Monday, December 06, 2010

Cupcake skirt!

This is the baby skirt I made in November. Layla wore it for her second Iowa debut, and her first Illinois debut.
The ladies in my sewing class helped me pick out the fabric combinations and my sewing teacher gave me confidence in my ability to follow the pattern (which was not as hard as I expected).

Saturday, December 04, 2010

New videos!

Here are two new videos that highlight what Layla has been up to.

First, she is crawling super fast and getting into even more stuff around the house! I think she's an inch taller since we got back from the Motherland too, which means she can be even more NAUGHTY! Here she is getting into things and then zipping across the room to come visit me.



Second, she is becoming really interactive with us. Here she is copying the Studly Hubby as he teaches her how to roar. Get ready for super-cuteness.

Update

I've been skimping on the blog lately, but I hope to post more this weekend. Meanwhile, I thought I'd fill you in on what I've been up to:

- In October and November I hunkered down and finished a HUGE project at work that I've been working hard on since I came back from maternity leave. Hooray! Even though I was hoping to finish it in August... oh well. Now all the experiments are now finished and the manuscript is on the boss' desk.

- In October I took a sewing class and made a SKIRT! I didn't quite finish it so had to finish on my own but it turned out beautifully. I wore it home for Thanksgiving but didn't get a picture. I will try to do so this weekend and post it here. My sewing teacher says I need to take a picture of everything I make and put it in my 'sewing portfolio' which may end up being my blog.

- In November I sewed my first official piece of clothing from a pattern on my own - a super-cute cupcake pattern baby skirt. It was surprisingly easy but took some hours. I am starting to find sewing to be the perfect thing to do in the evening after a long day on my computer at work. Good thing Baby Layla goes to bed at 6 pm! Again, a picture will be posted on the blog ASAP.

- In November we had the first snow storm in Seattle! Layla thought it was pretty cool. Our daycare closed for 2.5 days (and another one the next week due to heat problems) and the Studly Hubby graciously baby-sat while I wrapped up my project the day before we left town for Thanksgiving.

- For Thanksgiving the family went to the 'Motherland' for the second time since Layla was born for a long week of visiting. It went off very well, and we got to see EVERYONE (well, almost everyone! - there was a rogue aunt and uncle who took off for DC right before we got there, and my dad's extended family who we saw at a reunion in August).

- Layla is busting out all over the place! She can crawl at top speed, has learned how to play peek-a-boo, can stand almost unassisted, has gotten a little taller (time to move the bookshelves!), and is eating up all the food in the house.

Pictures soon!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tagged!

I got tagged! I was just thinking, boy, all I ever do is post about Layla, so I'm going to take this as a challenge to post about the rest of my life for a change.

Here are the questions:

1. What is one of your fondest childhood memories?

I had three pets I was crazy about - my horse Rocky, my other horse Silk, and my dog Archimedes. Most of my really fond memories revolved around them.

2. What do you love most about your spouse/significant other?

This is hard! I have too many things to say in a short post. What I love most, I guess, is that he is so dang attractive - he IS the Studly Hubby, after all. But I also love that he is constantly seeking new adventures and wants to grow as a person and husband and father - which he really has done! And he is also so dang attractive, did I mention that?

3. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hopefully still married, with another kid (or 5, see below), and a good job that I like in a city I approve of. And most important, I want to be somewhere that I will STAY - I'm tired of never being sure where I will end up.

4. What is your favorite book?

This is hard too. The Harry Potter series is definitely in the top 10. When I was in high school, it was 'the World According to Garp', but I haven't read it in so long now I don't even recall what it was about. My favorite book from recent times is 'The Poisonwood Bible' by Barbara Kingsolver. My two favorite book club books (I've been in a library book club since I moved to Seattle) are 'Bel Canto' by Ann Patchett and 'the Color of Water' by James McBride.

5. Who is someone you look up to, and why?

My Ph.D. boss and my post-doc boss are both really amazing people and really amazing at what they do. I was very very lucky to have been placed in the hands of such great people. I also look up to my mother and father, and my grandparents on both sides, because they have all led really amazing lives and they have each done things that inspire me.

6. If you had unlimited funds and could plan a dream vacation, where would you go & what would you do?

Recently we have been wanting to go to Hawaii because it's close and seems relaxing. But really if I had unlimited funds (and unlimited vacation time) I would either bike around Europe or go build a house (or hut) in a developing country - preferably one that speaks English, since I am horrible at learning foreign languages.

7. What character traits do you have that are most like your mother? What ones are like your father?

I worry a lot, which both of my parents do. I am like my mom in that I worry out loud, and always want feedback about it - but then we both usually end up making decisions we are very happy about. I am like my dad in that I am baby crazy!! My dad had 5 kids and wishes he had more, I never understood it until I had my first and now I want 5 more.

8. What has been the biggest challenge you've faced this year?

Juggling a baby that I'm crazy about with a crazy career.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

8 months!!

Layla is a big 8 months today!! Here are some of the things she's been up to:

EATING! She loves to eat, and gets a lot of variety at daycare (they have an in-house chef and provide 'baby-food' versions of all their meals to the baby room). At home, she LOVES cheerios, which we introduced this week, and bananas, and she's still fond of oatmeal, sweet potato, squash, and carrots. She's decided she dislikes avocado and really, really hates quinoa, unless she gets it at daycare (she loves everything to do with daycare).

PLAYING!! She plays so hard at daycare she hardly pauses to take a nap, and when she's at home with us she plays hard too, until it's bedtime (6 pm, see below).

SLEEPING! Layla takes bedtime very seriously. If she isn't heading to bed at 6 pm, she throws a huge fit until she's happily sleeping in her crib, and then she stays in her crib until 5 or 6 am the next morning... she is a BIG sleeper.

COMMUNICATING!! Layla is communicating all over the place. At daycare, she is learning baby sign language and practices words with her friends (yesterday Layla and another girl told the daycare worker 'no! no! no! no! no!'). At home, she tries to tell us about her big days at daycare, her likes (cheerios) and dislikes (avocado), and every once in a while she says something intelligible. Her first real word was 'mama', her second was 'hi!', her third was 'dada', and her fourth, 'no!' (the last two are less frequent and I'm not sure if she really means 'no' or just discovered the new sound). Today she spoke her first sentence, which was 'hi dada!' - except it was to an empty, dark room (when I took her in to show her dada, she was stunned into silence). She is also showing lots of emotions - she hugs and has been known to give kisses, apparently she consoled an upset daycare worker the other day, she asks to be picked up and held, gets excited when she sees her mom and dad, hates getting dressed, and LOVES daycare.

GROWING!! She is still growing fast, although not as fast as when she was a little-little baby. I am very happy that she has worn the same size pants for over a month now, although she just outgrew all of her 6-month size onesies.

So there's Layla's 8-month review. I'm still working on an alleged baby book, so these are some of my notes that I will use for it. It's easy to forget some things when everything changes so fast!

Monday, November 08, 2010

The amazing 12-hour sleep

Layla has become a reliably good sleeper since about 4 months, when we officially 'sleep trained' her (out of necessity). Now, she sleeps from about 6 pm until about 6 am. Everyone says we are very lucky, and I feel very lucky, but this does come with a little trouble that we are still working around.

First, going to bed at 6 pm is fine as long as your parents managed to get home from work, pick you up, feed you and bathe you and get you in your pajamas by then. If not, then we have to deal with an insane mad tantrum (she says 'GET ME TO BED RIGHT NOW!!!' and throws a mega-fit over it). We have tried with all our might to change her bedtime to a little later, but it seems we are working against some sort of internal clock that can't be changed.

Second, it is actually about a million times harder to get up at 6 am than to get up at 7 or even 6:30 am. At 6 am I am totally wrecked. And she often gets up even earlier, like at 5:30. And for a week she got up at 5:15. It almost killed us. Our house is small, so even if one of us gets up with her to let the other one sleep, it's not very good sleep. And when she gets up at 5:15 or 5:30 she demands to go back down for a nap at 7:30 which is right when I want to pack her up and head off to the daycare (and when you've been up since 5:15 you really want to just go back to bed at 7:30 which I did one morning but it wasn't really helpful).

And third, the time just changed so now she wants to go to bed at 5 and get up at 5, which is much much worse. So while everyone else is saying 'yay! I get to sleep in an extra hour!' I am grinding my teeth and worrying how I'm going to accommodate our little sleep monster's super-sleep schedule.

Fortunately, the first day of the time change (today) she slept until 7 (which is now 6) and stayed up until 7 (which is now 6) so maybe she's adjusting herself and it won't be so bad. I have always wondered if her internal clock is actually responding to external things like when she gets home from daycare and when the neighbor starts up his car early in the morning. If so perhaps this will not be so bad after all. Nevertheless, I've convinced the Studly Hubby to go to bed at 8:30 at night for a few nights just in case. It's weird but the extra sleep has been soooooo nice...

"HI!"

Layla has had a big new development over the last two weeks - she's started talking!!! I mean, really communicating!! There was no 'hey mom and dad, I'd like a sandwich' but rather a particular sound ('mama') that she started to use more and more when she wanted something (especially when I am nearby), along with an obvious understanding that I am her mama (she looks at me when someone says 'where is your mama?' - on that note, she also seems to know her own name now too). So after a week of debating we finally decided over the weekend that 'mama' is definitely her first real word. Then, very surprisingly, they reported at the daycare today that 'Hi!' is her second word!! She turned around to one of the daycare workers today, waved at them, and said 'Hi!', completely surprising everyone. Then she did it all afternoon, but of course she didn't do it when we came to pick her up. Fortunately, we actually heard her first 'Hi!' last week but we didn't think it was real (we were still debating 'mama').

So it's pretty obvious now that Layla is a baby genius. I am going to try not to be surprised when she actually does request a sandwich next week. They told us at daycare that she must have smart parents but I denied all possibility of it - it takes me three full days just to write a paragraph of a paper I'm writing for work so I'm not feeling 'genius' at all right now - and I don't think I was a genius as a baby either (although I must say I was pretty darn cute). But it's nice to revel in my baby's genius. And probably the rest of her family should revel too because if it didn't come from me it had to come from one of the rest of you all and you might as well take credit for it (while you can - baby genius may not directly translate into adult genius).

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Layla's enthusiasm

Layla likes a lot of weird things. She LOVES her sippy cup like it's the long-lost friend she just discovered.



She also loves her monkey chair and now that she's mobile she doesn't even need to be in it - she just wants to go over and shake it a bunch.



Other things she finds fascinating:

Shoelaces
Furniture hardware (particularly the coffee table drawer knobs)
Remote controls
Computer keyboards (early evidence she is leaning towards geekdom)
Cups (not just sippy cups - any kind of cup)
Zippers and buttons and straps
Strings and cords
Coasters - especially our bamboo ones (although we let her have those so she is quickly losing interest)

As you can see in the video, we have one enthusiastic kid on our hands. It's fun to rediscover the joy of things like shoelaces as you watch her delight in them.

Waving!

Layla is waving! She is also, as I mentioned before, using sign language to tell us 'more' and 'milk'. Unfortunately she still gets all these confused (and sometimes just generically smacks her hand on something), but we've been able to pick out some definite intentional gestures in between all the others. Below she turns a generic hand-smacking into a wave, and waves at me, then her dad, then at me some more, then decides she's done and exits.



You may notice at the end of the video I say 'you're so cute' - I say this a lot in videos and I suspect I might say this a lot in general. I guess it's good positive reinforcement for Layla but I didn't even realize I was doing it so often until i was going through all these videos tonight. Well I guess at least it's clear to you all how I feel about her!!

A day in the life

This is our little Layla, cruising all around the place and working on her motor development skills. They say that the reason babies start to get more lean as they pass the 6-month mark is because they become so active - if that is true then Layla will become as skinny as a string bean soon!



Two notes: 1. Her extreme drive to play is very clear in this video - she doesn't stop just to cry about a little old bump! 2. In the background you can see the consequence of her new mobility - stuff is everywhere! She pulls things down from anywhere she can and it all ends up on the floor. Usually she doesn't pay any attention to it after she pulls it down but every once in a while she finds something so interesting she lets go of whatever she is holding onto and falls on her butt. Poor Layla!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stroller coma

Whenever we take Layla out in her fancy-pants new stroller she immediately goes into 'stroller coma' - she gets a glazed look, gets really quiet, and stays totally still for however long you are out. I take this to mean she likes the stroller. The Studly Hubby claims she has stayed in 'stroller coma' for over an hour while he was out running, on several occasions!!

Now that it's getting cold we have to make sure we get a hat on her (the knit hat my friend B made is now too small! But we liked it so much we went out and got another knit hat). We are also looking for some baby-mittens to buy and we put little socks and soft-soled shoes on her. Here we were only out for a bit so we just tucked a warm blanket around her.

She is getting very big for the Moby wrap (front-carrier) but I still use it a lot especially to take her to daycare while I walk my bike with all of our bags of stuff for the day. We both love the Moby, and Layla will cheer up every time she is in it even when she's super mad at me for not getting her to the daycare fast enough in the morning. I think one of the things she likes best is being right in front and center so she can say hello to all the patrons of the coffee shop that is on our way. They all think she is super cute and often stop to tell her that. It's very fun for her - and it's pretty fun for me too!!

More 6 month photos!

Here are the rest of Layla's 6-month photos!!






First pony ride!!


Layla sat on a pony for the first time last weekend at Biringer Pumpkin Farm near Edmonds WA. We were extremely excited about it; she was indifferent. For the record, the pony was also indifferent (he was eating grass the entire time).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Layla video!

We finally caught the elusive Layla crawling on video - which actually took a while.\



While we had the video camera out we also caught her 'crazy happy' mood, which seems to be induced by nothing in particular. Here she is extremely excited about the couch.



And here she is watching her crazy daddy (the one and only Studly Hubby) tearing back and forth down the hallway. I'm not sure what he was trying to do but it was pretty funny watching her while he did it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

COMMUNICATING with Layla...!

Layla 'spoke' to me yesterday for the first time! She used baby sign language for 'milk' when I came to pick her up. It was amazing! I realized this was our 'first contact' from Layla... in fact, it was the first time she has responded to us in general other than earlier this week when I think she was trying to clap her hands while I sang "if you're happy and you know it" - another thing I think she learned at daycare. Thank goodness for daycare! it would never have occurred to me that we could teach her sign language and that she would USE it.

Layla has also started communicating affection towards me. First she crawled to me when I came home after work (and today she asked to be picked up for the first time by reaching up towards me). Then she HUGGED me after I picked her up - how neat is that! Unfortunately, this is all very new and she hasn't crawled to or hugged her daddy yet, and I think he's excitedly waiting for that. But he gets a different kind of affection - Layla laughs whenever he comes in the room!! I wonder why she does that... I'm starting to feel like Layla is my special buddy. Not only does she willingly go with me wherever I want to go (the Farmer's Market, the fabric store, my friend's house, etc), but she LOVES me too!! I'm such a lucky mom.

Layla's Progress

It seems like as soon as Layla masters something new, she starts working on the next thing. It's dizzying! Also petrifying - last week, she kept falling as she tried to pull herself up onto furniture, and were convinced it would land us in the ER. This week, she can pull herself up and stand without falling, but she falls when she tried to move from one piece of furniture to the next. We are going to have to cover the house in foam!

Here is what she has mastered:
-crawling: she is off! she can crawl all over the place now!
-pulling herself up to standing


This is what she is working on:
-Pulling herself up from lying down to sitting (especially during diaper changes)
-Sitting back down after standing
-Letting go while she's standing - hopefully Mom or Dad is nearby to catch her!
-COMMUNICATION!!! See above

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Daddy plays!

I think all daddies can't wait until their baby is old enough to play. So it was no surprise that the Studly Hubby was pretty excited when Layla started responded to things and giggling delightedly at things that make her happy. The Studly Hubby has been finding all sorts of great ways to play with Layla. Sometimes they just sit together and work on a toy or book, or one of her many new developments (she's standing now!). But other times they roll around on the floor together or Layla gets to fly through the air like an airplane... how much fun is that! Good thing for daddies!!



New baby dress masterpiece!!

A brave friend of mine just had baby #3, a baby girl. I was so inspired I ventured out of my monkey-pants routine and made her a baby dress. Then midstream through the dress I thought I should take it up a notch from the last one and try to make it reversible. Reversible dresses are so much better because they are lined with clean seams AND you get to pick out TWO sets of fabric.

So this is the finished masterpiece. I am proud of the result but felt like I could have made some of the seams straighter - and I've already bought fabric to try again for a fall baby dress for Layla.

But most important, hopefully my friend's baby #3 likes it and can wear it to the Baby Grand Ball this winter when it finally fits her!! I can't wait to see what she looks like in it!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Skirt update!

Bought fabric for the skirt I'm making in sewing class!



is it the sky? or a flower? hmmm...

Friday, October 08, 2010

ZomBCon

Apparently Seattle is the Zombie Capital of the World. And as such, we are going to be hosting ZomBCon in October. Excellent!

If you are a big Zombie fan you really should check out this article on mathematical modeling of a zombie outbreak. A sentence from the abstract: 'Mathematical models were created to establish the speed of zombie infection and evaluate potential scenarios for intervention, mainly because mathematicians don't have anything better to do with their time.' Clearly! I hope the authors are at ZomBCon so I can hear an update on their progress!

The Studly Hubby tells me he is getting a little sick of zombies. He is NOT planning to go to ZomBCon. Oh well, I will just have to take Layla!!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Sewing class!

I signed up for a sewing class, and it starts next week!! We are going to sew a skirt (below). I need to go pick out fabric this weekend. I will of course make a matching baby dress for my daughter Miss Layla.


Even though I have been on a sewing kick recently, I realized I really don't know much about sewing. I can barely follow a pattern (which makes the range of possibilities very limited), I can't cut a straight line of fabric, and the things I make keep having problems that I don't know how to solve. So, hopefully this class will be a big step forward. And I will be able to make a really neat-o skirt in it!!

The class is in the early evening in our neighborhood. It starts just before Miss Layla goes to bed, so that means the Studly Hubby will have to put her to bed at night. He normally doesn't do this, since I have the Power of the Boob which is very effective at bedtime. But on the rare occasion that he has to step in he doesn't seem to have much of a problem, so hopefully all will go smoothly. It is a 3-week class (one evening a week).

In addition to picking out fabric, I have to buy a page-long list of supplies (like going back to school) and take my own sewing machine. So this weekend I am going to get myself into Sewing Mode. Maybe I'll make another baby dress in the process!!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Cute little-little babies

We have been subjected to a few little-little babies lately, and it's really taking a toll on my Baby Resistance Mechanisms. They get you in all sorts of weird ways, and now that I have an almost-7 month old I find I am having even more trouble than ever.

First, little-little babies have a very weak-sounding cry that reminds me of a cat meow. When Layla was a little-little baby, I wasn't used to her cry so when she cried, I thought the world was going to end. But, now that she's a little older and cries all the time, and LOUDLY, the cries of a little-little baby are NOTHING to me. In fact, I am astonished to find myself actually saying, 'oh, how CUTE...'

Second, they are light as a feather. I could carry one around all day long.

Third, they have such cute little heads. I don't know why this gets me, but it does.

I have to remind myself that having a little-little baby is not all sliding down rainbows and eating ice cream (although I did eat a lot of ice cream). They wake you up at night, they demand food and bouncing and swaddling and all kinds of maintenance that you can't predict, and they can't hold up their heads so you have to be extra-careful (this was particularly stressful for me). Plus they grow out of their cute little clothes in less than a day, which requires constant wardrobe upgrades, and they can't play fun games with you like 'peek-a-boo.' But they are so CUTE!!! The Studly Hubby and I will need another one someday. But not too soon, as the slightly-older little baby we have now is still quite the handful.

Monday, October 04, 2010

My new friend Farro


I've got a new addiction - Farro. It's a grain. I guess there is some debate about what farro is, so I'm talking about the kind that is also called Emmer. It's an old-world grain that is low in gluten and DELICIOUS.

I discovered farro at the Ballard Market. I am a big fan of hot cereal, especially in the fall when it starts to get chilly outside. When I was a kid, my mom used to make 'Little Bear' hot cereal on the weekends and it was delicious. So now that I have a kid, I guess I'm trying to find my way back into that tradition. Except I have no idea what 'Little Bear' cereal actually was (a special blend made by our local coop). I bought some hot cereal from Red Mill a while ago that was just not right. Then I stopped by a booth at the Farmer's Market and got talked into trying their farro.

The farro is grown by Blue Bird Grain Farms in WA. It's fresh and organic, and a family-run farm, so it's a feel-good food. But most important, it's delicious. It's nutty and high in protein and has a nice chewy texture and is just what I was looking for. Unfortunately, after I discovered it, I also discovered that Blue Bird Grain Farms seems to have a monopoly on farro. Other than them, you can only buy expensive imported stuff from Italy. And it seems to also be a yuppie food. A bunch of fancy-pants restaurants in Seattle have started buying farro from Blue Bird Grain Farms and using it in their fancy-pants dishes to impress their fancy-pants clientele. Somehow I am always attracted to the fancy-pants variety of products. So now I am addicted and I am stuck. I will have to be a yuppie. But at least I can buy it at the Farmer's Market (is this also a yuppie thing to do? I can't decide).

Also we have started eating quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) and we really love it. It's also high in protein, totally gluten-free (so good for babies) and cooks super fast. Thanks Aunt Margot for getting us hooked!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Layla is on the move

We tried to videotape Layla's new crawling habit this weekend but missed it again and again. But we did get some cute video of her sort-of crawling and then distracting herself.




Saturday, October 02, 2010

6-month stats and 6-month developments

Layla was 6 months old almost 3 weeks ago and I've been so preoccupied I didn't get a chance to post about it - and since then she's made some serious progress on her mobility.

First, I have to report that at her 6-month checkup she was a whopping 17.5 lbs and 26.5 inches tall, which is the 75th percentile for both (down from 90th percentile at her last checkup - I guess it is common for breast-fed babies to be big in their first 6 months and slow down in the second 6 months). She also took the vaccinations very well this time, only cried for a minute, and tore up the paper on the doctor's table in record speed.


But the really big news around our house is that as of this morning LAYLA IS CRAWLING!!! She succeeded in putting one knee forward, then the other, over and over, for about 5 steps (up from 2 on Wednesday). Unfortunately her balance is still very bad and she face-plants often, but usually doesn't mind. We got a video of it and I'll try to post it tomorrow.

Another big new development is that she is pulling herself up to standing, although she usually falls over immediately so we have been keeping a very close eye on her. In the picture above she is about to pull herself up in her crib, which is her favorite place to do this (and the best padded). She got her first 'incident report' at the daycare this week from a big face-plant that led to a bump on her noggin and some ice treatment. We were proud parents when we saw that first incident report in our mailbox.

As a first-time parent, it is FASCINATING to watch our baby develop. Over the past 2 weeks she has gone from totally immobile to totally mobile. She worked very hard to learn how to coordinate her knees, balance herself on all fours, and build the muscle strength in her arms and torso. Usually she was so frustrated at how hard it was she was actually crying while she was practicing. Then she got it! and now she is SO HAPPY. She was giggling and screeching all day today while she explored our living room for the first time. It was amazing to watch!!

This month, Octoboer, is NaBloPoMo, which I may or may not participate in. I guess I won't, since it's already Oct 2 and I didn't post yesterday. But, I will try to post more often this month in honor of it, which I think is worth something.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Grandma came to town, and we went to the Ballard Market

On Friday Layla's Grandma L came to town to visit again, her first time back since her helpful visit last March when Layla was a little-little brand-new baby.


We have been having so much fun!! On Saturday we had pancakes at home and then walked around the neighborhood, up to the lake, to a garage sale (where we bought a pile of things) and then went to lunch in Fremont and Yellow Leaf Cupcakes. On the way to get the cupcakes we convinced ourselves to buy their famous Pancakes N Bacon cupcakes but when we got there they were out! So we settled for Orange Cake, Boston Cream, Snowball, and Chocolate-Toffee, which were all delicious.

Today we needed to let the Studly Hubby get some work done so Layla and Grandma L and I drove out to Ballard to go to the Farmer's Market, which I love but haven't been to in about a year.


I have made some really awesome discoveries at the Ballard Farmer's Market, including the Best Soap, Pie and Cheese in the World, and Layla discovered her favorite new band, That Family That Plays the Most Awesome Bluegrass at the Market. Even when she's tired and cranky she's still happy to watch bluegrass at the market.

Afterwards we went to Kerry Park in Queen Anne where you can take the most scenic pictures of Seattle, although we all three forgot our cameras. So, my mom and Layla slept in the car for a while and I played on my iPhone, then when they woke up we all checked out the view and headed back home.

At home, Layla worked on her mobility. She has really made progress this week. Last week, she was getting up on all fours and rocking back and forth and crying with the frustration of not being mobile. This week, she learned how to get from that position into a sitting-up position and then this weekend she learned how to combine sitting-up, rolling, and wiggling on all fours to actually get around the living room. So, I'm going to call it:

LAYLA IS MOBILE

So now we're chasing her around our living room keeping her from getting into all the stuff she can't wait to get into, like all the cords by the phone, the cabinets under the TV, the stuff on our shelves, and that intriguing space under the coffee table. Unfortunately, she bonked herself on the noggin a few times and we are learning how much dust we've been collecting behind the couch, but for the most part it's really exciting.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

deals and steals

I've become a huge fan of online shopping since I had a baby. You can do it late at night, there's no rush to figure out what you need, and everything gets delivered to your door. Also, I've found some AMAZING websites that have great deals or just a nice layout with everything you'd ever need. Here are some of them:

1. Diapers.com. Someone told me about this months ago and I ignored them until recently, when I realized they had 20% off of the carseats we were looking into buying (and then I found a lot of other stuff that was way cheaper than the other sources we were using). They deliver in 2 days too! If you use it let me know and I can give you my 'referral' code and get $10.

2. albeebaby.com I think this is like diapers.com but with different stuff on sale.

3. babysteals.com This is like 'groupon' but for babies, and laid out fancier so it makes you really want to buy the stuff.

4. zulily.com Just found out about this so haven't had time to check it out but it's basically like babysteals only for designer items.

Did I miss any good ones? Let me know!

Also Old Navy is having an awesome sale on baby stuff right now!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Baby group!

Here are all the babies from our parent support group! Layla is in the middle, grabbing at the pacifier strap of the baby next to her. I can now say that lining up 8 6-month olds and taking a picture is not easy, but very entertaining.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wallyhood blog

Our neighborhood has a blog! I love to check in every once in a while and read about garage sales, weird stuff people have on their lawns, church fundraisers, etc. This week the blog suddenly became useful, however, when we got a letter in the mail that a church near us is planning to be a site for an organized homeless group. What! There was a very heated discussion about this that we had to miss, and tomorrow is 'opening day'. So we both checked out all the details on the wallyhood blog, and found out that a lot of our neighbors were doing the same (the first blog post on this topic had 116 comments!). It turns out that for the most part, it should be ok - it's not a huge group (like the famous Seattle Tent City and Nickelsville groups). There will only be 15 people/night, they have to sign in and out, they will be supervised, and they have to be in by 9 pm and out by 7 am. But, unfortunately, an unregistered sex offender was hanging out in the last one for a while before he got caught (they don't have time to do background checks on everyone). And, weirdly, the church that is hosting this shelter happens to also host a daycare (not OUR daycare, thank goodness, but you can see why this is controversial).

But, what can we do? We have to try to help the homeless, right? And how can you help them if you don't let them sleep anywhere? This program keeps SO MANY people from sleeping outside. And problems in the nearby neighborhood are VERY RARE. So, I don't see any good solid reason to shut it down (other than the daycare issue, which as I said is very weird). But, I have to admit, I'll be a little nervous for a while as the neighborhood adjusts to its new neighbors.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

6 month photos!!

We have been looking forward to getting 6-month photos ever since we got our totally awesome newborn photos (when Layla was 5 days old!). In anticipation, we went on a shopping spree at Once Upon A Time in Queen Anne, a kids store with lots of fancy-pants locally handmade items. You can spend a lot of money fast at that store! But, it's good to get a couple of really really nice things every once in a while.

But one of the best things for our pictures - the 30-year quilt! We spread this out in the grass and took a bunch of photos on it, and it was really comfy AND beautiful!! And the photographer couldn't BELIEVE my dad made it.

Our photographer is really amazing, and as we expected she took some awesome shots of us, even though Miss Layla put on her crabby pants after only about 40 min.



These are just a few - I'll try to post more once we get the entire set.

Crawling!


Layla is trying so hard to be mobile. She is getting up on her hands and knees and working really hard on moving around but still can't, and then gets really frustrated over it. We spent the entire weekend working with her on the floor because we really wanted to see her crawl for the first time (instead of the daycare workers getting to see it!). We each got down there and showed her how it's done, and we moved her knees for her, and we encouraged her by cheering her on and putting toys she wanted just out of reach. But, the end of the weekend came and she still isn't crawling yet. She is, however, scooting backwards (much to her irritation - she moves AWAY from the toy she wants instead of towards it), and she can also turn 180 degrees around now. So, we made some progress. We'll see what the week holds!

Crawling!

Two good quotes

Quotes are changed slightly for clear context

"It's the beginning of mobility; the beginning of the long haul into adulthood where they will get a car and struggle to keep it running" - my dad, on Layla's recent first signs of crawling

"Wow, if my dad called to tell me he was sewing a quilt I would panic and board the next flight out to make sure he was ok" - our photographer, after hearing about the quilt my dad made for Layla

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Silly Hospitals!

The hospital where Layla was born was mostly good to us, but had a little trouble with the bill. First, they called me in the birthing suite to ask what insurance we had for Layla. Who is coherent enough to know anything about insurance at that point? Not me. Then, instead of asking again at a later time when I might actually know, they just billed the wrong insurance and charged us when insurance didn't pay. I was quite surprised that the part we owed for Layla was only about $50. The rest of the bill, for the birth and the recovery and all, was something like three million dollars. They charged $15,000 alone just to stay in the room I was in. What an expensive room! Note that I was only there for 36 hours total, and had no problems at all. Thank goodness I have good insurance! And thank goodness I have good backup insurance (my husband's insurance)! I am very lucky and didn't have to pay anything at all, except that $50 for Layla. Since I am a busy new mom, when I got the bill for $50 I thought it would be sufficient to write in the correct insurance info on the bill and send it back to the hospital. It turns out, that takes a few weeks to process, and meanwhile they started freaking out about their $50. Considering they just hawked three million dollars off my insurance company, I thought maybe they would let the $50 go for a little while until I got Layla's insurance information straightened out. But, no. So, after they called us and made some evil threats, I finally wrote them a check for $50. Then today, I came home to find... surprise! a reimbursement check from the hospital for $50. Yay!

Oh my goodness. I'm glad I don't have to deal with hospitals very often.

Teeth!!

Our baby girl has teeth!!! Can you believe it?


I'd like to point out a few other things about this picture. First, Layla's hair is CHANGING COLOR - it used to be a very very dark brown (and quite wispy) and now the same hair is turning into a cute reddish color... much like mine!! It's also filling in and growing..! It's so pretty! Second, she STILL LOVES EYORE!! She has loved Eyore since she was a little tiny baby and it still holds. Luckily she has THREE Eyores, including one GIANT one waiting for her at Grandma's house in Iowa.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Camping Trip!

We must be really crazy, and maybe a little delusional, because we took our 6-month baby on a camping trip this weekend. But, we survived to tell the tale, and even had a little fun (I got to eat TEN s'mores).

We weren't sure if Layla would like it, or at least like it more than playing with her toys on the kitchen floor, but it turns out she LOVED it. Especially the tents. Our friends had a giant tent and two little girls that were playing inside - and Layla fussed and fussed until I finally figured out she wanted to go IN the tent to play with everyone, which we did. She was SO HAPPY to get in there and be part of all the action. Tents are cool! And she was so motivated to crawl this weekend that she finally did! Although she is crawling backwards only, so far.

We also went on some neat hikes, which Layla really enjoyed, and ate a lot of bad camp food, which Layla did not seem to enjoy (good thing we brought a lot of diapers!), and we did some swimming in a cold lake and some hanging around the beach and some wandering around tide pools during low tide. Layla got to see a lot of neat stuff!! And the weather was perfect, as long as you weren't hoping for a long swim in the lake.

We came back a little early, to a quiet drizzly holiday in Seattle, and Layla and I napped all afternoon together to work on recovering from the big camping trip.

Some great headlines around Washington

While we were on the ferry on the way back from our camping trip in the San Juan Islands, I saw a local newspaper with an awesome headline:

3 Local Orcas Missing

Do they really KNOW when orcas are missing? And where could they possibly go? Aren't they pretty big? I tried to dig out 75 cents to find out more but didn't have it, so when I got home I looked up the paper to read the article. It turns out they are presumed DEAD!! And the salmon are doing well this year, so it's not from a shortage of food. What a mystery.

While I was reading news headlines online, I found out there are a whole bunch of other good headlines out there, in the San Juan Islands and beyond. Here are a few more:

'EMT Response Time Hindered by Poor Cell Service' (proof that we really WERE roughing it where we were camping)

'Investigators track foot found in Green Bank' (it turns out there is a long history of feet washing up on shore in Western Washington - and nobody knows where they are coming from... good thing WE didn't find one! That would be so gross!)

'Public Masturbator Caught on Camera in Denny Park' (and there's a picture... but just of his face, I had to check. Again, glad none of us got to see this)

So it was really too bad I couldn't find 75 cents to buy that paper! That'll teach me to carry some change around next time!!

Sippy Cup!


We got Layla a sippy cup, because she told us a while ago that she really wanted to drink out of a cup like a grown-up. She loves to play with it but hasn't quite gotten the hang of tipping it all the way up so she can actually drink what's in it. But it has nice big handles and doesn't spill or break so she can take her time.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fangs!!

I don't have pictures, but wanted to announce that miss Layla popped her two front bottom teeth this weekend!!

It was a big weekend! It was the 6 month anniversary of her due date (Feb 28 2010) so we had Yellow Leaf cupcakes (the best in town), and went on a shopping spree for her 6-month photo shoot coming up in two weeks. Boy, you can spend a lot of money fast on cute baby clothes!! She also ate her first solid food (see below) and popped her first teeth, all at once. What a big girl!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Layla gets some avacado

Layla has been ready for her first solid food for a while now, but the doctor recommended we wait until 6 months and we've been awful busy (first solid food requires lots of media attention) so we put it off until now.

We decided to start with avocado, because it's one of the first foods recommended on the helpful website www.wholesomebabyfood.com and by lots of other resources (FYI rice cereal, the first baby food of choice for many years, is now disputed and under review by the APA- it's bland and not very nutritious).

We blended up a super-ripe avocado with some fresh breastmilk to make a yummy-looking (sarcasm) 'avocado milkshake.' Then we stripped Layla down to her diaper, stuck her in her bumbo chair, and spooned some up. We were not surprised when she grabbed the spoon and stuck it in her mouth, and then grabbed a handful and stuck that in her mouth. What a smart girl! Then she grabbed the spoon and waved it all around, and took a handful and smeared it all over her chest, and very quickly there was avocado milkshake all over the place.

We're not sure which she liked more - the avocado milkshake or the big mess she got to make - but she had a blast! She was so worn out afterwards she couldn't wait for bed.

Layla helps herself!

Layla has always been a good communicator. When she's hungry, she opens her mouth and reaches for what she wants. Lately, that has been everything from a burrito to a flower. As her parents, we feel obligated to make sure what goes in her mouth is (mostly) good for her, so we have been following doctor's orders to keep her on breastmilk only until 6 months. But while we were in New Mexico, she decided she was done with that and helped herself to some water. We weren't surprised, since it was 100F every day we were there.


This was during her bath, which was in the kitchen sink since the place we were staying didn't have a bathtub. She also decided she was ready to drink out of a cup, and told us by reaching for the cup we were using to dump water on her and drinking from it. She had a hard time with it though, so we'll probably get her a sippy cup.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sleeper

Now that Layla is being left alone in her crib more, and she can roll over and scoot herself all around, we've stopped using her swaddle so she doesn't get stuck somewhere she doesn't want to be. This means she gets to hang around in really cute sleepers and sleep sacks all the time.

In case you're wondering, what in the world is a sleep sack? I assure you we wondered the same thing, and now I can share our new knowledge. They are blankets for babies that have arm-holes and zip up so the babies can't get all tangled up in them. This is the cutest sleep sack we could find in town, it's by Aiden and Anais which is apparently all the rage in Hollywood. Also it is made out of a really lightweight material for summer.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The epic diaper journey comes to an end

It seems like we are making so many big changes these days I hardly have time to document all of them. But the diaper journey is important.

We started out using ALL cloth diapers (with a service), because we thought it was the best for the environment (who knows if it really is, one can argue all over this one). Cloth diapers are easy in that you can blow through 10 without feeling too guilty about it (at 10 cents each) and use them for other stuff like burp cloths, wipes, etc. Which we did. The first few months we were getting 150 diapers PER WEEK and we used them all! They are hard, however, when you are out on the town (you always need a plastic bag to bring home the used ones) or if your kid pees 8 gallons at a time which happened to us frequently (mostly at night). So it may generate some extra laundry. Also something to consider is that diaper covers cost about $10 each and you have to buy new ones every time your kid growth spurts which in our case was way too often.

So after a while we started to modify, and used disposable diapers at night and sometimes when we went out, cloth diapers that fit larger size ranges (Thirsties are nice), and things got a lot easier. But then the kid started sleeping all the time, and is in daycare most of the rest of the time (they have their own cloth diapers), and on weekends we are partying down and using mostly disposables, so this week we decided to finally cancel the diaper service. What a change! I am reeling.

So that's our diaper journey. I am proud we made it almost to 6 months using mostly cloth diapers. And I am happy to report that we will continue to use cloth diapers at the daycare, and environmentally friendly disposables at home (whatever that means), so we aren't all bad. But the era of the cloth diaper service has come to an end.

Layla visits the Desert

Traveling to the Motherland wasn't hard enough, so we thought we'd challenge ourselves again with a trip out to New Mexico to visit another wing of our family (my dad's side).

We had a whole different set of challenges this time (1 month later). Since we went through sleep training, Layla's 'nap' and 'bedtime' routines are really different now. Essentially what used to work doesn't, and the thing that now works is to let her cry a bit and we really can't do that when we're on a plane or in a hotel (or senior community as the case may be). So we had a lot of struggle especially with naps which are always her big challenge these days (she HATES napping when interesting things are going on..!).
The easier parts this time were going through security, hanging out in the airport, packing, and take off and landing (no problem).

As before, Layla debuted in her super-cute mommy-made dress with the orange Etsy flower headband (didn't have time to put together another outfit, but she's almost outgrown this one so I will have to next time).
She saw LOTS of family and got lots of hugs and squeezes. She has a whole pile of uncles that couldn't wait to meet her, and my Dad had waited on pins and needles to finally get to hold her.

She was excited to meet him and by the end of the weekend definitely recognized he has that special 'grandpa' status. Notice that my dad is sporting a Seattle Sounders (soccer) hat... yay Sounders!

And my dad finally gave us the THIRTY YEAR QUILT!! I will post some pictures of that later.

Unfortunately it was 100F every day we were there and we didn't get out much (the mild Seattle climate has made us weak), but we did get a LOT of good visiting done.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Soap!


While we were in New Mexico (more on that later) I found DIRT soap!! It smelled like dirt!! If you are super jealous and wish you had some you can get it at www.newmexicosoap.com.

Also while we are discussing soap I need to mention my all-time favorite soap, CAT POOP soap. Surprisingly, it smells like cappuccino. When I saw this I immediately thought of three of my favorite people: my Grandpa S., who is always up for a good poop joke, my great friend from grad school K, who is also always up for a good poop joke, and my brother J, who was in college and seemed like he just needed some poop soap. If you wish you had some you can get it here.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Layla's sleepy pants

When Layla gets cranky, the Studly Hubby says she 'put her cranky-pants on.' And when she gets sleepy, she 'puts her sleepy-pants on.' The Studly Hubby picks her up from daycare and then gives me a report when I get home, and it usually goes something like this:

'She jumped in her monkey chair for a while, and then she put her cranky pants on, and I fed her, and then she put her sleepy pants on, and now she's ready for bed.'

The big thing Layla learned when she got sleeped trained was how to go to sleep on her own when she puts her sleepy pants on. Now, she likes sleeping so much that she is putting her sleepy pants on VERY EARLY - 6:30 pm!!! It is too early! I am working on shifting my work schedule earlier so I can get home before she is in bed. Amazingly, she is sleeping straight through until 6:30 am.

I have to admit, this complete turnaround in Layla's sleep pattern made us a little bit nervous at first. After she started sleeping through the night, we would wake up and then worry about her. One time the Studly Hubby went into her room to check on her and accidentally woke her up - and she made sure he was very VERY sorry he did that.

So we decided to get a video baby monitor. I can't believe I'm one of THOSE people that wants to spy on my kid while she sleeps. But I have to admit it's ridiculously fun. She's not super interesting but it IS really really nice to see what's going on in there. The video camera can see in the dark really well too (better than me)!

If you look on the screen you can see the live video of Layla sleeping in her crib. This was taken at about 8 pm, and she had already been asleep for an hour and a half!!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Kid's triathlon

Kids can do triathlons too!!

Layla told me about this. She can't wait until she can walk so she can do one.

http://passiveparanoia.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 06, 2010

Jumping Bean!

The Studly Hubby taught Miss Layla how to jump in her monkey chair!!



Now we're in BIG trouble - she wants to jump ALL THE TIME!!

Garden progress

We haven't been getting much done lately, but one thing we kind of had to do was clean up our garden. In Seattle, gardens really only require two things: 1) lots and lots of weeding Sept-June and 2) lots and lots of watering in July and August (yes, it actually gets dry here in the summer).
Our garden hadn't gotten much weeding since March, and we had let all the plants in the planters die from drought, and the neighbor's dog had pooped all over our backyard and we hadn't even noticed, and there was some need to mow. Since we have a new baby and have been looking pretty exhausted lately, the neighbors decided to step in and help out. We were SO grateful. Our neighbor with the dog came over to clean up all the poop and mow the yard because she felt bad about the poop, and our other neighbor politely asked for permission to 'lend a hand' with the garden and then tore out all the weeds for us and bought a bunch of plants to put in the planters - it must have taken her two or three whole days. I barely managed to get out and buy her some chocolate and a bottle of wine as a thank-you when she continued helping out by watering all the new plants for us too. Last weekend at the tail end of all the work the Studly Hubby and I traded off watching the girl and went out to help out, but most of it was already done (plus we didn't really know what we were doing).

So, viola! Freshly beautified garden!

This is one of the four quadrants of our garden, the one we spent the most time on.

Layla approves of all the flowers!
Look at these hollyhocks! Aren't they huge??

Thursday, August 05, 2010

We do some other things too!

Even though we don't sleep much, every once in a while we get out and do something. To prove it, here is a picture of the Studly Hubby in a road race he ran last weekend with some friends.


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

A second note on sleep deprivation

We're still sleep deprived!

So we decided it's time for a change.

I packed Layla up in the Moby and we went to Kids on 45th, a used kid store in our neighborhood, to look for some books on sleeping. Fortunately, sleep is a BIG issue so there were lots of books. I bought, "Healthy sleep habits, happy child" by Dr. Weissbluth, on a recommendation, but the book I really wanted, 'Solve your child's sleep problems' by Richard Ferber, was not there, which I've been told has the same general ideas but is better written.

I read 'Healthy sleep habits' and it was really informative.

Apparently babies make a big shift in their sleep patterns around 3-4 months (which we had noticed) and go from a random sleep pattern to one that is more routine and adult-like. Little babies like rocking and swaddling (outlined in the 'Happiest Baby on the Block' video, which any new parent MUST WATCH), but when they transition into an adult sleep pattern they need consistent bedtimes, a consistent sleeping 'nest' (isn't your bed the best place to sleep?) and some help making sure they get enough sleep (since life is exciting now, and sleep isn't).

I also learned that staying up late really screws you. You release nasty stress hormones that make you sleep poorly and wake up too early. So, it's much better if you want your baby to sleep well to make them go to bed early and be well rested in general (sleep begets sleep).

So, we made some changes. We also hired a 'sleep doula' to have a chat with us about our plans.

We decided to shift over to the new routine cold turkey. We set up a different bedtime ritual where we put Layla down awake instead of asleep so she could learn how to fall asleep by herself. When she cried at night we didn't go to her unless it was at one of the times that she's usually actually hungry.

It was a really hard transition, for her and for us. None of us got any sleep the first night, and not much more the second night. But the THIRD night, she slept ELEVEN hours..!! STRAIGHT!!!! We were relieved (and a little destroyed). I think she was relieved too. She is clearly learning how to sleep better, which is a very useful skill to have.

Now to get our lives back on track - and emerge from the fog of sleep deprivation..!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Giggles!!

Discovering your feet

Miss Layla Rose discovered her feet this week! This was a HUGE excitement. Of course since she is experiencing everything through taste these days that means she puts her feet in her mouth, and this is something easiest done without the diaper. So, during diaper changes, Layla usually has her feet in her mouth now.

AND we actually caught it on video!! This was the second time she put her feet in her mouth - she has socks on, so she technically put her sock in her mouth, but I assure you she is also quite happy to put bare feet in her mouth.

Some new videos!!

Here are some new videos of Layla! You may or may not care to watch ALL of them...

LAYLA VS. EEYORE (Eyore was a gift from Grandpa M, thanks Grandpa M!)



Layla in her new Monkey Jungle Gym!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A note on sleep deprivation

One of my worst nightmares is to not get enough sleep - prior to having a baby I tested all my limits and found that I have a HARD limit of 7.5 hours per night (anything less and I am dysfunctional) and a critical limit of 3 nights of less than adequate sleep before my health is compromised.

It seems that having a baby changes something, because I've found I'm able to survive on much less now. Thank goodness, because I need to! After 2 months of great sleeping, Layla suddenly turned into a nocturnal sleepless monster at about 3 months. She wakes constantly, sleeps loudly (it sounds like she's fighting bears), is always hungry, and is often ready to party at 2 am. The Studly Hubby and I worked out a system so that we each would at least get 4 hours of sleep (split shifts, I stay up until 2 am and he takes over at 2 am). Even with this plan, we could only get about 4-5 hours each per night and it went on for almost three weeks. I don't have any idea how I managed to work a full day after all that. Thank goodness the Studly Hubby was on paternity leave, so he could take care of the house stuff and other things that came up. Otherwise our house would have totally fallen apart.

We looked into 'sleep training' (where you let the baby cry it out) but haven't started that yet because Layla's still pretty young. We talked to the doctor who gave us little more than sympathy. We talked to the doula who was encouraging that it wouldn't last long but told us this doesn't sound abnormal so there's not much that can be done (blah!). We were looking into paying someone to spend the night every once in a while so we could just get some sleep (the Studly Hubby goes back to work next week!) and then finally on Thursday night she mysteriously turned around and slept 10 hrs straight. Aaaaaaahhhhhhh, sweet sleep..!!! Fingers crossed the phase is over..!

Four month photos

The Studly Hubby as usual is taking some great pictures of Layla. She makes a good subject! She hasn't gotten sick of the camera yet, but I'm sure she will someday.


Carseat photo! She's getting HUGE. The sweatshirt she's wearing is from her aunt W, and is a size 12 months!!


Sometimes after a bath Layla decides she wants a punk rock 'do (before her hair gets greasy from all of our baby kisses and pats). She wanted to show it off here while sitting in the rocking chair her aunt M got for her.
We are constantly on the lookout for cute hats, because we have no sun tolerance here in Seattle. Also, you aren't supposed to put sunscreen on baby's faces until they are a little older so we need to protect Layla, who unfortunately seems to have gotten her mommy's sun-shy skin. Fortunately there is no shortage of cute hats in Seattle!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

4 months!

Today is Layla's 4 month birthday! I'm going to post some new pictures later, but I just wanted to highlight her new 4-month developments:

- she's GIGGLING!! and she always snorts at the end of the giggle, it's so cute. Since she discovered she can do this she does it for just about anything.

- she's HUGE!! She's been constantly growth spurting for about 3 weeks and just shot right through her 3 month clothes into 6- and 12-month sizes!! Good thing we have so many fun new things to put on her..! She's also stretching across the changing table - I'm going to have to move some stuff on the end to make more room for her.

- Her blue eyes got even bluer over the past week, and lighter. They are so pretty! Her face is also changing, and people are saying she looks even more like me!

- She is SO READY to start crawling. The Studly Hubby tortures her by putting her on her belly with a favorite toy a few feet away and she kicks and pushes and tries to get to it but hasn't quite got the muscle yet... but nearly! We are starting to think about baby-proofing the house.

New purse!!

I LOST my purse last weekend on the flight back from the motherland - it really sucked but the upside is that I get to buy a new purse. I've fallen in love with a 'purse lady' at Pike's Place Market but make myself look but not buy since I already have two of her purses. The purse lady is Sandra from Sandra's Satchels (you can buy her stuff through Etsy if you are not a Seattle resident). She lives in my neighborhood! and she makes the most AMAZING purses - the pictures on Etsy do not do them justice. They are really high quality fabric and sewing and super cute designs.

This is my old purse (that I lost):
And this is my new purse! I asked her to put the elephant button on it if she could, I was particularly attached to that.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Paternity Leave!!

My husband works for a great company that recognizes that men need to contribute to their family as well as women - and so they give a one-month paid paternity leave. He is now on his paternity leave. AND we have childcare! So he can spend time with the kid and then drop the kid off and spend some time at home catching up on all the stuff we've gotten behind on in the past two months.

Of course, being The Wife, I have a long honey-do list for the Studly Hubby during his paternity leave in July. On the top of my list is getting his help working out a better morning routine for Layla and I (the Studly Hubby usually leaves for work before we get up - but not in July!). Our mornings currently go like this: wake up, chaos, chaos, chaos, change diaper (x3), more chaos, and then run out the door and up to the daycare with a screaming baby and only half the things I need for the day. I want to change this to: wake up, feed the baby and myself, get the baby ready, get myself ready, and then walk out the door when I intend to with everyone happy and all the things we both need for the day and the neighbors impressed with what an awesome mother I am instead of horrified by the blur of chaos and screaming that normally flies past.

My goal has two parts. First, I hope that during July, Layla will get older (which she will, since she always does) and because of this she will be better and more predictable by the time the Studly Hubby goes back to work. Second, I hope to work out a better system so that I can just get everything together and leave no matter what is going on with the baby. This is much harder than it sounds. But, if I am successful, it will be a big step towards a new routine at work that I can be happy with - modified from the old routine, but hopefully good enough.

My ship has come in!

I realized today that MY SHIP HAS COME IN.

Seriously.

I read in 'O the Oprah Magazine' about two years ago that a lot of people wait their whole lives for their ship to come in, only to realize that it had already happened many years ago. Ever since, I've been on the lookout. But ships don't just come in when you want them to. I realized that there was no way my ship could come in when I was still in my 20s because there's just too much 20s angst going on. And it would never come in during bad weather, that's just a no-brainer (and there's a lot of bad weather in Seattle). So I had to just hang back and wait for a bit.

The surprising thing, to me, was that having a kid was what put it all into motion.

I really love having a kid, she's so cute, and new and interesting, and satisfying somehow - so of course, that helped. But there's more. First, being pregnant put a fire under my rear at work and I finally got somewhere after many years of struggle. Second, having a kid helped me enter the secret parent club that I never even knew existed - and we now have a million new friends and interesting things to do. And third, this kid thing really takes your marriage to a whole new level (which in our case was good).

So now, I can say that my ship has come in. I have a great life, and I love it. AND I remembered to notice, yay me! But, my life isn't ever just rainbows and unicorns - and as proof, below is a picture also taken today of the Studly Hubby crashed on the couch due to sleep deprivation (the li'l missus kept us up all night again last night). It's worth it though!!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Mommy-baby matching outfits!!

I always wanted a matching mommy-baby outfit, because that seems like an over-the-top kind of must-do experience.

And I seem to have gotten on this strange sewing kick since Layla was born.

So I thought I would combine the two and sew us a matching mommy-baby outfit. I used fabric left over from my mother's day skirt, and bought some more fabric to make a baby dress, and then put it with a flower headband from Etsy, cute shoes from the Studly Hubby's Studly parents, and it was exactly what I wanted - an over-the-top amazing-obnoxious mommy-baby outfit!!


Big success!! Layla liked it too, she loves the bright colors in the fabric. After I handed her off and got to a take a good look at my handiwork, I was really proud of myself! The dress turned out great, and was a really unique mix of patterns. I had a lot of fun with this project, hopefully I will have time to make more!!

Big trip to the Motherland

We decided to take Layla back to the 'Motherland' (where our mothers are!) over the 4th of July holiday. Like me, Layla has a lot of grandparents - SIX (including some step-grandparents), and she has EIGHT more great-grandparents!! She also has SIX uncles and THREE aunts, FOUR cousins and an army of great aunts and uncles that were all dying to meet her. She told me before she left she couldn't WAIT!!!

So we put her in some appropriate attire and hopped on a plane.


And she's a good traveler!! She liked the airport, enjoyed all the lights on the plane (and then fell asleep for a while), didn't seem to mind the pressure changes (she even slept through one of the landings!), and was generally a pretty good sport. She was even kind of sick when we left - but didn't complain.

When we got to Iowa, we had a LOT of people to meet. She LOVED meeting everyone, and told many of them about her awesome trip from Seattle.

Below she is telling the Studly Hubby's Studly Mommy all about her wild trip through airports and on airplanes all the way from Seattle to Iowa.

Her relatives made a good audience, and she soaked up all the new sights. One of the things that really blew her mind was the dogs at my mom's house, she stared at them with her mouth wide open (unfortunately we didn't have the camera out yet).

She also had a wonderful time playing with everyone, below she and my mom are goofing around on the floor of my mom's living room.


We were hosted very well by our mommies in the Motherland - both mommies got play things for us to use, including swings and vibrating chairs and toys. Below Layla is having fun in one of the swings and she is holding a stuffed dog her Grandpa M gave her.


Big kudos to my mom especially for clearing out the bottom floor of her house for us, running the air conditioning all weekend at our request, keeping quiet in the mornings so we could sleep in (since we are lazy West Coasters), and organizing a large-scale rental of all of her neighbor's baby things.

Also many thanks to those who brought toys and gifts for Layla, she really loves the toys and WE love the outfits! My mom was an especially big contributor, and filled up her entire kitchen table with bags of stuff she got for Layla. What an excited Grandma!!

Even though everything went well and we were glad Layla could meet a lot of her family, it was a really exhausting trip. The Studly Hubby and I both got sick, and poor Layla didn't shake her cold, so all three of us got home on Sunday night exhausted and sick, 30 minutes before the fireworks show started in our neighborhood. We all went to bed while the fireworks were going off less than a mile away from us, and slept through the fireworks, the traffic and loud partying afterwards. Then Monday we had a lot of long naps during the day to try to recover. What a trip!!