wash those bottles yet again, and try to remember that I am showing him what love is all about.

So here's a picture of the McClan at the big event. Don't you think Jay is saying "Hallelujah!" ?!?


Somehow I survived Jay's dedication with only a few tears and now I read your blog and cry like a baby! Thanks for reminding me that God is there for me in the day to day hustle.

Posted by Jen B on September 16, 2008 at 12:05 PM EDT #

I think you are right on regarding the purpose of the baby dedication. Baptism is a decision I hope he will make on his own as I know you hope this, too. As for forcing religion on him, remember that the world has no reservation forcing it's 'religion' on our children as you will no doubt encounter. Starting them off with a godly background gives them a foundation they will never leave. Even when they seem to flounder, it will be there.
Thanks for inviting us to share this special occasion with you.

Posted by Great Aunt Ali on September 18, 2008 at 08:10 PM EDT #

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Goin' to the chapel & we're gonna get married...

Thursday Sep 04, 2008

Goin' to the chapel & we're gonna get married...

Ahh, wedding season strikes again. When we graduated from college, my roommate's dad told me that all I'm going to do every weekend for the next year of my life is go to weddings & help people move. It was completely true ... the only thing he was wrong about is that it's lasted far longer than a year. After 8 years, the weddings are still going strong. Luckily, the moving has slowed down some, but boy has Derek developed some mad U-Haul packing skillz!

We've now been to two weddings in the past two weeks, and we had a blast at both. The first was Jay's "Aunt Mimi" in Colorado. Beautiful dress, gorgeous flowers, stunning table decor ... a wonderful event overall. The best part was that we got to spend lots of quality time with the bride & groom - I helped with decorating for the big event, and we even got their undivided attention at breakfast the morning after the wedding. It was great to get to know Mr. Groom ... especially since this was the first time I'd actually met him!

The only drawback to the whole weekend? That infamous "stomach bug" that reared its ugly head on the airplane going out there. Yup, it struck me about 4 a.m. on Saturday and hit Derek a little bit later that day. The only thing we could keep down that day was Gatorade and saltine crackers. But we were not going to miss the wedding of the decade - and we really were feeling better (not great, mind you, but a helluva lot better!) by the wedding. Unfortunately, the bride did not fare quite so well the next day, and she came down with it too. There are no apologies that can begin to make up for giving your friend the ultimate wedding "gift" of a stomach virus on her wedding night. All I can say is that if we're still friends after that, she must really like us! And we really are sorry.

So, on to wedding #2 and camping. Yes, it's not just any wedding that allows you to build in a camping trip, but we managed to incorporate both. Derek was a groomsman in this one - the groom was his close friend from vet school. The wedding was also beautiful - they carried out the orange & brown colors through everything ... the handmade invitations, the programs, the orange flowers, the bride's orange shoes, even the groomsmen's ORANGE ARGYLE SOCKS. Yep, and they actually looked good! Derek's thinking of reusing them to dress as Payne Stewart for Halloween...

But because the Catholic service was going to be about an hour, we were pretty sure we couldn't keep Jay quiet that long. So he got to spend the night with his Granna, but she brought him to the reception to meet everyone. Then she headed off to the campground and we followed a few hours behind. We had a great time camping - much better, in fact, than I ever would have expected. Jay was a trouper, happily enduring being held by lots and lots of Granna & Steve's friends at the campground. He slept between us in the tent and seemed to think that camping was pretty cool. (He seems to think that sleeping with Mom & Dad is pretty cool anywhere ... whether in a tent or in a house!)

But the best part is that Jay met a girlfriend at each of the weddings ... each a niece of the bride/groom, and older women in both cases. We'll see if the romance lasts with either of his potential ladies!

Wedding #1:

And wedding #2:

A big congrats to both couples - we had a great time at your weddings, and we wish you both all the love & happiness in the world! And we wish you both LOTS and LOTS of babies!!


By the way, I had no idea you all were sick in Colorado! Mom told me after ya'll left that you'd had the bug. Glad you're feeling better, and the bride too!

Posted by Jamie J on September 04, 2008 at 08:07 PM EDT #

Of course I still like you! I love you guys - even if you did give me a killer stomach bug on my wedding night. It was great to see you all. I'm already looking forward to our next time together.

Posted by Aunt Mimi on September 08, 2008 at 12:10 AM EDT #

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Big ol' jet airliner...

Tuesday Aug 26, 2008

Big ol' jet airliner

Don't carry me too far away
Big ol' jet airliner
Cause it's here that I've got to stay

So, this weekend was Jay's first big trip ... an airplane ride!
Oh, where to begin? Let's start with the day before we left...
When I went to pick up Jay from daycare, there was a big sign on the door about a "nasty stomach bug" going around the class and reminding parents that sick kids must be out 24 hours before returning to the center. Uh oh. That's never a good sign the day before you get on an airplane. But Jay wasn't showing any signs of feeling bad, so we decided to go with it.

We've already mentioned the vast amounts of "stuff" that we have brought along on prior trips with him. Experienced mountaineers have climbed Mt. Everest w/ less gear than we typically travel with. We made a real effort to minimize for this particular adventure, managing to get it all into only 5 bags. (Seriously. And that's with no carseat or stroller.) So off to the airport we go...

It actually went pretty well to start with. We got checked in, through security, and to our gate at RDU without incident. We even got up in the air without incident. I nursed him on the way up (Thanks, M, for the use of your "hooter hider"!) and mostly kept the hooters out of view of the poor guy beside me.

But then, there was the mid-air poop. The folks at daycare weren't kidding about the "nasty" stomach bug. This was a seriously foul-smelling poo. I would have just let him sit in it until we landed except that the poor guy in the window seat beside me was starting to turn green. If it had been only 2 seats on our side of the plane, I might have even changed him in my lap. Or Derek's. But I didn't want to risk airing out the sprinkler on our row 13 neighbor, so I headed back to the lavatory. Where there is no changing table.

So, how does one accomplish a diaper change at 30,000 feet? Why, with your son's head on the toilet seat, of course! There's really no describing the acrobatic feat of holding your squirming 6 month old's feet out of the smelliest poo on the planet while trying to open a pack of wipes. Isn't that an Olympic sport? I deserve a medal.

But we eventually did get clean britches and make it safely down in Denver. We had a marvelous trip, and I'll tell you all about it in the next installment of Torquil's News. But the fun airplane stories aren't over yet!

On the way home on Monday, Jay didn't get his morning nap because we were packing up our 5 bags to get back home. So he was pretty tired and cranky by the time we got to the airport. Derek carried him around in the Baby Bjorn carrier for a while, but it just wasn't making him sleepy. So I took over, strapping him to my chest and singing "You are My Sunshine" until he finally fell asleep. We were doing great - Jay was relaxed and we were ready to get on the plane. We thought we had it easy, as we chatted with a couple who were toting not one but two kids under age 5 AND a cat. We were in line headed down the jetway, in fact, when I felt the unmistakable stream of warm baby pee running down my leg. Apparently the Baby Bjorn had rearranged the diaper to allow for a side escape. We ran back to change him before we got onto the airplane, but the damage was done. And if you thought it was fun to change a dirty diaper on a plane, you should try wearing wet blue jeans for 3 hours and 24 minutes.

Maybe I do deserve a medal ... a purple heart.


Since Ryan and I usually know what's going on with Jay before the posting goes up, we have a game we play called "name that tune..." to see if we can guess what song you'll use for the posting. With your most recent airplane posting...I nailed it!

I'm flying home a week from tomorrow and after reading your blog I am not so sure that flying with a 5 month old is going to be as easy as it was when he was 3 and 6 weeks old. I had forgotten that he fit in my lap for diaper changes then. =) And I will be by myself so we'll see how that goes. Thanks for keeping us updated...hopefully we can get the cousins together soon!!!

Posted by Mandy on August 26, 2008 at 09:47 PM EDT #

Hi Jen,
I seriously nearly laughed until I wet MY pants. I hope that doesn't strike you as mean spirited, but as a veteran mother of five, I have lived that life so many times,it is funny to me to see it from the other side.
I had to walk around a shopping mall one summer dressed all in white with the exception of that startling dark mustard breastfed baby poo stain down the front of my sparkling white shirt and slacks; of course the car was on the opposite side of the mall when it happend. Jay's (and dare I say at this point any others) smelly and other noxious ordeals will be sweet memories for all your life!! You are doing a wonderful job and keep your sense of humor going as it is really a joy to hear! Love to all, Susie

Posted by Susie Hoffman on August 28, 2008 at 01:20 AM EDT #


Posted by Lisa on August 28, 2008 at 04:30 PM EDT #

Hilarious! I just caught up on the last 5 months of Torquil's New, and while they are all amusing, the pee on the pants story almost made me fall off my chair. I love reading this, and loved having you all here even more. Makes me miss you guys more every day. It was such a fun (and too short) visit. LYTB.

Posted by Aunt Jamie on September 04, 2008 at 06:49 PM EDT #

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rollin' (rollin') Rollin' (rollin') Rollin' on a River...

Thursday Aug 14, 2008

Rollin' (rollin') Rollin' (rollin') Rollin' on a River...

Jay's been rolling over for a while now - front to back & back to front. We've even found him on his belly in his bed a few times. But now he's figured out how to roll to get where he wants to go. And I'm not sure I'm ready for him to be mobile yet!

This weekend, we went to the beach for one last taste of summer vacation. We were only going to be there one night, so we decided to forgo the Pack & Play and put him to sleep on a mat on the floor. He slept in the car on the way down there, so we thought we were golden - just **gently** move him onto the floor and then wake up on Saturday morning. But he had different ideas. He was so excited to be at the beach that he decided to get out of bed and come hang out with us as we watched the Olympic opening ceremony. Derek went to check on him (and be sure he was still asleep). I heard Derek laughing, so I went to see what Jay was up to... he had literally rolled across the entire room (maybe 10-12 feet?). He was laying there on his belly, propped up on his elbows, grinning up at us right in front of the door. I think if the door had been open, he would have just rolled out the door and down the hallway to come join us.

So, plan B. Derek put our suitcase (a soft-side duffel bag) right beside him to keep him on the mat. 10 minutes later, we went to check on him and he was in the process of rolling OVER the suitcase! At this point, it was looking to be a long night. After putting a wall of pillows all around the mat, I guess he finally gave it up. What will life be like when he's really crawling?

Wanna see for yourself?

Rollin' from



He is getting so big!! I thought he looked exactly like Derek when he was small...but I definitely see some McLean in him in this video! Can't wait to meet the little man!

Posted by Katrine on August 16, 2008 at 05:10 PM EDT #

What a cutie! I can't wait to see you guys later this week!!!!!

Posted by Mindy on August 17, 2008 at 09:22 AM EDT #

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Put me in coach ... I'm ready to play today

Sunday Aug 03, 2008

Put me in coach ... I'm ready to play today

Look at me; I can be Centerfield

So this installment in the "Life & Times of Jay Michael is dedicated to our future athlete. This week has been quite sporty for sure - his dad is trying to get him to be a baseball superstar, and I'm working on that future as an Olympic swimmer.

In his short little life, he's been swimming not once, not twice, but THREE times, two of them this week! On Wednedsday night, he went to a pool party with his FBC friends. It was quite a production to get there since it was a weekday evening. We had major preparation on Tuesday night so we could go straight to the pool after picking him up from daycare:

Bottles for daycare? Check.
Extra bottle for dinner at the pool? Check.
Swimsuit? Check.
Hooded towel? Check.
Suncreen? (Don't want that tender little bald head to burn!) Check.
Personal floatation device? Check.
Swim diaper? Check.
Regular diaper to change into afterwards? Check.
Dry clothes? Check.
Swimsuit for mom & dad? Check.
Towels for mom & Dad? Check.
(You get the idea ... it's a good thing we have an SUV now.)

Even with all the preparation, we couldn't get there before 6:00 - it just takes that long to get from work to daycare and back to our side of town. But we arrived just in time for pizza, and still had plenty of time to play in the pool. We took him into the big pool, but it was a little on the chilly side. He really does enjoy playing in his float (Auntie Jen B. has the BEST hand-me-downs!!) - he just kicked like a little frog. Then we hit the baby pool, which was nice and warm. I'm going to keep believing that it's warm because the sun heats up a small pool better. I'm CERTAIN that is the ONLY reason it's such warm water. Really.

And on Saturday, he went to his first baseball game to watch Team USA take on Team Canada in Olympic preparation. This may be the last time that we have Olympic baseball, so we had to support the home team. We went with some of Derek's co-workers, and we had seats on the front row right behind the dugout. Awesome view! I was terrified we'd get hit by a foul ball, and we got awfully close. A pop up was headed right for us - I ducked & covered Jay while Derek (being the manly dad that he is!) lept up to catch it. If only he'd had a glove.... He did get a piece of the ball, but unfortunately didn't get a souvenir to bring home.

The only down side to the entire night was that Jay had a gigantic diaper blowout when we were feeding him in the car right before the game. I'm talking use-the-whole-pack-of-wipes, poop-behind-the-ears kind of blowout. Seriously, he didn't poop all day - why did he wait until we were out of the house & dressed in the baseball outfit to dump that load? You should have seen us in the parking lot. What a mess.

The game was at the DBAP, which we had driven past every day when Jay was at Duke. Every time we went by, I thought about the baseball theme nursery we had prepared for him and wondered whether our little slugger would ever be able to do "normal" things like going to watch a minor league game. It was great to take him to his first game there.

A little nervous about all these cheering fans...


Looks like Jay is having lots of fun this summer! (I see you did get the post up before the weekend was over!)

Posted by Lisa on August 04, 2008 at 02:17 PM EDT #

I LOVED this whole post. The joys of parenthood are all there!! You all are such a sweet family. I miss seeing you as much as I used to...what's keeping us so busy?!?! Oh yeah...these kids! Hope to see you soon!

Posted by rebecca on August 04, 2008 at 03:59 PM EDT #

I had to laugh about the poop blowout, but that is of course because it did not happen to me. Y'all are great sports!

Posted by Brandi on August 04, 2008 at 04:55 PM EDT #

Thanks so much for keeping us updated! I love the stories and especially the family picture! Keep them coming you wonderful friends!

Posted by Katrine on August 04, 2008 at 09:33 PM EDT #

I thought the MVP on my shirt meant "Maximum Volume of Poop"!

Posted by Jay on August 06, 2008 at 10:19 AM EDT #

What a great family picture!

Posted by Bethany on August 11, 2008 at 04:13 PM EDT #

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday...

Saturday Jul 19, 2008

Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday...

Cause Saturday night's the night I like
Saturday night's alright alright alright
-Elton John, Saturday Night's Alright (for Fighting)

So, how do you like the new look to the blog? While I said I'd raise my kids with gender-neutral colors, everything in our house is turning baby blue. And while I'm still a little worried that he'll take all this blue as a cue to become a UNC fan, I'm starting to get used to it being the main color in our lives. So why not the blog, too?

We have a new skill that we're trying to teach Jay ... It's called "how to sleep in on Saturday mornings." Weekday mornings, he'd be happy to sleep in until 8 or 9. But Saturday mornings? Now that's the day to start early! Saturday is the ONLY day of the week that he wants to get up on his own. This morning, at 5:30 a.m. he was awake and ready to start the day. Derek and I played the "maybe if we ignore him, he'll go back to sleep" game. Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Not gonna happen. But at least he's happy when he wakes up. There's no better way to start the day than by going into his room to see him grinning up at me. Even if it is 5:30 on a Saturday morning.


I like the new blog look! I think it looks great. And no worries. I'll be right there with you as the crazy mom!

Posted by Bethany Watkins on July 27, 2008 at 09:13 PM EDT #

movin on up in the world of bloggin'! Soon you'll have a roll call and a track back!

New site looks great! Keep it up, I enjoy checking back in to see how it's going.

Posted by dwight on August 01, 2008 at 05:52 PM EDT #

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I'll be the boy in the corduroy pants...

Tuesday Jul 15, 2008

I'll be the boy in the corduroy pants...

...You be the girl at the high school dance
-Tom Petty "You Wreck Me"

So the time has come to start moving our little baby into bigger boy clothes. Sniff, sniff. This weekend, we cleaned out his closet and put all of the newborn & 3 month old clothes into the closet. And one of the casualties was an adorable pair of corduroy pants with little patches on the knees.

In the hospital, Jay's only clothing was a diaper and a swaddling blanket. Clothes were just too much trouble when he had lines and monitors attached to every appendage, including a pulse ox on his big toe. When we first brought him home from the hospital, we were so excited to put him in "real" clothes (if you can call footed PJ's clothes!). We'd try on 5 different outfits a day just to see how cute they all were. Hmmm, reality check. Honestly we'd change outfits that often because most days he'd puke/poop on his clothes about every other hour. Many days, he would wear a onesie with these cute brown cords, and I loved that he looked like a little boy instead of a tiny baby.

But the time has come to retire the brown cords ... along with all of the other newborn clothes and most of the 3 month old clothes. Poor kid gets a serious diaper wedgie when we try to snap the onesies at the crotch. And then when the diaper gets full, the snaps pop open! (Actually makes it easy to know when a diaper change is needed.) He's only 4 months old, but he's already wearing 6-9 month sizes. At his doctor's appointment last week, he was in the 75th percentile for weight and 95th for height. He's gonna be a tall one, folks! All the ladies are going to want to be his date for the 9th grade dance, because he'll be the only boy taller than all the girls.

But it makes me a little sad to pack away the baby things. As with all things, you have to say goodbye to the good things about one stage of life in order to get the benefits of another stage. So it's time to bid a fond farewell to the miracle swaddling blanket, the baby-size paci, the Bendy Bar, and the tiny clothes, even the corduroy pants. Time goes so fast - next thing you know, he'll be taking some cute girl to the high school dance. And I'll be the crazy mom, crying behind the camera, begging them to stay and take just one more picture in front of the fireplace.


I was cleaning out T's closet and drawers today, too! It is amazing how quickly they grow up! Pretty soon your attic will be overtaken w/ baby & kid stuff!

Posted by Lisa on July 15, 2008 at 02:10 PM EDT #

I thought all the girls were going to want to be his date because he's cute like his mom. No matter how cute he is, he will have to stop puking on his shirts and pooping on his pants before then if he wants a date.

Posted by Derek on July 15, 2008 at 02:14 PM EDT #

Monday, July 7, 2008

And there's this One Particular Harbor...

Monday Jul 07, 2008

And there's this One Particular Harbor...

...Sheltered from the wind
Where the children play on the shores each day
And all are safe within
--Jimmy Buffett, One Particular Harbor

For a long July 4 weekend, I can't imagine doing anything more fun than going to the beach. So that's what we did. And while we still have not mastered the art of packing light while traveling with an infant, we are getting to the point where we take less crap along with us.

And Jay, for the most part, was loving life on the coast. He had the undivided attention of his LaLa and his Great AJ, and he performed all the tricks he's got. He's really mastered the rolling over trick, and performed it over and over and over and over and over again, much to the delight of all his admirers. He even showed off a new trick - munching on his feet. Yep, finally got that enormous big toe into his mouth. It was hilarious to watch because he works SO hard at it. It's a two-handed process - one hand goes behind the ankle to pull the foot toward the face, and the other serves as a guide to get the toe into the mouth. But once he figured it out, man, he could not get enough. When we got home last night, I swear the look on his face said, "Sweet! Those toys came home with us from the beach!"

And the entertainment was not all of the indoor variety. We suited Jay up with the swim diaper, the too-big Hawaiian print swim trunks, the t-shirt, and the big floppy hat. (Uncle Matt said it's more flamboyant sombrero than manly sun hat, but what does he know?!) Add one uber-thick layer of baby sensitive suncreen and the kid was READY! (Of course getting him to that stage only took 45 minutes.) So we took him onto the beach to explore the sand & get his first dip in the ocean. I can't say that he was exactly thrilled about it, but he didn't cry so I figure that's a good start. He's a Pisces, so our little fish has got to love the water, right?

Let's go back to the beach!


Love the new Pics!

It looks like everyone had a great time.
I swear in the last pic, Jay looks like a mini-Derek. Eye brows up and big smile!

Posted by crystal on July 08, 2008 at 10:37 AM EDT #