Thursday, February 28, 2013

Silver Linings

"It's nice that our baby has no hair because you can easily see the fleas on her."

That's Alex, trying to be positive in the face of a really negative day.

For starters, our baby is teething. Like, for reals. She cut one tooth on Thursday, and it feels like she's working on two or three more. The past two nights I've slept in intervals of 7 to 15 minutes. The Bean makes it through about 10 minutes before writhing and crying out in pain. We've done Tylenol, we've got the amber teething necklace, we've even tried bourbon on the gums. I think it's just a ride to ride. Plus we got off easy (in fact, scot-free) with those first two teeth.

Secondly, we have fleas. Again. For the third time, in fact. And did I mention Gizzy also has pink eye? Awesome. Anyone who's ever had fleas in their home knows what a nightmare it is. Not a bed bug sort of nightmare, but still, there's a psychological component to it for sure. We are already vacuuming almost daily, we already sprayed with some sort of pesticide (awesome when you had a crawling baby, right?) and vacated our entire house, and now we've put in a call with a pest control company. Which is a total racket, to say the least. Fortunately, my father appreciates waging war on the earth's more hateful creatures, so he's more than happy to help us bomb the place instead of aging some kid $350 to do it.

Thirdly, Alex indeed needs knee surgery. He tore his ACL all the way through. His MCL is partially torn. His lateral meniscus is partially torn. And he has a large bone bruise. The recommendation for the surgical repair of the ACL didn't come as much of a surprise, really, but we were hoping to get it taken care of sooner than later. Turns out Kaiser is booked out until May, so instead of hikes and biking and outdoor adventures this summer, Alex will be working to rehab his knee instead. Another summer spent no further than a quarter-mile from home, it seems.

And lastly, finances. We are spending well beyond our means, even if we included my future part time salary. We already thought we were reeling it in, but it looks like our budget needs a Suze Orman style overhaul. But when your rent/mortgage is half of your take-home pay, it's an uphill battle we are fighting. How the hell does everyone else seem to do it? We don't feel as though our desires are all that extravagant - a modest home, we'd like a comfortable reliable car, to finance our hobbies (we don't consider hiking, sewing, and cheapo DIY house projects to be out of the realm of possibility),the occasional $30 dinner out. In a fit of stress the other night, we had a hair brained idea to make a documentary called, "How the hell does everyone do it?" We have since tabled that brainstorm.

But mostly, it's my attitude. It needs a serious adjustment. As my dad would say, "it's not as good as it could be, but it's not as bad as it gets."

Suffice it to say, I'm happy to see February go. Lets hope March brings fewer of life's inconveniences.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I had one of those kinds of days. The kind of day where my husband accuses me of living in a silly tv program. The kind of day where I wear Powell's socks. A Portland kind of day. Or, a "Portland" kind of day.

This morning the Bean and I went to the Hillsdale library for baby story time. Here I was surrounded by homemade-baby-food-feeding moms and dads, and I had multiple conversations about co-sleeping and extended breastfeeding. Then we stopped at the kiddo resale/consignment shop, followed by an errand to the co-op grocery store for organic produce, free range chicken eggs, and some homemade vegan soup for lunch. In the afternoon, the Bean and I walked to Multnomah Village. I did push her in the stroller - if I was really Portland I would have carried her - but I like a place to put my purse when we are on adventures. Our destination was Thinker Toys - "Portland's most hands-on toy store." Here I was shopping for Logan's 2nd birthday and for Francie's 1st. I was in the market for a baby doll (Francie, not Logan).. I never thought I'd have a daughter with dolls, but she seems sort of drawn to them, which makes sense given her interest in people. I had a hard time deciding which dolls were the least creepy - those open/shut eyes wig me out. So I bought her a doll whose eyes stay open, whose body is like a bean bag, but whose limbs are more real-life-like. And she's black. I mean, if we raise the Bean in SW Portland, she'll be surrounded by middle/upper class white folk, so I've got to use books and toys to demonstrate diversity. Silly of me? Maybe. Ironic? Sure. But Portland? Definitely.

On My Mind ...

I've got lots on my mind so far this week. Nap strikes, teething, constipation, dog re-homing, justice, sugar consumption ... But let's start at the beginning.

1) I wrote in her 11-month post that sleep was "not an issue." Hah. It seems I spoke to soon. The dynamics of sleep in this house are always changing. The Bean seems to have gone on a nap strike as of late. Although I am happy to report that this afternoon has been the second successful nap. Not only is she revolting against daytime snoozing, but she's waking up earlier in the morning. Yesterday? 6:30 a.m. Today? 5:30 a.m. That's not gonna work for the long haul for this mama. I told her she needs to decide between waking up to nurse at night, or waking up early to play. She can't have both. I was thinking that the Bean was attempting to downsize from two daily naps to one, but every day it's a different story, so she's keeping me on my toes. We've tried the attribute her sleep changes to teething or to tummy troubles - which for once is absolutely correct! That brings me to numbers 2 and 3.

2) The Bean cut her third tooth last night - the upper left central incisor. And her upper right central incisor is as swollen as Alex's knee.

3) The Bean hadn't pooped for 4+ days. Four days! She made valiant efforts to push one out, but it was a ghost poopie every time. Until yesterday. That girl cried and cried as she pushed and pushed a big, hard turd out. And then again. And then again. Needless to say, I think her GI tract is back to normal now.

4) I'm sad to report that we are looking to re-home Gizzy. I have been emailing with a retired couple whose corgi died last year, and they are interested to meet Giz. I don't particularly feel like going in to great detail about this decision, as the Hubby and I have been hashing it out verbally for days now. But the bottom line is we are not providing Giz with the attention and affection she deserves. We're not bad dog owners, per se - we walk her two to three times daily, she's up to date on vaccines and medications, she's an indoor dog and someone is home with her a majority of the time. But we pet her in haste, push her away when we're playing with the baby, and generally don't love on her like we did PB (pre-baby). I hate to be one of those families that gets rid of their dog when bigger and better things come along, or when it just doesn't fit into the convenience of day to day life, but so be it. We are them.

5) I found out yesterday that the guy who assaulted my brother back in October 2011, Scott Barto, FINALLY went to court and got nothing but probation. I don't know that I would have necessarily felt "happy" had he been sentenced to jail/prison, but it doesn't feel like justice has been served. And I'm just the victim's sister - I can't imagine how my brother must feel about it.

6) I'm on my third day since having eliminated added sugars from my diet. No soda. No coffee drinks. No candy. No ice cream. Not even diet treats. Also in the last three days? I've seen three daytime talk shows reference sugar as evil. I've been inspired to clean up my act, so to speak, because I have a daughter who will look to me as a role model. That, and I watched a lecture by pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Lustig called, Sugar: The Bitter Truth. Sugar as poison. Do I want to poison my daughter? Myself? Not even a little bit. Plus, research shows that sugar expedites the aging process. My crows-feet don't need the help of Jujubes. Here's the 90-minute YouTube video of the lecture.

And there's also a great podcast on NPR's Science Friday with Dr. Lustig from January 11 called, The Fallacies of Fat. All of this related to his newly released book, Fat Chance.

So far I'm feeling fine. No real sugar withdrawal symptoms, as I had anticipated. I mean, I'm a true addict. Candy throughout the day, at least one half-Diet-Coke-half-rootbeer soda, a coffee or chai drink of some kind, usually some bites of ice cream You get the picture. Granted I'm probably still feeling well because I haven't entirely eliminated the bad sugars from my diet, because they lurk in cereals, breads, yogurt, etc. We're taking it one step at a time, but eventually I would like our household to practice a more "plant-based" approach to eating. For now it's just about the known evils. And I don't want to get all food-issuey and restrictive about this. It's not about my weight, body image or control, it really is about good health. But it needs to stay that way.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


She's added another word - "na" - which she uses to refer to milk. When nursing, every two sucks she looks up at me, points to my boob, and says "na, na, na" until I respond with "milk," and she beams proudly ear to ear. And then she repeats this cycle every two sucks. Nursing takes a little bit longer with the addition of this new word - stinkin' cute. This morning I noticed she was using it when pointing to her breakfast, too, so maybe "na" just means "food."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Forest Park

Tried out the loaner baby backpack from the neighbors today. My back is kinda sore after carrying her only an hour on a less than five mile walk/hike. Good thing it ain't summa yet.

Also? I went to Target solo this evening and only got what was on the list. First time for everything.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

11 Months

Crawls. Stands - and is darn proud of herself. Starting to side-step. Drinks from a straw. Points. Giggles when her parents kiss. First word - consistently says "dah" for Gizzy (dog), inconsistently says "da" for Alex and "mmm" or "mama" for me and/or my milk. Points. Baby Darth Vader voices. Nap strikes.

Dancing (aka body thrusts), my iPhone, Gizzy, walks, people, music, sleeping in our bed in the morning, eating food, nursing in the middle of the night, exploring, Alex's OSU belt buckle, maracas, the walls (texture??), giving mama kisses, grabbing my earrings or daddy's chest hair, going upside down, having her hair washed during bath time, Goodnight Moon, trying to chew on plugs and power cords.

Naps, being ignored, bumping her head, wearing shoes or socks, headbands/hats, being set down when she's tired.

19 lbs 5 oz (25-50th percentile)

The Superficial:
"Cutest fucking baby on the planet," her daddy says unbiasedly. Very fine hair, with long alfafas. Long eye lashes. Blue eyes. Expressive eyebrows. Chubby cheeks. Asymmetrical eyes and ears. Buddha belly. Michelin Man thighs. Rubber band wrists. Perfect little mouth. Wearing mostly 12-month clothes, but still fits into 9-month.

Usually wakes up two-ish times each night, but one week woke up every 2 hours - teething? Is fighting naps. Seems like she's trying to reduce from two to one nap each day, very inconsistent. I mostly give up and she'll fall asleep in the car, on a walk, or once her daddy gets home. Generally goes to bed around 7 p.m. and wakes up between 7-8:30 a.m. Sleeps better for her daddy than her mama. As of this very moment of writing, no sleep problems. However, last week I had pulled out "the book" (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child). We all know what that means.

Nurses about 3-4 times during the day, and 2-4 times at night. Very distractible while nursing. If I put my boob away but she wants more, she'll make it very known. Loves to eat solids. Her favorites still include yams, cottage cheese, peas, Cheerios, oatmeal, applesauce, and banana, but she tries most everything that we fix. Very open to trying new flavors and always grunts for more. We generally try to feed her 3 meals each day. She is finally getting the hang of drinking water, but we had to trial a few different methods - so far the straw is working best.

Easy-going. Happy. Seems to know what she wants. Socially motivated. Likes watching people, especially other kids. Points. Shares smiles. Relishes attention. When in a group, is more of an observer. Likes her parents' one-on-one attention. Lots of babbling and cooing. First words! "Dah" for Gizzy, and occasionally "da" for daddy and "mmmmm" or "mama" for me and/or requesting to nurse. Knows her people - appears to comprehend who is who by name. Responds very well to praise. Likes peekaboo, clapping, and shared music/dancing. Will cry if fussy (when over-tired from nap strike - see "sleeping"), or in middle of night, or when she wants to relocate. Uses rising intonation - I can only imagine how many questions she will be asking soon. More vocal at home than in the car or out and about.

Motor Skills:
She was discharged from PT after just two visits - now crawls easily, and is getting quicker by the day. Is still content to be stationary, will play happily in her Pack n Play or her high chair at times. Started pulling herself up to standing (today) and taking small side steps. Balance on her feet is much improved. Easily self feeds and picks up small pieces of trash (e.g. string, leaves, etc) that I would never otherwise know was on the floor. Showing interest in pulling herself up the bottom stairs. Likes to turn things over - lots of wrist rotations. Still ambidextrous.

Favorite Gear:
BOB. Beco. Pack n Play. Blocks. Maraca. Mail/papers/magazines. Bathtub duckies. Baby gate to block kitchen. Hook-on high chair. iPhone. Any kind of toy. Wubba Nub. Lunch box for snacks. Books. White noise.

General Schedule:
Wake around 7 a.m. Lay in bed with mama until 8ish. Get up, change diaper, get dressed. Walk Gizzy to the park. Breakfast. Play in the living room. Leave the house - errands, long walk, story time or play time. Maybe a nap in the car, maybe no nap at all. Lunch at home. Try for an afternoon nap. Usually at least two attempts. Sleep 1-2 hours in crib. More play time. Maybe leave the house again, maybe not. Get excited for daddy to get home. Play. Walk the dog. Dinner. Bath time. Naked crawling. Read a book. Nurse and Wubs for sleep around 7ish. Wake one hour after mama falls asleep, maybe 11 or midnight. Wake again at 4 a.m. to nurse. Wake when daddy is up and rustling, and ask him to bring to bed with mama. Sleep/nurse until 7 a.m.

Stink face.

Happy girl.

Daddy's girl.

Naked crawling play time.

Starting early.

Happy family.

Music making.

BDA babysitting.

Mama's girl.

This is what nap time looks like.

It's Britney, bitch.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Future Mrs. May

This weekend we celebrated the Future Mrs. Scott May. Our guest of honor, her mother, and her MOH flew in from California for a slumber party themed bridal shower. Rach, Erika, and I planned a less traditional shower - we booked the "family room" at McMenamin's Edgefield and hosted the party there, popcorn, PJ's and all. Katie said she had fun and felt special, so we'll call it a success.

Katie and E at the Black Rabbit restaurant inside Edgefield.

Francie joined the ladies for time in the soaking pool.

Burlap banner. Because you can never have enough burlap banners.

Sleepover junk food. Katie's favorites.

The gift table. Erika not included.

More burlap? Yes, please!

The boys and babes joined us for bfast the next morning.

A crawl-off.

Logan has a crush on Auntie E.

BFF's 4eva.


Homemade apron for the guest of honor.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Homemade Headboard

We painted the master bedroom several weeks ago, but projects are done in pieces, in slo-mo even, since the Bean's arrival. Alex finished up our headboard this weekend. It's cedar fencing, stained, cut, and mounted on plywood which was screwed into the wall. It's rustic - which is right up our alley. Next on the list? Paint the side tables and get some frames back n the wall.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Politics of Siri

Al came over for dinner the other night. We spoke about the usual random shit - asteroids approaching earth; NPR's This American Life; Peruvian chicken recipes; flea eradication; baby backpacks/carriers; and education, always education (Alex is a teacher, Al worked in Portland Public Schools in 1863, and I, well, I was a student once and therefore an expert, aren't we all?!?).

And we also talked about Siri - did you know she's a bit of a conservative non-feminist? Al had read some article from a couple years ago that said Siri won't tell you where to get an abortion, although she'll help you find a place to dump a dead body or buy a bunch of booze and balloons. True story, we learned first hand.

I had to a bit acquainted with Siri before asking her the Big One. We started out easy, talking about local Thai restaurants, pest control, hair salons, definition of "jurisdiction," the usual. Then I asked her politely about where to get an abortion. She wanted to skirt the issue entirely and send me straight to an Internet search. I asked for Plan B - no such luck. She had no problem recommending gay bars and porn stores, but didn't want to talk to me about exercising my female reproductive rights. She'd ignore the topic and send me to talk to Google, or tell me, "I don't understand what you're asking me."

So now, as I'm scanning through the open Internet windows on my phone in the middle of the night as I lay awake after feeding the baby for the second time already, I'm x-ing out of screens that say "Portland abortion clinics" - and feeling like a teenager that might get caught. I swear I'm not pregnant again, honey. And yes, Bean, I promise you were planned and very much wanted.

But seriously, Siri, get with the times and show some respect for your fellow females. And keep yo laws off my bod.

Also, it's a little funny shouting "abortion abortion abortion" into your phone with your dad sitting next to you.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy VD!

Thanks for the laugh, Gary Parkin. I'm gonna go ahead and assume you meant Valentine's Day and not venereal disease. Then again, the two may be synonymous among certain folks this time of year.

We typically care very little-to-none about Valentine's Day at our house. I'm not sure we've ever done much to acknowledge the holiday, aside from an excuse to eat out last minute or buy conversation hearts or fresh flowers. Although if I recall correctly, Alex first moved in with me (and Stac) on V-Day in 2007. Ah, romance. The two of us are like The Notebook.

Seriously, though, being a stay at home mom inspires a bit more interest in the Hallmark holidays - an excuse to make things! The Bean made her daddy a modified Pinterest creation - "love" painted on burlap with hand and footprints. This year, I gave Alex my heart. A needle felted anatomically correct heart, that is. Alex and his students constructed a homemade Valentine with Shakespeare quotes about love, which he then gave me along with Swedish fish (?). We visited Alex for lunch at WLHS, where we also ran into Logan, who gave the Bean her first rose. And then promptly took it back. And we ate dinner with my dad; he brought us this amazing Peruvian chicken dish and gave the Bean a cute card.

As far as I can tell, V-Day is now an excuse for me to dress my child in a ridiculously cute glittery tutu. Right?

Monday, February 11, 2013


On a typical Sunday night, Alex and I talk briefly about the week ahead, and  thank each other for a nice weekend, whether it included house projects, time spent outside, or a bunch of errands. This Sunday, however, I kissed him goodnight and said, "This weekend kind of sucked. I love you, though."

The last two weeks have been less than stellar. Alex busted his knee skiing and is awaiting MRI results. We've been battling a flea "situation." I tweaked my back. And the Bean is most definitely teething, and therefore not sleeping well. Here's hoping February gets better. At least it's a short month!

The Bean on a counter.

The Bean reading Shakespeare.

The Bean in a fedora.

The Bean on an airbed.

The Bean visiting Grandma Nancy.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


We have so far managed to avoid the norovirus. But we are being tormented by another kind of terror. Fleas. It's enough to make my fragile self need professional white coat services - for both bug eradication and my mental health.

Today's flea count:
1 ankle biter in our bedroom
1 on the Bean's head on the changing table
2 on my right forearm - same little fucker?
1 on the Bean's cheek in the living room
1 on the Bean's head at the mall (we left the house so I wouldn't have to deal, and now they're following us?!?)
1 on my wrist in the car
2 new bites on my back and several on each ankle - how on earth?

My dad says its war. So in his words, we may have lost today's battle, but we will certainly win the war. We are going to continue with the obsessive cleaning and hold off on chemical warfare until the weekend.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


"Da" ... First word for dog? She uses it very consistently when referring to Giz. Also, the "d" sound is the phoneme of choice this week.

She's crawling. all. over. Dirty hands and knees. Lots of, "we don't chew cords," "thank you for giving me that piece of stray dog food," and "what's in your mouth?!?"

Lots and lots of peekaboo. Lots.

Mom's 69th

A bit ago I had started a blog post about my mom. Maybe it's fitting that I complete it today, on what would be her 69th birthday. I used to think that if I were to read the obituaries, and someone was said to be 69, I wouldn't feel badly that they had died. I thought, "That's old enough, their kids are old and grown so it's not that sad." Ha. It's still sad, I think.

Here's how I think of you, mom, in my day-to-day life:

When I put lotion on my hands, I always rub the excess on my neck. I remember you telling me that hands and necks are the sure signs of a woman's age.

When I watch Parenthood, I think about Christina's breast cancer, Hattie's age, her being away at college on the east coast. It's a fm,Ira sounding story. Although a different ending. And I think it's a show we would have watched together.

When I am sewing or doing embroidery or crafting of any kind, I think about how I've probably become the daughter you always wanted. I'd like to believe we'd be BFF's and you'd be instrumental in helping me raise my daughter.

If we eat salmon for dinner, I remember that you taught me to cook it in the microwave when in a crunch.

Sometimes when Alex says "I love you" I say "I love you more," and I'm reminded of how we used to race to say "mostarooni."

Francie has your eyes. Everyone says they are mine, but I think they look just like yours. And sometimes when I look at her I feel like she should be wearing glasses, just like how I thought you looked funny when you didn't have your glasses on. I just hope she has better eyesight.

When I comment on the appearance of a nice house or pretty tree while driving in the car, I'm reminded of how you would insist I look out the window.

Also, I never, ever have my shoes on and my purse ready when we arrive at the destination. Like mother like daughter.

Now that you're not here to wake me, Francie has taken on the role of Nap Nazi.

You always used to compliment my legs, for being strong, and now sometimes when I glance in the mirror while holding my daughter, I'm grateful for having a strong, if imperfect, body to cart her around efficiently.

Occasionally I ask Alex to verify whether my soda is diet or regular, as you once did.

I think about how proud you'd be that I still am a devout sender of the annual Christmas card. And that I send notes and thank-yous via snail mail.

There are, of course, a hundred other ways you are with me each day. Happy 69th birthday.

Water Dragon Baby

Today we went to the family swim event at the local community center, just a few blocks away. We had to drive, because of Alex's busted knee, but at least the weightlessness of the water helped relieve some of his pain.

Francie has been swimming just one other time. We keep intending to sign up for swim lessons, but just haven't yet. Plus, I'm a tad bit paranoid about the whole drowning thing, and I'm not all that comfortable in the water myself, so it's easy to put off. But since she was born under the sign of the dragon, a water dragon, it's imperative she learn to swim. And her daddy so loves the water.

Although maybe he's not to be trusted ...

"You know what's probably really mean to say, but I want to do? I want to just toss her. I would like it if someone else did that to me, you know?," Alex says, as he's holding our baby in three feet of water.

"How about you can do that when she's, like, 7," I respond.

"But I could throw her further now."

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