Monday, January 30, 2012

washing away

I normally keep Quinn out of the bathroom, but today he snuck in and started reaching in for the sink.  I know he enjoys letting water run over his hands when I wash them, so I figured I'd give him a chance to just play with water at the sink for a while.  I turned the cold water faucet on, with just a tiny stream coming out to limit water waste.  

Quinn, of course, is too smart for that, thank you very much.  Even though he's hardly ever seen me use those particular faucets (which work differently from the others in our house), he immediately reached over and turned the water on at full blast.  Thus commenced a long experimentation process for him of waving his hands in the water, turning the water flow faster or slower, adding more or less cold and hot water (I made sure the water never got too hot), and just experiencing the water at various temperatures.  After a while he reached for the soap, so I put some on his hands and he looked at the foamy bubbles for a minute, then rinsed them off in the water, immediately straightening back up to reach for the soap bottle again and sign "more" (last photo). 

I watched him through all this, snapping photos, and marveled at his sense of wonder and utter concentration.  It was a really great moment, and one I badly needed.  The past couple weeks have felt really rough, with illness all around and lots of tantrums and Category 5 meltdowns (especially when Mama tries to go do anything by myself, ever), and more than a few times I wondered why I ever decided to become a mother in the first place because I clearly sucked at it and didn't even really enjoy it anyway.  

But today was good.  It felt good and fun and I got to enjoy both my boys at least part of the day, and it was very much well-timed and needed.  I'm grateful for that.

Last night and today I also got a chance to browse through the work of documentary/photojournalistic-style photographers like Stephanie Roberts and Calvina, and felt that flicker of inspiration that's been missing lately.  It's what made me pull out my camera today when Quinn was playing with the water, and what made me actually get the photos off my computer and up on flickr so I could write this post tonight.  I've hardly picked up my camera the past several weeks, and I want to get back into it-- and do so with a bit more focus, improving my skills and ability to tell the story of our lives through these images.  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Montessori Post-- The Late Bloomer

In which I use my husband, and his love of reading and utter disdain of handwriting, as an example.  Click here to read it.  =)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

stuffy ears and miserable babies

Sometimes it feels like all I ever do on this blog is complain.

I'm currently on day 6 of an ear infection, which started in my left ear and is still worse on that side, but over the weekend crossed over to my right ear as well.  I finally got to see a doctor and start taking antibiotics yesterday (Monday) morning.  I'm still waiting to notice any sort of difference.

Quinn developed a 102 fever yesterday, and maintained it all day today.  I suspect he has the same thing D had a week or two ago, which was basically a fever for several days along with feeling super tired and overall miserable.  D at least had the luxury of laying on the couch and watching TV all day when he felt this awful.  Q, however, doesn't have the attention span for that yet.  We had a few short play sessions today, but the vast majority of the day was spent either crying or comfort nursing.

Fun fun times.
It's like illness musical chairs over here- finally got antibiotics today for the ear infection I've had since Thursday, and now Q has a fever and starting to get whiney... =(
Babywearing: a sick-baby essential.
The planning has begun for our move to New Hampshire.  We're about to book our flights for Tuck's accepted students weekend in April, and I'm contacting Montessori schools for D to hopefully attend.  One of them looks really promising.  We'll hopefully tour it in April, but from the website and emails back and forth it looks like it could be a great school.  We're waiting to find out if there will be space for him in the fall.  The other "back-up" school we're looking at came recommended well but is not giving me a very good impression.  For starters, it doesn't have a website. At all.  Nothing.  I'm glad we had a contact with a valid phone number for the school because the one I found online (via a third party directory) was disconnected.  Then they said they'd send out a packet for us to browse, which ended up consisting of a single trifold pamplet but no information whatsoever on how to apply.  Um....yeah.

There is, of course, much much more than these things to do over the next six months.  We'll be moving ourselves this time, and into a place that may be smaller than our current house, so we really need to go through all of our crap belongings and try to pear down what we don't need, along with actually setting up moving details and figuring things out like how to get the kids and the cats cross country, and which furniture to keep vs toss vs sell, and trying to actually sell stuff when apparently Sacramento's Craigslist community isn't all that active, etc etc etc.  Every time I start to really think about it all I start panicking just a tiny bit.  Maybe once we're all healthy again we can budget in time to devote to the Moving To-Do List.  Here's hoping that's sometime before Easter.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

at play

Cuteness #brothers

This photo is by far my most popular one on Instagram-- it got 24 "likes" (most of my photos get under 10 "likes"). At first I was surprised at the response-- it was just a snapshot taken one afternoon.  Then again, I kinda love this photo more each time I look at it.  It captures a shift in the blossoming and ever-changing relationship of these two brothers, one where Quinn is becoming a friend and partner in play/crime rather than just a nuisance.  It also hints at Quinn's desire to always do whatever his big brother is doing.
Watching big brother at play. (heard soon after: "Nooo, kuh-WIN!"
It really is very sweet to watch them together (well, when they're happy with each other, at least).  We have our fair share of "NOOO, Kuh-WIIINNN!"s that get yelled as the toddler once again snatches at the otherwise-perfectly-lined-up row of cars Donovan had been working on.  But more and more D's also asking, "Hey Quinn, do you wanna come play in my room?" or "Quinn you use this car and let's race!"  Q doesn't quite "get" these games yet (though he gets way more than I've expected him to) but it's still pretty heartwarming to watch them play together.

I overheard Zach talking to D one day, saying, "Your Uncle Andrew is my little brother, just like Quinn is your little brother.  My little brother is one of my best friends, just like I bet you and your brother will be best friends one day."

Here's hoping.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Texas Trip Photos pt 3

I thought we'd be past this by now

It's been a rough week and weekend around here.  Donovan's been sick. Zach and I are sick.  We're all mostly over it, but in that annoying window where you're not sick but still not exactly well, either.  Zach paid the deposit for attending Tuck, and so we're both excited about and a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of school and moving cross country in 6 months.  I'm making a long list of things we need to do, sorting and getting rid of and researching, and wondering when I'll get a chance to do any of it.

I'm frustrated at how overwhelming life in general still is.  I figured the first year would just be a wash-- I knew I wouldn't have time for anything other than just taking care of the bare necessities for the kids (and, hopefully, myself).  But I'd hoped that by the time the first year had passed we'd have restored some semblance of normalcy.  Many things have improved dramatically, but so much is still so difficult.  Namely, the utter and complete lack of free time.  Q is still so unpredictable in his naps (both in taking them and in their length); I spend most of the nanny's time here running errands or getting some one-on-one time with D; night sleep is still broken and random so even when I do get breaks I don't have the mental energy to use that time efficiently.  I realize this is the end of a bad week and that colors everything, but it's just frustrating how incredibly difficult it all still feels.  And, as Zach pointed out the other day, we don't even have it that bad.  In the grand scheme of things we have very little to complain about.

I do see a light at the end of the tunnel when I look at D, though.  Q is adorable and wonderful and I adore him to pieces but OH MY LORD he's just so much work and effort, and it just drains me. I then look at D and how much more independent he is.  Sure, he still has his challenges and he can throw a mean tantrum, but overall he is so pleasant, so fun to be around, so entertaining to hold a conversation with.  He can put on his own shoes and sometimes even get his own food and stuff (oh, and he can generally be counted on to sleep from ~8pm-5:30am every night which is also pretty darn nice).  Or like when we flew with the boys over the holidays, D took almost no effort on the plane.  It was just pleasant with him.  I know D and Q are different people and Q may be totally different when he's 3 (almost 4!) years old, but still.  I see how D is at this age and it's like a preview of things to come.  I enjoy D so much right now, he's just such an amazingly cool and fun kid.  And I enjoy the heck out of Q, too, but it's so much more mixed up with frustration and stress and exhaustion because he takes so much.

It will be nice when we're past the stage of needing constant supervision, past this fog of exhaustion and chronic sleep deprivation.  I think I'll enjoy parenting a bit more then.

(and if you're a parent of older kids reading this and laughing, please try not to burst my bubble)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Texas Trip Photos pt 2

I hope my kids don't get jealous about this, but I'm pretty sure I took way more pictures of my ginger nephew than of either D or Q. He's kinda irresistible.  

Monday, January 09, 2012

Big changes ahead! Yes, again.

About a year ago Zach started thinking about going to business school.  It's a move he'd contemplated before, though never very seriously.  But he was unhappy with his job, with the lack of options he found while looking for a new one, and with his career trajectory ahead.  So for the first time, business school became a serious option to consider.  Over the summer he took on his new job in San Francisco, which in a way worked nicely in that it was intended as a one year commitment-- ending just in time to start school in the fall of 2012.

He spent much of the past 6 months researching schools, studying for and then taking the GMAT, and filling out applications.  He applied to five schools and got into three: UT, Dartmouth, and UCLA (Stanford turned him down, or "dinged" him as you're apparently supposed to say is business-speak; and we haven't technically heard back from Berkeley yet but they announce their decisions in the 12th and never called for an interview so that's probably a "no").

The two top choices were Dartmouth (aka Tuck School of Business, in Hanover, New Hampshire) and UT (aka McCombs School of Business, in Austin, TX).  I could go on for a while on the pros & cons of each school (some of you have read that diatribe) but it boiles down to this: Dartmouth/Tuck has almost every advantage, except that Texas/McCombs would mean living in the same city as our parents and thus having incredible family support.

I'll be honest here: when we first started talking about an MBA and Zach mentioned UT as a possible school choice, I felt excited by the possibility but I never really believed we'd go there.  UT's business school is good, but it's not a top-ranked school.  Three of the schools he applied to are in the top 10 list for MBAs (Berkeley, Stanford, Dartmouth) and I figured he'd get into at least one of them and it would be too difficult to turn that down.  And though we didn't want to admit it and still spent several weeks mulling everything over and feeling nearly every possible emotion about all of this, I think we both knew as soon as he got that call from Tuck that we'd end up in New Hampshire.

So there you have it.  Looks like we're moving to New Hampshire this summer.  I have mixed feelings about it all.  I'm excited about a lot of things-- Tuck is known for having a very family-friendly program and community (Zach has a friend who's there now and can attest that they really do put their money where their mouth is on that claim). Hanover is apparently a gorgeous town and really great place to live, everyone we've talked to who has spent time there has said they loved it.  It's also exciting to think of living someplace that gets all four seasons for real.

I am, however, a little apprehensive about the winters.  I think snow will be fun, but knowing me I'll probably tire of it, and the cold, pretty quickly (did you know that the average HIGH temp during the entire month of January is BELOW freezing?).  I think Zach and the boys will LOVE it, especially the snow and easy access to winter activities like snowshoeing.  At least it's for a specific period of time and then we know we'll be out of there.  In a way it'll be good to experience it and know for sure how I feel about living someplace that cold.

Moving cross-country is also not an exciting thought, nor is leaving the friends we've made here.  The biggest source of anxiety, though, and the thing we keep going over and over again, is the financial investment.  Through a bit of good planning and a lot of good luck we've been pretty financially stable the past several years.  It is SCARY to give that up and sink such a large sum of money on school.  But life's been good to us so far, and we have to hope it will work out in the end.  We've talked and thought this decision over (and under, and through, and every which way possible) and it really does feel like the best path ahead.

So. More big changes. A cross-country move.  New friends to meet, new climate to experience, beautiful sights to photograph.  How is it that we keep getting roped into these wild adventures? I guess that's what happens when you marry a really smart, talented, and ambitious guy like Zach. ; )

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Texas Trip Photos pt 1

Not a whole lot of mental energy for words right now, so I'll just post photos from our time in Texas. That cool with y'all? ; )


Monday, January 02, 2012


Weeks pass and nary a word.  Sorry, little blog, you have been neglected.  I have much to write, but haven't been able to organize thoughts properly when I also have access to a decent keyboard (I loves me my iphone but am not a fan of writing blog posts on it).

This is the eve of our last day in Texas visiting family.  We've been here for about a week and a half, and it's been heavenly.  Grandparent help is nothing short of divine-- I've been able to sleep full nights uninterrupted, to lounge and read for hours at a time during the day, etc.  Amazing, truly.

I had much I wanted to do over this vacation/visit, much of it involving the looming decision about Zach attending business school.  I haven't mentioned that here at all yet, and I may not go into much more detail until we have firm plans.  But it looks like our "tradition" of moving approx every 2 years will continue for a while longer here, as we look to pack up and move somewhere for him to get his MBA, and then hopefully, finally, make ourselves a home we can cozy into and stay put in for a while.

But now I need to hit the sack, as it's getting late and tomorrow will likely be a long day as we finish packing and then fly back to California.  I'll write more soon, I promise.  For now you can click on over to flickr to see the phone pics I've been posting all week.


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