Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Once the kids are in bed, and a little laundry gets moved around, my plans for the evening involve lots of knitting and hopefully no time on the computer. I hope to make it to midnight, give R a kiss and then settle down to sleep. We have brunch plans tomorrow that I don't want to be too exhausted to enjoy.

I'm not making any resolutions this year. They aren't a big thing for me anyway. But this year seems even less useful than usual. The things I want to "fix" are mostly out of my control. I can do things to try to find a job and I can do things to try to help Todd sleep better...but ultimately I can't *make* either thing happen. So I already have plenty of motivation to "fix" the things I actually *can* control, and I don't need resolutions to motivate me.

I will say that I am a little happy to see the end of 2010. Whether it is true or not, starting a new year feels like a bit of a fresh slate and renewed possibilities. And without the extra holiday tasks on my plate, I'm looking forward to continue my organizational tasks in the house and pursue other ideas bouncing around in my head.

I wish you all the very best in 2011!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Preparations (and Reminiscing)

Last weekend the kids got to see Santa for the second time. Their first visit was in Johnstown the previous weekend while I stayed home. In both cases, Heather was accepting and enthusiastic about sitting and talking with Santa. Todd was not a fan. We were nice enough not to force Todd on his lap, so we don't have a duplicate of Heather's mad/sad photo. Aaaah memories.

We went to Phipps Conservatory as usual, and both kids liked the trains, the flowers and the activities. Always a great destination. When our finances ease up a membership needs to be added to our plans. Especially since Todd will no longer be free as of his birthday. :-)

Tree and decorations - check
Photos taken - check
Cards designed and ordered - check
Wrapping paper - check
Visited Santa - check, check
Make cookies - check

Check address list and print labels
Send cards
Print photos for family gifts
Wrap (I've started...)
Decorate cookies

Trains at Phipps

Chatting with the man in red.

This is as close as Todd would get.

Looking at flowers with Daddy. (Daddy will be annoyed that I didn't rotate this one to make it straight. I'm just happy to be putting up a post...)

Attempting to get a photo of 2 kids together. Always a challenge.

And now for a little trip down memory lane. (AKA, Oh my goodness the kids have gotten big!)

Santa at Phipps, 2009. Todd didn't think it was a big deal. Heather wouldn't leave my arms.

Phipps Winter Flowers, 2009.

Santa at Phipps, 2008. She was fine while waiting in line, but was not okay in his lap!

Santa at my family reunion, 2007. Just staring...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hershey Vacation - Day 1 and 2

I wrote previously about Day 3 of our Hershey trip. Due to a dog-related delay our friends joined us a day later than originally planned, but that enabled us to go to bed early the first night and to check out a more kid-focused activity. We also didn't have to worry about arriving later than planned.

Once we arrived and checked into our room, the kids checked out the bouncy-ness of the bed while I tried to locate a convenient dinner location. I found a nearby pizza place with an iPhone app. It was so close I think getting the kids buckled into car seats took longer than the ride. And being a Tuesday night, it wasn't busy.

The next morning after trying out the hotel buffet, we went to Cherry Creek Adventure Farm in Strasburg. We fed goats and sheep, held baby chicks, looked at pigs and geese, and learned about farm animals. On the 'adventure' side of the farm, the kids tried out a variety of play areas - climbers, jumpers, slingshot games, giant lincoln logs, hay tunnels and wooden horses. We chose to skip the corn maze, given our limited time and our lack of confidence that the kids would enjoy it.

About the time that the kids needed lunch, we got the call to meet our friends over at the Strasburg Railroad. The limited hours that the attractions were open meant hoping that Todd would nap in the sling (he didn't) and powering through the day. After eating, we bought our train ride tickets and then explored the rest of the station until it was time for our ride. At the shops, Todd chose a Thomas ball, Heather chose a nice metal train and I found a train ornament for the tree.

We all enjoyed he train ride and Todd did well despite the lack of a nap.

In the evening, our friends picked out a nice, local restaurant to try. And when we returned to the hotel, daddy took Heather swimming while I put Todd down for bed.

Friday, December 10, 2010

First Baseball Game

Here is an effort to document one of the fun activities from this summer. Before my layoff I was thinking about taking Heather to a Sunday afternoon Pirates game while Todd was home napping. After the layoff, I was looking at a Thursday afternoon game in September...and then once the mother of one of Heather's friends mentioned the same game it became a done deal.

Despite having worn several Reds outfits as an infant, the influence of her daycare teachers has caused Heather to think that she wants to be a Pirates fan. Luckily, for her baseball spirit, she has no idea how lousy the team has been for the past 17 years or even the fact that they lost the day we went to a game. I hope that next year I can pick a game that they win, just so she can experience the excitement of the home crowd cheering for the home team. But she still seemed to have a very good time and seemed to listen as I yammered on about the rules of the game. I will be interested to see if she retains any of it for the beginning of the baseball season in 2011.

We had a nice day and I look forward to taking both kids to a game next year!

The view from our seats. (Someone gave us a buy one, get one free coupon so we sat closer than we had planned to.)

Practicing her pirate face...

Enjoying the game with her new parrot.

What do you mean the other team scored?
Checking out the view from home plate.

Seeing more of the stadium with Sebastian.

Enjoying the food at the game.

Looking at the river before we leave.

Did I say I was ready to leave yet?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Despite how quiet it has been here, I have been thinking about this writing space a lot. Thinking about what I'd like to be writing here and when to make dedicated blog time in my life. In some ways, posting quick thoughts to facebook has taken the place of some of my blog fodder *and* I just signed up for I am trying to sort out what belongs where in my tiny, itty bitty corner of the social media 'verse.

My mind keeps coming back to a post that starting forming the week of Thanksgiving. Not wanting to be cliche (ha!), I have procrastinated to the point that it is more of a holiday season post than a Thanksgiving one.

I am incredibly lucky and incredibly thankful.

It feels a bit odd to say that while I am unemployed with few job prospects, but in some ways my situation is making it more obvious.

I'm thankful that I have choices. That I can choose to work and send my kids to an amazing daycare center/preschool.

I'm thankful that we're doing okay despite my unemployed status. Sure, we have to have much more frequent chats to review the finances and reign in our spending as much as possible. But we are lucky not to be in any immediate financial danger or living from paycheck to paycheck.

I'm thankful for our house and our stuff. Other than some new clothes, I don't find myself wanting a whole lot for Christmas. I'm excited for the things that the kids are going to get and spending the time with family, but I'm not feeling strongly about things that I want. I suppose our situation is making me happy with what we have, and if anything I am using some of my "free time" to pure some things. It isn't that I need our house to be perfectly clean and organized all of the time, but I would like to feel like everything has a place so that cleaning up doesn't involve moving piles from one room to another. :-)

I'm thankful for our health. Even with the string of illnesses that Todd has processed over the past few months, he has never been severely ill and mostly not much more than cranky and restless. And each of these periods has made me thankful for my ability to nurse him. Especially during his tummy bug when the nurse told me that my milk was the best possible thing for him. Proud mommy moment.

I'm thankful for my friends. It is hard to put into words how lucky I have been in the friend department. There are times that it feels hard to live up to how lucky I am to have them, but I do my best.

I'm thankful for the summer we had. Looking back at our pictures makes it clear to me that we took full advantage of lots of outdoor activities and had a lot of fun.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The B-word

That's it. I'm making it official.

Balance is hard as a parent. It doesn't matter if you stay at home, if you work 60 hours a week or anything in between. At the moment, I have 6 1/2 to 7 hours a day at home by myself. I can run errands as needed by myself, take care of chores, and most importantly, try to find a job.

At least in theory.

It seems like it should be ideal. And there are probably some days I could have managed a little more efficiently, but I seriously just can't seem to get a handle on it. Combine the incredible amount of time my resume and portfolio are taking (the downside of being a design professional), the difficulty lately of getting Todd down to sleep at bedtime and the multiple interruptions of the my sleep overnight...and ugh.

I'm not totally overwhelmed and I don't want to be a complainer. I am blessed in SO many ways and we're going to be fine. The uncertainty isn't fun, but somehow I'll find something. I guess I was just hoping by now that my job materials would be done and my job hunting time would be limited to reading job ads and networking. And I also hoped that by now we would have a cleaner house. ;-)

I guess this is also a confession. I know stay at home moms who have gone through similar sleep issues to what Todd is putting me through now. I always assumed that it would be easier to deal with if I stayed home rather than working full time. Sadly, it really isn't. Maybe a *tiny* bit easier - I admit I took a 3 hour nap today. But now I feel behind on everything else. And I was only able to take one because I was so incredibly exhausted that my brain couldn't do anything else. I've tried other times in the past couple of weeks, and I wasn't able to fall asleep because my brain was just so active, thinking of all of the things that needed to be done.

The other balance issue at the moment is that I feel like I shouldn't be doing chores while I'm with the kids, because they are still going to daycare. But, at the same time I need to be using the hours that they are gone to find a job. And, as I mentioned, I haven't been able to do as much after their bedtime since Todd isn't consistently going to bed on time. So it kind of stinks to be in the kitchen making dinner while R is in the backyard playing with them. But afternoon is my most productive time on the computer and I usually look up when it is time to leave to get them, and I haven't done any dinner prep yet.

In the grand scheme of things, this too shall pass. Todd's sleep is bound to improve (hopefully before it gets worse) and maybe with today's nap I'll have the energy to make the next couple of days super-productive.

Consider this a record of one of those difficult times, the appreciation of what I have and the realization that the grass isn't necessarily greener anywhere else.

Look at that. I've got 15 minutes to (try to) prep dinner before I have to leave to pick up the kids.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hershey Park - Vacation Day 3

There is too much that has happened this summer (and this year) to imagine that I'm going to go back and document it all. Especially since I am already bogged down by trying to document the last 11 years of my work life.

But as I think of things or as I find a few photos in the archive that I want to share, I plan to at least cover some of the things I've missed.

I mentioned that we went on vacation the week after my layoff. For a number of years my best friend and I had been chatting about a combined vacation. We needed somewhere sort of in between our homes, and since we didn't manage to do it 4 or 5 years ago, we needed someplace kid friendly! This year the planets finally aligned with all of our available vacations, and we set the Hershey area as our destination.

As it turns out, there is a LOT to do in the area. Really, I had no clue there was so much. And on top of that, we could have spent at least two days in the park itself. Since Todd was not totally himself (teeth + a little virus + no nap + lots of waiting in line = unhappy Todd), it is probably good that we hadn't planned two days in the park. But he did enjoy the time on the rides while they were moving, and some of the people-watching. The waiting in line he could have done without...

Heather seemed to have a great time. She rode a bunch of rides, and came off each one looking for the next. Had I known she was going to be so enthusiastic, I probably would have planned ahead a little and marked up a map with all of the rides she was big enough to ride. Next time for sure!

All in all, it was a very nice day. Especially once I got Todd to take a hour long nap in the carrier. My only annoyance with the park is that you can't bring in food. In hindsight, I wish I would have tried to sneak in just a few small snacks. There were a couple of times that a little dried fruit fortification would have improved the moods of the little people in our group, and there was never anything appropriate near us when we needed it.

We crammed chocolate world in at the end of the day. I was hoping for better dinner food than in the park (and there was), plus we did a little shopping, did the free "factory" tour, got our free piece of chocolate (that Heather had been talking about *all* day) and got back to the hotel about an hour after bedtime. A long and good day.

Just a couple of the rides Heather was on, plus my awkward camera phone picture of Todd after he finally fell asleep:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Upside Down

Four weeks ago my life changed unexpectedly.

Okay. True. I did know that things at my office weren't fabulous. The staff had been on 80% pay for over a year and the office wasn't super busy. But a few things seemed to have come along and there weren't any negative rumblings. It wasn't great, but it didn't seem too bad.

Apparently appearances can be deceiving. Six of us were laid off that day. I had about 30 seconds notice about what was about to happen since I was the second one to be called in and the first victim let me know what had happened to her.

And just like that, after 11 years, I was unemployed.

I spent the day cleaning up my desk and my computer. And hugging coworkers. And being stunned...and not really knowing what was next.

And I still don't.

Well, in my immediate future was vacation. We were just about to embark on an 11 day period when Heather would be home. We had some vacation plans and some staycation plans. So for a week and a half I had very little time to *do* anything about my situation. I started to make some lists, I claimed unemployment and I did some thinking. But there wasn't time for resumes or portfolios or actually trying to find a job.

I have to tell you about the thinking. It was honestly a little like being pregnant again. All of the 'what do I want to do' all over again. What I mean is that the situation forces you to think all over again about why you work, what you like to do, do you want to keep doing the same thing, etc, etc, etc.

Where I have ended up is that I really do want to work. I want to be involved in the design of buildings. There are a variety of avenues where I might try to find a new place to do that. I'm hoping to find a job that is a good fit without being too picky. And I'm open to 'allied' jobs - something where I could use my architectural knowledge and experience without necessarily being in an architecture firm.

But if I can't find a job in the alloted time, then I would rather become a SAH Mom than open my own architecture firm. Maybe I'll change my mind down the road, but at the moment, hanging out my shingle isn't appealing.

No one has directly said to me that I should take the opportunity to stay home. It has been loosely implied by a couple of people and a few people have commented about the opportunity to spend more time with the kids. The conundrum of course is daycare. We can't just pull the kids out while I'm unemployed. Both because I need the time to work on my resume & portfolio, and hopefully have interviews, and also because we wouldn't be able to get them back *in* to daycare when (optimistically) I find a job.

Once I have my resume and portfolio prepared, I do plan to keep the kids home a day or two a week for extra activities or just to spend time together. And we may even be able to drop them down to 3 days a week to save a little money without losing their spots...but that is still to be determined. And I am spending more time with them, since I'm now the one doing drop-off and pick-up each day. That part is a nice change, to get to know their teachers and classmates a little better for the first time in three years. :-)

But in the end, it is the kids that put a lot more pressure on me in this situation than there would be if we didn't have kids. The daycare issue makes my job hunt feel a lot more like a ticking time bomb. Writing my resume and portfolio, and doing my best to network and interview well are the only things in my control at the moment. Down the line I may be lucky enough to get to choose between jobs or make some decision about what I want to do. But it is also a bit unsettling to know that we might come to a point where the situation makes the decision for me.

At the moment, I'm not really ready to go there. I am plugging along at documenting the last eleven years of my career (which is a lot of work) and keeping my ears and eyes open for opportunities.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Missing month

Where exactly did July go? Five weekends and four of them were spent away from home. Planting, swimming, playgrounds, camping, wedding, and lots of time in the car.

The fullness of the first two weeks was expected. Heather had a week of “vacation” from daycare (is it really a vacation when you are taking a break from playing at one place to spend time playing elsewhere?). The weekend before was our annual family camping trip. The weekend after was a trip to DC and Maryland to attend a wedding and visit friends. In between was 3 days of fun with Daddy (I was home for one day, when we went to see Toy Story 3).

Once the whirlwind of travel was over, I was expecting quite a few weeks of no plans. Regular work days, hurrying to do something outside after work and/or having a quick dinner, plus weekends of outdoor play and swimming. Unfortunately, my grandmother’s health began to fail, and Todd and I jumped in the car on Thursday night after work. We spent the weekend in Ohio and then returned the following weekend for my grandmother’s funeral.

In my head, I have things to write about her and about my other grandmother who we lost last spring.

The weeks in between were spent trying hard not to fall too far behind with chores, laundry, dishes, etc, while also trying to enjoy as much outdoor time as our schedule allows. There was a little knitting, too, especially on the DC and Ohio trips when I didn’t have to drive. J

And somewhere in there we whooshed past my five year blogiversary. I had expected to write a wordy post, but instead I spent that day in the car.

I just wanted to say *something* here. Maybe there is hope to return regular blogging to my routine.

Monday, June 28, 2010


A few other things about Todd that I either forgot, or which have just occurred this weekend.


He sometimes says “oof” (woof) when he sees doggies and they always get his attention, just as kitties do.

He makes a little kissing sound like we make to call the kitties.

When we were holding hands, he clearly said “Row” and was happy when I started “Row, row, row your boat…”

He was playing with some little cars and doing his own version of “vroom, vroom” noises while driving them around.

He can squat and he is standing without holding on for longer and longer periods.  Last night at dinner he stood for a good five minutes.


Of course, I can’t think of an example at the moment, but it is clear that his receptive language is getting better.  Now that we have some confidence that he is understanding us (I’m sure he has for a while, it is just clear now that he is), the process of teaching him to hand my unwanted food instead of throwing it on the floor begins along with all of those other “fun” toddler testing habits.


Aaaaaaand, I saw a couple of very brief steps this weekend.  Just a couple of shuffle steps when he was more focused on what he wanted than how he was getting there.  But if he really thinks about going somewhere he crawls because he can get there faster and more easily.  It is just a matter of time, I’m sure.


On an unrelated note, the nice thing I can say about the cats right now is that they are letting the kids get closer.  Nora will let Heather come right up to her and pet her quite often, and will sometimes stick around for Todd, too.  Stewart is less interested in being approached, but he doesn’t run away as quickly or avoid the kids as much as he used to.  And occasionally, Heather can come up to him and pet him.   Sadly, this doesn’t make up for the messes they’ve been making around the house, but it at least balances out some of my resentment.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer and Words

First, we've been having a lot of fun outside the past few weeks. In the water, on the playground, out walking, in the backyard, etc. We've had some rain, but most of it has been sporadic and Father's Day was one of the most beautiful June days I've ever experienced. Hot in the sun, cool in the shade and minimal humidity. I'm not sure why we didn't get a little backyard pool before now...

Todd on Grandma and Grandpa's swingset.
Heather in a drink float in Grandma and Grandpa's pool.
Heather and Todd "helping" me with the yard sale.
Todd is just a few days away from 14 months and it is clear that his receptive language is improving, and we are hearing a couple of new words a week. Did I ever even tell you all which word was his first?

Kitty was the first one, a few weeks before his birthday, I think. Basically any animal is a kitty - doggies, squirrels and recently a goat that we saw on TV.

Other words:
Mama, which is now mommy
Dada, although since saying mommy, that seems to be his term for both of us
"Ma" for more, which he can also sign

And R thinks he said "cheese" when he was taking his picture last night. Most of these have been figured out because he does a LOT of pointing when he wants something, and that helps to clue us in. :-)

Friday, June 11, 2010

The last month

Things seem to be changing quickly around here. Todd is in the fast process of going from baby to toddler. Now that we have a pre-schooler, a 13 month old doesn't seem nearly as "old" as it did when Miss H was going through it. But Todd is definitely asserting his will, exploring the world around him and not going to let anyone call him "easy going" anymore.

1 - The best Todd news is that he has finally "clicked" with the sippy cup and hasn't taken a bottle at daycare since Monday. Not only does this mean that I can stop cleaning and making the bottles every night and it will be easy to keep him hydrated in the hot summer months and he can be "slightly" more trusted to not get milk all over everything at dinner,...but most importantly I can STOP PUMPING at work! Woot!

2 - I think it has been long enough, that I'm prepared to state out loud that Todd has started sleeping all night in his crib about 4 nights a week! Even on the nights he does wake up is isn't until after 3:30, and he's been going right back to sleep after nursing. (Now I have to knock on wood and pray that this public declaration doesn't undo all of this progress...)

And he's sleeping well at daycare for naps even though he's sleeping on a mat in his new room. That change is always a little worrisome as a parent. It is hard to imagine how it works, but these teachers have been doing it for so long that they make it work...and peer pressure is a wonderful thing in the toddler set. I think he's making the transition from 2 naps to 1 slowly as well.

3 - About a month after the first battle of wills, Heather finally seems to have made the break through to being fully potty trained. For a few weeks she was just peeing at home (or with her parents) and depending on diapers at school and for #2. We started trying overnights in underwear again, which went well and lead to a diaper-free weekend. Which in turn led to another (but thankfully quicker) battle of wills of using the potty for #2. And a few days after that, R was present at daycare when Heather needed to pee, which lead to diaper-freedom there, too. She still doesn't seem 100% sold on public pottys, but she has enough control that this hasn't cause any accidents.

I'll end the possibly blackmail worthy discussion before I get in trouble. I'm glad this is over and I'm excited about adding Cars to the movie selection.

4 - Todd has also started acting like a picky toddler. He still loves meat and fruit and bread, but any vegetables, plain noodles or new foods get unceremoniously hurled off of his tray. Joy.

5 - Todd is also getting 2 more bottom teeth, which will bring him up to 8 total. I keep meaning to look at the back of his gums and see if there is any sign of molars yet.

6 - Heather is totally compliant and happy one minute, and completely defiant the next.

Oh, cranky b*tch.

7 - And an observation. It was 4 years ago about this time that we found out we were expecting. So for four years I have either been pregnant or breastfeeding (or both). It's not clear when Todd will be done nursing and I'm not in a hurry to stop him. It is just fascinating to know what our bodies can accomplish, and I suppose I will be a little sad when this era is over. It is just one of many ways to mark how our lives and our kids have change in addition to all of the milestones above.

Truthfully, I'm perfectly happy to be finished with the whole pregnancy thing and I won't be sad to pass along my pump and bottles. But I hope that the nursing isn't close to being done. Somewhat selfishly, because then I have to come up with a new method for putting him to bed. :-P

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


The yard sale is over, the DVR is under control (and not growing much on a daily basis), there is nothing 'big' on the horizon, potty training is moving in a positive/less time intense direction, my need to pump seems to be coming to an end, I've done pretty well with the first week & a half of packing Heather's lunch...and yet I'm still feeling pretty overwhelmed.


I need to go to bed earlier, need to get/stay caught up on dishes, need to straighten the house from the post-yard sale uproar, need to deal with cat messes, need to take advantage of the nice weather, need to plant the flowers (which are growing wonderfully even though they aren't in the ground), need to deal with very overdue thank you notes, need to cook dinner every night in a way that doesn't bore me to tears but does provide food that my family will eat and I need to have a little me time to relax, knit and maybe (*gasp*) have a conversation with my husband.

Not to mention the emails to reply to, the travel arrangements to be made, the laundry, the need to put together something that I can wear to a wedding, the gifts for said wedding and overdue gifts from two weddings last year, baby gifts for this year and last, and a bunch of house projects that are overdue. Oh, and then there are the four or five knitting/crochet projects that are 95% done, the pants that are 50% hemmed and the dozen or so projects that need to be photographed.

I don't want to sound whiny, because in general things are just fine around here. Everyone is healthy, and the kids are as happy as a 3 year old and a 1 year old will allow themselves to be. :-P I'm just at one of those points where there is so much to do, but the moment that I get a little time I just want to say "screw it", do the bare minimum and play with yarn until bedtime...or until an hour after I should really be going to bed. I need to snap myself out of this bad cycle. And somehow I need to do it without taking a whole day off to straighten up the house, kitchen and laundry. Besides, I'm pretty sure that if I did take a day off I would just want to sit around and be lazy, and I wouldn't actually get caught up.

If anyone figures out how to manipulate the space-time continuum in my favor, please gimme a call.

Friday, June 04, 2010


Time continues to rush by in a whirlwind that is hard to express. I feel like I've been thinking about things I want to post a lot lately, but there always seems to be at least a few higher priority things on my to do list. And next thing you know it is the end of the day or an hour past the time I wanted to go to bed...

To get myself back in the swing of posting, I'm going to try to do quick snippets (kind of like my FB status updates), just to get something up here again. I hate to even suggest this...but when the new iPhones come out, R is getting one and I'm getting his old one, so maybe the ability to do quick posts from my phone will help me develop some new habits. (And bonus, I'm counting the new phone as his Father's Day present! :-) Not sure if he knows that...)

My random list from March is still pretty accurate. But there are a few new tidbits.

- Todd's favorite foods are fruit, meat, pizza and bread. He'll tolerate other stuff, but lately I'm noticing that he is much less willing to try anything that goes on his tray. Sometimes he'll try new things after a few bites of fruit or he'll let some noodles in while he chows down on the meat sauce...but some times he is clearly NOT willing to each some of the food being offered. I tried to enjoy his openness to food while it lasted. Looks like we've got two picky eaters in the house now.

- Todd is all about pointing - this started soon after his birthday. Wait, what? You say. Yes, he had a birthday and I haven't documented it in the least. And here we are more than a month past. Ahem.

Anyway, he's been pointing a ton, which is helping to curb some of his new toddler behavior. We've entertained the frustration territory where he knows.what.he.wants and can't tell us. Some use of pointing and signing "more" helps, but there is definitely some toddler angst brewing in our formerly "always easy going" guy.

- Todd's words: kitty was first and he still calls all animals kitty, but it's a process. :-) Other new words include ball, duck, mama, dada and uh-oh. I get the sense that there are probably a few more, but as a second child you just don't get the same kind of undivided attention and child #1. But you do have a constant source of entertainment and much more TV access than your older sibling did at your age, so I think it all evens out in the end.

- Since we were feeling like things were going smoothly (!) and we had a lot of busy weekends coming up, a few weekends ago we took away Heather's diapers. It was clear from her experiences in underwear that she had the ability to 'hold it' until she got a diaper on and could keep her underwear dry for hours at a time. For fear of significantly embarrassing my future teenage daughter and because I don't want to rehash all of our struggles...I'll just say that Heather is wearing underwear at home and putting all of her pee in the potty when she's with mommy and daddy. Why she refuses to use the potty at daycare or do #2 in the potty is something we can't quite comprehend or bribe her into doing. With busy weekends, we're currently playing the waiting game and hoping that she decides to go the rest of the way on her own. And I'm thankful that there was at least some positive result to our weekend of struggle.

Her tenacity and stubbornness is certainly inherited and will serve her well as an adult. No matter how frustrating it is as a 3 year old.

- We've added a new movie into the obsession rotation - one of my favorites. The Sound of Music. Awesome. And we continue to look forward to taking her to see Toy Story 3 in the theater. Though we still need to figure out who will watch Todd while we go...

- My knitting and crochet mojo has returned full force. I'm trying to use any evening time I have for sewing/mending projects and project finishing to avoid having any more projects that are 95% finished. I need to make some evening time for photography while we still have a little light after the kids go to bed. Or to let Heather help me on the weekend during on of Todd's naps.

- Speaking of Todd sleep, the improvements continue. 3 nights of the past week he has slept the entire (and I mean entire) night in his crib from bedtime to wake-up. And most of the other nights, the wake-ups have been minimal or short-lived. Bedtime has been a little bit of a mixed bag, but since the generally trend is all about improvements, I'm not complaining. I just need to go to bed earlier once we get through the yard sale this weekend.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Favorite Foto Friday - Easter

We had beautiful weather and a nice family day this year.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


A short, random post is better than nothing...right?

I just logged into Google Reader for the first time in a week and have almost 850 unread items. I've been skimming my personal and work email so lightly that I have hundreds of messages that I haven't even opened because I know I will delete them and they are adding up fast. The only reason I'm keeping up on facebook and have even looked at my personal email is because I can access them on my phone. Work, home, the is just busy right now. I can't pinpoint just one thing. But I think part of it is a desire to take advantage of the lovely weather we've been having combined with a serious of short term deadlines at work.

I'm not complaining. It would be nice to be a little less behind on the housework and be a little more rested, but I'm just doing the best I can to keep up and take care of myself. And with a little grandparent assistance this weekend I hope to come out a little closer to "caught up" on Monday.

Random kid facts:

- Todd is getting all four top, middle teeth at once. The two middle ones are a little further through, but all four of them are marching down together. He gotten as cranky or as restless as Heather used to, but there was some more night-waking.

- Todd's sleep is better but still not consistent. It is so sporadic that I never know if it will be a wake 1 time or a wake 4-5 times night. But I'm thrilled that he generally starts the night in his own bed and as long as we don't royally screw up his schedule with out of the house activities, he'll nap there on the weekends, too. In the past week he had a 6 hour stretch one night and woke every 2-3 hours the next.

- Heather's current movie obsession is Toy Story. She would literally watch the whole thing every day if we would let her. The nice weather has distracted from the obsession a little bit, or at least kept us busy enough that there just isn't time for TV in the evenings, but I'm not sure when the last day passed that she didn't ask for something from one of the DVDs. We've basically decided that Toy Story 3 will be her first movie at the theater. I can't wait!

- Todd is crawling, pulling up and very close to cruising. I think he's been amenable to being in the exersaucer once in the last two weeks. If I need to cook, a better strategy is to put him in his high chair with snacks. It keeps him happy and he's eating enough that a snack before dinner won't ruin his appetite.

- Some nights he has eaten as much at dinner as I have. And he is only drinking his third bottle at daycare once a week. Now if only he would learn to drink from a cup and I would have some hope that I can stop pumping in a month.

- Most of the time lately Heather has been pretty delightful. She can be so happy, so helpful, so independent, so cooperative...and then with no warning she becomes a stubborn crying child who Will. Not. do whatever it is that you are nicely asking her to do and that we've done a million times before. I think these tantrums are harder because they are so sudden and unexpected and so vigorous.

- Her only other frustrating behavior is her propensity for grabbing things (especially toys) out of Todd's hands. Her toys, his toys, shared toys, etc. And she's showing a fondness for things that are "his". Honestly, I'm not really sure how to set the boundaries for what is shared (should be most things) and what is Heather's or Todd's. There are a few clear items (Heather's favorite blanket)...but otherwise it is slightly tricky territory and I have a feeling it won't really be solved until Todd is old enough to walk up to Heather and take things back. Fun times ahead!

- We went to the Science Center a few weeks ago and had a really nice time. I am pretty sure that Heather would have been happy to stay until they closed at 7pm. As we were leaving she told me she "is sad that it is time to leave now." She was clearly tired, but overall very well behaved and listened well. She enjoyed the robots, the trains, the water play area and the science exploration area.

- Heather is officially done with naps on the weekend. Despite how tired she was when we got home from the science center, she wouldn't even nap that day. She's still doing some napping at daycare, but weekend napping is a no-go. I'm much more at peace with it than I expected to be. Some days it becomes "movie time" for her obsession as noted above, and in general even if she's just playing I can get some things done, knit, do dishes, fold laundry, etc. We manage to have some quiet-ish time, and since it no longer results in a bedtime meltdown at 7pm I can live with it. I'm a little sad in a selfish way that we'll never have a period when both kids are taking an afternoon nap, but since Todd doesn't seem to be ready for one nap a day yet, that period was going to be short anyway. And at least now we can try to plan around his two naps instead of 3 different naps for 2 kids.

- It actually seems like there is much more to tell you, but my head is blank and my food break is over.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Favorite Foto #2

Well, if nothing else, Annie is getting me to post a little more often.

When she posted the theme for the week (sunshine), this was the first picture I thought of. It has always been a favorite. Not only because of the way Heather and I are outlined by the sunlight but also because it is from my first Mother's Day weekend.

Friday, March 05, 2010


Since I've been a very sporadic blogger lately, I'm taking the inspiration that Annie is providing and participating in her favorite foto friday challenge. Today's theme is "you" and I admit that this one is a little hard. I'm generally pretty critical of photos of myself, I tend to favor the ones from when I weighed a little less and most of the ones I truly like are of me with a kid where the shot really isn't of me. There is one from 8 or 9 years ago in Austin that I like, but it isn't on flickr and most of the others in which I like my expression, my clothes or hair annoys me. Did I mention that I'm too critical? :-)

But, I managed to find one that I like, that doesn't have the kids and that is not a vanity shot from the period when I was at my lowest weight.

I believe this was on a "sunset cruise". I know it was during our honeymoon in Grand Cayman. And no, I don't remember what I was drinking, but I'm sure it was brightly colored and overly sweet. ;-)

Monday, March 01, 2010

It's never...

...too snowy to go to the playground. The snow pants, mittens and bulky coat provided double duty as extra padding during the inevitable slips and falls on the snow-covered climber.

More updates to come whenever work stops kicking my butt.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


My charming, intelligent, strong-willed, independent, sweet, caring, nurturing, independent, stubborn, smart, happy and independent daughter is three years old today. Despite being totally stressed out by this whole snow situation going on (don't get me started), I'm thrilled and proud to be her mom today. Even when she's refusing to nap, asking to have cupcakes for breakfast and requesting her 1,498th viewing of Wall-E, I'm happy to be her mommy. (Or mama, depending on her mood.)

3 years ago at this time I was trying to get the hang of breastfeeding, watching daddy change her diapers, watching her sleep in her incubator and praying for her temperature to go up so she could stop sleeping in there, and waiting for the grandparents to make their first visit.

As I was going to sleep last night I was remembering 3 years ago when it just seemed like a normal Thursday night, until I got up at 2:45am to go to the bathroom...and life would never be the same again. I remember as we were leaving the house thinking that the next time I would be home we'd have a baby.

I don't feel like I can adequately capture what the last three years has meant or all of Heather's wonderful expressions, quirks and traits. I think that is why I write so many random bits here, to try to fill in the whole picture with bits and pieces. I only wish that more people could get to know such a special girl as well as I do.

Here's to another year in the world of Heather!