Monday, February 23, 2009

Quick and Incomplete Update

I finished my book assignment last Tuesday night, and I still don't feel caught up (hence the lack of blogging). There's something else going on to contribute to this, but more on that at a later date. Now I'm gearing up for my friend's wedding shower this weekend, and for TJ's week-long trip that starts next Monday. In the meantime, we have a busy week as usual.

I'm sure there's an E update, but I can't think what right now. We've just come through a bout of teething that resulted in the emergence of his last one-year molar. He's still teething, but no longer needs Motrin every day. We had a good time with folks at the park this morning. Beautiful weather.

My little brother's All-State concert the weekend before last was wonderful, and TJ and E had a great time spending all day together. They'll be doing it again this Saturday while I'm at the shower in San Marcos. When I got home from San Antonio (it was Valentine's Day), TJ had gotten me a rose from him and one from E, and he'd prepared a Valentine-y cocktail and bought steaks to grill. He'd even gotten some strawberries and chocolate for dessert. He's notorious for hating Valentine's Day with a passion, and I'm ambivalent about it, so we've never really celebrated it. This was a sweet surprise to come home to, I have to say, Valentine's Day or not.

TJ has been especially wonderful lately, by the way. I sure am thankful for him. Lovey love.

Monday, February 16, 2009


One of my fellow Austin Mamas, whose blog I read all the time, is going through something I can't begin to imagine. After an incredibly scary pregnancy and premature delivery (at 28 weeks) last summer, her baby Isaac (aka Ike-a-saurus) made it home this past fall. But to make a long story short, a problem with his airway developed over the past few weeks, and then he got very sick with an unknown virus, and he's now intubated and sedated in the pediatric ICU. He's having surgery in the morning, and the situation is very grave. Please think good thoughts for him and his family. They have been through so much, including his dad getting laid off recently.

The Austin Mamas have already raised enough money to pay for Isaac's Cobra for February and March. The mamas are also organizing a bake sale, silent auction, rummage sale, and a family friendly music event. But for now everything is on hold until the surgery is over.

I've been a huge secret admirer of Ike's mom, Kari, for a year now. She's a children's author and might be the funniest person in Austin. Her blog is here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Words, Balls, and Shape Sorting

We seem to spend most of our time with E these days laughing. I know this is just the merest taste of what it will be like when he's really starting to talk, but where we are now is so delightful. Everything he does is funny and/or unbearably cute (okay, except when he throws his cup). Yesterday he brought a record six balls outside on our afternoon walk. He carried two to the front doorway, tossed each one into the yard in front of him (while still standing inside the house), then ran back into the living room to get two more. Repeat. This was after he woke up from his nap and stood at the gate at the top of the stairs saying, "Ssss, ssss, ssssiiiiiide, buh, buh, buh!" in other words, "I want to get the balls and go outside." It was the first time he's expressed something using two words.

Once we get outside every afternoon, he surveys the many balls that lay scattered across the lawn. He's like a king contemplating his dominion. He then chooses one or two and we start the walk, throwing and kicking the balls ahead of us and then running after them. He's great at throwing, and at bending over and batting the balls, and TJ has taught him how to kick, though he doesn't kick them as often. My goal on these walks (aside from keeping him from going in the street or up to a neighbor's house) is to keep the balls from going into the storm drains. Anytime one of the balls escapes (roughly fifty times per walk), I run into the street like a maniac to catch it before it's lost. We've lost many, many balls.

The word he says most clearly, and most often, is "kitty." He adores Squeaky and also identifies cats in books and anywhere else. One day he was staring at the side of the fridge saying, "kiddy, kiddy, kiddy, kiddy," and we realized that he was looking at a magnet we have that has a cat on it. Each time something like this happens, it's thrilling for us and we get all goofy with excitement.

Yesterday we were reading his book about colors (over and over and over) and he kept pointing to the green apple. I'd say "apple" and he'd look at me with this smile that seemed to mean, "I know what it is and I want to say it but I don't know how." Then he said, "aaaaaaaa." We went through this several times, me saying "apple" and him saying "aaaaaaa." He couldn't figure out the second syllable, but he knows it's there and wants to say it.

Today I told him that we were going to see a baby this morning, and he smiled that same smile. I said, "Can you say 'baby'?" He smiled and said tentatively, "buh-buh."

His word for TJ is "Dat." He loves his Dat.

He doesn't spend much time stacking blocks anymore. His main obsession now is the shape shorter. He can't do it by himself, but wants to do it all the time, which can get tedious, to say the least.

He spends time each day quietly looking at books by himself, turning the pages, staring and staring at the pictures. I love watching him do this when he doesn't know I'm watching.

I'll end this here, but may add to it later . . .

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Getting chased upstairs on the way to bath.

"Sometimes a President Is Just a President"

I really enjoyed Judith Warner's last column in the New York Times:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fitting It All In

It's been over a week since I started this book assignment, and it's really taking its toll. My brain is mush, and it's been a struggle to keep up with the neverending cycle of laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, emails, bills, and so on, in addition to hanging with my sweet little dude and trying to find time to work (every night, every day at nap--basically any spare moment I have). I've enjoyed using my brain again and having a book project on the table, but doing it this way is not sustainable. I had a sitter come Monday morning for three hours, and she's coming back Thursday afternoon for a couple of hours. That enables me to get roughly 50 pages done out of 256 (I'm currently on page 148). I'm hoping the sitter can come back next Monday too. In the meantime, I forgot that this Saturday is my little brother's All-State concert in San Antonio. I'll be gone all day doing that while TJ stays here with E (the longest he's ever flown solo). As soon as I ship the book back, I'll be focusing on preparing for a bridal shower I'm helping to host in San Marcos in two weeks. In the meantime, it looks like TJ will be out of town next Thursday and Friday.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Our Current Schedule (for the record)

We have a great schedule these days. It started to shape up around the time E turned one and dropped his morning nap, and it's only gotten better.

Monday mornings: play at the park with the mamas and babies
Tuesday and Wednesday mornings: co-op
Wednesday (or sometimes Thursday) afternoons: play date with Jonas and Kay
Thursday mornings: play group with mamas and babies
Friday mornings: storytime

After being out in the morning, we come home, eat lunch, and then naptime starts around 1:00 and runs anywhere from 2:30 to 3:30. He's often groggy when he wakes up, and if so, we spend some time snuggling in the rocking chair. After that we play upstairs awhile and then we come downstairs and he gets his balls and we play outside until 4:00 or 4:30. Then we come in and I start dinner, which usually doesn't go over well. (The starting of dinner, I mean, not the dinner itself, ha.) TJ often stops working while dinner is being made and either takes over cooking or entertains E while I finish (or else we're both cooking). We now all three eat dinner at the same time, between 5:30 and 6:00. It's pretty hectic, considering there are only three of us. E eats what we're having when possible, which is maybe half the time. TJ is the one who bathes him and reads to him, usually, and then I nurse him and put him down around 7:00.

On Fridays we go to Chuy's.

On non-co-op mornings we sometimes end up running errands or meeting other friends or hanging out at home; it just depends.

Co-op has really taken off in 2009. I don't believe I've posted about it much. A group of the '07 Austin Mamas (myself included) started it last fall. E was 12 months when the first session began and he wasn't walking yet. (Wow--that seems crazy to me now.) We rent a room at the UU church that is fully stocked with toys and opens out into a wonderful courtyard play area with a sandbox, swings, a slide, push toys, balls, etc. We started with just two mornings a week (six babies each morning), but now we've expanded to four mornings (some people come one day a week, some two--like us--some three). We recently hired a teacher (last week was her first week), and in addition to being great for the kids, it also means that us mamas only have to work at the co-op once every six weeks instead of twice. In my case, since we go two days a week, I'll be on duty a total of two days out of twelve. Right now the hours are 9:30 to 11:30, but starting mid-March they'll expand to 12:00 and then later 12:30. It'll be interesting to see what happens to the group as (I assume) more and more of the kids leave to enroll in preschools around town. Right now we've got a good thing going.

Last fall E had some trouble adjusting and came close to cracking his skull open one day (I bawled all the way home and considered dropping out but felt better after talking to the other mamas about the situation), but this winter he's totally found his groove. He loves co-op and isn't as overwhelmed by it as he used to be. Before the holidays, one of the mamas made everyone a co-op book to take home with pictures of the room and the kids and mamas and the stuff outside, and E asks me to read it to him all the time now.

As you might imagine, I heart co-op as well, because it gives me time to run errands (I can run *so* many errands in an hour!), go on a walk . . . whatever. It's even been nice when I've spent the time close to the church, keeping an eye on E from afar. I've read in the car, written emails, stuff like that. I've also enjoyed slowly getting to know some of the other mamas. They're a wonderful bunch.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Weekend Summary

Bullets, cuz that's all I have time for:

* Went to a CPR training Saturday morning at our church. I hadn't done the training since college, and I'd forgotten a lot, plus CPR has changed a bit since then (30 chest compressions instead of 15, for instance). We were also trained on an AED--how great is that? I didn't know that was part of the training. And we went over choking. (S-c-a-r-y.) Even just acting out these horrifying scenarios brought tears to my eyes several times.

* Saturday night we went out to dinner with a couple of friends of mine from high school, one of whom is getting married here in Austin in June (and moving here in March), and the other of whom has a baby a little older than E and is a bridesmaid along with me, in our friend's wedding. We're throwing her a shower at the end of February in our hometown of San Marcos. As much as I'd love to blog about this wedding (would I ever), it's something I shouldn't write about on here, and that's probably just as well (plus, who has the time?).

* We went to the early service, as usual, on Sunday morning. A quote I loved: "Anger is like wine: It hides you from yourself and reveals you to everyone else." And: "The person who angers you, conquers you."

* From church we drove to my parents' house in San Antonio, and my stepmom Gwen babysat E while TJ and I went to lunch and then over to the high school where my dad is the choir director and my little brother is a senior. My dad does a musical every year, and that's what we were going to see. This year he did Into the W.oods, and my sweet little brother (Angus) played the Baker, one of the leads. He was wonderful and I cried. He wants to major in International Relations, but I hope he continues doing stuff with theater and voice in some capacity.

* E had a blast with Grandma (though he did fall and get a fat lip) and she was able to get him down for a nap easily. You could've knocked me over with a feather. I was so relieved. No one else besides us has put him down for a nap in like nine months. She brought him to the high school as the musical ended, and he ran up and down the aisles of the auditorium laughing hysterically and chasing the cool new balls Grandma had gotten for him. He also played with Pops. It was incredibly sweet to see him interact with my parents, both of whom he clearly remembers and loves.

* Afterwards we all went out to eat (minus Angus, who went out with friends), and then on the way home I was suddenly seized with the fear that we'd left E's white noise machine at my parents' house. Sure enough, we had. I nearly freaked. I was so sure this meant that E wouldn't sleep and that we'd have to move ours into his room, which would mean I wouldn't sleep. But I actually talked myself down from prematurely freaking by reminding myself that E is not me (that's been well established!) and that he could very well sleep fine without it, and wouldn't that be awesome? How liberating to be free from our dependence on white noise! (I'm a light sleeper and a lost cause, but he needn't be.) Sure enough, that's what happened. He slept fine, didn't wake once, and as I type he's napping without it as well. This was definitely a blessing in disguise.

* The book assignment I accepted a few weeks ago arrived with no paragraph indents (it's a British import, so it's already been typeset), so there's been a delay while that was fixed. I got the new files this morning, so I've got my work cut out for me for the next two weeks (originally I had four to do this). I'm a bit stressed. Looks like I'll be working quite a few nights coming up.

* I shudder to think of the number of calories I consumed yesterday. What a weird eating day. I've felt vaguely ill since last night's diner dinner of chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes (and a coke--it's been years since I ordered a coke at a restaurant--what the hell?). I've vowed to make up for it this week.

* I think I'll write a separate post about E later/soon.

* We had a marvelous time this morning at the park with the mams. So fun . . .

* I guess using bullets doesn't come naturally to me, huh. I gravitate towards paragraphs.