Sunday, December 21, 2008

Opening presents

Ada's not quite got the hang of the whole opening presents thing. We tried to break her in easy but we'll have to see. After one party, I'm not sure she's got the hang of it. You be the judge.

First she eats the box. Then she stares at it.
Then she tries to help.

And finally she grabs the one piece Rick missed as if to say "Daddy, you missed a spot."
I'm sure by week's end she'll have it down to a science.
Grandma Ba and Grandpa Rich got her an awesome mini rocking chair. Perfect for a mini-me.

Make cleaning fun again!

As I mentioned previously, Ada hates the vacuum. She screams and throws a fit when we turn it on. In order to get her to like it when we clean house, Rick devised a new game. We like to call it the Ada Mop. It looks more like daddy powered speed skating and isn't very effective at cleaning the floors beyond the hallway, but it does make for a much needed laugh break.

On my own... kinda

Here is our attempt at having Ada stand on her own. I let go of her and she is okay for about two seconds and then... down... down... down she goes. It must be instinct to slowly lower yourself straight down until you are ready to stand on your own. This has been a very entertaining stage for us. Her other latest tricks include crawling in circles, following the dust mop, and screaming at the vacuum cleaner. All happen to be extremely entertaining.
Moral of the story: Children are SUPER entertaining once they get close to a year old. And even more fun at parties.

Happy Birthday Ada!

Dec 19th came and went without much excitement. More shock that my angelic little baby is one and pride that we made it this far as parents without any visits to the ER. Mix that with a slight bit of concern since her birthday is the kick-off event for a family filled week of party, party, and, you guessed it, party. 2 work parties, 4 Christmases, 2 birthday parties for Ada, all within 10 days. At least they are all in Chicago or Sycamore. Had we mixed in some air travel, I'd be well on my way to an intervention of some sort.

But we did celebrate her birthday. Not in the traditional get the kid naked so she can shove a cupcake in her face and you can spend twenty minutes cleaning it up sense. Instead, Ada had a small Chicago birthday party with a few friends and family that we could fit into our tiny city condo on a cold winter day without making everyone sit on the floor. The only incident was we ran out of beer. How does that happen at a 1 year old's party? I'm not sure. But the beer run was successful and the party didn't miss a beat. Or did miss a beat because I never actually put music on... hmmm... and we never actually sang to her. Rick and I serenaded her early on her bday with our sad rendition of Happy Birthday. I strongly feel a kid should only be tortured in small doses and that was plenty for one weekend. She's got enough coming to her this week with Christmas and then her family birthday party next Saturday. We'll see how it all pans out and use it as a guide for next year.
Moral of the story: Everyone we've met with a birthday around the holidays has advised us to make a big deal out of a separate birthday so they don't feel slighted. Wish us luck with that.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Baby free weekend

It's about time we had a weekend without Ada around. We waited 51 weeks to do this. She's been nursing and I didn't have enough milk to send with her for more than a day. The opportunity came up for us to ship her to Sycamore for the weekend and we jumped on it. This isn't the first time I've been away from her for 48 hours though as I ventured to Minneapolis earlier this year for an extended weekend. Rick's gone a few days without seeing her at some point, too.

So we did it.

I drove Ada out to Huntley so we could make the exchange -- really so I could spend way too much money at the Banana Republic outlet since the whole store was 40% off--and Rick's parents met Ada and I there around noon. We had lunch and poof, the adventure began.

Rick and I had set a few goals for things we wanted to get accomplished over the weekend. I wanted to go on a date and get to ride in the front passenger seat of the car --I normally sit in back with Ada-- Rick had a holiday party for a co-worker, I was hopeful that I'd be able to run errands and get a manicure/pedicure with Aunt Anne, of course I needed to set aside time to wrap presents, and if I was lucky, I'd get to my list of things to mend as it continues to grow. We also decided this was our chance to build shelves for our basement storage unit so that all of Ada's baby stuff would fit. Yep. We were ambitious.

So what did we accomplish? No much. We went to a quick dinner and a movie-4 Christmases was cute and funny. We were home by 9:30. You know us-- wild and crazy! Then we slept in-- Until 8:30 or was it 9 am? Hmmm... I made pancakes and Rick measured and drafted what we'd need for the storage units. At noon he was ready to go to Home Depot... but we can't fit all that stuff in our civic. Hmmm... Aunt Anne? Can we borrow your CRV? (Ha ha ha...) So we drive up almost to Evanston to trade cars with Anne. We get to Home Depot at 2, get the wood, get out to the CRV and the Home Depot guy measures the car. Nope. You need to rent the truck. So I go in to rent the truck and thankfully I had my insurance guy's number - James Taylor with Farmers Insurance --He rocks!- in my cell phone because I didn't have an insurance card with me and Rick had the one from 2007 and our previous Insurance agent. Jim happened to be at work and faxed the card over. We got the truck, Rick and the guy loaded it while I did paperwork. Tick tock. Tick tock. It's 3:45 when we get to the house to unload. Rick called our neighbor Lee -- who also rocks -- to help us unload the truck, in the rain since it started raining as soon as we got the wood outside, of course. And it's icy out. We can't get the truck into the back lot due to the ice so it is hanging halfway into the alley and ticking off our neighbors. Sorry about that. Half hour of unloading wood in our golashes - Rick in wet tennis shoes - we get it all into the basement. We return the truck, return Anne's CRV, and return home at 4:45 to order a burrito (since we skipped lunch), park the car, and sit on the couch to watch Jurassic Park as we digest - oh yeah, perfect movie to aid digestion.

Now it's 6:30. Rick still needs to make a dessert or appetizer for the party so he walks to the store as I finish the movie -- and all of the scary parts ALONE mind you. We make a batch of puppy chow -- corn chex with chocolate, peanut butter and butter melted and covered with powdered sugar -- got showers, got dressed and cabbed to the party so we didn't have to have a designated driver.

The party was nice. Got to meet fun people and drink fancy martinis. At 11:30 we both started yawning and were home, in bed by midnight. Sad. I know. We just don't have it in us anymore.

Sunday morning we got up at 9, ate cereal, wrapped presents, cleaned the house and left to meet Ada and my family for lunch in Wheaton at 12. We started off going the wrong direction (90 instead of 88 --oops--old habits die hard), but made it and had a wonderful afternoon.

So what did we get done, not much. I still have errands to run. We have a pile of wood in the basement that needs a full day of two people hacking at it to make anything resembling shelves, and my mending pile is still collecting dust. But I did organize my knitting stuff. We'll get to that other stuff on the list... eventually. Until then, we have the memory of a nice weekend with just the two of us.

And now I just keep saying "What did they do to her? She looks like a toddler now. Where's my little baby?" I know it didn't happen overnight, but it sure seems like it did.

Moral of the story: It's good to be kid free every once in awhile. It helps you reset, take a break, and realize just how much you love the little munchkins that bring so much drama to your life.

Ada's blog entry...

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The deception begins...

Today we tried to tackle a few more solid foods with Ada. She was eyeing my apple and a chunk of cheese so I decided to give it a try. I chopped up a sampling and put some of the Gerber banana puffs on a plate for her to try. Then I returned the knife to the kitchen so no one got hurt. When I returned, the cubes of food were strewn all over the floor. Yuck. So I scooped them up and dusted them off. They didn't qualify for the five second rule but a little dirt won't hurt her. She licks her hands after crawling all around the house and has recently been trying to eat the toilet so this isn't so bad if you think about it. And how many of them is she really going to eat?

Being the smart mom that I am, albeit a bit delayed, I moved her to the highchair, locked her in and secured the tray. Then I redistributed the cubes of food, dusting them off as I went, and showed her how to eat them. She did eat a few, but she mainly just picked them up and pretended to eat them. Here I'm thinking she's had a good amount of food and then I peek down past the tray, onto her lap. Deceiving little booger! She's neatly stashed away 90% of the food on her tray. So I picked the slivers of food back up, now mushed and slobbery, and we try again. The food disappears off the tray again and after one more round of replacing the food from her lap to her tray, I finally give up. By now she's got a party in her pants and can't sit still. We'll try again later.

Moral of the story: Starting a baby on chunks of food is kind of like giving a cat or dog a pill. You won't know if it made it into their bellies until later when you find it on the floor under the table, next to your favorite pair of house slippers that are now decorated with tooth marks.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Follow the leader...

I volunteered to watch Eva from next door for awhile today to give her mom a break -- to shop for groceries mind you, but still a break. At first I was a little concerned as here I was, alone with two mini people in my not-so-child-proof home. I was curious to see what these two little gals were going to do during their play date. I sensed Eva's mom was a bit nervous about how it would be to handle the two of them since they are at that stage where they want to get into everything. I'm happy to say it went very well. Far too well in fact. It was, dare I say it, easy.

Why? They just wanted to chew on stuff and play follow the leader. And babysitters get paid to do this. What a job!

Moral of the story: People handle multiples all the time. If you are in a situation where you have to watch multiple kids, ease into it and be thankful you get to give them back at some point. (Eva's so cool I'd keep her, but her mom kinda likes her and I'm not ready to try to put them both to bed at once, or down for naps, sheesh!)

Soooo guilty...

I'm on the phone with my mom... chit chatting up the kitchen ...blah blah, "oh yeah, Friday sounds great... anytime... whatever works best for you..." blah blah... "alright... see you then... have a good you too". I return to this in my living room.
How can you be mad at that face? So what if it was a full glass of water? It's just water. A few towels and a change into dry footie pajamas and we'll be as good as new. Now I know not to leave an unattended beverage on the coffee table. Good to know.
Moral of the story: Once they are mobile, there is no going back. Just learn to roll with the punches, go with the flow, and clean up the messes. Sing and dance while cleaning if it makes you feel better. It works for me.

Tickle Monster

When I babysat for the kids in the neighborhood, way back in the day, we had to walk to and from school in the snow, uphill both ways (it was actually--now that I think about it). The one thing I was famous for was being the "tickle monster". I'd tickle the stuffing out of every kid I knew, until they almost peed their pants. It was my thing. They'd laugh and laugh and yell, "Do it again! Again!" And I'd humor them until they started turning purple from lack of oxygen. Good times.

Now Rick is Ada's #1 tickle monster. He's really good at it too. I can honestly say, I taught him everything he knows. :)

Moral of the story: Few people in the world really, truly hate being tickled. Beware of those people and have fun with the rest.

Bobpa's famous!

Exhibit 1.

Proof that Elmo is real.

Proof that Bobpa is famous. He met Elmo. In person. And look how big Elmo is. Who knew?

Moral of the story: Always carry your camera. You never know who you're going to meet and you'll kick yourself if you miss a once in a lifetime opportunity like this one.

Patience while waiting...

Of the two of us, I have little to no patience. Rick on the other hand, is very patient -- for the most part. When it comes to waiting in lines with Ada, I know that I'm setting an example for her to follow later in life. I don't want her to be rushing me through life and instead hope that she will slow me down. So I've had to think of a way to make waiting less horrible. That's why we dance.

While shopping at Macy's, formerly Marshall Field's don't forget, with my mom and dad and our friend Anne (Ada's #2 Dad since she fills in whenever Rick can't) and Rick, we had to wait a few minutes for an elevator. Santa was in the building and you know how that can make everyone a little kookie. So we're waiting. ..and we're all board and tired of staring at each other. That's when I notice there is a nice jazz song playing on the intercom and I start to dance with Ada. Not only did it pass the time, but it got a few giggles (from her), laughs (from my mom and dad), smiles (from me) and weird looks (from other people wondering what was wrong with me).

Moral of the story: As long as you don't care what other people think (I don't), it turns out that dancing, with or without music, is a great way to pass the time you must spend waiting.

Daddy's helper...

Rick ventured out to get a haircut the other day. Nothing exciting. He was really shaggy and in terrible need of a trim. Upon returning home from the barber shop a whole three blocks away he noticed that he had lost a glove. "Oh, I must have dropped my glove on the way back home." He says as he's unbuttoning his coat.
My reply? "We'll get your butt back out there and find it. It can't be more than three blocks away right? I just mended the hole in that pair of gloves. And it's really my glove anyway!" So he rebuttoned his coat, but not before enlisting Ada, in her pajamas still mind you, to join him. In her kitten hat and retro jacket, complete with footie pajamas, she ventured a whole 50 feet from the house before they found the glove. They made a loop around the block just to make it worthwhile. Upon returning home with said glove in hand, Rick explained how they made the walk even more exciting by moving Ada up to ride on his shoulders --something he's been looking forward to since the Summer I was pregnant. He said Ada did well until about 20 feet from home when she decided it would be fun to start bouncing. They will be sure to perfect their technique in the weeks to come.
Moral of the story: You don't know how much you miss your footie pajamas until you have a baby. Then you miss them constantly and can only wish for the good old days.

The fortress...

In order to better contain Ada in our enormous home (thick sarcasm, really thick), we purchased and installed a baby gate to cut our house in half. This way, we can keep Ada limited to the kitchen, bathroom, and our bedroom or we can let her roam the living room, dining room, and her bedroom. Theoretically, it's a good idea. In practice, I hate the baby gate and already asked Rick to take it down. I spent more time holding it open so she could crawl through it to be in the same room as me than anything else. And it's a pain to open and close and open and close. And even worse when you are trying to find your cell phone or carry her from her room to the bathroom once she's peed all over herself and needs a dip in the tub. So it's down. It will most likely resurface another day when she is walking and really getting into everything. Or when we are working on something she just shouldn't be a part of --like washing the floors, painting the kitchen, or some other random fun that she just shouldn't be part of. Until then, let freedom reign.

Moral of the story: Sometimes containing your child does more to limit your movement than hers.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Date night perks

One of the nice things about the holidays is having plenty of relatives around to watch the baby while you sneak out for a date night, assuming you aren't so tired from all of the travel that you can actually stay awake for it.

This thanksgiving, I was thankful for parents that watched Ada while we snuck out for a hot date at Qdoba to share some nachos in the half hour we had allotted for dinner before we went to the local theater to watch the new 007 flick. We were home by 10:30. The best part of the night? I got to ride in the front seat of the car. That's a rare treat now that we have Ada and one of us typically rides in back to entertain her. It's a big deal to ride up front and feel like an adult again. Kind of like getting upgraded to the adult table once you've outgrown the kiddie table at grandmas house.

The blank snow globe...

This past weekend we learned a little factoid about the consequences of naming our daughter something unique and more unusual. Even though she's named after great great grandmothers on both sides of our family, Ada isn't a very common name nowadays.

While at my parents house, I was perusing a shelf of trinkets and noticed that my dad had purchased mini snow globes with all of our names on them. There was Bob, Diane, Rick, Amanda, Rob, Anna and then a blank one. I asked my dad what the blank one was all about thinking that maybe he bought them before Ada was born and assumed we'd add her name later, but he said, "Well if you named your kid something common, I'd be able to find her name pre-printed on a damn snow globe."

When I told this to Rick, he was pleasantly surprised by this revelation and saw it as a sign of our success in naming Ada something that wasn't common. My comment, being less than materialistic was more along the lines of, "That's awesome. Now she won't be tempted to by crap with her name on it."

Moral of the story: Not only do you need to think about what the kids at school will call your children, how they can be made fun of, what rhymes with their name, how the name will work with your last name, and what the baby's initials will spell, but you also need to consider if you want it to be readily available on key chains, street signs, mini license plates and other kitschy tschotkes. No pressure.

Rockin' it Retro

It's winter and it's cold. I've mentioned how Ada needed a winter coat this year that fits her. The first one we had was too big. My mom went out and got her a coat at Target that is cute and we're using it. At the same time, my mother-in-law went into her basement and found something a little more retro--as in 30 years retro. She still has Rick's winter coat from when he was a baby... and his brother wore it, and his sister wore it. And now Ada's wearing it. It fits great, looks cute and was free. It's in great shape too so we'll be sure to pass it on to the next baby in the family. And rumor has it, she may have some of Rick's sister's old dresses down there too. That's for our next visit... stay tuned.

How's that for recycling?

Everything but the kitchen sink...

Packing for the holidays has never been all that easy, but it's even harder when you have a munchkin in tow. Each time we pack for a weekend or an overnight with Ada, we always end up taking too much of everything, not enough of the things we need, and forgetting the really important stuff -- like a poop filled diaper on the middle of the nursery floor when we expect to be gone for several days. (Huge thanks go to our neighbor Kelly for using our spare keys to eliminate that threat as we remembered it an hour away from home.)

This time was no different. We each had a bag of clothes. Ada had a bag of clothes, a bag of blankets (we have radiators and it's always much warmer here than anywhere else hence all of the blankets), a bag of diapers and wipes, a diaper bag, and probably another bag I'm forgetting. Oh, and her carrier just in case. Then we had all the stuff we had to take with us, things to entertain us in the car -- I didn't find my knitting bag until we returned home so that didn't make the trip--things to eat, things we've made for other people to eat. You get the point. Way too much stuff for a 3 day trip.

So it really isn't surprising when I say that the nanny called me at work at 10 am asking where all of Ada's formula was. Uh... "It's all in the trunk. I packed it. All of it." Yep. I told you I forgot to mention another bag. Ada had a food bag and a carry-on food bag that didn't go in the trunk. Unfortunately, I had packed it all in the trunk before going to work so I wouldn't have to pack with her alone in the house or alone in the car or in the carrier on my back as I schlepped all of the crap out to the car. "I'll be right home." But the nanny offered to hold Ada off and give her water and food until I got home right after lunch to feed her milk. I had a few things to get done at work and, the guilty mom that I am, left at 12 instead of 1:30 so that my baby wouldn't starve to death or be depraved her milk fix for the morning. Bad mommy.

Upon returning home to find Ada crawling around in an obnoxious outfit while barefoot, I was quickly reminded (by the nanny) that I had indeed packed all of her "cool" stuff-- Including her cool shoes, clothes, hats, gloves, bibs... all of it--forcing her to look like a complete dork that morning. She'll get me back someday. I'm pretty sure of it.

And to make things even more interesting... since we had Ada's car seat already installed in our car, WE got to play chauffeur for the 3 hours to our relatives house for thanksgiving in our 4 door honda civic. Normally that would be fine but we got to do it with a baby, all of the baby's stuff, all of our clothes for an overnight at my cousin's house with blankets for us and Ada, all of the food my dad was going to prepare, a pack-n-play for Ada, and 4 adults in the car --3 being men 5'9" and above. Lovely.

Moral of the story: Be sure to give a responsible neighbor your house keys, just in case. And try to pack light. There is only so much room in the trunk of a honda civic.

Pinned in...

Today, Ada and I ventured out in the snow to see her Doctoress. Ada has had a cold for about a week and a half with a hefty cough that just won't leave. With the holidays behind us and all of our tricks making little difference to hurry this cold on it's way, it was time to visit the Doctoress and make sure this cootie is shown the door.

We set aside an hour to get ready this morning, and we could have easily used two. That's how it is now that I have a baby (soon to be toddler). I left ample time, or so I thought, to clean the snow off the car as we got about 2 inches overnight. Unfortunately, as I was putting Ada's socks and shoes on her squirmy little feet, a waft of something not-so-pleasant hit me and we were delayed a few minutes to re-change her diaper, that was a whole 5 minutes old, and dispose of the toxic waste in the back garbage. I took about 20 seconds to debate wearing tennis shoes or golashes - some call them wellies - and chose the golashes. After all, why bother trying to be fashionable when taking a sick kid to the Doctoress when you don't have time to put makeup on, it's snowed recently and is sure to be slushy, and you aren't going to see anyone you know?

I got Ada ready and realized... she needs a hat, and I need to grab the diaper bag. Oh, and I need my phone. Ooooh, and I should grab her some food and make her a bottle quick before we go. Tick, tock. Tick tock. Yeah, thank goodness I padded my schedule with some extra time for all this last minute stuff.

We load up, or I should say, I grab Ada, the diaper bag, the shoulder bag serving as my purse these days, my hat, gloves, a scarf, my jacket, double check I have keys, hoist the baby onto my hip and we're out the front door, first and second vestibule doors and into the fresh, cold, winter air. The car is right out front and I locate my keys, unlock the door and heave Ada inside as I step into the puddle next to the curb. Thank God I was wearing my wellies! I am now standing in 6 inches of brown, cold, slush... but my feet are dry. I lock Ada down into her car seat and go to grab my gloves when they get hooked on my sunglasses and, of course, I fling them into the brown slush below. At least they are plastic and will wash easily. Tragedy narrowly avoided.

Ada cries as I dance around the car ridding it of snow. I get in. She starts really crying. I get out. I give her a bottle of milk. I get back in and pull out. Our appointment is at 11:45 and it's 11: 35. It's a ten to fifteen minute drive so we are cutting it close. We get 5 blocks away and she starts screaming. She's dropped the bottle onto the seat beside her. I get to a red stop light. I get out. I give her the bottle and prop it up better this time. I get in. We make it another 5 blocks and she drops it again but this time she isn't hysterical. 5 more blocks and we've arrived at our destination. We do the whole Doctoress visit. Ada gets a flu shot. Doctoress says she's fine, might have an infection and we can try amoxicillian in a few days if it doesn't clear up on it's own. I schedule my flu shot for later this week, and Ada's 1 year vaccine appointment and we're off. We bundle back up, I gather all of our stuff and "bye bye", we head out to the car.

Now on to our errand of the day. We're stopping by The Right Start to pick up a second car seat so that we can swap it between Grandparent's cars and carry my niece if ever we need to. It's on sale and the sale ends today, of course. So we drive up to the store and there is prime parking available, but it's squished in between two cars and it's a tight fit. So what. I'm going to squeeze into it and show that green jeep who's boss. I mean really. Who parks like that? So we squeeze in. We shimmy out on the driver's side as I've left more room for me to get out than for them to get in on the right side. Serves them right.

Once in the store, we learn that they only have the pink one in stock. Is that okay? "Sure. That's what we wanted in the first place but it wasn't in stock." I call Rick to confirm and all is well. (If you've read my other blogs you may remember a bit of drama we had about not being able to get the pink one. Well, we now have a pink one.)

After waiting in line -- this place was really busy for 2 pm on a Monday -- the nice saleswoman carried it to my car. The green jeep had moved so it was easy to get it past the car and into the trunk. She returned to the store and left me to put Ada into her car seat. With the Jeep gone, it was easier for me to load Ada into the car on the passenger side. I followed her into the back seat and shut the door to keep out the cold. As I'm strapping Ada in, a grey mini van pulls next to us. The driver realizes she's too close and can't get out, but like me, she feels this is too good of a spot to pass up. So she realigns the van a few inches and slips out of the van and into the store. Now that Ada's secured, it's my turn to slip out. But I can't. It's too tight.

Serves me right. Karma always comes back to bite you in the butt as I always say. And boy did it ever bite me. Sitting in the back seat with my golashes on, I now have to throw my leg over Ada, in the car seat, and shimmy to the driver’s side of the back seat so that I can open the driver’s side door and eventually get behind the wheel, all while avoiding crushing Ada’s little body in her car seat as she looks at me thinking, “What the hell are you doing mom?”

As I’m doing this shimmy thing in the back seat, I’m also on the phone with Rick discussing the purchase, the Doctoress visit and the irony of the green jeep turning into the grey van and how I am now stuck. I’m straddling Ada and the car seat while on the phone when, “Oh shit. Ow. OW. OWWW. That hurts. Rick hold on.” “Are you okay Amanda?” he asks as I’m holding the phone at arms length trying to stretch out a cramp under my floating rib. “Yeah, I’m fine. Sorry about that. I got a cramp while suspended over Ada. Karma always gets even.” We wrap up our conversation and Ada and I head home.

Of course, we got an okay parking spot. Nothing fabulous but at least it’s on our street. I figure it is residual karma backlash and hope that doing a few good deeds early in the day tomorrow will set things back to the good side of things.

Moral of the story: If it’s crummy outside, wear your wellies. If a space is too tight, no matter how close it is to the door, let it go. You could probably use the exercise and it’s better than a cramp under your rib and a dent in your door.