30 November 2011

Goodbye November

I am glad this is over. Although writing daily, even when I did it crappily (i.e. every day), was good for me.

Today I drove with Jane for the first time and she did well. We went to the library for a free book -- Read to Your Bunny. Pretty good stuff. When she's a little older we'll go to infant lap sit story times. Definitely want to raise a reader.

Here are her feet, because I think they're so sweet:


29 November 2011

Elf Yourself 2011

This post will be obsolete in a couple months when they stop hosting the videos, but I think it still counts for nablopomo.

Also, someone's umbilical cord stump fell off today ... and she went to the doctor and weighs almost 11 lbs!


28 November 2011

Decorate

Shawn brought in my storage boxes of Christmas goodies -- decorations, wrapping things and old cards. Today Jane and I looked through them but mostly didn't get much out. We don't have a tree (yet), so not sure if we need to unpack the ornaments. It seems like I have enough collected to fill a tree. There'd be no theme, other than historical ornaments from my life and a few handed down. I don't think Shawn has any ornaments of his own, other than some I may have given him.

A neat tradition that my aunt did for her boys is to buy them an ornament each year and then when they move out they have a set of ornaments that cover their lives. I want to do that for Jane. I ordered a "Baby's First Christmas" ornament today because it was cheap on Cyber Monday. But I'll probably want to get something nicer too -- and so there's a 2011 baby ornament for us to keep in our collection too.

I'm so exhausted I'm not sure how I'll be able to remember this holiday season. But I know when Jane's my age and even sooner I'll want to remember it in detail! So I'll be writing a lot in December -- although probably not as much here as I have been doing this November!

27 November 2011

Advent Season

Today's the first day of Advent. Shawn and I took our baby girl to church. I'm not sure if it was a good idea -- given her young age and immature immune system. She seems OK, and no one touched her but us. She also was an angel during the service and slept most of the time. We'll see if I psych myself out of taking her again next week.

Mama & Jane at church ...
Why yes, I am posting a flattering picture of myself!

26 November 2011

31: Made to Order

Hey, hey. It's my birthday.

And it's like I special ordered this day. I woke up with a house full of family -- Beth finishing cleaning and doing laundry, Owen being his sweet funny self, Mama cuddling a baby Jane, and Shawn filling in everything else.

It's been rainy and overcast -- my perfect weather. (If I had my way, it would do this every day ...) Right now it's really pouring and I'm sitting in the sunroom listening to the first Christmas music of the season (Jane's first Christmas music EVER).

We're spending the day at home together. Thinking about going out to dinner, but the thought seems overwhelming, especially since we didn't get an infant carrier/we'd have nowhere to put Jane down. So maybe takeout instead.

This time last year my arms were aching -- aching for Jane. But patience -- even imperfect patience -- paid off. And how blessed we are.

I can honestly say, despite the exhaustion and steep learning curve of caring for this sweet baby girl, that I have never had a happier birthday...

This is 31 -- with my two favorite little people: Owen and Jane!

25 November 2011

Left Overs

Beth made our Thanksgiving dinner, and boy was it good. So good that we really don't have much left over, except some turkey (so yummy -- really the best turkey I've ever eaten) and some Pumpkin Dump Cake, which is so good and so easy. Definitely an overly rich dessert, but yum-o.

We also went on a walk -- took Jane to the local park for the first time. Owen had a great time on the playground, and I even swung a little bit. Now I'm trying to figure out birth announcements (still hemming and hawing about those because I want them to be just right), decide whether to do a separate Christmas card (less self-designed, more drag-and-drop) and what to do about Christmas gift shopping.

What I really need is a nap!

Daddy & Jane stroll home from the park

24 November 2011

Grateful Life

Another non-meme meme -- everyone is of course posting about Thanksgiving today and being grateful for all our blessings and even our first world problems.

Shawn and I have a lot to be thankful for. It's too much to even try to list and almost too much for a heart to bear. But here's a little bit of what's on my mind and heart these days, in the month where gratitude is top-of-mind for many.

We have a beautiful, healthy baby who's growing and being so good.

We have family who help us take care of her and who take care of us (my sister and mom have been amazing in their tag team efforts).

We have a lovely home, plenty of food, heat and air conditioning (depending on the hour it seems!), clean water and a comfy bed.

We have each other, and we've got LOVE.

Jane's new gown from cousin Maelee

23 November 2011

Review: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Battle Hymn of the Tiger MotherBattle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book caused quite a controversy back when it was released. My husband's boss loaned it to us now that we have a daughter. The book wasn't as extreme as I was expecting. It's more of a memoir than a how-to-parent guide. It details her experiences raising her daughters in the "Chinese" way of high expectations and no excuses. Some food for thought, but I think I learned more from Jim Burns' Confident Parenting.

View all my reviews

22 November 2011

All Wrapped Up

Moby Success?
We have a variety of baby carriers -- Baby Bjorn, Moby, Ring Sling. I'm not sure what the baby likes.

She let Daddy carry her around the back yard in the Baby Bjorn (another hand-me-down -- hurrah!), and I was able to hold her in the Moby for a bit. I think both times she was sleeping. Not sure how she feels about being carried when she's awake.


The ring sling has had mixed success. But we'll keep trying. It's the prettiest carrier of all -- it's purple and a gift from Gingie!

21 November 2011

Fringe Benefit

A side effect of growing a human has been an increase in the strength of my fingernails. Normally they are pliable and prone to breaking and peeling. But right now they're as long as they've ever been and ALL are long -- not just a few randoms. They're also super strong. But to be a better mom (i.e. not scratch up my kid) I'm cutting them off. Just wanted to take a picture of them and document them here -- once I grew long nails! (Nowhere near the accomplishment of growing a human, but still something.)

Also my wedding and engagement rings fit again! I haven't been able to wear them in months, and even after the delivery I was so pumped full of fluids that I was a stay puff marshmallow even MORE than what I was at the end of the pregnancy. Everything in that regard seems to have resolved and I think my feet have stayed the same size -- still gargantuan, but not any bigger than they were in February, pre-pregnancy.

20 November 2011

Sugar Dumpling

Not many pictures of me and my girl, so I took one with my webcam. Owen is SICK -- so we haven't had many pictures of the two of them together. I am stressed out at the thought that she might get sick too. She's so little and vulnerable. Hoping breast milk really does help ward off any germs she may encounter!


19 November 2011

Initial Baby Gear Thoughts

In my 10 days as the mother of a newborn I have a short list of things that I've really liked and that have been most useful. I thought I'd share them, and I'll probably have additional thoughts as Jane grows and I learn more.
  • Boppy pillow for breast feeding in my chair -- and good for propping up the baby for photo shoots or otherwise when she's being supervised
  • My Brest Friend pillow for breast feeding on the couch (our couch is deep and this pillow wraps around the back and buckles, providing lower back support)
  • LOTS of prefold cloth diapers as burp rags -- they're everywhere in our house
  • Swaddler blankets -- Jane likes to have her torso wrapped for sleeping so her arms are still able to stick straight up (and sometimes she can find her fist to suck on in a pinch) but keeps her feet warm and provides a little snuggle -- we have the Aden and Anais ones from Target
  • Snap up jammies and gowns -- pulling things over her head is doable and she doesn't cry, but it's much easier to just stick in arms and then snap up the front
  • Baby seat -- we got a little rocker seat from my coworkers and it's been great for letting her sit on her own while we eat, while I go to the bathroom when I'm here alone, etc. It has vibrations, but she can take or leave them.

Jane in snap-up jammies propped up on the Boppy
Edit:The Boppy was a hand-me-down and I actually find that it's the superior BF pillow. The Brest Friend seems cheap -- especially when you take off the cover to wash. I also managed to break the zipper on my cover when trying to get it back ON the pillow (really just some foam cut and glued together). So if you're going to get just one pillow, I'd say the Boppy, although I know some people swear by the other.

18 November 2011

SUSHI for the win

Forgot this easy post ... Shawn and I got takeout sushi last night. Huzzah! What other things were verboten that I can now enjoy?!

Angry Charlie!

Wait For It ...

Tomorrow my two favorite little people will meet. Owen comes to town, and Jane will meet her cousin! I think it will be epic ... not that there is any pressure. :)

Still from Webcamming Wednesday
I hope the visit produces enough fodder for posts thru the rest of the month...

AMLBO!

17 November 2011

Love Story

Daddy plays a tune
Warning: This is a little sappy and hormone-fueled. But it's also true.

Want to find out what your heart is made of?

Have a baby with the one you love most -- and who loves you most too.

Seeing Shawn with Jane has melted my heart and given me even more reasons to sing.

I really couldn't imagine loving him more, but seeing him holding our girl ... it unveils new depths.

Jane didn't pick her parents, but we picked each other. And I think we did a marvelous job.

We have a lot to learn, but it's exciting times b/c we will do it together!

16 November 2011

Touch

I don't have an iPhone, and I've turned off my work Blackberry for the duration of my leave. But my iPod Touch (no such thing as an iTouch) has been a lifesaver.

I used it during labor to keep up with email and distract myself. I used it to play music (with a little speaker from Amazon after reading about it on Jezebel). It was handy during the hospital stay to read all the replies to our baby announcement.

It's great now because I can work it one-handed. stay up-to-date on my Google Reader (although I'm pruning b/c don't want to read about pregnancy anymore ... but give me lots about baby development, please -- and let me know if you have blog suggestions) and read emails as they come in. (I mostly wait to respond until I can get to the computer b/c typing is so much easier with even one hand on a keyboard than thumb typing on the iPod!)

I won this iPod in a PRSA contest several years ago while living in NYC. That alone should be enough to keep my membership up to date. (I recently let it lapse though -- whoops.) It's an older model, so no speaker. But I love it. If it were to crap out on me I'd definitely want to replace it.

This is my one and only Mac product.

15 November 2011

Kathunk

Almost forgot to blog. Halfway through the month. I guess I'll continue, despite my sometimes zombie-like status.

I haven't uploaded photos yet today, so here's one from yesterday (the day before?):


Went to the doctor today -- all is well. Jane has gained weight and jaundice is totally gone. The doctor marveled at her feet (going to be tall!) and how she doesn't seem like a newborn.

Otherwise same old, same old. In love and learning new things every day.

14 November 2011

Inbox Zero

I am beginning to understand people's frustration with email. In my "regular" life I am able to manage email quickly and efficiently. Even with high volume the messages are still one-to-one and I can process them -- reply, delete or archive as needed.

BUT when I sent out my mass emails with the news of our greatest joy I got myself all tangled up. I use gmail, and because of the conversation thread I am having a hard time tracking to whom I've replied, and every time someone else responds it sends the whole thing back up to the top. And inevitably I look through the entire thread to be sure I've responded to everyone who's going to get a response.

On my iPod though I can see each message individually. MIGHT there be a way to -- at least temporarily -- view gmail in the mobile version so I could better assess the incoming messages?

In any case, if you're emailing me and not getting a response the best bet is to change the subject to be something other than my daughter's name, i.e. start a new "conversation" just between us. And then I'll be much better -- maybe not responding any faster BUT I will be able to keep it a little bit more straight and the response will eventually come.

I can't figure out how to add photos to a created-but-not-published Facebook album so I'm still not convinced FB is the right place for me to post regular photos of Jane. I don't know why I don't feel the same way about Google that I do about FB (i.e. that I'm OK with Google having lots of my data, but something about FB doesn't sit as well with me). So I may do a private Picasa album -- or maybe even Flickr. I've really got to get my act together.

In the meantime, a photo of a 5-day-old who looks anything but (at least to my untrained eye):


Update: I figured out the FB photo album -- I think. So there are 22 photos there. That's not too bad for 6 days (although I have 250+ on my memory card).

13 November 2011

Let 'Em Fall, Let 'Em Fall, Let 'Em Fall

I will probably never see snow falling outside the window of my sunroom (although if I did it would be an amazing view). But what I can see now are leaves falling -- by the bucket full.

Yesterday Shawn and his dad raked and bagged 11 huge bags of leaves -- and today the yard is covered again. It's actually beautiful and calming to watch them drift down. And the crunch they provide is nice -- and alert that visitors have arrived.

Perhaps they provide protection to any would-be thieves if they have to make a lot of noise to get to the doors.

We had a door-to-door salesman come by yesterday looking to sell magazines as part of a "lift me up" program or something. Shawn said the weirdest part of his pitch was "I'd rather knock on your front door than your back door," which we took to mean was a threat that this guy would break into our house if we didn't buy magazines.

We didn't buy any magazines! (And I LOVE magazines ... but I already subscribe to all that I want at this point.)

So I guess we'll just keep watch and hope for the best for our safety. (And we probably should have got that guy's name ... although Shawn did get the name of the organization he was representing, looked it up and thought it seemed like a scam.)

12 November 2011

Combed Hair


My hair woes don't seem as important anymore. Here is my daughter (!) after a sponge bath with her long dark hair combed. (Her hair is her most complimented feature so far.)

Oh I love this Pumpkin Girl!

11 November 2011

Homecoming

Baby stories would be a lot more interesting with pictures. Will have to make a better effort to transfer them. I'm already a few days behind. I don't want to turn this space into a mommy blog anyway ... but that's just all I have to write about for right now.

We made it home OK. Discharge was uneventful -- but coming home was more exciting. Last night was near freezing, so the house was chilly (63). We'd never turned on the heat in the house, so knew it would be stinky ... but didn't expect it to fill the house with smoke.

Welcome home, Jane! Hope we don't burn the house down on your first day home. (We didn't.)

(We also didn't take the standard picture at the hospital of us as a family of three -- whoops!)

Also, 11/11/11 is corduroy day or something. Hilarious!

10 November 2011

Control

So much I cannot control. Some I can, like typing a post everyday as time allows.

But what to write about now that my big, life changing information is public on this blog and Facebook?

We're not going home today, so homecoming will be 11/11/11. I guess if you can't have it as a birth date it's not a bad date to have as your first car ride, first night at home, etc. It's also four months since we closed on the house.

More tomorrow, I am sure.

09 November 2011

Best Laid Plans

My birth plan was a bust. It will take me a while to adjust to that new reality. I hadn't decided whether to post our story here. I may change my mind, but for now no. But I will give a few more photos b/c they are easy to upload w/ one hand...

Birth day evening

Daddy loves Pumpkin

Pumpkin girl
The J is for juggle image from yesterday is a print for Jane's nursery. From Kindygarden on Etsy.

07 November 2011

Waiting

Things are happening (being forced to happen), and I may not be able to update tomorrow. But I figured while I'm still able I would knock out a post and at least get to 7 for NaBloPoMo 2011.

I'm starving and may not be able to eat for some time. Hoping that things go quickly and smoothly. Prayers for discernment to know exactly what to do.

And for any blog readers who have no idea what this means -- all will become clear in a couple days time.

06 November 2011

Undefeated

Geaux Tigers and Go Pokes! Both teams remain undefeated this season. I flipped back and forth last night watching their games -- both on at 7 p.m. central on national television. The streets were full of screams and fireworks after the Tigers won -- it was reminiscent of election day 2008 in NYC when Obama won. NYU students don't get excited about sports -- they get excited about politics. Anyway.

We watched the games on mute on our tiny TV. I'm not a big fan of the commentation, although our TV is so small it's not always easy to see how much time is left -- and when there's a penalty ... forget about it! Maybe someday we'll have a bigger TV. What worked in our studio apartment isn't as conducive to watching in a bigger living room. But it gets the job done and I enjoy many an hour of TV each week on it..

No writing prompts over the weekend -- it's for "free writing." One of the prompts I didn't use this week was this: When you are writing, do you prefer to use a pen or a computer?


The answer depends on what I'm writing. For note taking purposes, I'm a handwriter all the way. I can write much faster than type, at least in shorthand. But composing things like blog posts and emails, obviously typing is better. I like to hand write my letters and cards though.

Hair update: looks the same straight as it did before the haircut. It looks so long when straightened. At least no troubles with pony tails in the near future.

05 November 2011

Saturday Yard Work

We have a lot of leaves because we have a lot of trees. We don't get the brilliant colors of fall in them, but they certainly do fall. That means there's always yard work to do -- raking, putting them in bags, sweeping them off the carport floor. Shawn has a lot of upkeep to do.

The house itself creates chores too. Cleaning is the big one, but also laundry and groceries (my main weekend tasks that are obviously less about the house and more about the people residing here). Shawn takes care of home maintenance. He is the best husband -- and house owner -- I know.

Big game tonight. Very glad it's an away game, should we need to get somewhere tonight (most likely we won't).

04 November 2011

Disappointment (Another Hair Post)

Tip #1: don't choose a hair salon based on convenience to your house.

Tip #2: don't go to a salon called "Rage" because you may every well end up leaving ENraged.

My hair has been recovering from the weird haircut in January. It's still got super short pieces as layers on the top back from the weird stacked thing that girl did. I had a trim at a mall in Florida in May, and I think that made it even worse/puffier. But at least it was a cheaper cut.

Basically I wanted to go get a haircut that would add some shape back to the bottom of my hair, which has grown out considerably, maybe get some razored ends added back for the rock star look and mostly to get a really good blow out.

Instead of picking a chain haircut place I made an appointment at a salon that I drive by every day. A SALON, where I expect the stylists to have some modicum of training beyond snip, snip and an ability to shape hair/add layers.

The stylist was nice enough, although weird (who brings a little dog to work? the whole place seemed a little grungy). I got shampooed, which was nice, and we talked about my hair and she said she would cut some of the back off and try to blend in the layers better. It seemed straightforward, and I did emphasize that I wanted to keep the length to still be ponytail-able. She asked if I usually wear my hair curly, and I said yes, not thinking that the way I usually do it would be the way I walked out. The weather has changed here -- yesterday morning was exactly like Vancouver in July -- so it really isn't too humid for my hair to go straight, which was something she said as she was looking at my hair.

Shaping/styling didn't really happen, and the cut was about the level of a Supercuts or Fantastic Sam's visit (only twice as expensive). She just did a bit of trimming with scissors for maybe 5-10 minutes and that was that. She put some smelly stuff in my hair, searched for 5 minutes for a diffuser and then used it to dry my hair. I paid for a "style" that was really bad, i.e. so dumb I could do it myself. And my hair in the end looked like one big curly triangle.

The worst part? I still tipped her!

My hair went right back into its pony tail when I got in the car. And I raged and raged at myself for my stupidity (because really it's my fault -- I could have easily asked her to please add more layers/shaping and blow it out -- but I was ready to get out of there).

This weekend I'll wash and blow dry it myself, just to see if it's at all different than it was before once it's styled straight (because it definitely doesn't look any better when styled curly).

TL;DR? My hair woes in Baton Rouge continue...

03 November 2011

Google-y Changes

Google Reader has changed this week, and some features are gone. Specifically the social features -- like the "what I'm reading online" bit on my sidebar -- dead. Now instead of sharing w/in Reader you share items on Google+. Old fogey that I am, I don't fully understand G+, but hopefully it will make more sense as I use it.

I wouldn't call myself a power user of Reader, because I've never really used all the sharing functions to their full advantage. But I certainly do use Reader every day and have hundreds of blogs that I'm able to keep up with thanks to the tool.

I followed a few people on Reader, most of whom I know in real life and therefore am connected to on G+ or am easily able to add. But there were a couple people who were strictly Reader-only connections. I was worried that because I didn't write their names down I wouldn't be able to find them and "circle" them on G+ so I could still get their recommended RSS items.

My basic questions: Where are my Google Reader Shared Items? and How can I find who I was following on Google Reader before it changed?

My shared items are still at the same URL (which I luckily have access to from my blog sidebar). New items that I share via G+ do not get added to it though, and eventually (soon?) it won't work at all.

I was also able to find them on G+ (not public, but as part of my profile) -- click profile at the top (icon looks like a person in a circle), then click Buzz on the right of the menu bar under your name. This is also where I was able to see a list of the people who I followed (and who followed me, in theory, although it never would load for me) on Reader.

So I circled the couple of people I had been following in Reader, and hopefully will remember to check G+ once a day or so to read any shared items. (I guess it would be wrong to ask for an RSS feed of my G+ feed so I could read it all in one place, i.e. Reader, which is almost always open on my computer?)

I also did the Google Takeaway option for Google Buzz (a link on that same part of G+ described above), creating an archive and downloading it. And I'll be darned -- it created a ZIP file of all the things I've shared on Google Reader. So if one of your questions is "How do I save all of my Google Reader Shared Items?" this seems to be the way to do it. Although I guess if you did other things on Buzz (what other things could you do on Buzz?) those might be created in the ZIP file as well. I saved my ZIP file in Google Docs, and I don't think I'll ever actually need it/want to review it. But if I do, it is there.

I'm sure I'll get used to these changes and maybe even start to like G+. I am intrigued by its ability for "hangouts" -- web chats with multiple people and multiple cameras. If I figure that out it could be another service-y post. Hope this one is helpful to some people. I was so excited when I figured it out yesterday!

02 November 2011

The Memory-Keeper's Daughter

In my spare time I've been reading the Internet, like woah, and one blog I've been reading for a while is The Mom Creative, which presented 31 Days of Memory Keeping in October. It was a great series, and I got a lot of good ideas.

The Mom Creative is also great about sharing online deals related to memory keeping (cheap photo prints, free photo books, etc.) -- it's how I made the ABCs of Owen book over the summer for the cost of shipping at Paper Coterie. Good stuff.

I don't know that I'll ever consider myself a successful memory keeper, but I've had a lot of fun making things for Owen. And our wedding book is one of my favorite things (although I certainly wish I'd spent more time lightening/adjusting the photos in that book).

We have many a photo album at my mom's house and grandma's house that catalog my and my sister's childhood. And I think about the weekly letters my mom wrote to her mom and wonder what memories those held, and if they survived the years (I'm guessing not). I have my own journals to see about my life from my perspective once I could write (ca. 2nd grade).

So blogging is one way that I'm keeping memories and it's an outgrowth of my childhood journaling. But my blogging is selective ... and I have been falling away from it so much that when I left a comment on The Mom Creative to thank Jessica for her series I got my blog URL wrong! (blogger vs. blogspot)

Perhaps this November effort will get me back in touch with what I liked about having a blog in the first place. Or maybe not...

Today's NaBloPoMo blog prompt: If you knew that whatever you ate next would be your last meal, what would you want it to be? 

Sort of easy: Gran's fried chicken or chicken-fried steak, new potatoes and white gravy, loaded salad w/ Catalina dressing, Sonic vanilla diet coke, millionaire pie.

01 November 2011

November One

I've taken part in National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo) for the last few years. I have plenty of time on my hands right now, so I figured why not give myself a challenge? I may will likely not make it the entire month, but I can give it a shot. It remains to be seen if I will write about the most important parts of my life, or if those will remain in offline mode.

If you'd like to join Zulilly use my referral link and I get $15 credit. I've ordered a couple things from it but not sure it's actually worth anything. Quite the ringing endorsement, huh?

So the writing prompt for today is What is your favourite part about writing?

Does anyone have an answer for that? I think partially it's reading my writing later -- not for the quality of the writing but for the memory keeping itself. I also like to choose words, and I like grammar and punctuation. Probably a lot of it has to do with navel gazing.