Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Apparently my husband is a well-liked teacher at WLHS. By the ladies, I assume? Ah, (leadership) kids these days ...

They obviously don't share a bathroom with him.

This is just creepy.

They got this one right - hashtag:monotone4life!

Monday, January 28, 2013


Today's photo shoot evolved from happy baby to crawling baby to crying baby (when mom tried to make her pose).

45 weeks. 45 weeks?? 45 weeks?!? My how time flies. I could say that every week. Maybe I have. She just keeps on growing up - getting bigger, stronger, making more noises, becoming more of her own little person. We have delayed child proofing until now, and we most definitely need to make it a priority - today alone Francie tried to chew the fan plug, stick her finger in an electrical socket, dig her fingers in the dog dishes, eat the plant dirt, and creep toward the basement stairs. Scary shit.

Ooh, a plug. Let me eat that.

And several photos from my iPhone from the last several weeks ...

Rock me mama like a wagon wheel, rock me mama any way you feel ...

Baby Lily! Mama and baby with mama and baby. Good job, mama Rose.

Standing and motorboating. Just a regular weeknight.

Sleeping beauty.

Don't bug me, I'm working.

My favorite little penguin.

Naked standing.

I'm not gonna say I got these fat hips from my mama.

A couple weekends ago one of my BFF's from college, Kathleen, visited from NYC. This was her first meeting with Francie, and I think it's fair to say they were both smitten.


New necklace holder, from found branch and unused knobs form Home Depot.

Finally painted the master - "gray area," and added the red dandelion curtains that used to be in the kitchen in our old apartment. Still working on the headboard, frames for the wall, and re-doing the bedside tables.

Finally finished the silhouettes that I started back in April or so when Rach and I took a class at the Papersource. Not sure I'm actually gonna hang them anywhere though.

Learned to emboss - so easy! Invites for Katie's shower.

Embroidered "love" tees for Harlow and Nora.

Apron made for Chris's birthday with leftover fabric from a baby quilt I haven't finished.

Baby Cora sporting the circle skirt I pinned long ago. SO sweet! And those little chicken legs :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

"I'm So Excited"

Excitement is a strange thing. A sense of anticipation. A weird, funny feeling. A flutter in my stomach.

By definition, excitement is a noun, meaning:
  1. A feeling of great enthusiasm and eagerness.
  2. Something that arouses such a feeling; an exciting incident.
excitation - agitation - fluster - thrill

And in my life, being "excited" means being cute. At least, to my husband.

"You're cute," Alex says to me lovingly, not patronizingly, kissing me on the forehead as we lay in bed, past his bedtime on a school night.

"Why?" I ask, knowing the answer more or less.

"Because you just reached a goal, attained your dream job that you set out for several years ago, and instead of being happy, you just say 'I feel funny.'"

So yeah, on Thursday I got offered a job. My dream job, in fact. Back in October I applied for the part-time speech-language pathology position at the Portland VA with the Polytrauma team. I interviewed for the job - along with some 20 other candidates - in mid-December, and just this week HR called and extended the offer. It's been long enough that I assumed I wasn't selected. Although I should know better - the VA HR works at a snail's pace. It's my "dream job" because the population served includes recently returning veterans with injuries to more than one organ system, "resulting in physical, cognitive, psychological, or psychosocial impairments and functional disability," according the the VA Polytrauma System of Care website. This typically means I'd be seeing patients with mTBI, for cognitive rehabilitation, but I'd also get to assess language/speech/voice/swallowing on occasion, depending on the locus of injury. Oh yeah, and it's part-time.

I accepted the position and am now initiating the long on-boarding process with HR, including a background check, fingerprinting, a full physical examination, etc (all of which I have already completed twice in the past two years, for the record). But now I also have to decide what to do about working on-call at Legacy. I know for certain that I want to continue doing the weekend rotations, but the Friday outpatient days might be too much. And I told Beyond the Clinic that I wouldn't be pursuing any further opportunities. I'm in the rare, fortunate position of having too many jobs to choose from.

I might be a little excited about this accomplishment, if I let myself. But it does make me feel funny.

P.S. The title is a shout-out to Saved by the Bell - "I'm so excited! I'm so, so ... scared!" Oh Jessie Spano, you were sort of a spaz. And I can totally relate.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


And crawlin'.

Folks, I think we (finally) have a crawler. Phew. This mama can breathe a little easier now. She ain't fast and she don't go far, but she can officially crawl!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

10 Months

New: stands (with support); sleeps in (lowered) crib; occasionally sleeps through the night; body flexes + grunts; regularly uses the stroller for walks; new WubbaNub - the big red dog; easy self-feeding; biting when nursing; hip thrusting (Dancing? Fussing? Excited?)

Likes: the red balloon in Goodnight Moon; yogurt drops; standing and clapping for herself proudly; self-feeding; music and dancing; clapping; peekaboo; giving mama open-mouthed kisses; lounging in her high chair with her feet on the table; watching Gizzy; having her head scrubbed in the bath; the big green yoga ball; hip hop; dream feeding; Kumbaya, board books; trying new foods

Dislikes: being put on the ground to play when fussy; being fed too slowly; the vacuum; the blender; afternoon naps; being out in the carseat; hats or headbands

17.25 inch head circumference
18 lbs 13 oz
28 inches long
(all in the 25th-50th percentile)

The Superficial: fine light hair with random long alfalfas; small, deep-set, vivid blue eyes; tiny bags under eyes; chubby chubby cheeks; lots of arm rolls, leg rolls; rubberband wrists; curled toes; cellulitely buns; sharp fingernails; a pot belly; squishy boobies

Sleeping: sleeps alone in crib!; two naps, in the a.m. and p.m.; down for bed between 7 and 8 p.m. for ~11 hours; (temporarily) successful sleep training, or wakes up ~2x nightly; she goes to sleep mostly on her right side with her chin pointing up, but will sometimes roll onto her back

Eating: nurses 4-5 times daily; eats three meals each day; tried hummus; loves self-feeding Cheerios, yogurt drops, peas, salmon bites; favorite foods still include oatmeal, apples, avocado, squashes, yams,and she loves cinnamon ("tigers hate pepper, they love cinnamon")

Personality: mostly happy; intermittently impatient; can be very vocal; prefers the outdoors and music/dancing; likes one-on-one attention; affectionate; energy and playfulness in am before first nap and in pm with daddy; likes to try new foods; seems hesitant to try new motor skills; likes to giggle; intense stares at new people or strangers; likes to share

Communication: favors "babababa," "nananana," and "dadadada" sounds; rising intonation for questions; squawks to call gizzy over; responds well to her own name; can identify the dog; understands praise and "no"; likes to share and show what she's playing with

Motor Skills:
She was referred at her 9-month well-baby visit to see a pediatric physical therapist because she was not meeting standing and crawling milestones. After just one visit to the PT she started standing, with support such as a box, the couch, or parental help, and is so darn proud of herself, smiling and clapping and all around geeking out. Recently started kneeling. I would have bet my life savings ($302.96) that she would have started crawling by 10 months (I read that the average crawling age is 7-10 months). Turns out I'm wrong. No crawling yet. It totally stresses me out, in an ego sort of way, but my gut tells me all is well. She's mobile, for sure, and can't be trusted to be unattended - but she still prefers to reach, roll, and then get herself back to that comfy seated position.

Favorite gear: blocks, maracas, WubbaNub, BOB stroller, Beco, wooden tissue box with rags, sippy cup

General schedule: wake at 7ish, nurse and cuddle in bed with mama, eat breakfast together and walk dog, play, get ready for a nap including reading a book and nursing, nap 1-2 hours, wake and fix/eat lunch, usually some sort of an activity, whether that includes errands or a long walk, floor playtime or some social event, daddy gets home by 4:30ish so it's playtime and dinner time, a walk, a bath, a story, and then bedtime.

P.S. She just looked at me and said "mama. First word? I doubt it. But it makes me feel good anyway.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Day in the Life - of Francie

Francie wanted to do a guest blog post, so here's her version of "A Day in the Life."

7:15 a.m.
Wake up. Did I mention I slept through the entire night? Again!?!

Practice sitting up and roaming around my non child proofed room - quietly. I know my parents are gonna put me in that crib any day now that I'm mobile.

Mama comes in to get me. I reach to give her a big good morning hug. She brings me back to her bed and I nurse leisurely and we cuddle until almost 8.

Time to start my day. Practicing my "dadada" and "nanana." I do my exercises. Kinda like burpies, where I go from my tummy to sitting and back again. I also practice my screeches, my clapping, my "mmmmmmm" and "bababa" sounds. And I practice my giggling when mama tickles me. I start to get restless, so mama finally gets us out of bed, changes my diaper, and we walk the dog. She puts me in my giraffe suit, because she says it's really chilly outside. I have to ride in the stroller, which means I don't get to hold Gizzy's leash. At the park it even snows a little bit!

Breakfast time. Oatmeal plus applesauce and cinnamon. One of my favorites.

After just five or ten minutes of my standing and crawling exercises, I rub my eyes from tiredness.

Mama scoots me upstairs, reads me my new Eric Carle book from Auntie Rachel, sings me Kumbaya and lays down on my futon with me. She falls asleep but I mostly stay awake, playing with my feet and talking to myself. When she sees that I'm still sort of awake after 45 minutes, she nurses me a bit.

Mama left me to try and sleep on my own, but I'm not having it. I want to practice my sitting!

Uh-oh. Wah! I fell over and knocked my noggin, just like I did yesterday during a nap and again at bedtime. My parents are going to have to figure out a new sleep sitch, as I'm mobile now, and can't be contained.

You know it's a good day when you're still in your pj's at nearly lunch time! Just playing with my blocks, my play grocery sack, and my mama. We also do some chores like wash the sheets, fold and put away my clothes, and weed out those that don't fit me anymore. I'm getting so big! I wear a few 9 months, but mostly all 12 months now.

12 pm
I fuss so mama nurses me. And I bite her!

Time for lunch. I get an assortment today - avocado frost, then bites of hummus, and yams. And to practice my self-feeding, I eat some yogurt drops. I'm getting really good at this, if I may say so myself.

It's still snowing out! I like to watch it fall. It's not really sticking much, but it sure is pretty.

More playtime. Mostly on the floor. More standing and crawling exercises with mama. And a little time in the Pack n Play so she can work on the sewing machine in the office. I dance a bit, by thrusting my hips and swaying my arms above my head, to the Lupe album playing in the background.

Mama has kinda been ignoring me in this pack n play while she sews. I squawk to get her attention and she brings me upstairs to play in the nursery. Before I know it I'm down for a nap.

I only slept for just over an hour. And I needed some help staying asleep. I just like it when mama stays with me.

Peekaboo is my favorite game this week!

Another walk to the park with Giz. Some playing. Nurse again at 5. Another bonk on the head (its dangerous being so active!)

Daddy's home!!!

My 'rents lowered my crib and we all played in the nursery. Just now I tried hummus. Like whoa.

Quick family outing to Target. My mama is obsessing over germs and the fact that everyone's sick. I don't get it. It doesn't bother me when I put my mouth on the shopping cart.

Bath time with mama! And Goodnight Moon and Kumbaya.

And now my first night back in the crib in a loooooong time. I need just a little help falling and staying asleep early on, but then make it through the whole night!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sleeping Beauty

My blogging absence since declaring war on sleepless nights might indicate to some that I've lost my weary way as a crazy-haired zombie maniac. Au contraire. I have, in fact, spent four - count them FOUR - uninterrupted nights rest. My magic potion? Ignorance. And sleeping in the guest bedroom. Alone. With white noise. Blaring in my ear. Like a chicken.

But each morning I am greeted by my two-toothed smiling baby girl in all her own well-rested glory. So something is working well.

Let me start by explaining why now felt like an appropriate time to "sleep train" via "cry it out" when I poo-pooed it so many previous times before.

For starters, the Bean now regularly demonstrates all sorts of learning. She's kinda like a sponge, the way she soaks up the world - new speech sounds, new ways of moving her fingers, new expressions, new games, etc. For example, it took her about 15 seconds to figure out peek-a-boo the other day. She knew to anticipate a big and exciting greeting from her previously hidden parent. And then she led the charges and covered/revealed her own face. This might sound trivial to some, but to parents, this is the magic of watching a child grow. Other examples of this rapid learning include consistently reaching to be held, grabbing at my shirt when tired, kissing my cheek when asked, looking for Gizzy when instructed, putting the circle block inside the square block with the empty space for the circle, pushing her pink race car like we showed her, getting herself from tummy to seated, learning to stand after practicing for just one half-hour, etc. So how does this relate to sleep training? Well, I am now convinced that she can learn things more easily, make associations more readily, and can thus more independently survive the night. In other words, I want to extinguish her previous associations for sleeping (me laying next to her, boobs in her face, and constant butt-patting) and learning new ones (doing whatever it takes to get herself back to sleep upon waking in the middle of the night).

My second reason for finally jumping aboard the CIO method of sleep training is gut instinct. It just feels like the right time for the Bean to spend the nights in her own room, alone, sleeping. My trusty friend Dr. Weissbluth convinced me that I do her a disservice by reinforcing her reliance on me. He says that it is unhealthy for children to have an absence of unconsolidated sleep.

Which brings me to my last point - fatigue. If it's unhealthy for her to have chronically interrupted sleep, I sure as hell know it's no good for me and my long-term health. Or my youthful glow.

So for the past several nights we continue with our regular evening routine - dinner together, a walk, a bath, some naked play time, PJ's and a disposable diaper, a short story, lights off and white noise on, a personalized rendition of Kumbaya, maybe a little nursing, Soothie in and butt pat/jiggle - and then I cowardly climb into the guest bed downstairs, with the door shut tight and my iPod rocking the ocean waves. Alex has been much braver, sleeping upstairs in our bedroom (next to the nursery), and provides a detailed report to me each morning.

"It was fine. I think she cried. Maybe once. Maybe twice. I don't really remember. I didn't get up though. I just put your pillow over my head."

He's a miracle worker, I tell you.

Our method is simple. Ignore her until 6 a.m. Apparently, it works (so far). Alex has been vaguely aware that she may or may not have woken up in the night. He can't tell me when, how many times, or for how long she fussed. Her night-waking clearly is not up to snuff from the stories I read about CIO online. I'll take it.

But tonight, tonight is different. I am about to go to sleep upstairs in my own bed. I've been hearing phantom baby cries all evening, in anticipation of my overnight adventure. But not to worry, my iPhone is placed directly next to my head, at a volume loud enough to kill off some hair cells. I'm still a chicken, after all.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sleepless in SW

Last night qualified as one of the top five most sleepless nights since being initiated into the sleepless mothers' club. At one point in the middle of the night after the umpteenth wakeup, I told Alex, "I might want to just put her in a dresser drawer." I don't know what the Bean's deal was last night, but it's early morning now and she's already awake, two hours before usual. I'm super exhausted and I feel like shit, like I slept only 3 hours. Oh wait, I think I did. And I am not a 22-year-old anymore. And I'm coming off some crazy dream about be a surrogate. Just what I need right now. All so we can buy an AWD minivan.

Also, did I mention that today is Wednesday? That means it's a Nora day. Which means my patience gets tested to the max, even if I had the patience of coming off a full 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep on a bed made of clouds where little angels massaged my feet and played with my hair all night long. Wednesday's are the proof that I'm no saint, not that that was really in question. I can barely keep my cool by hour three of wearing someone else's baby and having interacted with my own fewer than a five minutes all morning. The Bean is a "one hand baby," Nora is a "two-plus hands baby", and I've only got two hands. That just doesn't add up. But it appears the baby-trading arrangement will be short lived and will likely come to an end after next week. It's just not sustainable, nor particularly pleasant. So I forge on ahead with the headache that is establishing good, reliable, affordable childcare. Dammit mom, this was supposed to be your job. So far I've gotten as far as posting a request for recommendations on my neighborhood mom Facebook page, and googling some local daycares. All that said, I think I now understand why housewives of old took little red pills by day (amphetamines) and little blue pills by night (downers), or something like that. You gotta get the help - to stay awake and then later to fall asleep - where you can.

So in a particularly brave (read:stupid) feat, tonight we decided we are going to sleep-train Francie. The real way. Via the extinction method. Or so we say. I actually just took 1/2 a Valium and am sleeping in the guest room, in part so I can't hear Francie's cries, and in part so Alex and I don't erupt into yet another middle-of-the-night fight. Don't judge me. Chronic sleep deprivation has made others do crazier things. Those things that I'm responsibly avoiding doing by sleeping independently, in a drug induced state, in a room furthest away from the nursery. Except I'm already hearing phantom cries. I think I'll sleep with the same white noise app I use for the Bean. And it's a good thing Nick set up the creepy spy cam so I can watch Francie (on mute) to make sure all is okay in her world. We want to make sure she stays comfortably in bed and doesn't get herself all twisted. And there are a couple bottles of milk in the fridge in case we can't make it through the night. On that note, I'm starting to feel a little funny (in a good way) and should probably capitalize on the the few hours of good rest I'm after.

Godspeed. I hope we make it out alive.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Showering Baby Shine

Stacy and Nick came to the PNW for a baby meet-and-greet. They had not yet seen Peter or Kennedy, and wanted to see how Francie had grown since Stac's last visit in May. We girls used this opportunity to throw Stac a baby shower for her own upcoming "Little SunSHINE" - her baby girl is due at the beginning of March. It was a small but mighty shower, with a sunshine theme. It was just the 7 of us (babies included) where we ate Mexican food, drank sparkling lemonade, played a baby photo trivia game, watched Stac open presents, and Google chatted with a very pregnant Anna. Stac isn't always the best at letting others spoil her, but she was a trooper and we all got to share our excitement and love of Baby Girl Shine. I got to use this as an excuse to craft - I made a felt/burlap "sunSHINE" banner, needlefelted embroidery hoops with "You are my sunshine" lyrics, and used Photoshop to put together a "Wishes for Baby Shine" book with greetings from Stac's closest friends and family. I'm so excited for Stac and Nick to experience parenthood, and to meet this little girl - I love her already and hope that she and Francie will be the best of friends :) And now I'm especially looking forward to our Memorial Day weekend Women's Retreat - this year we're including husbands and there will be five kids, ranging in age from 2 months to 15 months. We've rented a 7-bedroom house - watch out, Hood River!

Amy + Peter (4+ months), Gretch + Kennedy (~3 months), preggo Stac, Jo + Francie (9+months)

Handmade "sunSHINE" decor

Peter's eyeballing Francie

Who loves Baby Shine?!?

Google-chatting with Anna - who is due anytime now

Stacy and Nick and Baby Girl Shine

Baby's first snow, at the Thorner's new house in Yakima

Before Francie tried to gauge Kennedy's eye out

Francie and her auntie and uncle Shine


Hover to Pin

Designed with ♥ by Nudge Media Design