Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What Time of Day Are You?

So very cool. And fairly accurate. I'm really no good before 10am, and Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.


I hope it's not a one-way street


Since Big J was born, Big Sis has vacillated between smothering him with hugs, kisses, and pats, and utterly ignoring him. On occasion she will delve into playing too rough (evoking a "What Did I Tell You About Being Too Rough?!?!?!"), or giving him the barest of acknowledgement with a look out of the corner of her eyes. But lately she has discovered the power of showing off to Big J. He's taken a grand interest in her doings of late, and she is gobbling it up. In the car he will stare her down until she looks at him, then breaks into a smile of unadulterated joy. She can make him laugh like no one else, and he is mesmerized by whatever she does. His favorite game of late is to sit in his Jumper positioned in the doorway to her room. She will then romp and stomp around her room, playing tea party with him, doing somersaults and generally being looney. He is GLUED to her every move. When she is particularly delightful, he jumps like a madman, catching air and slapping his hands on the tray. I never had a close sibling (it's complicated) and I always felt like I missed out. I envy Big Daddy and his brothers. They may not be close now, but when the family gets together they have so many stories to tell. I expect these two to have a contentious relationship, but I desperately hope they end up being close. Hence, the above picture. I was deliriously excited about getting their picture taken together. I hope this will be the first of many.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sqwick!

I saw a snippet on Cross-Nursing shown on Good Morning America this morning. I watched with a mixture of horror and curiosity. When I was able to scoop my jaw back off the floor, I thought about what I'd seen. Two close friends had children very near in age (they looked to be about 18-24 months old). When one of them goes to work, errands, etc. the other will nurse the firsts little one. Interestingly, the other's child (the one who nurses her friend's child) won't nurse with anyone else.

Now, I know what wet-nursing is. But this is the 21st century, and we DO live in America - a relatively civilized country with a plentiful supply of baby formula (not that a 2 year old should be drinking baby formula). And while I can appreciate that a mother wants to continue nursing, I was appalled for a number of practical reasons. First, what is this woman doing that she needs to be away for more than the 3-5 hours between meals for a 2 YEAR OLD? Second, that kid was WAY too big to be nursing. I know, I'm sure there are many who would disagree, but IMHO, when your child is old enough to walk up and pull your shirt up because they feel like taking a sip, it's time to wean. Finally, you may think you know someone, but you don't really know everything they are doing. You don't know what they've eaten or drunk. You don't know what might be coursing through their bodies. If you MUST use human milk, go to a milk bank (yes, there actually are such things), where the milk is screened and cleansed.

And cross-nursing GMA ladies? I guarantee your kids are going to be grossed out when you tell them that mommy's friend nursed them. P.S. - If I were you, I would have invested in some better make-up to hide the enormous crescent moon tattooed on my forehead. Double Ick.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Am So Out of Fashion

In an interview for Time Magazine, Tim Gunn (style guru and co-host of Project Runway), was asked the following question:

"What's the worst fashion trend you've ever seen?"

Answer: "...Generally speaking, it's footwear trends. I mean, the Croc - it looks like a plastic hoof. How can you take that seriously? I know its comfortable; I understand that. But if you want to dress to feel as though you never got out of bed, don't get out of bed."
To a point, I agree with him. I am late to jump on the bandwagon of anything, much less be at the forefront of any fashion trend (too much work for this girl). I didn't personally investigate Crocs until last summer, and when I did, I fell hard for the Mary Jane. So comfortable on my pregnant feet! When I was here in July, looking for places to live, I noted that the Croc was a BIG trend here. I chuckled to myself about it, as I think the original Cayman style is SO UGLY. Well, then I had to eat my words when I bought my Crocs in Salt Lake City. I wore them all year, and I was happy.

I take no issue with Gunn's comment. He is a man of great personal style. As CCO of Liz Claiborne, I have yet to see any of that style translate into the clothing line, but I'm sure it will. And I really can't quibble with his opinion on Crocs. After I read that, I took a hard look at my old Mary Janes. He's right. But I still like them. So don't worry yet - next time you see me, I'm sure I'll be clomping along in my comfy plastic hooves, thinking about how awesome they will look with socks this Fall. And now I'm going to bed.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Customize a Cookbook

I was poking around Food Network the other day and found a link to a great website called Tastebook. You can customize your own cookbook. Choose recipes from a number of online sites, or add your own. Pick the cover graphic, title it whatever you want, and the cost depends on the number of pages you want. The interior pages are in binder form, so you can add or rearrange at will. What a great idea! I have so many random recipes floating around, and I have always wanted a way to keep and organize them. And what a great gift idea, especially for family, or for someone getting married. Check it out. I was impressed and hope you are too.

WHEW......

I just checked the list of 600 Starbucks stores which will be closed within the next 12 months. Des Moines is safe! Those of you who know me well are aware of my love for Starbucks. It's been an adventure - with my love affair coming full circle after journeying from Hot Chocolate to a near-daily Grande Latte (I desperately needed the caffeine jolt when I was in the midst of my unmedicated thyroid woes), and back to Hot Chocolate (try it with Soy - Yum!). Even Daddy is addicted to the Hot Chocolate. With the rising prices of everything, we've cut back significantly, but still enjoy this treat on special occasions.

Friday, July 18, 2008

J's 4 Month Stats

Wednesday J went to the doctor for his 4 month checkup. No, we didn't just drop him off at the receptionist's desk - we ALL went to his appointment. J is a healthy boy, and his stats are as follows:
  • Height: 25" (50th percentile)

  • Weight: 15lbs. 6 oz. (60th percentile)

  • Head: 17" (75th percentile)

Looks like he's slowing down a bit, as his head only increased 1/4" in 2 months, but he did grow 2 1/4 inches and gained almost 3 lbs.! We talked to the doctor about his sleep issues, and she suggested that 4 months is the perfect time to help him learn how to self-soothe. We have begun to do this at bedtime only, and last night was his first real cry-it-out night. After 45 minutes of crying, he settled down and slept for a good 4 hours before waking again. I think that one of my biggest fears with CIO is that he'll be mad at me in the morning. I know, totally irrational, but a concern for me. I'm happy to report that he's still so laid back that once he fully wakes up, he's a smiley boy again.

We also started him on rice cereal, per Dr.'s suggestion. He hates it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Catch-Up Post

Little updates:

1. I found and purchased a Bumbo off craigslist. J is getting to the age where I thought he might benefit from a Bumbo, so I have been stalking ebay and craigslist for what I wanted. Of course, being the picky, high-maintenance person I am, I had to look for one of the less common colors: orange or lime green. The prices were always too high for my taste, and so I almost fell out of my chair when I saw the ad on craigslist on Saturday morning. By that afternoon, it was mine - a lime green Bumbo with tray in perfect condition (for less than half the retail price!). She even threw in a little suction cup toy for extra fun. A quick Clorox wipe down and we were good to go. He loves it, and I can't believe how well he sits up in it. My strong boy!


2. I WON! I won a free month of Baby Boot Camp. Shortly after I started the class, I received an email from the instructor stating that if we went to a website called Lila Guide and wrote a review about the class, we'd be entered in a drawing to win a free month of BBC. Well, as the only person to write a review, I won! Ha Ha! Hey, I'll take what I can get!!

3. We tried the sling again. Now that he's got good head control, I tried the hip carry, and it worked out pretty well. Still not sure if he's positioned correctly, but he seems to dig it. I will probably go to next month's local Baby Wearer meet up to get a second opinion, but I can't wait to try it at the mall or Farmer's Market soon. (Note: the tall, skinny model with the flat stomach and puffy-eyed toddler is NOT ME. The pic is to illustrate the sling and the hip carry.)


4. The sleep update: We've regressed a bit, and sleep is still a total struggle. Our evening routine is solid, but many nights it's difficult to get him to fall asleep much less stay asleep. Naps are also challenging, and more so when we try to do anything in the morning or afternoon. Or pretty much anytime after 9 am. Awesome, no? I keep re-reading Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, thinking "Why isn't this working for us? I must be missing something, but what is it?" This afternoon I found a blog which actually eased my mind a bit. On the rare occasion that someone asks me a question about my kids or child-rearing, I'm happy to share what we do/say, but generally with the caveat of "but you have to really figure out what works for you and your family". Apparently I forgot my own advice. I can't try to program my baby to follow a plan and then get frustrated when it doesn't happen. I have to figure out what works for My Baby and My Schedule and My Family. So he doesn't go down at 7:30pm. So he struggles to self-soothe and wakes up every few hours. So he likes to nurse in the middle of the night. Well, that's what's working for us right now, so I just need to relax and go with it. I know he won't be like this forever. I need to relax and remember this. The blog that reminded me of this is Ask Moxie. I think it was just reading about so many mothers' experiences that reminded me so strongly of my own advice. They also made the point that we live in a time of 'expert worship', where any person who publishes a book is suddenly considered to be the end-all be-all of advice. How idiotic. That would be like me writing a book on interior design because I once watched Trading Spaces. So I'm tossing the sleep book and trying to be more chill about our day to day life. It will all come together. (but cross your fingers for me anyway)

Monday, July 14, 2008

4 Months Old!!

Happy 4 Month Birthday to you Big J! You are changing every day and growing so fast. You have just started rolling over (tummy to back), you are sitting up well in your Bumbo (thank you craigslist), and are generally a sweet baby. You've been off the paci for 2 weeks now & you took the change in stride. The little time you do sleep, you're in your crib. You love being around your big sis, and nobody makes you laugh like Daddy. Looking at pictures of you I can see the little boy, not the baby any more.

Likes: Green Frog, Baby Einstein books, Jumper, riding in the Bob, splashing in the tub, drooling, chewing on fingers, eating, flirtin' with the ladies.

Dislikes: Sleeping (day or night), being on your tummy, Guitar Hero.

Activity: jumping in the Jumper, laying on your back on your activity mat while grabbing/ batting at dangling toys, chewing on link-a-doos & Baby Einstein book, splashing, chewing on fingers, grabbing & chewing on green frog, drooling all the time, rolling over, playing in exersaucer, sitting & playing in Bumbo, watching Mom, Dad & Big Sis, chewing, chewing, chewing.......

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Day of Firsts

Sunday was a day of firsts for us. J rolled over (see previous post with video).

Bunny gave her first talk in Primary. I was so proud of her! We wrote the talk last night, and she contributed much of what was said. She wasn't nervous at all, and spoke clearly. I think she liked being in front of everyone, using the microphone, and having everyone tell her she did a good job. A win all around.

And we went to Family Night at the local pool - even getting J in the water for a while! M and I both had to go down all the waterslides to 'test them out'. Bunny was eager to show off what she's been learning in swim lessons. She is doing so well that I think this is something we will have to commit to every summer. She has no problem sticking her face under water, and even immerses herself completely with no complaints. The only bad news is that I think she might be a sinker like her father. (P.S.: I know, we're not very strict on 'keeping the Sabbath Day holy', but frankly, family time is limited, and when we have the chance to do something that everyone will enjoy we take it. )

Just a shot to show what Justin looks like much of the time - fingers shoved in mouth as far as they can go.

Big J Rolls Over

We're all in trouble now......

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A new day

Note: I am considering changing the names in this blog to protect the innocent. Any thoughts on that?? (and it's Ok if you just want to tell me I'm an idiot for not doing it sooner).

Matt was home for much of the day, as he didn't have to work until 7 pm tonight (Nobody get excited - he works at the school library. It's our way of offsetting the $32,000 a year we pay in tuition). I had a busy morning with BBC, a con call and general screwing off. We went out for lunch, then to Costco to buy new tires (seriously, how much more boring could we possibly be??), then filled the afternoon with a nap. I am so boring I think I am putting myself to sleep. Again.

During lunch we talked about my blog. He is of the opinion that I have lost my 'voice'. I agree with him. I started the blog as sort of online diary, with the secret hope that people would find it & think I am brilliant, witty, and should be published. While I am none of those things, I still enjoy blogging but sometimes it is work and I think it comes across that way. I am trying too hard, I am throwing too much random stuff out there, and I am not pleased with the result. So I am here to apologize, and to tell you (both my blog readers) that I am going to back off a bit and try to refocus myself.

I haven't been very good to myself lately, and it shows. With Matt working late shifts, I tend to put the kids to bed and surf the internet until he comes home at midnight. Then we chat and watch TV until I finally give in and go to bed - around 1am. As Big J gets up 2 more times before his early morning wake up, I have been even more sleep-deprived than usual. Resulting in a cranky, extra-slow functioning Mommy. I have also been giving in to my chocolate cravings, padding into the kitchen and sneaking a handful or two of chocolate chips out of the giant bag from Costco. Then I feel guilty about working hard to eat well during the day, and spoiling it at night with chocolate gluttony. Shame on me. As of tonight I am going to turn things around - bed no later than 11pm, and work to stave off the chocolate cravings (or at least dipping in to the bag of choco chips). Tomorrow I'm buying a box of sugar free fudge pops.

To top it all off, work has been emotionally chaotic. Big Boss is out the door on July 23. I knew she wouldn't last more than 2 years, and I say GOOD RIDDANCE to her. I've never met a woman who is so abrasive and belittling of those around her. We have had 2 more people quit in the last month. I also found out that someone else is being forced out within the next 2 weeks, and I am really uncomfortable with all these changes. While my situation is still working well for me, all these personnel changes are messing with my head. The company has always been unstable when it comes to human resources, but in the last 12 months we have had so many people quit and NO REPLACEMENTS. We're a small organization in the U.S., and to have 9 people leave in the last 6 months is a lot. Only one of those positions has been filled - and by someone who is a corporate spy from HK. So forgive me if I moan about how much I dislike my job. The job itself isn't so bad. It's the dismal atmosphere and lack of both leadership and transparency within the business. I continue to be told that I shouldn't consider this to be a long term position, but frankly I'm in until they ask me to leave. And then I'm collecting every dollar of unemployment coming to me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Touch of OCD

The title is a joke. Sort of. One of the things I love about Matt is that he and I are similar in some key ways. One of which is that we have a tiny, tiny bit of OCD. Now, my OCD isn't the good kind - like the kind that makes me keep my house spotless, or enables me to complete a term paper 3 days after the assignment is handed out. Oh no, I have the kind that hinges more on the "O" in OCD. Obsessive. I become fixated on the most random of things, and then can't stop thinking about them. This mostly comes out when I find music I like. If I find a song I like, I will listen to it on 'repeat' for hours, which then turn into days. I sleep and eat and stuff - it doesn't completely disrupt my life - but I do tend to fixate. Every once in a while I also obsess over questions or things, not resting until I find the answer or discover what I am looking for. I am currently looking for ice cream/ soup takeout containers. They have to be pint sized, white with white lid, made of thick paper with a waxy coating on the inside, and available to purchase in quantities of less than 50. I can find what I want until we get to the quantity issue. What would I do with 250 pint containers?? I've done a fairly thorough internet search. I looked on ebay. There's no Smart & Final here, so that's out. I will probably have to start calling restaurants to see if they have what I want, and if so, if they will sell it to me. Fortunately, I don't really need these for a few more months. Wish me luck.

Sleep update: Things have been thrown off a little since swim lessons began this week. He seems to want to take a little nap between 6:30 and 7:00, but then it's harder to get him to bed. We do have a new bedtime routine: cluster feed him as much as possible between making dinner by 4:30, eating, and leaving for swim lessons at 6:00. Home at 7:00, Malaina in shower, try to feed Justin again, Justin in bath. PJ's on everyone, try to juggle stories with Malaina and keep Justin calm, tuck in Malaina, soothe Justin, Justin in crib. The good news: NO MORE PACIFIER. We are 6 days sans-paci, and things are much better. Everyone comments that it's so early for him to not be using it anymore, but I just couldn't continue to get up a dozen times a night to stick it back in his mouth. He's sleeping in his crib all the time now, and is going to sleep much more easily. He did have to cry it out a few times at the beginning, but now he'll fuss for a few minutes, then settle down quickly. He does still wake to eat several times each night, but I don't really have a way to circumvent that except to hope that he will grow out of it. And besides, I am so grateful for these positive changes that I can't ask for much more right now.

I wish someone would hold a how-to class on the DIY French Manicure. I realize this would be rather self-defeating to a manicurist. Why teach someone to DIY, when we could continue to pay $25+ to have them do it for us? I rarely paint my nails, but I do like to keep my toes painted. I treat myself to a pedicure maybe once a year, but I love the little designs some manicurists will do as part of the pedi. I like the look of French tips on the toes, but seem to botch it every time. I'm sure it's just a matter of practice, but I would pay good money to have someone teach me how to do it right - show the supplies & explain why they work so well, go through it step by step, and let me practice under supervision. YouTube has some videos on this, but seeing it in poor quality digital video doesn't compare to having someone walk you through it in person. I found this Flickr user in Japan who gets the most amazing looking manicures. Apparently she frequents some of the top nail salons in Tokyo, and she comes away with Pucci-inspired designs with Swarovski crystals, glittery French manicures and more. That's a bit much for me, as I both have no real nails to speak of and wash my hands 15 times a day. But I love a gorgeous pedicure, and if I had the money I'd get one twice a month. One of the only good things about living in Lafayette was the Aveda Beauty School there. While I was pregnant with Malaina, I DID get a pedicure every 2 weeks - because they were $10!! (oh the bygone days of free time and disposable income) Sorry- this turned into a rambler......

Monday, July 7, 2008

Shallow Moment.....

Forgive me for having a shallow, celeb-obsessed moment, but here I go:

I've heard Madonna is divorcing her husband. Not really noteworthy, as divorce happens every day. Here's the interesting part: rumours abound that there is NO PRENUP. Uh.... really? I used to think pre-nups were lame, but I've reversed my opinion in the last few years. Of course we are broke, so there was never any talk of a pre-nup before we got married. But as a celebrity, particularly one of Madonna's magnitude, I would think a Pre-Nup is just a no brainer. I'm sure she had the same idea we all have when we move towards the altar: "We're so in love. I can't ever imagine being apart from him. I don't need a pre-nup because we will always be together." That's all well and good, but people grow, people change, and often they grow apart. And personally if I was making millions of dollars a year, I would want to keep it. If they stay married, then no harm, no foul. But if they divorce, apparently he may be entitled to half of what she made during the course of their marriage (England is different than the U.S., where it's often half of all current assets). Considering that she grossed between $194 and $260 million for her 2006 tour (and this is just a small portion of the money made since her 2000 marriage), we are talking about a ton of cash. I realize it's only money, and she probably wouldn't even miss that 50%, but...... all I can really say is listen to what your lawyers tell you BEFORE you sign on the dotted line of that marriage license. You pay them big bucks for a reason.

Sleep Update

If nothing else, this week has proven to me once again that parenting requires an arsenal of varying skill-sets and a great deal of flexibility. Check your ego at the door and get ready to ride the emotional rollercoaster, prepare yourself for surprises that could rival those in a funhouse, and of course you better have the flexibility of a Chinese acrobat because there are times when you will bend over backwards and touch your toes to your nose for your babies.


We have been pacifier free for 5 days now. It's been rough going, but not as difficult as I thought it might be. Naps aren't as challenging as getting him to sleep at night. The first night he cried for 45 minutes, and now we're down to about 15 minutes of sobbing. It's still difficult for me to listen to him wail but I think it helps him to get it out of his system, and he certainly sleeps better. Last night was probably one of our best nights. He went to bed at 8:00, and I sleep-fed him at 10:30. I went to bed right after and we slept until about 2:00. 2:00 seems to be the most difficult hour of the night, as he seems to eat, fall asleep for about 20 minutes, then wakes up and cries for 10-30 minutes. Once he's back down again, he'll usually sleep until 4am, when he wants to eat again. It's back up for good around 6 am. We mixed it up last night, as I brought him to bed at 4. I know, it was a moment of weakness which I definitely regret. I thought he might settle down, but he just wanted to eat off and on until we got up at 8. I know - 8 is very late, but in my defense, although I have been getting more sleep it's almost worse as I get into a deep sleep cycle and then get woken out of it - leaving me to sleep walk through my mornings like when he was a newborn. I keep telling myself that this will pass, but in the meantime I could really use a nap.


In other news:
  • Swim lessons started today. They are only 1/2 hour for 10 days, but I'm hopeful she'll come out with some water skills that Daddy can then expand on.
  • I've completed 2 weeks of Baby Boot Camp, and am still enjoying it. I still get sore the day after a class, but this is good as it means I'm continuing to work different muscles. We do a lot of squats and lunges, and I've seen improvement in my ability to complete multiple sets without having my legs want to buckle underneath me. I can see better definition in my calves, more muscle in my shoulders, and my shorts are feeling a little looser. My healthy eating is going OK, too. Some days are stricter than others, but overall I just try to stay away from the pasta and bread (two very big weak spots for me), and eat a lot more salad. In fact, I feel like I've eaten a Farmer's Market worth of salad, but it's all good. I've eaten ice cream and chocolate a few times, but I'm trying not to stress about it. What's the point to working towards a healthier lifestyle if I'm just going to beat myself up over a little treat now and then? So not worth it.
  • I made homemade chocolate ice cream last night, and it was SO GOOD. We haven't had great luck with our ice cream in the past, as it seems to come out grainy, with an unpleasant mouth-feel and uneven texture. I thought it might be from our cheap-o ice cream maker, but this result was completely different. I found the recipe at All Recipes and decided to try it after reading the positive reviews. It was time consuming, but worth it. I think it could easily be switched up to form a vanilla base with raspberries, or make a mint ice cream with some chopped up dark chocolate (my favorite!). Here's the recipe:

    Very Chocolate Ice Cream

    INGREDIENTS
    · 3/4 cup sugar
    · 1 cup milk
    · 1/4 teaspoon salt
    · 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    · 3 egg yolk, lightly beaten
    · 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
    · 2 cups heavy cream
    · 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    DIRECTIONS
    1. Combine sugar, milk, salt, and cocoa powder in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a simmer. Place the egg yolks into a small bowl. Gradually stir in about 1/2 cup of the hot liquid and return to the saucepan. Heat until thickened, but do not boil. Remove from the heat, and stir in the chopped chocolate until chocolate is melted. Pour into a chilled bowl, and refrigerate for about two hours until cold, stirring occasionally.
    2. When chocolate mixture has completely cooled, stir in the cream, and vanilla. Pour into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Baby sleep (or lack thereof)

Yeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh. (that's a 'yeah', not a 'yee-haw') So much for my smugness on sleep training. It's not going so well. For the past three nights I've gotten a total of about 6.75 hours of sleep. Naps aren't too bad, but night time has been nightmare-ish. We've got a good bedtime routine going, but once again, after 30 minutes or so he's awake and difficult to comfort. Wednesday and Thursday night I was up at least 15 times each night, comforting, patting, and putting the paci back in. I think this is at the core of our problem: the paci. So I decided to mix it up last night. He didn't nap well during the day, and was very tired by bedtime. I fed him at 4:30, 6:30 and 8:30, then tried to put him down without the paci. He babbled in his crib for a while, then the fussing began. I knew he wanted his pacifier, but stayed strong. I patted him in the crib, and stroked his head. The crying began in earnest. It was that cry that tugs at your heart, where I knew he was asking "Where's my pacifier and why can't I have it? Why? WHY?!?!?!?" I held him and rocked him, talking to him and stroking his head. After about 30 minutes he quieted down and drifted off to sleep. He was pretty quiet (exhausted from the crying) and I went to bed at 10:30. I then got up at 12:30, 2:30, 4:15 and up for good at 6:30am. I know that sounds horrible, but I consider it a good night, as he never really fussed that much - I knew he wanted the paci, but I let him eat instead. I don't want to encourage nursing all night, but what's worse? Getting up 15 times a night to pop in a pacifier? Or getting at least 2-3 hours of sleep with feeding in between? I vote for the 2-3 hours. I'm hoping that once I get the OK from the doc to give him solids, he'll start sleeping longer and more deeply. We'll see how things go tonight and for the next few nights.



In other news: We went to a neighborhood children's parade for 4th of July. After that, we had a quiet day at home, with an all-American meal for dinner: cheeseburgers, potato salad, corn on the cob & apple crisp for dessert. We let Malaina stay up late to watch fireworks (we actually had a decent view from the porch) and then I took her for a walk to see the fireflies. She kept asking if Tinkerbelle was there. It was really special to see her wide-eyed response to telling her the fairies were out. I spun a little story about the fairies and why they were out (saying hello to each other), what they were doing (looking for something to eat), and why you can only see them in the summer (they hibernate like bears in the winter).



Big Sis and Little Bro.

The start of the 4th of July neighborhood parade.


Good buddies, enjoying a 4th of July treat.

Malaina on her bike, all decorated for the 4th. This was shortly before she had her first crash landing. She collided with a boy on a bike, ending with a scraped knee and and scratched up face. She was a trooper, and one Strawberry Shortcake bandaid later, she was feeling better.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Magic

Matt urged me to go for a quick walk the other night - at 10:30pm. We'd been talking about the fireflies, and he swore that he always saw a million of them when he runs at night (First time he saw them he thought he might be having a stroke. That's what you get when you grow up firefly-free). So I did. I stomped across the rugby field and made it to the connector which leads to the Jordan Creek trail. And there they were. I felt transported back to when I was about 6 years old, and still believed there might be fairies in the world. They were everywhere, winking on and off like tiny little nightlights. I stood there with my mouth open, watching them float lazily in the cooling summer breeze, feeling surrounded by magic. Malaina will soon be going on a late night walk with me so she can glimpse into the fairy tale world of fireflies. Is it irresponsible of me tell her they are fairies?

Look closely next to the big door. Yep, that's a fairy door. Who says fairies aren't real?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Random Day

Justin slept in his crib all night for the first time. OK, of course he woke up repeatedly, but I stayed strong & didn't bring him into bed at all. I'm really proud of how well we're all doing with sleep training, especially Justin. He's been going to bed at 8:30, and he does wake several times, but it really is progress for him to stay in his crib for the entire night. I am hopeful that within a few more days (3-5) he'll be sleeping longer & more deeply. I think I've found the trick to naps, too. He does the same thing he does at night - sleeps for 30 minutes, then wakes up. If I pop the paci back in & soothe him for a few minutes, he drifts back to sleep. Ah, the life of a baby.

I bought an Exersaucer off craigslist today. I've been looking for one, but think they are outrageously expensive. I found it this morning, checked the price & features on Amazon, emailed, and BAM, 9 hours later it was mine. I wanted one that had more than 3 things to do, but didn't want to pay $80+ dollars. It is currently outside, airing out after being scrubbed with Clorox wipes & doused with Lysol. All I have to do is wash the seat & we're good to go. He loves the Jumper so I hope he'll love this too. I heart craigslist.

I had to go over to the South-east side of town to pick up the Exersaucer, and passed by the Southridge mall. Since I was in the area, I decided to check it out. I wish I could say it was Fabulous. Or even Ghetto Fabulous. But it was just Ghetto. I always feel a little sad when I see a dying mall, as it just means bad news all around. At least half the spaces were vacant, and the other half were mostly sister shops, jewelry stores and athletic footwear. The one bright spot was Steve & Barry's. We don't have this particular store where I'm from, but it's been on my radar since I found out Sarah Jessica Parker designs a line of clothing for them called Bitten. WITH NOTHING OVER $10. Srsly. I'm not really at a point where I'm doing a lot of clothes shopping for myself (I get sad over the number on the size tag) but I had to check it out. I actually ended up buying a pair of jeans & a t-shirt. I tried them on when I got home, and they are c-u-t-e. The jeans are a teensy bit snug in the thighs, but I don't think that will be an issue in another few weeks. Jeans are both my favorite thing to wear and my bete noir. To think that I may have found a pair that not only fits well but is super cheap makes me want to buy 5 more pairs. I know you ladies can relate. (they also come in short and long lengths). Raise the roof for a $20 outfit! Note: The rest of the store is a little pop-tarty. They do carry clothes for all ages in the family (including baby & kid), but I'd be wary of the quality. Lots of snarky, pseudo-clever t's, too.

I think we've decided NOT to get a minivan. With gas prices what they are, and my job a big question mark (still have not talked to the boss, despite him being back from vacation for 3 days), it just doesn't feel right. Instead, we're going to invest in a new windshield, new tires, and a deep cleaning. As much as I'd love to have more room, I can't argue with 30mpg in town.

I am hungry. I'm still mostly sticking to healthy eating, but last night I had sweets on the brain. I ended up whipping up this easy brownie recipe (made with hot cocoa mix and chocolate chips). It actually made very yummy brownies. Dangerously yummy. In my mind I'm hoping things balance out. I'm doing really well with no bread and no pasta (I have had flour tortillas 3 times), but living on eggs, salad, chicken and peanut butter makes me want sweets even more. If I stay strong and power through the cravings, will they go away? Or does it really equal out when I eat tuna steak, corn, and watermelon for dinner then spoil it with a brownie? Baby Bootcamp is going really well, and I don't want to spoil my progress (no more soreness, and feel like I am already seeing results in my calves and biceps). We all need a little sweet treat once in a while, don't we?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The No-Sleep Chronicles or How to Get Your Baby to Sleep in His Crib in Only 21 Easy Steps

1. Keep reading The Baby Whisperer. Wonder if you are a bad parent, stupid, or just have a difficult baby. Decide on none of the above. Decide to try some of book's suggestions.
2. 6pm: Feed Baby
3. 7:30pm: Ignore book's suggestion to create a consistent nightly ritual. Too tired to bathe him every night. Dress Baby in PJ's. Worry that Baby will get confused by not having a bath every night. Decide Baby is a Genius, and will know he is not dirty enough to need bath every night. Pat self on back for having Genius Baby.
4. 7:35pm: Let Baby play in Jumper.
5. 7:45pm: Feed Baby again.
5. 8:00pm: Note that Baby is tired. Take Baby into bedroom to try and get Baby to sleep. Baby no longer acts tired & end up talking, singing, and tickling Baby for half an hour.
6. 8:30pm: Baby acting tired again. Hold, pat and stroke Baby's head until he is dozy. Place Baby in crib with paci in mouth. Pat self on back for putting Baby to bed so easily. Wonder how long it will last.
7. 9:00pm: Hear Baby cry. Go to crib, replace paci. Sneak out.
8. 9:05pm: Hear Baby cry. Go to crib, replace paci, stroke Baby's head to soothe. Sneak out.
9. 9:15pm: Hear Baby cry. Replace paci, stroke head, pat chest, tuck in blanket. Sneak out.
10. 9:23pm: Hear Baby cry. Replace paci, sneak out.
11. 10:45pm: Baby is quiet. Wonder if Baby is still breathing. Sneak into room, check Baby. All OK.
12. 10:50pm: Argue with Husband about how to sleep train Baby. Decide to no longer feed Baby in bed. Feel sad, but want to sleep so desperately am ready to wear noise-cancelling headphones to bed.
13. 11:30pm: End argument with Husband. Baby wakes up. Bring Baby to sofa to feed in the dark, in hopes that he will sleep for at least 5 more hours.
14. 12:00am: Place Baby in crib. Parents in bed.
15. 1:30am: Husband wakes & sits up in bed, listening for Baby breathing. Hear nothing. Panic and leap out of bed to crib. Place hand on Baby. Baby is breathing, and is now pissed I woke him up. Paci in mouth, pat, stroke head, soothe Baby back to sleep. Breathe sigh of relief.
16. 2:30am: Hear Baby wake and fuss. Poke husband to get up and soothe him. Poke husband again. Poke husband again. Husband pokes back. Get up and soothe Baby.
17. 3:00am: Hear Baby wake & fuss. Start to get out of bed to soothe him. Husband tries to pull me back. Want to punch Husband in face; soothe Baby instead.
18. 4:00am: Baby wakes & is hungry. Take Baby to sofa to eat. Baby falls asleep after 10 minutes. Take Baby back to crib. Baby wakes up, gets mad. Bring Baby to bed.
19. 5:45am: Baby wakes & is hungry again. Wonder if Baby is part Giant. Wonder what grocery bill will be when Baby is 14. Am glad husband will be doctor, as am sure we will need to invest in our own Costco franchise in order to keep Baby's tummy full. Bring Baby to sofa to eat.
20. 6:00am: Place Baby back in crib. Baby coos and gurgles to himself. Think Baby is most adorable, handsome Baby in town. But still wish Baby would sleep more than 3 hours in a row so nervous breakdown doesn't occur.
21. 6:30am: Put Baby in jumper. Baby falls asleep with toy in mouth after 10 minutes. Cute Baby! Sleepy Baby! Tired Mommy!