Saturday, August 29, 2009

Insomnia or a lump in my bed?

I'm not sure if I have a temporary case of occasional insomnia or if I'm just tired of having Ada as a lump in my bed. Since we got back from camping, she's been way off her sleep schedule. She was great about going to bed and taking naps and sleeping so well before we went camping. Now that we are back, I don't know what's up.

I think she's teething for starters. Why do we need teeth again?

She's fighting bedtime like someone turned off Finding Nemo just before Nemo escapes and finds his father (sorry if I just ruined it for you).

Monday and Tuesday she screamed. Wednesday she fell asleep on the couch cuddling. Thursday the couch again. And last night I just let her holler it out for about 12 minutes. I think that's what we'll have to do. Poor thing. I hate having her scream it out but it has worked so well for us in the past. She hasn't been going down easily for naps with our friend who is watching her now either. Alison has to go in and try again after letter her cry for a bit. Then the nap is less than an hour. Hopefully we can reset her this weekend but that's unlikely because Daddy's home and she doesn't nap much when Daddy's home.

Maybe I'll get some more good luck and she'll magically get her new teeth in painlessly and she'll go right back to sleeping like she was before, and I'll get some more sleep in my nice, comfy, warm, lump-free bed. That's what I wish for.

Moral of the story: Don't be surprised if vacation screws up your kid's schedule. Just be sure to rest up on vacation (instead of playing games until 1am) so you can have the strength to retrain and rebound.

The Aftermath of Camping

Camping was great. We broke up the trip by stopping in Milwaukee to visit our friends on the way up and back so that was a bonus that made life a lot easier...until we got home and had to unpack.


Unpacking sucks. Laundry sucks. Running out of quarters to do more laundry in the basement sucks. And cleaning really sucks.

Lucky for me (I've been pretty lucky lately I must say), the trip was planned so that we come home on a Saturday and have Sunday to recover. Too bad Sunday alone isn't enough. But it was a good thing that I didn't have to go back to work until Wednesday because one of my best girlfriends, Cadence, came to visit Monday and Tuesday from Minneapolis. And what a visit it was!

Well, I should say "What a visit it was... after I finally picked her up at the State and Lake el stop after having driven all the way to O'HARE airport in post rush hour traffic to find out while I'm waiting outside Northwest Airlines arrival area at lower level 2C that she flew in to MIDWAY airport on the south side." Damn it. She flies OUT of O'hare but IN to Midway. Who needs two airports in one town anyway? Who thought that was a good idea? (That wasn't really lucky as far as my streak goes but it worked out okay in the end anyway.)

For those of you who don't know Cadence, she's a trip. She's my fashion guru and my "we've been through a lot together" friend. She's actually now considered family and comes for holidays. Oh, and she is the reason I don't wear "mom jeans" so you can thank her directly for that.

We met sophomore year of college. She was a resident on my dorm floor. I was the "resident assistant". I mentioned her name in passing to my parents and my Dad says, "Is that Bill and Linda's kid?" "What?". Yep. Here's where the creepy music to "It's a Small World" kicks in. Turns out my Dad was a Principal at a school in a small town in Iowa back in the day, (living in Illinois for the past 13 years or so at this time) and he hired a band teacher named Bill, and later on another teacher named Linda. Result=Cadence... My maid-of-honor and close friend for the past ten years. Weird, I know.

When I first met Cadence, she was all "I'm not creative. You want us to have craft night?". Now she's a professional wedding and family photographer who studied under one of Minneapolis's premier wedding photographers. Is this a sweet deal for me or what? (It's almost too bad that I'm already married--just for the wedding photos part of it. Almost. But not really even close. And I really do like my wedding photos...)

So we have this deal now. Cadence comes to visit, I set her up with a bunch of friends who have kids, she takes their photos to build her portfolio, and I get a free photo session of me, Rick and Ada. What a deal!

So do you want to see the photos she took?

Of course you do because they are awesome!

Here is a link to her website, which is a blog featuring some of her work. LOVE IT! SO PROUD OF HER!

If you play on her blog you might also recognize Dan, Jen and Hudson or Aaron and Cassie since they both did photo shoots while she was in town too.

And if you are interested in having a little family session of your own next time she's in town, or if you are in Minneapolis, or if you need a wedding photographer --she does travel and is booking up for next year fast already, let me know. I'll have her people contact your people.

Moral of the story: Life is always better when you have super duper girlfriends.

The Return From Camping

Whew! What a two weeks!

Sorry to go MIA on the blog front. Our family and Rick's family and Rick's family's friends and families all went up to Door County Wisconsin last week to go camping. There were 15 of us in all including Ada at 20 months and Jayden at a whopping 7 weeks old. Luckily, we had an awesome group campsite with room to spread out in a scenic, secluded area of Peninsula State Park. We had nice weather for the first half of the week, and then some nice and gentle torrential downpours sporadically throughout the remainder of our stay.

What I learned?

It's great to be with 11 other adults who can watch your child so you can sleep in, especially when two of them are grandparents. I didn't really sleep in much but it was nice to have the option and the ability to take a nap whenever I darn well pleased.

Keeping Ada away from the fire pit was much easier than I expected with the help of a ring of stones we placed about 2 feet outside of the pit to form a boundary line she wasn't allowed to cross. Surprisingly effective and so much easier than having everyone jump to save her when she unintentionally got to close when we camped earlier this summer. Highly recommend the boundary ring.

We need to invest in a tent. We've been borrowing a tent from Rick's parents (they have a gazillion it seems). This is probably an 8 man tent. I don't really know what that means but it's big. And when I say big, I mean that you can fit a queen size mattress on each side (it has a dividing wall down the middle) and still have room to squeeze around it to open and close the windows in the back. Ada and our stuff had one whole side, we had the other. It was great, fine and just dandy until said torrential downpour came through and peed on all of our stuff. It just so happens that said tent is a gazillion years old (8 to 10 years for real) and the seals on the seams (they are kind of important in a storm) leak. From above. That normally wouldn't be a problem since we had the rain fly on (it's like a raincoat for your tent) but that was leaking somehow too. Needless to say, we are going to try to capitalize on the end of season sales this month and see if we can't find something a bit smaller and a lot more dry.

Speaking of smaller... we also need some sort of mattress that is less cumbersome. We currently have a queen size blow up mattress that comes in a case on wheels and has this elaborate stand to make it normal bed height, which is really nice. It just takes up a ton of room in the trunk, makes a lot of noise when you get in and out, and doesn't fit 3 all that well. Why should it need to fit 3 when Ada had her pack and play set up on the other side of the tent you ask? Well, because she gets scared during torrential downpours that include thunder, lightening, and sound like someone is hitting our tent with 10,000 paintballs consistently for half an hour straight. I don't blame her.

Car toppers can be made for cars with or without racks. Since our car doesn't have a rack on top, it doesn't help if I borrow a car topper from someone if it's the type that needs the rack. Luckily, Rick was able to fit all of our stuff in the car-- including Ada.

It never fails that someone forgets to take the garbage out before bed one night during the week. Just try to remember not to have the garbage set up near your tent. As it turns out, raccoons are REALLY loud and like to fight a lot. Sounds like cats beating the living snot out of each other and happens just on the other side of some flimsy piece of tent fabric. Not the best thing when you're trying to sleep.

Camping at the end of a meteor shower is cool. At the peak would be frigging awesome. I got to see about four "shooting stars" which was nice. Reassuring to see that there still are stars after living in the city for so long.

After a good storm, there will be puddles. Lots of deep, muddy puddles. Toddlers are attracted to puddles.
If your husband is going to golf and it looks like it might rain, remind him to only buy nine holes of golf at a time. Rick's foursome paid for 18 and golfed 5 holes. Then they skipped their rain check time the next day thinking it would rain more as was predicted. He's just feeling a bit shafted now.
With camping comes the threat of poison ivy. Lucky for me (and Ada), I noticed she was standing about 3 feet into the woods just off the campsite and a lightbulb went on in my head.

"Ding!" "She might be standing in poison ivy in shorts, sandals and a t-shirt. SHIT!" At least the lightbulb still works up there and I immediately called over one of the boy scout leaders that happens to camp with us, and then my eagle scout brother-in-law to reconfirm my suspicions. "Yep. That's what it looks like. Go hose her down with lots of soap and water." Poor Ada. At least it was early on in the week so it was still in the 80s. And she likes baths. And she's too little to really hate cold water. And it's still considered "cute" for her to stand naked near a parking lot while getting scrubbed down by her momma. Can't say that about many people.

With camping comes dirt. Lots of dirt. And toddlers know how to find it all, and eat some of it.

And then there is the beach. There must be a "friend making" gene in my side of the family because this kid just attracts other kids. Dinner at a local restaurant tonight turned into a mini play date. She really knows how to bring people together. Not only did she help supervise the local girl scout troop that was building sandcastles on the beach, but she shared Grandma Ba's buckets, shovels and rakes well too.

Then there is the lake. She got to play with Aunt Terri, Grandma Ba, Grandpa Rich, Daddy, and Mommy all in the water. Grandpa Rich gave her a "dolphin" back ride-- I don't think piggies can swim so it wasn't a "piggy back" ride, technically speaking. She sure loves the water.

I also learned that I should always pack a warm jacket, a change of warm, dry clothes to leave in the trunk in case of emergencies, and to pack things that need to stay dry (clothes, blankets, pillows, me) in plastic bins so that they in fact, do stay dry. And that those bins need to be kept in the tent and used to store said "things that need to stay dry" when not in use in case a big storm creeps up on us and our new tent happens to leak, or we forget the rain fly, or we leave the windows open.

And finally, I learned that camping for a week is a ton of fun. I got to knit (a purple fingerless mitten and get started on the match to it), read a great book (The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larson -- book 2 of 3 in his Millennium series), and play way too much Settlers of Catan (a great new board game that is a bit like Monopoly without the parts of Monopoly that suck). We also went to a petting zoo, ate good food, got to take warm showers, and got to laugh hysterically when Grandma Ba saw a snake that made her scream to high heaven (grass snake anyone?).

Moral of the story: Great time had by all. Highly recommend it -- if you have the right gear and a forecast for good weather.

Friday, August 14, 2009


so far today... Ada knocked over the water cup next to my bed. She woke up at 6 and I brought her into our room to encourage her to sleep. Instead, she decided to jump on us and play with things on the dresser that she's not allowed to, including said large water cup. Just as my mom was coming in to rescue us (she's watching Ada today), Ada knocked my water off the dresser and soaked the pillows, bed and everything beyond. Poor sleep deprived Rick had to pull the bed out, clean up all the water, kill all the monster dust bunnies, and then take the bed apart and put it all back together again. How's that for a 6 am wake-up call?

Then as Rick and I were talking and getting lunches packed, he knocked over my mom's tea on the kitchen counter.

And in true Amanda fashion, I just punched my water glass at work while putting on my sweater (yes, my soccer mom white sweater because it's cold in my office even if it is 80 degrees and sunny outside. Damn Air Conditioning!) and soaked my desk, post-it notes, and a roll of drawings. Oops.

That's what I call a family tri-fecta. First Ada, then Daddy, then me. Woo-hoo-ie!

At least a few things got cleaned in the process... now if only I could get back that missing hour of sleep...

Monday, August 10, 2009

A new word!

We have a new word!

Rick and I take full credit for just teaching Ada the word "Bow". Yippee! Now she says momma, dadda, ball and bow.

Just one day with our friend Alison and her son Will watching Ada and she's already busting out the new words. Hopefully spending more time with them does the trick.

Wish us luck!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Shut it.

There are days when you just want your kid to settle down and be quite. Today wasn't really one of those days but Ada found a way to "zip it" "shut your trap" and "put a sock in it" without me even asking her to.

We are at the local Dominick's waiting in line for some issue two carts ahead of us. It is taking way too long and Ada is being really patient playing with Gigi her giraffe. Finally, the issue is resolved and it's our turn to load our groceries onto the conveyor belt. Ada wants to be held and I want my two hands free to unload the cart. She's getting fussy so I hurry, and once I've made space, I put her in the main basket of the cart instead of the kiddie seat.

"Hold on to the edge. I'm going to move the cart up the line." I say, thinking that she can understand everything I'm saying or at the very least "hold on".

My mistake.

I advance the cart and she falls on her butt back into the basket. She's now even more fussy. I'm holding her and calming her down when the checkout woman says, "Do you want a sticker?" and gives Ada one of the "Thank You for shopping at Dominick's" fluorescent orange stickers that they put on the milk and liquor to show that you didn't steal it. She did the same thing for the little girl in front of us and that little girl was wearing it nicely on her dress. Not Ada. Nope. She put that sticker right smack dab over her mouth. And then she peeled it off. And then she put it back on...the whole way home.

I didn't hear a peep out of her until we got home and pulled up to unload the groceries. It was a miracle sticker. Entertained her. Keep her quiet. Was free. Didn't break or damage anything (yet anyway...I'm not exactly sure where the sticker is right now... maybe stuck to the seat of the car???)

I think I might just have to go back to Dominick's to get a few more of those stickers so I can keep them in my purse for "special occasions".

Moral of the story: Blessings come in small ways from the most unexpected places, including a simple sticker from Dominick's.

Ada's Speech Update

As I mentioned before, Ada's been a bit slow to talk so far and at her 1.5 year checkup, the doctor encouraged me to pay attention to Ada's speech and work with her to improve her language skills.

To do so, I called a friend who is a speech pathologist and she gave me a bunch of pointers. (Play games where you name stuff, give Ada options - Apple or Orange?, use picture books and repeat names of everyday items, point to your mouth to show Ada how a sound is made and repeat it for several items - bunny, ball, broom, book, bag, bubbles, stop using sign language and doing everything for her, etc.) Rick, our nanny and I have been working with Ada a lot lately and trying out best to get her speaking. She's now going on 20 months and I'm starting to see improvements. Now she's saying Dadda and Momma when we are around respectively instead of just babbling. She says Ba for Ball -- doesn't quite have the L sound on the end. And we keep hearing words come out even if she doesn't ever repeat them again (making me wonder if I'm crazy and making it all up.) I think Ba Ba is baby. She has other sounds she makes too so that's good (according to my friend the speech pathologist). Her cognition is great (as they say) and she's understanding more and more as we work with her. I used to think that we could just sit in the same room with her and she'd absorb all the fun stuff happening in the world around her and magically she'd start talking. Maybe that's the case for some kids but this one seems to need a bit more hand-holding and guidance. I'm okay with that. Especially when I can now claim she said Momma first while I was around, then Dadda (which we're trying to make into Dad-dy still) and Ba for ball is a close third.

She's also able to identify a lot more things when we read: ball, baby, bunny, apple, orange, dog, cat. And she can meow so there is hope for her still.

Moral of the story: Pay attention to your child's development and if there seems to be an issue or they are slow to develop, don't freak out. Learn what you can do to improve the situation and figure out what the issue is before you freak. In our case, I still think it's just another case of Ada taking her time and doing things at her own pace. At least that's what I'm spending all of my energy on instead of freaking out.

My first heart attack, of what I assume to be many

This morning, as I was making blueberry pancakes for breakfast and Rick was getting ready for work, Ada gave me a mini-heart attack(if there is such a thing as a heart attack being "mini"). I seriously think my heart stopped beating for a moment or two.

Here I am, la la la, just woke up. Still in my pajamas I'm measuring out the milk and cracking an egg when Ada comes around the corner from the bedroom where Rick is getting dressed. All is well with the world. Then she drops something small and it tumbles across the kitchen floor and her tiny little fingers are going after it, trying to stop it and grab it.

Then my world goes into slow motion...

"What's that she's got?" I think to myself.

"Looks like a carrot chunk."

"NO! It's one of the generic Advil pills I spilled all over the floor three days ago. Grab it now!"

I quickly and loudly scare the living daylights out of Ada and Rick as I yell probably one of the sharpest "NO!"s I've ever said to Ada as I swooped down to grab the pill.

Then I stand still and brace myself on the counter for a few breaths to calm myself down as Rick is staring at me and Ada is screaming wildly as if she's just murdered the neighbor's cat or something.

I look at Rick. "It's one of the pills I spilled the other day."

"Good catch." He says as he goes to get a stuffed animal to cheer Ada up since she's still screaming for fear that whatever she has done is quite possibly the worst thing in the world.

I wish there was a way to tell if you've picked up every last tiny little part of something when you spill it. Like a shattered glass, or an economy size bottle of medicine. I swear I checked the area really well after spilling them but obviously, I missed one. Lucky for me, I caught it before she got to eat it. And damn the makers of these bottles for not inventing a spill proof bottle already for klutzes like myself, and for making the outsides candy coated so they taste good going down. Can't they have some sort of bottle that only shakes out one pill at a time? Then you wouldn't have to touch five pills everytime you needed one or two. Can somebody invent that please?

I count my lucky stars that I caught her before she ate it. Hopefully one Advil wouldn't do too much damage but I'm of the belief that I'd rather not have to find out.

Moral of the story: Always be vigilant around your children and be thankful and praise them profusely when they listen and do as they are told. Amen for that.

Naps, oh naps...

I've been pretty annoyed over the past few weeks with our most recent nanny. Not that she's doing a bad job or anything like that, no. It's because Ada keeps taking three or four hour naps on days that the nanny is here and only one or two-hour naps when I'm here.That could mean a few things...

1. I'm way cooler than the nanny and Ada wants to spend more time with me so she uses Nanny days to catch up on her sleep. (doubtful)

2. The nanny has been drugging her or denying her any sugar or caffeine. (no chance)

3. The nanny stays in the back of the house and doesn't walk near Ada's door, thereby preventing the floor from creaking and waking her up. (maybe, getting warmer)

4. The nanny is more entertaining than I am and Ada needs more sleep to recuperate from all the fun they have together. (likely.

No matter what it means, it really ticks me off because I'm paying someone to hang out in my house for three or four hours (out of nine) and my child isn't even awake. And it's not like she's scrubbing my bathroom. She might fold Ada's laundry or empty out the dishwasher but that's all I'm getting for my $12/hour. Doesn't really seem like the best deal to me. At least if I'm home, I can get in a few hours of work and catch up on my blogging or do something crafty and feel productive.

Thankfully, the nanny is done and Ada has taken two LONG naps while I've been here this week which makes me uber happy and even more productive. LOVE IT. (It helps that I asked the nanny her secret and she said she just tires Ada out in the morning by going to the park and playing until she can't play anymore. Works like a charm.)

Moral of the story: Give them all you've got in the morning and they'll give you a break in the afternoon (hopefully).

Nanny update #623

Believe it or not, we've eaten up yet another nanny. Courtney has gone back to grad school full time and now Ada's off to spend her three days a week with a friend of ours who lives just around the corner and down the street.

I will say that I learn a lot from each nanny we have. Be it that I am more or less picky than I think, that I really do want them to try to keep the place neat, that I am more of a neat freak than I think and can't stand having sand on the floor, that I hate it when they leave all the lights on, that I abhor it when they use a million paper towels a day, etc. etc. etc.

I'm not really looking forward to having to take Ada somewhere else, but I am hoping that she gets along with our friend's son who is about 3 months older, and that she learns to talk more since she's around him. We'll see. I'm also excited about having less diapers to do, less food to buy, and less messes to clean up since our friend will be handling all of that at her house instead of mine. Yahooey!

We'll see how it goes. Wish us all luck with the transition.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Makes Gma Nervous

Remember when your dad used to swing you around or throw you in the air or rough house with you and it always made your mom nervous? Well, Rick's always messing with Ada and rarely does it bother me...

...but Grandma Ba can't stand it... and Ada LOVES it. Go figure.

More Ada Photos

If you haven't had enough photos of my kid, here are a gazillion more...okay, just 34 but still...
For all of you moms out there who haven't heard of - Heather B. Armstrong is a mom blogger. Her most recent post goes into her labor story and if you have a moment and want to really be moved, check it out. It's so beautifully writen, honest, and brings back all the good and bad parts of labor and specifically, natural childbirth. WOW.

This is part 3 of the series... you can go back to start from the beginning or just read this one and you'll get the gist. She's been ranked #26 most influential woman in media because of this blog. AMAZING.

Then if you aren't already touch to the point of tears, click on the comments and read a few... but grab a tissue first.

Enjoy and pass on,


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Don't worry, they're all natural

This past weekend, my beautiful friend Lisa invited my family to dinner for some of her fabulous home cooking. As Lisa was sprinkling her magic fairy dust in the kitchen, Ada was having fun tormenting Lisa's bulldog, Monty, since he gets so excited to see her he just wants to plow her over. She's big, but he's bigger--by about 20 lbs and I think she's 6 or 8 months older. Funny how dogs and kids grow so fast, until you compare them and then the dogs win.

We let them play together through the baby gate and then moved Monty to his crate for some quiet time. All was going just great and it was time for Monty to get a treat, and of course, what could be more fun than for Ada to give it to him?

Unfortunately, Ada doesn't really get the whole idea of giving treats to a dog since we don't have one and she isn't around my parents dogs all that often. As soon as Lisa said "Here Ada, give Monty a treat." I knew the treat wasn't going to make it to Monty. I just knew it.

Sure enough, Lisa broke it in two. Gave half to Monty and half to Ada to give to Monty...except Ada didn't want to give it to Monty. It was dinnertime and she was hungry and wanted to know what kind of treats Monty gets.

In it went. Chomp chomp. Wrinkled funny face. Chomp chomp. More funny faces and gulp. Down the hatch. She ate the other half of Monty's treat while he watched in horror.

Rick was laughing so hard his face was turning all shades of red. I was just shocked that I saw the whole thing coming in slow motion.

Then Lisa pipes up, "Don't worry, they're all natural."

Luckily, Lisa's a five star mom to Monty and gets him only the best--all natural dog treats with oatmeal, cranberry and turkey--no additives, no msg, no transfats, no preservatives. Not necessarily a combo I've tried with Ada yet but she didn't seem to mind. Maybe I should add that to the menu...

Moral of the story: I guess this gives us something to work on before we go back over to Lisa's next. It's good to have goals in life. Getting Ada not to eat Monty's treats can surely be added to our list.