The Empty Pastel Pink Baby Book

Today is my birthday.  And I woke up with a birthday headache that seems to be wanting to hang around for the entire day and night.

I’ve never been one to hide my age or live in fear of revealing my age.  I’ve never understood people who lie about their age.  We ARE the age we are and that’s not going to change, no matter what.  Why are people ashamed of their age or afraid to tell their true age?  It’s simply the number of years we’ve lived on this earth.   That’s all.  It’s a fact that from the minute we’re born, we begin to age and we’re all going to die some day. Some people are very private about how old they are. Whatever.   I say blurt out that birthday number with pride when you’re asked!

Today I’m 55.  I went to the doctor yesterday and when I was in the lab getting my blood drawn, the lab technician said, “Well happy birthday one day early!”  I thanked her politely.  She asked if I had any special plans and I told her not really.  The older I get, my birthdays just seem like any other day.  She informed me that everyone should do something to celebrate their birthday.  I guess she’s right.  I told her there was something about turning 55 that made me feel I was “going over the hump.”  How can I already be 55?  My body feels every bit of 55 but my brain doesn’t.

I miss my parents on my birthday, especially my mom.  I guess that’s understandable.  I miss her telling me my birth story as she always used to do.  How on that 17th day of July in 1959, how she woke up in the hospital after just having given birth to me, hoping to see a blue bracelet on her wrist, but instead there was another pink bracelet on her wrist. Back then, there were no ultrasounds to learn the sex of your baby.  It was standard procedure to be “knocked out” (as my mother would say) during your delivery and so you didn’t find out the sex of your baby until you woke up and looked at your arm to see whether the bracelet they had put on your wrist was pink or blue.  She was already the proud owner of two pink bracelets so I was supposed to provide her with the highly coveted blue bracelet.  Didn’t happen.  She had just given birth to her 3rd daughter and there was another pink bracelet on her wrist .  The first words out of her mouth were, “Oh damn, not another girl!”  (That’s my mother— you’d just have to know her).  She used to tell me that the woman in the next bed, who she was sharing a room with, laughed and said, “Well, I’ll trade you, I just had my 3rd boy!”  They had a good laugh over that.  Somewhere in this house, and probably in a crowded drawer, I think I might have that old pink bracelet.

my baby shoes

I wish my mom was alive so I could ask her more questions about the day I was born.  I know very little about that day.  Today I dug out my old worn, faded, and dirty pastel pink baby book.  My mother hardly wrote in that book.  The word “scarce” hardly begins to describe it.  “Empty” is probably more appropriate.  There’s no locks of my hair or other mementos and not many pictures.  The few pictures that are in the book have nothing written on them and are undated.  My mother always told me she was always too busy chasing my two older sisters around and she just never seemed to find the time to write in my baby book.  Or take pictures of me.  And that bothered her so much, that on her death-bed she actually apologized to me for not having taken more pictures of me when I was growing up.  When I was about 11 or 12, I decided to start filling my baby book out myself.  I wish I hadn’t done that.  It’s filled with a 6th graders scrawling and silly scribbling.  I wish I had left it empty.  Like the way my mother had left it.

my baby book   baby book

I look through my old pink baby book and I learn that  I was born at 12:24 am (almost a July 16th baby!) at The Bethesda Maternity Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio.   The obstetrician’s name was Dr. Ralph Heery.  I weighed in at a whopping 6 lbs. 5 oz. and was only 18 inches long.  My mother was in room #246.   My mother used to tell me all the time that it would anger her when people referred to me as a preemie because I wasn’t.  I was a full term baby but small (now we know that babies born to mother’s who smoke often have low birth weights).  And yes, my mother smoked heavily when I was curled in her womb.  I was baptized at age 9 months on April 24th, 1960 at All Saint’s Church in Cincinnati.  I know that my two grandmothers and my mother’s brother, my uncle, were my Godparents.

My baby record


In the old pink baby book, it was recorded by mother that I had a strawberry birthmark on my left buttocks which eventually faded to a barely noticeable scar.  She wrote that I had no hair at all at birth and still no hair at 4 months.  At 6 months of age, she reported I was growing hair finally (just fuzz) and that it was a light color but that she couldn’t yet tell what color it would be.  Other recordings:

  • I turned over from back to stomach at 4 1/2 months
  • I sat up in the “baby butler’ (with support) at 5 months and alone in “baby butler” at 6 months
  • I began saying “Da-Da” at 7 1/2 months
  • pushed myself into a sitting position at almost a year of age
  • crawled in July at age one year (wow- I was slow at getting going)!
  • pulled myself up into a standing position in August of 1960 at 13 months
  • cut my first tooth at 7 months

There were a few heights and weights recorded  and most of my series of baby vaccines, polio shots, and TB patch test results.

Me as a newborn. There's no date on this photo but my mother estimated it was taken when I was 6 days old.

Me as a newborn.
There’s no date on this photo but my mother estimated it was taken when I was 6 days old.

For a baby book that goes from birth to old age, that was about all that was recorded.   All the rest of the pages are blank.  I wish that was not so.  I wish I could have known who came to visit my mother in the hospital, how long she was in labor with me, my father’s thoughts and feelings about my birth, who was keeping my two older sisters when I was born, etc.  I wish I knew how my parents came up with my name.  I wish there were things written on the funny antics page and the amusing sayings page.  I wish there was a photo of my first home.  I wish more had been recorded about my childhood illnesses, When did I have the chicken pox?  The mumps?  I wish she had written more about what my young school days were like.

It’s fun and interesting to go back and read things about your history, especially your birth history.  I wish I could say I did a better job at recording milestones in my own two sons’ baby books, but I can’t say I did a whole lot better.  Time slips by and being able to retrieve that information from the depths of your memory is not easy.

My mother with the representatives of her three pink bracelets

My mother with the representatives of her three pink bracelets


Gail's first birthday

My advice to all you new moms is to keep up those baby books!  When you are departed from this earth, your children will probably also be curious about what their actual birth day was like, their milestones, etc.  One day you won’t be around for them to be able to ask you about those things.  Sit down one day and write them a story about what their birth day was like.  Tell them your feelings, the funny things that happened along with the serious.  It’s fun to know that stuff.

Gail ♥

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Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge

This is my first entry in “Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge.  Hope I do this right!

I took this on the evening of the 4th of July.  As you can see, Nugget and Dakota partied hard!

After a hard day of play!

After a hard day of play!




Gail ♥



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Monday’s Question

Question:  What are some good summer/ beach books you would recommend?

My Answer:  These are books I could read over and over and I would find any of them enjoyable summer reading!

  1. The Light Between Oceans- by M.L Stedman

The Light Between Oceans

This book was a page turner and will really get you thinking.  I enjoyed it as did everyone in book club.

2.  The Secret Life of Bees- by Sue Monk Kidd


Another book club winner that was an enjoyable and an easy read.  This is one I will definitely read again.  I enjoyed the movie too!

3.  The Weird Sisters- by Eleanor Brown

The Weird Sisters

I loved this book so much that I was actually sad when I finished it as I didn’t want it to end.  I felt like I knew the characters and I wanted to know more about them.  Maybe the fact that this book was about three sisters and I am one of three daughters is one reason I liked this book so much.  It’s an easy read and enjoyable.

4.  All Creatures Great and Small- by James Herriot

All Creatures Great and Small

I don’t know who could NOT like this book!  It’s full of heartwarming and humorous stories that will make you laugh and make you cry.  I read this book many, many years ago and could read it again and again.  If you’re an animal lover, you’ve GOT to read this book!

5.  The Help - by Kathryn Stockett

The Help

I loved both the book and the movie…  Loved the characters and how they were developed.  This book made for great book club discussions.

What books do you recommend for summer reading?

Gail ♥

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Daily Prompt: Sleepy Time

Daily prompt:  More and more of us go to bed too late because of sleep procrastination. What are the nighttime rituals that keep you up before finally dozing off?

Am I the only one who is a little bit excited to see that there is actually a name for this behavior?  Sleep procrastination (bedtime procrastination is actually what the article called it) is real???

For years I’ve fought going to bed.  I know I do it but I’ve never known exactly WHY I do it.  I only know I will find every reason in the world not to go to bed.  I’ve always been a night owl for  as long as I remember.  Although when growing up, my parents had a pretty strict bedtime for my sisters and me on school nights.  I always hated going to bed early and longed for the time when I was older and would be able to “stay  up late.”   My mother was a night owl most of her life but in her later years she became a morning lark. Both my sons are sleep procrastinators (they’re both in college now and I’m sure that plays a part).  In middle school and high school I blamed it on the unreasonable amount of homework and school projects they had.  But I wonder if this condition might be passed on through genes.

I love to read before going to bed and I’ll even fall asleep in my book and nod off.  Seems the sensible thing to do at that point would be to shut the book and turn off the darn light.  But no….. I’ll fight it and keep on reading!  I don’t watch much television and I’m not into social media.  As a matter of fact, I gave up Facebook because it was such a time suck.  But the computer is still my downfall when it comes to getting enough sleep.   I love to read blogs and I follow quite a few.  I enjoy reading them but this does require a lot of my time.

Have you ever heard of the term sleep hygiene?  I had not until a few years ago.  That’s when I learned that my sleep hygiene is just horrible.  According to the The National Sleep Foundation website:

Sleep hygiene is a variety of different practices that are necessary to have normal, quality nighttime sleep and full daytime alertness.

I even read a very good book about it called Insomnia Cures: Sleep Hygiene Practice Makes Permanent (recommended to me by a therapist).  It’s an easy read and had some practical advice.

Insomnia cures

These are just a few things I learned (that I still need to work on).

  1. Go to bed every night at the same time and get up in the morning at the same time.
  2. Use your bed only for sleeping and sex.  No reading in bed, no watching TV, no texting, checking emails, etc.
  3. Don’t keep your bedroom thermostat set too high.  It’s better to have the temperature for sleeping a little on the cool side than too warm.
  4. No caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol right before bedtime.
  5. Don’t exercise before bedtime.
  6. No daytime napping.
  7. Don’t eat heavy meals before bedtime, and especially no spicy or sugary snacks.
  8. Establish pre-bedtime rituals such as a warm bath or shower, meditation, reading, etc.

I’ve tried hard establishing an earlier bedtime routine, but it seems my body just wants to remain a night owl.  My doctor has given me sleep aid medications such as Ambien and Lunesta.  Ambien just didn’t work well on me not to mention I said and did really stupid things while taking it (according to my husband) and I didn’t have any recollection of these things which was kinda scary for me.  Lunesta gave me horrible nightmares (very VIVID nightmares I will add).  My poor husband wasn’t getting any sleep when I was on the Lunesta because he was constantly having to wake me up from my nightmares because I was constantly screaming out loud.  I stopped the Lunesta and decided I’d rather have insomnia.

What about you?  Do you suffer from sleep procrastination?  What do you do when you have trouble sleeping?

Gail ♥

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

Between. Capture something in the middle of two things. It can be a person or object, or simply the space in between. It can also be a feeling or relationship — a bond that connects people, or a space that separates. This word might also reflect a choice you need to make — the challenge of choosing one thing over another — or any kind of transition, from childhood to adulthood, single life to married life, day to night.


Gail ♥

Posted in Animals, cats, Weekly photo challenge | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

The Definition of Cute

Our new kittens are keeping us well entertained with their antics!  Both seem to be doing well and are just as sweet and cute as they can be.








Gail ♥

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A Truly Random “Random Act Of Kindness”


What a story!!

Originally posted on GYA today:

Three cheers for Bryant Collins!



credit: USA Today

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