Sunday, May 29, 2011

I think my kids are tag-teaming me

I think my kids are tag-teaming me.

Quinn has started getting to be way more fun lately. He's almost 6 months, and in the past few weeks he's started rolling both ways, playing lots more, become more intricate in his babbling, etc.  He smiles at others a ton.  In the past day or 2 he's started being able to sit for short periods of time with a bit of assistance (he can hold his upper body upright if I hold his legs steady... otherwise he topples over sideways).  He's making all sorts of connections, and just getting to be a lot more fun to be around.  
Grabbing my nose while breastfeeding. Slightly painful, absolutely adorable.
This has, of course, been accompanied by what I assume must be what everyone kept warning me about age three.  Donovan has become moody, whiny, and much more needy.  I'm having to be much more careful about him when he's near Quinn, as even when he's just being sweet and trying to snuggle with him D'll be kinda rough at times.  It's like he gets these bursts of energy and doesn't really know what to do with himself, so he'll act more roughly than he means to.  Thankfully, Quinn's turning out to be pretty tough and about 99% of the time that D tries to grab/push/etc him, Q finds it funny and just laughs.  But, it still keeps me on my toes and am waiting for it to end badly one of these days.
Donovan needing some cuddles, right after waking from his nap.
At least they're not both ganging up on me at the same time...?

I hear all these mothers around me talking about how fast time is flying by, they can't believe their babies are X months old yet, can't time slow down a bit?!?  And I wonder if I'm the only one secretly cheering each monthly birthday, knowing that's one more month that we've survived and put behind us.  Which then brings up all sorts of conflicting and complicated feelings, as even as I feel justified in wanting to get past this incredibly draining and challenging period, I also hear the voices of everyone who keeps saying, "Enjoy this time! It flies by so fast! Those were the best years of my life! You'll miss all this one day!" etc.

I'm trying my best to absorb the here and now, to take in what each of my children are doing right now and record it (both mentally and via photos/videos), while also looking forward with relief at future milestones (and what will be a whole different set of challenges, but perhaps ones I feel better suited for).

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rapture Wedding!

So since the world didn't seem to be ending after all, we packed up the kids in the car and drove to the bay to attend the wedding of two wonderful, lovely people.  We arrived a bit before noon, after a blessedly uneventful 2-hour drive D has always been an easy traveller, and I'm beginning to think Q may be, as well.... though perhaps I shouldn't say anything till after we take him on a plane this summer) and went straight to Cy & Julia's place to hang out, have some lunch, meet itty bitty baby Isabella, and get dressed for the wedding set to start at 1:30pm.

The festivities were held at a big park, so there was plenty of space for kids to run around and make noise.  The ceremony was beautiful.  I got misty-eyed at the vows, when the (American) groom recited his vows in Spanish to his (Mexican) bride.  Both the ceremony and reception had such a genuine, fun, and downright joyful feel-- the father of the groom quoted The Princess Bride in his speech and everything. ; )  Really, it was one of the most enjoyable weddings I think I've gone to, and that's even with wrangling 2 kids throughout the whole thing.

Another aspect of the wedding that was pretty great, was getting to see a lot of our friends from the area.  Most of us have kids now, of similar ages, too, so it was really fun to get them together.  Also very awesome? When friend-of-the-groom Robert Walter and his band took the stage and everyone danced their booties off.  Later on I asked D what his favorite part of the wedding was, and he said, "the dancing."

Eventually we headed back to the hotel and got the kids to sleep (a few hours past bedtime, but whatevs...).  The night went fairly well- there was a period between about 1-3am when I think the boys kept waking each other up, and we didn't manage to get enough sleep to make up for how completely exhausted we all were.  But, that's ok.  There was also something kind of sweet about us all sharing one room, and lying in the dark listening to Zach, D, and Q all breathing in harmony as they slept.

We had made plans to meet up with a few friends again in the morning, but not till around 11am so after getting up and having breakfast, we had some time to kill. Zach noticed that there was a volleyball tournament going on in the convention center next to our hotel, so we walked over to check it out.  As it turns out, D loved watching the volleyball games.  So much so that it was quite a challenge to convince him to leave when it was time for us to go.

We did eventually manage to leave, though, and headed off to Santana Row for a last meet-up with friends & their kiddoes, and some lunch before hitting the road.  Worn out from a long morning and not enough sleep the night before, both kids slept most of the way back home.  Seriously, I really hope they do this well on the plane in a few months because the drive was super smooth both times.

The trip was exhausting and challenging, yet also when compared to what this was like when we made this trip when Q was 6 weeks old, WHAT A DIFFERENCE.  It really helped highlight how much easier things have gotten.  D was in a worse mood, and that was its own challenge, but Q was overall so much happier, grinning at everyone who came up to greet him.  Also, I'm pretty comfortable now wearing him on my back which is a game-changer as far as being able to get things done.  For example, at breakfast on Sunday morning I was able to use both hands to eat peacefully while Q hung out on my back.  This was truly awesome, as he doesn't tolerate sitting in his car seat for things like this, but is still too little to sit in a high chair. So usually Zach and I have to trade him back and forth, or try to eat one-handed.  Being able to both eat our breakfast, at the same time, with both hands felt like a huge achievement/milestone.

This is what parenting does to you. ; )

Q and I waiting for the ceremony to begin.

Zach and D hanging out in the shade.

Family photo! Both kids were passed out at this point, but D was in the stroller so harder to include in the picture.  
Towards the end of the night.  (Q did well in my sling, but after the first couple of hours wearing him I had to break out the Boba... which I bought a few weeks ago and quickly became one of my favorite carriers. I wore Q in it most of the weekend and felt pretty comfortable the whole time. Not easy with a 19lb baby!

Friday, May 20, 2011


Zach will be home in a few hours.

Then tomorrow morning we drive to the Bay to see friends, attend a wedding (staying overnight & returning sunday).

I'm really excited to see everyone again, though I kinda wish it were a different weekend.  I know it will be fun, but also probably totally exhausting, this following a fairly exhausting 2 weeks.  But, such is life.  Never much of a break these days... which is ok. As tough as this period is, it is also, at times, pretty awesome.

I feel like I could fall into bed and sleep for 100 years, but I still have lots more to do tonight (need to get everything just about ready for us to walk out the door tomorrow, as it'll be much more difficult in the morning when the kids are awake and underfoot, and I doubt Zach will be any more rested than I am/will be).  But, I'll leave you with a few recent photos...

Quinn is already starting to show an interest in cars, trucks, helicopters, etc. He'll play with other toys, but once he spots a car, etc, he'll drop whatever he was playing with to chomp on it, instead.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

half-way point

Last week was a very long work week for Zach.  He worked at least 12-14hrs each day, along with the Saturday before (and would have been Sunday, too, except it was Mothers Day).  Of course, when Zach works a 14hr day that means I do, too.  We got a short break this weekend, but then tomorrow morning he leaves to go on a business trip, returning late Friday night.  We'll then leave Saturday morning to drive to the bay area for a friend's wedding.

Give me a moment for my head to stop spinning... ok, I'm good now.

It's times like these when I'm so incredibly grateful for BB, our nanny.  Her arm is still healing from a recent elbow fracture so she can't do much with Quinn, but her time with Donovan has been an invaluable, sanity-preserving help for me.  She's been more than worth making room for in the budget, I'll tell you that.

When I looked ahead to this two-week period, I could see that my biggest challenge would be bedtimes.  Donovan and Quinn get tired at about the same time at night, and so usually go to bed at about the same time (7-8pm).  Because of how their bedtimes (and temperaments at that time of the evening) go, I was pretty sure juggling them both would mean having to leave one (or both of them, alternately) to cry at some point for some length of time.  So, I decided to go ahead and try to sleep train Quinn.  If he's gonna cry anyway I might as well have some structure/goal to it, right?

Thankfully, it's gone pretty well.  He cried for 30 minutes on 2 different nights, other nights lasted between 5-15 minutes, and now (just over 1 week into it) he's gone to sleep with zero crying, twice.  The first 3 nights he slept for 10 hours solid, which was amazing.  Since then he's been waking up once or twice again, which is fine by me-- I had no plans to night-wean him yet, so I go to him, feed him, then set him back down (he hasn't cried at all in the middle of the night, a surprise as before starting this I had to get him back to a deep sleep otherwise he'd wake & fuss).  I tried doing naps, too, but while he'd fall asleep the naps didn't seem as restful and he'd be tired and cranky during the day. So I'm back to holding/wearing him for naps, and his mood seems better.

I know this is a controversial topic, and I respect that others feel strongly against it.  But this is honestly what felt like made the most sense for us, and what I needed to get through these couple of weeks of solo night parenting.  Knowing I can get him to sleep so easily is like a huge weight off my shoulders.  Evenings are the only time I get a true break/chance to do anything productive, and I do so much better when I can get an hour or 2 to get other things done and still get to bed at a decent hour.

And now, I'll leave you with these:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

entering the world of iphoneography

So last week I got an iPhone.  I've had an iPod Touch for about a year and a half, which has been attached to my hip almost constantly since then.  I used it constantly throughout the day (some would say... obsessively?).  So it's probably no surprise that, seeing how awesome my iTouch was, I soon began lusting for an iPhone.  Last week, as soon as I was eligible for a phone upgrade from Verizon, I traded in my non-smart phone and iPod Touch for an iPhone.  And it is every bit as fabulous and wonderful as I had hoped it would be.
Starting to think cats will be the ones to miss newspapers the most.
One big benefit is consolidating my "gadgets." I was alternately carrying around my phone, my iTouch, and also sometimes Zach's work smartphone on the days he wasn't using it.  It's nice to get down to a single device that does everything I want of it.  It's also nice having the 3G connection, so I don't have to rely in wifi anymore for internet when I'm not at home.
Snail mail
But the biggest advantage, one of the things I've been most excited about, is the photography opportunities.  I feel like I got a new camera and new photo editing software all in one.  The image quality has blown me away-- for a cell phone camera, it is amazing, doing well even in low light and on close-up shots.  I'm loving the photo editing apps I've been playing with so far (Instagram, camera+, Adobe Photoshop Express...).
The best part is it feels like this is the perfect medium for me right now.  I still adore my DSLR with a passion and use it daily to take photos while at home, but I rarely lug it around with me-- it's too impractical when wrangling 2 kids, one of which is often strapped to my chest.  Also, right now I rarely have time to do much more than upload, sort, and keyword photos.  My iPhone, however, is nearly always on me, and I can take photos on the go and play with them later on (like when I'm holding Quinn as he naps).  It's a pretty convenient medium for creating something beautiful.
Blown away by how well this camera does even close-up...
I'm posting a lot of my iPhone photos on flickr and a tumblr blog.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


She normally spends most of the day outside (and I usually have my hands full anyway) so I rarely get a chance to take pictures of Nev.  But the other day she was curled up on this chair, perfectly posed, and I just couldn't turn down that opportunity.

I love how not only is her fur all black, but also her whiskers and even the pads of her paws.  She is quite the good looking cat...

Sunday, May 08, 2011

these quiet moments

This photo represents some conflicting things for me. On the one hand, as you see on my face, I felt tired, and a bit annoyed. D had woken from his nap and come in to see us. Sensing his brother's presence, Q woke up right after I took this photo. Still tired but unwilling to sleep when he can be watching D instead. This moment is one of my biggest daily challenges.

On the other hand... I love the feel of Q snuggled up against me as he nurses in his sleep.  I love the way D comes in and can't help but snuggle up to me. I love that he's so smitten with his baby brother, placing his hand delicately, protectively upon his cheek. Years from now I know it is this that I will miss, these quiet moments together in a darkened room.

Happy Mothers Day.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Songs To Wear Pants To

I don't usually keep up with YouTube channels, but I've recently been totally hooked byAndrew of Songs To Wear Pants To.  It started when Arwyn pointed me to the Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing on Rainbows video.  Then when I went to show it to Zach and Andrew, we started clicking on some of the other videos posted... and kept finding gems.  Some of them are randomly silly (like Pink Fluffy Unicorns, or one of my personal favorites, Gravy & Toast, below).  Others (like Ghost Music, or his own version of Kanye West's Dark Fantasy) are utterly awesome and show off what an incredibly and diversely talented musician this guy is.

And so, I felt obligated to write about him and do my part to help spread some of the awesomeness.  Because seriously, he totally deserves to go viral.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Can I just vent for a bit?

You may wanna skip this post. It's mainly me bitching about what a sucky napper Quinn has been lately.  I just need to vent, and also kinda want to record this now so I can look back on it later and be reminded of how things used to be and how much better they become (I know this is all a phase, the question is how long it'll take to pass).

Sleep? Pshaw! Who needs sleep?!
A few times we've started settling into a sort of decent nap "routine."  Each time it's lasted a few days, maybe a week or two, then *poof* it all goes away.  The past couple weeks have been the worst.  It used to be I could get him to take a couple of short naps in his bed during the day. Not always, but most days.  I think I've gotten him to take maybe two 20-30 minute naps in his bed in the past week or 2. I'm not exaggerating.  He'll sleep in my arms while nursing, while worn in a carrier, and sometimes in the stroller.  That's. It.

I try to nurse him lying down, pulling away once he was fully asleep, mouth relaxed. Each time as soon as I pulled away, he'd start rooting again and wake up.  He sometimes will sleep for an hour or more while I hold him, but stay latched on the entire time.  He's way more sensitive to noise and disruption now, so if D is around he can't really fall asleep.  What I've been doing is putting on a video for D, then taking Q up to his room, closing the blinds, bundling him, sometimes using white noise, and nurse/rock him to sleep.  Sometimes he gets a decent nap this way. Other times D will get bored of his video and come up to see us, which effectively means the end of nap time.  Explaining to him that I need his help to help Q sleep doesn't seem to do anything.  The hardest part about this is that I'll start feeling angry at D for waking his brother up, but I also can't fault him for wanting to be around us.

Babywearing naps work ok, though it can take a good bit of walking & dancing around to get him asleep.  These work best when we're out somewhere.

D still takes a good 1-1.5hr nap most days, which I tend to spend rocking Q to get him a decent nap, too, so he's not as grumpy the rest of the day (or for the next hour or 2 before he gets tired again).

Tired baby is tired.
At least he sleeps well at night.  He falls asleep anywhere between 8-9pm most nights.  Occasionally it's quick, other times it takes a good hour or 2 to get him fully asleep.  The past couple weeks he's been waking only once or twice to eat, then is up by about 6 or 7am.  I know we're lucky with his nighttime sleep.  I'm very, very grateful for it, as otherwise I think I'd lose my mind.  (Of course, as I write all this, I also know that it's very likely we'll hit another up-every-two-hours phase soon, as they seem to cycle in every so often)

So, yeah. As you can imagine, this makes for pretty long days, even on the days when I have the nanny to help with D.  Honestly, I don't think I'd even mind the no-breaks-all-day-long thing (as much) if it seemed like Q was happy with the sleep he gets. Instead he seems tired and cranky a lot of the time, which makes everything that much more frustrating.

To top it all off?  Zach's about to start a bunch of long days at work and then go to Ohio for a week.  So starting tomorrow and through the next 2 weeks, I'll be on my own through the kids' bedtimes.  This should be... interesting.


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