Sunday, January 31, 2010

I'm in love with ya baby...

Sunday Jan 31, 2010

I'm in love with ya baby...

...and I don't even know your name.
-Alan Jackson, "I Don't Even Know Your Name"

Regular readers, I'm happy to report that this blog posting has nothing to do with class, social networking, or organizational communication. This will be a straight-up old fashioned "What's new in baby-world" kind of report.

So, I have a problem. It's the same problem I had 2 years ago - we simply cannot decide what to name this baby! We're leaning toward one syllable names, since that works well with Jay. Jay has my initials (JMF), so we considered giving this lil' guy Derek's monogram (DMF). Derek doesn't seem to care about that, but I think it would be kinda cool. We'd like some sort of family tie-in, either with the first or middle names. (I'd feel sorta bad that Jay Michael gets a first and middle name that have special family connections, and CheezeDoodle just gets 2 random names we pulled out of our heads. Or pulled off of the snack aisle at Kroger.) Boy names are just so much harder than girl names!

Here are some of the current contenders:
Benjamin (would call him Ben)
Russell (call him Russ?)
Reid (was in the final 4 when we picked Jay)

Thoughts? Opinions? We've only got 5 weeks to decide (and I would sure like it to be less than that!!!). Help!


Waht about Dylan McLean Foster

Posted by Toni on January 31, 2010 at 03:40 PM EST #

Isn't Greg only appropriate??

HA!! I really like Ben and Russ and I have an amazing friend named I'm a little partial! Plus, Reid is an old Red Sox name so it would fulfill the baseball love as well.

Go team!

Posted by Katrine on January 31, 2010 at 07:56 PM EST #

I commented, but my witty comments went somewhere else. Find them yourself!
Uncle Mike

Posted by Mike Perry on February 01, 2010 at 01:37 PM EST #

More thoughts on names...

I knew a guy in the Army whose name was Quincy Xerxes Zimmerman. Strangest monogram I ever saw.

I see you are staying away from Philip Michael...good move. There are plenty. (Did you know that Mick Jagger is Philip Michael Jagger?)

Another guy I knew in the Army was names Alphonse. What deranged parent would name a child Alphonse, and call him that.

Johnny Cash did all right with a boy names Sue. Every think about that line?

Of course Beth named one of her daughters after the refrigerator.

Enough thoughts.


Posted by Mike Perry (AKA Uncle Mike) on February 01, 2010 at 01:46 PM EST #

Isn't funny that the hardest thing about having a baby (most of the time :-) is the picking of the name? I did like the suggestion of Dylan Mclean Foster, it sounds like an irish rock band! All brooding and warm ale. Wait that's a lot of pressure on the cheese baby.. Just don't get into the trying to get the same initials, letters ect. 18 kids later and you are still trying to come up with a J name! We were also partial to Reid. But you will come upon it, you will know when you see him what feels right. Plus it gives us a reason to read the blog, right?

Posted by Crystal on February 03, 2010 at 01:53 PM EST #

hmmmm. out of all of those i like ben! ben & jay. haha almost like ben & jerry's! which means ill forever love your two kids. (: hahaha

Posted by Aunt Kelsey (: on February 03, 2010 at 09:35 PM EST #

You make me laugh out loud! I definitely like Reid :)

Posted by Joye on February 04, 2010 at 07:32 PM EST #

What about, Torry "Big Game" Holt Foster or Philip Rivers Foster or David Thompson Foster or Jerricho Cotchery Foster or Mario Williams Foster?

Posted by Bethany Watkins on February 04, 2010 at 09:30 PM EST #

Hi Jen,
Thanks for keeping us up to date on TWO blogs. Whew! Nothing like hearing updates on the Jay and your new little one! Just a thought, I know your Mom is partial to Elvis and it is a 'family' name.??? Maybe, Maybe not???
Hang in there Lil Momma and if you need anything, ANYTHING, please call.

PS get the link to my blog from your Mom if you are at all interested...

Posted by Susie Hoffman on February 05, 2010 at 12:01 AM EST #

Just read the list to T and he said he needed to go think about it in his room. Looks to me like Drew or Dylan would fit said initials. Oh, and just so you know, T is "typing" the suggestions into his computer, he can't come up with a solution either! :)

Posted by Lisa on February 07, 2010 at 08:47 PM EST #

I'm a big fan of single syllable first names. They're first-day-of-school-friendly. Just throwing that out there. Hope you're doing well!

Posted by Dean on February 07, 2010 at 11:51 PM EST #

I like one syllable names, too, but I like names that you are called that are the same as the one on your birth certificate. For example, Jay is often short for James or John or something else that starts with a J. But Jay's name is just Jay, and I don't think there is any way to shorten that. It is easier when you are called by your first name instead of your middle name and when your first name is not some shortened version of your real name. (This certainly sounds rambly. Perhaps I should keep this opinion to myself!)

Posted by laura on February 12, 2010 at 12:11 PM EST #

One more thought: Have you considered Chip or Julian? You liked those so much for your Potato Head family, perhaps they would work for yours as well!

Posted by Laura on February 12, 2010 at 12:18 PM EST #

This Cheese Doodle name thing has been bugging me ever since you wrote the post above. First, I found out that Mick Jagger is not really Philip Michael but is, inexplicably, Michael Philip. I have been looking at your list of names and have a new observation...

Many southerners call their kids by both names (ie. Billy Bob, Johnny Ray, Mary Beth). I have been trying to work your list into this scheme by fitting names into the frequently used parental expression, ", you get back here!"

Luke Zack, you get back here. (Wooooah...not pretty)

Brent Reid, you get back here. (Sounds like a Japaneese guy talking about a damaged bamboo shoot, a brent reed)

Russell Greg, you get back here. (This may be the best of the choices. I just realized that the scheme works better if the multisyllable name is first.)

Benjamin Drew, you get back here. (Not bad, except for his whole life he would be asked, "What did Benjamin draw?")

Just more helpful thoughts...

Mike P.

ps. what's this math test I have to take with each comment? I keep having to haul out the calculator.

Posted by Mike Perry (aka Uncle Mike) on May 24, 2010 at 10:33 PM EDT #

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hey, you, get off of my cloud

Saturday Jan 30, 2010

Hey, you, get off of my cloud

Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Don't hang around cause two's a crowd
-Rolling Stones "Get off my cloud"

Our second class this week was on social bookmarking. What's that, you ask? Well, I assure you that I'd never heard of it before class. (I may be getting the hang of blogging, but I've never been one of those people on the leading edge of technology. I mean really, my family did not own a single CD or CD player until about a decade after all music was on CD. My dad kept waiting for digital tape to become the big thing.) is one of the more popular social bookmarking options. (Want a demo? Check out this neat YouTube video.) It allows you to save your bookmarks in "the cloud" and allows others to view things that you've bookmarked. You have heard of life in the cloud, haven't you? It's the concept of storing data on web servers that can be accessed from anywhere, not tied to a particular computer. I think it's a cool concept, and I really like the idea of keeping my bookmarks so that I can get to them from anywhere. The social component of social bookmarking is not that exciting to me, though.

Honestly, that's not how I find cool sites. Mostly, I find interesting sites from other people's blogs. Many blogs have a list of "my fave blogs" or something comparable. A lot of those that I read are medically-related. We "heart moms" are frequent bloggers, and many of those that I follow are friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend's blog. But it was especially comforting early on to read about others' experiences with heart surgeries for their babies and to read success stories.

Beyond that, many of the sites I look at often are people who are in real life friends who blog about their day-to-day stuff. I don't look much at organizational blogs - honestly, I don't care what they're up to (even with my favorite companies and nonprofit orgs). Just not really my thing, I guess. I find lots of interesting articles from, and a lot of cool sites I discover the old fashioned way - word of mouth.

How about you? How did you discover my blog? How do you find other interesting sites? What websites do you check regularly?


I love delicious! I use it all the time, but I use it more for just bookmarking, rather than to find interesting things other people are looking at.

I usually come across blogs through links on friends' blogs. But how did I find your blog...??? Do you ever link to it on Facebook? That must have been it. I think that was probably it.

Posted by Ginger on January 30, 2010 at 08:32 PM EST #

Jen, I also use Delicious. Like Ginger, I also only use it for my personal bookmarks -- I don't use the social aspect. I could see good potential for using it with my students, but, honestly, it's easier just to use Blackboard. Maybe if I taught older students I'd consider it more strongly.

Posted by Amy G. on January 30, 2010 at 10:04 PM EST #

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I wanna talk about Pee...

Wednesday Jan 27, 2010

I wanna talk about Pee...

(just a slight adaptation of the Toby Keith song from my last post!)

In my last post, someone commented that reading my blog was like reading my diary. And it's true - the communication revolution that we're in is all about the blurring of public and private space. Our class this week was about ethics, and I think that blending of public vs. private is a big part of that. Maybe other people don't want me to post pics of our cute kids together - I usually don't because I don't want to put others in a place they aren't comfortable. Maybe friends don't want to be identified by name in my blog - I usually try to use nicknames. Maybe my dear hubby doesn't want me to talk about our family with strangers - he'll get over it. So, where do you draw the line? What information is too much to share in a public forum like this?

Here's a funny story that I would not typically say to a stranger on the street (the same stranger who is completely welcome to stumble upon my blog and read a discussion of our family's bathroom habits). You decide - TMI?

So, we all know what eating asparagus does to you. It makes your pee green, and it makes it smell really funky. Oh, come on - admit it. You totally know what I'm talking about. Well we had asparagus for dinner earlier this week, and Jay was all over it. Like, all over it the way normal kids are all over french fries. (Sidenote - you're wondering how I get my toddler to eat asparagus? My awesome friend TOJ is a nutritionist and has recommended a couple of fantastic books by Ellyn Satter: Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family and Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense. I am a total devotee - Satter says give your kids what you're eating, and they will learn to eat a variety of foods. And it's totally worked with our kid! My mom says kid #2 will eat nothing but potatoes and vanilla ice cream. We'll see.)

Okay, back to the story. So Derek and I were laughing about how amazingly fast asparagus starts to work its funky smelling magic. And then we began to discuss what it would do to the little man. I mean really, 2 stalks of asparagus in a person with a body weight of 33 lbs has GOT to have a stronger impact than 3 or 4 stalks to a grownup! (No, I am not going to disclose my weight on this blog. See - why do I draw the line there, when I'm willing to talk about my bodily functions?!) So, anyway, we were making bets on how green and how horribly funky the diaper was going to be in the morning. But you know what? There was nothing unusual about the diaper the next day! Babies don't get the funky asparagus pee!

So, weigh in: Too much information? Or funny story? Or interesting scientific discovery?


Scientific discovery. ... Don't get too comfortable, by the way, with Jay's good eating habits. Riley used to get much more excited about broccoli than about ice cream. Then he really discovered how good ice cream is and, around the same time, realized that broccoli... eh... not so much. He still likes more foods than his daddy does, though, so there's hope. :)

Posted by Amy G. on January 27, 2010 at 09:52 PM EST #

I'm so glad Jay likes a good variety of foods, at least for now. I worry that if I ever have a child, it'll be a really picky eater and that I will NOT be very patient about it. I have a low tolerance for very picky adult eaters, anyway. (These are things for me to work on before embarking on child-rearing!)

I have a person close to me who, when this asparagus-pee topic came up one time, did not know what we were talking about. While I have not made arrangements to do a sniff test with this person (ew, ew, ew!!), I am wondering if it's just another one of those genetic traits that some people have, and some don't. I joked that the gene for asparagus-pee-smell is probably co-located with the one for liking cilantro. We are, um, at odds about that subject as well. ;-)

Posted by Brandi on January 28, 2010 at 03:25 PM EST #

Do you think it was just absorbed into the diaper? Maybe that takes the edge off? Hmm...

Posted by Lisa on January 28, 2010 at 10:04 PM EST #

Well, one thing I gotta say. No matter what's on your mind, you find an interesting way to discuss it. I usually stick to much more generic topics, but you always make me laugh. So just keep talking about what you think about!

BTW, Jay's acceptance of the healthy foods in life are probably due to some extent to the fact that he has not been offered much else because of food allergies. So when he discovers the joys of ice cream and chocolate, look for a different type of appetite!

Posted by Laura on January 30, 2010 at 10:20 AM EST #

Hahaha! First, this post cracked me up! Too funny!

Second! This is one of my favorite topics! (Okay, well, maybe not really favorite of all time, but I would definitely say favorite topic involving pee.) I actually did a little research on this a while ago and found that it IS genetic (or at least it is thought to be). Some people have a gene that causes their pee to smell funny after eating asparagus, and some people don't. Even MORE interesting, some people DO have the gene to make their pee smell, but DON'T have the gene to actually smell their funky pee! Whoa! Who knew!?!?!?

I don't remember where I found all this information, but I found this on Wikipedia real quick - ...though here it leads you to believe that perhaps everyone's pee smells, but only approximately 22% can smell it...which I find to be a ridiculously low number. I think further research may be required on my part...and theirs.

Posted by Ginger on January 30, 2010 at 12:44 PM EST #

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I wanna talk about me...

Sunday Jan 24, 2010

I wanna talk about me...

Wanna talk about I
Wanna talk about Number 1
Oh my me my
What I think, What I like, What I know, What I want, What I see...
-Toby Keith, I Wanna Talk About Me

(**grrrr - just wrote a lovely blog post & then got kicked off, and it disappeared! I love technology, but I occasionally want to chuck my monitor out the window! Oh wait. I'm in my window-less office. You know what I mean.**)

So, why I am I here? Not "Why I am I here on this planet?" in the existential sense, but "Why am I blogging about my life online?" Why can I not stop talking about myself?

This blog originally started when I was preggers with my first little one. A few other friends (especially you, Peggy Sue!) had started blogs, and it seemed like a good way to keep friends & family updated about the pregnancy. But after Jay was born with a major heart defect and in the ICU, this space became my lifeline. Your comments gave me encouragement, support, love and really kept me going during one of the most difficult times of my life. Just writing about the experience was therapeutic, but your comments created the dialogue that I needed most at that time. I could log in at 3 a.m. and have a conversation with you, or re-live the conversation we'd had earlier that day. Knowing that you were there and cared about the tough times we were going through was incredibly motivating - it motivated me to keep writing more, and motivated me to keep moving in spite of the fear I faced about my new baby's health.

I think that's part of the reason I've been so slack with blogging lately. When I don't get any comments, I feel a little like I'm talking to an empty room. Who (beyond the grandmas) even cares what cute thing my kid did last week? So, keep those comments coming! (And not, not because I need to collect comments for my grade - though that's a nice side effect...!) The Web 2.0 phenomenon is all about connecting online - not just pushing information in 1 direction, but having an ongoing conversation about what's important in our lives. It's not about me talking to you, but about us talking together in this fancy online space.

I've thought a lot about the phrase "social media" and what it means. Frankly, this blog and Facebook have completely changed my social experience, and it's easy to see why they are changing the experience of companies & nonprofit organizations. All organizations are made up of people, and if people are changing the way they relate to each other, organizations by default have to change the way they relate to one another and to the public.

So talk back to me!


Jen, now I'm feeling guilty for not commenting often. I do read every single post on your blog -- especially since I discovered Google's reader. Now I can just look in my reader and see which of my favorite blogs has an update. Of course, if yours has a new post, I read it first since you're my real friend. All those other bloggers are just the people I think would be great friends if we really knew each other. Besides the fact that you're a real friend, the fact that you have such a fun writing style keeps me coming back for more. You really could write about anything and make it interesting to me. But you're going to have to work extra hard on the marketing vs. PR vs. advertising topic. ;)


Posted by Amy G. on January 24, 2010 at 10:05 PM EST #

Good Morning, Jen!

I've been thinking about you and your mom for days...hope the days and weeks to come are peaceful. And just because I don't comment doesn't mean I don't check your blog often!! I'll make a point to let you know my thoughts more often. I'm so grateful that we have this to keep in touch!

Posted by Katrine on January 25, 2010 at 07:57 AM EST #

Ok, Jen. I honestly check this blog to see any updates on Jay, The Cheese Baby and the now (FINALLY) musings on living through demo. And am vry excited to see more data content:-) Please continue to post! But keep up the songs and funny stories! I am too old to be taught and having to even think math to post this is too taxing on a Monday...

Posted by Crystal on January 25, 2010 at 02:01 PM EST #

I, too, have given some thought to how "social media" have changed the way humans interact. With my background in sociology, it has been intereresting to watch people share more and more of the mundane facets of their lives (can you say Facebook) and share less and less of their real feelings and concerns face to face or even voice to voice. Certainly a blog, in one of its many forms, is the quickest way to communicate important information to the most people with the least effort And while I try to keep my perspective about human interaction, I do have some worries about longterm effects of this type of communication in the absence of real talking.

That said, I always LOVE your blog and check for new entries on a regular basis. You are funny, interesting and have a wonderful and entertaining writing style. It's like sneaking in and reading your diary and have you welcome me to do it. So keep it up, and remember that we all want to know what cute tricks Jay is up to now!

Posted by laura on January 25, 2010 at 08:13 PM EST #

Hi Jen,

I've been reading your blog off and on since you were pregnant with "Torquil". I worked with your dad at Wyeth. You are a great writer and I enjoy all your stories, music and pictures.

I am so sorry your mom's cancer has returned, she is such a brave and incredible lady. We old friends at Legacy Wyeth will keep her and all of you in our prayers.

I don't know if you knew, but the day Jay had his surgery, a group of us asked security to open the door to your dad's office. We meet and joined hands and prayed for Jay, the doctors, all of you and anything else we thought Jay needed. I know we will continue to pray for Laura. Please call if you need anything. 566-4011

Posted by Debbie Gilland on January 27, 2010 at 09:05 AM EST #

I completely understand about feeling like you are blogging to no one! I rarely get comments on my blog and it is slightly discouraging but I also have to realize that I am documenting my son's life by blogging. All the funny things that happen, he does, he says, etc I will have documented for him to read one day. Thanks for the shout out!

Posted by Bethany Watkins on January 30, 2010 at 06:42 PM EST #

Wow! I go away from your blog for a few days (okay, maybe weeks) and I come back to discover that I've missed a lot. I'm still waiting for the kitchen pics . . .did I miss those?

Posted by Mindy Marshall on February 08, 2010 at 09:54 PM EST #

Saturday, January 23, 2010

It's late September...

Saturday Jan 23, 2010

It's late September...

and I really should be
back at school.
-Rod Stewart, "Maggie Mae"
(one of my fave songs!)

Hello world - I'm about to re-enter the regularly posting blogosphere. Why you ask? Yes, I know I've been the slackest blogger on the planet with my every other week posts. But I suddenly have motivation to blog (and it's not kid news this time). And no, it's not my mom's cancer recurring, which many of you are aware of. You can keep up with her updates on her CaringBridge page, which I'm working hard to keep current.

It's class. Huh? Yep, my Communication class this semester is about how social media (blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are being used by organizations to connect with people. Piece of cake, right - a class on blogging and Facebook?! Well, like any grad school class, there's a little more to it than that. So, I'm going to make every effort to connect my everyday musings on my life to what I'm learning in class, 'cause my grade will depend on it. (Though I think I may struggle a bit to find PR song quotes to intro with!) Here's the other thing - I need comments. Like 100 of them in the remainder of the semester. (Is it cheating to ask for 'em, Dr. W?!) So, tell me what you think. Tell me what you want to know more about. Tell me that you'd rather me dump the academic info & just see more kid pics. I will ignore that particular request, but I promise, there will be some kid pics, too.

So, first topic - what is PR? What is advertising? What is marketing? What do you think, faithful readers? Frankly, I think most people use the 3 interchangeably. We communication people tend to see ourselves in the PR business as somehow "holier" than those in the marketing business (who just want to SELL stuff) and those in the advertising business (who are willing to *gasp* PAY for airtime to sell stuff). We're out to manage the image of the organization. We help the organization relate to the public. We find effective ways to communicate with stakeholders (employees, volunteers, donors, customers), discovering their needs and helping to match them to what we offer. It's not about the $$$ - it's about managing the relationship. Y'all buyin' that?


To me advertising=marketing, and PR is what you do when the CEO/president/big wig is caught in bed with someone other than his wife. At least that's when I notice PR firms the most...

Posted by Derek on January 24, 2010 at 01:48 PM EST #

Jen, like you, I have come across PR practitioners who hold the 'holier than thou' view - that we are not selling/marketing our product explicitly the way our peers in the advertising and marketing line do. A possible reason for such a view could be that they have to work hard to build media contacts to get a story published vs buying ad space in a newspaper. : )

Posted by Neha Chhabra on January 24, 2010 at 05:33 PM EST #

I imagine that marketing creates the awareness of need of a new product and that advertising shows a product that fulfills that need. While they serve slightly different angles of the same process, they fit "hand in glove" to sell a product. PR is not so much to sell the product but rather to establish a customer relationship or reputation of the business so that the product they sell is well received and therefore accepted. Customer communication in all its forms is critical for the ultimate success of the business.

Posted by laura on January 25, 2010 at 08:01 PM EST #

To me, PR is the larger segment of what an organization does to create, protect or enhance it's image to the public. It crosses all it's activities and products or services. Yes, it is the higher level of the three, but is not immune from the $$$. PR costs money to deliver, just like the other two.
Marketing is the setting and implementation of a strategy to improve the organizations ability to deliver products or services.

Advertising is a part of delivering the marketing strategy. The "paying" part.

Hope this helps!



Posted by Popper a.k.a Dad on January 30, 2010 at 03:04 PM EST

Thursday, January 7, 2010

So much to say, so much to say, so much to say

Thursday Jan 07, 2010

So much to say, so much to say, so much to say

Sometimes I find it's easy to be myself
Sometimes I find it's better to be somebody else
-Dave Matthews Band

Wow - how in the world did it get to be January already? 2010? A month since I've blogged? Wow - I really do have much to say, so I'll just give you the highlights.

CheezeDoodle is growing and growing and growing! According to my vegetable-loving friends @ BabyCenter, he's currently the size of a jicama. I'm betting he's WAY bigger than that. And what's a jicama, anyway? I'm getting to that foot-swelling, hard to turn over at night, 24-7 heartburn, whiny stage. Derek is thrilled.

Still no name yet for CheezeDoodle. We had a few front runners, and a few that didn't make the cut for Jay that are still under consideration. When we ask him, he suggests "Clifford." Nothing against anyone out there reading this who might be named Clifford, but I don't think I could name a kid after the big red dog.

Home remodel is 99% done. Kitchen is fully functional, half-bath is completely done, and the tools have migrated from the pool table into the laundry room. We're not there yet, but with another couple of weekends, we will be. Hallelujah! Pics to come. Really.

Christmas was wonderful, though the break was (of course!) too brief. Jay got a tricycle and promptly fell off and got a bloody lip. Those legs need to grow just a bit to really reach the pedals. He also got the whole 'Tato Head family (his pronunciation - adorable!) including Mr., Mrs, and their little ones, Chip and Julienne. Those names crack me up every time! From grandparents, he got a new kid-size table which is his new favorite place to put scribble to paper, and a tool bench which has seen more hammering than you can possibly imagine. He's a happy kid.

Being pregnant at Christmas is really an amazing feeling. Makes me see advent through a different light - the season of expectation has new meaning. I whined about Derek putting me in a car (with heated seats!!) for 3 hours. Can you imagine saying "Sure, I'll throw my pregnant self on that donkey and ride. No reservations? No problem!" I'm not Catholic, but I certainly have gained a new respect for the Blessed Mother.

Ringing in the New Year at the beach is the best way to start a year. We went with both our families, including Jay's cousin, Camden, who is the same age. They clearly loved hanging out together, if you judge by the number of times they screamed "MINE!" while ripping toys out of one another's hands. "My hammer! My book! My toy! MINE! MINE! MINE!" So, I totally thought they hated each other, except that every morning Jay woke up looking to play with cousin Camden. The social dynamics of toddlers are still a bit of a puzzle to me.

So, happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to all of you. Here's wishing you all the best in 2010!


Same to ya!

Posted by Bethany Watkins on January 07, 2010 at 09:44 PM EST #