Wednesday, November 28, 2012

36 & Quotable Pics

"You talking to me?"

Apparently this was a week of firsts. The Bean cut her first tooth. She cut down her first Christmas tree. She got her first maraca. I don't remember if I reported on certain details in my 8 Month post, and I'm too lazy/busy to check. Also, I have a sleepy baby attached to my front and am typing this while standing at the kitchen counter and rocking/dancing this little lady down. On that note, watching someone else's kid is an interesting endeavor. Babies really are all different, and it's a steep learning curve. I get through about 2/3 of a sentence before having to walk a lap around t (oops, lost my train of thought ...).

But back to the Bean, her hair is finally starting to come in. It's a strawberry blonde hue. It's not thick, per say. Or, at all. But she has a few long hairs, which we call "alfalfas." She very clearly, most definitely, without a doubt, reaches for me. And I love it. She especially does this when she is starting to feel sleepy or wants to nurse. She gives kisses, not on command, but an open-mouth slobbery mess. And I love it. She likes to play a game I call "give and take." This is where she hands me her Soothie, a rag or something equally fun, I take it and say "Thank You!" This makes her smile very proudly, like she just saved a puppy or something. And then I give the Soothie/rattle/rag back to her and say "You're Welcome!" This makes her smile again. And I love this, too.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from the last week or so ...

" Goddamn paparazzi."

Baby's first Christmas - tree!

"Ugh, writers block. I'll never meet my deadline."

Baby in a hoodie. And in a Volvo. It's her car, anyway.

"Come here, Nesta, I just want to pet you real gentle."

Shake, shake, shake that maraca.

Teaching herself to crawl!

"Now if I can just distract them all, I'll be able to get that beer."

Friday, November 23, 2012

Uncle B

Dear Mom,

I miss Brian already, and he hasn't even left Portland yet. Just when I start to get used to having him around, he's on the road again. You would have loved to see him with the Bean. Best.Uncle.Ever. He's so in love with her. He'd make such a great dad himself. Not that he'd ever believe that. He just adores her and stares at her, "she's so fucking cute I can't even handle it." If he was around more, I know she'd be his little homie. When I asked him what he wanted for Christmas, he said,"I just want to be able to carry her and do one lap around the house."

Dad seemed so happy to have both his ducklings together for the holiday. He mostly stayed off his soapbox and might have even smiled a few times. And Bri seemed happy to be around, too. He seemed to be really present, not like his mind was already out the door, thinking about his next adventure. Dad is so good about letting us do our own thing, walk our own path. But I know he'd love it even more than I would if Bri settled down in the area, was around more for the day-to-day, mundane, ordinary life stuff. He gets so excited when talking restaurants and job opportunities with Brian.

We went to Larry Wilson's "celebration of life" this afternoon. The last time I saw the Wilson's was at your memorial, actually. I drove the five of us down to Wilsonville in the Volvo with foggy windows, We Are Family singing in my head. Bri was so excited to make a surprise appearance, and the Wilson's seemed genuinely appreciative to have us there. We had to leave a bit before we were ready, because the Bean was pre-meltdown from a delayed nap. She was crying in the back seat on our drive back to West Linn, fighting the sleep she so desperately needed. Brian was sitting in the middle seat, next to her. He told Al, "I get the middle, because you live here." Bri was trying to console Francie, making silly faces and giving her the Soothie. "Oh Bean, you don't need to cry. I'm right here. Shh shh shh. Go nighty-night." I overheard Dad say, "Did you try laying your hand on her chest? That way she'll know you're there." So stinkin' sweet. My heart swells to see these guys with my baby girl. It reminds me, in a way, of how much they love me. And to know that neither of them is what I would describe as comfortable with kids, I melt to see them be so tentatively sweet. I just hope she grows to adore each of them and their eccentricities the way I do.

I had such a good family day. Week, actually. I got three good days in a row of quality time with my hubby, father, brother, and baby girl. I wish you were here, too, of course. But that goes without saying. Bri said a number of times how grateful he was for his family, and especially for the support to see him through a very difficult past year. He thanked us/me for being there for him, for "saving his life" after his accident. I don't know that I can take any credit for his recovery, but I do know how fucking relieved I am that I still have my same ole big brother around - talking shit, doling out hugs, and sharing the B-Love. One day I hope he truly knows how smart, talented, loyal, funny, handsome, and loving he is. He deserves a good life, and I hope he gets whatever it is he always seems to be looking for.

I started to decorate for Christmas today, and turned on the "rocking holiday" Pandora station. Wish you were here help me celebrate our first Christmas in our new home. I wish you could help me figure out where to put the tree, and to make a tree skirt out of some scrap red and green plaid fabric. I wish we could talk about what the hot items are on people's wish list this year. I would have even considered shopping on Black Friday, if it was with you. I'm missing you today, in part because of Larry's memorial service, but mostly because I'm feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for quality family time, and wishing that you were here to enjoy it, too. And also because you'd be so proud of who Brian has become, the way I'm proud, and that he's such a survivor, the way you were. We are so lucky that he is still himself. Now if I can only convince him he needs to come back for Christmas. To watch the Bean open her presents, even if it's just tissue paper in a bag. I need to have my brother around more often. And I think he needs me, too. Maybe you can tell him? MmkthanksIloveyousomostarooni.


8 Months

Francie turned 8 months earlier this week. Eight months! I took her for a nurse visit to get weighed and measured. Drumroll please ...

Weight: 17 lbs, 9 oz. (10-25th percentile)
Length: 27 inches (25th percentile)
Head Circumference: 16.75 inches (10th percentile)

My Bean is a fat little chunk. She's got perfect little rolls in all the right places. I'd never guess that she was on the smaller end for her age. Her hair has started to come in a bit, and it still has a reddish hue. We're crossing our fingers she stays a strawberry blonde, and that more hair continues to grow. She cut her first tooth, the bottom front right tooth, just in time for Thanksgiving day. We decided she must be a Hartman, to grow a tooth just in time for a nice prime rib for dinner. She wasn't particularly fussy, and we just discovered it by chance when she was trying to chew on Alex's finger. She's so tough :) Her eyes are still blue, and although she still has that sleepy-stoney look, her eyes are getting less and less Magoo-like. Her cheeks are deliciously chubby, and her face is round, just like Alex's was.

She shows more and more personality with each week. She's still a bit of a drama queen, in that she seems to get frustrated easily and really pissed off if she drops a toy she's playing with. She grunts a lot. She claps her hands, both open and closed fists. One of her favorite toys includes a soft plastic book called "Who loves baby?" with photos of her parents, her grandparents, Gizzy and Logan. She also still loves G-Money, and this colored wooden triangle toy. Mostly she wants to play with anything that's not really a baby toy, like a fork or an iPhone charger or even a beer can.

She is so vocal. Some days she spends half her waking hours screeching and squawking and "singing" and blowing raspberries. Alex swears she can say "mama," and on occasion I think she has waved hello. She reaches for me, which is my favorite thing in the whole world. And she'll give open-mouthed kisses. She usually does this if she's happily tired or wants to nurse. She will play alone, and then will squawk or grunt for our attention when she wants to interact. She mostly plays on the floor in the living room, pulling her toys out of the basket around her. She's not crawling yet. She loves to sit up, and will reach reach reach for any object just beyond her grasp, and usually falls forward onto her stomach, before quickly rolling onto her back, then squawking for help when she can't sit herself back up. We think she'll learn to crawl from a seated position rather than from her tummy. Alex marvels at her fine motor skills - the way she can manipulate toys. She seems pretty tactile - still loves to touch faces, feel fabric, hold on to something with a white knuckle grip. She continues to nurse like a champ,  maybe 5-8 times each day, and eats solids two to three times. She eats oatmeal plus fruit each morning, and she likes avocado, quinoa, carrots, etc. She's not a picky eater, and seems to really enjoy food, which makes Alex a proud papa. Her sleep routine is far better than it was even two weeks ago. She has successfully transitioned to the crib. She generally naps two to three times, and goes to bed between 7 and 8 p.m. every night, and sleeps until 6 or 7 a.m. She is actually waking to eat about twice nightly, and occasionally needs extra help during the night with a few minutes of butt-patting or jiggling. We are so proud of her (pleased with ourselves) that the initial stress and exhaustion of the sleep-training business did not endure for long. But we are also firm believers in Murphy's Law of parenting - just when you think you have it figured out, it changes.

My favorite things about the Bean at 8 months? Her "rubber band wrists." Her babbling, screeching, singing, and raspberries. The way her face lights up when she sees me or her daddy, and the way she reaches for me to be picked up for a hug and lots of kisses. How she opens her mouth and grunts when we feed her, to communicate that she wants more. How much she loves being outside. And music. The way she touches faces and grabs hair. How interested she is in the dogs. She grunts at them when she wants their attention or for them to come closer, but they just don't get it. The way her fat belly hangs over her diaper. How she claps her hands when Alex plays the guitar. Her open mouthed, gummy grin when we dance, or when I toss her in the air. That she'll fall asleep when I spoon her. How she'll put the Soothie in her own mouth, usually when she's getting close to ready for a nap. I even love how she scratch-scratches her sharp little fingernails on fabric, making a creepy nails-on-a-chalkboard type sound. We continue to adore her, marvel at her development, and question how we lucked out with such an awesome addition to our family. What did we ever do to deserve such good fortune?!? We love you Bean-O!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

For many things, both material and immaterial, I am very grateful. I saw a quote today that was something to the effect of, "Happy people aren't grateful, grateful people are happy." Or something like that. Today is as good a day as any to give thanks for the many fortunes in my life ...

For having a singleton baby and not twins. I watched Francie AND a 5-month-old yesterday, and it was tough work.

For sleeping 12 hours last night, with only three interruptions.

For the crisp, clear autumnal weather this holiday.

For the family playing a pickup game of soccer at the park this morning.

For "owning" my own home (really the bank owns it, but still, I can paint it whatever colors I want).

For my iPad, for without it, I would not have easy access to Parenthood, Scandal, and Nashville.

For my brother's full recovery from his accident- this time last year there were still a number of unknowns about how the year might unfold.

For my dad's good health, despite being older than dirt.

For the support of my inlaws and my BFF to take such good care of my Bean while I finished my fellowship.

For my Volvo, that it still runs well. And for the "Baby on Board" sign above my Led Zeppelin sticker.

For delicata squash, which I only recently discovered.

For my girlfriends - our similarities and our differences, our shared history and our making of new memories.

For "man loaf" - a stuffing-like creation of Brian's that is NOT gluten-free, NOT veggie-friendly, NOT dairy-free, etc.

And more than anything, for my husband and my baby girl - and our first thanksgiving as a family together.

Here's wishing for continued good health, happiness, and good fortune. Happy Thanksgiving!

Nothing warms my heart like seeing my three favorite men going goo-goo-ga-ga over my most favorite little lady. My mom's heart, too, would swell at this sight.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Or just one really good night?

The Bean did so well last night. She fell asleep by 7:30 pm with a few minutes nursing and 15 minutes dance-rock- cuddling. She let me put her down in her crib without so much as a peep or any spastic movements that cause her to inexplicably rip the Soothie out of her own mouth. It reminds me if how my hand just reaches for junk food and puts it in my mouth without any input from my brain. I swear I can't help it. Anyway, the Bean stayed peacefully asleep until 9:45, when Alex then just held her hands for about 5 minutes, presumably through that transition stage from one sleep cycle to the next. Again, no back arching, no spastic arm motions, no grunt-cries. The next fuss-cry wasn't until 12:45 am, which was my turn, thus I deemed it time for a feeding. She nursed 20 minutes, and again went down in her crib without a problem. Alex went in at 4:30 am and held her hands again, and then she woke up for the day at 6:15.

This I can do.

Sleep Training USA

I'm writing this while laying on the floor in the nursery, the Bean next to me, babbling and grunting and squawking and screeching, and fish-hooking her little night-monster fingers in my nose and mouth. By the way, she can pull kinda hard - hair, earlobes, nostrils, lips, you name it. It's not time to be awake, of course, so I'm doing my best to ignore her and send her the message that it's still supposed to be sleep time, although neither of us is sleeping.

This is night six of transitioning her from co-sleeping in our bed to her own crib in the nursery just next to our room. It seems to me this baby needs less sleep than I do.

As I've said numerous times before, I take issue with the whole "train your kid to sleep" thing - we don't really "train" our kids to eat or crawl or walk, why are we "training" them to sleep? Which brings about my next question, when do they learn to sleep on their own? If left to their own devices, when do they naturally start putting themselves back to sleep during those waking episodes? Or, do they at some point eventually need parental interference no matter what? I always think to myself, "how did the pilgrims/natives/aboriginals/vikings do it?"

I've spent 4 months resisting the whole cry-it-out approach, and had not yet picked up the number one book recommendation of my peers, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. But chronic sleep-deprivation began taking its toll on me in ways I consider unacceptable - impatience, irritability, lack of joy - which were influencing my abilities to be a good mama during the day. Turns out Dr. W isn't the devil I wanted him to be - he's not even the opposite of Dr. Sears, as I had previously assumed. He does not present a one-size-fits-all approach to sleep training. He recognizes that all babies and all families differ, and highlights a number of possible sleep problems and a number of potential solutions, like a buffet table of sleep training. He suggests cry-it-out, controlled crying, and no crying sleep solutions.

Which brings me to yet another semantic issue - why don't we just call it "fuss it out?" When I get to talking details of sleep training with fellow sleep-deprived parents, it appears that most did not do the full-on, balls-to-the-wall, purple-cry-turns-hyperventilate,  choke-on-your-vomit, cry-it-out approach. Which is what I imagine most of us (the uneducated and inexperienced) imagine when we hear this term. Ignoring a fuss is one thing, ignoring a cry is another. They both have their time and place, the latter requires more education and planning - and desperation. Our problem isn't that the Bean is a bad sleeper, per se, it's that she's bad at staying asleep. Our problem is night-waking. Our little Bean goes down for bed without much trouble, she takes mostly regular naps without complaint, she's not fussy during the day ... but hot damn does she wake up during the night. She.Just.Wants.To.Nurse. Constantly.

I, for several months, have avoided the hyper-structured, over-scheduled, super-anal parenting style. I'm more the of nouveau parenting that Dr. W describes at one point in his book:
"I am aware that the practice of toting your baby along with you on every occasion is the new social occasion. No doubt it stems from the "me" generations' philosophy that a baby should not be allowed to interfere with your lifestyle" (p. 38).
And now that I've been called out on it like this, I feel a little bit ashamed. It's true, Alex and I have prided ourselves on "how little our lives have changed since having a baby." But in some ways that's a crock of shit. First of all, our lives have (mostly) improved tenfold, in ways I could have never imagined. But also, it was only the first three months where we could tote the Bean all over the planet and she would sleep and nurse any and every where. But now, she requires a lot more goading (bouncing, rocking, walking, talking, playing, etc) just to eat an early dinner out.

So to all those parents who we pre-judged - for rushing home when your child rubbed its eyes for the first time, for requesting to meet for brunch at the ungodly hour of 8 a.m., for complaining about not leaving the house during the day, for getting a sitter to go out to dinner, for worrying about when your kid falls asleep in the carseat ...

I get it. I totally get it. I think.

My conclusions about sleep training thus far, from what I've read, not actually seen in practice -
1. It starts with a predictable bedtime routine.
2. Earlier bedtime. Even if you think it's early, it can probably still be earlier.
3. Baby sleep begets baby sleep.
4. All humans wake up between their sleep cycles, the trick is figuring out how to get your baby to transition between these cycles without needing help.
5. Naps are important. And they are what most people seem to have the most trouble with.

Here's a step-by-step approach to the Closeman Sleep Training Regimen, as in what we've done the past week:
1. Continue with regular evening routine: dinner, walk, (maybe) bath, diaper change and PJ's, maybe a story or a daddy guitar concert, nurse to sleep.
2. Now place baby in crib, holding her hands, patting her butt, or jiggling her until you're sure she's really asleep.
3. Every 15 to 75 minutes, when you hear a series of squawks, wait it out a few to see if they escalate or disappear. If the volume, frequency or sense of urgency increases, tiptoe to the nursery, place your hands on baby, hold her hands still, butt pat, or jiggle until you're damn sure she's really asleep.
4. Repeat anywhere from 2 to 9 times per night.
5. Don't lose your shit. Or your mind. Everyone says it will get better.
6. Obsessively consult Dr. Google for online resources and forums about sleep. Pore over other mom's stories about sleep training, consider trialling all the crazy solutions recommended - change sheets to flannel only, feed egg yolk right before bed ...
7. Fear falling back asleep, for you will we awoken at the very moment your body releases that final muscle contraction.
8. Repeat steps 1 through 7 until you can't take it anymore, then order yet another "sleep solution" book on and pay for speedy delivery.
9. Track your attempts (progress?).

The Bean never fails to surprise me. Out of nowhere, her frenetic, kinetic energy calms. She ceases her rapid bicycle kicks. She stops pulling the soothie out of her own mouth (it's as though she has no control over her limbs - she pulls he soothie out, cries then puts it back in; repeat). She places her arms behind her head, closes her eyes, and just starts to fall asleep. Without nursing. Without butt pats or belly jiggles. Without walking or rocking or cuddling. Without her Soothie! So maybe the crib is the problem after all, since she just put herself peacefully to sleep on the floor. Guess she's a Hartman after all! (We can sleep anywhere, but mostly in ghetto, subpar arrangements such as noisy hostels, on dilapidated couches, in too small beds).

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Stop Crying

"At least we know she stops crying eventually," is something I never pictured myself saying.

So yeah, we're back on the sleep train, so to speak.

Last night, for the third night in a row, the Bean slept in no longer than 15 to 75 minute increments. Last night I got fed up enough at 4 am that I just woke up for the day, cuddled and shooshed Francie, and laid her down in her crib. Where she proceeded to cry. For an hour and a half. I mostly sat with her, letting her replace her own Soothie, placing my hand on her stomach in attempt to comfort her. I occasionally went back into my room, where I maniacally folded laundry and rearranged piles to distract myself, checking back on her every 5 to 10 minutes. So are we now sleep trainers? Are we proponents of the cry-it-out method? Absolutely not. However, we are proponents of sleep - both the baby's and our own. And co-sleeping appears to have come to its end. This mama has got to get enough shut eye so at the very least I'm safe to commute to work. (for two more days only!)

Watching her in her crib, when she was finally peacefully asleep at 5:30 am, I already longed to cuddle in bed with her, already missing nursing and snuggling and sleeping together. This ain't gonna be easy-peasy. And 7 Eleven will continue to profit from my caffeine addiction (who doesn't love gas station machine coffee?!?)

In other news, Francie ate peas today and liked them. And also discovered vagina during her bath tonight. Mine, not hers. While chewing on her rubber duckies, literally at the moment I finished asking Alex about why he doesn't ever bathe with her - "is it weird for you or something?" - she reaches her chubby little hand out and grasps for my pubes. "Yeah, it might be weird for me," Alex finishes.


With the Best.Friends.Ever.

How do you summarize five days of vacation with your three best friends? Lots of laughter, interspersed with giggles, sprinkled with baked goods and bottles of champagne, with random adventures in swimming pools, Thai restaurants, at the aquarium or spa, and plenty of miles logged at the breast pump and/or in the car.

I can't believe the four of us have never taken a real, grown-up vacation together before. I don't know how best to capture and summarize our time together, nor do I have the energy for a narrative write-up, so I am choosing to compile bullet points, for the benefit of my own memory and not necessarily for your entertainment purposes.

Never do I laugh more than when I'm with Katie, Rachel and Erika. We bring out the funniest in each other, although our collective IQ drops to about 100 points total. These ladies are my best friends. In a lot of ways, they are more family than they are friends. We've been BFF's in a variety of combinations and permutations since the 1990s.

Katie and Erika played soccer together in 4th grade, became BFF's, and and their families became friends, too. They turned out to be a pretty kick ass club team (Go Pumas!) and played together into high school. I actually knew who they were in elementary school, because one of my many elementary suitors (Jeff Sandmeyer) dumped me for one of them. Ouch. Don't worry, I got my revenge in high school when I convinced Erika to break up with Matt Dunstan and he took me to prom instead. Anyway, they have been friends the longest, and have lived together the most.

Katie and I first became friends in 6th grade. She was wearing a white peasant top on the first day of school, and she was far more grown up looking (read: boobs) than I was. We got into trouble the first time we hung out - something about not checking in with our parents, which was a crime punishable by death at my house. We should have known then the years of (innocent) trouble that lay ahead of us. Katie's always been "the funny one" - she has that life-of-the-party personality that makes people want to be around her. Myself included.

Erika was essentially unknown until she turned from ugly duckling to swan in early high school. Seriously, she was one of those late bloomers who no one really knew, maybe ate lunch with a few soccer girls, and then one day, seemingly overnight, she grew into this gorgeous teenager. She's still gorgeous, only now she's a grown ass woman with a (strange) predilection for running 50 to 100 mile races over mountain passes. We solidified our friendship when we lived in neighboring condo complexes and bonded over love for the same senior (except his love for me was unrequited). Said senior first asked Erika to prom our sophomore year, who I then convinced to dump him, and subsequently he asked me to prom. Not the best behaved Mormon boy, he asked me to "do it from behind" on prom night when I was only 16, because he thought this didn't count as a loss of virginity (for the record: I said NO).

Rachel and I became friends in high school, good friends during our junior year. I jumped on the Jesus bandwagon alongside my devoted pal Katie, joined their youth group, and the three of us became inseparable. We pined after church boys, skipped school to drive over to Gresham or Oregon City to see the boys, watched 90210 during lunch, and got into generally harmless trouble together. Rach started dating Trevor our senior year (and has been with him and only him ever since!) so she went MIA the summer after senior year. Rach and I always saw each other during my trips home during and after college, and she and Trevor once visited Alex and me in Lake Tahoe, but our friendship now is more than I could have hoped for as a kid. It's pretty incredible to be able to say you live near your best friend, that your husbands work together, that you have the same profession, and that you are in the similar stage of (child-bearing) life. Francine even knows and loves Auntie Rachel, and of course Logan, too.

Katie, Erika, and Rach all went to UO, and lived together junior and senior years. That's when Erika and Rach (finally) solidified their friendship . And so two threesomes became one (fabulous) foursome! We have since been the four best friends that anyone could have, we are the four best friends that anyone could have ... At least that's how I remember it.

As for our "Purdy Thirty" vacation, it went a little something like this:

Friday, November 2
- Spent packing and preparing and re-organizing piles and doting on my baby girl, stressing about whether or not I would miss her too much of not enough (but glad to be able to take clonazepam for the first time in well over a year)

Saturday, November 3
- Wake at the ass-crack of dawn (who decided to buy these tickets??!?), Alex and Francie drive me to the Portland airport to meet up with Rach
- Last minute, out of some surge of separation anxiety, I grab the very blanket that is covering the Bean in her carseat and stuff it into my purse for safe-keeping (or maybe, just maybe, to smell later to remind me of my baby girl)
- Waiting at security, Rach and I see the one of the actors from Grimm, and we let him cut us in line (he was running late for his flight, plus, he's famous)
- Only 57 people were on our flight from PDX to San Jose - we got a whole row to ourselves - this trip was already off to a great start
- I pump in the car with an external battery pack Rach lent me - Erika and Katie were christened with their first breast-pump serenade (Rach already knows the sound far too well)
- We head to Cannery Row in Monterey, I spot a place to take Old Time photos and pretty much flip my shit out of excitement
- Erika: "Um, I think I'd like some handcuffs. And maybe a bag of money."
- We check into our hotel (Karl got us a deal because he owns Larkspur), two adjoining rooms with king-sized beds, with two bottle of champagne and one of sparkling cider awaiting us
- We watch the Duck game at the very aptly named bar, the Mucky Duck; I get drunk (very easily) on two cocktails, before deciding that drinking makes football even slower and more boring, and that I miss my baby girl
- That night I try to explain the difference in my body post-partum (read: the difference in my vagina); via Dr. Google, we diagnose me with stage 2 uterine prolapse - "I wish you guys could just finger around in there to confirm if that's what it is."
- I get a full night's sleep, nearly 8 hours of UNINTERRUPTED zzz's

Sunday, November 4
- I went 12 hours without pumping, my boobs are like two canteloupes and hurt like a mother
- I experience my first of many "first world problems" - technical difficulty with Skype, Google Hangout and FaceTime
- We eat a fabulous breakfast in Carmel, where Katie orders "green eggs and ham"
- 17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach (they tease me for thinking that we could golf here), "hike" in Point Lobos
- Attempt to watch "Magic Mike" for the first time, talk about Katie's wedding planning instead

Monday, November 5
- We get takeout breakfast from the neighboring cafe and eat in bed, gossiping until after noon
- Attempt to watch "Magic Mike" for the second time, but end of chitchatting instead
- We don our suits (yeah 30! bikinis and tankinis rocked all around) and hang out in the pool for the next several hours, drinking more champagne, and being brought VIP gift bags from the hotel manager (the highlight of the trip for Rach)
- While talking wedding planning and baby making, a 60 year old eavesdropper tells Katie to "fucking elope" and tells Erika to "wear a rubber"
- Also, Katie peed in the pool, and proclaimed this is a defensible move
- We got all dolled up and made our way to Clint Eastwood's restaurant, where we enjoyed a gorgeous sunset, more wine/cocktails, and yummy dinner and dessert

Tuesday, November 6
- We eat breakfast at the same delicious neighborhood cafe
- We go to the aquarium, and marvel at the dancing sardines
- Rach got hit on at the tidepools, "Would you like to feel my mussels?"
- Katie liked the seahorse exhibit, "I had no idea males could get pregnant. That's so Portland."
- We ambled along Cannery Row, and Katie, Erika and I got our palms read (I drew the "sorrow" card and lied about having ever lost someone; apparenting I am entrepreneurial, with creative hands and a healthy body, that I'm independent and strong-willed, that I'm romantic and intuitive, that I have an open mind and good communication, and that I like taking risks)
- Which brings us to the much-anticipated spa afternoon - I got the weirdest, most disorganized massage of my life, by a woman who looked like Anna Nicole Smith, and my first facial, which was amaze balls
- We got takeout Thai where we were accosted by a drunk massage therapist who left us with many quotable quotes: "I used to call him my fat fuck," "You're fucking gorgeous," and multiple hugs all around
- Erika joined Pinterest (finally) and named her boards "aw that's so cute" and "mm that looks good"

Wednesday, November 7
- Our last day included breakfast, again, at the local cafe (best bread products ever)
- We hit up the Santa Cruz boardwalk - which was closed for the season and desolate - en route to the San Jose airport, so I could re-live my youth even though I didn't get to ride the carousel and throw rings at the clown
- Rach and I flew home (boy our arms were tired), where we sat next to a gym owner from San Jose who is supposedly going to be on some new Bravo reality TV show; his makeover story (temporaroly) inspired me to get my fat-ass in shape
- Trevor and Logan, and Alex and Francine happily greeted us inside the airport
- I was as excited to come home as I was to hang out on vacay with my girlfriends - that's how you know you have a good life

I love me some Old Timey photos!

Mucky Duck time

Purdy 30 graffiti

Dumping milk down the drain is a drag

Rach at Monterey Bay

Erika, Jo, and Katie at Bixby Bridge near Big Sur

VIP champagne toast - cheers to 30!

Aquarium day

Santa Cruz boardwalk

17 Mile Drive

Dinner in Carmel

Spa Day

I got my fortune read no fewer than 4 times on this trip.

But here is what I missed at home -

Turns out she was amazing (duh) and Alex easily cared for her with the help of his parents. My pre-pumped breastmilk sustained her, and she picked right back up nursing (I feared a nursing strike) upon my return. I repeatedly professed my love of her to my girlfriends, and made them look at iPhone photos and video ad nauseum.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Our house was without an address number for several weeks, since Alex hung our white window shutters. We recently crafted up some fun ways to say "We live at 7255 SW 54th" - I made the burlap banner (because I'm still obsessed with burlap) and Alex cut and stained an Oregon-shaped piece of wood and painted the house numbers white. I think both things give the front of our house a bit more character.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I missed 33, with my trip and all.

But picking right back up at 34 weeks old!

Friday, November 2, 2012


Alternative titles:

Things That Go *cough* in the Night
My Baby's Monthly Visitor
That Insidious Little Beast
Not a House But a Petrie Dish

Three data points makes a trend. Therefore I feel I have the research to hypothesize that all baby colds turn in to croup.

It starts innocently enough. A runny nose. Clear snot shimmering off her perfect baby filtrim. Her usual happy-go-lucky mood. Sleeping peacefully.

The next day or two, the runny nose evolves into a congested nose - mouth breathing, the occasional nose trumpet, and sticky boogers that she doesn't yet know how to pick. Out comes the saline spray drops, which means I have to pin my baby to the bed to stabilize her head for application.

And then, and then it heads south. You can practically see her little baby trachea, swollen and angry. She's tired and crabby, but is not placated by her Soothie or even nursing - she can't breathe out her nose, after all. It's a suck-suck-wah kind of time. When she finally falls to sleep, she morphs from a baby who once squeaked and snored sweetly, to that of a barking seal. The stridorous sound of her upper airway increases my blood pressure. I keep my eye on her chest and hand on her belly, I want double proof that she's still breathing. She wants to rest, to sleep it off, to wake up and feel better, but her coughing fits jolt her from REM. The sound and feel of the hot, steamy shower soothes her in the middle of the night, her eyes crusted with dried tears and gunk, but only temporarily.

After a couple nights of a mild case, it leaves as quietly as it arrived. But what remains is a hoarse baby voice, a pathetic case of baby laryngitis. As Alex so eloquently puts it, our baby girl sounds like a sorority girl after a night of hard partying.

Fruit Loop

Our annual Fruit Loop tradition was not to be hindered by the rain. The Menne's/Closeman's piled into one car (that's right, Honda Pilots are so good they can fit two tall adults, two smaller adults, a toddler car seat and an infant car seat ... with a roof box on top to hold about $200 worth of apples). We tasted wine, pet alpacas, devoured pear dumplings, played on tractors, purchased enough fruit to give a small army diarrhea for a week, and took 101 million photos of cute babies. We have the best friends.

Poor Alex, in the very back seat, all so he wouldn't have to sit between these gabbing ladies.

Who can resist this little bruiser's smile?!?

Resting up for the big day.

Menne Family.

Friends. (Right before he pushed her).

Because everybody needs a onesie rain suit.

Best wine tasting ever. Free meat and cheese plate. Indoor and outdoor seating. Very European feel. Delicious wine. And only 6 bucks. This will definitely be a repeat stop.

Because I'm mom enough.

Baby watching baby. Maybe one day I'll have an alpaca farm.

Tractors are a favorite.

Rusty wheels make for a good photo shoot backdrop.

Like I said. Damn I love this baby.

This is what happens when someone else wants to play on his tractor.

From rain to rainbows. We'll take it.

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