Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Lindsey, Ryan, and Katie flew back to Texas yesterday morning. Mom and Philip are here till Sunday, meaning I get a bit more vacation ahead of me as they hang out with D so I can run errands and catch up on the photos, etc. I'm realizing that one of the best things about having help with D, is that it allows me to truly and fully enjoy him again.

So much of the time I'm preoccupied by what needs to get done that day, how he's eating, how he's sleeping, how to fill our days so as to entertain him, and trying to fit in other things I want to get done during his happy moments. I still try to pause to just watch him and enjoy him each day, but it's tough when your mind is full of all these other to-dos and worries and questions, not to mention those days when all I can think about is OH MY GOD I'M SO TIRED. But when I have someone else here to take him on morning walks so I can sleep in, and who'll watch him while I run errands, or just someone else to be in charge so I don't have to be, I find myself spending much more time just watching him in awe, and thinking to myself, "My God he is so friggin adorable." And it's like I fall in love with him all over again.

It's very nice. =)

By the way, I've got pictures from our first week in Tahoe up on flickr. Still working on the batch from week 2, hopefully will have those up soon.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Don't you just love those HOLY SHIT moments of parenthood?

Most of the time over the past near-17 months, and especially the past few months, the general rule has been Mama Knows Best. I don't mean this as a bad thing towards Zach or anyone else in any way, it's just that I spend so much time with Donovan that I get to figure out what seems to work best, and most of the time I'm the one that puts him down for naps and bedtime. He tends to prefer me for a lot of things, like a few months ago when he went through a pahse where he'd scream bloody murder through his entire bath and bedtime routine if anyone other than me did it for him.

But the past week or 2, something different has been happening. There's been a few times where I'd go to put D down for a nap and rather than his usual go-to-sleep-right-away manner, he'd fuss and cry, and I'd go in every few minutes to try to soothe him back to sleep, only to have him cry some more as soon as I left the room. One night after 3 or 4 tries to get him to sleep, we tried this wacky idea of having my mom go up instead. She went in, picked him up, he realized right away he wasn't getting Mama anymore, and practically dove back into his pack-n-play and dozed away till (early, early) morning. The same thing's happened a few times with Zach, too, where he seemed to have the magic touch I seem to be suddenly missing.

I was thinking about all this last night, when D woke up at 3am crying. Zach and I took turns trying to get him back to sleep. I'd try to sing to him, rock him a little, then put him back down, and no matter what I tried he'd start crying again as soon as he felt me lowering him back down onto the mattress. Zach, meanwhile, is much more no-nonsense. I don't know what he did, but every time D would go back into his bed quietly... starting to cry again after 5-10 minutes, of course, but he'd at least quiet down and give us hope of sleeping.

This made me realize a couple of things. The biggest one being, that he knows. Donovan has already figured us out, and knows that while Mom more patient (especially when we're away from home) and will sit and rock him, etc, that he's not getting anywhere with Dad. I know kids probably figure this stuff out way earlier than 16 months, but this was one of the first times where I've really seen it. And it's a bit of a shock. Because this means I need to really get my act together. I need to watch what I do and say, I need to figure out my/our discipline strategy and get out of this bad habit of thinking he's "too young to get it." It means this kid really is watching my every move, and remembering them, and possibly ready to use them against me when he decides. And it is scary as shit because I know I'm not that good. I don't think I'm organized enough or self-disciplined enough to stay one step ahead of him and be consistent with my actions and my reactions.

But I guess the best I can do is try.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sorry for the lack of updates

We've been too busy hanging out at the beach, going on hikes, and lounging about while admiring the unbelivable adorableness that is our kiddoes playing. Yesterday Zach and I took Donovan on a hike and at one poiint we let him out of the backpack and let him walk around. He then proceeded to walk up and down a small hill, collect pine cones and then toss them, one by one, off the log where they'd been sitting, try to eat some rocks, and just overall prove once again how much he s his father's son... including when he put up a fight, for the first time ever, when we tried to put him back in the backpack, because he wanted to keep on playing with the pinecones and sticks and rocks and dirt.

To date I have taken about 1200 pictures (yes, really). We drive back on Sunday, so next week y'all will have pictures GALORE to look through. For now, I'll just post this one of our little outdoors baby.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

North Lake

Yesterday we moved from the place we stayeed in last week in south Lake Tahoe, to the house we're renting for this next week on the north side of the lake. Definitely a more rustic feel, really nice. The house is cool, just big enough for all of us and lots of separate little gathering areas. There's a great back porch, and lots of space for Donovan to have outdoor adventures exploring rocks, twigs, and pinecones. There's at least one trail pretty close by, and we checked out the beach that's about a 15 minute walk away and it's GORGEOUS. Pebbles instead of sand, which almost works better for D since he loves playing with rocks. I didn't bring my camera with me to the beach today, which I regretted as soon as we got there, but I'm sure we'll spend plenty of time there anyway and I think it's supposed to heat up some more, too, which will be perfect for beach time. It was a bit windy by the time we got there so kinda cold, but once you lay down on the ground the rocks radiate heat to warm you up in spite of the wind. So D, who was walking around and playubng, was wearing a jacket, while the rest of us (sitting/lying on the ground on towels) were in bathing suits.

Jenny's friend Molly got here Saturday morning, then left this afternoon. Quick trip, but it was fun having her here and she seemed to enjoy the bit of sun and beach time that she did get. Cyrus, Julia, and Sophia got here yesterday and brought Julia's sister's dog, also named Molly, who they're watching for a few weeks. Molly the dog seems fairly tame (unless you let her off the leash) and very good with kids. D has gotten licked in the face a couple times already and seems to like her. =P

The house has lots of stairs, both inside and outside, which D LOVES. It's nice since it tires him out to go up and down the stairs, but he has to be supervised/helped and so if he's going up and down the stairs, then so are you. Today we did a good bit of that, and I'm hoping it'll tire him out enough to sleep well tonight. He's been waking up at 4 or 5am most days on this trip so far. Not cool. Of course, he's already woken up once tonight since bedtime so not sure that bodes well for a good night of sleep. Poor guy also has a tooth that's about to break through the surface, which can't help. All that aside, he's been in a great mood most of the time...

Gonna go have some tea and ice cream and then get to bed soon myself.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Beach Baby

Continuing to have pretty low-key days over here. Yesterday we all went to the beach in the afternoon, it was actually pretty warm but we hadn't brought our swim suits. We've got that classic California weather where if you're in the sun and the wind dies down, it gets hot quickly, but if the breeze is blowing, and especially in the shade, you need a jacket. Donovan has loved the beach-- yesterday he played in the sand with his bucket and shovel for a few minutes, then made a bee-line for the water, stood right where the waves (tiny 6-inch ones-- it is a lake after all) lapped at his feet, then squatted down and played for a long time (while Papaw sat right next to him to make sure he didn't fall in). Then Mom started bringing him buckets full of water and pouring the water out in front of him, so D could hold his hands in the stream, and he became obsessed with doing that over and over for another good 20 minutes or so. I think I might have a bit of a beach baby on my hands, which I'm kinda thrilled about. This is the first time D's been to a beach, I suppose we'll have to schedule in some family outings to Santa Cruz over the summer and fall.

One of the (many, many) nice things about having the grandparents around is that they could keep an eye on the kiddoes and I could spend time taking pictures. Most of them were, of course, of Donovan and Ryan playing (seriously, cuteness overload). I had our "new" 70-300mm lens with me, so I was also able to get some fun shots of one guy taking a nap on his raft out on the water, and someone else parasailing.

This morning we took advantage of the pool again. D had a great time, even when he seemed to get a bit chilled (his little chin started quivering, but he was still smiling and splashing!). I tried practicing some of the stuff from swim class with him-- he kicked like a champ (especially when he got excited) but he didn't want to hold onto the side of the pool, and I also didn't want to let his head go underwater and get his hair wet (and make him even more prone to getting overchilled). But, he enjoyed just playing and splashing in the water which is the most important part.

D's been extremely popular here at the resort. Probably half of the people staying here are groups like us-- families with young kids (there's at least 5 or 6 kids under 2 years old staying here) with grandparents and other extended family members in tow. Which means there's not only lots of kids for D to play with-- he's made friends with a girl a few rooms down, and a set of twin boys who're about 6 (and have a brother about D's age) who shout and wave hello to Donovan every time they see him-- but also lots of grandparents to swoon over him. Last night we went to the spaghetti dinner hosted by the resort, and D was sitting in his booster chair right next to the line to get food. He got lots of comments, smiles, and cheers as he speared tortellini with his little fork and managed to actually get them to his mouth.

I've been getting a lot better about taking my camera with me and not feeling so intimidated about taking pictures in public, which is great. They're not all great captures, of course, and I still need to get better at thinking through settings and composition, but hey it's an improvement. We're surrounded by lots of development and shops so haven't found too much inspiration there-- most of the (500+) pictures I've taken so far are from the beach. Philip's had his heart set on riding the Heavenly gondola to the top, perhaps we'll do that tomorrow. I think next week we'll be in a more rustic location, and might go on more hikes where I can get some woodsy pictures. And perhaps Cyrus and Julia will bring their macro lens and let me play with that, too... ; )

Zach, Jenny, and her friend Molly are driving up to meet us tonight. Tomorrow at some point we'll check out of here and move on to the house we rented for next week, and meet up with Cyrus, Julia, and baby Sophia, and then Lindsey (Ryan's mom) flies in Sunday morning. Which all translates to another fun-filled week next week. =)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

And now, for your viewing pleasure...

Here's a few pictures from our trip so far. I'll try uploading more soon, for now I didn't want to overload our internet connection with too many at once (or frustrate myself with multiple failed attempts). For now, here's a few super cute ones to show off.

Donovan and his cousin Ryan. Look, he even has his hand on her chin--unbelievably sweet. =)
Papaw giving D junk food. ;)
We headed down to the beach today, a short walk from where we're staying. Ryan started digging this hole, then as it got bigger Philip got the idea to put Donovan inside it to play with the sand and water. He played happily there for a while, filling up his buckets with water and sand, until clouds and the potential threat of rain forced us to leave. He most definitely did not approve of being taken out of his little water hole. He was so happy there...(In the first pic you can also see Ryan collecting rocks with a new found friend)
D "brushing" his teeth in the bath. His friend Sophia let us borrow her awesome blow-up duckie bath tub, which is working out fabulously since the place here only has showers.
A few more pictures here.

Monday, June 15, 2009


We did, in fact, manage to pack everything into the cars, and even managed to keep the back window view clear on both cars. Woot! The drive up was pretty easy. D did great in the car, only get a bit antsy right at the very end and that was I think b/c he was tired (slept only 30 mins when he usually takes a good hour-long nap in the afternoon). We stopped at a McDonald's for a potty/snack break past Sacramento. I was shocked to find that there were no diaper changing stations in either bathroom. Seriously? For a place whose bread and butter are KIDS and FAMILIES?? So D got his diapers changed in a booth. He also got to try some of my ice cream, which immediately made his eyes bulge out and he kept turning to me with his mouth wide open and tongue sticking out, waiting for another spoonful.

The place we're staying in this week was a reservation made via Mom and Philip's time share deal, and to be frank I'd had my concerns about what the accomodations would be like. The descriptions stated in the confirmation email said no bath tubs, bar-sized fridges, no stove, and cautioned that all units are VERY small due to something about construction permits or something. So I was pleasantly surprised when we got here and saw that the rooms are actually fairly spacious, we each have a full-sized fridge along with a little microwave, there's grills in the communal area, and there's a couple pools and hot tubs. We're also in a pretty sweet location with lots right around us. D and I have one unit to ourselves which is working out quite nicely. He's been sleeping great, too-- both last night and tonight he went to bed without a peep. He did wake at 5am this morning (instead of his usual 6am), but then I got to take a 4 hour nap later in the morning so I can't complain. ; ) I don't know if this is residual tiredness from when I was sick last week or if it's just regular mom tiredness, but I'm exhausted and it's so, so know I'll be able to rest a lot more these next couple weeks. I just need to make sure to take advantage of it.

Mom, Philip, Katie, Ryan, and D walked down to the beach while I napped, apparently a less than 10 minute walk. I hear the water's kinda freezing, but should still be fun to head down to. I need to go ask the staff here where some good playgrounds are to take D to to burn some energy (the rooms are spacious, but not quite enough to let a toddler really run around).

By the way, we discovered this morning that D is able to open the door out of our rooms. Luckily this was while Mom and I were both right there watching, but yeah the door handles here are very easy for him to reach up and turn, and then pull the door open. There is a bolt lock, but it unlocks automatically when the door handle is pulled from the inside. So for right now we're using this small, square coffee table as a "child proof" barricade for the door when needed. At least we're up on the second level-- the walkway out front has a nice rail that's tall enough, and while there are stairs about 15 ft away that could be NOT GOOD for him to try to go down, at least he can't run right out of our room into the parking lot.

Other than that, and the bathroom door that also locks from the inside but can't be un/locked from the outside (and doesn't have an easy way to take the handle off to get in if locked from inside), there don't seem to be many other kid hazzards. So we'll just keep an eye on the doors and he should be fine. I seem to have lucked out with a kid who (most of the time) strikes a nice balance between being curious of everything, and not to get into too much trouble.

Not much in the way of concrete plans for the week, other than at some point riding the Heavenly gondola, and hoping for some warm-enough weather to make use of the pool and go to the beach. And taking naps. Lots and lots of naps.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Full House

My mom, step-dad, niece, and sister flew in Friday afternoon. Jenny also drove down from SF and arrived at about the same time as everyone got home from the airport. Within about 20 minutes Donovan was running around giggling hysterically, drinking in all the attention. Fun times. We managed to accommodate everyone here overnight, impressively--D's sleeping in our room with us, Katie and Ryan are in D's room, Mom and Philip in the office, and Jenny in the living room. I'd say we're at about capacity.

Today was spent lounging, taking trips to the park, doing laundry, packing, chatting, playing with D, and eventually D went to bed and Zach, Jenny, and I went out to meet friends for Zach's birthday dinner (gotta take advantage of the free babysitting!). Luckily my cold symptoms went away today-- my head felt clear again, and even though energy levels were still pretty low at least I'm over the hump. Just in time.

Tomorrow Jenny goes back to SF, and most of us take off to the mountains (Zach stays here for another week, then he and Jenny will join us next Saturday). I'm wondering how the car ride will go tomorrow-- 4 hours with an active toddler strapped into a car seat. Could be interesting. It'll also be the Moment of Truth, when we find out if we packed lightly enough to fit luggage, etc (including a pack-and-play and stroller), for 3 adults, a teenager, and 2 kids in a CR-V and Honda Fit.

But stress about the packing and drive itself aside, I am very excited about these next 2 weeks, and very much looking forward to time with family, taking lots of pretty pictures (of the outdoors and family alike), and having FREE TIME. You know, time for myself. Alone. While someone else looks after the kiddo. Oh, it will be nice.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Check out D's sweet new wheels

So we did it. I plunked down $400 on a new stroller. And I'm actually really happy with it.

I took D down to REI so we could check the BOBs out one last time. We're loyal to REI b/c Zach is a member and thus gets a rebate at the end of the year on what we spend there (I think it's about 10%) and they also have always had great customer service and return policies. And when I called this morning, it turned out they did in fact have the color I wanted (wasn't on display when I looked last night, and the one gal I'd asked-- the one that marks your returns when you come in-- hadn't known of the other colors). After I paid, the guy took the stroller out of the box and set it all up for me (including making sure the alignment of the front wheel was really straight when in the fixed position) so I could then literally just stick D in it and roll on out to the car. Awesome.

We went on a walk around the block later in the afternoon, and I have to say I'm falling in love with this stroller. Everything about it just feels so SOLID. I love the foot brake, the handlebar is tall enough to be comfortable for Zach, it's so incredibly easy to push (hardly felt like I was pushing anything-- I was pleasantly surprised to find that it's quoted as only weighing 23lbs, a lot of others I looked at were more like 30lb), and it handles bumps sooo nicely. I even got a big kick out of how ridiculously easy it was to tighten down the harness straps to fit D properly (seems silly, but not so much if you've dealt with other more-difficult and labor-intensive straps before). The hood has pretty good coverage, and a nice big window on the top for looking down at him. It's not that bad folded down size-wise (it fits in the back of our Fit, though takes up most of the cargo space), and I LOVE that the wheels pop off so easily-- that will certainly make packing it for Tahoe a lot easier. Sure, the underbasket could be bigger, but what are ya gonna do? It's still a respectable size.

So this makes it official that we will now be retiring our other "big" stroller (its brakes have gotten kinda iffy anyway-- only 1 wheel locks now... and the back tires are worn down to bare bones) and using the BOB instead for walking around the neighborhood, to the market, etc. Which means I can continue to keep the Maclaren in the car for errands, and not need to take it out at home for other stuff.

Squeee! =)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

stroller roller coaster

Many of you might remember the frantic state I went into while shopping for D's converible car seat a few months ago. Well, I'm kind of dong it again, this time over an all-terrain stroller.

I've spent my free time today reading reviews online and trying to find info, then this afternoon D and I went to Babies R Us to look at some strollers in-person. I found a Jeep Liberty Sport stroller that seems to have decent reviews online, though part of me worries that I'm having such a hard time finding much about it or it sold in many online shops. I like the size (not humongous), the cup holders, the steering wheel toy on the kid snack tray (how much would D love that???) and most of all, it's $120 price tag.

But them of course, there's the infamous BOB stroller. I haven't wanted to spend that much on a stroller ($380). But I'm comparing pictures and specs, and thinking about longevity... And without going into a bunch of details and rambling, basically it looks like the BOB could take a decent beating and last for many years to come, including using it with another baby when that time comes thanks to the "universal" car seat attachment (and by that time D should be old enough to not need/want a stroller so don't foresee needing a double, really).

(I know there's also a bunch of other brands worth looking at, but I'm unfortunately not finding them in stores so they kinda get counted out b/c of that-- both b/c I want to get my hands on it first, and also b/c in order to get the stroller by Sunday, for our trip, I need to buy in-stroe or else pay $$$ more for fast shipping.)

I'm thinking tomorrow I might take D with me to REI to look at the BOB Revolution again (went by tonight after D went to bed to get a quick look), maybe even try putting him in it and strolling around the store. I can't believe I'm thinking of plunking down $400 on a new stroller. Then again, it does seem to be that when it comes to baby gear, parents don't bullsh!t so the highly-coveted, highly-reviewed products (at least the heavily-used ones, like strollers) really are better most of the time and worth the extra money.

GAH! This is nuts.

Monday, June 08, 2009

One of Zach's proudest moments as a father

Seriously, it's adorable how ridiculously giddy it made Zach that his son picked up a football and started running with it. =P

In other news, it's hitting me that my mom, step-dad, niece, and teenage sister will be arriving here on Friday, and then Sunday we'll be leaving for a 2-week stay in the mountains. Which will be awesome, but it also means packing. And making lists for the packing to make sure I don't forget anything (or at least anything important/hard to replace). And trying to figure out how the heck we'll fit everything into our cars. Or how Zach will get around next week without one of his own (we'll need both cars just to get the 6 of us up there, Zach will join next week along with some friends of ours and my sister Jenny). And I only just today realized that the place we're staying in the first week won't have bath tubs, so I'll need to bring something to bathe D in (luckily Julia has an inflatable baby bath tub we can borrow). And though I'd never thought of this before since every time we go hiking (say that is if I go often... HA!) Zach takes D in the backpack carrier so normally this would so not be needed, but I'm realizing how nice it would be to have a stroller with all-terrain wheels for going on hikes. Which our Maclaren, as much as I adore it, does not exactly have. So now I'm scourging Craigslist for used joggers, and am pleased to find a few listed for about $50 though, we'll see if any of the emails get responses or if those strollers are still available. By the way, does anyone know of a website that maps out parks/playgrounds that are close to the highway that we could stop at on the way? Because I do not foresee my child happily sitting still in a car seat for 4+ hours without some way to burn off energy, and I'd prefer outlet to not be frantic screaming.

This seems to be a pattern every time we've gone on a trip with Donovan, where I'll spend the time leading up to it in denial or plain forgetting how much more effort it takes to plan for traveling with a kid, and then a few days before leaving I'm hit with this realization of OH MY GOD THERE'S SO MUCH TO DO! I know it'll get done, and it'll be so so SO nice to have family around for a few weeks. It just feels a tiny bit hectic at the moment.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

New TV

We'd made tentative plans to head down to Santa Cruz this morning to give D his first experience at the beach. But then we started the day out already feeling kinda beat, so scrapped those plans... and instead went and bought a TV. ; )

When we first moved in we actually got a TV from a friend, but then it sat in our office and never got used (didn't wanna pay for cable, and the little TV we watch we do online) and it was really big and then we got a loveseat and there just wasn't room for both, so we got rid of the TV. Then Zach realized how miserable it'd be to go through football season without one, and we'd also started talking about how nice it'd be to have a larger screen to project onto from the laptop, and so we went to Best Buy today and bought ourselves a flat panel (26"... respectable, not huge). It actually has a dvd player built-in, which is kinda nifty. It'll at least be nice to have for when D gets sick and I have to entertain him, as my attempt to do so by watching Thomas streaming on the laptop last week (when he was miserable and uber-cranky) failed miserably b/c he kept wanting to just play with the keyboard.

Now of course we'll have to also sign up for cable, which I hate paying for since we really do watch so little TV (not that I'm trying to sound high-and-mighty at all... the time most people devote to TV-watching I spend on the internet, which isn't any more worthwhile) but it will make Zach happy to get to watch football. As he likes to say (only half-jokingly), he'll make sure to watch all the important games regardless, but it's the unimportant games that he wouldn't put extra effort to go see, but that he still wants to be able to watch easily, that makes him need cable. Men are silly.

So there you go, economy. We're doing our part.

Once we made the decision not to go to the beach, I also gave Monika a call to see if they had any plans for the day. Monika & I have gotten together a few times during the week, but it's been a long time since we got together as families and so Zach hasn't seen them in forever. We went over to their place in the afternoon and took the kiddoes swimming at their complex's pool. It was a bit chilly, but D loved it! And their daughter Audrey was adorable, she's a little fish. She's also talking up a STORM, it's amazing how great her vocabulary is. That's part of the fun of hanging out with them-- Audrey's 6 months older than D, so she serves as a mini-preview of what's to come. ; ) After swimming we had dinner together, and watched Audrey and D play. Towards the end Audrey started giving D hugs and saying "I love you, Donovan!" I got some of it on video. Talk about melt-ypur-heart precious. Unfortunately D was a bit tired by the, and she was kinda grabbing him around the neck to give hugs, so he wasn't too into it (started crying). I don't think Audrey took offense, though. lol

We'd talked about watching Home on the new TV tonight, but I think we'll have to save it for another time... off to bed for us.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Etsy Fridays: Shop Update!

I'm hijacking my Etsy Fridays post for this week to do a bit of self-promotion. =P I have a couple new card sets listed which are possibly my favorite sets to date. Maybe part of this is because of the memories attached to the photographs, I don't know. I hope others will love these as much as I do.

In the year before Donovan's birth Zach and I were fortunate to get to travel to quite a few incredible destinations. It's a shame we didn't yet own our dslr on these trips, but I still managed to take many, many pictures, and at least a few of them turning out fairly well. ; ) Last weekend I spent most of my Saturday sorting through these old photos and playing with them in Lightroom, and ended up with two new photo card sets which I'll share here:

Vina del Mar Set of 4 Cards
In early 2007 Zach and I spent 3 weeks in South America. Part of that time was spent in Vina del Mar, Chile, a popular beach town that houses so many of my summer memories from childhood. My grandmother used to own a condo in a building that faced right onto the beach, and the short 2-hour drive from Santiago where we lived meant we came here pretty often for mini-vacations. Zach and I spent a few short days in Vina at first, then loved it so much we changed our plans so we could return for another few days before leaving Chile again. You can see I'm partial to these photographs because of the nostalgia attached to them, but I like to think they are lovely still, all on their own.

J'Aime Paris Set of 12 Cards

Ah, Paris! Who doesn't love Paris? I remember the first time Zach flew there for business. Since he's such an outdoorsman, so much happier among grass and trees and mountains than traffic and cards, I expected him to hate Paris. Instead he came back completely enamored with it. We were able to visit the city together not too long after that, and I had to agree. I found six photographs of various Parisian tourist spots (Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Palace of Versailles), and put them together into this set of 12 cards (two for each image).

So those are my two new card sets, which as you can see I'm pretty proud of. In addition I have added the option to make your own card sets (currently available for 3-card sets and 4-cards sets, larger sets coming soon). This means you can buy any combination of single cards from the shop, and purchase them as a set!

I hope you like the new additions as much as I do! Be sure to check out the shop to see what else is new, and what new items I'll be listing over the next few days/ weeks. If you're on Facebook, stop by my fan page and become a fan! This'll allow you to get special alerts when I post new items or have other news to share, and also take advantage of special deals and promotions available only to fans (I promise not to spam your facebook stream, I only update about once a day).

One last thing I'd like to mention is that I recently went through and updated all the shipping ratesto be the most current and accurate, and set up specific rates for shipping within the US, to Canada, and Worldwide. Also, all photography prints ship to the US and Canada for FREE!

Etsy Fridays will resume as usual next week, with 3 new shops to feature. ;)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

New! Stuff!

Donovan and I have been having a pretty good week-- it's like he's giving me a break after the awful time we had last week. He's been in pretty good moods, entertaining himself more, and just being plain adorable. Tuesday morning (while awaiting baby news from K+B) Julia and I scoped out a local sale and I snagged a bunch of toys for 25%-40% off. I've been rotating D's toys around so every week I change them out and there is an aspect of novelty when he sees a toy that's been away all week, but we haven't actually bought him many new toys lately and so many of the ones he plays with are kind of... old news by now, I think. lol So I was excited to get him some new stuff.

He's been SO into opening and closing things and figuring out latches, so I've been wanting to buy him a lock box like this one for a while, but kept being unable to justify the purchase. So when I found this latches board at the store I snatched it up immediately. And, as predicted, he's loved it! He played with it on and off all day, and when Julia came by later on in the day he greeted her at the door, then went straight to his new toy like he was showing it to her.

I also found a couple wooden maracas (he'd found a set at Gymboree last week, that I think had been left over from a music class, and he seriously did not let go of them until we had to leave!); these instruments that have handles like the maracas but one has metal discs like the kind in a tambourine, and the other jingle bells; a shape sorter; a puzzle; and this puppet that's a raccoon that pops out of a trash can! (I couldn't resist both because I found it hilarious, and also this little girl was playing with it in the store and making it jump in and out of the trash can and Donovan LOVED IT as he loves peekaboo in general so, yeah, I had to get it. The tag has some info on raccoons, first pointing out that they are most definitely not cuddly and friendly, and also that they are apparently the smartest animals in North America and that one experiment proved them to be more intelligent than college students when it comes to remembering the location of food. Which, having seen some of the feats performed by raccoons while camping, doesn't surprise me in the least). Oh, and last week sometime I got him that dinosaur he's holding in the picture, which has also become a rapid favorite.

Anyway, the maracas and the latch board are out for him now, I saved the other toys to bring out next week to try to extend the fun a bit. He' also been having a blast with his Fisher Price booster chair, which I normally keep in the car for when we might need it at a restaurant or friend's house, but I brought it in the other day for Maddie to use and it's been sitting in our living room ever since... where D will go over and sit and look pleased as punch with himself for having such a grand chair to sit in. And then he'll pick it up and drag it into his room, and sit in it some more. I swear that chair has been one of the best kid purchases ever. ; )

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Jessica Maier Photography

While living abroad I met many new, wonderful friends, most of which I actually met through this blog. It was the first time that the power of blogging really hit home-- before I'd been doing this for fun, and all of a sudden it was connecting me with all these wonderful people. Anyway, one of these people is my friend Jessica. We first found each other's blogs, when I was living in Geneva and she was still in Neuchatel but soon would be moving to Geneva. Then we got to meet in person. And while we didn't always hang out all that often (partially because, well, I had a baby and he kept me kinda busy), she and her husband have definitely earned themselves spots on my list of Favorite People Ever.

Besides the shared experience of living abroad, and the fact that she and her hubby now live in Austin (giving me a chance to live vicariously through them and loving the fact that I will get to see them often on our own trips back to see family), Jessica and I have bonded over our mutual interest in photography. She recently launched her own photography business, selling her gorgeous prints and also offering to do portait sessions. Abd so I wanted to share her new website with you, since aside from adoring her as a person I also think I'm being fairly objective when I say she's got talent and knows how to wield a camera. I've already got my eye on a couple of prints that I want to buy (I love the bee butt! lol).

I also encourage you to check out her blog, as she often posts about her own adventures in photography as well as her culinary experiments... and the upcoming arrival of her lil' nugget.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Welcome to the world, buddy!

After being in labor all last night and this morning, Karen gave birth to her sweet little baby boy midday today. Julia and I were able to stop by for a visit in the afternoon-- I feel honored that we were the first ones! Little Cannon was just a few hours old, slept the whole time (had apparently been wide awake and very alert just a bit before), and is absolutely precious. Daddy Benjamin already sent out the announcement email and posted a couple pictures on flickr, so I feel ok posting some of my own. ; )
A few more pictures here.

Karen looked incredible, and they both just seem so thrilled to get to meet their little guy. Again, I am so excited that I got to see him already, and I hope to be able to lend a helping hand once the new family is back home. It will be so fun to watch him grow up and become part of the "gang." Not to mention that Donovan finally has another male buddy in our group of friends. ; )

As an aside, I am fairly happy to say that as lovely as he was to hold and as adorable as he was to gaze at, and as much as I hope to be around to help them out, I still feel absolutely no newborn lust. I am quite happy waiting a good while longer before we think about having another.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Yay for babies

Last night before bed I wrote myself a decent list of to-do's that I wanted to try to accomplish today. I got a few of them done (like listing a new set of cards on Etsy with photos of one of my favorite childhood summer destinations along with a couple 8x10 photo prints of Argentina). Not much else got done, though. Donovan just took too short of naps today.

However, it's still been a pretty great day. In the morning my friend Debbie came over with her daughter Maddie for a playdate. She and Donovan had a great time-- at times not too happy about sharing toys, but other times chasing each other and just being super, super cute. You know how they say kids don't really play with each other till they're 3 or 4 years old? I just don't buy that. Their interactions today were precious. We played here at the house for a bit, then went down to the park where Maddie played in the sand while Donovan tried multiple times to escape out of the gated play area. They left in the early afternoon, and by the way Maddie was eagerly waving bye-bye (and the way Donovan nearly slammed the front door on them) I guess the kids were ready to call it a day. lol We probably won't see them again untill after their 3-week whirlwind trip to Europe in a couple weeks here-- can't wait to hear their stories!

Later on we went down the street to see if Donovan's Brazilian girlfriend was outside playing. When we got there she was eating a popsicle and her dad offered one to D. I figured, "why not?" He hasn't had one before. At first he didn't know what to do with it and didn't seem to want to eat it. Then I put it up to his lips so he could taste it... and after a minute or 2 he finally realized how tasty it was and that he really liked it. This is kind of how introductions to any new sweets go. I didn't have my camera with me, but did have my cell phone and had just recently set up how to send photos to flickr from my hpone so was able to capture this milestone for y'all.

Then this evening I heard that my friend Karen is in labor, and already at the hospital. Eeek! So excited, and doing my best to send "Easy, quick labor!" and "Happy baby!" vibes her way. Can't wait to meet little Goby (and see what name they decide on... ).

Tomorrow's plans include meeting up with Julia and Sophia for an early shopping trip to a nearby store having a big sale on their toys. Last week sometime I realized that Donovan doesn't seem very excited by most of his toys anymore, even when I rotate the out... possibly b/c most of them he's had since he was an infant. So I've been really looking forward to buying him some fun new toys. =P Later this week I think we'll also make a trip to Ikea so I can buy him a kid-sized table and chairs, and I'm dying to get him one of these chairs (since we have 2 adult-sized ones to match it). He's lately gotten REALLY into sitting in chairs--our dining chairs, outdoor chairs outside, even his potty chair. So I think he'll love having his very own Donovan-sized set. =P


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