"You don't believe in that vaccine crap, do you?"

Yes. I do.

From my friend Cornelia's blog. Mamma of one kiddo with autism.


Week Five Pictures (One Day Late)

Cut me some slack, people. I've got a five week old kid.

Anyhoo, I finally got a minute to transfer, edit, upload and post some pictures from week five, including Hazel's First Easter. Easter is not normally a big holiday (or a holiday at all for that matter) in our house, but it was a big deal this past week because Hazel had her longest outing and was the farthest away from her home base as she has ever been! She did wonderfully over at the Other Donabed's house for brunch. Hazel also had her first trip to the beach! We took Hector and Flossie for their weekly romp at the off-leash dog beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea. It was much colder than we thought it would be, so we didn't last too long. Back at the car we noticed Hazel's hat was over her eyes the whole time. Oh well. She will be to the beach a million more times.

We also went to our Neurotic Mothers Group so we could get updated on everyones milk alergies, colic and sleep schedules. I don't know how long I can last there, at least sober. Perhaps I should suggest next week we mix some margaritas and get the party started. Even Hazel can't take it without being bored to tears.

I've really noticed this week how big she has grown. Her features, her cheeks, her limbs...everything seems to have sprouted and puffed up over night. I do think that she is having a growth spurt, as she has been eating almost constantly for the past couple of days. Some days she is so clingy that I cant put her down without her howling and she will only sleep on my chest. She only seems to want momma sometimes, which can be a bit draining, to say the least. She still wakes up twice at night to eat, and she is sleeping in her car seat, in our bed. It's pretty funny, but it's working for us right now.

Hazel has been enjoying music more than ever this past week. We listen to a lot of different stuff, but so far her favorites are Renaissance music, Sufijan Stevens, the Welsh song Suo Gan, the new Feist album, Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins, any Bluegrass, Cat Stevens, and The Islands. She has very eclectic tastes and is mildly (or wildly) obsessed with it all like her momma. Oh, and the Beach Boys. Only Pet Sounds.

So let's get to it! Here is Hazel Ana in the Fifth week of her life. Enjoy.

I can't get enough of Hazel in her carseat. She always looks so funny.
Learning to look at the cool knit fruit rattles that her friend Corleigh gave to her.

Amphibian baby.

We didn't realize at the time that she was peeing on the rug.

Hazel and her first cousin (once removed) Isabelle.

Someone finally noticed that there were no pictures of Hazel with her momma. Thanks for fixing that.

Hazel with her Great Aunt Margaret and Great Uncle Aram on Easter.

Hazel's first day at the beach!

Flossie Jones

Long shadows and low tide: our first born.

More of the car seat. Her hands crack me up for some reason.

"Enough with the camera, Mama."

Look at that double chiny chin chin!

A very suspicious baby.


The Best Option for Leftover Easter Eggs

Curried Egg Salad Recipe

Use any type of onion you like here, I've done this version of egg salad using yellow, white, and in this version I had a tiny red one on hand, so I grabbed for that.

5 good quality eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (your favorite)
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 big pinches of salt
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 medium apple, chopped
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 small bunch of chives, minced

First off, you need to boil the eggs properly (the key to good egg salad!). Place the eggs in a pot and cover with cold water by a 1/2-inch or so. Bring to a gentle boil. Now turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for exactly seven minutes. Have a big bowl of ice water ready and when the eggs are done cooking and place them in the ice bath for three minutes or so - long enough to stop the cooking.
While the eggs are boiling and cooling, combine the yogurt, curry powder and salt in a tiny bowl. Set aside.
Crack and peel each egg, and place in a medium mixing bowl. Add the curried yogurt, onions, apple, pecans, and chives. Now mash with a fork. Don't overdo it, you want the egg mixture to have some texture. If you need to add a bit more plain yogurt to moisten up the mixture a bit, go for it a bit at a time. taste and add more salt if needed. Enjoy as-is, or served wrapped in lettuce or between two slices of good, toasted bread.
Serves 3-4


One Month Pictures!

Good morning on Hazel's One Month birthday.

Sunbeam napping.

Cutest baby ever.

The start of a SMILE!

Shock and Awe

Finally awake!

Baby Paw and Momma Paw

Hazel Fishstick napping with Hector Fishstick

An adorable outfit courtesy of the fabulous Ms. Sarah Meadows

A visit from Uncle Christopher


Perfectly Average

Today was Hazel's One Month visit with Dr. Sleeper. I'm very happy that my perfectly average sized baby has turned into a perfectly average month old kiddo! She is in the fiftieth percentile for length (21 inches), weight (8 pounds, 14 ounces) and head circumference (14 1/2 inches). I never thought I would be so happy with anything "average" but I find this very reassuring.

Developmentally, we are waiting for Hazel's First Smile (that isn't gas-induced) and for the all-important ability to Distinguish Day From Night. She is currently mastering the ability to Track Things With Her Eyes, Focusing Her Eyes on Faces, Maintaining Eye Contact and Holding Her Head Up. I'll have some One Month pictures of her head circumfrence tomorrow. Right now, Ms. Hazel demands to be fed.


Three Weeks Old!

I know not a lot of people will think that Hazel has not really changed a whole lot, but I feel like she is a whole new kiddo! She broke the eight pound mark, and her thighs are getting so chubby. Her cheeks are filling out, and every day it seems like she gets stronger and that her personality shines out. She sleeps in three to four hour blocks and has started to notice things like the dogs and finger puppets. Here are some pictures from this week in Hazel's life.

Flossie napping with her baby.

Ms. Crank Pants wakes up.

Future Middleburry Rugby Champion.

Holy crap! A snowsuit!

It's never too early to start using the exercise ball.

Handome Cousin Owen came for a visit to see Baby Hazel this weekend.

In a few years, they are going to be sneaking beers from our fridge.

The Cousins: Owen, Annabelle and Cecelia.

Not on Our Watch

A lot of people want to know why Jamie and I are shielding Hazel from the Pretty, Pretty Princess, Happy Little Homemaker and the Pink Girlie-Power culture that is so prevalent in our society. Many people think that these things are perfectly benign, but Jamie and I believe that this is a culture that has been created to turn Hazel into a marketing demographic, a consumer, and that these things, these products aim to hyper sexualize young girls and to stifle their creativity, strength and originality. Many of these marketing campaigns are aimed at 3-5 year olds, who are experimenting with rigid gender roles and are thinking concretely as a normal stage of their development. I have much higher hopes for Hazel as she grows.

Two recent articles on the Huffington Post and on New York Times have addressed some of the issues, and both are an entertaining read. Also, NPR's On Point yesterday aired a fascinating discussion called Younger (and Younger) Beauty Consumers. I highly recommend giving it a listen.



RIP Guillermo

The Donovan's are sad to announce the untimely passing of Guillermo, the Leopard Gecko that has made his home with our family for the past four years. He will be greatly missed, particularly by the cats, who enjoyed scratching on his cage and by all the kiddos who would come to visit him and then beg their parents for a gecko of their own. If anyone would like to claim the fifty-count containers of meal worms that remain in the refrigerator, please contact us. Guillermo's final resting place will be under the cork tree in our front yard. Visitors are welcome.


Baby's First Trip to the Bar

Today we were visited by Uncle Nate and Aunt Amy from the Big City. And of course Hazel's new playmate Tuffie, the most smiling pitbull in New England. While Tuffie was left to make-out with Hector Fishstick back home, the human family headed out down the street to the Choate Bridge Pub for a couple of beers. Hazel mostly slept through the experience, only opening her eyes briefly to look at Jamie and I with a sneer that said she didn't appreciate waking up in a strange bar. She better get used to it if she keeps hanging out with us. A delightful afternoon for all.


Some Sage Advice.....*gag*

You know that someone actually said to me yesterday that "work comes before family" (specifically in regards to Jamie's responsibilities)? Have you ever heard anything more ridiculous? Frankly, it's tragic that anyone would feel that way, live their life that way, and raise their children that way.

Jamie works a lot. Too much, as far as both of us are concerned, but that is the nature of what he does, and he enjoys what he does. So he does it. His company is very family-friendly (more so than most), and he works with a lot of other moms and dads who cut him some slack when he comes in groggy and distracted. They are all doing their best to juggle work and family.

It's crazy to me that someone might actually believe that Jamie's primary role in our family unit is that of The Provider who puts pork on the table and is our meal-ticket. Its not 1957. He gets up in the middle of the night to feed Hazel, he changes diapers like a pro. He nurtures her and snuggles her back to sleep, and if he could be a stay-at-home-dad, he would be thrilled. (If I could go back to work and not spend my days doing a mind-numbing amount of laundry and dishes, I would be thrilled.) Jamie and I are partners, co-parents, and parenting Hazel is our number one job. Our family (and by "family", I mean the three of us) comes before anything else. Our family comes before any stupid job, before any desire for a bigger house or shinier car. Hazel's well-being is what we both have in the front of our mind at all times, and going to work or doing more laundry is just the crap we deal with day-to-day, in between doing what is truly best for her. Our culture really has it backwards; the race for Things and Stuff and Bigger and Better has come at the expense of what's really valuable. And people like the Unsolicited Advice Giver from yesterday and their families suffer. So while that person might have a bland and cordially affectionate relationship with his family, and he might be mighty pleased with all the papers he pushed around in his lifetime, and all the mortgage payments he made, Jamie and I choose to live our lives differently.

Almost all of my peers would happily take a 25% cut in pay if it meant they could spend more time with their kiddos. We are really lucky to have what we have, but we don't need most of it. What Hazel needs isn't a vacation home, or a ride in a $30K+ car. She needs two parents who love and respect her, love and respect each other, and show it as often as possible. Fathers need to be with their children, not fortressed away in an office, coming home after bedtime, stressed out all weekend, and focused entirely on the finances. Money and jobs come and go, but you have one opportunity to raise a happy, healthy kiddo. I think Jamie and I would both agree that we would sell everything we own to ensure Hazel's health and happiness.

I choose to put my family before anything and everything in this world, and on my death bed, I won't be thinking about all those wonderful days that I worked late. I hope that when that time comes, I'll have Hazel nestled in the crook of my arm, just as she is now. That's the only wish I'll ever have.

Signing off,
Momma Bear


She's Almost Off to College....

Hazel changes so much every day. Anyone who says infants don't do anything just isn't paying attention. Every day I notice er movements are more refined, her facial expressions are more varied and her personality develops. Yes, she sleeps a lot. Yes she spends most of her waking time eating. But her quiet alert and her active alert phases are so much fun! We babble at each other, she loves to track brightly colored finger puppets, and her neck gets a real work out when she lays on her daddy's chest and looks all around.

Jamie went back to work on Monday, and its been an adjustment for all of us. We really loved being with our little family at home together. I'm trying to get out of the house to break up the days. I just started a 0-6 month playgroup at the Ipswich Birth to Three Center. There isn't much "playing" going on, but its nice to get out and talk to other women. I also went to the "Mother Talk" group at Beverly Hospital but it is pretty overwhelming with 25 mothers and 26 babies and far too much talk about sleep schedules and formula allergies for me. We'll see how long that one lasts. Hazel also kindly accompanied her mother to visit Cindy, our acupuncturist today. Cindy is also our neighbor and is having her daughter Willa Rose in a few more months. Hazel and I both hope that Cindy and Willa will feel like going for some walks this summer.

Hazel stirs. Let's see what Miss Thang wants.

Week Two Pictures

The first Real Bath

Daddy Daughter napping

Lots of sleeping

Natalie Blue and Hazel Boo

Cousin (Once Removed) Michelle Donabed

A sad and neglected Hector Fishstick

Uncle Jeremy

The Donovan Grandparents
Grandma Sandy and Hazel sticking their tongues out at each other.