Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rollin' in style

I've wanted a jogging stroller since I had Malaina, but we have a great Maclaren, and I never could justify the cost of a 2nd stroller. I've coveted the BOB since I found out they make a version with a swivel front wheel, and I was stoked to discover that the Revolution was one of the options in my American Express rewards program. I've been hoarding my Amex points, and finally ordered it a few weeks ago. I think it was delivered Friday, but the office didn't call until yesterday to let me know. Matt got home too late to pick it up, and it was torture to wait until the office opened this morning. We broke it in with a family walk today (Malaina rode her bike, of course), and Justin seemed to really enjoy it. With the addition of the BOB, I guess I really have no more excuses for not exercising. If the weather would cooperate, I'd be all set (supposed to be 82 tomorrow, then 65 on Thursday).

Monday, April 28, 2008

Thought for the Week - #30

Organization = Liberty. Real innovation in design, or any other field, happens in context. That context is usually some form of cooperatively managed enterprise. Frank Gehry, for instance, is only able to realize Bilbao because his studio can deliver it on budget. The myth of a split between "creatives" and "suits" is what Leonard Cohen calls a "shining artifact of the past".

My house is getting too clutter-y for my taste. Those who know me well are probably laughing hysterically at this, but I'm really not quite the clutter bug I used to be. Yes, I still have more things than I really need (don't we all!?), but it's the detrius of daily life that is dragging me down right now. Malaina's artwork, the profusion of toys, the piles of semi-important mail.... it's just getting to be too much. I can usually handle most of the house, but I've had a hard time since Justin was born. My time is more valuable than ever, and it's hard to get motivated to do a massive clean-up when I'd rather take a nap. Regardless of my fatigue level, I know that being surrounded by clutter is also mentally exhausting. Being disorganized at home makes me feel scattered and vaguely uneasy. I can see a Spring Cleaning in my future.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Wii are giant dorks

We are now the proud owners of a Wii system. We've been debating for months about this, and finally decided to make a concerted effort to find a system (they're still hard to come by, at least in Des Moines). I know, we're nothing special - there have been 6 million Wii's sold world-wide, and for good reason - It's Awesome! We currently only have the standard Sports game (tennis, baseball, golf, bowling, boxing), but even this has been super fun. Malaina proceeded to school me in golf, and Daddy is quite the boxer. Bowling seems to be more my speed right now. I like that there are games for everyone in the family (I'm sure Malaina will flip when she discovers there are Barbie and Princess games), and I like that it's something we can do besides sitting on the couch watching TV. My arms are already sore from boxing and batting! I'm also intrigued by the Wii Fit, which comes out in May. It's a mix of fitness activities (strength training, yoga), and fun stuff like hula hooping and slalom skiing. No, the games aren't cheap, but there are options like ebay and used game stores. I feel a little guilty, as this is a totally luxurious indulgence for a family of starving students, but I have no regret. Ya gotta spoil yourself sometimes, and when it's something for the whole family, it's much easier to justify.

In other news: Malaina has a new bike! The weather has been much nicer in the last few weeks, and she has been begging for a bike. In the interest of motivating her towards family walks, we decided to get her a bike. She's between the sizes for the 2 smallest bikes, and we went with the smaller, as we can raise the seat & make it last a bit longer. She loves riding it on the trail behind the apartment, and I'll bet the training wheels come off by next year.
Justin news: He is outgrowing his 'newborn' size clothing already. I put on a onesie the other day & had to stretch it to make it snap closed. I don't know how long or heavy he is, but he is certainly growing. It must be those recessive giant genes on Matt's side. Malaina took months to fit in to her 0-3 month clothes, so I can only wonder what we have to look forward to with Justin. Thus far, he has been different from her in almost every way. He is now 6 weeks old, and has started smiling at us. He likes to hear Malaina sing to him, and he is a little ticklish. He also slept for almost 5 hours last night!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Help yourself?

A bit of background: A few months ago I was at the Wal-Mart deli counter waiting for my cold cuts, when one of the bakery ladies gestured Malaina over, dipped into a Tupperware container of cookies at the edge of the bakery case, and gave it to her. We thanked her and I didn't think much more about it. I've seen the container a number of times since, but we haven't been offered a cookie again. No big deal.

I was at Wally's today, again waiting for my deli order, when a woman pushing a double stroller marched up to the bakery counter, grabbed a sheet of tissue, and popped the lid off the cookie container. She proceeds to grab 6 cookies (no exaggeration - I counted) and toss one to the toddler in the stroller. Her husband walks up behind me with another toddler, and she gives the other child a cookie.

Does anyone else think this is OK? I guess it's not technically stealing, as she wasn't swarmed by security in the middle of the first bite. I suppose it was really just a case of bad manners. I personally don't think I'd have the guts to stroll up and help myself to Mr. Walton's cookies. And what kind of example does it set for your own children, or other people's children? Finally, not only was she rude, she was greedy. 6 cookies for 2 toddlers is a bit much. If your planning skills are so poor that you drag the entire family to Wal-Mart at dinner time without a snack in hand, hit aisle #7, and crack open a box of granola bars.

PS -I made some pretty delicious cupcakes today. I doctored up a Red Velvet box mix, and made some chocolate buttercream frosting from a new recipe I found. The cake didn't taste like much, but the texture was light and slightly moist. The frosting was lightly chocolate-y with a fluffy texture. YUM!

PPS - I'd like to add this cookbook to my collection: Hello Cupcake! Some of the designs look a bit silly (corn on the cob, anyone?), but if they have a turtle design, I'm sold! (sorry, I can't figure out how to embed the link in the title of the book, so I'm leaving it out of the post)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Are you a member of the Minivan Mafia?

Why do I call it that? Because so many of these Moms in their minivans drive them like they are trying to run you off the road. I have nothing against Moms or minivans. I love being a Mom, and minivans are fine, but I don't drive one, and if I have my way I will not drive one. I've driven (not owned, but driven) minivans, and they have many advantages - decent gas mileage, roomy, easy to drive, can transport a developing nation in the third row, etc. But there's just something about a minivan. Every time I think about owning and driving one, I feel like I should put on my white Keds, Mom jeans and Reindeer sweater, let my roots grow out, and just give UP. In other words, I equate the minivan to losing every part of myself that feels young, hip, attractive or anywhere near to being under 45. I am not criticizing others - I am sure there are many minivan Moms who don't fit in my mental stereotype, but this is the vision I have of myself if I were to get behind the wheel of a minivan. I'm sure there will come a time when Matt and I will have to battle it out over our next form of transportation. Despite the fact that the Honda is still going strong (220,000+miles, thank you very much), we don't foresee the Jetta lasting more than another 3 years (if we are very lucky). And if we have another baby, your basic 4 door sedan is not going to cut it. Any suggestions? Can anyone else relate to my feelings about losing my youthful self in the depths of a Honda Odyssey? I think I am just feeling the effects of another birthday around the corner.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Marshmallow Animals

http://www.ohdeedoh.com/ohdeedoh/look/look-marshmallow-animals-048036 I foresee waking up to marshmallow sculptures on our kiddos' birthdays (although the little lamb would be awesome for Easter).

How's it Going?

It's a simple question, and one I have been answering with the usual "everything is good". Here's the more detailed answer: It's a little crazy! I expected it to be challenging, but after 4 years, I forgot about the grumpiness induced by severe lack of sleep, the inability to get anything done (including completing a shower without hearing him cry), and of course, we are learning the tricks of juggling two instead of one. Malaina is adjusting pretty well, but I think she really feels the loss of attention. We try hard to give her extra loves and attention, but the jealousy flares up occasionally. She does like to hold him and kiss him, but doesn't quite understand how delicate he is. We keep telling her that he will be much more fun in "a little while". We also talk about how much he's going to look up to her and how she needs to lead by example.

Justin is growing and doing well. I'm breastfeeding, and he eats well. We've tried the bottle a few times, and although he takes it without complaint, I'm going to stick with nursing for as long as I can. He is sleeping better at night, and usually goes down between 10:30 or 11, and wakes up just twice before 7 am. We're co-sleeping right now, and everyone is pretty happy with the results. I know this is controversial to some, but it works for us. I feel that not only do I get more sleep this way, but he fusses less at night, and goes back to sleep more quickly. We tried the crib for the first few weeks, and he doesn't hate it, but he definitely fusses more and wakes up more frequently. Justin isn't much of a fusser, and generally only gets grumpy when he's tired at night. He's also taken to the pacifier, and usually uses it to fall asleep at night.

I'm back at work this week, and it's been fairly quiet so far. It's definitely been tough to try and get things done and care for both kids. I forgot how demanding a newborn can be (and we are lucky that Justin is generally a very easy baby), and often don't have dinner ready on time, or laundry caught up. Luckily, Matt and I exist on our own schedules, and we're both taking these new changes day by day. I know it will only get better.

I lost most of the baby weight by the end of week 1 (all but 5 lbs), but still have a squishy tummy. I bought a stability ball, and have been doing some light ab exercises to try and firm things up. As the weather gets better (and less like the windstorm it's been this week), I hope to get out and walk with the kids a few times a week. Our complex also has a small gym, and when the weather gets hot, I want to get into the gym and start using the elliptical and treadmill. Now that my thyroid is stable and my energy is good, I hope that I can finally get rid of the extra weight I've been carrying for the last few years.

In other news: Matt only has about 6 weeks left in his first year of med school! Time has flown (especially since the beginning of the year), and I can hardly believe that year 1 is almost over. I hope we can get away to Chicago for a long weekend this summer, and spend some quality family time at Lincoln Park Zoo and Navy Pier. We're also going to sign Malaina up for swim lessons this summer - gotta keep Mom on the go!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Justin is 4 weeks old today!

Hard to believe it's been a month already. He's grown and changed so much in the last 4 weeks. He's gone from being a tiny infant to a big, strong boy, and I can't imagine the changes that are yet to come. His eyebrows and eyelashes are growing in nicely, and the hair on his head is getting darker and longer (although it's a bit patchy from losing it in spots). His eyes are becoming a lighter shade of blue each day. We don't have a scale at home, so I don't know how much he weighs, but from the size of his baby belly I'd say that he's very healthy. He's sleeping better at night, and I'm getting to know his routine and moods. He's not too much of a crier, but will occasionally give a holler just to remind us that he's here. He likes to spend time in his bouncy chair and will even watch the fish and bubbles while the ocean sounds play. Nicknames: Little J, Tiger, Stinky McStinkerton. Justin, we love you so much, and are so happy that you've made us a family of 4!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Thought for the Week - #32

Listen Carefully: Every collaborator who enters our orbit brings with him or her a world more strange and complex than any we could ever hope to imagine. By listening to the details and the subtlety of their needs, desires, or ambitions, we fold their world onto our own. Neither party will ever be the same.

I generally prefer to be a listener rather than a participator. I'm not a stalker (those days are long over), but I like to watch people and learn from what I see, and listen to what they have to say. I'm also very shy around those I don't know well (not to be mistaken for the aloofness that I generally project), and it's easier for me to listen, watch and learn rather to dive right in and throw out my opinions. I also think I'm not terribly interesting, and I'd rather listen to someone else talk. That's why I love blogging. It gives you a tiny, risk-free window into another world, complete with pictures.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Movies I Can't Wait to See

I like movies, but don't have to be the first in line to see a movie when it premieres in the theaters. The last movie I saw in the theater was Juno (highly recommend it), and I am pretty sure that anything prior to that was something animated. But I am SO excited that 2008 will debut two movies that I have been waiting for. And yes, my calendar is marked for opening weekend on both.
First, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Ok, who doesn't love a little Indy? This 4th movie has been a long time coming, and I am curious to see how well Harrison Ford does as the quintessential adventurer (it's been more than a few years since he donned that fedora and whip). For a girl who loves historical fiction, mystery and a little adventure, Indy is the ideal protagonist: daring, clever, and educated, with a great sense of humor. Plus he's easy on the eyes.
Next, Quantum of Solace - the next Bond flick. Where do I begin? Sean Connery left some very big shoes to fill when he retired from the Bond role, and I was never thrilled with Timothy Dalton or Pierce Brosnan. But Daniel Craig? Oh Daniel, Daniel, Daniel.... I am close to speechless. Casino Royale was nearly perfect. I loved Dame Judy Dench as 'M', there was a good use of technology without being heavy-handed, the storyline was fast-paced and compelling, and of course there's our boy Daniel. Although he's not classically handsome, he is athletic, a little aloof, a quick thinker, and willing to finish what he starts. Plus he's an international spy. M'mm, M'mm good.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New pics

A little tummy time last week
The Weather on Thursday, March 27th. Happy Spring?
Nap time at the Huff house
In his car seat - big surprise, he sleeps better here than he does in his crib. His hair also looks very red/ blonde in this pic.... much like Malaina's did when she was his age.