Monday, August 31, 2009

Lovely Lady Lumps--week 18

Lest you forgot I am with child (sometimes I feel like I do!), here are some 18 week shots.
From Lovely Lady Bumps
From Lovely Lady Bumps
About a week ago I felt the first twinges of Kilo moving! (I almost used the word "twitterings" and realized that within the past year, that has a COMPLETELY new--and redonkulous--reference. I sold my soul to Facebook, but I will never succumb to Twitter--even after my own company is now a regular tweeter.) Unlike Miles's popcorn circus moves, this feels much different. Aunt Carol had a great way of putting it--like little fishes in my belly. I now have a visualization of Swedish fish in a little pond above my pubic bone flitting about. I should pull up the archives of my 18 week belly with Miles. I think I am pulling slightly ahead of where I was last time--at least in the bedonk area! I am curious to see if I will get a lot bigger than I did with Miles. Well, clearly I will at some point because this boy is staying put for the whole ride. It has already been agreed upon in contract form; Kilo cannot retract (I know his parents...)

Things continue to go well with this little boy, and I couldn't be more grateful. What is nice is that in terms of material preparation, we are pretty set. Outside of getting some winter newborn outfits (thank goodness it is consignment season!), there are only a few items on our list of "must buy." And with Kilo donning the title of "hand-me-down" kid and zero expectation (or real desire) to have any more pre-birth celebrations (i.e. showers), we really are fortunate to rely on the amazing volume of "stuff" that Miles acquired. Additionally, we are getting some amazing hand-me-downs from some of his friends at school; we even got another car seat and 2 bases to use with Miles's older infant car seat and bases. I am still avoiding the task of researching a double stroller, and need to figure out how to generally accommodate two little boys in this tiny house. Luckily, at the very least the first 4 months will be comprised of putting our co-sleeper next to our bed as we did with Miles. Our leaning right now is to turn our second bedroom into a quasi-Kilo room. We won't transform it into another nursery, but will probably put a crib, dresser and changing area in there. (Sorry family! You will have to stay in hotels now.) I would love to get the same eco-friendly crib Miles has, but lord that was expensive. In my quest to find an eco-friendly alternative, not much under $300 has surfaced. There is the very basic IKEA white crib, but that seems to industrial and "sad" to me. And then, I stumbled upon a new Graco Eco-friendly crib that is exclusively sold through...ugh, I cannot even write it...WALMART. The color and style do not even closely reflect our family's aesthetic, but folks, it is under $200!!!
So, this may be the winner! We will probably keep all of the light wood "adult" furniture in the 2nd bedroom, and just have this sore thumb crib at one end. I do want to get another Flensted mobile to hang above the crib, and may have to get my hands on another Charley Harper print to hang.

The second time around things are feeling less stressful and more "familiar." But here is my honesty check: what does worry me is that I know with baby #2 (and with us having the luxury of having another boy to be familiar with), that people will assume that we will be capable of transitioning without much help. I do have some low grade anxiety about the fact that with limited family around, I am going to end up more harried (unkempt and aching for regular showers and a magical dish fairy to live at our house) and exhausted than I could be with my family and in-laws around. There is something to be said about the power of family when a new baby arrives. Heck, it was the land of make-believe when Nana was here this summer! What I do have comfort in is that we have such great friends down here that although I certainly don't expect them to volunteer help, I will put out a premature SOS (and that is the only premature offering I intend on giving! Kilo--I banish you to the uterus for at least 37 weeks!) that come Kilo's arrival, I may put you all on speed dial for some emergency help. This concern resonated with me quite clearly this weekend when we were at a Cross Country function and a parent said, "the increase from 1 to 2 children is harder than 2 to 3, or 3 to 4. You think running around with 1 is tiring...just wait!" Thanks for the vote of confidence Mr B...have another glass of wine; maybe you can not only scare me, but start with some insults, too. Damn preggo hormones.

The truth is, people get "stupid" mouth around pregnant women. It's like the hormones that turn the pregnant woman's brain into Quaker oatmeal somehow transfer to those around her. I cannot tell you how many dumb things I have heard recently. A random woman from Eric's adult running group on Tuesday nights said congratulations on the new baby. I thanked her and thought we were done. But then she has the audacity to whisper to me (and I am talking hand to the mouth leaning into my ear), "I hope it is a girl." WTF? I have NO idea who you are, and you certainly have no right to say something like that. I immediately said, "well, we already found out a few weeks ago it is another boy." She curled up into her little hole where I hope she never emerges from again (or at least until my pregnancy rage subsides). Stupid mouth comment #2. In talking with some mom friends about delivery, the whole idea of natural versus "assisted" (i.e. medicated) birth emerged. Mom #1 makes a comment that getting the epidural was the best thing she did with her 2nd baby--that she was able to enjoy the birth rather than be in pain. I said that I think it is great that there are options for women to decide how they want their birth to be experienced and that with Kilo I am going to have a Doula and make preparations to go natural, with the understanding that anything is an option. Mom #1 says, "If you allow yourself the option, you are going to get an epidural. No question. I don't care who you have suggesting you don't use it, once the doctor gives you the option, you will make the smart choice to go pain free." My response? Silence. What else can you do? Stupid mouth comment #3. I was chatting it up with some work folk about babies and said that I had some concerns that Miles was weaning from nursing, but that it was a phase and he is pretty consistently nursing 2-3 times a day again. Seasoned mother #1 says, "that is just weird. I think it would gross me out if my child could walk up to me and ask to nurse. Does your pediatrician know? Is she okay with it?" First, we have a male pediatrician and yes, for the time being he is okay with it. Second, Miles isn't walking, yet (ha ha!) and third, he isn't talking, either. Well, he does have many signs and at least understands "milk/nurse." I did put it out there that the AAP recommends breastfeeding up until 12 months and Miles is only 15!

Speaking of 15 months, Miles had his 15 month check up last week. Eric pulled on his big boy loafers and went all by himself. I say that in jest, but the truth is that I have predominantly been the one to accompany Miles to all of his pedi and PT appointments. I have the "luxury" of taking time off from work, whereas it is a lot harder as a teacher to be absent. For this appointment, I had a work retreat during the week and was on the 50th floor of the Four Seasons brainstorming for days on end. The food and view was nice, but I was so angry I had to miss the appointment, especially because it was with a new pedi. All in all, I am glad we made the switch. Eric had a list of questions that we (ahem, I) prepared and the Dr fielded them all well. We will get a new lead screen soon, and the only other thing is if Miles isn't walking by 18 months we need to consider PT again. I really think we'll walk before then. If not, I am considering lying to the doctor. I just don't want to do months of PT again! And Miles needs to get 4 or so more words by 18 months--luckily, signs count. This past month Miles has picked up a handful of new signs, but still prefers to talk in his native Mandarin, or Urdu, or whatever crazy language it is he knows. And then there is the classic "grunt and point." Our favorite, though, is his cell phone "sign." I walked into the room the other week and he had taken an infant rattle-thing that looks like a foot, and had it to his head and he was saying "hi, hi." I realized he was pretending it was a phone. And then at school, Ms JoAnn said that he holds his hand up to his ear and talks to you--and they play a game "can you call Mommy?" And then he does the hand to the ear. Hilarious...until I realized that he must have picked up on this b/c of how often we are on the phone. I need to get this on video for archive sake. Especially because the novelty is starting to wear off.

Finally, our Miles continues to blow the head circumference chart out of the water, and lag on length and weight. 80 plus % for head circumference (no wonder he cannot walk--that's a lot to balance!), and 13% for weight. He is still 21lbs. This doesn't concern me terribly, but the fact that 2 babies at his childcare (a 7 month and a 5 month old) WEIGH MORE THAN HE DOES! Fortunately, if the way Kilo is growing (rather, the way my a$$ is growing) is any indication of his life outside of my womb, we won't have as much of a problem working our way up on the weight curve.

Here was Mommy's attempt at taking a first day of school picture all by herself without the flash. August 17.
From First day of school; random photoshoot
And then this picture was taken yesterday, August 31, when we were trying to capture Miles taking 1-2 unassisted steps and talking on his imaginary cell phone. You'll notice 3 things: 1. we did not capture unassisted steps or the imaginary phone, and 2. This child's hair grows like a chia pet. 3. Despite his new fascination with all afternoon temper tantrums, his eyes will continue to melt anyone's heart.
From First day of school; random photoshoot

Monday, August 24, 2009

Me-DOULA Oblongata

Ever since I found out I was pregnant, I have been toying around with the idea of hiring a Doula. After Miles's birth that although was "natural" (as natural as being induced at 33.5 weeks can be), I realized how woefully unprepared I was (and I still contend that it wasn't really me who gave birth.) It was totally out of body--disembodied. Terrible? No. Ideal? No.

Clearly my first step in preparing for Kilo's birth was to schedule some sort of birthing class PRIOR to 34 weeks. But this just didn't feel sufficient--especially because I am delivering at the (gulp) baby factory. And I also have this fear that Eric will be driving Miles around to somebody's house at 3am to watch him while I deliver, and somehow he'll miss the whole thing. I'll get the the hospital by MARTA bus, water breaking along the way, and I'll scream for Propofol (the stuff MJ used to sleep) and wake up 24 hours later with a 28 inch scar around the whole circumference of my abdomen, a hysterectomy, breast implants and a baby being fed formula in a nursery far away from me. Slight exaggeration...

The truth is, I really want an informed, educated mother figure to help guide me through the deliver. Would I like it to be natural? Of course. Am I completely 100% against an epidural? No--and I only say that because I realize after Miles's birth that birth plans just set you up for disappointment. What I want and need is birth preparation. This was the first thing I said to our Doula when we met for tea: you cannot plan your perfect birth, but you can prepare.

They say that those seeking Doulas either look for a "sister" figure or a "mother" figure--Guina, our selected Doula (as long as no one else snagged her 2 spots for February!) is certainly a "mother" figure. I have the "sister" figure already down. Mama C was at Miles's birth, and if all things go okay (and she can find coverage for her own little munchkin during the L&D), I would be honored if she could be there again.

Guina comes highly recommended from the group Labor of Love. Pricey? Zoom in on my empty wallet (anyone guess the Broadway play?). But I truly think her guidance will be worth it. She will serve as a repository of all sorts of information and help starting the day they deposit my retainer, and will be on call 2 weeks prior and 2 weeks after my due date. When we met, we talked extensively about my history with preterm delivery, and she assured me that she would make a note of that and that I should keep her abreast as much as possible about the trajectory of my pregnancy. I look forward to all of the books and articles and conversations we'll have in the coming weeks/months. I also hope we can take her immersion birthing class in December. I am also excited because she will write up her own account of my birth as a draft, and then offer both me and Eric the opportunity to add our own details and sentiments. She also takes pictures and provides you with a CD at your postpartum meeting.

What I really loved about Guina was that 1) she came totally prepared (references, copies of her certifications, lots of background information, etc), 2) despite the detailed preparation, didn't have an air of "business meeting" about her; it was like having tea with an old friend, and 3) had some amazing ideas and techniques about dealing with labor. I loved that she cast no judgment--and that she made a great case for her presence and value even if you ended up with a c-section. She values every birth the same--and if she needs to spend hours massaging your feet or shoulders playing Enya on her iPod while you prep for a C-section, she'll do that...or she'll guide you through an epidural if it comes to that, and work on strategies for effective pushing. Now, in a perfect world I would be birthing in a field in the middle of the most gorgeous open pasture, but let's be honest folks. I am delivering at Northside Hospital! But she does have experience with Northiside, and even though I may not be able to deliver in a tub, she said she can set up a sanctuary in the bathroom so I can labor on a ball in the shower, or cushion the toilet with pillows if I have back labor and have a small flashlight to provide a calmer atmosphere.

Let me break by saying that Eric attended the meeting with me and felt the same sense of calm from Guina. Although it is a joint decision in part, he really left it up to me whether or not I felt Guina was a good fit. I never want Eric to feel like I don't think he "is enough," or that he doesn't hold an integral part in Kilo's birth. What we walked away from our meeting understanding is that the Doula is there to shepherd you through the process and enhance your family's birth experience. She is not there to replace anyone, but offer guidance, support and love.

All in all, both Eric and I are feeling really good about our decision. My bank account may not, but in my heart feel that her spirit will be a much welcome addition to delivery room.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"The Hardest Button to Button"

Band? Anyone? If you can post the correct answer, I'll give you a candy...or how about a glass of breastmilk? Apparently my son is not as interested in it anymore. I am in a bit of denial, but Miles really has started pushing away from nursing. I was pretty secure in my decision to wean around 18 months (nervous about inducing preterm labor), but I think Miles has a different plan. At this point, I pretty much use it as a calming technique. Maybe the test has changed...(maybe he doesn't like big boobs, either). :( Stay tuned.

Back to the button reference. No joke. I can no longer button my pants as of Sunday. I think Kilo had a huge growth spurt in part, but also Eric's best friend, Uncle Jer, from OH has been here for the past week fattening us up with his chefly skills (like that--"chefly?"). No, really. He is a chef, and a great one at that. AND he was so gracious enough to accommodate my picky habits and requirement for using organic fruits, veggies and meat. Let's take one night's meal: Foccacia and olive oil to start. Fresh salad with heirloom tomato, avocado, mozzarella, mescaline, arugula, and homemade herbed vinegrette. Main course comprised of spiced polenta, chorizo crumbles, mini portabella mushrooms, romesco sauce, queso fresco, and some other stuff that I probably cannot identify that I'll call love. And dessert was sweet polenta with marinated and cooked apricots, blueberry and candied fruit sauce, and marscapone cheese. (Wish I had a picture). And last night we had a huge fruited chicken salad with another homemade dressing and spiced almond pieces (cayenne cinnamon and various other spices in an egg wash and toasted to a crips!) and grilled PB and homemade "jelly" on Hawaiin bread for dessert. (Note: not my beer below!) We offered free room and board for dinner 2 nights a week. Not sure he'll bite.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

UPDATED: I want to ride my bicycle!

From I want to ride my bicycle!



(Update at the end-sorry for formatting issues. I cannot get the spaces to be deleted between pictures) I have mentioned a few times how much Miles enjoys being outside. I am seriously considering pitching a tent and having him take naps and sleep overnight outside. The first thing he does when he gets up in the morning (read: when we allow him out of his crib at 6am after an hour of working to get him back down to sleep), is walk you to the front door and ask to go outside. The asking is sort of a point and grunt/whine. I try to appease him by hoisting him up on the couch by the picture window and letting him giggle at the dark, empty street. This distraction is short-lived.

We do the 1+ daily walks, running with the jogging stroller, playing ball, feeling grass, getting the mail, watering plants...any excuse to get him outside. Well, we have now found a new activity--bike riding! My friend Studs sent me an e-mail a few weeks back about this new, inventive bike seat for toddlers--the iBert Safe-T seat. Not one day later did one of my gazillion mommy blogs have a review about the very same seat. Then, Eric is at the park with Miles and actually sees someone using the iBert. The next thing you know, it is being shipped by Amazon to our house. We love it! It is a great way to get him to the park. After a few days of adjustment, Eric is pretty good with him on the bike. I'll stick to jogging yards behind them as my bike skills only rival my skills driving a stick shift (some of you will TOTALLY get that.)
From I want to ride my bicycle!




From I want to ride my bicycle!


True, there are not many things cuter than little newborn pieces of clothing, but a toddler bike helmet comes in a close 2nd.

I took some footage of the very first test ride. The music and background chatter kind of clash, but I had to put this song on the video. It's also long, and not very interesting after the first 30 seconds.

If you own a bike and have a toddler, I totally recommend the iBert. In the meantime, I am looking for the iBert Safe-T Preggo seat. Now THAT would be hilarious.

Update before the riveting video: Apparently Miles is a trend setter. I knew it when he took the world of babylegs by storm...Schlotty just informed me that "Donna Martin" and her no name Husband are fans of the iBert! PLEASE NOTICE: Neither "Donna" nor No Name are wearing helmets. TISK TISK. That is one of my biggest pet peeves--what kind of modeling is that??

video

Friday, August 14, 2009

Smörgåsbord

Today's post is my blogger version of left overs. I don't have 1 commanding story or montage to share, but a host of little bits and pieces of information due to the fact that I am incapable of keeping up with everything right now. I cannot even think of clever transitions, so expect some abrupt plot turns. Is ADD a pregnancy symptom? I feel like I might be battling some attention problems. Slight exaggeration, but what I am truly curious about is if restless leg syndrome is related to pregnancy. More like restless body syndrome. I don't even have a legit belly and I cannot get comfortable in bed. I toss and turn each night, feeling like instead of my pajamas, I somehow put on a new suit of skin and bones and am awkwardly getting used to my limbs and torso. And then when my body gets in a fit, my mind feels like it is given license to ruminate and obsess about things like--what to write on the weekly menu planner for Miles's lunch on Wednesday...should I actually put make-up on for work?...what questions should I write down for our next pediatrician visit? I may completely corner myself into some sort of pathology, but I was hoping that the fractured sleep wouldn't start happening until late in pregnancy.

I guess since I haven't really had quality sleep in almost 2 years, why start now? And it is not as though the belly below can be a true obstacle.
From Lovely Lady Bumps
From Lovely Lady Bumps
Eric and I realized on the same day that I hadn't taken one picture of my pregnant belly during the 1st trimester. Of course for the 1st pregnancy you pretty much document everything (although, I never did get around to getting Miles a proper scrapbook), and as the babies continue, some of your efforts and intentions get diluted. So, these pictures are about 14.5 weeks (and I do think since then I have even pushed out a little farther), but the good thing is that it really isn't that dramatic (i.e. you all haven't missed much). Just that thickening out phase that I really don't like (especially the chest area--I still don't understand why women want big boobs.)

Abrupt turn 1. Eric's fear of spiders is pretty well documented, but I recently found out he is just as skittish around little, curious, fluffy yard patrons as well. As he was walking by our recycling bin, he freaked out when in the corner of his eyes, saw something foreboding and furry in the corner of the bin. I gave him the camera to take a picture so I could see it and help identify. This is what he shows me
From NANA summer 09
...anyone? The cutest little baby 'possum. From his reaction, I thought it was going to be Big Foot's ferocious spawn. We released the babe and hope it found its family.

Abrupt turn 2. I am certainly not known for my tremendous archives of amazing recipes, but have been asked for a number over the past few weeks and thought I would put them up on the blog. Schlotty has recently done a great service to her blog readers and shared her favorite foodie blogs; I recommend adding some to your reader or favorites. Here are some staples in our house.

Nursing Balls
When I was nursing, I would be up all night either latched to Miles or to a pump. And I was hungry, but never ravished. But at 2am, you don't want to open chips, you don't want to prepare anything that requires utensils (or brain space), so I recalled a yummy treat my mother made for us as kids. We didn't call them nursing balls, but the name was too funny to pass up. They are almost like raw cookie dough balls--how can that be bad? And they can be mixed with all sorts of things like flax and Kashi cereal so that you can control the consistency. What I loved most about them, beside the flavor, is that they popped in the mouth so easily, and satisfied me immediately.

1/2 cup peanut butter (I would use regular, and not organic or natural--purely b/c of consistency)
1/2 honey
1/2 dry milk
1 cup peanuts or raisins or kashi cereal crunched up
1 cup graham crackers crushed.
Sprinkling of flax meal
handful of mini chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together. Roll into balls. Put in fridge.

Now, these are all estimations. Add and delete as you see fit, until you get a dough firm enough to roll into balls and refrigerate. I actually never really use a recipe, just eye ball everything now.

Raspberry Spinach Bars
This is an adaptation from Jessica Seinfeld's (or as I keep saying to Eric, Jessica Simpson--but what kind of cookbook could she have?) book Deceptively Delicious. As my mom reminds me, this is not a new concept--using veggie and fruit purees for baking and cooking, but JS just gave the concept a face lift. There is some controversy and purist mothers who think it is child abuse for deceiving your children and fooling them into thinking the food is not healthy, but who is to say you cannot tell your kids what is in it? Heck, Miles doesn't even understand what we are saying anyway, so if I can get more healthy stuff into him, rock on!

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I would do 1 cup white and 1/4 wheat)
1/2 sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 t pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup butter (JS calls for margarine, but even the trans-fat free kind gives me the willies)
1 cup raspberry preserves (or any berry...you can use low sugar if you need)
1/2 cup spinach puree

Preheat oven to 375. Coat 8x8 pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and vanilla. Add butter and cut it quickly into dry ingredients with 2 knives until mixture resembles course meal and is no longer powdery. Do not over mix! Bits of butter still visible is okay. Set aside half of the oat mixture. Press the rest firmly into the pan. Bake until lightly browned at edges (not fully baked), 13-15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the preserves with the spinach puree in small bowl. Spread berry mixture over partially baked layer, then sprinkle reserved oat mixture. Bake until topping slightly brown, 20-25 minutes. Set the pan on a rack to cool completely.

Banana "Bread" (I use the quotes because this is more like cake--semi-homemade style. I try to make all of my food from scratch, but this cake is so yummy, freezes great, and is a huge hit in our family. I actually made it for Miles's first b-day cake at his daycare and it got multiple baby thumbs up.)

1 box yellow cake mix
1 package instant banana cream pudding and pie filling (or vanilla, french vanilla...)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
2-3 overly ripe bananas
4 eggs (or egg beaters, but eggs are better)
cinnamon sugar

Mix all of the ingredients well. Pour into 2 large loaf pans, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake at 350 for 40-45 min.

Abrupt turn 3. This is kind of related to abrupt turn 2. We are hosting Eric's best friend at our house for a week as he has made the journey down from Cleveland. We have welcomed him with ear plugs (for Miles's wake-ups) and the promise of good food. "Uncle" Jeremy is a chef, and Atlanta has a great many food establishments to choose from. Last night we went to Rathbun's (anyone see him spank Bobby Flay's behind on Iron Chef?) for both some drinks at the adjoining Krog bar (them alcohol, me Coke. Yes, I did take a sip of their wine and yes I did have 1 serving of caffeine. I am an awful preggo.), and then had an amazing dinner. Jeremy asked if he could take the menus from the bar and restaurant as any good chef would do, and not only did they all oblige, but our waitress had Kevin Rathbun himself sign one menu for him! He made a "rare" appearance at the restaurant (all 10 feet 11 inches of him...that dude is huge), and I think it was fate, kismet that we were there that night with Jeremy.

Abrupt turn 4. Miles starts back up at childcare on Monday full-time. I am so nervous and already thinking about what he is going to wear on his first day (usually pondering this earth's mystery at 3:11am in the morning). There will be a bunch of new babies (okay, so only 1 in the beginning, and a few more over the course of the few months), and some new teachers (aka: Marist mothers who volunteer their services to love on babies). I realize that this next year will be so different for Miles compared to the first day...when I dropped him off at the ELC Director's home all by his lonesome for my first day back at work...and then when it was just these 3 little infant boys in the corner of Marist's lower cafeteria while the ELC was being finished, being doted on by tons of students and staff. Now, he is a returning student.

Next thing you know, he is going to be asking me to borrow the car in a crackling, pubescent voice. Until then, let's stick with "asking" permission to go to the park.


From NANA summer 09

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ode to Nana

From NANA summer 09
We are still mourning the departure (*updated from "loss" per my brother's astute observation that loss indicates something else completely!) of Nana down here in Atlanta. We had a glorious 5 weeks with my mother, who worked as our full-time childcare provider, sous chef, baker, hairdresser, and maid. We paid her in dark chocolate M&Ms, dirty diapers, open mouthed kisses (Miles, folks, not us), and Tetley decaff tea.

We cannot begin to adequately reflect on the impact she has had on our family, and how much we miss her. In fact, Miles called her at 6am on Saturday. No, I am not kidding. He was playing with my cell phone and of ALL speed dials, he pressed #4: Ali's parents. I tried to quickly hang up, but within minutes we got frantic phone calls from my parents wondering why we had called. (Let me also mention that Miles ORDERED A MOVIE ON THE ON DEMAND! He was playing with the remote, and the next thing my mom and I know, we are watching "Confessions of a Shopaholic." No joke. Ask Nana--she witnessed the technological feat.)

Let me pull out all of the stops and impress you with an articulate sentiment: It sucks living far away from family. I really cannot think of a better way to say it--I am sure Pablo Neruda or Elizabeth Barrett Browning could have been more delicate with a description. But I am pregnant--remember that my vocabulary is truncated by 70%?

My mom (Nana) was brilliant. She started off with the promise that she would get up with Miles EVERY MORNING and feed him his bottle (yes, he still nurses/takes a bottle first thing in the AM and last thing in the PM). Seriously?? Having a child wake up between 5 and 6am is draining--so even getting an extra hour of sleep is priceless. We still got up with him in the middle of the night on the rare occasions that he screamed at 3am, but the morning shift that she took over for 5 weeks was life changing. (Now, I must mention that Eric gets up with him in the AM now--but being a psycho preggo Mom, I pretty much toss and turn waiting for Miles to crawl in after breakfast to slap me with an open mouthed kiss. He's cheeky.)

And then there were the weekly homemade baked goods. Chocolate Oatmeal cookies, PB Cookies, Raspberry bars (with hidden spinach), Banana muffins (with hidden pureed veggies), homemade oat crackers...it was like I was back growing up knowing that in the tin next to the fridge there would always be some homemade delight.

Using her master skills as an early childhood educator, she engaged with Miles in unique and creative ways throughout each day. The two had their little daily songs and games, and my mother taught him how to crawl down the 1 step in our house, eat with a spoon, and write his name in cursive. Okay, the cursive part was a lie. They had their rituals of washing hands and feet in the kitchen sink or the bathroom sink after every walk. Did I mention she took him on long walks to the park TWICE A DAY?? And the poor Nana would go down the slide with him over and over. I couldn't even maneuver my body to do it once! (But if you look closely at the pictures below, you will see her redonkulous muscles for an, ahem, almost 60 year old. I was jealous of her 6-pack while she was 4 months pregnant--picture proof in my earliest posts, and now I am jealous of her arms.)

The two really bonded, and it made my heart all warm and gushy. There were even a few times that he would voluntarily bypass both Eric and me to go to my mother to be picked up or consoled when he was fussing about some minor incident. And he quickly picked up on "Where is Nana?"

Nana also put Miles down for his nap 90% of the time--successfully. You would think she raised 3 of her own kids or something. And during the day, she somehow managed to do dishes, wash and line dry Miles's cloth diapers every other day, fold and put away laundry, and generally keep our house looking pretty orderly!

Truly, the 5 weeks Nana was here were invaluable--especially being pregnant. We extend our invitation for her to come and squat in our house any and every summer. But let me go ahead and acknowledge what a huge sacrifice it was and is for her to come down here. She says good-bye to her husband (Grandpa) and friends for an extended period of time, and replaces her days with HARD work, and the company of a child who at this point, apparently only speaks Mandarin (or is it Urdu or Thai?)...and a child who is not walking and demands you walk him, hunched over, all around creation. I am not throwing histrionics with the word "demand." Miles will walk over to you, find both of your hands, and essentially uses his brute strength to pull you up and get him walking.

Let me end by saying that Eric, an honest fella, mentioned on a number of occasions how easy it was to "live" with my mom. He said this to me in confidence, and also out of nowhere would say it to my mom. I know that many would have trouble living with an in-law for that much time (and our house is SMALL), but she really did not leave a big footprint in terms of annoyances. I think I am the only one who can claim an annoyance--and it boils down to a difference in vocabulary. Here's the thing. I am all about using anatomically correct words and terms. (Anyone else cringe when you used to babysit and the parent would say, "make sure he tinkles before bed," or the "did you hurt your pee pee?" Come on now people...) BUTT (and I use that pun intentionally), there is one phrase that drives me batty: BOWEL MOVEMENT (aka BM). I cannot stand it. I have no idea where my problem stems from--especially b/c I grew up with the term my whole life, but I cannot stand the sound of it or the thought of saying it. I prefer "poop." "Did he poop in his diaper?" Not, "he had a huge bowel movement during breakfast." I just shuddered writing it. My mom used that phrase exclusively, even when I told her the house rules, along with no shoes, was not using the words bowel and movement together to describe the junk that fills Miles's diapers. I don't think she ever actually acquiesced and said "poop," but Mom--the house rule still stands whenever you visit. :)

Somehow, Eric and I have managed to keep our house in workable order now that Nana has departed, but I won't lie--I hate dishes.

We love and miss you Nana! And now the photo montage (more pictures can be seen in Picasa)...

Fourth of July
From NANA summer 09


Neighborhood Park--visited twice a day almost every day!
From NANA summer 09
From NANA summer 09

Forcing Nana and Dad to walk me around the park
From NANA summer 09

My big baby playing at the park
From NANA summer 09

I think this is the area of the yard my mom would always tell Miles they were going through the "secret path" before the walk. Nana--can you correct me?
From NANA summer 09

Daddy's attempt at an artsy shot
From NANA summer 09

Grandpa Visits!!
From NANA summer 09

And then Grandpa sent down an INCREDIBLE fruit treat. And believe it or not, I wouldn't put it past my child to try and eat this whole bouquet. This kid is a fruit head.
From NANA summer 09

Enjoying one of Nana's homemade cookies
From NANA summer 09

You would be this happy too if you had a Nana this awesome and walked to the park every day!
From NANA summer 09

Nana makes me PUDDING PAINT!
From NANA summer 09

It was so dark and yucky one day, I walked in on Nana and Miles spending the afternoon playing in the kitchen sink.
From NANA summer 09
From NANA summer 09

The last morning with Nana. :(
From NANA summer 09


Miles and his Nana...
From NANA summer 09

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Schlocks SHOUT OUT!

From Christmas 09
One of my closest friends, Amy, the repository of all things crafty, trendy and cheap, has had this burgeoning business in the baby footwear industry. In her creative mind, she threw together a shoe, sock...and her last name and out of the oven came a freshly baked SCHLOCK! While there are a number of soft shoes on the market, what Schlocks have going for them--outside the rockin' name--is that they are hand-crafted with amazing fabric, ware incredibly well, and are way cuter than others you will find.

I have mentioned them numerous times on the blog as we have been the lucky recipients of a number of pairs of Schlocks. We have explored different patterns, and even got some more "rugged" fabric on the last pair. What can I say...we love them! Miles wore his Schlocks all of the time (evident by the worn pairs in the pictures), and was the envy of all kids at school. Hey, no one envies this babe for his (lack of) sleeping (we were up for almost 2 hours at 3am last night!), but the combination of a quality pair of Schlocks, and his charming good looks...and he has the high school girls at his school going batty. They even look good with high waisted pants (see below)
From Christmas 09



Sadly, Miles's chunky feet have outgrown his Schlocks, but we have them safely packed away for lil' Kilo. And now that he is walking (with way too much assistance...I am going to look like I have osteoporosis soon), and the weather is delightfully disgusting, we either go barefoot, or need to wear a less comfy more outside friendly shoe.

Because I am 99% sure I am not going to have the luxury or fun of purchasing lots of new clothes and such for Kilo, I AM thinking of buying some select new items in a few months because every baby deserves to be spoiled. Of course, first on that list is itty bitty baby Schlocks--okay, the hope is not for preemie ones!

So, continue to spread the word! Buy a pair or two! As fertility appears to be "ripening" in so many of my friends and loved ones, I already have in my mental back pocket a great gift to include in new baby gifts. I just included my first blog advertisement for the Schlocks with the hopes that it generates a nice revenue stream for my Schlotty--I mean Amy. (May I also say she has created a bunch of other AMAZING gifts with that sewing machine of hers...seriously, she's like a personaly Etsy. And I suggest you add her home renovation blog--linked to her name at the top--to your Google Reader.)

In full disclosure, Amy is one of my closest friends, but the truth is that Schlocks really are awesome. I know a number of people who read my blog have also been satisfied customers and Schlocks have made appearances all over the U.S.!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Bare bottom approval

Well folks, the carpet is gone and after 2 nights of labor, we have a new lead-free floor! Here are the messy before, mid-work, and after shots (capped off with Miles crushing his tiddly bits as he flew down the step to explore the new room after his nightly bath):
From Last Roll
From Last Roll
From Last Roll
From Last Roll
From Last Roll
The edging work still needs to be added, but it already looks better. You can just see the lead-free shine. Let it be known that the DIY was worth it, but you definitely get what you pay for--I wouldn't be surprised if these IKEA floors will not last into Miles's high school days, but our intention is not to last in this house (or last in it without some major additions) that long, either. There are a few seams that are not flush and will drive me nuts, but saving hundreds of dollars makes up for it. We are now on the hunt for a chemical free, large rug. And we are going to be replacing both doors in the room with doors that have lots of windows to the outside so we can let in more light. And we will buy some high traffic FLOR tiles for the entrance areas for people to park their shoes.

After Miles's bath, he B-lined it for the new floor and spent quite a bit of time cruising around, bare bottomed, enjoying the space. You can witness his joy in the video below (please don't turn me in for child abuse, he really likes to air out his bottom after baths--and it does wonder for any indication of red bum!). The video is long, but I had to combine 2 of them for Nana as he does his cute wave to her at the end...and you'll notice he magically acquires his diaper and PJ pants half way through...and pardon the annoying Flip Video music I chose to keep it a tad entertaining.

Speaking of Nana, I'll do my ode to Nana post shortly. It is her last night. I am in utter denial.

In baby Kilometer news (as Nana calls the baby, "Meter"), we had a fantastic 13 week appointment and ultrasound. I somehow lost a few lbs, but I think it was because my appointment was so early. I do feel like after 8pm, if I pull up my shirt to expose my abdomen, that you can see the "paunch," but am hoping that the real belly appears sooner than last time--especially so I don't have to make any kind of formal announcement at work! (No worries, the bosses and close office mates have been informed.)
From Last Roll
Nana accompanied me to the appointment while Miles played with his favorite boy babysitter. Kilo is growing AHEAD of schedule by a few days and is moving around like crazy; I just cannot feel it. The u/s is rather "Skeletor," but you'll see how much Kilo has turned into a more human-like figure. My husband may kill me, but my mother, Dr Moore and myself are 99.9% positive of this child's gender. It was as clear as it comes. I felt bad that Eric wasn't there, but no one was expecting to see what we saw. We have to wait until close to 20 weeks to get official confirmation (I am pretty sure Dr M made the official note in my chart, though!), but we are all positive that we'll be saving a lot of money in the future. I have some slight ambivalence about the discovery, but will go into that in later post. But let me say it is so thrilling to have such a positive appointment, and to have my mom there was really special. Hearing Kilo's heartbeat was as priceless as it gets, and I am almost all preggo teary thinking about it. I just cannot believe this 2nd little miracle.

And to end on a classic Miles note, here is a picture of my little boy with lunch all over his face. This was after the grape and cream cheese had been wiped off his cheek. I heard my mom laughing so hard from the other room while I was working that I actually thought she was crying! Of course we needed some documentation.
From Last Roll

video