Sunday, September 28, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Bean me up, Scotty. My favorite Seattle coffee chain (no, not THAT one) opened a drive-thru near our house. A DRIVE THRU. Do you know what that means? I can wear my sweats and slippers and I don't have to haul the baby in and out and in and out of the car every time I need my 16 oz. iced mocha nonfat decaf no whip. A DRIVE THRU. Seriously the best coffee ever, and I don't even have to leave the comfort of my heated seats. Laziness at it's finest. I feel like I just hit it big in the lottery! A DRIVE THRU!
"Nerdy Joe not included." Obviously if you've been reading my blog with any amount of attention, you know that I love movies. I see many of them, but I hardly ever remember the plots or the characters or the actors. It's more the act of watching that I enjoy, a little escape into an alternate reality for a couple of hours. But of course I have my favorites, whether it be for a quality plot, abundance of laughs, or interesting characters (I love you, Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy!). One of the hits on my list is Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. Don't scoff until you see it, I had no interest either until my brother convinced me to watch it with him. Anyway, the DVD format was rare (meaning it sold expensively on eBay), and after several failed attempts to copy my old VHS version into DVD (curses on anti-piracy measures), I had given up. Well, Universal just answered the prayers of geeks everywhere and re-released it! So I ordered two copies -- one for me, one for my brother -- on Amazon.com for a mere $13 each. Yet another reason to look forward to the mail! Also in movie news, this week Netflix sent me Spaced, which is a British TV show by the "Hot Fuzz" and "Shaun of the Dead" guys. It's been at the top of my queue for weeks and it's been marked long wait since it's release, so even if the show stinks, I consider it a major victory that it came to me.
Look ma, no hands! My LLL group leader, who also teaches a babywearing class, compared baby carriers to potato chips -- you can't have just one. I think of it more as carrier envy myself. I see the other moms toting their kids around in these awesome contraptions, and I can't help but think, I want that! I have had the Moby wrap since Bean was a newborn, you may remember the picture from this post. Recently I asked DH to buy me the Calyx as a belated Mother's Day gift, since my spa day never materialized for various reasons. It arrived on Monday, as did the Slinglings baby sling I mentioned a couple of posts ago. I've been using them both all week, and it really is addicting. For example, Bean doesn't like the seats in the shopping carts (he's a bit too small yet), so this way I can actually get some things accomplished while still snuggling with my little buddy. In fact, he's actually sleeping on my back right now as I type this. Genius!
Retail therapy. Surprisingly, my strategy of doing absolutely nothing to lose the last 10-15 lbs of baby weight has not resulted in a slimmer waistline. Imagine that! And as a result, I don't have any winter clothes that fit me that don't have Motherhood Maternity tags on them. (It's funny, before I got pregnant, I hated everything in my closet. Why is it now, when nothing fits me, that everything looks so cute?) Anyway, I literally have ONE pair of jeans in my new mommy size. Against my better judgement, I decided to schlep my sleep-deprived, teething six-month-old all the way across town to the Gates's mall yesterday to get a few items. Fortunately, both Bean and the mall cooperated, and I came away with two new pairs of jeans and five tops. Bringing my grand total for my winter wardrobe up to... three pairs of jeans and five tops. Well, it's a start.
The whole tooth. Drumroll please... we have a tooth! Bean's bottom left bitey has poked through the gumline and is on it's way up. I'm actually kinda sad, I adore his gummy smile. This is just another reminder that he's really growing up. Plus, I'm worried about biting. Yeeouch.
By golly, I think he's got it! Yes, it's true, the Bean Man seems to be understanding this whole fall-asleep-in-the-crib routine. After much agonizing and the unsuccessful application of techniques in the no-cry book, I decided to commit to the cry-it-out routine. While the no-cry book has many great suggestions and has obviously worked for many people, it just wasn't cutting it in our house. Not only was I exhausted from spending hours each naptime and bedtime trying to sooth him, the kid was crying anyway because he was getting over-tired as I struggled. I became convinced of two things: 1) Bean was in dire need of more sleep, and 2) The situation was growing serious enough to require a strong, intermediate intervention. So the author of the no-cry book calls moms like me heartless for listening to their children cry without running to them. But for me, I feel that it requires strength for a mom to be willing to endure the crying (which is absolutely heartbreaking, of course) so a child can learn to fall asleep on his own, when nothing else in her power can do it for him. I am mainly following the techniques of this book. I highly recommend it, especially before your child is born to prepare for what's coming. The author has wonderful information on the sleep patterns of children at various ages, so hopefully you can avoid the problems we have had. I plan on referring to it right from the start if we ever get pregnant again. Bean is actually sleeping in his own crib now, and he went from waking up every 2.5 - 3 hours all night to sleeping for up 8 hours straight. AMAZING! The nap times are slower to improve. He's getting good at falling asleep in the crib, but I can't get him to stay asleep in there for more than about 30 minutes at a time. I'm hoping that just comes with consistency. Anyway, it hasn't been easy, and even though Bean is sleeping at night, I'm still learning to rest soundly myself. But it's obviously helping him, and the benefits of having him in his crib at a proper bedtime have been vital to my sanity (and DH's as well).
So you see it's been a week of many blessings. I just hope the weekend can live up to it!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I may have missed my blogoversary, but I didn't miss my 100th post! The hosting site is kind enough to keep track of that for me. I swear I'd lose my head if... Well, anyway. As many a blogger has done before me, I am going to use my 100th post to tell you 100 things about myself. How many of them did you already know? I'll start off easy.
- I was born it Detroit (on the mean streets).
- I love going to the dentist, clean teeth make my day.
- During the first few months, I wasn’t sure I was going to like motherhood…
- Now it makes my heart sing.
- I have a goofy nickname for my DH (no, it’s not DH).
- I have accidentally called him that nickname in public several times…
- But people were polite enough not to comment on it.
- I could eat Mexican food every day of the week.
- Outside of the United States, I’ve visited Greece, Italy, Turkey, Ireland, Canada, and Grand Cayman.
- Sports in general just don’t appeal to me.
- But I do like going to see a hockey game live.
- I have no interest whatsoever in watching the Olympics.
- I’ve fainted twice in my life: giving blood and during an anti-smoking speech in high school given by a guy who had to use one of those throat vibrator things to talk.
- I don’t like my hair overall, but I appreciate how shiny it is.
- I am one of those people who will look up to see if “gullible” is really written on the ceiling.
- Infertility has lowered my confidence as a woman and as a mother…
- It has also made me more patient, more relaxed about life’s timeline, and more appreciative of small daily pleasures.
- I am just foolish enough to think we may not have trouble conceiving #2.
- I secretly love moving around the country with my hubby.
- I admire my parents and how they raised us.
- Waiting for the mail to be delivered and getting it from the mailbox makes me happy (especially on Netflix days!).
- I am a Certified Professional Resume Writer.
- I can’t keep a plant alive for any respectable length of time.
- I was smarter than DH when we were in high school…
- Now he’s got me beat (but don’t tell him I said that).
- I have been looking forward to my 30s for years.
- I wish there was such thing as an all-carb diet.
- My best song on the piano is Meatloaf’s “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).”
- I would be lost without my husband.
- I am often lost without my husband, as I have no practical sense of direction.
- I prefer to swim in a pool rather than the ocean, and the ocean rather than a lake.
- I love rollercoasters but recently discovered they make me sick.
- The Haunted Mansion at Disney World is my favorite ride of all time.
- I have an innate ability to accurately organize dates and times in my head.
- I once worked as an administrative assistant for a man running several companies out of a converted garage.
- I write much more eloquently than I can speak.
- I have mild social anxiety.
- I almost never fight with DH.
- I get great satisfaction out of keeping the house picked up…
- But I only use cleaning products or a vacuum if someone is coming over.
- I had those “invisible” braces from 2006 to 2008.
- I appreciate dry British humor.
- I get very sick when I drink even small amounts of alcohol.
- I have never smoked a cigarette (or anything else, like pot or salmon) in my life.
- I think my baby’s farts are hilarious.
- I hate camping but love camp fires.
- I eat foods on my plate one and a time – and they absolutely cannot touch.
- I named my first car “Cognito” so that my friends and I could travel in Cognito (how lame!).
- I touched a doorknob that Tom Cruise touched.
- I saw Jerry Springer walking down the street in Chicago.
- I met Peter Falk (aka Columbo) in person and he signed a book for me.
- I had prime seats for a WWF match back in the early 1990s.
- My dog is named after Natalie Portman’s character in the movie "V for Vendetta."
- I tried out for Hollywood Squares: College Edition.
- I can sing the entire “Alapalooza” album by Weird Al Yankovic.
- I took synchronized swimming – and I was horrible at it.
- I’ve only mowed the lawn once – and I was horrible at it.
- I get intensely grumpy when I’m hungry.
- I am proud to be an American.
- I like brownie batter more than brownies.
- I wish I had a stronger sense of style.
- I actually like doing the laundry.
- I had my first kiss at 16 years old.
- I never cried at movies until I saw “The Titanic” (I cried for hours!).
- I have fond memories of playing Nintendo with my brother when we were kids.
- People think my mom and I are sisters when we are out together.
- I get my compassion from my mother and my rationality from my father.
- I have the same first and last names as my mother-in-law.
- I only drive domestic cars.
- I had a happy childhood.
- I didn’t start plucking my eyebrows until the make-up lady did it for me on my wedding day.
- I straighten my hair every morning (it’s wavy, not in a cute way).
- My friend and I did a project on Port-O-Potties in high school.
- I am afraid of the dark when I don’t have a roommate or DH with me.
- Despite getting my license in the winter in Michigan, I am a horrible driver in the snow.
- One of my favorite feelings is climbing into bed after fresh sheets have been put on.
- I take long, scalding hot showers (when the baby allows it).
- I keep a small circle of friends – because I think they are the tops…
- And probably because they are the only people who will put up with me.
- I miss my family.
- When I love a song, I listen to it over and over and over and over.
- I wish I could freeze time like Eve on “Out of This World.”
- But I’m glad I can’t hear other people’s thoughts.
- I affectionately call my dog “pooch butt” and she’s starting to answer to it.
- I had a panic attack when I tried SCUBA diving and the instructor had to pull me from the ocean.
- I have had “The More You Know” jingle in my head for four years.
- I still remember being bullied on the preschool playground.
- I believe that nice pajamas are an integral part of a complete wardrobe.
- I spend way too much time online.
- Retail therapy works for me every time.
- My “love language” is gift giving. (Sadly, my husband’s is not.)
- I have recently become addicted to babywearing.
- I have lived in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, and Washington.
- I hated guacamole until I actually tried it… yummy!
- I wish I had more time to read.
- You never know when I might break out into song.
- I don’t like the taste of pop unless I’m drinking it to wash down a meal.
- Autumn used to be my favorite season until I moved to Seattle…
- Now it’s the summer.
- I never thought my life would look like this, but I’m so happy it does.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
On Saturday we went to Baby Loves Disco. DH thought it would be entirely disco music, and he was pleasantly surprised at the variety of upbeat music. But it wasn't a carefree, fun afternoon of dancing. Unfortunately, due to some uncomprehendingly bad traffic, it took us over an hour and a half to get there, and Bean screamed much of the way. (He was tired and I don't think he likes his new big boy car seat.) We let him take the wheel for the last few blocks of the trip, though, which helped calm him down.
Once inside the club, he was mostly straight faced and wide eyed. DH supposes that he's more of the outdoorsy type. But we did manage to catch one little smile on camera.
I think it would be more fun if he was a little older, and if we went with a group. They had free refreshments, and Bean sure enjoyed his.
So he was feeling miiiighty fine by the ride home.
The day wasn't a total loss, as we did get a free pair of BabyLegs with admission. Yes, those are the blue leg warmer things in the picture. You wish you looked that good, right?
And finally, on a totally random note, what parent isn't curious about what their kid will look like when he grows up? We took a cue from Holly and used this web site to create a high school yearbook photo...
... for both of the kids.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Moving up to the big boy stroller!
Why do I love putting things on his head?
As a busy mom, I appreciate when one item can serve multiple purposes. This shopping cart seat cover doubles as a dog bed. (Notice the scar on poor Evey's back hip?)
"Mama didn't make this food? Sounds yummy!"
A bad hair day.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
With my mom's input and DH's labor, this is what it looks like now.
Ahhhh... much better. The second room to get a change was the upstairs guest bathroom. DH and my mom talked me out of painting it, which turned out to be a smart move, now that I see how long it took for us to get the downstairs bath painted. All we had to do was hang our shower curtain and pictures, and voila! This is the bathroom before.
This is the bathroom now. The bright colors don't really come across in the picture, but they are much more vibrant in person. You'll have to stay with us and see!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
More with the positive: life as a stay-at-home mom. Or as I fondly refer to it, my sabbatical. (DH called it my "retirement" until I asked if that meant I never have to go back to work. Now he calls it my sabbatical too.) It's awesome, are you kidding me? With all the big changes going on around here lately, as well as living at least a thousand miles from any friends or family to lend a hand (it takes a village, and we are currently minus one village), I really feel it was the right choice to simplify my life and focus on the Beanster full time. I'm doing my best to make commitments to keep us busy and meet new people. Last night we attended preschool orientation, as our co-op program starts next Wednesday. And tomorrow I'm going to a nearby lake for a playdate with the LLL moms. We've also been trying new solid foods, although it's not been going as smoothly as I anticipated. The resulting poops are very interesting. Opening his diaper is like unwrapping one of those mystery-flavored suckers. You never know what you're gonna get.
But alas, it's not all fun and games around here. Naptimes are a nightmare.
They often come and go with a notable lack of napping.
I'm still using two different books (one no-cry, one that advocates crying if necessary) and tapping into the expertise of my friends and moms groups. From the experience of others, I am not given much hope. They struggle the same ways I do, just further along the path. From the two books, I've learned several things.
1. It is vital that babies get enough daytime and nighttime sleep to ensure brain development and best behavior.
2. Babies need to be taught how to fall asleep on their own (i.e. self soothe).
3. My baby is not getting enough daytime sleep.
4. If I let my baby cry himself to sleep, I am a "heartless" mother and my child won't trust me (book one). However, if I give in to his cries, he will grow up "bratty" and "fat" and suffer from ADHD, other learning difficulties, and insomnia (book two).
As you can see, I'm basically screwed. What's a mother to do?
I've dipped my toes into both approaches, with little success. Trying to teach him to self-soothe without him crying seems to be an exercise in futility. He loves his mom and seems only to get decent sleep either cuddling in my lap after nursing into dreamland or while I'm wearing him in my Moby. (Book two eschews babywearing for napping, by the way. The author says that if the baby is in motion while sleeping, either in the car, swing, or sling, it's not good sleep.) Anyway, if I try to get Bean to sleep independently without crying, I can literally spend the ENTIRE DAY doing this. It has happened. The result: he doesn't stay asleep for more than five minutes at a time, I'm exhausted, and the day feels entirely wasted.
On the other hand, I've been trying some good old fashioned cry it out for the past couple of days. Which is more traumatic, of course, with no better results to show for it. Sure, one time he only cried for 10 minutes and slept for 25. But still, according to the author that supports this method, sleeping for less than an hour doesn't really count as a nap.
Today I could only take the crying for 35 minutes (the book recommends an hour) before I went in to rescue the poor creature. He had been screaming the entire time, and the pathetic and terrified look on his face just crushed me.
I can imagine both author's response to my failure. You are not trying my method hard enough or long enough!
But as I type this, Bean is sleeping in the Moby, snuggled into me. He's quiet and content, and I'm happy to kiss his soft head whenever I please. I might just have to take these small moments when I can get them.
It's either that, or therapy for all of us.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Excuse me while I be cliche for a minute.
WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?
Seriously! Do you know? Because I can't find it anywhere.
I can't believe that Bean turns 6 months old today. He's grown so much, yet he's still so little. Sometimes I have conversations with him forgetting that he can't really understand me. But you know, he never looks at me like I'm crazy. I guess that's why we get along so well.
Not only has Bean changed, but DH and I have as well. The whole parenthood thing hit us like a ton of bricks, and we considered shipping him off to my parents to raise for a few eighteen years. (I mean, they did a good job with me, right? RIGHT?) But we stuck with it and eventually stopped feeling like incompetent oafs. Not that we know what we're doing, but we hide our insecurity much better. That's the golden rule of parenting, isn't it? Never let them see you sweat. Just blog about it.
What the little man is doing these days:
- Sitting up (unassisted) for longer periods before smacking his head into the carpet.
- Laughing at the dog as she walks by (must be a private joke).
- Eating solid foods. Avocados=no. Bananas and prunes=yes. He likes to help mama bring the spoon to his mouth.
- Smiling at daddy when he gets home from work.
- Flapping arms up and down and smacking everything (if you read to him, he'll smack each page continuously throughout the entire book).
- Learning first words of basic sign language.
- Talking in squeaks and coos.
- Reaching for and hugging mama (makes my insides all gooey).
- Enjoying the outdoors.
- Pointing and reaching for everything (most of which goes directly into the mouth).
- Driving a stick shift.
Happy half-birthday, baby boy!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
We went to the mall on Saturday, my first time there since a recent expansion made it the largest shopping center in Washington. While there were some definite improvements, I was not exactly blown away. I will give kudos to the designers, however, for including an awesome family lounge. They have private nursing rooms with comfy chairs, footrests, and cable television in each one, as well as multiple changing stations, which came in handy for Bean's two -- count 'em two -- diaper blow-outs while we were there.
On Sunday, DH finished painting the downstairs bathroom. After we hang the towel racks, I will post a before-and-after. Seeing it done, I would have gone one shade darker, but it's a vast improvement to be sure. You know those popcorn-flavored jelly beans? The previous owner must have been a big fan, because she used them as the inspiration for the walls. Personally I find the popcorn flavor to be one of the weakest of the jelly bean family. One room redecorated, nine to go!
We also entered the world of solid foods. My plan to begin with avocado worked okay at first. Bean made all the appropriate "what is this stuff" faces while DH eagerly spooned the mush and I captured the event on video for posterity. Then we moved right into the next first: a real food puke, as Bean barfed up all the avocado on himself and daddy while I again captured the event on video for posterity. I thought it was pretty funny until DH handed the Bean to me so he could wash up, and I discovered that there was still some avocado in his tummy that needed to come out immediately. All over mommy.
Undeterred, we tried later with bananas. Fortunately, we were pleased to discover safe food #1. The pictures below are from day two of solids. As if dressing Bean in a Pistons jumpsuit wasn't enough, DH brought additional levity to the feeding by having a killer case of the hiccups, which Bean found utterly hilarious.
On day three, it occurred to me that we had a highchair in the closet. Now we are one of "those" people who have a highchair in the kitchen! (Maybe only another infertile can understand what joy the sight brings to me.) Anyway, you can tell he likes those 'nanners more every day.
As you can see, Bean loves being outdoors. And loves wearing flannel, as a true Pacific Northwesterner would. We all enjoyed the fresh air and beautiful scenery. As we were arriving back at the parking lot, I saw yet another young family heading out, complete with a six year old girl sporting pink tights and a Barbie backpack. Okay, I get it, I'm a wuss! Before we left for the drive home, I really had to go to the bathroom. Luckily, there was one of these nearby.
So much for truth in advertising. (You were wondering when that would come in, weren't you?)