Monday, December 19, 2011

A Quick Update

I wanted to post a quick update of my life and times. I finished my Arkansas adventure on a different blog. Wordpress has an easier mobile ap format so I used it instead. If you are interested you can read that side project here.

I've been blogging for a Children's book publisher called Red Piggy Press. I'm doing a post and illustration about once a week. You can check that out by visiting and following Red Piggy Press

Christmas is coming fast and things here are in a blur of activities. In the past week we've been to the snow at Sea World, the snow at Lego Land (twice), night zoo, several parties, lots of shopping, baking and visiting with friends.

Miles is so excited for Christmas, but that excitement is already being overshadowed by the excitement of his upcoming birthday in mid January. There's a lot of excitement around here. Ivy is just along for the ride happy to be happy and running all over the place into everything. Basically being one.

I'm sad this blog has been left to dwindle, but with all my side projects and running the show with 2 children under 5, I've got my work cut out for me. It's easier to post all the little insights on Facebook- and I do. But I'll continue to update here when I can- even if to point you in another direction.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Adventures in Arkansas day #1

We finally made it to Arkansas after a long and stressful, but uneventful day of travel. Miles did awesome all day, as I expected. He was great on the plane, in the airport and fell asleep immediately in the rental SUV, sleeping almost until we arrived. Ivy was a bit more challenging on the plane, but nursed and slept more than I expected, making for a pretty easy flight.

The landscape here is beautiful, even in Fayetteville. They have had their share of rain the past few months so things are lush and green, even in the beginning of Fall. The land is thick with trees. When Miles first awoke in the car on the way here, every time we passed trees he would holler, "Look! Forest!". But quickly realize it's all forest here, at least compared to San Diego.

Doris has turned her home into a Bed and Breakfast for us. She has provided us with the master bedroom, even emptying out some drawers and making room in her closet. Miles has his own room, complete with toys.

When we arrived last night Doris has made an amazing crockpot roast with carrots and potatoes. It was so good, and we ate and ate, even Ivy ate the carrots and potatoes. It was the first real meal we'd had all day, and with the food choices on the way here, seemingly all fast, drive thru choices, the meal was much appreciated.

Keith had one of Keeley's home brews that she left here for him. The drinking water is literally from a stream in the Ozarks that Keeley provides for her Mom. You can taste the minerals. It's wonderful. All the eggs are fresh from Keeley's flock. It's just like home! Well, at least the eggs will be.

After dinner we took a quick walk down the neatly manicured streets, lined with conservative brick houses. We discovered a gorgeous park just a block or two down the street with a walking trail. This morning we'd like to see where that walking trail leads.

Last night we went outside to get something from the car and I was dumbstruck by the stars! Even here in "town" (I say it in quote, because I haven't really seen any town as I know it yet) the stars are so bright! Miles came out and we just stood there, in our pajamas, mouths hanging open and discussed whether we needed apps to tell us what stars were what, or if we just wanted to soak it all in. In the end we just soaked it in. I can't wait to see the Ozark sky, if that's the normal night sky.

It seems we'll have beautiful weather here in which to explore Arkansas. Mid-70's and sunny during the day and 40's at night. This morning I sat by the bed keeping watch on sleeping Ivy, so she wouldn't fall out of the bed. Now I'm enjoying Doris' famous coffee. She remembered I drink decaf and had a little coffee pot of decaf just for me. I think it's going to be a great day!

I finally found a wifi coffee shop, an awesome place called Mama Carmen's where you coffee helps orphans somehow... You can read the whole backstory online. So I'm going to call this first blog away from home success and go enjoy my coffee and chocolate coconut bar. Cheers!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Julian Grape Stomp at the Menghini Winery

9/3/11: I really needed a day where everything was good. Today was that day, given the circumstances. First, let me say, that Keith is sick. Flu-like. I wanted to keep the kids far away from him, for one, so he could rest, and for two- so he wouldn’t spread the illness.

This morning I checked online to see what fun was happening around here and I saw the Menghini Winery was having a grape stomp in Julian. Miles loves the mountains. Partially because he always believes it will be snowing and partially (I think) because he loves nature and to be outdoors. I complained to Keith this morning that no one would go with me to the grape stomp and Miles shouted, “I’ll go with you!” and so it was.

I packed a bag like we might not come home. Extra clothes, food, blankets, tons of water and sunblock, even a bathing suit- just in case.

By the time we got up there the sun was shining a hot 93 degrees. I had packed the BOB, two beach chairs and a blanket. I loaded up the stroller with all our gear and wore Ivy in the Ergo. We maneuvered through the crowd and I managed to grab a tri-tip sandwich and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. We set up near the bounce house in the shade and Miles ran off to go wild with the children. The band was in full swing, and just behind me, one of the traffic directors was joining in on his harmonica, collaborating with the band.

It was lovely. Ivy played on the blanket, I ate with both hands (you Moms of babies know what I’m talking about) and sipped my wine from a lovely souvenir glass. Finally with much fan fair, the grapes arrived via tractor to fill the giant stomp barrels. Miles saw the grapes being delivered and immediately ran to be first in line for the stomp. Buckets and tubs of grapes were dumped in by men in bright yellow security jackets and farmer hats. Miles stood at the edge of the barrel, toes gripping the sides in extreme excitement and anticipation. Finally, the grapes were blessed and the stomping commenced.

There were squeals of delight, and disgust from both the adult barrel and the children’s barrel. Just as the juice was flying the band started in with, “That’s Amore” and the crowed spontaneously erupted in song. It was magical. I even dipped Ivy’s toes in the grapes so she could join in the fun.

After Miles and Ivy were literally hosed off we went next door to the Apple orchard for some U-Pick apples. We filled a bag and then headed into historic Julian for some shopping and pie.

Once walking down the street I saw the horse and carriage and asked the driver, “How much?” I’ve always wanted to do that and always assumed it was too much. Well, this time it just seemed appropriate, so we arranged to ride into the country in horse and buggy for a half hour. Listening to the clop clop clop of the horse’s hooves hit the pavement and searching for the deer in the foliage that the driver pointed out made the ride seem that much more worth it. Miles snuggled into me and Ivy laughed at nothing for awhile before settling into nurse for a nap.

Once back in town, we hit up some art galleries and antique stores. Of course we did some damage at the Cider Mill and then The Julian Pie Company for some famous natural apple pie.

It was just about 4pm and I didn’t want Miles to fall asleep in the car just yet. We entertained each other with a game of “I Spy” until we came up to Lake Cuyamaca. I parked and once again loaded up the stroller with all our gear. We found a shady spot by the lakes edge in which to lounge. Miles sprinkled duck food into the lake and Ivy played on the blanket while I gazed at the lake, satisfied in the effort of being there. Miles befriended the family next to us in hopes that Dad would let him fish some- but it didn’t happen.

We played until the sun was falling behind the trees and finally packed it up to go home. Both kids fell asleep in the car listening to Andrew Bird, without a peep. (Amazing for Ivy- she has trouble sleeping in the car).

I would say, it’s been a fantastic day. I really hope Miles will be able to remember some of the amazing experiences he’s having on our little spontaneous adventures.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Less TV is More

8/31/11: We are now in full swing of our new life with Ivy. She is a full participant and we are all so happy she’s here. She’s crawling fast and pulling herself up on everything- trying to walk at 9.5 months. She’s still a happy girl and has managed to smile through getting her first 3 teeth.

Miles and I are adjusting to sharing our time together with a new person. I used the TV as a crutch through the latter half of my pregnancy and through her first months, but now there are some big and exciting changes happening. This is my last year with Miles at home and I really want it to be fantastic. Our first major change is to reduce that TV crutch. It’s a good time to do it. Ivy’s older and can participate more and play more and Keith isn’t traveling out of town quite so much, at least for now.

I am starting a Home Ec. and Art class in the morning at home. He is full of creative energy and is ready to be directed and encouraged. Today we made Raisin Bran muffins. He did all the measuring, pouring and mixing. He helped chop the raisins, and put the batter in the cups. He basically did it all, just with a little help from me with reading, etc. The muffins were great and we brought them to his teachers with a little jar of the strawberry preserves that we made earlier this week. I think he was really proud.

While the muffins were in the oven, he asked to play a game on the iPad. I said let’s play legos or draw- he went to his room and found an old am/fm radio and put on some piano music (turned out to be gospel) and came into the kitchen, took my hand and asked me to dance. We used to dance all the time when he was a baby/toddler. Before TV. I want that back! I’m getting it back!

There have been some things that I’ve been whining about for a while now and it’s time I took some control, made things a little harder but more beautiful and went for it. I’m so glad I am- I’m seeing more of my little boy and less TV zombie. I had no idea it would make such a huge difference. I really didn’t! But now I’m hooked on no TV.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Sometimes I think it’s easier to just relax. Let go. Have the tide of life come up and sweep you away. Don’t struggle against it, you’ll only sink deeper- just enjoy the ride.

In the end, do I want my kids to remember what a clean house I kept, what elaborate meals? Or do I want them to remember that time I crawled around on the floor shot tiny cannons and talked like a pirate for hours.

This is not to say that I don’t want a clean floor space to do that, but that idea, of a clean floor space is a little bit like chasing rainbows when you have two small children, a rabbit and 3 chickens.

So I’m going to sigh, and give in, when Ivy wants only to nap pressed close to me with my boob pressed up against her cheek. And I’m going to remember these days, through pictures and blog posts when she’s running out the door to meet friends at a movie...or moving into her dorm *gulp* in what feels like only a few short years.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Up Too Early To Think Clearly

1/8/2011: Funny things are happening in 2011. Like, time is shifting. My usual daylight hours days are gone. Now I sleep when I can, sometimes going to bed after 11pm, staying up late to do the things that take two hands. Then, I’m up before dawn, compelled to get up and do things like fold laundry, sip coffee, tidy up the living room.

I say “tidy up” the living room because it feels so housewife. Being a Mom of two is interesting. When you first become a Mom, it’s not the day you give birth necessarily. It takes time to sink in. It takes months of adjustment and struggle. It’s difficult to give up your old ways and routines. It’s painful even.

When the second baby comes along it’s different. You’re already used to doing less for you and more for others. But now there’s even less time for you. It’s hard to carve out time and space to be yourself. And knowing who you really are- well, that’s hard to say.

I feel like I’m being negative. But really I like to think I’m a glass half full kind of gal. It’s not bad. Just different. I love being a Mom of 2. It’s also fun to see how it’s shaping and changing Miles. See?! I did it again- I was talking about me, but then I went to Miles...Oh, Ivy just woke up so I guess my too early morning musings and ramblings are done for now. Maybe I can go back to sleep before everyone wakes up.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Birth Story

12/14/10: Well, Ivy will be 4 weeks tomorrow if you can believe it! I want to write my birth story before it’s a distant memory.

We were induced at UCSD starting on the 16th (Ivy’s due date). I was on the Labor and Delivery floor instead of in the birth center but I still had natural friendly nurses and was with the Midwives.

They started the pitocin around 5pm. Keith and I kicked back, listened to some jazz, and played Yahtzee until the surges became more noticeable. I called in our doula, Care Messer at about 6pm because I really expected things to go quickly. They didn’t. At least not as quick as I expected when I expected. We all just sat around talking until about 10pm when Keith decided to take a nap. Care and I talked and I listened to my hypnobirthing scripts off and on. Care massaged my feet and walked me through the surges as they got stronger. I was mostly on the birthing ball through the whole labor. I would walk a little just to mix it up. Whenever I decided to get into bed the surges were way more intense so I decided early on to stay off my back. This went on until about 4am when I decided it was time to wake up Keith. I was afraid he would miss the whole thing. I was having more intense surges and Care was talking me through them, helping me to stay as relaxed as possible and she told me to try “shhhhing” through the hard parts. I kept sobbing and shhhing through the surges. Around this time I was kind of moaning/screaming and Care was trying to keep my pitch low and relaxed.

The midwife finally came in at about 5am and checked me. I was really disappointed to learn I was only 7 cm dilated but 100% effaced. They asked if I wanted them to break my water and I said yes, given I was still worried the water would break and the cord would slip out. So, they broke my water.

Afterward, I got up and went to the bathroom, the surges were right on top on on another and I was having trouble standing and walking. I was almost back to the birthing ball when I had a surge and tried to lean on Care. I was afraid I was leaning too hard on her and she asked Keith if he wanted to step in. I was leaning on Keith, dance partner style and I started to feel Ivy’s head. I was screaming that she was coming and screaming for help. Care and Keith were trying to get me to the ball but I yelled I couldn’t sit down. Care reached down and felt Ivy’s head and yelled, “She’s crowing!” the nurse ran out of the room to bring the midwife back. I heard later the midwife didn’t believe Ivy was ready and said she was going to make a note in the chart and be right there- but then she heard me screaming and decided to come and check. I think they basically dragged me to the bed where I collapsed sideways. Half on, half off the bed the midwives and nurses held my legs and told me to push. I pushed once and Ivy’s head popped out. One more push and she was all the way out and immediately on my chest. It was 5:14am. She was 9 pounds 10 ounces and 22 inches long.

We waited for the cord to stop pulsing and Keith cut it. Ivy immediately latched on and nursed for about 45 minutes. Her blood sugar was low so they wanted to supplement with formula but I convinced them to wait and check it again after she nursed. She was fine. I was able to hold her for a couple hours before they took her to weigh her and poke her some more. She had a few tests and we were at the hospital for 3 days waiting on test results and waiting for her weight to come back up. We had to jump through a lot of hoops to prove I could feed her. They would weigh her naked, have me nurse and then weigh her immediately after. They had me pump and then nurse her while syringing the expressed milk into her mouth so they could see she was getting it. She was gaining slowly so after we made a next day Doctor appointment to check her weight and they finally agreed to let us take her home.

She’s been awesome ever since. Growing fast. Nursing constantly. Sleeping well. She’s a pretty mellow baby, I think. Not that it’s not a ton more work. Having two is crazy harder than one. There’s rarely a moment that I’m not needed, that no one is on me or needed me for something. But there’s so much joy that it’s all worth it.

We’ve been out and about pretty much immediately, but it’s getting even easier to get around. Today we took our first hike with Ivy and Miles in Mission Trails. it was a beautiful December day in the 70s and clear. Miles did great and it was wonderful to see him back in nature and so in his element. Ivy did great in the Ergo baby carrier/front pack. She basically slept and/or nursed through the whole hike. I’m so looking forward to more adventures with the both of them as Ivy becomes more aware of her surroundings and her awesome little personality begins to really shine.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Best Start Birth Center vs. UCSD Medical Center- My Experience

11/12/10: Although Ivy has yet to be born, I want to write a little about my experience with Best Start Birth Center in San Diego verses UCSD Birth Center and Medical Center.

I switched from UCSD Midwives to Best Start because I was woo’d by the Bed and Breakfast, boutique feel of Best Start. Also, I really wanted the opportunity to labor and deliver in water and Best Start has beautiful tubs for water birth.

When I first visited Best Start I was told not to worry about money or insurance. That turned out to not be true- kind of. My 3rd visit there I was handed a bill for “pre-payment” of the birth. They had called my insurance and discovered we have a deductible and wanted me to pay it up front to the sum of approximately $2400.00. I had to make many stressful phone calls to my insurance, to Bonnie in billing at Best Start, and to my husband’s work to get it all straightened out. I was really uncomfortable with paying for services not yet rendered. In the end I didn’t make any payments. Thankfully.

I had a couple visits with Midwife Ruth, who is all business. She comes in, seems nervous, measures you and listens to the heartbeat without any conversation and fuss and is out of the room before you can think of your questions. Visits with Ruth were under 15 minutes from the time you walked in the front door.

Then I saw Susan, the head Midwife. She is very motherly and always has a big smile on her face. She seemed to be the most relaxed and confident midwife I met with. Unfortunately, she was the one monitoring my blood glucose levels and she knows next to nothing about diet and carbs. At one visit she saw an elevated value on my sheet and saw I had a cup of chili with cheese and sour cream. She commented that cheese and sour cream would elevate my blood sugar when actually, those things are virtually carb free and I’m sure it was the beans in the chili that elevated my blood sugar. I also had been faxing my blood values to her once a week for several weeks and never heard a word about them until I was about 37 weeks. Then suddenly, I was scrutinized and calculated every time I walked in the door. They were suddenly very concerned about my values being abnormal, although I was completely in their own range of normal. They had a very punitive and negative attitude about it. Very black and white. I would explain why a fasting value was inaccurate and they would count it anyway. It made no sense. They also suddenly changed the values by which I should be testing against from 130 an hour after a meal to 120. They enlisted a new dietitian midwife who seemed to understand things, but I only had a phone interview with her- and she apparently didn’t note our conversation because when I went back in for my appointment I would get the same scrutiny with the calculator from a midwife who wasn’t trained in this area…It was the classic case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing and it put me on the defensive at each stressful appointment.

Then I met midwife Brook. She was very conservative and negative. She would make comments about how “this is exactly what we don’t want to see” when reviewing my ultrasound- before she knew that it was all within normal. It was as if they were searching for a reason to risk me out. She told me the head to tummy ratio was borderline and my amniotic fluid levels were too high. She said my baby was 8 pounds and she thought a “big baby was better born early” and offered to “stimulate my cervix” which I had to ask, actually meant she wanted to strip my membranes at the beginning of 38 weeks. I almost let her but we managed to walk out of there intact. Scared, but intact.

My next appointment was with midwife Ashley. She is really sweet and informative but unfortunately just as scared and uncomfortable with Gestational Diabetes as the rest of the midwives were. She told me that my amniotic fluid was potentially at dangerous levels and if my water broke that the cord could slip out with the fluid resulting in a prolapsed cord. She told me this and then sent me home telling me she was going to do a phone consult with an OB at UCSD to see what the protocol was for something like that. She said the earliest she would call me was the next afternoon. Needless to say, I went home thinking that at any minute my baby was going to die because of too much fluid. I was paranoid that my water would break and I would have to call 911.

After a long and very sleepless night my husband and I decided to go pull our records from Best Start and go back to UCSD where I wouldn’t be such an anomaly. When I called Ashley the next day to give her a heads up we were coming, she was very concerned and sweet and felt bad that I had worried, etc. She told me the Doctors at UCSD would want to induce me at 39 weeks because of the gestational diabetes. So, I worried about that needlessly until I finally met with the OBs at UCSD.

The staff at UCSD are experts in all births and pregnancy not just the “perfect” ones. It turns out that my amniotic fluid is on the high end of normal, and not a concern at all to UCSD. According to UCSD I am controlling my glucose levels well, with diet alone. According to UCSD, no one really looks at the ratio of head to shoulder anymore as it proves not to make a difference in studies. All my abnormalities at Best Start were perfectly normal at UCSD. In fact, the OB told me as of that visit there was no reason I shouldn’t be seeing the midwives at UCSD if I wanted to. AND they wouldn’t induce me until 41 weeks (not 39) because everything was going well. Wow. What a difference.

I finally didn’t feel like I needed to prove myself or be risked out last minute. We had another ultrasound today to see Ivy’s size and she is big. Somewhere around 9 pounds is their guess. So ultimately I may be with an OB and not a midwife. But as long as I’m in the capable hands of UCSD staff, I know I’ll be fine. They are confident, secure, relaxed, medical professionals and I know they will also honor my wishes for a natural birth as much as is safe and possible. I haven’t met anyone at UCSD that I was uncomfortable with yet.

So, I’m glad I switched to Best Start and back, because had I not, I would have always wondered if I was just too chicken to have a “home birth” experience. But I am so relieved and happy to be birthing at UCSD.

I’m now 39.5 weeks. I’ll be 40 weeks on Tuesday November 16th. I have another midwife appointment on Tuesday, so we’ll see what the verdict is on induction vs. waiting and birth center vs. labor and delivery. At this point I am totally open to whatever comes. I know I can make any environment a safe and comfortable one since I am armed with Hypnobirthing skills and knowledge of what I want and don’t want. If things become medically necessary, then I can re-evaluate my situation as it occurs.

It’s all been a big lesson in living in the moment and not wasting my worry on things that have not yet happened.

I’m super excited to finally have Ivy in my arms and I know it’s going to be soon- maybe tonight? But definitely before Thanksgiving. I’ll be thankful to not be pregnant any more! I can’t wait until all this seems like a meaningless blip in a long journey to a healthy baby and welcome addition to our family.

I included a sweet picture from last night of Miles roasting marshmallows in our backyard. We are so lucky to have such a sweet and loving boy.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Remembering to Breathe

11/1/10: I haven’t been getting very good quality sleep- and not much of it- so I may be a little more short tempered than normal. Today Miles wasn’t listening to me (probably from his own lack of sleep due to Halloween festivities) and I raised my voice and acted frustrated with him. He responded by saying, “Why are you so mad today? You need to take a deep breath like this…” he breathes deep. “Like the “Angry Octopus.””

I stopped and looked at him and said you’re right, and took a deep breath. He seemed so proud of himself. I told him I was sorry for being short tempered but that I wasn’t sleeping well (being 38 weeks pregnant and all). I also told him he could help me by listening the first time I asked him to do something. So we made a deal.

I was so proud of him for reminding me to breathe. I can't believe that came from a 3 year old. I’m so glad the “Angry Octopus” story has helped him recognize and deal with anger in such a positive way too. Although, I like to think I have something to do with his thoughtful attitude. It was seriously a day changer for me.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

35 Weeks and counting

10/9/10: We are getting closer to the big day when we invite Ivy into the family and introduce her to the world. Miles is so ready for a little sister, even pointing out cute babies when we are out and about.

When we go to sleep at night Miles will snuggle with my tummy saying, “I need Ivy.” He makes her a part of just about everything. He announces to cashiers, people at the park and just about anyone that he “Has an Ivy.” Or That “Mommy has an Ivy in her tummy.” I always have to come in and explain what he’s talking about.

We are not quite as ready as Miles is. We still need to pack a bag, (I’m about 35 weeks now) put the car seat in the car, get all her gear set up and gather all our loaned out carriers, etc. Keith’s travel schedule has been tougher than we expected for this late in the pregnancy, and I’m just getting over a cold. So hopefully after next week things will be a bit smoother and I’ll have a little more help getting ready

The baby shower is tomorrow and I’m so excited to see everyone. Some people attending I will have barely seen through this pregnancy. My friend Jenny is hosting at my Mom’s house with a lot of help from all my other good friends and family. I’m sure it’s going to be gorgeous.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Life These Days

I wish I updated more these days but life is hectic with a 3.5 year old. Seems much of the downtime I do I either spend resting or crocheting- which is really just productive resting.

I did find time to complete a new painting of Miles this week. I was really getting the itch so I chunked out some time for me. I was inspired to try something more whimsical- which I have a little trouble with, but thought I'd give it a try. Here's what I came up with.

Miles is an amazing story teller. He has a very vivid imagination and often incorporates outer space in his stories. He loves rockets, robots and fire balls. He knows the names of the planets and even some of the colors of the plants. He has an uncanny sense of direction and will tell me where to turn even when 5 miles or more from our home. There's no tricking him anymore and driving until he falls asleep because he'll keep telling me I'm lost.

He's very excited to be a big brother. He tells everyone he meets that his Mommy has an "Ivy" in her tummy. He greets her the morning and several times throughout the day, kisses my stomach as if she is already here. He talks to her and sometimes even talks for her. Which is to-die-for cute. He's also very tolerant of me these days with my slow movement, low energy and back pain complaints. He amazes me with his adaptability.

Keith and I are taking Hypnobirthing classes with Care Messer in preparation for Ivy's arrival. To learn more about it you can go here: The classes just started but so far I am excited by the prospect of a "Pure Birth". I am very optimistic that this pregnancy, labor and delivery will be very different than the last. Although I suppose that's pretty much guaranteed whether I want it or not. I'm preparing this time. Pretty exciting.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ivy makes an appearance

6/23/10: It’s time I write a little bit bout this pregnancy-#2! I re-read some of this blog- the early days of pregnancy with Miles and I was so glad I documented it since I remember zilch.

I’m about 19-20 weeks already! Half way to the finish line! We had out big ultrasound today and discovered we are having a little girl. She was very active and quite cooperative today so we got a ton of great pictures of her and we just watched in awe as our ultrasound tech tried to capture each heart valve and measured each long femur. She doesn’t look like Miles did at his ultrasound- as much as you can say that with a fuzzy, blurry black and white photo that looks slightly skeletal.

So a quick catch up of this pregnancy so far. I had some morning sickness this go around that I didn’t have with Miles. I was dead tired for about a month and a half, but now I’m mostly back to my old self- energy wise. I have the usual complaints of interrupted sleep and achy hips and back but I really can’t complain. I’m hopeful that I can avoid some of the medical intervention that was required with Miles. Like, no hospitalization, medication or bed-rest please! I’ve been trying to keep up an exercise routine, well, at least a little, and I’m trying to keep my weight gain under control with mixed success. It could be worse.

I have started to feel Ivy move around, but only sometimes. Not consistently. Oh, yeah, we like “Ivy” for a first name so now we can try it out. Not set on a middle name yet, but leaning toward Caleah.

Miles is very excited about being a big brother and talks about it all the time. He kisses my tummy often during the day and before night and talks about the baby putting things she shouldn’t in her mouth. He’s already tattle telling! The other day he told me the baby would travel down my leg and come out my foot. Although, if you ask him seriously where the baby will come out he points to my crotch- so he has enough of an idea. We have many books that explain the whole pregnancy/birth process in detail that he can understand.

So I’m looking forward to moving smoothly along with this pregnancy and trying to keep a calm uterus, as opposed to an irritable one (like last time)!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Chicken Crazy

For Mother's day Miles and Keith got me 3 chicks. We have been having a lot of fun with them, but they are getting big fast and need a coop! So we have been spending all our free time and more money than we have trying to get a gorgeous coop together in the backyard. We moved our gazebo to the deck (where it's getting much more use) and we have started construction.

While we were painting Miles kept saying, "Everyone is going to love this! Daddy will be so happy!" His enthusiasm is infectious.

Miles has been involved from day one. He helped me pick the chicks, he has been helping with the construction. He is getting to be such a very grown up boy!
The coop is still unfinished of course, but we are making progress however slowly.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

San Diego Wild Animal Park

4/24/10: We went to the Wild Animal Park today. The butterfly exhibit is still on and was more amazing than I anticipated. It felt a little magical. Miles loved it. My sister took this amazing picture.

Miles is talking up a storm. He loves to tell stories about the adventures of Miles and Scooby Doo. Miles loves Scooby. He’ll start by asking me to “read” him a Scooby story but after a few sentences he takes over, talking fast and very animated, usually ending with Scooby and Miles in a Rocketship going through a meteor shower. It’s wonderful. He also draws rockets over and over. He’s still rocket/space obsessed.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Planting and Weaning

3/22/10: We are getting ready for Spring!

We have completed our paper pots, planted seeds and watered every day. Now we are finally seeing some results! Most of the seeds have sprouted so it’s time to get their permanent home ready. I bought some worm castings and some organic planting mix to till into the planter box. I also admired my friend’s amazing results after she put in a soaker hose last year, so this year I am copying her. I just planted the soaker hose today. The seeds aren’t quite ready to go in the ground yet, but soon. The artichoke in this picture is from one of the four artichoke plants in my front yard.

This year we have basil, red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce (I know it’s late for lettuce in SD, but I had to try), big and little tomatoes, garden beans, carrots, pumpkins and decorative birdhouse gourds. I think that’s it. Hopefully we’ll at least get some tomatoes! We did pumpkins 2 years ago and it was awesome. I really regretted not doing it last year.

I didn’t post the following post because I didn’t feel like it. But I will now. I think it’s important to do what’s right for your child and your family, without regard to what other people think. It’s not their child, right? Miles nursed for a few minutes this morning although I’m pretty sure I don’t have any milk anymore. He nurses about once every couple weeks for a few minutes. Sometimes I tell him no and sometimes I let him. When people ask, I say I just weaned him. Which to me, is true, considering every time he nurses I’m pretty sure it’s the last time. Ah well, he won't be my baby for much longer and I’m sucking every last minute out of it. Excuse the pun. Here’s the post…

So- I let him nurse this morning. Not that I plan on going back to an every day thing, and I did restrict him- once he started to play he was done. I do get tremendous pressure to wean from family, etc...But I also feel so torn, cause it's 3 weeks later and he STILL asks for it every day. I feel so bad that I didn't let him wean himself. So now- on occasion, if I want to, I'm going to let him nurse. I guess it's a step back, but I feel like it's the right thing to do. And I'm hoping maybe he just never asks for it again. I must say- we've had the most pleasant morning ever this morning. He helped me make breakfast, keeps telling me how much he loves me, helped me with dishes, got dressed without a fight, let me brush his hair and cut his bangs, and brush his teeth for a long time. It's been awesome. Now he's letting me write you all this crap! I just feel like it was a right decision. Maybe things just aren't as black and white as I thought with weaning. I guess it's a longer process. Which really makes sense considering he's nursed his whole life. It's a huge transition.

The other thing I'm dong is being more restrictive of sweets and TV time. Which is necessary and good, and has positive results.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Miles goes to Pre-School

2/19/10: Miles started a pre-school class the second week of February. It’s more of a play school. It’s a kind of a Reggio Emilia approach to pre-school that is play/creative based learning. And best of all, we can almost afford it!

So he goes to school now 5 hours a week. Whoo hoo! I get to go to the gym and run all the errands that Miles doesn’t exactly enjoy. He gets to socialize and figure out who he is without his mommy right there! He likes it, I like it. We’ve never had any real tears although he does ask me to stay with him. And after the first class he asked if I was mad at him. Yikes! He didn’t quite get why I was leaving him there. But already he is interested in what time it is, how to spell his name and he has muttered some interesting phrases that Keith and I don’t know where he picked them up, if not pre-school.

Today, for example; Me: “Miles you need to wear a jacket.” Miles, “Jacket?! Count me out!” Whaaaa?!! I don’t know where he got that. Then today, I’m reading a book called “Stuff White People Like”, by Christian Lander and Miles says, “Mommy, Don’t call me Whitey…” Again. Whaaa?! I even asked him to say it again. And I have no idea where he would get that…Unless he’s been talking to my neighbor Alfredo. ;)

Well, I’ve always said at this age pre-school is more for socialization than academics. I guess he’s getting an education one way or another!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Snowy Stay in Idyllwild With A Crazy Three Year Old

It's funny, everyone told me that 3 years old is more difficult than 2 years old. And I thought, that can't possibly be. Two was hard. But Three is turning out to have it's own special challenges.

Miles is really asserting his independence and his desire to make his own decisions about what to wear, where to go or not go, when and what to eat, etc. We try to give him choice but usually he wants something outside of what is reasonable and healthy. We're really having to choose our battles.

Like with the snow suit today. I wanted to go for another hike in Humber Park and when we had gone the day before, Miles was is more casual play clothes and froze his butt off. So I decided to assert that he would wear the snow suit we borrowed for him so he would be comfortable in the snow. He was not having it. We're back to feeling like he needs to do what we say because we said so- and trying to decide if it's worth it. In the end we did give in and he wore his regular snow clothes, but we didn't go on our hike. In fact, after a short time of playing outside we put him in the car to go on our hike and he peed his pants. Which almost never happens anymore. So we had to bring him out to change him and he completely refused to put his pants on at all. Seriously, unable to force the pants on him without hurting him or ourselves.

So, we went home instead of our hike, pants-less. It's just insane. The intense emotions and tantrums that overshadow his normal personality. I think he's going through a growing spurt or something though. He naps about every other day. Completely unpredictable. I'm trying to encourage him to wean. There's a lot of change going on for him right now.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Toddler Led Weaning

1/5/09: Today Miles woke up asking if it was okay to have numnums. I said sure. He nursed for a second and then wanted to switch sides. (we aren’t nursing much at all these days). He stopped nursing on the other side and I asked if there was any milk in there. He said no. He said he was going to go “to outer space in a rocket ship and fill his big boy boobies with milk and my big girl boobies with milk.” I’m sorry, but how cute is that!? This toddler led weaning has some benefits. I love knowing what he is thinking!

The picture is from our recent trip to my Dad's in Lodi.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Money, Smarts, and Mission Trails

11/19/09: We opened Miles' first savings account today. He had saved $47 and change in his piggy banks over the last (almost) 3 years. He brought his huge bag of money and coins to the teller and said, “ Savings account please!” He’s getting pretty smart, and crafty.

For example yesterday, Miles was playing with a balloon in the living room. It was just a regular blow up balloon. There was a lot of static electricity in the air and the balloon stuck to the ceiling. Miles called that he needed help and I was busy in the kitchen so he announced that he had an idea and left for a minute. He came back with a broom and held up the handle tall enough to knock the balloon off the ceiling. I thought that was pretty clever for a 2.5 year old.

We went to Mission Trails yesterday with some friends. One of the other Moms thought to bring all the kids magnifying glasses to look for bugs and tracks. Miles thought that was the best idea ever and used it to look for shoe prints, ants and leaves. It was a wonderful hike, despite Miles taking his shoes off every few minutes and insisting I carry him the last half of the way back...

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Lake Cuyamaca and Other Adventures

11/8/09: I started reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick ( to Miles tonight. I was thinking we could do a chapter a night- if he was up to it. I wasn’t sure if he was way too young to sit through a chapter book. Well, he’s not! In fact, after the first chapter he wanted another, so we read 2 chapters and plan on the 3rd tomorrow. I’m so excited to be able to read a real book to him- something interesting and beautiful. When we get to large words like, “illumination” and “agitated” we briefly discuss them- or I give him examples of the meaning. Anyway, it was nice, and an added benefit, it seemed to make him really sleepy. Some of the books we usually read seem to actually wind him up, so this was a nice transition.

We had a busy weekend. We went to Lake Cuyamaca and rented a boat, paddled to the little island, and went on an easy hike. So beautiful. When we returned to the “mainland” Miles fed the ducks right out of his hand. He was thrilled. Then we made our way to Julian and walked for a while and had pie.

Today we went to Legoland for the first time. There are a lot of things to do for the little ones. Most of the rides had height requirements but there was so much else to do, like playgrounds, musical water fountains, trains, water games, etc…It was more fun than I had imagined it to be. I’m glad we finally went. Tomorrow we’ll be headed to the zoo again to catch up with a friend. I love the zoo walk. I’m trying to squeeze in as much walking as I can since that seems to be my only form of exercise right now.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Crocheting for a Craft Fair

I've been invited to join a fine art and craft show. I'm planning on bringing some paintings to sell, as well as take orders for commissions, or at least give quotes. But I'd love to also sell some of my Amigurumi toys. So I've been crocheting like a mad woman trying to pull something together when the date is fast approaching- October 25th! Here's the flier and one of the dolls I will be selling.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Imagination Play

10/7/09: Miles has a new friend named “Witch”. Miles says when she "comes home" Miles and she will "play blocks" and she will "eat his oatmeal". Miles also has a “big, BIG, BIG! tattoo of a monster” on his back, he says. Funny, I never noticed it.

Imagination play is coming on strong over the past week. I think that Halloween is pushing him, considering how much imagination is needed to make the leap into the season. This year has been a blast decorating the house and putting on wigs, wings, and hats from years past. We have spiders, real, imagined and rubber all over the house. Yesterday, I went to Target for pumpkin LED lights, more spiders and webs.

If all goes as planned, we’ll be robots from space this year. I’m still putting the costumes together in my mind. I’m not sure if spray paint and cardboard boxes will be used or if we will be more organic robots from space. Since I’ve never really seen one, the sky’s the limit. I prefer homemade costumes to the store bought ones. I think half the fun is making the costume. I’ll be sure to post pictures when it finally comes together.

Miles really does put the magic and fun into everything.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Danger at the YMCA

Miles was jumping into the foam pit at the Santee Y in Tumbling class- all very normal- There was a new thing in the pit this big circular bolster thing and Miles was trying to jump on it. It was about as tall as he was so I was helping him jump on it. What I didn't see was there was a carabiner (a metal loop with a sprung or screwed gate- or closed hook) hanging from the side of the bolster. (I guess they hang the bolster from something?) So he jumped in, hit the side of the bolster and his nostril somehow got caught on the clip and he was hanging suspended from the hook by his nostril.

I saw his nose stretched so far that I thought it was his lip (cartoonishly far) and I jumped in the pit trying to hoist him up and take his nose off the hook/clamp. I couldn't see his face though and I was in a panic screaming, "Someone HELP me!" over and over. All these moms jumped in but were just getting in the way, meanwhile I'm sinking in the pit and trying to hold him up so he's not hanging from the nose. Finally a Dad (just home from Iraq- Yay!) jumped in calmed me and Miles down and magically unhooked Miles. (Thank you mystery hero!)

Blood rushed from his face and the instructor got him ice and advised me to take him to Urgent Care. I took him to Urgent Care who said he needed a specialist and possibly surgery to repair the inside of his nose and referred him to an ENT. The ENT (Dr. Keefe) said it was a miracle he wasn't more tore up and we were sent home to watch for infection. That's the short end of my day. I'm glad it's over. By the way Miles was a trooper through the whole thing. I'm pretty sure I cried more than he did. :) I can't wait to see if his nose is black and blue in the morning...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

O'Dell's Organic Pear Farm

9/26/09: One day recently, I was feeling like I needed to go on a drive and get out of SD. O’Dells Organic Farm in Julian was a wonderful place for Miles and I to escape to. The owners Camille & Carl gave us a very warm welcome and Camille took Miles around to see the goats, chickens and her Donkey, Dolly. Miles was able to pet the goats and pluck the farm fresh eggs right from their nests! He was in heaven. The reason we went was for some self picked organic pears, which were also wonderful, but turned out to be hardly the reason to visit. We left with bags of fresh fruit and a camera full of memories. We can’t wait to go back!