Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sea Shells

Jackson came downstairs today, very excited about the conch shell he'd reached from the bathroom windowsill.  He had it pressed against his ear, listening to the waves.  I had a listen too, then handed it back.  He took it, yelled into it, then held it back up to his ear.  Every 10 seconds, he pulled it away to freshen the echo by yelling into it and couldn't be dissuaded.
Love that boy!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Beginning Reading

Jackson learned his first two sight words this week. The first word is
"Toy" as in Toy Story. (Thank you Disney/Pixar logos). The second word
is "Joy", also pronounced "Toy Story".

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"The Mother of all Curse Words" --blog post #200

A few weeks ago, I was buckling the kids in the car. Jackson picked up some card, then said, "this is a pain in the f-ing a-." I said, "what did you say?" and he repeated his previous statement. His statement was so random, so deliberate, and said in such a way that I knew he was trying the new words out, testing my parenting, and aware that he said something that just maybe was outside his current boundaries--something that I as a parent couldn't just let slide and hope it would go away. I took a deep breathe, snapped Jonah's buckle, and started my quickly conceived speech about that not being a nice thing to say. I was told, "well, Daddy thinks it's a nice thing to say" 
So great, he ratted his daddy out.  Of course he had learned this from daddy. I don't use this kind of language in front of my child and even if it had come from me, I leave the f- out of this particular phrase.  Then there's the dilema of how to punish him. My stern lecture would only go so far, time out was insufficient and uninforcible since  I clearly wasn't going back inside for 3 minutes on the stair. I couldn't see any other recourse besides the threat of soap.
I told him again that it wasn't a nice thing to say, not for little boys and not for mommy or daddy either. I told him those were dirty words and the only solution was to clean his mouth up by washing it with soap (trying to convince myself that it was a real connection and very reasonable punishment). I told him if mommy or daddy said it to remind us that it wasn't a nice thing to say and we would be in trouble too. Then I got in the car myself, hoped my speech was impressionative, and wondered how to break the news to my husband in a way that would serve to put him on notice as well.
A few days later, Jackson was bouncing around the house, and told me he might "fall and break his f-ing head." I repeated my speech and again listened to his arguement that daddy thought it was a nice thing to say. I repeated my speech with emphasis on the soap. 30 minutes later, Jack was jumping on the bed chanting about falling and "breaking his f-ing head". 
I put Jonah down and let out a deep sigh of disbelief. Disbelief of what I was hearing from my 3 1/2 year old, disbelief that I was really going to have to get the soap out, disbelief that my husband hadn't tempered his own language. Visions of that scene from "The Christmas Story" flashed through my mind as I picked up my sweet baby boy and carried him into the bathroom, his fate sealed. I gave him a longer speech. He was unphased. I showed him a bar of soap, then had to explain just what it was since we use a body wash with the kids and liquid soap at the sink. I had to hold him down to attempt to put it in his mouth. He grimmaced, and I touched the tiniest bit to his tooth. He ran away complaining, but did not repeat his chant. I took the next opportunity to again chastise my husband.  Jason has since been moping around, wearing his 'worst father in the world' medallion.
Those of you who know my Jackson know he loves to play with my iTouch. He calls it "mine game". If I take it to work, I come home hearing "mom, do you know where mine game is?" in the most pleading little voice. I have it loaded up with toddler aps. He plays them all, but mostly he plays Pocket God. I recognize that torturing pygmies is a little mature of a theme. I'm a little embarrassed that when we visited Utah, he showed everyone as he said, "see the zombies eat the kidneys brains and that makes more zombies". I rationalize that playing Pocket God is good for him because he has to take multi-sequenced steps to a given reaction, it's bigger than just cause and effect.
 He also uses the YouTube ap to watch videos of his own giggling self, muppets singing 'Ma Nama Na', or Donald Duck shorts. He saved a video of someone playing a Roger Rabbit video game to the YouTube favorites. I saw him watching it a couple times, and it was boring so I tuned it out after a few seconds. Normally I let him use the iTouch on his own. He likes to play it when he's "boring" because I'm cooking or taking care of Jonah or whatever.  A few nights ago, he was sitting next to me playing with the iTouch. He turned on the Roger Rabbit video. About 3 seconds beyond the point I'd been tuning out, the narrator said, "This right here is a pain in the f-ing a-". I think a "fall and break my f-ing head" might've been in the upcoming dialogue. Instead of waiting to listen for that, I snatched the itouch from Jackson's protesting fingers and erased the link from the memory.
Jason is relieved that he's no longer the worst parent in the world. He handed that title to me for letting my sweet little boy have unsupervised access to the Internet. YouTube. What was I thinking?! It could've been much worse, right?! So now we're both on notice, paying a little more attention to our language and to our little parrot's viewing habits. This parenting thing is gonna be a long looong road, sigh.  

Saturday, November 27, 2010

documenting life in motion

Here are some videos from the last couple of months.  We had some after dinner silliness on the last barbecue-able day of the year (or so we thought at the time).



Here is some dancing from Jackson.  Just the first 30 seconds are watchable.  The last minute involves trying to get the skeleton to glow in the dark. I think this is a different night than the previous video.




Jonah crawling.  This is about a month ago, when he only used his left leg.  You can tell by the grunting that it took considerable effort to propel himself.  Now he's moved on to using both feet.  His range tripled, and the grunting has passed.



Jonah taking a bath last week.  He splashes the daylights out of the tub, but on this night could not splash without holding the crab in his teeth.  By the way, I LOOOVE this tub.  It has always kept him upright and no slips.  I put him in it dry every morning when I get ready for school.



















And one more, from tonight..

















Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Making pie

Me: Jack, we've got work to do tonight. We've got to make pies.
Jack: yay! Is it gonna be bacon pie?! Or frosting pie with cookies?!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Adventures at Sea

Two Sundays ago, it was both "Wife Appreciation Day" and "Talk Like a Pirate Day".  Coincidentally, we already had made thematic plans.  Jason got out of bed in the morning and made a big breakfast including bacon and hash browns (for him) and french toast (for me).  After breakfast, we loaded up the car, strapped our canoe to the roof, and headed to the lake.  "Arr, we be settin' sail."

It was a beautiful day, and there was hardly anyone at the lake.  Seemed perfect.  We got the canoe loaded up with the boys.  Jason suggested that we just take Jonah in his carseat.  This didn't seem like the best idea, but he was so chill in his chair that I went with it.  Jason sat at the front of the canoe to paddle/steer, I sat in the middle with Jonah, and Jackson sat at the other tip. 

Jason pushed us off the dock and as soon as we had cleared land, our yellow canoe became a yellow submarine.  "Arr, we be ship wrecked.  Marooned!" OK, it didn't actually sink.  It just dumped us all overboard.  One of those moments where a fraction of a second seems to take an eternity and yet you are powerless to do anything to help yourself in that eternity.  I fixed my eyes on Jonah who was dumped upside down in the lake, still strapped to his chair.  I quickly grabbed him and stood knee deep in the lake watching Jason pick up Jack and carry him to shore.  Seeing that we were all safe, I laughed.  Guess it was too soon, and Jason let me know just how funny it was NOT.   He went back in the water to rescue our stuff including our camera and his blackberry. 

We hauled everything on shore, dried off the kids, endured humiliation from the 4 groups of cars we saw, and decided to get the little ones home and come back for the canoe.  Jason made all sorts of threats about how he was taking his shotgun out to take care of the canoe.  We've never liked that boat.  It was supposedly a racing canoe, and always felt unsteady.  I'm surprised it had never dumped us out before, but it is a canoe and supposedly its hard to capsize those, right?

It was about 2 in the afternoon when we came home, and Jason went back for the canoe around 4.  He came home empty handed.  Someone had stollen our canoe in the middle of the afternoon in our quiet neighborhood.  Acts of piracy committed against us!  I drove by the lake in the morning to see if it was returned.  Maybe some kids had just taken it out for a ride and left it on shore.  Nope, it was definitely stolen.

We are taking heart in the knowledge that the boat is cursed, and hope Karma sees fit to visit the real pirates soon and often. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Baby Hugs

Jonah is lying on his belly next to me. He is leaning over to rest his head against my chest for 3 seconds followed by 30 seconds of laughter and cooing. It's like he's saying, "Look, Mom! I did it! I gave you a hug all by myself!"
I love you, baby.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Unanswerable Why's (a new series)

"Mo-om, why do you roll your eyes around in circles like wheels?"

Monday, September 13, 2010

More on Cloth Diapers

It's been just 3 months since my last post on cloth diapers, but a friend just inquired about them.  Here are my current thoughts:

With child number 2, I am still a lover of cloth. 
I wanted to use cloth for the reasons Helene sited (environmental benefits, etc) but couldn't get over the grossness factor of my foggy memories of my mom using cloth, so I really didn't consider it.  With Jackson, we had so many blowouts (at least daily).  I was in the Papaya Patch trying out baby carriers when my baby blew through a carrier (yes, we bought it and loved it!) the woman helping me mentioned that cloth diapers would probably help me with the blowouts.  I gave her an incredulous look, but asked a little more about it.  A few days later, I ordered a try it kit from Cotton Babies.  Once I switched, I spent much less time handling poo.   

Now I'll sometimes go months without using a disposable diaper.  When I first made the switch, I went 4 months without a disposable, and only used them when we were on vacation for a week.  During that week, I missed the cloth a lot.  I missed cloth wipes even more.

To start off, I'll reference my previous blog postings about fluff. 
http://actionjackson-d.blogspot.com/search/label/cloth%20diapers

I guess I have this to add: 

With Jackson, I used Chinese or Indian unbleached prefolds and covers.  Most of my covers are Bummis Whisper Wraps plus a few ProWraps and a Thirsties.  The people who like Thirsties and ProWraps like the gussetts around the thighs, but my babies are so big that the gussetts don't really give any added benefit.  We didn't have leg leaks with any of them. 
Using cloth, I had a single blowout over more than 2 years.  I guess we had frequent wet leaks at night, but they were very minor.  Jackson saved up his nursing for overnights, so there was a lot of liquid coming out.  The main leak path was at the top of the diaper in front.  Because of the bulk of the diaper, hemp liner (for overnight), and folded over excess diaper, there was an inch offset where the cover didn't touch his skin.  So the wetness would wick from the diaper onto the front of his shirt.  It didn't soak the bed, and we just lived with it since it was better than the alternative with disposables.

With Jonah, even though he's almost as big as Jackson, the prefolds and covers seem big on him.  I have a variety pockets and what not that we are using now.  They're not quite as good as the prefolds at keeping things in, but they are better than disposables.  We don't have problems with wetness leaks during the day and blowouts are still pretty rare.  At night, I can't find anything that keeps the wetness leaks in--not prefolds, pockets, extra liners, or disposables.  Right now, I'm giving disposables another go at it, and suffering frequent early morning poo blowouts as a result.  In a few days, I'll switch back.

It's a good idea to think of diapering as a system.  When you are starting out, get a variety of diapers and find out what works best for your little one.  This is what is in my current stash and what I think of them:

BumGenius 3.0 One Size Pocket Diapers.  These are a great pocket diaper.  They pioneered the One-Size system.  The diapers have a series of extra snaps on the front that allow you to adjust the rise so that the diapers will fit size newborn through 30 pounds.  In my mind, it doesn't make sense to use CD on a newborn because with how quickly my babies grow, they would only be in that size for 2 months. But with one-size diapers, you don't have to get a new set, just undo the snaps.  Many brands now offer the one-size feature.  These come with a thick microfiber insert for everyday use plus a second insert (doubler) for overnights.  The single insert for day is great, but I don't think even the doubler is enough for overnight.  These are maybe $18 each.

Happy Heiny's One size Pocket Diapers.  These are very similar to the BumGenius.  I like them a little better because the waist band is thicker and the velcro is covered up so it can't rub on the babies tummy.  These cost a little more than BumGenius, $20-$23.

Cutie Baby One Size 2-in-1 Diaper.  These are ultra cute.  They attempted a few new features.  The liner is sewn to the back of the diaper so it comes out to dry and you don't have to look for it in the wash (no big deal).  The pocket opening is bigger, so they are easier to stuff.  They had a great idea with the velcro, the hook side detaches, so you take it off for washing and avoid having a long string of covers come out of the wash.  Unfortunately, we are having mysterious leaks with these.  I don't know what the cost of these is, I got a babysteal on them.

gDiapers hybrid diapers.  There is a review of these on my blog.  The idea is that you have a cloth cover and a disposable, flushable, biodegradable insert.  I don't get the flushable part, but they now offer a cloth insert instead.  I don't have their inserts.  I've been using my extra doublers from the bumgenius or 2 microfiber shop rags folded in thirds.  I really like these, they have a nice fit and are the trimmest diaper around because the absorbent layers are only in the center, there is very little material on the sides.  Drawbacks are that these don't come in one-size and they seem to run small.  I was gifted a hand me down set of newborn size and I acquired several mediums.  I fear Jonah will be in larges any day now. $15 per cover.

GroBaby one size diapers.  These are weird.  Instead of a pocket, they have a snap in cloth insert.  They are cute, but I think they run small.  I am relegating ours to the diaper bag we don't use much.  The rise seems too short, and I've seen Jonah's little bum crack peaking out.  My friend who has petite babies is loving these for her 2 year old.  I don't know the cost, I got them from babysteals too.

Blueberry Minky size small pocket diaper.  I know these have been a favorite of friends, and I found some on clearance in size newborn.  Sadly they didn't work at all for Jonah, and I retired them before he outgrew them.  Price is on the high side.  

Prefolds and Covers.  These have been the most effective diapers for us.  They are also the cheapest (prefold $2.50, cover $11, doubler for overnight $3, Snappi $2.50).  They are also the bulkiest diapers.  People sometimes complain about how difficult they are to use.  You have to fold them (we like the newspaper fold) and there are a few options, then you secure them either by being quick with the cover, using pins, or a Snappi.  Then put a cover over them for waterproofing.  There's a little learning curve, but once you start using them, it becomes second nature.  We used these almost exclusively with Jackson.  I eventually got some pocket diapers, and Jason would never use the pocket diapers because things worked so well with the prefold he didn't feel the need to switch.  Point is if my husband is willing to stick with it, it must not be that hard.

Prefolds are available with the following options all priced similarly.  Bleached (bright white) or unbleached (natural beige).  Chinese (blue or green seams depending on size) or Indian (natural beige seams, a little ofter than the Chinese) or Hemp (natural beige felt, these don't work with Snappis) or Gerber (do not bother trying to use these as actual diapers).  The snappy is a stretchy T shaped thing with fastener like those used for elastic bandages on each end.  They are amazing!  Then you need to add a cover for waterproofing.  I liked the Bummis best for my chubby babies.  The ones I used go on like disposable diapers.  Other options are Dappi's, which are old fashioned plastic pants.  They are super cheap ($2) but are a mess for a poopy diaper.  I have a few that I got for emergencies when I first started using cloth.  They now reside in the bottom of a drawer.  There is also something called a Wool Soaker.  These are usually handmade, lanolized wool.  People who use them love them.  I don't think I would like them.   

You can sub the prefold for a fitted or contour diaper.  These go on like a disposable, but still need a cover.  I have one Kissaluvs fitted diaper.  It fits well and is cute and effective.  But it is bulky.  We rarely use it.  I keep it on reserve in case we have diaper rash, then I let my baby wear it around without a cover so his bum gets to air out a bit.  I stay on top of things and change it right away.  Cost varies up to $10

Generally, people recommend using a cover for several diaper changes, until it gets poopy.  My trial kit came with 2 covers, and instructions to alternate, letting one hang and air out in between changes.  Reusing covers will make CD's much cheaper.  I didn't like this at all, the covers had gotten damp and retained a pee smell.  I always use a fresh cover and think its icky not to.  My friend using GroBaby diapers reuses those covers.  I think it would be smellier with those than with my Bummis because they have a mesh lining.  The gDiapers also recommend reusing covers.  They say to wipe them out with a wipe between changes.  I tried it, and they were better than the Bummis because you could wipe them.  But the gDiapers waterproofing is a little bit porous, so if you let the diaper go very long without changing, some moisture seems to seep through.  Not enough to be a leak, but enough to make reusing a cover too far on the icky side for me.

Cloth diapers are like a diapering system.  You have to adjust what works with the time of day and the size and shape of your baby. 

Cost:  Much cheaper than disposables if you consider that you'll spend $50+ on sposies a month.  A good stash of cloth will cost around $300 or about 1/2 that if you buy used.  So its 6 months worth of expense for 2+ years of diapers.  Makes sense even for a single child.  I recommend enough diapers for 3+ days so you only have to add 2 loads of wash a week, that's about 20 diapers for a baby over 3 months old.  With a newborn you'll go through about 12 diapers a day at first. Even if you don't have as many as you'd like, you could start part time diapers with some One-Sizes while your stash grows.  I find that the 2 loads of diapers a week is infrequent enough that I don't feel burdened by the extra laundry.  I'm much more likely to get the diapers folded than our clothes.  I usually have Jonah on the changing table while I fold and put away the diapers around him.

Washing:  Breast milk poo being water soluble, so wash your diapers without a second thought for the first 6 months.  I used to use Method detergent, but we were having some odor buildup.  I switched to ALL free (it's rated decently by the CD detergent raters).  I think its working better than the Method.  Use about 1/2 the detergent you would for a regular load.  Do not use fabric softener on your cloth.  You can use vinegar, although it may not be very good for the waterproofing.  You can add baking soda, oxyclean, or borax.  I don't bother unless I'm trying to strip off buildup or odors.  I haven't done this yet for Jonah's diapers.  I just dump my wetbag into the washer then throw the bag in too, do a cold water rinse cycle, followed by a warm wash cycle.  Diaper manufactures usually recommend drying the cloth and hanging the covers, unless its an AIO then dry the whole thing.  If you can dry an AIO, I figure you can dry any cover.  Sometimes I hang them, but if I'm in a hurry I will put everything in the dryer.  If I have excess time and its sunny, I will hang the diapers outside.  The sun really does fade poo stains.  After they are dry, I put them in the dryer for a few minutes to soften up.  I have never checked my diapers for suds.

Once we are feeding solids, my diapering system will add a cellulose liner to the diaper next to the baby.  When there is poo, I just lift it off and put it in the diaper pail (or flush, but not with septic) then wash the diaper.  Saves me the hassle of spraying the dirty diaper or rinsing in the toilet.  Tasks I don't want to do and I know Jason wouldn't do.  These liners are made by a few brands and some are softer than others.  They are inexpensive.

Folding.  Don't over commit here.  I fold my prefolds in half and load up the diaper stacker.  I have a bunch of fabric cubes from Ikea that I keep the rest of the diapers in.  If I'm feeling energetic, covers are folded neatly and lined up in their cube.  If I'm in a hurry, they get shoved in.  Having the cubes keeps things looking neat even when I don't have time to fold and line up my stash.  I do preload my pocket diapers and fold them, sometimes just in half sometimes tucking the tabs in so they look more neat.  For wipes, I use cheap baby washcloths.  I fill a 6" cube with them (no folding required), and they poof out the top.  It actually looks neat, and they are easy to grab.  Next to them I have an old wipes container full of water with a couple of drops of tea tree oil in.  I just dunk a few wipes, ring them out, and use them.  For travel, I use disposable wipes and usually wash them with the rest, then pull them out of the dry and clean laundry.  I have a toilet paper holder that I hang the cellulose liners on.  For dirties, I use a Bummis wetbag. For travel, I have a small wetbag, but just one.  Most of the time I use a gallon storage bag (not a ziplok) and knot the top of it.

Happy Diapering! 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mohawks

I keep seeing little boys with faux hawks, and have been holding in my rant.  I think its a stupid haircut, it's so Angelino Jolie's kids circa 2007, and on some level I am surprised that so many people give it to their children.  Then I come back to the reality that 7 year old boys tend to select their own haircuts.  The boys in my generation wore such things as "spiked", "ducktail", and "mullet" (I bow my head in shame). 

I just noticed that my own dear Jonah is sporting a sooweeet baby hawk underneath his combover.  So today I'm hating the faux hawk a little less and thinking I should put a bit of effort into reversing the combover Jason insists on and instead showing off Jonah's hawk.



Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Preschool!!!

Happy 1st Day of  Preschool, Jackson-baby



Sunday, August 22, 2010

I was just showing Jackson how to play Here Is the Church and Here Is the Steeple, Open the Doors and See All the People...




He said, "Uh, Mommy...Do they run away in cars?"

We had Jonah's 4 month appointment yesterday.  He measured 26.5 inches long and 18 pounds, 1 ounce.  That makes his 90% for weight and 86% for height, or in other words, the little one.  He's been sitting up more.  He can sit for a couple of minutes now, but you have to be nearby because he could tumble over at any moment.    He hadn't rolled over since his first month of life.  I guess he got too chunky and couldn't do it anymore.  Yesterday, he was playing super baby and did roll.  I think it was an accident, because he looked really surprised.  I think he'll get the idea and start rolling again very soon.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

One Sunday

It's 9:15 on a Sunday.  Both boys are upstairs sleeping.  This is a small, but big feeling victory.  Evenings have been rough lately with 2 kids  and 1 parent, and poor Jackson hasn't been asleep before 11:00 in many nights.  I carried his blinky sleepy body upstairs and laid down with him for a few minutes to get him to sleep.  I was watching his sweet sleeping face and reflecting that today had been a pretty good day.  That's not what I'd thought at 11:30 this morning, or at 7 or 8 this evening, those times were a bit more stressful, but the day was also full of many perfect moments.  I guess that's why I chose this hectic life with the busy but fulfilling job, the longish commute to the country, and the 2 little boys that fill every waking moment with activity and make working opposite hours from my husband a necessity.  Mixed in with all the chaos is a little bit of perfection.

This morning, I got up with the boys and changed diapers, got dressed, and made breakfast.  Simple breakfast with chocolate milk and pb&j--the breakfast Jackson most requests, and the one he rarely eats the solid portion of.  Nothing special today.  Jackson didn't put enough chocolate in the milk, and when I told him to hurry and put the chocolate in, he thought I meant to put it away and returned it to the refrigerator.  Then he complained that I hadn't shaken his glass up, and I explained what had happened, so he brought out the chocolate and we tried again with more success.  After guzzling the milk, he took a tiny nibble of his sandwich.  Then he took too big a bite, and had to spit that out.  He took another tiny nibble, but that was it for the sandwich.

I decided to take the boys for a walk today since its finally cooled down enough to go outside.  After much fussing on poor over tired Jonah's part and much complaining about which shoes I told him to put on on Jackson's part, I managed to tuck Jonah into the ergo carrier and head out the door.  Once we were out, Jackson (who has been pretty obnoxious and attention seeking since Jonah arrived) calmed right down.  He held my hand almost the entire trip.  He told me he was glad we'd left the stroller home and he said, "Mom, I like having walks with you.".  Jonah fell asleep almost immediately (Cheers!  This is the first time he's really liked being in the ergo, being big enough to stick his legs out helps, I guess).  We only saw 1 biker on our walk today, the birds were out singing en mass, and we found some blackberries on the trail.

Back home an hour later, Jonah and I were hanging out on the futon.  I was lying on my back, and Jonah was sitting on my belly lying against my bent legs.  Jack came in with this pull along alligator xylophone we have.  He was making a terribly commotion on the xylo-gator, then turning around and using his plastic saw on the coffee table to make a rasping noise--back and forth between the two.  Every couple of minutes, he'd stop and with a giant grin ask me, "Was that good?"  I would tell him what a terrific musician he was.  First time, he said, "I'm not a musician, I'm a music player." So I explained how they were the same thing.  He'd ask about his performance, I'd praise him, we'd pound it.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Then it was 11:30, and Jonah got overtired (again), and I tried to get him asleep.  Jack kept coming in and turning on the lights and finding the noisiest toys he could get his hands on:  xylo-gator, click-clack crocodile, elephant sorter with extra crank noises.  Add the ringing phone.  It was my mom asking about my trip out next week.  The phone woke Jason, and I dumped the crying baby on his chest so I could talk to my mom. 
When I made it back to the bedroom, Jason had one boy giggling, and the other squeeling delightedly.  There's a picture of this and if I extract it from Jason's phone, I'll post it here.  Then Jason was getting Jonah to sleep.  He gave him a binky (Yay!  he takes one now) and was talking to him in a whisper.  I took noisy Jack down the hall. 

After Jonah was down, we went downstairs for lunch/breakfast.  Jason had cocoa puffs, I had an Amy's burrito with cheese and salsa, and Jack had crackers cheese and raisins.  It occurred to me that Jackson's lunch was a variation on a luchables theme, but the crackers were low salt and whole grain and cheese and raisins balanced out the meal--maybe lunchables aren't so bad.  After lunch, I was hit by a narcoleptic wave of fatigue.  Chose to sleep with my baby over pulling weeds.  Jonah and I slept until 4.  I woke to feed him, then had Jason take him away so I could sleep more, and would've if the phone hadn't rung and startled me awake. 

Jason left at 4:30 or 5, and the rest of us went into typical hectic evening mode.  Try to keep two boys happy, feed Jonah hourly, make dinner for myself and Jackson, feed dogs, get everyone tucked into bed and asleep.  I started some tortellini, put Jonah down, let Jackson wear his moonboots to visit the garden for fresh basil.  Made a quick pesto sauce.  Jackson had a few nibbles, then when I wasn't looking I guess he took too big a bite and spit it back into the bowl.  Had to scrape slobbery pesto off the top, Jonah started to fuss more fervently, drain pasta, mix with pesto, put food on coffee table and nurse a baby through dinner.  Jack complained that he just wanted pesto sauce, no noodles.  I tried to cut a noodle into pieces so he could take a little bite, and ended up dumping my plate over onto the floor where it shattered.  Clean up, fussy baby, attention seeking preschooler...Settled back in.  Got myself and the baby fed.  Sliced up some garlic bagette for Jack and spread it with new pesto (dried basil this time around).  We're out of milk, again. 

Took Jonah up to change him, tuck him into his sleep sack, and put him down.  Saw dog throwup on the floor and chose to leave it for 10 minutes to put Jonah down.  Jack stepped in it 5 minutes later, so I had to pull Jonah off the breast and leave him fussing, carry Jack to the tub where he refused to get in (I sprayed milk all over the place on the way), ran water in tub, cleaned up dog vomit, washed Jack's feet and hands and dried him off, came back to finish feeding Jonah and get him to sleep, Jackson went back downstairs to finish eating.  When I came back down, Jack said he was hungry and cold and I noticed his rapidly blinking sleepy eyes.  So I got him a glass of milk, carried him up to bed, and rolled him up into his fuzzy blanket.  I brought him his stool so he could put his 1/2 full and then empty milk glass on it.  Then I laid down with him and watched his eyes blink closed.

I'm having a little bit of "me time" now.  Quick blog post, load the dishwasher, put a couple of work hours in to make up for time I missed earlier in the week.  Today was a pretty good day.  Goodnight.



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Glen Jackson Fox: Part 1

For those who haven't heard, my grandfather passed away last Wednesday, July 7th, 2010, after a lengthy illness. It's been a difficult time for all of the family, and I won't be able to attend the funeral he's requested us to forgo. I've decided to write a multi-part series about him and our relationship. It's mostly for myself and my family, but I imagine the experience between a young woman of my generation and an old man of his is much the same thing for other families, and perhaps everyone else will like the stories too.

Background facts as they were recorded in my 3rd grade genealogy workbook (my relatives are free to correct any errors or omissions): Glen Jackson Fox was born November 17, 1932 at his Aunt Rose's home. His parents were Owen Fox and Elva Jackson Fox. He learned to swim by being thrown in the Ogden River. He didn't complete his formal education, and was married to my grandmother, Arabella “Arabell” Campbell on August 28, 1950. They were married in Elko, Nevada, in what I have always assumed was an elopement. My grandfather worked for the Union Pacific Railroad from the time he was 17 until his retirement. He also had other jobs including working as a carpenter “He worked for Big D back when it was just me and Big D” he told me once. (Big D is a major construction presence in Utah.) My grandparents had four daughters and a son: Christine (my mom), Susan, Linda, Lori, and Frank. They purchased a home in a new development 3309 Adams Avenue in Ogden where my grandmother still lives. They divorced when my mother was 16 and Frank was 2. Shortly after that, he married Mildred “Mickey” and they lived in a condo at 4539 S 1800 W in Roy, Utah until his death.

My grandpa always lived life to the fullest. At some point when my mom was a teenager, he had a speedboat and would take them water skiing. He also took them snow skiing. He once had an airplane, which he crashed on his last flight after selling it. He traveled frequently, summering in Utah and wintering in Yuma, Arizona after his retirement. He took trips to visit family around the country including his sister, Jean in California, Frank in North Carolina, me in Connecticut, and also trips overseas to Paris and Ireland.

When I was very young, we visited my grandfather on Father's Day, his birthday, Christmas Eve, and a few times during the summer to swim. At these visits, the family hung out mostly in the basement family room. My grandfather sat in his chair smoking long brown cigarettes, and the kids paid little attention to him. There were great toys in the basement: a sit and spin, one of those wheels on a stick for doing stomach exercises (we used to hold onto it and wheel around the room like one of those flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz); carpeted stairs that we slid down in a game called "bumpity bump"; there was a nutcracker with a mallet and a big wooden box shaped like an almond that held decks of cards (solitaire, war, or go fish were played on every visit); and they had a ping pong table that was replaced with a pool table when I was around 10. After the arrival of the pool table, we spent more time shooting pool and less time playing cards. In the summer we would visit to use the pool at the condo. I don't remember whether my grandpa came to the pool with us or not. Sometimes Mickey came along and sometimes we would just stop at the house to get the key to the pool and go swimming with just my mom or my aunts and uncles. I usually wore water wings and mostly hung out in what might have been a hot tub, but I always considered it a kiddie pool because it was shallow with a step running along all four walls. It was also much warmer than the main pool. The summer before second grade, my uncle taught me to do backflips from the side of the pool. It was a great trick and I enjoyed it for a few months, until I learned fear. (I under rotated my flip one trip to Ben Lomond Pool with friends and hit my head on the edge of the pool. The one legged life guard pulled me out of the water, then hopped me all the way around the pool to the office where he put some bandages on my head. My mom took me to the hospital for stitches—I received 8 so the scar on my forehead would be minimal. The hospital staff gave me some balloons for being so brave and forbade me to swim for a week, a real drag since I left for vacation in California the next day.)

One Christmas Eve, my grandpa gave my brother and I electronic fireman hats, complete with sirens. These were one of the coolest toys I ever remember receiving. Someone, Grandpa I guess, asked Michael “Are you going to be a Lover or a Fireman when you grow up?”. We wore the hats on the drive home in the station wagon, and I never saw them again. (I can't really blame my parents for that, I want to disappear lots of Jackson's toys.)

At some point in my childhood, my grandfather gave up smoking. He said nothing about it, and my mom and aunts whispered that there must've been a medical reason but no one knew what it was. He seemed to just go cold turkey--smoking at his birthday, but not that Christmas Eve. Mickey told me much later that he had been to see either an accupuncturist or a hypnotist to stop. Around that time, there was also a fight between my father and grandfather at the Christmas Eve party. I don't know what they argued about, but we left in a big hurry. I remember loading up into the station wagon in the dark. I think we visited less often after that, but we still made it out for the 3 holidays.

My parents separated the summer after my 16th birthday. As we settled into our new routines, my mom told me that I needed to go and visit my grandpa. She said that if I visited him, he would take care of me. So I visited, he took care of me, and that's how we began to have more of a relationship. My grandpa who wasn't much for sharing his feelings said a few times something to the effect that he was making up for the kind of relationship I had with my father and the relationship he'd had with my mother when she was younger. After that, he started calling me “Daughter” more often than he called me “Granddaughter”.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Dinosaur State Park


I've been trying to take the boys on outings Saturday and Sunday mornings. It's good for all of us to get out, plus poor Jason has been working overnights on the weekends, and if we're gone, a.) he has half a chance to catch up on sleep and b.) I don't get annoyed trying to be quiet until 3 in the afternoon. A few weeks ago, we went to the Dinosaur Park in Rocky Hill, CT. This dino park is all about tracks, not bones. They were excavating to build some state building, and the backhoe driver lifted a layer of rocks to reveal the tracks. He knew what they were, notified the authorities, and within 6 months it was declared a state park.
I've been hearing friends say that they went there and had a good time. So far, no one has really described their visit. I'll try to do that here. We took the stroller, with attached Valco stroller board for Jackson to ride on. This was fortuitous. You enter through the gift shop, and the museum is arranged as a loop around the tracks, which are enclosed in a giant auditorium like building with a dino-statue and dino-mural behind. The lights are dim, and playing very loudly is a soundtrack to dino-noises. Jackson was notably frightened and had a death grip on the stroller handles. It's good that he was riding on the stroller board, because I don't believe his feet would've been able to carry him.
 
Shortly after we entered the museum, they started a claymation dino-cartoon. The cashier said it was geared toward little ones, so I brought Jackson to see it with him protesting the whole time (I think he was pretty anxious to get out of there!) I told Jackson we could leave if he hated the movie after it started. He refused to get off of the stroller board, but he had to turn and look over his shoulder to see the movie, and by the end, he had stepped off the board to turn around and sit on it. I'm not sure he ever broke contact with the stroller. The movie itself was unexpected. It was premised on the idea of a book report presentation at school, with some scenes written on a chalk board. Here are a couple of pictures from it, that I took as a visual aid to describe the surrealness of the whole adventure.
Seeing the movie broke the ice a little with Jackson, he didn't leave the stroller, but he was a little more excited to see the rest of the small museum. We did walk quickly along the last stretch—a bridge over the tracks that gets pretty close to the dino-statue.  You can see it in the picture (see the man in silhouette in front of the mural).

The park has extensive trails you can walk on. We didn't because the stroller isn't for offroading, and it was also a really hot day. You can make casts of some of the tracks if you bring your own 5 gallon bucket, ¼ cup of vegetable oil, and 10 pounds of plaster. (Apparently they can't sell a kit for this in the gift shop?!) Or you can buy a little bag of dirt with gemstone fragments and/or fossils and sluice for treasures. We went for this. Jackson would sluice all day if I let him. His technique is to load the trays up with mud, run it under the fountain, and then mound even more dirt on it for the next round. I rescued the arrow head and shiny rocks from the sluice, Jack couldn't care less about the treasure, he's all about the dirt and water.

Jonah slept through the whole trip.




Sunday, July 11, 2010

More baby laughter


So we found out Jonah was indeed ticklish the other day.



video

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Today

Accomplished today:
dishes
breakfast lunch and dinner-all eaten by Jack
put Jonah "down" for his naps
homemade chocolate syrup 1/2 gallon
mocha frappacino
planted: 21 tomatoes, 2 eggplants, 31 peppers, basil seeds.
Sewed 9 pair of nursing pads
bathed 1.5 kids (Jason did the other 1/2)
unclogged 1 tub, reassembled, and cleaned
snuggled with husband
watched Toy Story 3 times
published 1 pic to facebook
posted to blog
2 loads of laundry

maybe I've finally figured this 2 kid thing out. More likely got incredibly lucky!

Happy 2 month day, Jonah. Thank you for being so charming and such a cooperative sleeper.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fishing Part Deux


After another afternoon casting about the backyard, Jackson had pretty well mastered accomplished the necessary steps, and Jason took him to the pond.  Here are the pictures of the day.  I wasn't there, so I can't comment much.

Jason loaded Jackson's line up with some heavy fish lures.  No hooks or sinkers in the interest of safety.  His first day out on the water, Jackson could've sunk a hook into anything including his cheek.  Turns out there wasn't much need to worry.  The 2 practice days of casting in the yard were sufficient, and Jack was like an old pro.





Fish on!  Jack didn't have a hook, so Jason really caught this one, but Jack did help real him in.  It's a nice big Northern Pike for his first fish.  Nice Job!





I had to add in this picture.  It's the first time Jackson held Jonah.  He had gotten bored of casting the line in the yard, and wanted to watch me.  I was sitting in the canoe with Jonah, so Jackson offered to hold Jonah while I fished.  By the time Jason got there with the camera, he had changed his mind, but we managed to get a shot.  And yes, we noted the irony of doing two water activities, fishing and canoeing, in the dry yard.