Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu?

I've been hearing things here and there about this swine flu outbreak, not really thinking much about it. Just a story, something that's interesting, but not much to worry about. But now everyone's starting to freak out about it, and I wonder... should I be worried?

It's been an interesting revelation that I don't seem to be much of a worrier as a mother. I didn't really expect that. But then again I've watched my mom over-worry about things for as long as I remember, which led me to over time make a conscious effort to try to let things go and not worry about things I can't control. More specifically as a parent, I haven't worried much about bugs or germs at all, partially b/c Donovan has hardly ever had as much as a cold. It also helped that he was a thumb-sucker-- my attitudes about how dirty the floor is quickly changed when I realized I couldn't keep him from rubbing his thumb all over the ground while crawling, and then sticking it in his mouth every 5 seconds. Or even today, when we went grocery shopping and I put him in the cart-- remembering to wipe it off beforehand-- and then sprayed his hands with sanitizer afterwards, knowing full well that while in the store he reached out and touched a bunch of stuff then stuck that thumb back in his mouth.

And so now I'm wondering, do I need to be worrying about the swine flu? Is it really that big a deal, especially compared to how the regular flu kills on average about 36,000 americans every year? Or that it seems to respond well to flu medication? Then again, if the CDC is freaked out about it, maybe I should be, too.

For now, I'm focusing on remembering to wash/spray hand sanitizer on Donovan's and my hands more often, especially when out and about. I'm also keeping my eye on the Baby 411 blog, since they've been updating fairly regularly with news and alerts. EDIT: I also just read this article, which also helps me feel better.

So how are you dealing with the swine flu news? Are you taking precautions, or brushing it off?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Somehow the to-do list never seems shorter, no matter how many items get checked off...

Hank and Susan left this morning. Funny how I've definitely been taking advantage of having them around, taking care of Donovan, but I've spent that time doing a bunch of other stuff that's resulted in me neglecting my blog for a few days there. I guess our days did get fairly busy, and I got mostly caught up on photos (also took a whole bunch of new ones...). I also spent a bunch of time combing through various online articles on promoting your etsy shop and made myself a fan page on Facebook.

While here, my in-laws practically shoved Zach and I out the door to go on date nights each night. It was definitely nice to go out-- Zach and I got lots of quality time together, we went out on a double-date with Cyrus and Julia one of the nights for drinks, and last night we went to Borders where Zach skimmed most of one book he wanted to read, and I made it through most of Bryan Peterson's Understanding Shutter Speed. But it also meant that we didn't make it to bed before 11pm any of those nights, and even though I did get to sleep in a couple extra hours most mornings it was more half-asleep-half-awake resting that deep sleep. Long story short, I'm tired. (don't get me wrong, those mornings were absolutely luxurious and I enjoyed every single minute of lingering in bed while listening to someone else playing with my kid)

D and I had a pretty decent day today, till right around 5pm when he started getting super fussy. Everything he wanted to do was stuff he's not allowed to, and every "no" coming out of my mouth threw him into wailing fits. Eventually I thought to myself, "you know, he really is not like this usually," and looked in his mouth and could feel one point of a potential molar that's already broken through the gum. Hmm. So I gave him Motrin, then we had dinner, bath, bedtime, some more tears, and now he's asleep and Zach's serving me a dinner of pizza and sweet potato fries. I think we'll be watching The Daily Show, then be off to bed early tonight.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spending time with the Gparents

Zach's parents, Hank and Susan, flew in Friday morning for a visit. As a funny coincidence, Cyrus's mom and step-dad also flew in Friday morning... on the same flight! So Zach and Cyrus carpooled to work, and then out to the airport to pick everyone up. They got in a little before noon, after which Zach stayed home for the day so we could all spend some time just hanging out and enjoying family time. Well, except for me, I took the opportunity to go run some errands sans-kiddo. I re-discovered a Trader Joes location that's recently been renovated and is now HUGE and it was very, very nice to get to walk the aisles without worrying about Donovan getting upset and bored. ; ) That night after D went to bed, Hank and Susan practically kicked us out the door to go on a date, so we went to a local bookstore and coffee shop. And they were right, it was quite nice to get out and get to just talk together for a bit. =)

Saturday was Family Fun Day for the local Little League, which our neighbor's son is part of. Susan was still tired from the previous day's early traveling, and her foot is also hurt, so she stayed home while Hank, Zach, Donovan, and I went to show our support. It was fun, they had a HUGE bouncy house contraption and different games and raffles, etc. D got to have his first taste of cotton candy (he was suspicious at first, but as soon as I got some in his mouth his eyes lit up and he demanded more). Unfortunately we arrived after the games were done, so we didn't get to see any of the kids play-- I think both Zach and Hank were disappointed, as Zach played little league for years as a kid and loved it. But, we'll have to go back-- I think the season goes on till June still, so there's time. (more pictures here)
Family Fun Day-8
We came home to give D a calm afternoon nap, and then went to Cyrus and Julia's for a backyard BBQ to celebrate Betsy and Bennet (Cy's mom and step-dad)'s visit and recent nuptials-- they just got married this past December. Cyrus grilled up some yummy chicken, tritip, and corn on the cob, and the boys trasnferred their most recent batch of home-brew into bottles for the last phase of fermentation. Sophia and Donovan had fun playing outside with fun toys (D also gave his grandparents a workout by making them follow him all over the yard and house). D also tried helping with the beer-making-- every time they brought out the hose to wash off anything he got VERY interested. =P Eventually we had to take D home for his bedtime, but afterwards grandparents again watched the sleeping kiddoes while Cyrus, Julia, and Zach and I went out for a drink at a nearby dive bar. I had my first appletini in I-don't-even-remember-how-long. We were home by about 10pm, I think, but again it was fun to get out. (more pictures here)
Sunday morning D took an amazing TWO HOUR NAP while Zach and Hank went to the farmer's market. Once he woke up, Zach got back from the market, and we got dressed and ready, Zach, D, and I went to little Maddie's first birthday party. The party was outdoors, and it was a gorgeous day (if a tad bit chilly at times). D had a fun time walking around and checking out the playground. Poor little Maddie was not too into the cake when it was time for her to eat, but other than that seemed to enjoy herself. One of the parents had some remote-control cars and even a helisopter, and as soon as D spotted one of the cars he just went still and was completely enthralled. It's funny how certain things seem to be so ingrained, like his love of cars and wheels. I'd hoped D would sleep on the car ride back from the party, but he didn't seem to into taking an afternoon nap, I guess since he took such a good morning nap. Luckily his mood didn't seem to suffer much for it. We spent the rest of the afternoon at home, playing indoors and out. (party pictures here)

Zach took today off from work as well, and he, Hank and Susan, and Donovan are playing at the park down the street right now, giving me time to catch up on sorting and uploading photos. Tomorrow he'll go back to work, and then Hank and Susan leave Wednesday morning.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I think my kid's broken

D's taking an extra-long afternoon nap today-- 2.5hrs and counting!! The past 2 days he's slept for 2 hours in the afternoon. I am aghast. This is a kid who until recently only napped in 45minute increments. I don't know if this is a new thing, or if it's b/c he's been having some trouble at night (remember my ranting about the weather? Well, now it's starting to cool off again and the past couple nights his room's been pretty warm still when he goes to bed so he kinda has trouble going to sleep unless in light clothes and with a fan, but by 2 or 3am it's cold and so he wakes up and needs a heavy blanket). I know I probably should be going in and waking him up after a certain amount of time to help him sleep better at night, but I seem to be physically incapable of purposefully waking up a young child. Ok, not really, but I just am really really really averse to it. Especially since he's been waking up from these long naps all happy and smiley (as opposed to crying, which is the usual). So instead I'll take advantage while I can. For all I know we'll be back to short naps tomorrow (gotta keep expectations low!).

D continues to be fascinated by playing with water. I turned the faucet on the other day, and he stood there sticking his hand in the stream for I don't know how long, getting totally soaked in the process. I didn't remember until later that he used to do the same thing as a little baby, back when we bathed him using the detachable shower head in our old bathroom. He loved the water stream, and would hold his hands in it just to feel the water on him. I don't know what that means, but it's an interesting fascination of his.

We went to swim lessons again this morning. D had a great time-- it almost seems like something's clicked and he is really loving it now (not that he didn't before, but just seemed a bit apprehensive). He's smiling and seeming more relaxed in class, as opposed to sucking on his thumb the entire time. He's able to dip his face in the water now, and can hold on to the side of the pool all by himself. We're still working on him to kick his legs on his own, but I think that'll come along soon enough. I recently got the notice from the swim school about the summer session, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to commit to another session right away, but after this morning I really do think it's the right thing to do to keep at it. They have a different schedule for summer, and the option to meet once a week for 12 weeks (what we're doing now) or more often for a shorter period of time, which I think is the way we'll go both for the more frequent practice and also works better with our summer schedule since we have a 2-week vacation planned in Tahoe (WOOT!) and don't want to pay for classes and then be gone for them.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In my little garden bed...

I've always liked the idea of having a garden and tending to plants. In our old apartment I had several pots out on the porch in which I'd plant pretty flowers, then I'd forget to water them, and they'd die. Sometimes I managed to bring them back, but most of the time they just died. In Geneva our place came with an already-landscaped garden that bloomed pretty flowers without us having to do anything other than water it occasionally (when it went more than a few days without raining... didn't happen that often). I still tried making flowers grow in small pots so that our home could be like the others in the village with the traditional window boxes full of blooms, but alas I once again failed miserably.

When we moved to our current house a little over 6 months ago now, we noted this stretch of dirt that could be turned into a nice garden. For a while we didn't do much with it-- we were busy setting up the inside of the house, and besides that area didn't get any direct sun so we weren't sure what to plant there. Zach did start growing some herbs (parsley, cilantro, oregano) in a planter, and we got a rosemary plant as a gift, and we've managed to keep all of these alive somehow. Then recently I got the "gardening bug", a desire to try out my hopelessly un-green thumb yet again. I had hope for one reason-- I now have a toddler, who requires daily trips Outdoors, and if we're gonna hang out outside it's much easier to remember to water our plants. Not to mention my motivation to get him involved, to get him enjoying nature and the outdoors even if only while tending to plants a few steps from our front door.
So this is the beginning of our garden. On the left are canna lillies. The big one was growing when we first moved in, the others either migrated over from the neighbors' yard (they have several growing just on the other side of that fence) or are ones that Zach planted from the bulbs that neighbors gave us. Then Zach took 2 plastic pots and planted peas, I think, in them. Then beyond that are the 2 plants I got over the weekend, one is a hosta and the other... I need to write down the name b/c I never remember. But they're both supposed to be strong, hearty, and happy in full shade. In the very back bit there are some of these:
Teensy little nasturtiums I planted from seed a couple weeks ago. I didn't think they'd make it, but then all of a sudden there they were. There's a few more, growing quickly, and I also pkanted some out front that have started growing. I'm curious to see what will come of them, I'm quite proud that they've made it this far already.
Here's our rosemary, which we should at some point transfer to a larger pot, I suppose, and our new tomato plant that we got around Easter. Already it's at least twice the size it was when we got it, if not more. It's amazing how quickly plants grow. We bought the trellis from this guy we saw at the farmer's market on Sunday, who makes stuff out of discarded wood scraps (behind the tomato and rosemary is D enjoying some water play, and behind him is the planter that holds Zach's growing herbs).

I'm such a novice at all this that it just feels cool to plant something and actually watch it grow. I also love how interested D is in all of it already. Every time I grab my watering can, he goes and gets his small one and wants water in it, too. A few times I've taken out this little hand-rake tool thing to dig out rocks that are embedded in the dirt, and he'll come over and want to have a turn. I hope I can keep this up and learn more as I go, just so I can give him this experience. There's not many things I feel certain about as a parent, and I so frequently question my choices and decisions, but there's one thing I feel pretty sure that we are, and will continue, doing right-- by helping take care of a garden, and also going on frequent hikes with Zach, I hope we will instill a sense of appreciation and respect for nature and all living beings.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

one smart cookie

One of the nice things about Donovan waking so early every day is that we end up getting up at the same time as Zach, so we get a teensy bit of family time, even if it's just 5 or 10 minutes as he's getting ready for work. This morning once we were all up, we quickly opened up all the windows and doors to let in the still-cool air before the predicted heat of today set in. When D saw the front door open he of course was instantly itching to head outside. I normally have us play indoors that early in the morning, but noticing how nice it felt outdoors, and remembering Zach's suggestion to water the plants in the morning instead of the evening, I put shoes on the both of us and we headed out for a bit (pjs and all). D "helped" water the plants (and btw I swear they grew more today than any other single day, so I think we'll stick wit hthe morning watering routine) and D loved playing in our patio. It felt nice to get "outside time" in when it still felt nic eto be out there. Then the garbage truck came in, and D REALLY wanted to go see it so we walked out to the street (still in pjs and all) and D followed the truck as it drove all the way down the end of the block, picking up the trash and recycling.

After all this, D took a 1.5 hour morning nap. A nap that's usually 45 minutes long. Um, yeah, we're so doing this mornings-outside thing again.

A few weeks ago I found this new playground made up of hispanic moms wanting to help each other, and their kids, speak Spanish. EXACTLY what I've been looking for. I met them at the park a couple weeks ago, and today D and I headed over to an at-home playdate with the group. It was great-- the house had this awesome backyard, with lots of water play out in the grass (small kiddie pool, water table, etc) and also a great covered patio for playing in the shade. The kids ranged in age from 4 months to about 3 years. I expected D to play in the water more, but he instead hung out in the shade most of the time, fascinated by the new toys and new people, and scarfing down chips and guac, and fresh blueberries. We stayed for about 2 hours and had a small lunch, then came home in time for D's afternoon nap.

He slept for TWO HOURS!!!! Which brings today's grand total of daytime sleep to 3.5 hours. I don't think he's slept that much during the day since he was 3 or 4 months old. It was glorious. I even got to take a nap myself, even waking up on my own before him. Glorious.

We made an afternoon trip to Trader Joe's for some groceries, where thankfully it wasn't very crowded and D was extremely cute and made lots of new friends. At dinner he astounded me yet again by singing"water" (a sign I've showed him sporadically before, focused on it more just today). I am amazed at how quickly he learns new things, which unfortunately makes it that much more iritating when he seems to refuse to learn others (like not tossing his cup on the floor). He still occasionally signs "eat", but has definitely started to use the "more" sign to mean food/hungry/eat and did so often today. He also has started saying "boom!" lately whenever anything falls or when he knocks things onto the floor, and the other day he repeated "down" to me several times when I was showing him (speaking) "up" and "down" using a chair cushion (which he found HILARIOUS).

He is such a smart cookie. Which I'm proud of, but also worries me tremendously as I know he'll be (already is!) turning that around on us quite frequently.

Monday, April 20, 2009

mixed signals

D slept in more this morning-- we put him down at 7pm and he slept till 6:20. WOOT! Somehow we all tend to gravitate towards a 7pm bedtime, always ending up back at or close to it so I guess that's where it's meant to be. I feel silly admitting it, but I think part of the problem was the poor kid was hot. It's been pretty warm here usually, and hasn't been cooling off at night as it usually does. Last night we dressed him in light pjs and just his light sleep sack, and he slept much better. I know living in California I'm not allowed to complain about the weather, but it's tough knowing how to dress D when at bedtime it can be warm and by 2am it's freezing cold (and our house has really crappy insulation so even with the heater on it still gets pretty cold), and I hate the thought of him getting cold at night. Oh well, will just have to be extra vigilant during these odd back-and-forth weather patterns.

I picked up Baby Singing for Dummies at the library the other day. I feel I need a bit of help and direction. D has picked up certain signs really well-- today we were at Target a bit too close to lunch time and as I walked up the baby food aisle to get him some snacks he recognized some of the Gerber containers and started frantically pointing at them and signing "more" over and over-- but he also seems kind of confused about what they might mean. "More" is pretty good, but he'll sign "all done" right before going in for another bite of his food. And he kinda treats "more" as meaning "food" more than anything, it seems (can't blame him... the concept of "more" is pretty abstract and a tough one to try to explain to a toddler when you think about it).

Today feels like a long day... probably b/c it's been kinda hot and so have been feeling a bit lethargic (whiuch is not allowed when you have a 1yr old btw). I think it got up to low 90s today, I know our thermostat at one point said it was 80 inside the house. The part of me that grew up in Texas wants to laugh at myself for being a wuss (it's ONLY 90, not like it's 102!) but then again not having a/c makes a big difference. I'm also realizing that keeping myself cool is one thing, trying to regulate a toddler and make sure he's not too cold or hot is another and I'm starting to wonder how parents in Texas and other hot climates deal (I guess by staing inside all summer long?).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Help! How to get a kid to sleep in longer??

Easter Sunday-23
Donovan's "usual" wake-up time has been between 6-6:15am for a while now. It's early, but ok. I can deal with 6am. Sometimes he sleeps in till 6:30, and once in a blue moon he stays asleep till 7am. But most days he's up by 6:15.

A few weeks ago he started waking up earlier, and ended up spending a good week waking up between 4:30 and 5am. Eventually that stopped, but then last week he started waking up a little early again-- 5:50, then 5:40-- and I could see the pattern possibly starting up again. We moved his bedtime back from 7pm to 7:30, and that seemed to do the trick... for a week. (he didn't sleep in any longer, just went back to his usual wake-up of 6-6:15, though his afternoon nap has gotten longer since we changed his bedtime)

Yesterday and today he's again woken up at 5:45am. I know it's not that much earlier than normal, but for some reason 6am seems like a line in my mind, where waking up after 6 seems ok but anytime before then seems like cruel and unusual punishment. And I really don't know what to do. Keeping him up till 7:30 has already been hard enough, so I'm loathe to move it back again (I also am not too keen on putting him down before 7pm, as that seems really early of a bedtime and wouldn't allow Zach much time to play with him at night). But I don't know what else to do to try to keep him from waking up so friggin early. BTW he already has light-blocking shades in his room.

I've read advice to just let the kid stay in his room until it's "time to wake up" but D usually wakes up crying in the morning which would mean sitting and listening to him cry for a fully 15 mins (or more) which I've not wanted to do. However I'm starting to not see that as such a terrible option. This morning I brought him back into bed with us, which I suppose is better than having to get up with him, but it's not like any of us get any more sleep that way.

Ugh. Am I being unreasonable? Is this too much to ask of a 14 month old? It's only been a couple of months since he started truly sleeping through the night, so maybe I should be counting my lucky stars that he's sleeping a solid 10-11 hours at night and make my ass go to bed earlier.

Any ideas or advice?

six word sunday: "You shoulda seen the other kid"

"You shoulda seen the other kid."
six word sunday challenge

Thursday, April 16, 2009


battle wound
You can see his busted nose pretty good in this photo. Poor kid. At Gymboree and at swim class this week the teachers have all been asking what happened. It's healing up now, and most of the scab on his nostril is already gone.

I got an email from the swim school about registering for the summer session. Weird to be thinking about that already... but it seems they offer more frequent classes in the summer (2-3x a week, or more if wanted) which might be nice. I sometimes think that 30 mins once a week isn't quite enough to really practice much, and feel bad that he's not getting any practice pool time in between classes (maybe when it warms up a bit we'll start heading over to Monika and Audrey's more often to take advantage of the community pool...? =P ). Not that I or the classes are trying to drill him on swimming, but just to work on things like him learning to kick or move his arms as precursors to actually swimming.

I've also started looking into local Mother's Morning Out-type programs. I don't know that I'll sign up for one, but I'd at least like to know the options and cost. Part of me feels "lazy" for wanting to hand off the kid for a few hours once or twice a week. But then I remember that I work at this "job" about 150hr/week and so a little break here or there would be well deserved. Unfortunately internet searches aren't turning up much of anything (how is it possible that not all of these programs have websites??? *shock* oh wait many of these are church-based with sweet-yet-often-not-computer-savvy older ladies running them), so I may need to actually turn to *gasp* the yellow pages or something.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Doing my best to raise a bookworm

One of my favorite things to shop for for Donovan are books. I keep a list of books that I hear about, and have to restrain myself b/c otherwise I'd spend all our money on kids books and as it is we're starting to run out of storage space for them.

I've tried to read to him starting as a newborn. It didn't always happen, especially since he didn't always seem that interested in listening to the story. But I still tried to always have books on hand-- I'd prop open a big board book so he could look at the pictures during tummy time, for example. And I'll always remember the time I sat him down on my lap to read him a story, and instead of looking at the pictures as I'd expected, he craned his neck around so he could watch my face as I read.

In the past few months Donovan's started getting his own books out and flipping through the pages, and in the past week or 2 has started bringing me books to read to him-- he now does this several times a day, and sometimes when I finish reading he'll grab the book and give it back to me again so I'll read it again. I sometimes get tired of reading the same book 4 times over in one sitting, but I LOVE that he is so interested in books, and that we are helping foster a future love of reading.

After reading this posting I thought I'd take a moment to list out Donovan's favorite books (since he has favorites now!) along with some of the books he doesn't appreciate quite as much yet, but I hope he will soon.

Donovan's favorites:

And some of my own favorites from his collection:

We're focusing more on the board books for now since he likes to turn the pages and play with the books themselves, though occasionally (like at bedtime) I'll also grab one of his paper books and read them to him. But those stay out of reach more, until he can learn to be careful enough with them.

And since I'm always on the look out for books to add to our wishlist, I'd love to hear others' favorite books!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Our own little Mister Fantastic

The rose bushes out front are starting to bloom. I see lots of buds forming, but this is the first rose to bloom yet. There's also a big bush of yellow roses in our neighbor's yard that peeks over our fence, and I think I may have to "borrow" one or two of the multiple blooms (especially since they're away for the week). It makes me so happy to have rose bushes in our yard, and even more so that they're taken care of by somebody else. Although lately I've been feeling inspired to learn more about gardening. I've always had a pretty black thumb (or whatever color equivalent would be furthest away from green) but I love having flowers around and live plants seem like a better way to do it than cut. Also, I think I've got a budding little gardener on my hands, already so interested in dirt and using his little watering can. We've got some clear patches of dirt along our patio and I think over the next week or two I might try to find some plants for it. We'll see how long I manage to keep them alive...

I added a couple of prints for sale on my etsy shop today. I still have various ideas for more cards to make, including birthday cards and using some of my pictures from Europe, but it's hard to find the time among all the other things I'm always trying to do. It doesn't help that I then want to also start new hobbies (gardening) or that every few months we have to re-arrange the house and our stuff b/c Donovan suddenly seems that much taller, and OHMYGOD he can reach a good 6 inches from the edges of the tables now (he's getting really good about getting all the way up on his tippy toes and reeeeeeaaaaccchhhing), meaning our entry table and dresser in the living room are rapidly losing their function as Places To Keep Things Away From Baby, meaning I need to find ways to re-organize the storage space underneath (and baby-proof it better). Interesting how there's seemingly infinite levels of baby-proofing to be done.

Monday, April 13, 2009

life as usual

We had a fun Easter Sunday yesterday, but I think I'll save that post till I have pictures to share with it today... which I meant to have up by now... but didn't get around to it yet. On to today... Donovan and I went to Gymboree today, where he got to show off his bloody nose. Right, don't have pictures of that up yet, either (photo above is from a week or 2 ago), but Saturday while he and Zach went to the park D fell and scraped the heck out of his nose, and now it's healing but his left nostril and a little bit of the skin right under his nose is scabbed over a bit (which unfortunately makes him look like he's got a bloody nose). Poor kid. I guess I better get used to this sort of thing. But, Gymboree was fun, then after his nap we walked to the nearby downtown where I sold some old books to the used bookstore and then we went to the playground down the street where he stole a bunch of other kid's sand toys (what's the ettiquette on that, anyway? Using other kid's toys at the playground?). The walk there and back was nice, about 2 miles total and I'm out of shape enough to feel it. But, maybe I'll get us doing that more often.

We were greeted home by a package from and another from my mom containing Easter goodies for D. We hung out outside for 20 minutes or so, till Zach got home. It's so fun to see how incredibly excited D gets when his Daddy comes home. =)

Then, our usual evening routine followed-- a bit of playtime, feeding D his dinner while Zach and I take bets on whether he'll actually eat much tonight, bathtime, bedtime while Zach and I take bets on whether he'll laugh or cry as we try to get his pjs on tonight. Dinner for us, a bit of conversation which usually includes some gushing on both of our parts about how we managed to get such a cute kid, some clean-up, and now I'm trying to finish up at the computer noticing that somehow 30-minute segments disappear in time when I swear it's only been 5 minutes, and Zach's across the table reading The Economist while Sierra sits on his lap trying to soak up whatever amount of human contact she can get.

I've got a mug of tea sitting next to me, and I think I will retire off with it and one of my magazines. And maybe my husband (and Sierra), too. Good night. =)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Climbing out of the rut

Zach got up with Donovan this morning, allowing me to sleep in till 8:30am. Apparently D woke up shortly at 3am, and then at 7am, I must have really been tired as I completely slept through both wakings. And the sleep seems to have done me well, as I felt so much better this morning. Maybe part of that is that I'd already made up my mind to spend a few hours today away from the house, focusing on me. I'm learning that I need to plan ahead for these things, to set specific plans and follow through on them because otherwise life just has a way of running away with the days and weekends.

So Zach and D left to go hiking, and I went to Borders to hang out at the coffee shop and catch up on gossip, and read some photography books. I grabbed a copy of Bryan Peterson's Learning to See Creatively and read through the first few chapters while sipping my vanilla latte. I've been in this odd rut in photography where I'll see these beautiful, striking images by others that inspire me, but then feel like I lack the time and energy to improve my own skills. I read the advice to take your camera everywhere with you, and I am so jealous of those who can. I know in theory I could, too, but it's tough to manage taking a heavy camera when I already lug so much kid stuff, and the added challenge of trying to find subjects to shoot, then think through the proper settings and interesting compositions while simultaneously trying to keep track of an active toddler is enough to make my head spin. And, of course, at the top of all this is the challenge of trying to fight that self-consciousness that comes with being out in public wielding a fancy camera and feeling intimidated and like a poser rather than A Photographer.

So I'm thinking I need to start planning for photography outings-- devoting particular outings to just going someplace and taking pictures, practicing and playing. That will help give me a subject to shoot other than Donovan (he's super adorable, I know, but I fear that I and a few other family members are the only ones interested in seeing the hundreds of pictures I take of him), help me get over the self-conciousness, and give me a creative outlet and something to do that is separate from Being a Mom.

The Price of Children

This seems to be making its way around the interweb and I feel compelled to help pass it along. Enjoy!

This is just too good not to pass on to all. Here is something absolutely positive for a change. I have repeatedly seen the breakdown of the cost of raising a child, but this is the first time I have seen the rewards listed this way. It's nice.

The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140.00 for a middle income family. Talk about price shock! That doesn't even touch college tuition.

But $160,140.00 isn't so bad if you break it down. It translates into:
* $8,896.66 a year,
* $741.38 a month,
* $171.08 a week.
* A mere $24.24 a day!*
Just over a dollar an hour.

Still, you might think the best financial advice is; don't have children if you want to be 'rich.' Actually, it is just the opposite.What do you get for your $160,140.00?
* Naming rights . First, middle, and last!
* Giggles under the covers every night.
* More love than your heart can hold.
* Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.
* Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies.
* A hand to hold usually covered with jelly or chocolate.
* A partner for blowing bubbles and flying kites.
* Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.

For $160,140.00, you never have to grow up. You get to:
* finger-paint,
* carve pumpkins,
* play hide-and-seek,
* catch lightning bugs,
* never stop believing in Santa Claus.

You have an excuse to:
* keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh,
* watch Saturday morning cartoons,
* go to Disney movies, and
* wish on stars.

You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.

For a mere $24.24 a day, there is no greater bang for your buck. You get to be a hero just for:
* retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof,
* taking the training wheels off a bike,
* removing a splinter,
* filling a wading pool,
* coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and
* coaching a baseball team that never wins, but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.

You get a front row seat in history to witness the:
* First step,
* First word,
* First bra,
* First date,
* First time behind the wheel.

You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren and great grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match.

In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there. You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost. That is quite a deal for the price!!!!!!!

Love & enjoy your children & grandchildren & great-grandchildren!! It's the best investment you'll ever make!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

New Kicks

Today's felt like a rough week, and I'm not entirely sure why. It's hard to tell sometimes whether it's his mood that's worse or if I'm being more sensitive to it. Donovan's started waking up a little earlier in the mornings again-- he'd just gotten back to is 6am "schedule" but then yesterday woke up at 5:50am (no biggie, right?) and then this morning at 5:40am, and I can see where this pattern is going b/c it's exactly what happened last time right before he started waking at 4:30-5am every day for over a week. BTW we already have blackout shades in his room. I can deal with 6am wakeups, not ideal but workable, but anytime before that just seems cruel. So I've made the executive decision to shift his bedtime back from 7pm to 7:30 in hopes that we can shift his whole "sleep phase" and get him sleeping just a tad bit later in the morning. It's tough getting him to stay up even that extra little bit, but it's worth a try, right?

I had a playdate planned with a few other moms this morning at the mall, which I was very much looking forward to as little D and I were not getting off to the best of starts this morning. We had fun chasing the kiddoes around the indoor playground, then had a great lunch together. Need to plan these sorts of things more often. After lunch we all parted ways, and I took a tired D over to the Stride Rite store to get him fitted and some new shoes. We wound up getting these:
They're a tad bit on the big side but not too bad, and he seems very comfortable walking in them. I'm hoping they actually last us through summer, but I may also keep an eye out for sales on the store website and buy another pair in the next size if there's a good deal. Ideally I'd want to have a second pair of shoes for him, like tennis shoes or maybe a semi-dressy pair, but considering the cost and that he'll be outgrowing shoes and thus needing new ones every 2-4 months or so I just can't justify the cost. I'm already spending more money on his shoes than I think I ever have for myself (but I guess that's how it goes, huh?).

Dinner's almost ready, so I'm off to enjoy my Friday night with my husband.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Shoes & Swimming

Donovan's been loving his Pediped shoes, but I think he's already starting to outgrow them so I've been on the hunt for new ones for him. I thought I'd try some Keen sandals-- Zach has had a pair for years that he loves, and summer shoe with the toe protection sounds like a really, really good idea for a still somewhat unsteady toddler. So I ordered them, and then they came, and they fit ok except apparently my kid inherited my wide feet (when I tried to measure his feet again using the printout, it says his feet are in the "extrawide" category)and so while he seems to have plenty of toe room, the rest of the shoe is too tight across the top of his foot and already leaves indentation makrs when he wears them even for a short while. Boo.

So now I'm debating all over again what to do. I'll be at the mall tomorrow so am thinking of just going to the Stride Rite store and letting them help me figure out a proper fit for him. And of course, we're trying to reign in spending a good bit since things at Zach's work are, um, slightly unsteady and, well, you never know. Which leaves me wondering if the different types of shoes really make that big a deal as far as helping foot development and walking, and if I shouldn't just get a cheap pair at Payless. There is a Stride Rite outlet sort of (not really) nearby, but I think I'd spend in gas whatever I might save on price. Or go with another pair of Pedipeds? Doesn't help knowing that I'll probably go through this all over again every 2-3 months as his feet keep on growing. *Sigh* Anyone have recommendations of good, (cute?) reasonably-priced shoes that are good for fat baby feet?

We went to D's 3rd swim lesson today. He's getting more comfortable with the water and the place in general, which is great. Today he even accidentally got his head down in the water, and while he seemed surprised and a bit shocked he didn't cry or seem upset. I may have to look into pools we can go to the other days of the week to help him practice things like learning how to kick.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The World According to Mom

I love this post, and this idea to get mothers all over the world to join in on this simple exercise. The goal is to represent 80 countries. As of right now I believe there are about 60 mothers from 30 different countries, and each of the blog posts are bookmarked here. I have not been tagged by anyone, I'm just jumping in because I thought this would be a fun little exercise, especially in balance with yesterday's post. I won't tag anyone specific, either, other than to encourage other mamas (especially international ones in places not already represented) to join in on the fun as well. =)

So, without further adieu, here is my list of Five Things I Love About Being a Mom:

1. Walking into his room after he's woken up, and seeing his face brighten up as soon as he seems me. Then feeling the need to scoop him up and shower him with kisses until he collapses into a fit of giggles.

2. The snuggles. Donovan is such a cuddlebug. He's constantly coming up to me for hugs, pressing his face up against mine and holding my chin with his hands. When nursing he constantly explores my face with one hand, touching my chin, cheeks, lips, sometimes even trying to stick his fingers up my nose.

3. The unbelievable joy of watching him learn something new. Always so exciting, and always makes me feel so proud.

4. Looking into those big, soulful brown eyes and honestly believing that my kid is the absolute cutest in all the land.

5. The community of motherhood, how this shared experience of being parents (the good, the bad, the ugly) bonds us together and allows us to provide each other support and comfort even if we have only known each other a short while (either because we really have only just met, or because it is only recently that we have become mothers and thus come to know each other on this whole different playing field). I am in such awe of the kindness and warmth I have recieved from other mothers, and try to extend the same out to others when I can.

Of course, as I starte thinking of these so many more come cascading out in my thoughts, but for now I'll just leave it to these five. I like this exercise, though. I may try to make this a semi-regular thing, to reflect on these wonderful, lovely, amazing parts of motherhood when the not so lovely parts start getting me down.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Oprah & Motherhood

I didn't get to watch the recent Oprah segment on The Truth About Motherhood, but read the summary here. It was interesting, and I think it's so great that we're starting to talk and admit this, how hard motherhood can be. The funny thing is, I'm not sure it's so much that "no one told me.." about how difficult the sleep deprivation would be, or all the diapers, or most of the other challenges of being a parent, but more that it's impossible to truly understand the magnitude of it all until you're in the throes of it. It's sort of like when you break up with someone, and all your friends suddenly come out and tell you they thought he was a loser anyway, and you think "why didn't anyone tell me before?" Except they probably did, and you didn't listen or believe them.

I have a friend who gave birth a few months after I did, and she confessed to me that as she read my blog in the months after D was born, she'd think to herself, "Wow, Marcy's having a tough time..." the thought never crossing her mind that she might struggle as well. Another said that before her baby was born she thought my posts were a little negative... and then she became a mom and started feeling the same things I had. I knew going into this that taking care of an infant was going to be very, very hard. I knew it was going to turn my life completely upside-down. I KNEW these things, yet there was no way to really comprehend what that all meant until I was actually going through it. Zach describes it as, in the big picture looking over the past year as a whole he's not surprised by any of it b/c intellectually he knew it would be that tough, but it's the day-to-day stuff that blows you away b/c you're not quite prepared for it.

But all that aside, knowing that no matter how hard we try there's no way to truly prepare someone for new motherhood, I think it is so very important to have these open discussions about our experiences as parents. I know there are mothers out there who have loved every moment, who bonded instantly with their babies, who never thought anything negative about them, and who think that us talking about the hard parts of being a mom is nothing but hurtful and negative and that we're ignoring the positive aspects of motherhood. The thing is, we're all aware of the good things about being a mom and a parent. It's the reason we didn't dump our kid in the dumpster after they cried for 6 hours straight. We know we are blessed, that our children are amazing, wonderful gifts, and just how lucky we are to get to be their parents. But being a parent is also draining, exhausting, and many times extremely isolating, and I cannot tell you how many times hearing, "I've been there, too!" from other moms has helped me feel ok when I otherwise felt hopeless. To those moms who have it so easy, I salute you and wish I were one of you. I'm not. We mothers can provide such an incredible support network for each other, but we can only do so if we're allowed to talk about the parts that suck without the fear of being judged.

Monday, April 06, 2009

First Easter Egg Hunt! or... not

A week or 2 ago Julia mentioned this big Easter Egg hunt that was to happen last weekend. Super excited, I marked the date on our calendar. Unfortunately timing and other forces (like google maps not giving me directions) interfered, and we got to the place too late for the 2&under egg hunt, which was probably just as well as it kinda looked like utter chaos. There was plenty else to do (pony rides, bouncy house, petting zoo, etc) so we stuck around for a bit and eventually met up with Cyrus, Julia, and Sophia over at the petting zoo area. It was fun, although the place got kinda packed so after a bit we decided to walk to get lunch instead, which turned out to be quite lovely. It was a very nice Saturday morning, even if with all the walking and the sun we were all about ready for a nice long nap by the time we got home.

Did I mention there were lots of people?
Bunny Fun Hunt-11
Or how incredibly super adorable Donovan looked in his overalls? =P
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His favorite part of the day, I think. And that tongue thing-- he's started doing that lately?
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The line for the petting zoo was super long, so we just watched from the outside.
Bunny Fun Hunt-7
Bunny Fun Hunt-6
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Part of me felt pretty sorry for the animals, and can;t imagine how traumatized they must feel after an entire day of getting poked, prodded, and trampled on by hordes of toddlers. The guy below was more just amusing, though-- the rabbit was getting feisty, and the man picked him up and scolded him exactly how you'd hear a parent scold a 2 yr old.
Bunny Fun Hunt-38
Cyrus and Sophia did go in the petting zoo, though I don't think Sophie was too into it...
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Bunny Fun Hunt-42
Bunny Fun Hunt-47

Saturday, April 04, 2009


I've been quite happy to let D eat with his fingers most of the time, occasionally feeding him purees or yogurt by spoon by me. For a long time I avoided letting him try to use a spoon as I figured the whole thing would be a huge, horrible mess. But since he's turned a whole year old I figured I needed to at least let him try it, so on occasion I've given him a spoon to play with as he eats, and even let him dip it in his yogurt and play with it, getting it all over his fingers, the table, etc. Every so often the spoon might actually get to his mouth, which I found amazing, but more often than not he just played with it.

I tried to think of what I could do to encourage using a spoon and improve his dexterity with it. I remembered Montessori "practical life" activities where children use a spoon to transfer dried beans from one bowl to another as a way to practice, but beans seemed too big a choking hazard as I knew he'd end up sticking them in his mouth (or nose, or ear...). Then I had an epiphany-- why not try his teddy puffs??? About the right size, and if he eats them no big deal! So I brought out 2 small bowls and filled one of them with teddy puffs. I then took his spoon and showed him slowly and carefully how to use the spoon to get a puff on it, then dump the puff in the empty bowl. After showing him the process 2-3 times, I gave him back his spoon and sat back to see what he'd do.

I really didn't expect much out of this little experiment. I figured he'd have fun playing, and maybe eventually over time get the concept. So imagine my shock and surprise when he not only made obvious efforts to use the spoon to move puffs from one bowl to the other, but was actually successful in doing so several times. It is so, so true how we too often expect too little of our little ones, and how often they amaze us with the hidden abilities that come out when we allow them to. Sure, there was a lot of playing and spreading puffs places OTHER than either bowl, but the fact that he "got" the idea of my little "experiment" and was able to be successful at it, blows me away.

To follow up, this morning D hurt his finger so we tried to get him to put his hand in a bowl of water with a couple of ice cubes in it to help prevent/slow any swelling. A spoon happened to be sitting near his reach at the table, and he immediately grabbed it and tried to scoop one of the ice cubes in the water with the spoon! He then started spooning water out of the bowl and onto the table. lol So, still a huge, horrible mess, BUT a very exciting one.

We'll still need to work on the whole getting-spoon-to-mouth bit, as well, but at least with this little exercise he's practicing using a spoon and practicing the hand coordination necessary to get the spoon to do what he wants. In other words.. it's a start. ; )

Thursday, April 02, 2009


Last night I heard Heather B. Armstrong do a reading from her book, It Sucked and Then I Cried. It wads probably a good couple months ago that she announced she'd be coming to the area as part of her book tour, and I've had the date written on my calendar ever since. I happen to kind of love this woman. I found her blog before getting pregnant, and liked her then, but becoming a mother has given me a whole new level of awe and respect for her. While pregnant I read through her blog archives from her first pregnancy, with Leta. And during those dark moments in the first months after D's birth, when everything just seemed to suck and I felt so frustrated, I'd read through her early experiences with Leta as a baby and it helped me feel better. Not in a PHEW-she-had-it-so-much-worse! kinda of way, but in a thank-god-someone-else-admits-how-crappy-this-can-be-sometimes kind of way. That's part of what's allowed me to be more honest about my own experiences as a mother, and from the comments I get from time to time from other moms who say I put in writing everything they've been feeling, I get the sense that I'm helping others in at least a tiny way like how Heather's blog has helped me.

I also just find her funny as hell.

I was excited and kind of nervous about meeting her, since I've never been to a book reading before or met a "celebrity" before (unless you count Antonio Sabato Jr a few years ago in Vegas). I knew B was going, too, and thankfully she got there early and saved me a seat as otherwise I would've been standing in the very back with no view whatsoever. Heather came out and she told a funny story that I caught on video, then read 2 excerpts from the book. There were questions afterwards, and then it was time for the book signings. I hadn't yet bought the book, and wasn't sure I would get one signed as I figured the line would be super long (the place was PACKED).

(Quick aside-- A few months ago, after seeing her feature a wooden platter shaped like a chanchito, that adorable, traditional Chilean 3-legged piggy, on her style section of the blog, I sent Heather a couple of my etsy cards with photos of chanchitos on them. Yes, part of me wondered if she might find them cute enough to feature on her blog and bring me overnight success with my shop, but mostly I just wanted to send them as a little token of admiration and as a nice thing to do-- I know she gets things sent to her from people a lot, and it's not like it took much effort or anything. I was pleasantly shocked when several weeks later I recieved a postcard in the mail, with a photo of Chuck in a wig and legwarmers on one side, and a handwritten thank- you from Heather on the other. So part of me was also figuring I already have a personalized, handwritten thank you note from her so don't necessarily need a book signed as well.)

But then they started dismissing us in rows to do the book signing, and we were only about 5 rows back, and I had just enough time to slip to the cash register to buy my book and get back to my spot for the line. I got my book signed, and in the 5 seconds before the bookstore lady ushered you of to the side (I was reminded of when Oscar speeches get too long and they start playing the get-the-heck-off-the-stage music), I was able to mention to Heather how I considered her blog my post-partum therapy and thanked her for it. And I could really see in her face that she was touched to hear that, even though I'm sure she hears it so often.

I took a couple pictures, and was quite glad to have my new little point-and-shoot along. The 5x zoom was great, and even though the picture quality is far from great the ISO3400 setting made it possible to take a photo, where the flash would have been pointless.
Dooce reading
Dooce reading

BTW I'm wearing my new glasses in the pic, which I've been meaning to blog about but haven't gotten around to it so I guess this post has become the "hey I have new glasses!" debut post after all. I'm only wearing them part-time, when I need them, as I have slight astigmatism and have trouble reading things like street signs or the menu board at Starbucks, so I'm wearing them more when I drive and am out of the house in general, but at home I don't bother (would be pointless around D anyway) and for most things I still see fine without them.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Donovan has been totally blowing me away lately. His ability to make his wishes known is growing so fast. He's not saying many words still (I'm feeling more certain about his "Mama," and Mom swears he's also saying "no" and "uh oh"), but he's interacting with us more to still manage to tell us what he wants. Like when he picks up one of his books and brings it over to me to read. He's been doing this consistently, probably a few times a day lately, and it only just started maybe a week ago. And about 50-60% of the time it's the same book he brings. =P

This morning Zach was playing a little with D after waking up, and suddenly D walks up to him, grabs one of Zach's finger, and leads him from the bedroom all the way over to his high chair in the dining room to show that he wanted breakfast. Then later on today I was getting a few things ready for us to go to Gymboree, but it wasn't really time to go yet. Well, D decided that indeed it was-- he grabbed his shoe from the table, came over to where I was sitting on the floor, and plopped himself down on my lap all ready for me to put his shoes on! And this afternoon when I was eating a piece of cinnamon bread I'd broken off a piece or 2 for him, and then I offered him the slice in my hand to see if he'd take a bite. No go, but instead he grabbed my left hand and moved it to the slice I was holding in my right hand, so that I'd break off another piece for him. He's hardly done things like this before today, either. It's like a lightbulb went off in his head about this new way to communicate with us, and now he's using it all the time.

So proud of my little man. =)


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