Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lil Slice of Heaven

This weekend was full of some much needed rest, relaxation, and *gasp* socialization.

Jerad finally returned from working out of town late Wednesday night. He was gone for 11 days. Usually I pride myself on being able to handle everything while he's gone. This was not one of those times. Maybe if I had been planning on it being so long it would have helped? He was supposed to be gone for 5 days then it just drug onandonandonandon. Marshall was teething, well maybe... it seemed like it but I still don't see any new teeth. Whatever was going on, he was not sleeping nor was he his usual easy-peasy self. It was raining, the dogs were getting cabin fever.

Not my favorite time ever.

However, Wednesday night the clouds parted, rays shone down from the heavens, and Jerad returned home. I promptly called in to work to tell them peace-out and I would be taking a family day.

Thursday I slept in till at least 9 and awoke to breakfast in bed. We went to the library and had a nice relaxing day. In the afternoon Jerad's aunt Kanda and cousin Haley came over for a visit and to give Marshall the most adorable pair of little Converse shoes.

Friday Jerad also got up with the baby and let me sleep in till 8:30. Marshall and I went to story time and ran a few errands, then that night we all visited Jerad's parents where Marsh had a great time playing with his cousins.

Saturday we tried out a new park. I think we might end up having Marshall's birthday there because NO one uses it so we basically had free reign of the park. From there we headed to Farmer's Market, then stopped by and visited Taylor and Dom, and Taylor's parents at their house. They have a grandson about Marshall's age so there were a ton of things for him to play with and a dog to harass so he thought he was in heaven. When we got home Beth and I decided to take a spur of the moment trip to SLO.

Girl talk, Forever 21, Victoria's Secret, Sephora, and Chipotle all sans baby. Can life get any sweeter?

I got home around 8. Jerad had been planning on having the baby asleep, dinner cleaned up, laundry folded, and everything tidy by the time I got home. I think he wanted to "show me" that it wasn't that hard. I bet you can see where this is going:) Not only did I get to have fun girl time, my husband also got a reality check about all the work I put in to keeping everything together and running smoothly. And he did have a fun night with Marshall, and remember to feed and bathe him and put him to sleep so it wasn't a complete bust.

Sunday Jerad dropped Marsh and I off at the park and then went to Trader Joes where he did all the shopping. I was going to go, but he offered. When I go grocery shopping it involves elaborate meal planning that takes into account nutrient requirements, seasonality of produce, utilizing leftovers, and of course budget. So... its kind of stressful to give that up. However Jerad promised me we wouldn't eat nothing but hot dogs all week and the park sounded more fun so I relinquished shopping list control and let him go.

He did pretty good, only spent $15 more than I usually do, and didn't even get hot dogs. Score, maybe he can take over the shopping more often.

While we were at the park waiting, another family came to play. The lady must have mentioned 8 times what a "tiny child" Marshall was. Kind of strange. I know he's small, but apparently he is freakishly small. Or at least she thought so.

Even if he is teeny tiny, he's still pretty cute!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Top of the Mornin' to you

Today Marshall was a little English Man.

I know, I died from the cuteness a little too.

He rarely wears shoes at this point and still thinks they are just weird toys attached to his feet.

We went to story time at the library and I almost got beat up by a crazy lady on the way. I had decided to walk (its like 5 blocks each way) and it happened to be raining. Now, when I say "raining" I mean that it was lightly sprinkling. Misting really. I didn't even wear a rain coat or bring an umbrella, just a sweater (and flip flops). I put Marshall in the stroller. Personally I believe that fresh air outweighs the "risk" of getting a little wet. Also we both LIKE going outside. Trust me, if Marshall wasn't happy it would be obvious. Babies let you know.

So, we were walking to the library when this woman ran out of a restaurant and basically accused me of child abuse and said she should call the police. I had no idea how to respond to the crazyness so I ended up laughing in her face and told her "good luck with that, you can tell them we'll be at the library."


Its not like I left an infant outside during a downpour. I was wearing jeans and a sweater and the "rain" didn't even soak through. Marshall was in a stroller that blocked out most of the wetness.

I know this is California and we are used to sunny weather... but rain is not made of acid people! Believe it or not, some people live in places where it is wet almost every day. And they still venture outside.

Anyways, story time was a hit, as were the puzzles:

Library Playtime

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Marshall's Montessori Bedroom

Last time I showed you Marshall's room it looked like this. As soon as he could crawl at 7 months, we re-did it making it more "Marshall friendly." The Montessori philosophy of making everything aesthetically pleasing, accessible and child-centered really resonated with both of us.

So we brought everything down to Marshall's level.

The entire room is child proofed so he is free to roam around. We replaced the crib with a floor bed that wouldn't interfere with his independence and movement. Now he is able to make the choice to get in and out of bed instead of us doing it for him.

We bought a twin sized futon mattress from Ikea and put it on a slatted platform. It is only about 4 inches off the ground so very easy for him to climb in and out of.

We covered it with a handmade quilt, added butterfly decals that Marshall picked out, and a mirror. He is obsessed with the mirror and "talks" to the baby in it numerous times a day. We screwed the frame into the wall so it is very secure.

Everything is down on his level and accessible.

Artwork is an important part of any Montessori environment. It helps to beautify a space and cultivate a child's appreciation for art. It's important that it be hung at a lower level for the child. We chose a picture of Jerad, Marshall, and me, then the giraffe and Ford pictures that had been hanging above the crib.

In a child-centered environment, child-sized furniture facilitates independence.

This little shelf is the perfect height for his to grab things off of, or to pull himself up on. We put out a few toys and books and rotate them weekly:

We tried keep to the Montessori tradition of using as many natural materials as possible.

We moved the changing area to the top of his dresser which was the most convenient for us:

The top drawer holds his cloth diapers, the middle drawer holds clothes in his current size, and the bottom drawer is extra blankets, toys that aren't in the rotation, and jackets. He isn't getting into drawers yet, but when he does there is nothing in there that isn't safe for him to pull out.

We've had this set up for over 2 months now. I'll write more in depth about our experience later but so far its been wonderful and is definitely working for us.

Edit: You can see pictures of his new room at our new house here:

Friday, February 18, 2011

First time eating sushi

Dynamite Roll.

Huge success. Also a fan of Miso soup. Hopefully he keeps up this non-picky eater stuff!

Rain rain go away

Well, it's our "weekend." Jerad is still down in the Los Angeles area for God knows how long, and me and Marshall are trying to not go bat shit crazy being stuck indoors. Friday we always go to the park, but that didn't sound appealing since its 50 degrees and raining. Boo.

Instead we went to story time at the library. Why have we never done this before? Oh man, it was a blast. There were about 30 kids. Besides reading stories, everyone sings songs (complete with adorable hand motions), and does crafts. Marshall obviously isn't old enough for those things but he got a huge kick out of watching! This is definitely going to become a regular thing. Watching all the toddlers following along with the story and copying the librarian was so stinkin' cute. It really made me miss being the Kid's supervisor at Borders and leading the story times.

Here are a few pics while we were waiting to go in the reading room:

We go to the library weekly, but its usually to get books for me and Jerad. The few times I've gone in the kids section have been to pick out music for Marshall. I had no idea they had so much stuff for little kids there! Board books (kinda sick cause they're all chewed), super low tables and benches, and buckets of blocks and puzzles. There is a ton of stuff he can enjoy right now and its right down the street.

He's at a hard age for activities right now. He's old enough that he gets excited about things and isn't content just playing in the house/yard, but he's not old enough to really enjoy playing with other kids, the playground, children's museum or other things you do with kids. Soon! I can't wait for this summer. Marshall is such a waterbaby he is going to LOVE the pool, beach and lake. I could swim basically as soon as I could walk, we'll see if he's the same.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Its 8:09

And Marshall is finally sleeping.

Its been a rough week. Jerad left Sunday night to oversee a job in Whittier (LA area) and he won't be back until Saturday. At the earliest.

Usually I don't mind, in fact, sometimes I welcome a few days of some down time. But this is a long time. Coupled with the fact that its been raining most of the week and Marsh has been sleeping like... I don't know... some sleepless creature.

The days just feel looooong. I get up at 5 and try to shower before Marshall wakes up. If he's awake he wants to get in the shower too and there just isn't enough time. Then I nurse him, get us both ready, let out and feed the dogs, make breakfast for the both of us, load the car, feed the cat, then play with Marshall until its time to walk out the door at 6:30. I drop him off at my mom's and make it to work right at 7 where I immediately hit the coffee. Work drags on until 5:30. Then I rush over to my mom's to pick up the baby, try not to visit, and get home hopefully by 6 or 6:15.

This is the most stressful part of my day. I'm already exhausted by this point and the second I walk in the door everyone needs something. Marshall is always fussy and wanting to nurse. The cat is flipping out like he hasn't been fed in weeks, and all the dogs are barking for dinner too. I unload the car (purse, pump bag, diaper bag, baby), grab the mail, feed the cat and dogs, then sit down and nurse Marshall. I have to feed him last because otherwise the animals drive me insane. He always starts to fall asleep but gets a second wind as soon as I try to move.

Then its time to start dinner, un-load and repack all the bags for tomorrow, wash all the pump parts and store the milk I pump during my breaks at work, eat and feed Marshall, clean him up or give him a bath, start laundry, and play with him until he gets tired around 7-7:30. I change him and snuggle him in bed till he goes to sleep.

Jump up, switch over the laundry, start washing a load of diapers, clean up the dinner mess which always involves mopping the floor, pick up anything we got out, pack lunches for the next day, then pick one chore like cleaning a bathroom or vacuuming.

Then I finally get to sit down.

Have a glass of wine. Or 2.

As long as I'm being honest; at this point I also make and eat 4 cookies and a glass of milk. Hmm. I can't risk the cookie dough going bad and who knows if Jerad will ever be back to help me (and shhh, don't tell me I can freeze it).

Maybe play on the computer or read. We canceled our TV so that's out. I SHOULD go to bed early but I relish the alone time and finally having every thing quiet. Actually that's probably my favorite thing about no TV. At night the house is peaceful and serene, no background noise.

Let the dogs in and get them settled down for the night. Feel guilty that they've barely gotten any attention all day. Make plans to go to the dog park or beach on the weekend.

Try to go to bed around 10:30 after nursing Marshall.

Then he wakes up 4 times before 5am. No joke. Which means I wake up 4 times in 6.5 hours. Remember, he used to only wake up once so I've been spoiled. Basically, as soon as I comfort him and fall back asleep... I get woken again.

Then the alarm goes off and we do it all over again!

It's been a hard week. He's needier, the weather makes everything dirtier and the pets unhappier, and I'm just tired. But I shouldn't complain. Tomorrow I work a shorter shift (and we have a nanny that comes to our house so I don't have to deal with all the picking up/dropping off), then I'm off Friday-Sun.

It just better not be raining.

And Jerad better bring me something pretty. Or at least plan on doing 75% of the night time parenting for the first few days he's back...

How to occupy a baby for an hour on the cheap

Materials Required:

1) Baby
2) Outside Area
3) Hose
4) Box Lid
5) Ball

1) Cat

You're Welcome.