Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Gettin' Fenced

Alex is working through his vacation. Staining will wait until June - natural or white? That is the question.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Date Night

First PB (post-Bean) date night EVER! It went something like this.

"59 bucks? Was it really worth it?"

"Yes, babe, it's nice to spend time just the two of us. "

"We could have gotten a front door."

"You can't get a door for 50 bucks."

"Okay, then paint. We could have bought grey paint for the living room."

"We already have several different grey paints. And the point isn't the money. We're hanging out, just the two of us."

"Ok, dinner's fine. But maybe we should just go home? Skip the movie and go to bed early?"

Face palm.

For the record, we did indeed see a movie, and I was once again reminded how very much I love going to the theater (said pretentiously).

Seemingly the Bean turned from a baby to a little kid this past week. Her crawl is faster. She barrels over things. She's talking more and more like a real live person. She's regularly expressing preferences. It's like she discovered a new gear. She went from a Dodge Neon to a Nissan Pathfinder. I feel like I know what she'll be like as a true-blue toddler now.

As for sleep training, there is something sort of liberating about ignoring your child in the middle of the night. It takes white noise in the form of two iPhone apps and a fan in each of our rooms. But essentially we just shut our door until morning, and retrieve her only when she fusses to wake us then. The first two nights I obsessively watched her on the spy-cam. She was just sitting there, mostly silent, for the better part of three hours. I was worried she didn't know how to get herself from a seated position to lay down. We debated (I neurotically shook Alex from slumber) whether or not to go lay her down and then leave, but ultimately decided that any attempt at comforting may just create a new sleep association - defeating the purpose all together.

So is she "sleeping through the night?" I don't know. Am I? Damn straight!

It's like I've re calibrated. I am no longer plucked out of slumber like an apple from a tree at the first sound of her tossing and turning. Now I don't know if she calls for me for 20 seconds or 20 minutes before I respond in the morning. And it feels good. Real good.

I no longer have sympathy for "tired" mothers whose children sleep through the night. I now know both sides, and the complaints cannot even begin to match those of the chronically sleep deprived, the women who haven't gotten more than a three hour chunk of shut eye in months. Sleep without consolidation is no sleep at all. So all you mamas who have good sleepers, complain only to your partners about the less-than-ideal wake up time. Or go to bed earlier yourselves. Because there's some other mama out there who hasn't made it through a sleep cycle in weeks, months, or maybe even years. And she's probably hurting, right down to the cellular level. I don't know that I would have done much differently by way of "sleep training" the Bean, but I do know that the biggest challenge facing this parent of an otherwise healthy child has been managing sleep. And here's hoping that regular nights of 6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is the rule rather than the exception.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

One Year

One year! One year? One year!?! How could I possibly have a bona fide toddler on my hands?!? And how'd I get so lucky to get this particular little girl?!? She never ceases to amaze me, that's a fact. Despite the sleep deprivation, messy floors and recent inundation of toys in every nook and cranny, I rarely am in anything but love and wonderment of this little Bean. My little Bean.

In addition to reaching this one year milestone, I feel as though I personally have reached a milestone of sorts - for most of my adult life I have had this handwritten summary of what I was like as a one-year-old. We found it amongst my mom's things some time after she died. I love reading and re-reading the summary - not much different than what I've been doing for the Bean monthly - in part because it's a glimpse into my childhood, but mostly because of how telling it was. It led me to the conclusion that we are exactly who we are going to be at just one year old. Not unlike that adage about learning everything you need to know about life in kindergarten. I've held this profile on a pedestal, of sorts. In some ways the details meant little to me, having no reference point for what a 12-month-old is supposed to be like. And now, it's fun to compare little me to little Francie. And to think about how one-year-old me turned into almost-31-year-old me, and to wonder how 31-year-old Francie will be.

But because you can't really read the picture-of-the-photocopied-handwritten-notebook-paper, I've typed it out as well:

"Joanna - Profile @ 1 Year

17 lbs, 10 oz
28 inches
6 teeth (4 upper and 2 lower)
Small amount of fair hair - reddish in some lights, less than B had at same age and not as yellow blonde.
Has been walking for 1 month; started walking 2-4 weeks prior to that; rarely crawls.
Says "bye bye" and waves, does not really call us "mama" or "dada"; speaks own language to a great extent; points a great deal and gestures; shows inflection and intonation.
Sucks left thumb when tired (never really used a pacifier).
Is not placid; has definite likes and dislikes; if she's unhappy and I attempt to placate her with a toy which she doesn't want, she hurls it away angrily; if she has something she shouldn't and I take it away, she arches her back and screams and throws herself on the floor and will not be consoled.
Holds bottle with left hand; prefers right hand for doing things.
3 meals a day; about 3-4 bottle a day (was weaned in 12th month), likes self-feeding; likes scrambled eggs, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, carrots, green beans, fish sticks, mos fruits except currently not bananas.
12 hours at night and takes 2 good naps each day if home; does not sleep in car seat as willingly as Brian did, and does not sleep in places other than own crib at all willingly (B. would sleep anywhere).
Wakes up happy; gives "pat pats" (love pats) when gotten from crib or picked up at sitters after separation; likes to bring objects to people; loves socks.
Does not yet fear strange people or places; is generally very social and smiles and seeks out people.
Adored Brian unconditionally first 6 months; now resists his attempts to cuddle etc as too smothering; best if left to lead the way herself."

And to bring it full circle ...

Francie - Profile @ 1 Year

Likes: pulling books off the shelf; chewing the wooden door stopper; pushing chairs back and forth along the hardwood floors; praise; playing with mama's slippers; Logan; the letter D; iPods/iPhones; chewing on my travel coffee mugs and water bottles; her new doll "nay nay;" being with her parents; talking about balloons, milk, dogs or daddy; dancing to any music; giving hugs and kisses

Dislikes: the vacuum; teething; colds; not getting what she wants (e.g. me not handing her my iPhone or water glass); drinking water

19 lbs, 10 oz (25th percentile)
28.5 inches long (50th percentile)
17.75 inch head circumference (50th percentile)
Teeth: two lower front teeth, plus two upper lateral incisors
Hair: very fine, reddish-blonde, several long alfalfa hairs but a loooong way off from her first haircut
Clothes: comfortably wearing 12-month sized clothes
Features: eyes are still kind of squinty, but we no longer get the "she's so tired" barrage from strangers; long pretty eyelashes; full, chubby, rosy cheeks; button nose; broad, gummy, glowing smile

Motor: pulls to standing at every opportunity, but isn't very confident with sitting/falling down, so usually whines a bit before lowering herself; side steps/cruises on furniture and walls; downward dogs; fast crawls; never really attempts to stand alone or to take steps, but will ocassionally do so when Alex is holding her hands; everyone asks if she's walking yet, which is an annoying question because it's a conversation killer - I have since learned to ask parents, "what's your kid doing these days?" so as not to imply success/failure

Words: "nuh" + pointing for milk, food, water, and Soothie; "dah" for dog; "nana" for banana; "daiy" for daddy; "mmmmmmmama" for mama, which she only seems to say when I'm not around; and her go-to phonemes are "nuh" and "duh" for babbling, pointing, and inquiring; she seems to very consistently understand: mama, daddy, Gizzy, dog, banana, baby, book, up, down, milk, ball, hug, kiss, food, yay
Gestures: claps; just started patting when she hugs; lots of pointing; hugs and kisses; peekaboo
Social: smiles and giggles easily, more so with strangers from afar; very socially motivated - easily encouraged by us saying "yay" and clapping for her; does not like having things taken from her, but she is easily consoled or distracted; seems to know what she wants; definitely likes to be around her parents, will follow if we are puttering around from living room to kitchen, etc; when well-rested and fed, can easily play independently for chunks of time, exploring her area, playing with books or toys, and practicing new skills; fusses only when tired or hungry
Personality: sweet and affectionate; low threshold for frustration; socially motivated; friendly and outgoing in public when getting attention; is more of an observer when in larger group settings; when doing something new or around new people, takes some time to soak it all in, usually with a serious face, then likes to explore or socialize; occasionally likes to ham it up, with an audience; wants what she wants when she wants it; quick emotions - easy to get upset easy to make happy; sometimes wary of strangers, but hasn't demonstrated much fear yet, accept when startled when falling backwards

Sleep: easy to put to bed ~7 p.m. nightly; nightwakes 2-3 times, usually nurses and falls right back asleep; wakes up ~ 6 a.m., two 1-2 hour naps if home; still uses WubbaNub or Soothie for sleeping or riding in car; if near nap time, will fall asleep in car; sleeps in crib in nursery, except if really fussy/sick/teething we will bring her to bed with us

Eating: we've reached the one year mark of breastfeeding without EVER HAVING TO SUPPLEMENT!, which is clearly a victory in my book (that's even with me returning to work fulltime for five months, and taking a vacay to California for five days with the girls;  I feel very fortunate to have had the tools and Alex's support - and also the stubborness - to persevere, even when the idea of pumping made me want to gauge my eyes out); she's still nursing 5-7 times per day/night, mostly from the left side; I'm in no hurry to wean her, and will see what happens naturally; she loves to eat and self-feed, although her preferences are starting to emerge, current favorites include: carrots, orange, cheese, hard oiled egg, peas, Cheerios, avocado, cottage cheese, yogurt, hummus, anything someone else is eating; still coughs and chokes on water from her sippy cup or straw water bottle

Toys/Stuff: BOB Stroller; Soothie and WubbaNub: board books; BumGenius cloth diapers and wipes, crib; children's musical instruments; iPod with Pandora or white noise; wooden toys; convertible car seat; baby gates; Pack n Play; clip-on high chair; hand wipes and Kleenex.

And finally, my profile of being the mother of a one-year-old? I still love it. For me, it's been more work now that she's older, mostly because she just doesn't sleep nearly as much during the day, and therefore needs to be entertained. I am most definitely chronically sleep deprived. I feel like I've aged five years since last March, but somehow I still manage to get up each of the four times every day (2 nightwakings + a.m. + napping) that Francie interrupts my sleep cycle. Girlfriend has GOT to learn to sleep in larger stretches (at the advice of our pediatrician, we are once again jumping aboard the sleep-training caboose). I have loved staying home with her the past several months, although I am looking forward to starting my new job to get closer to that work-life balance we all strive for. And also for a bit of structure to my week. But I will miss her so. I'm definitely back to my pre-prego weight, maybe even less, but wearing the same clothes. Thanks to our slightly ridiculous purchase of the elliptical trainer. I still cannot fit into my old bras. If someone would have told my teenage self that my boobs would get even bigger with pregnancy and breastfeeding, I probably would have gotten my tubes tied. I love my husband, for being my best friend but also for being a loving, involved, enthusiastic daddy. I have only recently started craving date nights, and longing for time for just the two of us, which we have some plans for in the very near future. Grandparents are fun. I like seeing my daughter develop relationships with others - but I also like for Alex to reassure me that I'm the very most important. In summary - we got fucking lucky with this Bean, and not a day goes by that I don't think so. I never knew how much I would love being a mama, her mama.

12 Months

Instead of continuing the weekly photos, I am transitioning to monthly photos. It is my goal to continue doing this on the 19th of every month until the Bean is good and grown. I'll probably change up the style each year, in order to have a visual cue to distinguish the years. It is also my goal to better learn how to use my camera, as well as Photoshop. I'm pleased with my dedication to the 52-week montage, but I have a difficult time truly appreciating the completed year because I am unable to overlook how bad a lot of the photos are. I'm no Annie Liebowitz or Anne Geddes, I'm afraid. The chalkboard age and the growth chart were the props of her first year, and now we are moving on to white onesies, Photoshopped with her monthly age, against a colorful fabric backdrop. I'd be lying to say I came up with this idea myself. I very much stole it. From a blog I follow, They are clearly more versed in the art of photography and Photoshop than I am. And in DIY projects. Then again, that's how they make their living, now. Like I need another hobby.

And to kick off her second year, here is my adorable Bean at 12 months young ...

A Day at the Museum

Rather, a couple hours. The Bean is a little young for the Portland Children's Museum, but man that place is cool. Sure, it's a cess pool of snotty noses and norovirus, but it also has a water room, a train set, a construction zone, a play animal hospital, a mini grocery store and cafe, and so much more. The Bean and I spent most of our time in the "baby garden," where she crawled on uneven soft mats, climbed some cushioned stairs, stared creepily at other kiddos, tried to put some plastic toys in her mouth (gross! We will probably have Ebola at our house this week), and talked incessantly about the big stuffed dog that was hiding from the animal hospital next door (dah! Dah! Dah!). We had a great time and can't wait to bring Daddy a million and two times in the next year to take advantage of our new membership (thanks Barbara and Ron!)

Goodbye Gizzy

She's gone to a better place. No, really, a better place. We "re-homed" her last week - a nice way of saying we got rid of her. I was very sad and moped all day. So Alex took me to Little Big Burger. But truth is, she's going to get her needs met better elsewhere. A family friend and previous Corgi owner picked Giz off and they rode into the night in the Toyota Corolla. The worst part is I don't really even miss her. And I hate myself for just saying that aloud. But it's something to remember for when I start obsessing over miniature dachshund puppies in a year. Dogs make my house messier, cost money, and don't get as much love as a baby. My dad keeps telling me what "an important part of my life" Gizzy was, which is true, but how easily I replaced her with a child. So folks, my advice, if you want a dog, maybe just consider getting pregnant. Kidding. Kind of.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Birthday, Bean

To celebrate the completion of the Bean's first year in the world - and our survival - Alex took the day off from work so we could hang out as a family of three. We had a relaxing morning at home, with plans for an afternoon of great adventure. Turns out, the weather went from sunny-ish and cold, to rainy rainy. Such is Oregon. But we persevered, taking the Bean on her first bike ride in the trailer, being that she's officially 1 and all, the minimum recommended age for a helmet and biking. We hit up the Springwater Corridor - where the Bean saw a random deer and several honking geese. She LOVED riding in the trailer, with a shit-eating-grin plastered to her face as we biked along. But she HATED her helmet. Truth is, it's still too big for her, and she doesn't really like things on her head as it is. Is there something ironic about the SLP who specializes in TBI allowing the removal of her own baby's helmet for a bike ride? Yeah, I thought so. We spent the evening at home, with visits from all the grandparents to give the Bean a hug and a fist-bump-blow-it-up on her actual birthday. She crashed early, so Alex and I reminisced about her newborn days, looking at photos and video. My goodness she was just a tiny little fresh-baked muffin!

My favorite photos from the last year ...


1 month

2 months

3 months

4 months

5 months

6 months

7 months

8 months

9 months

10 months

11 months

1 year!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Red Balloon Party

Invite to Francie's party.

Inspired by her affinity for the red balloon in "Goodnight Moon," we took the theme and ran with it for the Bean's 1st birthday party - red balloons on the ceiling, a happy birthday burlap (of course) banner, a birth-to-one photo montage, a Pinterest-fail balloon cake (homemade frosting!), family, good friends, and lots of presents. Some of the highlights ...

First birthday party.

First real live red balloon.

First cake. It's safe to say she liked it.

First doll.

First of many open-mouthed doll kisses.

First lunchbox. Go Wonder Woman.

First nice family shot.

And this was how the day ended. Passed the fuck out.

Party decor - burlap banner, paper red balloon cutouts, red balloons on the ceiling.

Ceiling shot.

0 to 12 month photo banner.

Cozy new blanket from mama.

Homemade buttercream frosting does NOT look like fondant. No matter how hard you try.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


The nursery is more than a year old now, but I find myself loving it more and more as time goes on. The Bean and I spend lots of time playing in here, and I always have a million ideas about what else I could do to add to the decor, but I'm trying to keep it simple so there is room to grow alongside the Bean herself. Before I know it she'll have a say about what she wants on her walls - artwork, chalkboard paint, shelves for dolls, who knows. I'm not sure if I ever did post photos of the rooms details, so here it is better late than never.

Embroidery hoops with scrap fabric above the changing table.

Embroidery hoops - some scrap fabric and some embroidery: whale for The Bean, mountain goat for me, and penguin for Alex.

Pink paint + grey chalkboard paint re-purposed dresser, gifted piggy bank and baskets for lotions/potions and heandbands/socks.

Chalkboard paint is a perfect way to help Daddy remember where the clean baby clothes go.

Plant hanger repurposed to hold stuffed animals, cheapie Ikea coat rack, and handpainted whale.

Whale painting by Erika Lindland.

Prints by Sarah Jane from Etsy, cheapie Ikea frames.

Hand-me-down crib, re-painted grey and green walls, Sarah Jane prints, Pendleton blanket from BDA, mod-podged stool, homemade mobile, etc.

Book nook! Re-painted pink, "read" letters from Michael's, homemade embroidered alphabet.

Hand-me-down brown chair from Al, rug from (love it!), homemade embroidered alphabet, re-painted pink built-in bookshelf, "read" letters from Michael's.

Ikea bookcase used as bench and toy storage.

Embroidered alphabet.

The nursery in action!

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