Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Breaking the rules (or: Is anyone here a marine biologist?)

I have been trying to come up with a good post for several days now, but because all of my mental energy has been directed at one specific area of my life lately, I have come up with nothing more than squat. Now, normally, I am a rule follower. But today I am flying in the face of bloggy wisdom, as offered up by the wise Aunt Becky. Specifically, the gem about not posting the minutiea of your day on your blog. Because my life is like Dane Cook's stand-up comedy routine right now... I'm sure there's something funny about it, but I'll be damned if I can identify it. So we are left with:

The minutiea.

Of my day.

BUT! All is not lost, because I will follow it with some gratuitous pictures of the Bean. Because everyone knows it doesn't matter if you post the most asinine drivel or a brilliant treatise on achieving world peace... if you follow it with cute baby pictures, no one remembers anything you wrote anyway. So here goes: the major stuff that we've been up to since last week. (Wow, even I'm bored already.)

Last Monday we went to a "dance party" held at the home of one of other MOMS Club members. It was also DH's birthday, and I felt kinda guilty for getting down with my bad self while he was stuck at work. But sometimes these things just can't be helped. When they played kids songs like "If You're Happy and You Know It," Bean remained entirely unimpressed and instead pushed a toy car. But when an upbeat Counting Crows tune came on, he was bouncing to the beat and shaking what his mama --that's me -- gave him. I was so proud! His favorite song these days is "American Boy" by Estelle, featuring Kanye West. He sings the girl parts, but at least he exhibits pretty good taste in music. And note to self: procure some valium and xanax before agreeing to hold a dance party for moms group. *shiver*

Last Thursday I had a consultation with our new RE. We used the babysitter for the first time, and it seemed to go well. As Bean's vocabulary is basically limited to daddy, mom, flower, ball, water, and woof, his follow-up report was lacking. During my appointment, I got a call from an "in school" friend wanting to do something "out of school" that day. It was like she had somehow read this post and knew exactly what I needed at that moment. We couldn't get together because of the appointment, but even after all the emotion, stress, and information overload of the morning, it was her simple phone call that had me smiling for the rest of the day.

Last Friday we went to take a "tour" of the Rainforest Cafe with the MOMS Club. They had a "marine biologist" give us this "tour." Note the liberal use of quotation marks. Although this "marine biologist" was passionate about his work and clearly enjoyed talking to the kiddos, I wouldn't look at him and think, now there's a guy with a degree in science. And I absolutely believe that the Rainforest Cafe has the budget to support a marine biologist position, based on the $17 they want me to pay for a bowl of pasta. But I guess I've seen "The Marine Biologist" episode of Seinfeld one too many times, and all I could think about was George pulling a golf ball out of that whale's blow hole. Anyway, it didn't stop me from giggling at all of the guy's lame jokes, except the one about all the fish being members of the Wu Tang Clan. (It didn't make sense at the time, either.)

Also last Friday, Bean decided that holding onto mommy's hand while walking is for babies, and he now cruises around the house by himself, everywhere. So far, this has been only a good thing. I no longer have a big crick in my back from bending over, and because he can entertain himself for hours just walking around the kitchen island with an old cell phone in his hand, I can totally get caught up on Google Reader dishes and laundry. He is also babbling up a storm with a few real words thrown in for fun, and DH and I like to play a game where we "translate" what he says. He's quite hilarious, that Bean, but he has a bit of a foul mouth.

On Saturday we went to Snoqualmie Falls, taking advantage of the beautiful weather along with thousands of other people. We did the one-mile-round-trip "tourist" hike to the bottom of the falls. I tell you what, I was EXHAUSTED by the time we reached our car back at the top! But proving yet again that I am apparently one of the most out-of-shape creatures in the Seattle area, no one else seemed winded at all. Not the three-year-old children. Not the people who had a couple hundred pounds or six decades on me. Not the women weighed down by heavy, black burkhas. I think we were passed by the same French-speaking family about 8 times. Whew! About my life's goal of climbing Mount Rainier: it probably won't happen this summer.

Yesterday I took Bean and pooch to a local trail for a change of scenery on our walk. When we got back to the car, I noticed the Bean was missing his binky! Oh, I was devastated. See, I have this strange relationship with his binkies. It's part of my neurosis charm. Every three months I replace them (did I say I follow the rules or what?), and I buy two packages with two each of different green and blue binkies. I keep track of them religiously so none get lost or eaten by the dog. I judge my mothering abilities on whether or not all four binkies are accounted for. Anyway, during our walk, I remember seeing an odd rustling in the bushes about two feet in the air. "Huh, must be an Andre the Giant squirrel," I thought at the time. But upon returning to the car and seeing Bean chewing on his shirt instead of his binky, I knew immediately: He must have chucked it into the bush. Now we are down to three binkies for two months, until the next Changing of the Binkies. DH is so sweet, he offered to get another package on his way home from work. I declined, telling him I'm a big girl and can somehow manage to do without. But of course we can't get another package now, because it's not time yet -- then we'd have five binkies, and two of them will match. ALL WRONG. (That's the binkies I'm talking about, not my psyche. Or probably both.)

And as promised, the pictures!!

I was in the shower when I saw this situation developing through the glass door. I opted to let it unravel (ha) instead of hopping out and making it a sopping wet mess.

Bean could spend hours walking around the backyard with a weed in his hand, saying "fow-wah" (flower) and periodically handing it to me. Yep, that's a weed, Bean. At least one of us is pulling them out.

We are getting closer to DH's ultimate dream come true: Bean mowing our lawn.

Clearly I need to get him some Northwestern gear.

Pictures of Snoqualmie Falls and DH disobeying all the signs to go stand near the river at the bottom.

Can you believe I live here? (Not in that car. I mean so close to the Cascades.)

We have got to get this kid to a real waterpark.

Monday, June 29, 2009

I read REAL books, too

While I may have set a record at the King County Library System for most romance novels checked out in a six-month period, I also occasionally read non-fiction, informational books. Well, okay, only when they are written by my favorite brilliant and witty bloggers. Which has happened... once.

On my Secrets of an Infertile Mom blog, I am participating in the Barren Bitches Book Brigade #19 review of "Navigating the Land of IF,", hosted by the Stirrup-Queen and author herself, Melissa Ford. Check out my answers to various book-related questions, as well as the other stops on the blog tour!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why can't we be friends?

**We interrupt this blog for a relocation-related rant.**

Back in November, I was chatting with my mother-in-law and one of her friends about the challenges of a big relocation. Like DH and I did in December 2002 and then again in November 2007, both of them have moved across the country. There was one thing we all agreed on: it takes a long time to build close, lasting friendships. Two years, they both asserted.

So here I am at a year and a half in. Remember being in high school, and you had "in school" friends that you only saw in class? You liked them and looked forward to seeing them, but for whatever reason neither of you took that extra step to see each other in the evenings and on weekends? Versus "out of school" friends whom you saw during the day and also hung out with at home?

I am currently stuck in that place where I really only have "in school" friends. I have met so many super cool women through the co-op preschool and MOMS Club, I've honestly been pleasantly surprised at how comfortable I feel with everyone. (That's not to say I think I'm super cool... but you know, it's nice to be in good company.) I've had smaller, personal playdates with a mom or two here and there, but by and large Bean and I only socialize during the larger group activities. I'm starting to really crave a closer, individual relationship... someone I can call during the day on one of the extremely rare occasions when it rains in Seattle and we are stuck inside, bored.

And like I said, it's not from lack of potential BFFs. The events we attend are filled with other moms that I'd love to spend more time with. But getting over that hump to a one-on-one date... that's a toughie for me. Partly a confidence issue, I'm sure, but with having the kids as an excuse to get together, that's not really a huge problem. I think it's mainly time. Seeing them enough that it's socially appropriate to make the transition.

An exception to my in-school-friends-only space is Jen, whom I "met" through blogging (almost two years ago, in fact) and now enjoy seeing in person. But she has an important day job involving cancer research, so I can't really give her a call. Well, I could, but it would go something like this.

Me: "Heeeeey Jen. Whatcha doin'?"

Jen: "Um, I'm at work right now, curing cancer."

Me: "Oh. So I guess you don't want to come over with Jillian and let the kids play while we dress up my dog in little costumes and giggle while she stands there frozen in embarrassment."

Jen: "I really can't right now."

Me: "Okay, maybe next time."

So sometimes I end up calling DH at work, just in case he wants to tell me the good news that the cleaning crew shampooed the carpets last night and now tons of people are barfing from the fumes so the boss is sending everyone home. Because that happened to me at work once. He always answers, "Hey honey! What's up?" But he says the what's up in a way that means please tell me quickly what you need because there are many men silently standing around my desk right now who are waiting to resume talking to me about our Important and Serious Work, and not in a way that means please ramble on about the contents of Bean's latest diaper and how that relates to what he's eaten in the past 24 hours. Dead end there, too.

I would ask for some advice on breaking that in-school/out-of-school barrier, but I imagine I'll get comments like, "You should call one of the moms and ask her to go to the park or something!" Which is certainly the correct answer and if I could do that, I already would. I am looking for something more like, "You should loudly mention at the next meeting that you are about to inherit ungodly sums of money from a long-lost relative, and you can't wait to take all of your friends, regardless of how long you've known them, on an all-expense-paid cruise of the Caribbean." Now that is useful advice, and I suppose if you have any suggestions along those lines, I would appreciate you sharing them.

**We now return you to your regularly scheduled post.**

Father's Day was teeeeerific. DH has been asking ever since Bean was born: "How old does he have to be before we can take him to a baseball game?" If the other families at the game on Sunday were any indication, just a few days old is sufficient. But I wanted to hold off until Bean was at least able to hold his own head up. In case he had to duck from a foul ball or something.

As a Father's Day gift to DH, I purchased tickets for us to see the Mariners. I wasn't particularly thrilled about it, as I find the game of baseball to be among the most boring pastimes in the world, up there with watching ice melt and playing Risk. But I was pleasantly surprised that this game turned out to be AWESOME! I think it helped that we arrived at the bottom of the third inning because of Bean's nap... the game didn't drag interminably like it usually does. And the ending was one of the on-the-edge-of-your-seat variety that even I can appreciate -- with a Mariners win, of course! Bean (wearing his Ichiro t-shirt) was amazed at all the new sights and sounds, and DH's grin didn't leave his face the entire day.

One Seattle baseball tradition that we did not partake in was the garlic fries they sell at the game. WHAT? you must be saying to yourself. BUT SUNNY! YOU WORSHIP THE GODS OF GARLIC! And you would be absolutely right. Before first-hand experience of these garlic fries, I would have insisted that there is no way, no how ever too much garlic on anything, ever.
But alas, I would have been wrong.
When DH went to a game with one of his friends last year, he ate a bowl of these garlic fries. They are basically your average run-of-the-mill fry covered in several pounds of that minced garlic you can buy in plastic jars at the grocery store. He came home to my waiting arms, and he STANK.
I have never in my life smelled something so offensive. No skunk, no poopy diaper, could make me gag like this did.
I made him shower, twice. I wouldn't let him put his clothes in the hamper, lest they infect all the other pants and shirts that were innocently awaiting their turn to be laundered. I made him put everything on his person, down to socks and underwear, into the washer immediately. I considered making him sleep in the guest room, but he promised to stay near the edge of his side of the bed, so I didn't push that one.
Needless to say, we skipped the garlic fries this time around. But Seattlites have my undying respect for the amount of garlic they are collectively able to consume. It's truly awe-inspiring. At the risk of offending the man sitting next to us, I snapped this picture of his empty bowl of garlic fries so you can see the carnage.

And that was Bean's first experience at the ballpark, a day that DH declared one of his favorite since we've moved to Seattle. I love getting it right.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Thank you, Dad, for showing me all the things a husband and father should be. And thank you, DH, for being every one of those things. I love you both very much.

And Happy Father's Day also to my Grandpa, Father-in-Law, and all the other wonderful men out there who are fathers or on the journey to become one.

Friday, June 19, 2009

John Hancock

Ooooh, I am so excited! I am going to get a free bloggy "signature" to use when signing my posts... and you can get one too!

Head over to April Showers Blog Design and partake in her awesomeness.

And keep your eye out for other fabulous upgrades coming to Sunny in Seattle next month....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Back to life, back to reality

Wow, is it Thursday already? This week is flying by, and after returning home from Michigan on Sunday, I'm finally caught up with my email, parenting forum, and Google Reader. You know, the important stuff.

The first thing we did when we returned to Seattle was grab a coffee on the way home. Ahhhh, sweet java. How I missed thee! Unlike the whole it-always-rains-in-Seattle propaganda, it is an actual fact that coffee tastes better here. Even the decaf instant Fred Meyer (grocery store) coffee that I keep in my fridge is better than any cup you can find anywhere else in the country. Starbucks being the exception, of course. It is crappy no matter where you buy it, even Seattle. Still can't understand why that's the top coffee export of this great city. But whatevs.

When we pulled into the driveway, the first thing we noticed was that our neighbor had watered and mowed our front lawn for us because of the drought we've had for over a month now (told ya it doesn't always rain!). She wanted to repay the favor of me critiquing her resume for her. (In a former life, I was a Certified Professional Resume Writer. Actually, I guess I technically still am. The certification is like SPAM, it never expires. Tastes better than SPAM, though.) Anyway, our lawn looks nicer now than it has in the entire year we've lived here. I wonder what I'd have to do to get her to do the back too.

Tuesday was a big day. In the afternoon, Bean and I went to his 15-month pedi check-up. It was fairly unremarkable, but I will remark about it anyway. His head circumference is in the 75th percentile, his weight (22 lbs 1 oz) is in the 20th percentile, and his height (31") is exactly the national average. So he's a very strange, wobbly-looking boy, apparently. It's no wonder he's a late walker, how can he be expected to keep up that huge noggin with a skinny little frame? I told the doc that Bean still gags on moo milk, and she did encourage me to keep trying, but she wasn't overly concerned. That's probably why he's so thin, she posited. (Note to self: cut out milk from diet. Follow-up note to self: never mind, forgot about chocolate. and cheese. and ice cream. and Lucky Charms.) The doc also has me giving Bean fluoride supplements, because it is not added to the water in our town. I'm thinking the fact that I never remember to brush his teeth is the bigger problem, but I hope to rectify that soon, so I didn't mention it.

Then in the evening, I had my very first board meeting for our co-op preschool. Loved it! At first, I was worried about working with the mom who shares my vice-chair-of-fundraising position, because she is pregnant and due the week I would have been if my chemical pregnancy hadn't just been a chemical. But despite the fact my period arrived two hours before the meeting started (thank you, Universe!), she turned out to be such a ridiculously awesome person that I never felt uncomfortable around her baby bump. I knew we would get along well when two things revealed themselves in conversation: 1) she named her daughter after a contestant on American Idol and 2) she uses the f-bomb casually in conversation at home. As someone who finds four-letter words to be linguistic genius, I was pleased to hear this. (As an aside, you don't know how difficult it is for me to keep the swearing out of this blog. It's fucking rather hard.)

The only complaint I had about the evening was the venue. We met at a local pizza place that was suggested by someone to be "the best in the area." Seriously?! It was only one rung above Chuck E. Cheese in my book. And they all agreed how yummy it was! I didn't even eat the crust, and I am on an all-carb diet. When I think of good pizza, I think of Dewey's in St. Louis. We used to go there with our friends A. and J., back when we had time, money, and friends. Of course, back then we weren't really aware that we had time, money, and friends... but in retrospect, now that we are parents, we realize that we had plenty of all three. And we were also smart and thin. Who knew?!

And a few random remaining vacation pics...

Bean reaches new heights on Mel Gibson's Grandpa B.'s shoulders.

I only picked this picture because you can see my kick-ass new sandals in the background.

Bean pushes his own stroller with Grandma M. and Grandpa J. And yes, I'm sure he's totally safe doing that in the middle of the road.

Lookin' cool in mom's sunglasses.

After telling DH that Bean is too young for ice cream (why push it if he doesn't know what it is yet?), I couldn't resist giving him some of mine. I'm the mom, I can do things like that.

Speaking of good ideas, my parents decided to put Bean in the kitchen sink wearing only his pajama top right before bed.

Did they really not see this coming?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rock star

A boy and his rocks: inseparable. We have created a monster now with this new hobby. Luckily, allowing your small child to throw pebbles is not at all dangerous! I literally found them in his diaper later. I'm hoping it's not because he ate them.

But at least he's a good boy and helps clean up when playtime is over.

Grandma M. made some playdough for indoor fun when it rains. Because even though people in Michigan seem especially concerned with the amount of precipitation we must see in the Pacific Northwest, it does actually rain here too.

Daddy made a little Evey out of dough. We miss our pooch pooch.

Besides his rock obsession, Bean also spends hours pushing the cart around like it's his job. He's a focused little man.

When "work" is over, he relaxes by kicking a ball with Grandpa B.

In addition to spending lots of time with family while here in Michigan, we've also been able to sneak in a few moments with friends. Last night, Bean and I had dinner with Lora, whom I met on a TTC forum more than two years ago. It was so neat to meet her in person after going through parenthood together, from injections and IUIs to toddlerhood! She has a gorgeous, smiley, happy son who is about a month younger than Bean. And today, my high school friend Al stopped by for a visit with her two kiddos. Ella is such a big girl, and I could spend days tickling Nathan to hear his sweet giggle. Bean ruined all the pictures except this one.

We have been continued to be blessed with no more than one nightly wake-up by the Bean Man, as well as a decent nap schedule. Ahhhh, being well-rested on vacation! What a concept! All three of us are being so spoiled that we are definitely going to go through withdrawal next week when we are back home.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

In which traveling becomes momumentally easier

I'm still waiting to wake up and realize that I just dreamed that this vacation to Michigan has been going so smoothly. Our last two visits with family (at 4 months old and 8 months old) were exponentially more challenging. Surely as I type this, Fate is laughing at my overconfidence and conspiring to shake things up, but so far, smooth sailing.

On Friday we hopped on a plane bright and early. On the down side, Bean did not sleep nearly as much as he needed to during our 4 1/2 hour nonstop flight. On the up side, he behaved like an angel (except throwing cheese and toys at our aislemate, who fortunately had young kiddos at home herself and was very understanding) and did not poop the entire time. Brilliant! At the end of the flight, we received kudos from everyone around us (minus the cheese-covered and bruised aislemate), and one guy asked if Bean had slept the entire time. Mission successful. What made the entire day worth it was when we finally landed and ate dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant got to see our families.

On Saturday, DH and I took advantage of free babysitting and headed out to enjoy our second favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch. We ran a few errands and couldn't resist popping into DSW for some shoes. As I pointed out to DH, "You know what my Mom would say. We should shop here as much as possible because the sales tax is so much lower." DH nodded, "Yeah, it's like having a 4%-off coupon for everything in the state." I love when we are on the same page. He replaced his torn black sandals (why do guys only replace shoes when they are falling apart?) and I bought a pair of flat brown sandals because I needed them and this other funky pair because, as I told DH, "They are effing awesome."

Then my parents hosted a BBQ for my side of the family so everyone could witness the adorableness that is Toddler Bean. It was a really nice time, although Bean had moments of being overwhelmed by the attention. He would make this heart-wrenching frowny face and then cry plaintively until he received sufficient snuggles from his mommy. Disappointing for everyone else, pure bliss for me.

Today (Sunday) was my sister-in-law's high school graduation party. When I saw the outfits of all her friends, it was obvious to me how completely uncool I have become. I certainly was never admired for my fashion sense, but I was startled to see how much closer I am to Talbots than Forever 21. A bit sad but inevitable. Bean did better here than yesterday because even though there were more people, he wasn't the focus of all eyes at the party. It was a great bash.

And how could I almost forget to mention the best part? BEAN IS SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT. Well, both nights so far at least. I fully expect this to end any minute. There was a bit of crying as I would first put him down, because it is a strange room. But that passed relatively quickly and we've been golden. Tonight not even a peep as I left his room. I think he's adjusting to the time change better than I am, he is about 45 minutes off his regular time (7:45 pm for bed instead of 7 pm), meanwhile I'm laying in bed until 12:30 am. At least I got to watch The Soup last night. If I must be up, at least Joel can keep me company.

And now for pictures!

Uncle/Godfather M. poses with Bean at dinner right after we land.

Grandma M. and Grandpa J. have a fun bathtub too!

Bean was a little overwhelmed at the BBQ.

Bean sports his Red Wings jersey to show his support.

"I think I can reach it... I think I can reach it..."

"Got it!"

Daddy takes him on Grandma M. and Grandpa J.'s boat.

Bean has found his new passion: rocks.

He loves to push this cart while pulling a lobster on a string. Not sure why my parents have a lobster on a string, but I don't ask these sorts of questions.

Let's eat!

Vroom vroom! Oh wait, those are trains. Chugga chugga!
Holding "boo-ooo"s (balloons) at Aunt H.'s graduation party.

Hanging out with Grandpa J.

On the boat with Grandma M. "So... you guys do this for fun?"

"Throwing rocks into the lake... now that's what I call fun!"

Playing in the sand.

Here's to more nights of good sleep, lots of Mexican food, and fun time with family!