Sunday, August 31, 2008

six word sunday: Sophie visits her long lost relatives.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cautiously Optimistic

Zach and I sat down tonight to watch Barack Obama's acceptance speech. I must say it feels pretty friggin' great to actually be excited about a presidential candidate, as opposed to the past 2 elections (the two that have occured since turning 18 and becoming elegible to vote) where it felt more like just choosing the democratic guy b/c anyone would be better than Bush. I'm looking forward to watching the debates, and seeing what happens over the next few months. It feels like such an exciting time in history, and not just because of the color of Obama's skin. Regardless of his heritage, he seems like a man that can truly inspire, and that could do so much good, who might be remembered for years to come for the legacy he'll create.

In matters closer to home and on a less grand scale, D may perhaps possibly be on his way to maybe moving to longer naps. Maybe. The past few days he's taken a few naps that were an hour long or more. Most of them are still right at about 30 minutes, but there's been one or 2 in a day, on 3 of the past 4-5 days, that have been longer. He's had random naps before that were long (once every several weeks maybe), about 1-1hr15, but usually he'd wake up from those crying as if he were trying to sleep longer and woke up before he was ready. This time, he's been waking up his usual happy self. I'm trying not to get my hopes up, as I don't know if this is truly him shifting or just a phase. We shall see.

Something else that's kinda exciting? In the past 2-3 weeks I've had 2 slip-ups with the no-cow-products-diet. I had a capuccino while out on a ladies' night out (completely forgot till too late that it had, um, milk) and then last weekend I had a beef empanada without thinking. In the past when I've had slip-ups like this D would end up with one or more poopy diapers with bits of blood in them again, usually within 1-4 days after I'd eaten the Forbidden Food. These past 2 times? Nothing. We're on day 6 since the empanada incident, and... nothing.

Do I dare hope that he may have outgrown his dairy allergy already? I read somewhere that some babies get over it after 6 months or so. Or maybe once-in-a-while indulgences might be tolerable now? I don't know. I don't want to push it, but selfishly it would be SO NICE to get to have a bit of Swiss ice cream before leaving. After noticing the pimples on his stomach and worrying that they were a reaction to one of the foods we'd introduced, I cut down to just cereal, and after 3 days I hadn't noticed any significant differecne so cut out all solids and after close to a week there still wasn't a significant change so I'm assuming it's just irritation from scooting around on his belly so much now (aslo Ive since read that allergic reactions to food tend to be more obvious than that). So I started him back up on solids a few days ago. I want to give him the next week ot build up a decent repertoire of at least a few foods (cereal, carrots, apples, plus a few new ones). Then I might dare to do the ice cream test. D has one more check-up with our pediatrician next week, and so I'll ask his opinion about all this. I realize it's selfish, but it sure would be nice for me to be able to indulge in my favorite food group again, even if it's just every once in a while.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sketchy Geneva Mechanics

As part of getting the scooter ready for sale, Zach took it in last week to get the oil changed and to get a side mirror replaced. It should have been a pretty simple deal, and inexpensive, as Zach had already purchased the mirror and it only needed to be attached. For the sake of simplicity he took the scooter to the same shop he bought it from maybe a year ago. He made it clear to them that all he wanted done was the oil change and mirror.

He called today to double-check if the scooter was ready, and they said it was but oh by the way it was due for the 25,000km servicing and so they went ahead and did that and the total's now gonna be $500.

Does this seem utterly baffling to anyone else? In the US I have never had a mechanic make a repair without getting my ok first (usually they even need your signature for approval). Can you imagine how bad it would be if already-questionable mechanics had the green light to just perform repairs as they saw fit without getting your permission first? (well, for starters, you'd end up getting charged $500 for something that should have been $100 at the very most).

Zach's currently in talks with the shop, they're offering to let him pay only $400 for the repairs, or to go ahead and buy the scooter off him (for $400 less than our original asking price). I don't know if they had any sort of a plan all along, if they're intentionsally being sketch, if maybe this is just the way things are done here. But it seems kinda shafty to me.

Moving Updates (gotta love the beaurocracy)

We got a package in the mail yesterday from the company that will be shipping all our stuff. In the package was the paperwork we'll need to fill out for the move, including forms from the US.

Are you ready for this?

Turns out we are required to list out all the items we have bought abroad (outside the US), separated into lists of items bought more than 1 year ago and less than 1 year ago. For household items that are less than 1 year old, we need to list the price, date, and place of purchase. Duties will then be charged on these items by the US (this would be on top of the local 15-20% value-added taxes already paid when we bought the stuff to begin with-- yes, sales tax is that high in Europe). For household items more than 1 year old, we're supposed to have proof of them being over a year old, otherwise duties will be charged on them, too. Oh, and they'll charge duties on any personal items bought, ever, no matter how old.


We're trying to figure out how big a deal this really is, and how big of a pain in the ass. Seems kind of ridiculous to have to prove that our $20 Ikea chairs are really over a year old. Or have to remember the exact purchase price or location of, say, the ceramic chanchito I bought in Chile. Zach's wondering if we can get away with just not listing anything, claiming it all came over with us.

In other move-related news, time seems to be moving at serious warp speeds. The movers are coming on Thursday to pack up our things, which will then be shipped off on Friday. ONE WEEK FROM TODAY. My brother arrives that same Friday, he'll spend the weekend here with us in an empty house before leaving for a week in the mountains with us and my mom and step-dad (who'll be meeting us there). We then come back from our week away, have less than 5 full days to finish up any last-minute stuff, and fly out that next Friday, exactly 3 weeks from today.

We're trying to fit in time to see our friends at least one last time before we leave, which is turning out to be kinda complicated. The funny thing about being an expat in Europe is that, while normally weekends are the time to spend time with friends, weekends for you instead become your time to travel meaning everyone's away. We're having some people over this Sunday, but it's mostly gonna turn out to be village and work friends as most of our ex-pat friends are predictably out of town. We may get to do a dinner with them one of our last days here, though. These next 5 days will be spent sorting through stuff, deciding what can go in the big shipment, what can be set aside for the later, shorter air shipment, and what we'll have room for in our suitcases (which coincides with, what do we need to have with us till the last minute?). The process of endless list-making has begun, the only way to keep my head from spinning completely out of control.

After putting D down to bed last night, Zach and I took the baby monitor and went next door for dinner (it's been such a nice perk having the restaurant right next door, gonna miss that!). As we sat on the outdoor patio we saw a huge tractor pull up and park on the street right across from the resto, and as the man go out 2 other men sitting at a table behind me started shouting teasing greetings to him. I don't know if this had been a planned meeting or coincidence, but the man with the tractor came and sat down at the table with his 2 friends and they ordered another carafe of wine. I listened to their animated conversation, not being able to understand half of what they said, enjoying instead the ability to listen simply to the cadence of the language without the distraction of words or their meaning. It may be annoying and frustrating to stumble along in a language you don't quite grasp, but I will also greatly miss having it be all around, listening to it constantly, and the triumphant feeling that comes after having a conversation in French that you actually understood and spoke well in. I will also greatly miss this village, where the sight of horses tied up outside the restaurant has become commonplace, where people almost always say "bonjour" or "bon soir" when passing, where we've really only just begun forming relationships with the locals.

When we left California it was sad in a way, but mostly exciting-- we had this whole new adventure ahead of us, and a great place that we were leaving but knew we'd come back to. This time there's still the excitement about our destination, looking forward to reuniting with good friends and our former favorite places, but it's also strange and bittersweet to know that we're leaving this wonderful place that, realistically, we may never have a chance to come back to again.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lyon, Revisited

Zach and I questioned whether this trip would be a good idea, pretty much up till the day we left. We had the Hilton points saved up and figured it'd be nicer to use them up in Europe than in the US, and we'd already been to Lyon and this particular Hilton once before (back in December) so we knew that it was a decent set-up for traveling with a kid-- there's a really nice park right across the street from the Hilton, and buses that take you into the center of Lyon in about 15 minutes. However we wondered how painful the trip would be with a 6 month old.

This was D's second weekend trip within Europe (his first was to Avignon, at 3 months) and really he did great. The difficulty level of each day was no worse, and perhaps better, than it probably would have been spending the weekend at home, and we got the added benefit to explore a French city. The hardest part, as was expected, was when we wanted to sit down to eat and, understandably, D wasn't usually too keen on sitting in his stroller while we were stationary. We spent many meals trading off holding him, or walking him around the square trying to get him to fall asleep. But there were a few times when he'd go to sleep at the right time and we'd get to enjoy a blissful 30 minutes of enjoying our food and the views around, and some peace and quiet. It may have been easier if there were more fast food options available, as there will be in the US, but in a way it's almost nicer to be forced to sit down at a restaurant as you're making yourself get a better meal, even if it is a bit more painful at times.

We unfortunately hit a bunch of traffic on the way there so the supposed less-than-2-hour trip wound up taking closer to 2.5-3 hours, and D was clearly getting a bit tired of his car seat near the end there, but we survived. The hotel was nice, the staff is always very nice, we got a great room and thanks to Zach's status with Hilton (the bonus side of lots of business travel) we were once again treated to access to the executive lounge, something we took advantage of daily.

We arrived Saturday afternoon and after checking in to the hotel and spending a bit of time getting settled in, we ventured out to find some lunch. I wondered how our food experience would go this time-- Lyon is known as a major food capital for France. Last time, though, due in large part to it being the weekend of the festival of lights and thus the city being packed with people, we didn't get to try going to one of the fancier, better-known restaurants in town, and the meals we did have were not great (except for the one at Le Gargouille, that place was fabulous). This time went much better, though. After lunch at a cafe near the hotel, we walked over to the Parc de la Tete d'Or, which is HUGE. We'd explored it some in December but thanks to a very pregnant me and the not-so-great weather, we didn't really spend that much time there. This time it was sunny and beautiful, and the park was filled with people and families, not to mention the at least 3 or 4 sets of brides and grooms taking pictures at various locations throughout the park. We grabbed dinner at a lakeside joint, the type that basically has hot dogs and sandwiches, but the view was lovely.


We stretched D's bedtime back to about 8pm both these nights, which luckily he didn't seem to mind and helped make our evenings more manageable. The hotel had set up a pack-and-play for him to sleep in, and he went to bed easily and wonderfully while we kept the lights low in the room and read or watched tv quietly for a bit before hitting the sack ourselves. Kind of nice to be forced to go to bed earlier, really. ; )

Sunday we ventured into town. We explored spots we'd been to last time, like Place Bellecoeur and the area near the opera house, but also got to venture more into the old town parts which we didn't see much last time but are really adorable. We made a walk-through down one farmer's market and stumbled upon the Chilean empanada stand that we discovered in December, and of course had to buy some. I had the presence of mind to know I couldn't have the cheese empanadas, but didn't think till too late that the meat ones are made with, well, BEEF. This is why I don't do diets, people, I SUCK at keeping any food restrictions straight. Oh well, it's now been going on 4 days and D hasn't seemed to have a reaction to it yet, so I'm kinda hopefuly actually. And the empanada was friggin YUM and very worth it.


Later on we also enjoyed some very yummy crepes, stumbled upon an outdoor used book sale where Zach got a stack of French books for cheap, and debated attempting a visit into the fine arts museum but settled for having a drink at the museum cafe instead (which, btw, was really really cute).

By late afternoon we headed back down towards the hotel, partook in the sweets and snacks available at the executive lounge, I watched a bit of a a French circus show on tv which only made me feel really really bad for circus animals, and then we had a faux-mexican dinner at one of the other restaurants near the hotel.

Monday we got all packed up and checked out and then headed back into Lyon center for a last few hours. We found a cute little toystore where I bought D a super adorable wooden carousel musical toy that plays Dixieland (of all songs... there was one that played Frere Jaques, but the colors on it were kinda ugly). We stopped for lunch at Le Gargouille, remembering it having been such a great place before, and it did not disappoint, even if Zach and I did eat in shifts while trying to get a very tired D to fall asleep in his stroller. Afterwards we went inside the cathedral on that same square (forget which one this was) and it was stunning because the glass windows were actually exposed to light, and the sun was streaming in, causing these beautiful colored patterns to form on the floor. It's crazy how many stained-glass cathedrals we've been to and rarely ever seen this effect. It was gorgeous. I think after that we walked around just a bit more, and then were on the road again by mid-afternoon.

Travel has definitely changed completely with D, and at one point Zach was getting a bit frustrated by this aspect, how much more limited you are with a kid in tow (and D is still pretty easy to manage, I imagine it's a whole other world with a strong-willed toddler along for the ride). But as we were coming home we both felt really glad to have planned this weekend, and had a great time. To be honest I think our travel style now is a bit more like my own, slower paced and more relaxed, whereas Zach has always wanted to go out and see as much as possible to the point of sometimes trying to cram too much into a too-short period of time. Kinda nice to be forced to slow down a bit. ; )


See more pictures here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Montessori Approach to Toys (or at least my attempt toards it)

While working at the Montessori school in California, I avidly took notes on all sorts of things dealing with children and parenting. Each year the teachers would put together a set of parenting seminars. As a staff member I would go to these, and I avidly took notes on all these ideas that seemed absolutely brilliant to me (many of which came from How To Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, a fabulous book). One such idea was that of organizing and storing toys.

It is an essential Montessori principle to make your environment as simple, neat, and organized as possible. Materials are displayed on the shelf in a way that is pleasing to the eye, each with its own specific place. One can then take this principle and apply it at home by selecting a limited number of toys to have out on a shelf (as opposed to jumbled up in a toy box), where they will be easier to see, to keep organized and uncluttered, and be better cared for. Other toys can be kept in boxes in a closet, to be rotated out from time to time. I loved this system and vowed to use it for my own kids one day.

I am proud to say that so far I've done pretty ok with this. I've made a conscious effort not to go crazy buying toys for D-- something that's been made easier thanks to my aversion to cheap plastic toys that make noise, meaning the toys I do buy tend to be wood and thus more expensive. We bought a low, long shelf from Ikea for D's room (which I think is actually meant as an entertainment center, whatevs) and I keep his books and some toys displayed on it.


The rest of his toys are in containers in a closet, and I switch out at least some toys about once every week or couple of weeks. I also keep some toys in our living room downstairs, it's been a bit tougher keeping that number limited but I try to have only as many toys and books as will fit in the basket where I keep them. After our move and once we're setting up our new place, I'd love to get another shelf for our living area where we can keep a few toys for playing with.

D has started being able to scoot himself over to the shelves and grab toys off the bottom shelf. This means that we quickly end up with all sorts of stuff all over the floor, which is great for him playing-- he loves scooting from one toy over to another to play with, then remembering the first toy and going back to it, and on and on. But I am also trying to start the habit already of putting everything back on the shelves when we finish playing. I'll do it while D is looking, talking to him about how I'm putting X and Y back on the shelf. I have no idea if this will make getting him in the habit of cleaning up easier, but I figure it's worth a shot, right? ; )

I'm hoping if we get into these habits early, it'll be less of a struggle later on. And I mean that not just for him but also for myself, as I know I have trouble staying organized. I'm trying to work towards living a simpler life and not having so much stuff because it soon gets overwhelming trying to deal with it all (something that's most noticeable when you're in the process of moving it) and so I'm trying to practice this for D, and learn how to model it in myself and our home.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sleep Updates: 6.5 months

(This is kinda more for me than anything else, I realize most people might not be interested in my son's sleep habits. Be sure to scroll down to the next post, though, to see some super unbelievably cute pictures of D and his daddy. =P)

D's bedtime has slowly been moving up over time, which has been nice. I like getting a bit of time in the evening where Zach and I can spend time on the internet talking to each other and eat dinner without constant baby interruptions. However the price for an earlier bedtime is being paid the next morning. He used to sleep in as late as 9am before being up for the day, which slowly moved up to 7/8am, and the past week or so has been at about 5:30am. Yes, really. I can take a 6am wake up time, really I can, but anything before then just seems kind of... cruel.

D's been going to bed by 7pm for the past month or so. I've often read that babies tend to ironically sleep better and longer if they go to bed earlier, but I'm not sure that's quite true for D and I also think 7pm is already on the early side and would rather not move his bedtime much earlier than that unless necessary. So I'm trying an experiment this week, delaying his bedtime till about 7:30-8pm or so and seeing how it goes. Both of the nights in Lyon he went to bed around 8pm and woke up promptly at 5:30am, but then last night he was in bed at 7:30pm and slept in till 6:10am. Progress? Fluke? Who knows. Only time will tell.

Sleep has otherwise been going pretty well. Every once in a while he'll have trouble falling asleep for a nap, but the vast majority of the time he falls asleep easily. I think a lot of it is me catching him at the right time and knowing when to put him down (naps are still about 30mins in length, sometimes 45min, and happen every 1.5 hrs or so). Bedtime's been super easy lately, he almost never has trouble falling asleep at night. I'll lay him down and his thumb goes in his mouth and he rolls onto his side and I won't hear a peep from him again (for at least a few hours, anyway...). I think adding a bath to his bedtime routine has helped, mostly b/c it seems that makes the whole bedtime preparations long enough so he has time to switch over to "sleep mode" and is pretty ready for it by the time I lay him down.

One thing that's really sweet that he's started doing lately is that, as I hold him and sing him a lullaby before laying him down in his bed, he puts his thumb in his mouth and lays his head down on my chest. I love it, that feeling of him snuggling up to me like that. It is interesting to note that he's using his thumb more often-- primarily when going to sleep, but every once in a while I see him pop it in his mouth during waking hours though it'll be only for a minute or 2 usually. I think my sister finds this endearing as she herself was a thumb-sucker as a child. ; ) I know many moms would freak about this b/c of the fear of having a 7 yr old still sucking his thumb. I figure it's WAY too early to worry about that, and am more than happy for him to have found a way to self-soothe (not to mention that it's become one nice cue to me of him being tired).

Speaking of bedtimes, I'm also making a concerted effort to get to bed sooner myself, so that when he wakes at 2am to feed (or midnight, or 10:30pm, or 3am, or whenever he decides he wants to wake up on any particular evening as they tend to all be different) I'll have had a better chance of getting a good 4+ hours of sleep.

Photos: Father & Son

Alternate post title: Cutest Photos EVER.

Seriously, I about died as I was taking these, they are just so precious. We had just checked into our room and were taking a bit of a break before heading back out again, and Zach and Donovan were playing on the bed and, well, yeah. Cutest. Ever.








D certainly seems drawn to the camera (which I'm grateful for, as it's meant I've had no trouble getting pictures of him looking straight at it). However now that he's mobile-ish he's able to scoot towards me and try to grab at it, which will make things a bit more difficult. In this particular photo I think he was drawn to the lens cap which was dangling off the lens thanks to this little elastic band Zach got for it, which I may stop using as much if it's going to turn into baby bait.

There's more where those came from, btw...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Wisest Words I've Read in a Long Time

We got back this afternoon from spending the weekend in Lyon. We had a lovely time. D was great, seemed to really like being out and about for the most part.

I have updates and pictures to share before long, but for right now I just wanted to write a short post about something that I found as I was catching up on Google Reader. It's from Ask Moxie, in response to a question about a 1 year old who was waking up at night all over again. Here's the bit:

"Here's my musing: I thought it was so bizarre to get to one year, and then feel like my child was in such flux. It made 365 days seem completely arbitrary. You think, when your baby's an infant, that a year actually means something. To me it just seems like a big period of flux in all sorts of areas."(link)

Thank you, Moxie. Thank you. I think you are the only one that talks about infants in a way that seems to actually apply to my own. I have been baffled at how a baby of 4, 5, 6 months, in so many other ways so much more advanced than a newborn, could still be waking and eating as often as he did back then, and how his "routine" (hah!) and daily needs seem to change on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. It almost makes me mad now when I think of all the books I've read that all claim that babies are "supposed to" stop waking at night to feed by 3-6 months, how babies are "supposed to", well, anything, and maybe I just have a baby that's far from the average range of how things are supposed to happen, but everything I read about infant sleep/eating habits? So does not seem to apply to my child.

And thus it was so refreshing to read those words above, it was like the sky opened up and light streamed down. I think I need to print them out and paste them where I can see them often, as a reminder that life will be a steady stream of unsteadiness and change for the next 6 months (and beyond, I imagine) and to stop waiting for this or that to happen because who knows if it will or not. So what if D is still eating every 2 hours during the day? So what if he takes 5+ catnaps instead of 2-3 longer ones? It seems to work for him, and at the moment it's still working for me as well, and until one of those things changes I will try to do what he needs of me and take each day (and night) as it comes.

So much for this being a short, quick post.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Brown Eyed Boy


One of the comments people make the most when they meet D is what big eyes he has. Which always makes me smile, b/c people used to say that about me a lot. =P Tp be honest, I myself get entranced by his big brown eyes quite often. God help us, with those eyes and that dimple he's gonna be such a lady killer when he grows up...

D's getting really good at the army crawl. My days of being able to set him down somewhere and trust that he'll stay there are most definitely over. He's been having a ball up in his room scooting around all over the wood floor. It's been a lesson in needing to keep our floors cleaner, though-- several times I've picked him up and his front will be filthy. Hmmm maybe I should start sticking swiffer o-mop cloths on his clothes. ; )

We had a bit of a rough night last night. Nothing too bad, just lots of interrupted sleep for me. It'll be nice when I'm able to consistently get more than 5 hours of sleep at a time again. The other day I was looking through a magazine and saw another blurb about how important it is to get your sleep and how even one night of sleep deprivation can cause you to be more prone to accidents, blah blah blah. HAH. It's a wonder us new moms are still alive, eh?

Of course the other problem is that D usually goes to bed around 7pm and I often don't make it there myself till, um, 10. That needs to change. Especially since his morning wakeup time seems to have moved itself up to 6am.

I was shocked when I realized that today's Friday. This week flew by somehow. We're going out of town this weekend, a little family getaway for the 3 of us. I guess we'll need to pack and get ready tonight, then we're driving out tomorrow morning. I was filling out a profile for the Mom Blog Network the other day and one of the questions was something about your ideal vacation spot, and I laughed at how much that has changed in the past 6 months. My ideal vacation spot used to be anyplace that seemed interesting and fun, hopefully with lots of sun and good food.. Now some of the first things I think of when thinking of places to go are, "Can they accomodate a baby? Do they have a bed for him or do we need to bring one? What kind of take-out food will there be, b/c we're not gonna be spending much time sitting in restaurants...." My how life has changed....

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Going Green(er)

After reading a few posts on this blog, and sending a bit of time on Skin Deep looking into the toxicity levels of the various beauty and body products we use, I'm deciding to make an effort to move towards less-toxic products. I've looked through all that same information before, blowing it off because, sure, several ingredients in my favorite blush/shampoo/lotion/etc might be linked to cancer and all sorts of other ugly, ugly things, but they can't be that bad, right?

But now I'm looking through it all again, and thinking about a Glamour article (September issue) I recently read about how many experts are starting to think that all the extra chemicals in our daily lives (our food, our skincare products, our plastics, etc) might be the reason for the incredible spike in autoimmune diseases in the past couple decades, and I think about the battle my brother fought with cancer and of all the other people we have known who have had to face that awful disease... and then I look at D and think about how I want to protect him from all that as much as I can.

I don't know how much of a difference any of it really makes. But I feel like I have to at least try. Try to eat organic, fresh foods as opposed to processed, try to choose brands that have a lower toxicity score, try to get into habits like not microwaving anything in a plastic container. It's not like these are difficult changes to make, and so it makes sense to me to do so for the potential benefit.

For the Mamas and the Papas out there

I really want to get into the habit of singing lots to and with Donovan, both traditional children songs and also more "contemporary" music (not sure that title fits totally when some of the music in mind is Beatles or Sinatra songs, but mainly just getting away from always using kid songs). I don't play any instruments, but I figure I have a half-decent voice and thus this is my way of passing a love of music on to D. With the more adult music I can put in CDs and listen to them to learn/refresh on the words, but I feel like I also have this huge arsenal of songs that I learned as a kid or half-learned while working at the Montessori school, but can never seem to remember well enough to actually sing them through. Every once in a while I'll sit down and try to google lyrics to this or that particular song, but that only gets you so far.

Then today I came across a blog I discovered a while ago, and a new site, both of which will help a LOT with building up a better song list to use. The blog called No Time for Flash Cards. She has a ton of great activities to do with kids, which D is a bit young for still, but she also makes videos of herself singing different childrens songs and writes out the lyrics. A lot of them are ones that I kinda sorta remembered, and then hearing them through once is enough.

The second site, which I just found today and am really psyched about, is called BusSongs. This site looks AWESOME. It has lyrics to different lullabies, childrens songs, and nursery rhymes, and for many songs you can download an audio clip of the music if needed. You can browse by title, popular songs, song categories, or search using a keyword. I'm really excited to look through this site-- D and I have developed a routine where I sing him a lullaby before each nap and bedtime, and right now I have all of 3 that I cycle through and it'd be nice to have a few more. Not to mention how great it'll be to look up and learn fun play songs like Little White Duck (which was one of my favorites that was often sung at the school) and There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (which I tried to sing the other day, and failed miserably as I couldn't even get past the first line without stumbling and realizing I'd completely forgotten how this song went). Oh, and I also need to re-learn all the words to The Rainbow Connection, an old beloved favorite of mine (which, btw, is also a fabulous waltz).

Anyway, so I think this site is great and figured some of you moms and dads out there might also find it cool and perhaps a bit useful. Heck, maybe I need to show it to Zach, too, so he can expand his repertoire a bit beyond The Eyes of Texas (which, surprisingly enough, does actually make for a pretty good lullaby). =P

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Warning: There's talk of poop in this post. But also of super-cool pj's. Read at your own risk.

I emailed our list of goods to sell to a couple groups the other day, and have already received lots of responses with takers for this or that. We even have a couple people interested in Zach's scooter. Yay!! =)

What's not so "yay": the pimples/rash/whateveritis are still present on D's tummy, and so I think I will stop giving him cereal for a few days. Also, he has not pooped since FRIDAY. In the week and 1/2 since we started solids, he's only pooped twice, and that was I think Thursday and Friday, and we've had nothing since. Not normal for him. So we'll go back to just the boob juice, and some water, and hope that things get, um, moving soon.

Speaking of movement (um, sorry) D's getting better at this whole scooting thing. Especially on the wood floors, he's quite good. I set him up in his room with a few toys scattered around him and had a blast just watching him go from one to the next, flopping his little body around this way and that. It's hard to believe that just a few months ago he could barely hold his own head up. It's amazing how much more he can do these days. And to think he'll probably be crawling in no time... as Jenny would say, HOLY HANNAH.

IMG_7762 IMG_7835
truck IMG_7825

BTW I also have to share the COOLEST PYJAMAS EVER that Cristina and I found at H&M when she was here. D got to wear them for the first time the other night. It's funny, I'm not even that big a Superman fan, but I just find these adorable.

SuperBaby!! SuperBaby!!

They even have red material on the back. You know, to look like a cape. As a side note, these are size 6-9 months and when I looked at them I thought, "These are HUGE there's no way they'll fit D already." And then I put them on, and sure enough they fit almost perfect. Is he seriously this big already?? (be prepared to hear me ask that question repeatedly over the next 18 years forever).

Shared with Flock - The Social Web Browser

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Items for Sale (revised and updated)

I'm trying to get a jump-start on our moving to-do lists, and one thing we can start doing pretty soon is getting rid of some of the multitudes of electronic stuff that we can't use back in the US. In most cases we still have the original users manuals and product info. To make things simple I think we're just gonna out an even price of 5chf for each item (unless noted), or best offer.

If you want any of these or know someone who'll be moving to Geneva sometime between now and September 19 (moving date) and might be interested, send me an email at mightymarce at

Items in pink are spoken for already

  • Wooden rocking chair(free) (photo)
  • 2001 Honda Civic (email for price and info photo)
  • Honda scooter (photo)

Interest has been expressed in some lamps but no specifics so I'll let people pick out what they want when they come get their other things.

(I'm trying to figure out some sort of system that makes it clear to both you and me what's available and what people have dibs on. So far I've decided on color-coding. Let me know if this system seems horribly confusing. Thanks!)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thanks, y'all =P

Yay, thanks for all the encouraging comments. =) Last night after writing that post I opened up the Cosmo mag that Zach brought me from the US and happened to open it to a story on "fearless females" and as I read all their stories of how they "went for it" it felt like a bit of a sign. ; ) Part of the reason why I wanted to blog about this idea is that by putting it out there, I'm making it more official. I don't want this to be something that just slips away because of inaction or laziness. Whether it happens or not, I want it to be due to a conscious decision, and letting others in on the plan makes it a bit more concrete. Having others encourage me in it makes it even more so.

Unfortunately I seem to have spent every available bit of time the past few days thinking or looking into this potential business idea, and thus have had very little time for anything else-- ironically I have a whole bunch of pictures from over the weekend that I haven't even looked at because of it. I feel like I have a good bit of info for now, and the next big steps to make (like ordering test prints from some different sources to check quality and figure out what I want to use) can't be made until we're back in the US, so will put that on the back burner for now. Till then I can work on improving my post-processing skills, and taking more pictures. I've gotta capitalize on this adorable European village location while I still can, before moving to Enginerdville. I'm sure there will be lots of photo inspiration ideas there, too, but you know, the windows are just not as cute. ; )

I also still need time to think of a business name. I know the "in thing" in photography is to use your first and last name as your business name, but that doesn't appeal to me for some reason. So I'm trying to think of something else, something fun, and kinda cute and quirky maybe? I have no idea, really. If you have any ideas I'd love to hear them. Once I do settle on a name, though, I think I'm gonna have to ask this genius woman to make me a logo. I am currently in love with most of her designs.

In D-man updates, I did get around to uploading a whole bunch of new videos to youtube so go check them out. There's even one of him SCOOTING along the wooden floor in his room today. I know, seriously. The video's so cute, too, you can tell by his giggles how proud of himself he is for having figured this out. We'll see if he still remembers how to do it tomorrow. =P

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sundays were made to be lazy

I was supposed to go to a baby shower today. Unfortunately when I woke up this morning (at 5am... b/c D decided that was an appropriate time to start the day) I kinda knew I just wasn't feeling it. Both Zach and I were pretty exhausted, it's been a long week, and the thought of going into town with D and only being able to stay for an hour or 2 max before he started getting cranky and needing a nap, and then having to come back... well, I got lazy. I kinda feel bad, but it was also a nice day to get to just hang out and enjoy a Sunday at home, together.

I've been spending a lot of time online reading up on different photography... stuff. Watching GIMP editing tutorials on youtube, reading up on techniques and software, etc in various forums (I've been particularly obsessed with this flickr group's discussion threads), lusting after lenses we'd love to buy... it goes on. Strangely I haven't spent that much time actually working with many images the past few days, but I figure I'm laying some groundwork. It's tough getting to it in short snatches of time, when I get a few minutes here and there to look something up, but that's life at the moment (hah, "moment," as if that's gonna change anytime soon...). Interestingly enough, though, I've done enough playing around with GIMP so that when I did open up Picasa2 earlier today to touch something up I already felt limited by it. Progress? ; )

I've been playing around with the idea of opening up an etsy shop to sell notecards with my photos on them, and maybe even trying to sell some actual prints. Don't know if it would actually go anywhere, but might be kinda fun to try. Debating on the actual logistics of it all still (buy paper for notecards and stick prints on them? Order photocards from a site and sell those? Does that even count as "homemade" anymore, even if it's my photography? And of course name, pricing, styles, when to actually make any of this stuff, etc etc etc). Of course the budding environmentalist in me is saying, "why do you want to sell paper and things that will just create more trash??" Not quite sure what to do with that yet. Of course then there's the whole aspect of looking around at so many of our friends who all have the same (or better) equipment I do and take incredible pictures, and why do I think I have what it takes to make people want to buy my stuff? But I guess if I never try then I'll never know.

six word sunday: Sitting by the dock, wasting time.

Sitting by the dock, wasting time.

six word sunday challenge

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Somehow I don't remember noticing this as much last summer, maybe when people flew in or out they did so more during the week, but the past 3 times I've had to go to the airport it's been on a weekend and it's been PACKED.

Zach arrived safe and sound. His luggage even arrived on the same flight as he did. IMAGINE THAT. Of course upon seeing us Zach immediately bent down and started saying hi to Donovan, commenting on how big he's gotten and tickling him, and after a minute or 2 of this looks up at me and says, "Um, hi honey, nice to see you, too!" I see where priorities lie. ; ) After an initial period of apparently not being sure of the situation, I think D was quite happy to see his daddy again, and I immediately felt better and more relaxed with him around, getting to talk with him and joke, etc. We knew his work travel would have to be cut way down, that's part of this new position he's been hired for and why we're moving early, but it's been reconfirmed again with this trip. I just don't seem to do well when it's just me and D. I adore the kid like nothing else, but 24/7 with no break for days on end? It seems to do a number on me. At least once we're back in the states if Zach does need to go on a longer trip for some reason it'll be easier to pack me and the kiddo up to go visit family (or recruit someone to come out to us).

welcome home, dad
(you can see that Sierra was also quite happy to have daddy be back home...)

The red dots on D's torso had faded some today. I gave him solids, but it was just cereal. I guess we'll keep doing that for the next few days and then maybe try adding something new. Any advice on whether I should try apples again to check, or avoid them and try something completely new?

Friday, August 15, 2008



I kinda feel bad because, though of course I miss him for the sake of just him, the person, at the moment I'm really really really looking forward to his return also from the standpoint of Another Person To Help Look After The Kid And Entertain Him When He's Pissed Off About Nothing Obvious.

D was slightly... pissy today. I don't know what it was, but you know it's gonna be a bad day when he's fresh from a nice nap and a good feed and he's already upset about something, and you can't figure out what it is. And I could distract him into giggles of pure bliss for minutes at a time by doing things like tossing gently swinging him up in the air, or twirling both of us around the room, or tickling him like mad, but that's kind of exhausting to keep up for hours at a time.

He also seemed extremely hungry today, desperate to eat even before the customary 2 hour mark. I introduced him to carrots today, which seemed to be a hit, especially as I couldn't seem to shovel spoonfuls into his mouth fast enough at "dinner time" tonight. By the way he's developed what looks like little red pimples on his belly, extending out a bit to his chest and groin, and he even has one on his cheek and another on one forearm. It doesn't look like any kind of rash, just scattered pimples, maybe from all the belly time and pivoting around on his tummy that he's been doing lately? I dunno. But if this is instead a sign of some killer flesh-eating disease that I'm not aware of, it'd be fabulous if y'all could let me know. Thanks.

In the bits of free time I got while the little one was napping I did manage to spend some time playing with The GIMP. I've had a lot of people tell me about this free, open-source program that's supposedly just as good as Photoshop, and since it's, well, free and even Photoshop Elements costs a good $100, I figured I'd at least give it a shot. I still wonder about going the PS route, as it's so much more popular and thus there's a lot more knowledge and support for it, but I'm not sure I can justify that cost yet. I did read that sometimes you can get Elements for free bundled with an electronic purchase like a scanner, so I'm wondering if that might be a possibility when we go shopping for a printer (as we may go for a scanner/copier/printer combo as we did when moving here). Anyway, the program's kinda confusing in part b/c there seem to be multiple ways to do essentially the same thing, but I'm kinda starting to figure a few things out. I followed this tutorial to create this after D went to bed tonight, and I was surprised at how simple the steps really were and don't feel quite so intimidated whenever I read the word "layer" in a tutorial anymore. Yay for progress.

EDIT: Damn. Ok, glad I posted about the pimples. I guess we'll cut back to just cereal for a few days and see how it goes.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Secret Interspecies Meeting, interrupted

secret meeting

Sierra: Pssst! Dude, you have got to help me out here...

Donovan: What's up, cat? Hey, what are you doing in my car seat?

Sierra: Well, see that's part of it! How do you get these people to pay attention to you all the friggin time??? I'm pulling out all the stops here-- acting super cute, making those meowing noises Mom thinks are so adorable, leaving my fur everywhere so they'll remember about me... Is it really so much to ask to get fed every once in a while?? Instead they just hover over YOU all the time. I mean, when you get in this seat thingie or that other chair with the wheels, they take you places! But if I sit in them I might get a smile and maybe Mom takes a picture but that's it. I hardly ever get any head scratches anymore. What am I doing wrong?!?

Donovan: Hmmm yeah I can see how that might be annoying... It probably helps that I'm super adorable. I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm kind of like the Zoolander of babies...

secret meeting

Donovan: Another thing, I kinda rely on Mom to do everything for me. Maybe that's part of your problem-- you're too self-sufficient. Maybe if you threw up on their bed more often? I also cry a lot until I get picked up. That one works every time. You could try that, too.

Sierra: Hmmm... interesting ideas...

Donovan: Tell you what. I feel bad, I wanna help you out. How about with the food thing? I'm starting to get more food now, so here's what I'll do-- when Mom feeds me I'll get that apple stuff all over my hands, and then I'll hang them over the edge of my chair and that's when you come in and lick it off. Ok? That apple stuff is pretty tasty.

Sierra: Could try to get Mom to feed you tuna? Or maybe some chicken? I really prefer tuna or chicken. Apples have never really been my thing.

secret meeting

Donovan: WHOA HEY MOM! Um, how long have you been there? Sierra and I were just, uh, we were just ... talking. About... nothing. Nothing at all. No I did not tell her to throw up on your bed! Um uh um IT'S ALL HER FAULT, SIERRA DID IT!

Sierra: WHAT? Friggin tattle-tale. That's it, kid. You're so never getting this seat thingie back.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Who wouldn't wanna watch a baby eat mush?

I have a crapload of video clips that I need to upload to youtube, but for now here's one that I took today and got up on flickr, of D having some cereal and apples.

Today was a MUCH nicer day out, and I packed D up and we headed on up into town. We had a nice enough day of it, he now has a little sunshade umbrella for his strollers and I also found some organic jarred food for him at a couple small "bio" stores in town. I'm once again running into the whole cultural different-standards deal with baby food, as it feels like in the US we're so protective of making sure to isolate all foods while introducing them, and here you start with 3-grain cereal (instead of plain rice) and every since jar of baby food I could find (all labeled for 4 months and up) was mixed with something-- either fruit/veggie mixes, or premixed with rice or potatoes. I also have a sample of baby cereal that I got in the mail and the instructions say to mix it with milk, as in regular cow's milk, and it specifically says that it's cereal for babies 4 months old and up. In the states you'd be considered a neglectful parent if you gave cow's milk anytime before the first birthday.

We made a quick stop at Starbucks between shopping destinations, as it was on the way, I needed a place to feed D, and I knew their bathrooms were A) big enough to bring the stroller in with me and b) had changing tables. I had just bought a water someplace else, so while I was tempted by their new pomegranite peach frappuccino, the 7chf+ price for a small felt like a bit much so instead I just got a blueberry muffin... which was frozen in the middle. Oh well. Looking forward to Starbucks runs back in CA, where I don't have to feel so guilty if I want to buy myself a fun drink for the day.

Unfortunately D was having a hard time napping in his stroller for some reason, and so he was awake from 8:30am till just after noon. Uh, not really his usual thing. He was surprisingly calm, but then as we were heading back on the bus he started getting upset and once we got home he threw a HISSY FIT it was kinda nuts. So I gave him an early feeding and then he napped some more and was ok after that. But, um, goodness. NOT looking forward to the tantrum years...

Two and a half days till Zach gets home. Yay! It sure is rough doing this all on your own. Oh, and tickets for our flight to the US are booked... eek! We opted for not sitting bulkhead this time, and instead got D his own seat. This way all four of us (including Sierra) can sit together, and hopefully having D in his carseat in his own seat will work out ok. The poor kid's gonna be in for one wild ride-- the week before we move my mom and step-dad are coming out and we're going on vacation with them to the mountains for a week, then will come back to our empty house for 4 days before shipping out to California to stay in a furnished rental for a month before moving to our more permanent-ish apartment/house/whatever. Could be a rough couple months....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A is for Apple

Today was a rainy, dreary day. It would have been a great day for us to get out of the house just for a change of scenery, but the gushing raindrops coming down left me with absolutely no desire to even make the walk out to our car to drive anywhere. Hopefully tomorrow is different.

D had some apples today! He seemed to like them. With the cereal and potatoes that he's had before he'll "chew" and swallow and seem ok with it once it's actually in his mouth, but getting any food in there was a challenge as he didn't seem that interested in opening his mouth at all. But with the apples he opened wide, and it was adorable watching him gum the food and mull it over in his mouth. So fun. =)

I've set a goal for myself to make all or most of D's baby food, but I'm finding it a bit of a challenge. Baby food "recipes" are easy enough-- peel, steam, mush. But my only mushing tool right now is a fork, which only gets you so far. When we get to the US I'll get ourselves a food processor but until then I may have to go with jarred stuff... that or stick to super easily mush-able foods. The apples he had today came from single-serving packs that don't have any sugar or anything else added. Those were a nice find.

Zach comes home is 3.5 days. Wheeeee! Can't wait.

Baby Signs

I've been wanting to start using sign language with D. I've heard so many wonderful things about doing this, and the idea of having an older infant who's able to communicate at least some ideas before being able to vocalize just sounds awesome to me. I was having a hard time finding good online resources for signs, though, and I didn't want to go out and buy a whole book (especially since my access to English language books is still quite limited and tres cher right now). Then today I came across the Michigan State University ASL Browser which is AWESOME, it has a lot of the vocab words I've been searching for and provides both a description and video of how to do the sign. I wanted to share this, for any other moms out there who might be interested in this and want to take a look.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Need to get to bed, but...

I had to post about this first.

Earlier today I was doing some stuff on the computer while D was sitting on my lap. He as quite happy tapping his hands on the table, and then he grabbed for a pen to play with. I let him play with it, warning him not to stick it too far in his mouth, He seemed ok with this.

I had assumed the pen had a cap on it.

Turns out, it did not.

I realized this when I glanced down after he'd let go of the pen and noticed it cap-less. Then I looked at his face...

ink face

I apologized to him for having such a neglectful mother. But first I snapped a couple pictures. I think he was actually quite proud of himself. =P

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The search of our next "home, sweet home."

Zach spent some time yesterday driving through neighborhoods and getting an idea of where we may want to live when we move back. We're still trying to debate our choices-- apartment or house? Cheap, temporary apartment till we find something nicer, or splurge right off the bat? Pay to live in a cuter neighborhood within walking distance to one of our favorite farmers markets, or save what might be several hundred buckaroos a month and live in a slightly less cute location? Should we live closer to Zach's office for shorter commutes, or try to be close to other friends? Go for cheaper rent in hopes of saving up a down payment so we can buy in a couple years, or pay a bit more now and hold off on buying? Will 1-2 years from now even be a better time to buy or will prices still be declining at that point? Will we ever be able to find something we can afford there?

During the 3 years that we lived in California we had many many people telling us we should buy a house. The state mantra was "BUY BUY BUY even if you can't afford it just BUY already BECAUSE LOOK AT ALL THE MONEY YOU'LL MAKE!!!!" And for a while that was true. In those 3 years the average housing prices in Santa Clara went up something like 20% every year. Buying a house wasn't so much about making yourself a Home to live in with your family, but instead seemed to be more about making a financial investment. We looked into buying a condo that first year, but didn't for a couple of reasons: 1) our plan at the time was to live in California for 3-4 years, which to me seemed like not long enough to justify the headache and potential hassles of buying and then selling a house, and 2) Zach looked at the housing market and the prices, etc, and thought, "Um, this is nuts. There's no way it can keep up like this."

And I know it's a bit childish and petty of me, but I do feel a bit justified in seeing that he was right.

Many of our friends in the area bought houses, and while I;m sure the downturn isn't great for them it also doesn't seem like they're being that negatively affected by it. Which I'm glad-- I would hate to see any of them in trouble. But I'm also glad that we made the decisions we did, and that we didn't cave to all those people who told us we HAD to buy and were practically stupid for not doing so.

I don't see buying a house as an investment. To me, buying a house is about a Home. About deciding that This Is Where I Want to Live. We don't need anything very big, but we do want it to be attractive and inviting. And when we do buy, I'd like it to be a home we can see ourselves living in for years and years.

Buying in California is still more expensive than renting. Our tentative time-line right now is to maybe buy in 2+ years, depending on what's still going on with the market, our finances, our life situation, etc. Ultimately the decision of where we live next won't be made until we're back and actively looking and able to see what our options look like. There's the desire to save up and thus find a cheaper option, battling the desire to live in a cute neighborhood or opting to rent a house instead of an apartment. Part of me is dreading the search-- I'm sure touring rentals will be BREEZE with a 7 month old in tow! But part of me also can't wait to get started, excited to see where this next phase of our lives will take us.

six word sunday: Thanks for the visit, Aunt Criss!!


six word sunday challenge

We took Cristina to the airport this morning for her flight back to the US. I'm so, so glad she was able to come out to visit-- to come back to Europe, so see our home and village, to hang out with D, to spend this time with us while Zach's been away. Now we'll just have to get her and Greg to come out to California to visit all of us there, too. Apparently the NaNoWriMo headquarters are in San Francisco, so between that, Donovan, me, Zach, and Jenny all being located in the same basic area, she' really has no excuses not to go. ; )

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Neither Here nor There (yet both at the same time)

I'm starting to feel a bit more sad about leaving here. It's sinking in, I guess, that we only have just a little over a month left, and I'm realizing all the things I will miss. Like the chocolate, and our house, and this village, and swiss chocolate, and walking outside and seeing fields and grapevines as far as the eye can see, and did I mention the chocolate? As infuriating and intimidating as it can be at times to be surrounded by a language you don't quite understand, I'm going to miss hearing French and using it on a regular basis. I know myself, and I know I won't keep it up on my own after we move back (especially since, if I'm going to spend time on another language, I'll be focusing on Spanish instead of French or anything else). I'll miss being able to ride the trams into town and not worry about driving most of the time. I'll miss the feeling that we live in this safe little community, going next door for dinner or just drinks out on the terrace when it's sunny, and people-watching while passing all the outdoor tables at cafes that line the streets all over Geneva. I will miss the friends we have made here, our neighbors, even the acquaintances we have made like people in the village we say hello to but never talk to for more than 5 minutes at a time, or the staff at the restaurant. I will miss having a little enclosed patio that Sierra can frolick in, and seeing people on horseback ride along the street in front of our home on a daily basis (the horse poop, though, not so much).

At the same time, there's the part of me that can't wait till we're back in California. Zach is there right now, and hearing his stories of spending time with our friends, and seeing pictures posted online, makes me so so excited to be back there with all of them. I'm looking forward to the perfect California weather, meeting up with friends for farmer's markets on the weekends. Buying the gigantor-size bag of kettle corn, and letting Donovan have a kernel or 2 (you know, when he's got some teeth to chew it with). Flying home to Texas to see the family again, and having them visit us as well. Picking Jenny up at the caltrain station so we can have sunday dinner together, or going up to the city to take D to the zoo all. I want to join or set up a weekly playgroup for the kiddoes (and possibly also a monthly ladies night out, copying from the baby talk group's model?). Going to the beach, hiking, and eventually camping, as a family.

I realize our situation is somewhat ridiculous. "We're gonna take you from a beautiful, culturally interesting location that allows you to commune with nature on a regular basis, and make you go to a different beautiful, culturally interesting location that allows you to commune with nature on a regular basis." I have little to complain about, and much to look forward to. The blessing of getting to live in multiple great places is that you're living in great places. The downside is there will always be a place and things about it that you'll miss.

In the next month we have a trip to Saas Fee planned with my mom and step-dad, as well as one last weekend getaway to Lyon. I'm hoping this fabulous (i.e. rain-free) weather continues so D and I can take advantage of many village walks and forays into town. We'll try to enjoy the remainder of our time here, so as to not have regrets about going back and instead being able to focus on all the wonderful and fun things that await us back in the US.

Friday, August 08, 2008


his first taste of cereal!

I think he liked it. =P

Lots of big steps going on around here

D had his 6 month check-up yesterday. Everything went great, our pediatrician's thrilled and we're still on the boob, and he gave us the ok to start solids. He gave me a chart to follow as to what to introduce when, and suggested starting off with a couple meals a day right off the bat. It's a bit different of a plan than what I've been reading about online. His suggestion was to give him potatoes mixed with a veggie for lunch, then cereal either alone or with the same veggies in the evening, then after several days of that introducing a fruit in the mid-afternoon to end up with 3 "meals" a day (by meals, of course, meaning whatever small bits D wants to eat, not replacing any breastmilk yet) and introducing one new food every 2-4 days. I think I might take it a bit slower, going with just cereal for at least a day or 2 before introducing other things with it.

I'm both excited and a bit... nostalgic? Not sure that's the right word. On our way home from the appointment I stopped by a grocery store to buy the type of cereal he recommended, and as I walked towards the checkout counter I felt this sense of this imminent, Big Step that we are taking and how this will be it, there will be no going back to the easy days of just breastfeeding, of not needing to worry about bringing other food for him or preparing anything. And, of course, that whole OMG MY BABY'S GROWING UP thing.

But I'm also excited, because I think D is totally ready for this. I think it's been the right thing to wait till he's 6 months to take this step, and now as we get here I'm getting the sense from him that he is ready in a way that he wouldn't have been just a few weeks ago. And I think he's gonna really like it, and it will be so fun to share some of my favorite fruits and veggies with him and see how he reacts to them.

I've been cautious to get to this milestone, quite willing to put it off as something that I didn't want to have to think about or deal with yet. But as we got ready for yesterday's appointment I realized how excited I am now to get started, how disappointed I would've been if our pediatrician had for some reason suggested waiting instead of giving us the green light. Zach will still be out of town for another week and I know I should wait for him to come home before starting so he can share in this event in D's life, but to be completely honest I'm way too impatient to want to wait a whole other week (I also asked him about this and he was ok with me not waiting for him, obviously f it were very important to him I would wait).

So, I will start him with some cereal today, probably about mid-day. Depending on how it goes I may also give him some in the evening, for the "2nd meal." And I'll probably have multiple cameras going so we can properly document, through photo and video, this Big Step in D's life. Updates to come soon. ; )

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Movin' on up


Donovan has recently taken to trying to grab at most things around him, including anything I'm holding while I am holding him. He decided to show off this new skill last week, when Cristina had him on her lap and was taking a drink from her Coke Light bottle and he reached out to grab it and try to take a sip, too. A couple days ago I was getting myself a glass of water while I was holding him in my arms and he went to grab for the glass. At first I moved it away from him, but then remembered the tidbits I'd come across recently about how many babies are able to start drinking out of a regular cup starting at about this age, so I figured, well, why not?

So I sat him down on my lap and grabbed an absorbent burp rag and whaddayaknow, D was totally into it! I couldn't tell how much water he was actually getting into his mouth, but I held the glass so he had a bit of water up at his lips and he was lapping at it eagerly with his tongue (and none of it was spilling, miraculously) and every time I pulled the glass away from him he'd reach out and bring it back towards his mouth.

I then pulled out one of the sippy cups I bought him a while back cut haven't done much with, and at first he was kinda just playing with it and every time he got a mouthful of water he'd then spit it back out. But after 5-10 minutes he kinda seemed to get the hang of it and started sucking/drinking at the spout. When we were done there was 1-2 oz less water in the cup, and only a little spilled onto his shirt, so I assumed he'd drank the rest. Success!

I tried it again today and he seemed pretty into it again, grabbing the cup and putting the spout eagerly to his mouth and seeming to take in about an ounce (and possibly would drink more, if I took the time with him but I don't want him to get too filled up on water in one sitting). The next step will be to try this with some breastmilk in the cup and see how he reacts to that. If he's willing to drink decent amounts of milk from the sippy cup, well then I might just get some of my freedom back. Which would be pretty sweet.

Part of me is tempted to introduce him to juice, too, but I don't know if I'm quite ready for that. I'd dilute it quite a lot, probably, but I still worry that he might get spoiled by the sweetness and besides I probably should get him started on solids and with a few different kinds before giving him juice, right? Though it's something to add to the questions list for our check-up tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Cristina, Donovan, and I went into town this morning to meet up with the baby talk group I've been going to sporadically the past year. I saw some new people there, and some old people I haven't seen in a while, and D seemed to enjoy hanging out at the park and trying to grab at the grass and another mom's white crocs. We stayed in town for a few hours after that, grabbing a panini and some mini quiches for lunch and then walking around without too much of a plan. The weather was fabulous, if a bit on the warmish side, but definitely a pretty great summer day. It's been so so so nice to get a break from all the rain.

After we got home and while D was napping I managed to find an old childhood friend of mine on facebook, and also look at pictures of my Chilean cousin's baby girl, born maybe a few weeks before D. Ah, then wonders of facebook! Sure, it may bring you across all sorts of acquaintances from high school that you don't necessarily want to keep in touch with, but it also helps you connect with long lost friends you'd all but lost hope of finding again.

And then by chance and on a whim I found myself looking through the Dooce archives from 2004, back when Leta was about D's age-- and when Heather was dealing with her postpartum depression. And it reawakened thoughts I've been having lately wondering about whether what I felt in the months after D was born was just normal "baby blues" or if it was more than that. I don't really know where the lines are drawn or what the different labels really mean in the end. It "went away" on its own, and I didn't lose interest in activities I normally enjoy (as can be seen by my still-regular blogging), nor did I cry all the time or show many other classic symptoms of depression. But I certainly felt anxious and overwhelmed a lot, weighed down by the immense responsibility we had bourne. I know that what I felt is very normal for many mothers. I also know that many other mothers seem to have it much easier, or at least handle things better. I have only ever become a new mom once, and my only experience is the one that I went through, so it's impossible for me to truly compare it to what other mothers feel and go through or what "normal" might be. And I don't know if it really matters to put a category on it after the fact, as that doesn't change anything about the experience itself. But it's something I've been mulling around in my head some lately, I guess maybe since it's safe to do so now that everything seems so immensely better and those days that at times felt so suffocating are behind me.

So as not to end this post on such a strange note, I will leave you with a picture of my darling boy, who these days I cannot seem to stop gazing at in wonder. I wish there were a way for him to understand how much joy he brings to so many people already, just by being his sweet little self.


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Why on earth is she talking about potties already?!

A few months back I read the book Diaper-Free Before Three. It advocates early potty training, basically that you can introduce a potty chair much sooner than most parents realize (as early as 6 months). You look for patterns to your child's peeing and pooping and you sit them on the potty at about those times. The first "successes" by the child will be random, but the idea is that eventually they start catching on on their own and that you can have a fully potty-trained child by about 2 yrs old, as opposed to waiting till 2-3+ years old to even start (as is common place in the US today).

There are many things about this method that intrigue me. For example, that this "new" and "alternative" method used to be the norm up until about 30-50 years ago, and still is in much of the rest of the world. The book cites all sorts of research that shows that this earlier potty training may actually be better for little children's development, and how there has never been any research to show that waiting for "readiness signs" as is popular today works better at all. I also like that it gives the child independence from diapers, and a parent needing to change them, at an earlier age (how Montessori, right?), along with the idea of using fewer diapers overall over the course of the child's life (fewer diapers for the landfills!).

Unfortunately I'm starting to wonder how well this would work for D. It seems to work best for children whose bodies are naturally more regular, something that D has not shown to be. Even now at 6 months of age he has yet to form much of an eating schedule-- he eats anywhere from every 2-3+ hours throughout the day, with that pattern changing from one day to the next and as the day goes on. Be cause his eating is not regular yet, his peeing and pooping don't seem to be at all regular, either. He has yet to develop a napping schedule, waking for 1-2 hours at a tome before needing to nap (for 30-45 minutes at a time). Even his night sleep still changes from one week to the next (last week he was sleeping from 7-8 pm through till 4-5am, then the past few days started waking at 1-2am again).

I guess I don't really know how common this is for a 6 month old, but certainly from what I read most of these things tend to "settle" in babies by this time. I'm figuring D may just be one of those ids whose bodies aren't as regular as others. So I think I'll hold off a bit on the potty-introducing. Maybe after the move I'll think about it. I do like the idea of just introducing a potty chair and having him sit in it for a few minutes a day, even if there's no actual "pottying" going on in it but just to get him used to it. So I guess in a few months I might try it, and then follow his lead as to how interested and open he seems to the whole idea.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

six word sunday: Who is the birthday boy today?

Six months ago:


Pretty incredible, isn't it? Happy six month birthday, kiddo!

six word sunday challenge, double picture edition

Because it's difficult to catch/ And excited sort of beetle you've mistaken for a match

I've collected a few poetry books for Donovan already, as I really enjoy reading them to him-- the flow of the language and rhymes is beautiful and so pleasing to the ear (same reason I've been loving reading Dr Seuss to him, too), and poems tend to be short enough so that I can read to him just one or 2, or several depending on his mood (as opposed to starting a story and not being able to finish it-- which I know means nothing to him yet, but it's nice to finish a story you start reading, isn't it?). As I've read through the poems I've found that many of my favorites were written by A.A. Milne, so I made a mental note to myself to look for poetry books written by him. Of course, I haven't actually done anything towards that goal...

Then today we went into town to Les Recyclables, as both Cristina and Zach have been wanting to buy some more French language literature, and lo and behold I found used copies of When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six, each for 5chf. I snagged them both. I've been having fun reading through them myself, and will have to select some favorites to share with D. It's funny, I've been hesitant to get anything Winnie the Pooh for D, as Pooh gets kinda overused as a cliche for anything childhood related. But I may need to go back and read some of the original stories and give them another chance. Stands to reason if I like the poetry so much, I may enjoy the stories, too.

Zach leaves tomorrow morning, to spend 2 weeks in California. Sucks, but it'll be 2 weeks and then it'll be over. And he gets to visit baby Sophia. =) One of our other friends' daughter is having her 1st birthday party there the day after Zach leaves to come back here, kind of a shame, but we'll be around for birthday parties and playdates soon enough.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Swiss Fetes, and a question

Today is the Swiss national holiday, so Zach got a day off from work. Unfortunately it rained most of the day (how appropriate) so we didn't get to do much. We did walk up the road to have dinner at the village's fete, and got to eat yummy minestrone soup out of commemorative ceramic bowls. I'm excited that we now have a little bowl with our village's name on it. =)

Donovan's been doing this weird thing that I'm not sure whether I need to be worried about or not... It started several days ago, where he'll be nursing and then he does this sigh/deep breath thing that kinda reminds me of when you've been exercising and are just getting your breath back. When he breathes in it will be long and deep and almost sounds kinda raspy (not *quite* wheezy), and then the outbreath will be kinda forceful, and often he makes noise along with it like a humming or grunt. I don't know if he's just playing around, experimenting with the kinds of noises he can make (he seems to do that a lot) or if there's something else going on. He does it mainly when he's eating (and kinda once he's nursed off one boob but is still suckling), but then today he did it a couple times after he'd finished eating and I was just holding him.

We have his 6 months check-up on Thursday, I'll bring it up then, but if any of you moms out there have insight into this (is it just a normal thing babies do sometimes? could this be a sign of something like asthma? do babies get asthma this early?) I'd appreciate it. Thanks. =)

Photos: The Farm (part deux)

the farm


the farm



the farm



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