Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

It is neat to look back at last year's Thanksgiving post and remember our first weeks in Seattle as I approached the third trimester of pregnancy. Since then, we've seen a lot of changes, a lot of excitement, a lot of stress and doubt, and a lot of laughter. After years of waiting and wondering, my greatest blessing has come in a small package. I never could have imagined what motherhood would be like -- how it has expanded my world, yet narrowed its focus. As Bean snuggled into me this morning, I was struck by how there is no place in the world either of us would rather be at that moment. I have so much to be thankful for, and above all, I am thankful that God delivered this sweet person into our family.

Next year, hopefully I can be thankful for 364 nights of good sleep. Any day now, little guy...

Happy Turkey Day to you and yours!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Splish splash

In true Bean fashion, it's been a bit difficult to transition him out of his infant bathtub. This is not a kid who likes change, and as he's too young to understand a bribe, I just try to be gentle with him. Even though his little head and feet stuck out of the ends of the baby tub for a couple of months now, he was determined not to graduate to the big scary one that mommy never uses anymore but hopes to one day again before she dies. A while back, I purchased an inflatable ducky for him to bathe in (it even quacks!), but he screamed bloody murder when I put him in. I suppose I don't blame him.

But... we had a breakthrough yesterday! He discovered the absolute joy of splashing water all over the place, plus he realized that getting your hair washed was not excruciatingly painful. We had an entire bath without tears. Maybe he felt more comfortable with the dog serving as lifeguard, who knows. As proof of this miracle, I can finally offer you the obligatory cute baby bath pictures.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Be my guest

We finished the guest room!

BEFORE (previous owner)


And here is a close-up of the Bean pic that is framed on the nightstand. It's from his professional 6 month shots. I never did post those... maybe I'll remember and do that sometime soon. Or maybe not.

So when are you going to come stay with us?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Carried away

First, a recap/update of the past three days.
  • I was not killed in a mall shooting.
  • After applying the fourth coat of white paint to some wooden letters to hang up in Bean's nursery, I was reminded of the importance of reading product labels when I learned of the existence of "semi-opaque" white paint. Twelve coats later, we're almost to opaque. (It's the principle of the matter now.)
  • Yesterday I spent over an hour and a half in the grocery store. Thumbs up to other pre-Thanksgiving shoppers, who did a great job of navigating the carts so aisle traffic was relatively smooth. Thumbs down to the check-out clerk, who had no sense of urgency and an unnecessary focus on perfection when bagging groceries. You are not playing Tetris, we just need to get our food into the car and then into the house. Thanks.
  • We learned that our homeowner's association mandates that each house be decorated for Christmas, unless you have religious objections. Being naturally defiant, we are considering converting to Buddhism.
  • I was right, "the cheese stands alone" is the last verse of The Farmer in the Dell. Best nursery rhyme ever.
  • DH painted the guest room, as his friends are staying with us over Thanksgiving weekend and I wanted (him) to make it nice in there. The walls look AMAZING -- pictures to follow when the room is set up -- and now I feel like the rest of the house is crap in comparison.
  • Evey Louise has rediscovered her puppyhood habit of removing items from the garbage cans, shredding them, and scattering them around various areas the house. While I appreciate her doing her part to redecorate the rest of the rooms, we apparently have differing ideas on which of mommy's used personal items are appropriate for guests to see.
  • This morning I had the pleasure of meeting Jen from Despite the Best Laid Plans... We have been following each other's blogs for over a year and finally got together for coffee. She is super friendly, we immediately starting chatting like we had known each other for years. Jen and baby Jillian both look fantastic, and they are already getting more sleep at 7 weeks than we are at 8 months. Luckily I'm not bitter.

Now, I will address a comment from two posts ago, left by my college BFF and maid-of-honor at our wedding, Kristin. I thought I detected a bit of sarcasm aimed at my modest collection of baby carriers, so I am opening it up for her (and your) review. It's not nearly as fabulous of a stash as others have, but it works for us.

The official carrier count, in the order they were acquired...

1. We registered for a BabyBjorn because it's one of the few carriers at BRU, and there are stylish, attractive European people wearing it in their advertisements. It's not terrible, certainly the dog liked it. And DH wore it several times with the baby, too. But the design is not the most comfortable (nor ergonomically correct) for the wearer or the baby.

2. When Bean was a newborn, I heard people rave about their Moby wraps. Finding myself plus one baby who refuse to be calm unless he was snuggled up with someone, I decided it was worth a shot. Bingo! It was like he never left the womb. Sort of. There are many different ways you can wrap the Moby, but I used it most for the front-carry position when he was tiny. Now that he's bigger, I don't often have the patience to fuss with all that fabric, and it's too stretchy for long-term wearing with a heavy baby. At our recent babywearing meeting, our group leader used a tighter cotton weave wrap with her 1.5 year old, and it was super cool. So I'm keeping my Moby for perhaps a future newborn (please!), but I'd love to get one made of different fabric for now when I'm in the mood to wrap. Because really, wraps are the most comfortable carrier once they are on.

3. I got my first sling when I saw an unpadded Slinglings on for only $15. What an amazing invention. The fitted slings are great because they fold up very small into the diaper bag for traveling, and I can pop him on my hip in about 30 seconds. I use it all the time when I am running errands and want my hands free in the stores, or when we have a long walk from the car to our destination (such as at the doctor's office when we have to park in the parking garage and walk to the office area of the hospital). Doesn't he look happy?

4. Next was my first major purchase, a Calyx from Mama by Design. As Bean grew and still loved being carried, I wanted to wear him in the back carry position for more convenience. This is now my favorite one. It's so nice to be free to fold laundry, empty the dishwasher, and do other chores around the house while satisfying his desire to be close to me. I wore it on Saturday when we hit a bunch of stores along a strip mall, no stroller to navigate and he fell asleep with his sweet little face snuggled into my back. Precious! And it's super comfortable, too.

5. When doing research on ring slings for a new baby gift for my friend Allison, I selected a Maya Lightly Padded Sling based on mommy reviews. Of course I got the bug, too, and had to have one for myself. When DH's employer gave us a $50 gift card to, I knew exactly how to spend it. This carrier is definitely Bean's favorite, as it offers the widest range of vision and provides easy access for him to grab whatever I have in my hands (such as the camera). It takes longer to put on than the fitted slings, but the adjustability and light padding at the shoulder make it more comfortable for longer periods of time.
6. Next I set my eyes on a mei tai. I specifically wanted it for the front carry position, as the Moby is too stretchy now and the Calyx is a bit bulky for that. You may remember this post from about a month ago when I mentioned my field trip to the baby carrier warehouse. I ended up with a Napsack Baby, which is so comfortable I can hardly tell there is almost 20 pounds strapped to my stomach. I used it in the airport, I was actually able to get him in there without waking him so I could have both hands free to lug a ridiculous amount of luggage all by myself. My next task is to try to practice using it as a back carrier, because I have a suspicion I will like that, too.

7. When I was at the Attached to Baby warehouse, the owner Sara offered me one of the padded Slinglings from the returns for a deeply discounted price. Seriously, what was I going to say, NO?! It's got padding at the legs so that it's more comfortable for Bean. Come on, it's his COMFORT we are talking about.

And that's all of them: 7! I *heart* babywearing because it allows me to go about my day even though Bean loves to be held so much. He gets to be close to me and can participate (sort of) in the things that I do around the house. It's also convenient for quick trips, shopping, and other times when I'd like my hands free. In return for the deluxe ride, Bean must endure constant head kisses from his mom. It's pretty much win-win. I grab one carrier over another based on what I'm doing and what I'm wearing.
But don't think that because of this, my house is clean. Or I've cooked dinner. Or I've accomplished anything significant today. Let's be realistic. I had to type this post, didn't I?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Shaken up

This afternoon we were running errands. Last on the list: head to the mall to the food court (because they have awesome changing stations in the bathroom there) and then to Macy's so DH could use a gift card.

We were pulling into the parking lot as police were closing and evacating the mall. There was a shooting at the food court. Macy's was locked down. It was chaos as the parking lot clogged and ambulances swarmed each entrance.

We were about 15 minutes away from being inside when it happened.

Thank goodness we made extra stops at Pier 1 and Michael's.

The world is a scary, sad place sometimes.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I can't believe we've been home for nearly a week, it has flown by as we have been adjusting to life in the Pacific time zone again. The flight home was uneventful, for the most part. There was about an hour when I didn't think I would make it -- my blood sugar was low and there wasn't much to keep Bean occupied after he ripped all the pages out of the SkyMall magazine. But a $3 bag of M&Ms cured the former, and a friendly stewardess walked Bean up and down the aisle to help with the latter. We survived and arrived in the waiting arms of my sweet DH and a tail-wagging, two-toned Schnoodle. (Despite DH's best efforts, she had insisted on curling up against the nursery walls as he painted them. Blue is a good color on her.)

Back in his own crib, Bean has been slow to reduce the number of his nighttime wakings, unfortunately. I know he's not the worst sleeper in the world -- as that distinction surely belongs to this child and his poor parents -- but it seems like he's gotta be on the top 100 list. When we were at the pediatrician's office on Tuesday to get him the other half of his flu shot (during which he didn't even frown, the little hero), I asked the nurse if the doctor could pop in to check him out to make sure there is no physical reason for this waking. She examined him and declared him healthy. "Knowing about his picky eating habits too, I'd say he's just a stubborn baby. He is taking his time adjusting from the trip," she told me. Stubborn, huh? Is that an official diagnosis? Medical school must be grueling. Anyway, I'm glad to know he's okay, but that is little comfort when he wakes up for the fourth time at 3 am. I guess it was just too much to hope for that she would be able to magically find and solve the issue. ("Oh look! He just needs his armpit tickled four times and then he'll be sleeping through the night.") Really the one to blame is DH. In talking with both our sets of parents on our trip, it's obvious who Bean takes after. I guess I should have been more specific when I asked God to make our son like his daddy. Big heart and sense of humor: yes. Challenging childhood behavior and inability to throw away old post-it notes: no.

On the bright side, Bean slept a five-hour stretch on both Tuesday and Thursday nights, so I'm hoping we are on a positive trend. And to make up for his nightly torturing, he has been the sweetest little buddy during the day. He smiles, babbles, and cuddles with me; he giggles admiringly at all my jokes. He is such a happy creature -- if only he'd stay that way forever, I'd be one satisfied mama.

We've jumped right back into the swing of things this week. Wednesday was preschool and yesterday I attended a playdate/babywearing presentation with the LLL group. I discovered there is one more carrier that I need. Okay, fine, I'll admit, this is just one I want. And I'll probably just suffer interminably without it, as DH has threatened to take me to a doctor to get help for what he deems an addiction. Whatever. I can quit whenever I want to.

We've also been expanding Bean's food repertoire -- or at least attempting to. I was thrilled that he's eating yogurt for breakfast, but now he's started gagging on sweet potatoes, previously his favorite of the Gerber variety. *sigh* As far as eating "table" food, that's predictably going as well as Ron Paul's presidential campaign. I gave him barely a scrape of my banana, and he barfed it up. Then he spent the rest of the time squishing the cut-up squares in his fist so they popped out between his fingers. And last night we gave him three tiny pieces of cous cous. (For those of you unfamiliar, one cous cous is about a tenth the size of a grain of rice and has no taste.) He gagged and barfed until all three were completely out of his mouth. *double sigh* Meanwhile, who is NOT having trouble with solid food is Evey Louise. Last night right after dinner, I took the cous cous eschewing baby up to bed and DH went to the bathroom before doing the dishes. When he emerged, he found the dog STANDING ON OUR GLASS KITCHEN TABLE, having just consumed the leftover chicken, peas, and cous cous. Apparently she figured out how to jump on the chairs to get up. *triple sigh* I guess she can't wait for Bean to be old enough to pass his veggies to her under the table, she'd prefer to start now, thank you very much.

I almost forgot to note that as of November 8, we have been living in Seattle for one year. ONE YEAR! And much to my surprise, not only do I love it, but it already feels like home. I feel totally comfortable leaving my underwear on the bedroom floor and not using a coaster on the coffee table. Landing at Seatac on Saturday, my heart was at ease seeing the mountains and evergreens. I still miss our family and friends, and yes, it can be tiresome driving at highway speeds so slow they would get you shot in Detroit. But this is definitely the most beautiful place we have lived. Every time we drive somewhere together (and yes I mean every time), DH gestures to the rolling foothills of the Cascades or the towering Mt. Rainier and asks, "Can you believe we live here?" In a word: No!

In memoriam. I would like to bid a fond farewell to one of my favorite TV shows, Pushing Daisies. I don't watch much television anymore, but I faithfully DVR this show every week. Yesterday, while I was enjoying this week's episode, ABC was cruelly ripping it from their lineup. Yep, ironically it will be pushing up some daisies of its own. A sort of Columbo-meets-Gilmore Girls, the visual style of the show was so colorful and unique! I'm devastated that I'll never know what happens to the Ned the pie maker, who can bring people back from the dead with a simple touch. Does he ever get to be with his true love, Charlotte? And who murdered her on that cruise ship (before Ned brought her back to life, of course)? Was it the mysterious man looking for Charlotte's dad's old pocket watch? So many questions unanswered. This is why I stopped watching Lost. At least I still have Psych and Monk coming back in January. Right? *gulp*

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Survivor: Michigan

So this trip has turned out to be a vacation in the same way that Survivor: Gabon is a vacation for the contestants. Each day is more exhausting than then the next. Except in my version, I'm gaining weight, not losing it, and there's a lot less nudity. Unfortunately.

Yes, Bean's frequent night wakings continue. Every now and then I'll get a good 3-hour stretch out of him, but it's just as likely to be one hour. He's even taken to refusing to go back to sleep around 3:30 am, which I pray doesn't follow us back to Seattle. Unless my dad will, too, as he's been the saint who will indulge the little guy's early morning urge to knock down a tower of rubber blocks. Trust me, it's a lot less cute at 4 am.

Despite my sleep deprivation, I have managed to summon the energy for some fun during the day. Bean is now familiar with my parents and enjoys playing with them, so I can steal a few moments to myself here and there. We've spent some quality time with various other family members, although there are still a few friends I will regret not being able to to see during this visit. My mom took us shopping and got Bean the most *adorable* winter outfits that I'm sure will show up in pictures I post for months to come. As a preview, this is what DH refers to as Bean's "I just got home from work" look. (And true to form, I've apparently spent the day in my PJs and robe.)

Grandpa B. has a different idea of fashion (note the theme of Bean's dazed expression):

On a whim, we also popped in to see Santa, as there was no line when we walked passed. I was sure Bean would cry and reach for me, but apparently an old man with a bushy white beard and a large red velvet suit is less frightening than any of our relatives.

But it's almost time to get voted off the island, we head back home on Saturday to join DH, who left last weekend. My heart is already filled with dread over the prospect of a 4+ hour flight alone in a tiny seat with a squirmy 8 month old. But I can't wait to get back to DH and the pooch. And the local teriyaki place. I'm sure they missed me as much as I missed their eggrolls. Mmmm mmmmmm.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Over the river and through the woods

It's been a busy week in Michigan so far. The flight wasn't too difficult, save 20 minutes of Bean's crying on the descent... we think his ears might have been bothered. We also experienced our first poopy diaper change on an airplane. Parenthood: every day a new adventure.

My plan to hand Bean off to our more-than-willing families and enjoy some R&R hasn't exactly gone as planned. But you knew that would happen, right? Deep down, so did I. Being 8 months old, he has both booties firmly planted in the wonderful world of separation anxiety and stranger anxiety. And what could be stranger than my family? (kidding guys) All this adds up to a clingy little cutie who wears me out even more than when we are at home. We've also had napping and nighttime issues as well. The naptime problems seem to be mostly resolved, as we've just had to be religious about respecting his sleep schedule. But he continues to wake up CONSTANTLY all night long. Sometimes only 45 minutes between wakings. We've tried various sleeping arrangements to no avail. Please pray for us.

Despite the sleep deprivation, we are enjoying the company of our families and visiting all the restaurants that we miss out West. Pancheros, Dos Pesos, Border Cantina, Olga's, Potbelly's, Hungry Howie's Pizza, Parmenter's Cider Mill... I think I've gained 10 pounds already. But as my dad wisely advises, we more often regret the things that we don't do, rather than the things that we do. I'm pretty sure he was referring to going out to eat.

Speaking of that 8 month milestone, Bean has been growing up right before our eyes. He has learned to favor us with high-pitched screams of delight, which is quite amusing (for now). We were in the produce section of the grocery store today when he quite happily decided that he wanted to hear the echo of his shriek among the apples. At this age, it's still cute. He also communicates much more with his hands. No sign language yet, but he has "gimme" and "get that stupid thing away from me NOW" down pat.

Here is the little man enjoying his second visit to the great mitten state:

Bean models the winter wear that Grandma M. bought for him.

Won't need it yet, though. Look at that gorgeous weather!

Great lakes, great times.
Fun new toys.

Camera strings taste good in any state.

So do sweet potatoes!

"You really ate all six spice donuts, mom?"