Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cabin fever

I have a confession.

I haven't been taking advantage of my FUNemployment time with Em.

Well, I have, but I haven't.

We've been having lots of great time at home together, just us girls. We play together, work on her mobility, babble to each other, etc. But we haven't ventured out nearly as much as I'd like to. And I'm starting to get some serious cabin fever.

I've been hesitant to take Em out of our cozy little nest this past month (yikes - I've been FUNemployed for a month) because:

1) I don't want to get too used to having this freedom. I know -- it sounds weird, but subconsciously I'm afraid that if I really let us go out and get involved in so many groups and activities that it'll be that much harder to get back into Working Mom mode when the time comes.
2) Em can't practice her crawling if she's stuck in her stroller or strapped to me in the Ergo or Beco. (Another silly one, I know.)
3) I tend to take Em shopping, sometimes to the detriment of my wallet. And since the funds aren't exactly coming in as they were before, that's not a good habit to get into.
4) I'm trying to get Em on some sort of nap schedule so I can plan outings better.
5) It can be lonely going out alone, and despite the number of FUNemployed and stay-at-home-mom pals I have, they're surprisingly BUSY so much of the time.

There have also been times where I'm literally headed out the door with Em, only to stop and think about my "chore" list. "Ugh, I have so much laundry to do. I should skip the outing and tackle some of that." I've also got lots of little adult things to do, like combining all my 401Ks and blah, blah, blah, blah...

So I'm making an effort to remedy this rut we've fallen into.

I'm more aware of my feelings re: #1 and therefore just getting over it. I keep reminding myself that when I'm back in the corporate world, I'm going to long for this time I've had with Em.

As for #2, I'll be taking her to wide open spaces (e.g., parks, etc.) where she can roam beyond our 690 square feet of condo. And I'll get over my fear of hindering her mobility in a stroller or baby carrier. I'm sure she'll be just fine.

My remedy for #3 is just to watch my pennies more, which I've already gotten in the habit of over these past few weeks. I'm also looking into low-cost activities, like chillin' in the park, storytime at the local library, free trials of classes, etc.

And once #4 falls into place, it'll be even easier to plan outings ahead of time.

Lastly, I'm trying to schedule stuff further in advance with my FUNemployed pals and stay-at-home moms. One of the qualities I miss about having Em in daycare is her interaction with other kids. I think it's important for her to have face time with her peers and move beyond the comforts of her mommy. I don't want her to be a wallflower - I want her to be outgoing and friendly. (Obviously it's ok if that's how she turns out, but I'd love to try to steer her otherwise.) While she occassionally shows signs of separation anxiety, which is perfectly normal at her age, I'd say she rarely has issues around strangers, especially other kids.

Anyhow, I'm making progress with all of the above.

Last week we had a great playdate with Lilcee, her beautifuly baby girl Lillilcee, and Wan and her lovely little Bean. We were also joined by Winnie, who brought her baby - her camera. It was super hot (94 degrees) -- Em probably would have flipped me off if she could have -- but we had a nice time with all the gals.

Lillilcee and Bean
Lillilcee Bean

All three gals
Bean, Lillilcee, Em

Today my cabin fever was in full affect and the itch to get out of this house had to be scratched. So Em and I tried a free "Music N Me" class at Music Stars & Masters. She was the youngest in the class, which ranged from 10-16 months. (She'll be 10 months next week.) But she still had a blast chewing playing the instruments. If you give her anything and tell her to "shake it," nine times out of 10 she will, as illustrated below.
Em's first music class

We both enjoyed it enough that I'm seriously considering a package of classes, which are reasonably priced. I love the idea of exposing her to more music and instruments in the hopes that she'll be musically inclined like her mama. She'll also get to hang out with more babies her age. Best of all, it gets us OUTTA THE HOUSE!

"An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered."
- G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Em mobile

Em is officially a crawler.

And she's officially into everything.
Nom, nom, nom

Babyproofing is underway. I'm constantly on the floor, looking for the slightest bit of carpet fuzz or other randomness that Em may be tempted to put in her mouth. She also insists on crawling under the coffee table... and then sitting up!

It wasn't that long ago she taught herself how to get up to a sitting position. That wreaked havoc on her naps and some of her nighttime sleep as she'd sit up but wouldn't lay back down. She finally figured out how to lay down to sleep.

And in what seems like a minute later, she learned how to do this today:
Stand in the place where you live

It's exciting and simultaneously exhausting to see her world open up.

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." - Wal Disney

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

You're now free to Em about the cabin

Last week Em took her first plane ride. It was a nice, 40-minute flight up to San Francisco on Thursday to celebrate the retirement of Brent's aunt. I went back and forth about whether or not we should buy her her own seats, particularly because I wanted to try to keep her in the car seat after reading recommendations to do so in case of turbulence. Also, she rarely falls asleep on us but has little problem doing so in her car seat.

My pal, Cat, said that, in her experience flying with her baby girl, if there is enough room on the flight (and if you ask nicely), the flight attendants will often let you bring the car seat on the plane. Neither of the legs of our trip were at capacity, so we took a chance. Worked out both ways and we were able to safely house Em in a car seat. Traveling with her car seat also made it easier to haul her (and one of our bags) around using our stroller frame. And we also didn't have to rent a car seat from the rental car place.

Here she is on the way up.
Em's first flight

Em's first flight

(Realized too late that she was supposed to be next to the window. Oops.)

She was a flying champ. She didn't make a peep on the way up. The take-off rocked her to sleep, and she woke Brent and I up from our own naps with her sweet babbling. (It was a 6 a.m. flight - we'd all been up since 4 a.m.) On the way back, she fussed a little at first, but again the take-off rocked her to sleep. She stayed passed out until we left the airport.

Once we arrived in San Francisco, we checked into our hotel, and Brent went to work at his San Francisco office. Em and I roamed the city. We had lunch at the swanky mall food court nearby, where half a dozen diners ooohed and ahhhed over Em in a matter of minutes. Em is apparently the new San Francisco treat!

That night we dined with our pals, Matt and Nicole.

After Brent went to work Friday, Em and I explored some more, but not until after an impromptu photo shoot at the hotel.
Hey smiley

Pretty in pink

Dressy

I loved the hallway. Couldn't resist.
Kid in the hall

That evening we traveled to nearby Concord for the retirement party. Brent's aunt was the head of nurses at a local hospital, and approximately 250 people gathered to celebrate her years of service. It was a wonderful, warm and creative send-off, and we were honored to be a part of it.

The SF hotel where we stayed provided us with a pack-n-play (fancy playpen) for Em to sleep in, which worked out pretty well. The Concord Hilton, however, provided us with this bad boy:

Romanian orphanage crib

It was tiny and depressing and looked like something that Romanian orphans have to rock themselves to sleep in. So it was no surprise that Brent's cousin's babysitter wasn't able to get Em to sleep in it while we were at the retirement party downstairs. We came back to our room to find our sweet girl passed out as such:
Passed out

We were also unsuccessful in our attempts to get her to sleep in the crib, so she spent the night with us. And holy crap - I don't know how co-sleepers do it. We did not get a wink. She was extra fussy and we were all exhausted by morning. Sheesh. For our last night we borrowed a pack-n-play from Brent's cousins. We all slept much better that night.

Saturday we spent the day with Brent's family, including all their adorable kids. (What do you call your cousins' kids? Twice removed? Second cousins? I've never figured that out.)

Em meets Wy. (Ha! Get it? M? Y? Heh.)
Hanging out

Wyatt is two months younger than Em.
Em's cousin

Em and Aunt Sherryl
Em and Aunt Sherryl

Em and Piper, who does a mean rendition of the Humpty Dance intro. Seriously. To die for.
Em and a cousin

See those little chairs in the background of the above photo? Well, Em decided she was ready to pull up on something other than Brent and me. The next thing we know, she was using the dowels of a chair to hoist herself up. As Brent and I exclaimed, "That's the first time!," I grabbed the camera. The pic, I caught, though was Em falling to the floor.
Em goes boom

She doesn't quite get that once you get up, ya gotta hold on.

Oops.

Although Em's sleep was hit or miss (mostly miss) during the trip, we had a really nice time and look forward to taking her on more adventures!

"I have wandered all my life, and I have traveled; the difference between the two is this -- we wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment."
- Hilaire Belloc

Monday, July 20, 2009

Drive-by blogging

Working on an extensive recap -- in my mind -- of Em's first flight up to San Francisco this weekend.

In the meantime, here's a quickie post for ya.

Matt and Nicole, our Nor. Cal pals, braved traffic to come meet us in the city. Em had fun with them, like she always does.

Matt, Em and Nicole

Earlier in the day, roaming the city on my own, I found Limited Edition Coconut M&Ms. Intrigued, I bought a pack and shared them with the gang. We found them to be quite yummy -- like Almond Joy without the "Almond"...so, just "Joy."

Matt, who is doing a hardcore Biggest Loser contest with his pals, loved them so much that he promptly went out and bought a CASE to save for the end of the contest.
Coconut M&Ms

He obviously thought they were pretty cool.
Matt & his Coconut M&Ms

(Sorry that last one is so blurry. I think I was laughing too hard when I took the pic.)

"Per your instructions, we have the personalized M&Ms with the baby names. This is your boy bowl, with the name 'Chevy.' And this is the girl bowl, with M&Ms with the name 'Astird.'" - Angela, The Office

Monday, July 13, 2009

Em possible

One would think that a lack of employment would leave more time for blogging, right? In theory, yes. In execution, no - at least not if you're easily distracted like I am.

These past few weeks have been strange. It's weird not to have to get out the door a certain time each morning. I've been soaking up so much wonderful time with Em, although the first week out of daycare she was crankier than usual. I think that may have thrown a wrench into the works of her normal routine, but we've overcome that so she's back to her chipper self.

She had her 9-month check-up last week. I asked Brent to email her stats to me as I didn't have a pen handy. This is what he sent:

17.25" - head
27.25" - length
19lbs 12 oz - weight

5 liquid tons - slobber

Silly dad.

The doc said she's average in all categories - she doesn't offer percentiles, but according to Babycenter.com, head and length are between 25-50%, and weight is between 50-75%. Does that mean I can't refer to her as our gigantor baby anymore? She's definitely thinning out a bit as she's MUCH more active and mobile than before. Her crossiant arms are starting to look more like baguettes, and she has a neck that's starting to emerge from under those rolls!

She's not officially crawling yet, but she manages to move far fairly quickly. She likes to pull herself up to stand but only using me. She hasn't figured out that she can use the couch and other objects to pull up, but if I'm nearby, she's grabbing for my hands (or other parts of my body that are convenient for her but painful for Mommy) to hoist herself up.

And when she gets to a standing position, she's started to take giants steps. I used to have to lead her like a puppeteer and marionette, leaning her body one way or the other to encourage her to move. Now she lifts her chubby thighs high in the air on her own accord.

I'm still exploring my employment options, but I've really enjoyed taking the time to work with her on these new tricks (and others that we need to capture on video for you soon).

Looking back at my previous posts, I feel like my site hasn't been much more than an all-access Flickr feed. I read so much great writing that I look at many of my posts as nothing but fluff. But as I've shared plenty of prose in this post, I don't feel so guilty ending with these:

In a summer romper
Summer dress

Doing some yoga moves on Mommy's mat
Cobra

Plank

"I'm in a period of growth and expansion. I'm taking long, hard looks at the world and what's happening in it, analyzing and thinking. I'm trying to become acquainted with the universe -- with the part of it I occupy -- and trying to settle, for myself, what my relationship with it is." - Gene Roddenberry

Friday, July 10, 2009

Birthday, baby

Today is my 32nd birthday. And I'm beyond thrilled to celebrate with Em this year.

On all fours

She's my gift that keeps on giving.
Orange you glad I pulled out the camera?

I don't need diamonds -- she makes me shine.
Rest your head

That's not to say I won't accept diamonds, too, of course. I may be sappy and cheesy, but I'm not going senile in my old age, folks.

Happy birthday to me! And a happy un-birthday to all of you!

(That last photo is a wider-angle version of the one I posted on Facebook yesterday, fyi.)

"Today is my B-day, and people around here just go crazy for it. I don't know why. Oh! Fun fact. I share my birthday with Eva Longoria. So, I have a perfect ice-breaker if I ever meet Terry Hatcher."
- Michael, The Office

Sunday, July 05, 2009

9 months in, 9 months out

Today lovely Em turned 9 months old! She's 3/4ths of the way to her first birthday!

Whoa.
9 months

9 months

She's too busy grabbing for the blocks to look directly at the camera. And you should see me jumping around like a jester to distract her. But ya certainly can't get frustrated at a face like this.
9 something

"Still round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate." - J.R.R. Tolkien

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Pink slip is the new black

Wednesday morning I was called into an office and handed my walking papers. Yup, I'm the latest victim of the economy. I'm surprised for various reasons, but I won't go into them here.

I was able to pull Em out of daycare without penalty. And my daycare gal was super sweet, telling me I could come back whenever I'm ready. Sadly, though, as the daycare was near my office instead of our house, it's unlikely that I'll be able to use her again unless I happen to find a gig in that part of town.

While I'm not sure what my next steps will be, I have a lot of interesting irons in the fire. I haven't touched my resume in more than three years, and I have a lot of great skills to add to it. I'm optimistic, as always, and am looking forward to spending more time with Em. She's the best silver lining anyone could ask for. Thanks again to all of you whom have already expressed your support via Twitter, Facebook, email, phone and in-person. I'm hopeful that when I figure out what I'd like to do next, and how I'm going to get there, it'll all work out. It always does.

In other news, take a look at my blog makeover -- long, long, long overdue. Brent designed my new header. We may still tweak it a bit as I'm convinced that the font is more purple than the pink I was hoping for, but overall I really like it. You'll also notice the BlogHer ads in my right column. After five years of blogging, I'm finally giving into The Man -- or in this case, The Woman.

I hope you all have a fabulous 4th of July. We'll be celebrating with our little firecracker.
Happy 4th!

"And I said, I don't care if they lay me off either, because I told, I told Bill that if they move my desk one more time, then, then I'm, I'm quitting, I'm going to quit. And, and I told Don too, because they've moved my desk four times already this year, and I used to be over by the window, and I could see the squirrels, and they were married, but then, they switched from the Swingline to the Boston staper, but I kept my Swingline stapler because it didn't bind up as much, and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler and it's not okay because if they take my stapler then I'll set the building on fire... " - Milton, Office Space