Friday, August 28, 2009

Charles Hearts Watermelon

Dad has a great video of this series, I'll see if he'll post it to YouTube so I can show you... he really went after the watermelon slices with gusto!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Busy Bees

First of all, if you haven't been over to Landonville to meet our new nephew, you totally should. He is so cute!

And I hear he sleeps better than Charles already... what can I say, sleep training has been a total bust. We let him cry, and he just cries harder, until, before you know it, an hour has passed, he is hiccoughing and red in the face and I am crying and all our ears hurt and Buster has retreated to the backyard for some peace. Ferber, Weissbluth, Sleep Easy... all tried and failed. If Charles sleeps for any length of time, it is at the beginning of the night, so that by the time I get to bed at 11:30, after having done a ton and a half of housework, he is on the downhill slide to waking up sometime in the next three hours. He is teething (again! I can't even be sure how many teeth are coming in, it is outrageous!) and, consequently, has a cold and is in pain, so he wakes up more for that. I kid you not, I haven't had more than 3 consecutive hours of sleep a night in, well, since he was born maybe, and most nights my cumulative score isn't much beyond 5 or 6. It is driving me slowly insane.

And my insanity is manifesting itself now, with the combination of PMS, into crying jags and offense taken at every minor jab. Kid me about my pants not fitting? I'll remind you how I wait on everyone in my house, work my ass off at Goodwinds, and still have 10 pounds to lose that may NEVER come off, for all I can tell, so youcanshutthehellupI'mdoingthebestIcan, dammit!

On another note, since now I'm going to get a call from my mom begging me not to jump off a cliff, we have been extremely busy lately, which is why, unfortunately, I don't have any photos for you. My brother went to New York to visit some friends, so my Dad came up and we ran Goodwinds and went to a family reunion last weekend. Daddy has all the photos from that trip, I'll try to get them this week.

Running Goodwinds without Leland has been stressful, to say the least. I liken it to going on maternity leave... you do your level best to prepare for any idiot to take over your job, planning for any eventuality, leaving detailed notes and instructions. My brother did none of this, and Dad and I struggled mightily. Thank God Leland is back today, we might actually catch up. Unfortunately, Charles had to spend both Friday and Monday neglected at work while I put together orders and tried to make progress. Sorry, kiddo.

I went jeans shopping, because I am giving up. Well, not really. I have been doing the 30 Day Shred, but I have lost ZERO pounds over the last 3 weeks, and I didn't have a single pair of jeans that fit. We are heading to the beach in September for an extended vacation, and you just can't wear shorts that often at the beach. In late September. So, I broke down, spent money I don't have, and bought two pair at Target that are a size larger than I wore pre-pregnancy. Sigh. I don't want to be fat anymore.

Tomorrow is the Habitat for Humanity ReStore grand opening, on which Tony has been working hard, and then this weekend we have a company picnic and a wedding to attend. Must go wedding gift shopping.

So, not like you wanted that loooong excuse for not posting recently, but there you go anyhow.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Charles often crawls and cries at the same time... because what motivates him to crawl is the fact that I have left the room, and he hates that. I had no idea a child could be so needy. I cannot leave him alone EVER, unless I want to endure screams of anguish. Which I do endure, on a daily basis, because sometimes I need both hands to do something quickly in another room. The horror!

Every cabinet in the kitchen is now child-locked, thus making it nearly impossible for the adults to open them. Nothing is safe from his reach. Buster is getting more exercise from the constant running away he does.

Tony is away tonight at CPE, so I'm flying solo tonight. This week has been particularly busy for him, with a Habitat board meeting Monday night, a beer meeting last night (no, really, it was business), and the CPE today and tomorrow. Then, Charles, my dad, and I are leaving Tony with Buster and Alli for the weekend while we head to PA for a family reunion (thanks, Lynda, for the house to stay in!). This week is just a wife-and-baby vacation for him.

And, in the things-I-have-learned-this-week category: Buster thinks that hot air balloons are a threat to our existence and will bark at them until they go away. Which takes awhile, because they move at balloon speed. Which is to say, slowly. I'm surprised the neighbors didn't call the cops.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fish Face!!!

"How you doin'?"

"Yep. Ya caught me. I like to break a mental sweat, too."

It's time for another installment of "Theme Songs." This week's edition: Fishing! (for Tony, of course)
Can you think of songs that mention fishing anywhere in them? Here are our examples:

1. Summer Nights - Van Halen (Tony always tells me, when we hear this song, that it is the first song Sammy Hagar wrote with Van Halen)

2. Fishin in the Dark - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

3. Downeaster Alexa - Billy Joel

4. I'm Gonna Miss Her - Brad Paisley

5. Takin Care of Business - Bachman-Turner Overdrive

6 Fish On - Primus


Wow! This is a tough one! I feel as though you'll have an advantage in creating a fishing playlist if you like Country music. A bit more difficult if you don't. What's on your list?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Best Medicine

Okay, so I know Charles isn't stupid. My mom says he's just big. Poor kid's gonna have the nickname "Moose" before he's 5 years old.

It's just that, as a parent, I constantly look for reassurance that my kid is at least "normal." With all the scare-tactics about autism, learning disabilities, mental disorders, and the like out there, it would be reassuring if Charles were reaching milestones of growth and development like other children. He mostly is - especially the earlier ones, like rolling over and sitting up. He plays with toys the way a 9-month-old should. But he is off the charts on weight gain and overall size, he missed the crawling milestone, and he is behind in vocalization. Fine motor skills are not coming easily to him - that whole pincer grasp should have happened awhile ago, too.

Being attentive to such milestones is to walk a fine line between "too lax" and "alarmist." Yesterday, I got a bit alarmist. Most of the time, I try to be sensible about it all. But then, how horribly would I feel if I missed something, only to find out in a few months that he has fallen irretrievably behind in development?

Being the primary caregiver to a giant, demanding baby is tough. My back and shoulders hurt all the time, regardless of how many times I visit the chiropractor in a given month. I have lost a lot of my own identity. Remember how I mentioned that we can't have a night out because I can't pump enough milk for daycare and a date? Tony and I haven't been out without Charles since June. And when we did that, he drank so much milk that I was short for daycare the next day and they had to call me in to come feed him. I can see my body slipping away - goodbye, youthful sexiness! This is all very hard to take, so forgive me if I go off the edge every once in awhile.

But let me reassure you that I love him, I delight in him, I would not trade him for the world. Especially when he takes a regular nap and I get a chance to swipe on some mascara, put my hair back, do the dishes, and have a little bit of alone time. By the way, does anyone know a good housekeeper in the Mount Vernon area? I fear my looks are not the only thing that has suffered in the advent of child-wrangling around here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

In Charles' ninth month of life outside the womb, he has finally learned to crawl. Is my son retarded, as in, slow to achieve? Shouldn't he have been doing this months ago? According to parenting books, yes. Also, he started babbling about a week-and-a-half ago, something he should have been doing at about seven months.

What is perhaps more worrying to his stumbling-blindly-through-this-life mother is that he HATES crawling. I had expected him to be ecstatic over his newfound freedom of movement. Instead, every time he hoists himself onto hands and knees, he cries. Cries because he wants to get to me, to the dog, to Tony, to the laundry basket, to the toys faster, faster, FASTER! Crawling is hard for him, and clearly too slow a means of transportation. He is an angry little boy, throwing temper tantrums, which I didn't expect to see for at least a few more months, over the smallest things, and especially when he can't move fast enough or when he is left alone for more than a second. His crawling, more often than not, turns into a frenzied army-crawl as the tears fall harder and faster the more he realizes that he is oh-so-far away from his goal.

And the sleeping. Never a great sleeper, Charles seemed to be doing so well (up only once each night), until his eye teeth started coming in, and now his front teeth are descending, ONE AT A TIME, thankyouverymuch, and he wakes up screaming at all hours of the night. To top it all off, he has given up the binky (probably because of those pesky front teeth) and has not quite learned how to soothe himself without it. The requisite cold that has accompanied all of his teeth so far causes him to wake up crying from his naps.

He wears 24-month clothes and weighs 25 pounds. And he's cute as a button. I just hope no one mistakes him for an 18-month-old with learning disabilities.

And I, I feel more like I have a parasite now than I did during the first nine months of his life, when I was pregnant. I am still fat, embarrassingly fat. Everybody always says "nine months up, nine months down," but why am I still 10lbs overweight? I can't go to the bathroom without him, unless I want him to scream (which I let him do on a regular basis. My back can only take so much hauling him around, and it's clearly not hurting him to cry for 30 seconds while I put in my contacts or whatever - bad mothering, sigh, but I have to at least get dressed each day!). I can't make enough milk for him to attend daycare AND have a night out without him, so that's just going to have to wait until he's weaned (at the rate we're going, that will be NEVER, as the boy likes him some boob). I don't know how to soothe him to sleep without nursing him (this is where you bottle-feeding mothers have an advantage - nursing is such a crutch), and I can never be sure if his near-constant fussing is from pain or frustration or mere obstinate behavior.

Were it not for the fact that I love him with my whole being, I would surely have gone nuts by now. I give him a thousand kisses each day (and he kisses back!). I breathe deeply the little-boy scent he is developing. I make him laugh when we dance together. As he wriggles each time I take his diaper off, I wrangle him back, amid his protests, to a clean, dry diaper.

It's tough. I feel like I have done all the things I was supposed to: breastfeeding, cloth diapering, homemade baby food, lots of reading, etc, and I still have screwed him up somehow. He can barely crawl. He can't walk. He can't talk. He can barely babble. He doesn't have the hand coordination of a 9-month-old - he can't clap or wave his hands in the air on cue or anything like that. Where did I go wrong? Is all this cuteness worth it if he is stupid? Also, don't get me wrong, I am not calling Charles stupid, I am simply wondering if that's the explanation here. And what will I do if that's the case?

Friday, August 7, 2009

WedDang Weekend

This past weekend, we were privileged to attend two weddings: Tony's Aunt Lynda's at a lovely church with family, and our old neighbor Erin's in Seattle (totally posh). It was a whirlwind, hot weekend of plenty of traveling and good times. Charles charmed everyone, and we had fun hanging out with family and old friends.
Tony with Charles and Claire

We have lots of photos like this. Didn't you know cameras are for eating?

Claire and Jason (a cousin of Tony's)

The whole group at Lynda & Jim's wedding. It was a beautiful day in Port Gamble, and the historic church was fantastic.

Thankfully, Charles took great naps all weekend long

Crossing the Sound

Trying to stand out of my arms

Mmm! Wedding food...

The reception hall was soooo hot... here we are all sweaty! Sexy!

More photos than words here, I guess. We had a great time and we are truly happy for our family and friends who got hitched.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

By Any Other Name...

This week's Theme Songs: Proper Names in the Song Title.

Go ahead, take that one in for a minute, I'll wait.

Are you blown away by the several songs that suddenly leaped into your mind? This list is probably endless. While we were in the car on Sunday, on our way back from a Seattle wedding, we kept interrupting our conversation about work and other boring stuff to say things like, "Amanda - Boston." "Oooh, good one!"

The trick is that there are so many, you could have a playlist for an entire day with this list. So, only choose the awesomest. I'll give you a short list and see if you guys come up with some other ones I didn't think of (we thought of a bunch, many of which I won't list). The number system here, by the way, is not a rating, merely a way to count.

1. Me and Julio Down by the School Yard & You Can Call Me Al - Paul Simon

2. Dr. Feelgood - Motley Crue (iffy, but we decided it counts)

3. Louie, Louie - The Kingsman

4. My Maria - Brooks & Dunn

5. Pamela & Rosanna - Toto

6. Barbara Ann & Help Me Rhonda - The Beach Boys

7. Perry Mason - Ozzy

8. Peggy Sue - Buddy Holly & The Crickets

9. Janie's Got a Gun - Aerosmith

10. Jamie's Crying - Van Halen

11. Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
12. Rock Me, Amadeus - Falco

Well, that's a good start. What's on your list?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Baaack Up

Whew! Another whirlwind weekend. But, that's a story for another time (later this week, perhaps?). First, I want to tell you about last weekend, you know, way back in July. I'm living in the past, it's true.

We spent the weekend, Thursday night to Sunday noonish, in Ilwaco. The reason: my 10-year class reunion. Which was a bit lame. Not that I expected miracles or anything, but we were a tad short on people. My friend Monica and I were the only ones who came from out of town (I guess when most people get away, they want to stay away), and barely anyone came to the mid-day barbecue on Saturday. However, quite a few folk were at the bar evening, and it was great to catch up with some of them. All in all, we've turned into some pretty nice people (at least, I'm assuming, those of us who aren't in prison have) and we still like to have a good time.

But, the highlight of the weekend, as usual, was Charles interacting with his grandparents. My, does he love those four! Here are a few photos, as they say it all better than I could:
Grandpa Joe Hat!!!!
Eating eyeballs with Grandpa Roger

Grandpa Joe's Mo-Mo-Cycle

Gah! No photos of Grandmas! Rest assured, they loved on Charles all weekend, and he loved on them back. Grandma Loris is especially good at getting Charles to sleep, while Grandma Jane makes him giggle (and cry, because she won't always give him what he wants, but then if he is throwing a tantrum, she laughs at him, which is awesome).
Coming soon, a new installment of Theme Songs! Get ready, it's a doozy!