Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

We bought Edie a second hand monkey costume about a month and a half ago in the 6-12mo size thinking it was baggy and would fit despite being 14 months old. It was very cute. It had a felt banana sewn into the pocket!

Except then she outgrew it.

Thankfully we'd also purchased a "skeleton suit", which was a low maintenance alternative (I think meant to be a set of pajamas) that probably allowed Edie to be happier than the mandatory monkey-hood the earlier option required (Edie is not so much the fan of hats and hoods).
We had a lovely halloween with slightly warmer temperatures than expected, actual sunshine, and more importantly, NO RAIN (it's been a bit of a monsoon this last week). We visited the Fremont and Ballard markets, ate chowder and fish and chips at Ivars, I winterized the yard while Edie took a delicious 2+ hour nap (and Jeff took a short Vespa ride), we briefly visited Edie's great grandma in Seattle, and then we trick or treated at a few neighbor's houses (her first trick or treat experience!). She loved it. She did try to run into our neighbor's house when they opened the door, but thankfully she (the neighbor that is) found it charming.






Saturday, October 30, 2010

14 Months

Biggest item of note: I think this is the month I will remember as the month you started talking.

Words: Most importantly, just this last week or so you've started calling me Mama and Dad, Dada. It's SO SWEET. We were downstairs the other day and you heard Dad's footsteps on the wood floor upstairs, coming towards the stairs. You pointed at the stairs and exclaimed, "Dada!!". Since then you have basically become obsessed with Dad and trying to find him in his office any time we are home.

You say "ni ni" now when we go upstairs to do our bedtime routine, "pump" for pumpkin, "buba" for bubbles, and "buh bye" is in frequent use. The other day when we were in the grocery store parking lot, you said, "buh bye woof" and waved a shy wave. I looked around and saw that a dog had just walked by - you were saying goodbye to him! This was the first time you had put two "words" together like that. Ball is also a very popular word around here - at a party last week you took me into the bathroom at least 20 times to show me the "balls" on the shower curtain (it was polka dotted and you pointed at every single polka dot and said "ball").

You like to identify cats at every opportunity - even the half inch sized tiger on the side of the diaper box - by exclaiming "Cack!", and when in public you point at every single person wearing a hat and proudly say "hat" while slapping your head.
In more ambitious news, you just tried saying window yesterday for the first time. You like to point at the window and say "wiwo" and have been repeating it all morning. I'm not entirely sure how the window became such a source of fascination, but it certainly has this week. In particular, you LOVE to pull the curtain aside on our front door to see if the cat is sitting on the front porch.

It has become virtually impossible to get a good photo of you this month; you just move way too much and have no interest in looking at the camera, let alone smiling for it.
The only non-blurry shots we have of this month are of you reading or sleeping.

In feeding news: You now say buh bye to your food when you're all done and want me to take your food away. You also say "dow" for down when in your highchair (frequently while pointing down) and you consider your meal time over. This just started recently and is so helpful- we've cut back quite a bit on food dropage because I'm able to get you down quickly before the food throwing starts.
When you hear the word "hot" in conversation or grab a piece of food that feels hot to the touch, you blow as if to cool something down, but not anywhere in the direction of the hot food, which cracks me up. You've stopped signing for "more" as often as you used to (preferring to point dramatically at what you want and acting like you might die if you don't get more of it), but have started regularly signing for food when hungry. All this communication is tremendously helpful for me as I no longer try to feed you snacks all day long - I'm mostly able to just wait until you tell me you're hungry.

Skills: Just three days ago, you blew a kiss for the first time when we were Skyping with Katherine in LA. We've been trying to teach you to blow a kiss for a little while, but when Katherine blew you one on the computer screen, you just upped and did it back.

You know where many body parts are and correctly point to them, with the exception of eyes, which you are convinced are on the side of your head. Your favorite parts to identify are your head, nose, hands and tongue. When teeth are mentioned, you always use your finger to motion as if brushing your teeth. You now pretend brush your teeth when I open to the page in your book, "The Bedtime Book" that depicts animals brushing their teeth. Before I even read the words about brushing teeth, you're manically brushing yours with your finger.

Which reminds me that this month seems to be the month where you made a lot of connections between books and real life. When we see the moon in Goodnight Moon you always point out your bedroom window to where we can see the real moon. When Dad pointed out his real life clock after you kept showing him the clock in your book, I think your mind was totally blown.

The other day you pointed at the tiny toy giraffe that sits on the bookshelf in the Goodnight Moon book and then pointed at your Sophie giraffe toy. When we were reading upstairs the other day, you pointed at an apple in a book and then pointed to the stairwell. I didn't know what you meant, so I carried you downstairs asking, "Apple?" and when I set you down, you went running and pointed at the apple core I'd set on the bookshelf that morning after snacking on it. You'd pointed at the apple while I was eating it a few times that morning and I told you what it was - it's amazing how much you're absorbing!

You've become pretty obsessed with "doing work" on Dad's weird, vintage gears and gauges in his office. You never miss an opportunity to dart into his office and meddle with his vintage oscillator. Which basically means I lost a bet 10 years in the making because when your Dad brought all those gears home to our tiny apartment I was annoyed and told him we had no need for them. He responded by saying he thought our kids would one day find them really fun to play with.
You are a crazy little monkey who love love loves to rough house and giggle hysterically (especially with your Dad)



and you amaze us with your smarts and quirks. Here's to another month!

xo
Mom

Pet Peeves f/u

I'm finding your comments to my last post highly entertaining. Please keep them coming. Kristin's annoyance with recumbent bicycles reminds me that I also find people who unicycle to work to be ridiculous, as in laughing-AT-you, not with.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pet Peeves

1. When a blog only posts the first paragraph of a post and then you have to click on a link to "read more". I don't know why, but it's usually so annoying to me that I don't click on the link and never read the full post.

2. Nuts in baked goods. I firmly believe that nuts in a quick bread, brownie, muffin or cookie RUIN the entire thing. I have a strong memory of being at the Bellingham Country Club as a child, taking a break from swimming and getting a brownie at the concession stand, knowing that I would have to spend 30 minutes picking every single piece of nut out of the thing before I could even take a bite.

3. When Jeff goes to bed before me. I don't have any logical explanation for this, but it throws my whole night off when I come upstairs to get ready for bed and find all the lights off and Jeff in bed before me. Thankfully this only happens like 3 times a year, but Jeff thinks it's hilarious how bent out of shape I get about it.

4. Washing sippy cups. SO ANNOYING. So annoying in fact, that I can't go into detail about this without getting super annoyed.

5. A weak handshake. I'm always so perplexed by people who delivery weak, limp handshakes. What's the story there? Do they not realize how off putting it is?

6. When Trader Joe's frozen items aren't ready after being in the oven for the proper amount of time. Is my freezer extra freezy or my oven extra weak or does Trader Joe not test out his directions before printing them on his frozen lasagnas? I think the latter. Former? I never know how to use the former/latter phrase. Perhaps that should be pet peeve number 7.

What are your pet peeves?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Short Cuts

Two of my favorite short cuts:

1. Baby legwarmers for $2.99 - Target is currently selling nice, women's knee highs for $2.99. Buy some. Cut the feet out. Now put them on your baby. This allows you to buy baby leg warmers that are neutral to match skirts and dresses, or you can also buy the cute halloween stripes for a festive idea! I did this with a pair of light grey, sweater like socks and Edie got like 5 compliments within the first hour.

2. No bake cookies. Sometimes I want a homemade treat, or I'm too lazy to go to the store for a candy bar. But baking cookies takes so long. Solution! Make these no bake cookies and eat at least 5 in one sitting. Less is impossible. In a heavy saucepan, bring 1.5 cups of sugar, 4 tablespoons of cocoa, 1 stick of butter and 1/2 cup milk to a boil and let boil while stirring for 1 minute. Then stir in 1 cup of peanut butter, 1 tablespoon of vanilla and 3 cups of oatmeal. Drop them by whatever size you want onto foil or wax paper, let cool (or not) and EAT.

What are your favorite short cuts?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Time Capsule

Three years ago this week we were having dinner with my Dad at the restaurant up the street when he was in town for a conference. We'd just refinished the hallway and Jeff was installing a handrail. The house was in construction shambles and I never thought we'd see our way out:

2 years ago, we were painting the living room. The whole upstairs was more or less finished, and we'd recently installed the coffered ceiling in our dining room (after 2 long months of climbing ladders over and over to drill, caulk and paint). We were deciding whether to try for a baby after getting back from Guatemala and finding that Wamu was on its way down.

One year ago, we were getting out of the bath. We were also spending a lot of time carrying you around facing out because it was the only thing that kept you happy.
Tonight you are in your room with your Dad happily reading The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss while we wait for Aunt Katherine in LA to call us on Skype.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Finally

Can I get a "Mama"? Finally, the answer is yes! Edie now says Mama and Dada not just in random moments of babble, but while pointing at the correct person. Today while Jeff was working in his office upstairs, Edie pointed at the closed door to the stairs in the direction of his office and said, "Dada?" She also saw me from across the room two days ago, smiled and said, "Mama" in this uncharacteristically soft and sweet voice.

Of course before this, she mastered the word "tights", which is apparently far more important than... you know... the people who clothe and feed you! Jeff was putting some black tights on her (funny picture coming soon of her wearing them and nothing else - resembling a Mexican wrestler) for the first time last week and said something about her tights, to which she looked at him and just said, "Tats" as if learning every word was that simple. Now when she sees her tights on the floor, she picks them up and says "tite... tats... tite..." over and over. Another word in the works is "boot", which currently goes a little something like "booooo" while pointing at my tan, knee high boots or her rain boots. Shoes have become a major source of fascination for her (as you will see soon in a short video) so boots are VERY interesting - giant shoes!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bedtime

I never wear a watch. I just use my cell phone as my watch when I'm out, and when I'm home I do a lot of shouting to Jeff in the other room, "Do you know what time it is?!" I do this at increasingly frequent intervals when it starts to get late. I have this strange, irrational fear of losing track of time and accidentally staying up too late. Being a stay at home mom requires me to have about three times as much energy during the day as my previous jobs where I mostly sat at my desk all day and answered emails. Edie's also in the midst of a cold, which equals unpredictable sleep, making every minute count. Sleep is important and I can't afford to get distracted and go to bed too late. Jeff knows this.

After Edie goes to bed, we typically watch one or two episodes of tv on dvd (we're currently in the middle of season 5 of West Wing). So pretty much every other night Jeff plays a mean trick on me that goes something like this:

Me: That was a good episode.
Jeff: Yeah. (looks at watch and pauses for dramatic effect) Wow, it's later than I thought.
Me: (suddenly alert) What time is it?
Jeff: (looks at watch as if to double check) It's after eleven.
Me: (horror stricken) SERIOUSLY?
Jeff: No. It's 9:30.

Why does he take such pleasure in tricking me? And, more importantly, why do I fall for the same joke every time? I mean it - I fall for it every time.

Hats

Edie is obsessed with hats. If anyone even says the word hat, she frantically looks around, tapping her head. For some reason we have an assortment of costume-type hats around the house that she plays with like toys. The other night I went out with my book club and Jeff put Edie to bed. A few days later I was flipping through the photos on our camera and found these:


Monday, October 18, 2010

Obie

We've finally taken some photos off the camera and can share our newest (extended) family member. Edie's cousin Obie is probably really her second cousin (or maybe her first cousin, once removed?) but I'm thinking of him as just a plain old cousin and I hope their proximity (Vancouver BC) allows them to grow up feeling that way about each other.

Are you ready to meet the tiniest human ever? Here he is:
This kid knows how to relax. I got to hold him and I swear to you that Edie could never have been anywhere near as tiny, although his puppy paws indicate that a growth spurt is eminent.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Vocabulary

Edie has added two new "words" to her vocab list this week. "Pup" for pumpkin and ball for, well, ball! I suppose it usually comes out a bit more like "ba" then a highly polished "ball", but both words are very much directed at the correct objects. We have four tiny pumpkins lined up on our bookshelf and she keeps pointing at them this morning and pointedly saying, "Pup!"

Also, at this very moment, Edie is trying to cram her enormous stuffed mouse into the drivers seat of a tiny toy convertible car. The mouse is literally 3 times the size of the entire car. Then she makes it drive and says "vrrrmmm vrrmm". Killing me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Gym

For the first time in ... maybe ever? I feel that I've developed a healthy relationship with the gym.

I've been hesitant to say this aloud for some time because I have a history of self sabotage in the department of health and fitness. But if my friend Dan was reading this, he would point out that I'm not technically saying anything, but typing it. So perhaps it's okay.

I've never been much of a gym bunny. Is that what they're even called? That sounds wrong. Maybe it's ski bunny? Gym monkey? Whatever. I've never been a fan. I grew up dancing, I was a "bun head" - a ballet dancer. Aside from my ability to do a (mediocre) grand jete, I lacked all other athletic ability. So much so that my parents actually helped me get out of high school gym class. My middle school PE teacher Mrs. Romjue was so terrifying that I couldn't bear the thought of four more years running laps in sweat suits from Fred Meyer with my name written in puffy paint on the back (true story). And my parents sympathized. Actually, it was one of those rare moments in my teen years where my Mother and I truly bonded. In 8th grade she even wrote a note saying that I'd hurt my ankle and couldn't run the mile that week. In my eyes, golden rays of sunshine practically burst from every angle of her head while a chorus of young boys sang one, pure note when she handed me that piece of paper addressed to Mrs. Romjue. I had to favor my right leg for 3 days at school but it was totally worth it.

In college, all students received free university gym passes. This was when I was introduced to the world of step aerobics. I'd followed along with the occasional Jane Fonda cassette tape in the spare bedroom with my Mother in the 80's, but had never taken an organized gym aerobics type class. I skipped as many classes as I attended and usually rewarded myself afterwards with a pan of brownies. Then I would complain bitterly that I wasn't losing any weight.

For years after college I essentially gave up on the idea of the gym. I don't think of myself as a lazy person but, actually, I kind of am. I love wearing elastic waist pants and reading blogs while eating chocolate covered pretzels. In the past, I've always found a gym routine incredibly difficult to maintain. I would get these bursts of frantic motivation to "get in shape" and "lose a few pounds", but they never lasted long enough to actually see me reach my goal. But partly I think that's because if I was being honest, what I actually wanted was to immediately see dramatic results after two weeks of going to the gym irregularly. And when that didn't happen, I would lose interest.

One time, about 7 years ago I joined a gym across the street from my downtown office. I even splurged for a personal trainer. I had gained like 3 pounds in the previous year or so and was appalled at what I would now consider an enviable weight that is likely never to be achieved again. I think I had reached a whopping 117 pounds. My brain just exploded typing that. What was wrong with me that I thought I was in need of a personal trainer??!! Anyways. My personal trainer was 21, incredibly fit, upbeat and sporty. Her name was Jill. She was like a younger, fitter, more optimistic me. I hated her. I quit.

When I was pregnant I thought I'd be one of those sporty moms that went to prenatal yoga and walked regularly. But the truth was I was too busy feeling sick and then sorry for myself when my hip went out. I went to yoga 3 times. I rarely walked further than the distance from car to office.

I joined my current gym about 4 months ago. I'm wondering if the reason it's working this time is because I actually joined for Edie, not for me. I decided it was time for Edie to have more social exposure and realized a gym with daycare would be a good fit. The gym is relatively close to home, it has a very nice, brand new daycare inside, and the cardio equipment offers large plasma screens that show Oprah. It's also full of regular people and almost completely void of tiny blonds in Lulu Lemon suits that make me feel bad about myself. And it's only $30 per month! And $10 extra for daycare!

When I joined the gym, a nice sales boy gave me a spiel about "exercise science". There were a lot of words coming out of his mouth about weight training and heart rates and, I don't know. I tried to pay attention. But in the end, I just slipped back into my decades old gym habit of stepping onto a cardio machine for a while and then doing some random ab and arm moves on the mat. Not very inventive and perhaps not very exercise science savvy. But it's what I like and oh well.

I was just starting to really get into the gym when Edie got a cold, then an ear infection, then a heinous rash from her MMR shot. Essentially, we were banned from the gym daycare. But then she recovered! And despite my terrible past track record on these types of things, I returned to the gym. This is really nothing short of earth shattering given my history.

The daycare has limited hours, so I go when they open for the afternoon session at 4pm. And for whatever reason, I don't feel even a little bit guilty or selfish about going the gym. Edie loves the daycare so much that I actually think of it as an developmental activity for her as much as an opportunity for me. I like to be the first there so Edie gets some QT with the daycare leader before the other kids start to arrive. It's so weird to be a gym convert, but I really look forward to 3:40 when I get to put my gym clothes on, pour Edie a full sippy cup, and head to the car. Yesterday I dropped her off at the Kids Club and practically strutted to the cardio area upstairs, a bounce in my step and a weird, over large smile on my face while the gym speakers blasted Alicia Keyes singing New York State of Mind. Who is this me? This me that's pumped to work out??

I'm not sure, but she is definitely different from the previous model. I suppose one major difference is that I don't have any expectations of losing weight this time. I'm not in love with every inch of my body, but I'm finally learning to be okay with that. It sounds like such a post partum cliche, but I love how strong I've learned I am since having Edie. My arms are stronger than ever from carrying around my chunky monkey and my legs do squats all day to grab dropped snacks, shoes and sippy cups. I'm finally leading the "active lifestyle" that I pretended to be leading for years when really I was coming home from a sedentary job and putting on my sweats to watch TV every day. I'm not going to the gym for the same reasons I used to and maybe that's why the whole thing feels different. And also? I love having just 45 minutes a day where I'm not inanely verbalizing every thing I'm doing to my child, I'm not worrying over developmental milestones and scheduling playdates. It's really the only time, every day where my time is exclusively mine.

Well, mine and Oprah's.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fall List of Fun

It doesn't feel that long ago, but when I think back it was probably 8 or 9 years ago when my girlfriends and I would create a "Fall List of Fun" towards the end of summer. The list would be filled with all sorts of seasonal activities that we would check off as the season passed. Darrah and Heidi were roommates at the time so the list was always posted at their apartment (where we also had Girls Night each week). We actually created a list for each season, but eventually our lives became busier, and the lists went by the wayside.

Once you have a kid, I've realized it's necessary to have such a list for the family. Weekends can easily slip by and on Sunday night it feels like all you've done is passed the time. We've recently become much more proactive about this possibility and as a result have been having SO much more fun with our weekends. Like most other families, at the top of my Fall List of Fun was visiting a legit pumpkin patch. Last weekend we drove to Snohomish and picked out some pumpkins for our porch steps. Not pictured is this cute fence they'd erected with every size pot and pan hanging from it so the kids could use a spoon to bang on them. Edie chose instead to use the spoon to pop the bubbles spewing from the bubble machine.


Our ride on the covered hay wagon. Edie loved it.

This is her "Woah" face.
Then we realized the wagon was taking us to visit this pumpkin cannon. We thought Edie would love this - what a pleasant surprise! Our girl loves excitement, right? Not so much. She turned into a weeping mess when this thing exploded and sent a pumpkin flying into the atmosphere. And then our friendly, red nosed-alcoholic driver proceeded to fire off like 10 more pumpkins while Edie wailed.
But she recovered. And rode this horse. This is her fierce face.
Then we got down to business. The business of picking out pumpkins.
But by then Edie was worn out.
Our loot.
One quasi-tradition that the girls and I have carried on is our Fall Dinner Party. Tomorrow we continue this tradition and I think I'm going to try my hand at some butternut squash and apple turnovers with smokey gouda and thyme in them. Then on Sunday we get to drive to Vancouver to meet Edie's newest cousin - Otis Benjamin (Obie)!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Baby you can drive my car

Below are some photos of Edie being introduced to the new love of her life: her pink car. It's actually gotten so bad that we can't even say "car" or "drive" around her or she flips out with excitement about taking her car for a spin. We have actually become those parents that spell words so their kids can't understand what they're saying.

Also, please don't miss the video below that Jeff took tonight of Edie making her vroom noise when asked about taking the car for a drive. I love SO MUCH how when he asks her about going for a drive, she just takes off at a jog toward the front door (we've been "parking" her car out front).






video

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

13 Months

I wasn't really planning on writing monthly letters past Edie's one year birthday, but now here we are at 13 months and I feel the urge to document the last month's accomplishments. So perhaps instead of a letter I'll just take a minute around the end of each month/start of the new month to write down some highlights.
Our first trip to the zoo.

You just started doing the occasional dance move. Prior to this month you seemed to enjoy music, but never showed any inclination to dance. Typically your dancing just involves some rump-bopping, but when you're really feelin' it, a little soft shoe can get worked in. My favorite is that you now dance on command!

You communicate using the sign for "more" all of the time now. Recently Grandma C was rubbing your back using a wooden mister smiley tool and when she stopped, you frantically signed to her for more. Last week week while walking around the lake with your friends we got separated from them for a minute. To show that you wanted me to catch up with them, you pointed to their strollers that were parked across the way and signed for more.

I think we can safely say that you have a few words now, although technically most of them are closer to a sound than an actual word. Your most commonly used word is definitely "dat", which means "that" and you point at everything in sight and ask, "dat?". You say "woof" every time you see or hear a dog, which means that while walking around Greenlake, you essentially spend the entire walk quietly woofing.

When you see a cat (or a cat-sized dog) you will make a hissing noise with a hard "cckk". We think this is because while visiting Grandma and Grandpa C's house last week, their cat Foss hissed at you every time you walked by him as this habit started immediately after our weekend visit to their house - so instead of "meow" you apparently think that cats say "cckkk".

You say a combination of "wow" and "woah" when shocked by something. You have sort of a weak version of "hat" and point at your head when you want to play with one of Dad's hats.
You excitedly say "cack" for cat. You occasionally say "uh oh" when you drop toys or food, although it comes out a bit more like "oh oh". Just last week you randomly started saying "buh buh" for bye bye while waving a cute (and sort of sad) like wave with just your hand opening and shutting. Last night I left for my book club and then had to run back inside quickly to grab something. When I came back in (after having just left) you were standing by the door and waving while saying "buh buh".

We bought you a tiny pink car that we push from behind this month and you L-O-V-E it. Whenever we say car, you make a vroom noise that sounds like "vvvrrr". Just this morning, I asked if you wanted to take a ride in your car and you started hyperventilating and saying "VRRRRRR" while running towards the front door. We promptly took a ride up to Cloud City Coffee while you gripped the steering wheel tightly and pointed out any crows we passed on the way.

You are still a manic little charmer, but I sense this month that another side of your personality is also making an appearance. While the more dominant side of you is excitable, fearless and outgoing, I'm also starting to see a quiet side of you. You like to play quietly by yourself while slowly turning the pages of your books and when we take you out or to other people's homes for dinner you are usually very polite and quietly curious.
Well, that's all that comes to mind from this month. I hope to post a few videos of you from this last month, which I think will help capture the developmental stage you are at right now. It seems we took more videos of you this month than photos, probably because getting you to hold still these days is like trying to wrestle a crocodile.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Bellingham

Last weekend we were meant to go to Orcas with Jeff's parents. But high winds made boating seem unpleasant so we stayed in Bellingham and had a wonderful impromptu time. We assembled a last minute dinner with both sets of grandparents, as well as great aunt Wendy, aunt Kathleen and Uncle Javi. What follows are some low quality but entertaining shots of Edie's Bellingham antics (whisks, tupperware, leaf piles, and shampoo swirlies included - you already saw her piano playing skills in an earlier post), the farmer's market, and our trip to Hovander Park and their tiny pumpkin patch.