Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Very cool planet video

Check this out. It's very cool, showing the relative sizes of objects in the universe.

Declan's 3 Months Old

He's getting big(ger)!

He's reaching some new milestones, too. He wants to sit up so badly now. He's always doing little baby crunches, and he's happiest when he's sitting in mommy or daddy's lap and can look around. Here his is in his new Bumbo chair. At first, I thought they were stupid, but now I think they're a great thing. The chair supports him all around so he can practice sitting up. The first time, he could only handle it for about 30 seconds. Now he's up to 4-5 minutes at a time in his chair.

He's also getting a lot better at tummy time. I think it helps that he can hold his head up steady when he's on his tummy. We have toys and books in the crib for him to look at while he's doing his tummy time.

We're also starting to figure out a schedule. He doesn't stick to it every day, but often enough we can usually predict what he's going to do. He's up around 6 am for a big bottle, then play time for 30 minutes, and then nap time while I head to work. Daniel takes over, and he eats around 10 and 2. According to Daniel, Declan spends most of the morning whining and fussing unless someone is paying attention to him. I think our son is a little ham.

I get home at 5, and he's usually asleep for an hour. A bottle at 6, followed by some playtime, then bath at 7:30, followed by his big bedtime bottle. We've only had a 50% or less success rate of him sleeping through the night. More often than not, he wakes up between 2 and 4 and wants a couple of ounces. If he doesn't get them, he proceeds to scream bloody murder until he does.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Declan and I worked on a present for Daniel this weekend. Well, I worked, and he posed.

I got some letters that spelled out D-A-D, painted them, and then put them with Declan to take pictures. Poor guy was probably blinded by all the pictures that I took, but I got a few nice ones. Had them printed out a Walmart and put them in a picture frame for Daniel. He also got some chocolate peanut butter ice cream. :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The tomatoes I never knew

Went to a small farmer's market in Nassau Bay this morning. It was hot, and Declan cried after about 4 minutes of being in his car seat, so I didn't spend a lot of time at the market.

We did buy some grass-fed beef (hamburger and a roast), some local organic tomatoes, a ginger cookie, some carrot salsa, some yard eggs from healthy hens with lots of room to roam and play, and some organic lettuce.

So tonight, we had burgers on the grill with our fancy grass-fed beef. Wow. It did taste better. Maybe I was imagining some of it, but I really do think it tasted better than the store bought stuff.

We are seriously considering buying a side of local grass-fed beef, but not until we get a deep freeze, and not until hurricane season is mostly over. I'd hate to lose a thousand dollars of meat and veggies due to a hurricane, and we don't have a generator.

But the most incredible thing was the tomatoes. Now, I'm not a fan of tomatoes. When I was a wee tot, I had a battle of wills with my babysitter over eating a tomato in my vegetable soup. I couldn't leave the table until I ate it. I was still sitting at the table when my mom came to pick me up. My fondness for them hasn't improved a whole lot, but I will eat them cooked. I usually hate them raw.

Well, I sliced one of the local tomatoes up to have on our burgers. It was incredible! It was so yummy that I ate the entire tomato by myself. Raw. I have never, ever done that. I know that store-bought tomatoes are hard and tasteless, but I never knew fresh, local tomatoes could taste so incredible. I'm a convert now. I think I'll go back to the farmer's market next week and buy a bunch of tomatoes and can them for later this year. I don't want to eat store bought tomatoes anymore.

Declan discovers cause and effect - pull toys

I'm experimenting with video on here. Let's see if it works.

Declan discovered that his pull toy on his car seat goes up and down, and he can pull it down, and it goes back up again. Wow!

Just some more miscellaneous pictures

I found a set of baby art cards on Amazon. They're black and white on heavy cardstock, and they show animals and insects. I got a mobile hanger and finally got them hung up over his crib. He loves to stare up at them. I just can't wait to repaint the nursery. Ugh, I hate that ugly red. Waiting until paint goes on sale again.

Here's Declan watching Daddy play on the computer.

His hands are growing, but still so small next to mine.

Feet, too.

My friends at work, Jo and Courtney, brought Declan back a present from their trip to Kennedy Space Center.

Here he is at 10 weeks old. He's about to outgrow his cradle.

Play time with Daddy.

That shirt says it all.

A Day in Declan's Life Through Pictures

I thought I'd document a day in Declan's life. It's a pretty typical day. Actually, I think just about every day is like this, now that it's so hot out. We don't do our mornings in the parks anymore. By 8 am, it's just way too hot to be out for any length of time.

By the way, note how many different outfits he goes through in one day. Yep, that's typical.

Morning. It's my job to get up and get him changed and give him his morning bottle.

Stretchy time:

Then time for the breakfast bottle while lying in the Boppy pillow.

Then he's awake for 30-60 minutes and in a good mood. Usually. This morning, it was playtime on the playmat, batting at his rattle-y toys. This one is Zed the Camel. So named by Carolyn when she came to visit.

After an hour or so, he gets whiny and cranky, so it's nap time. Declan pretty much naps only in his swing right now. Thank goodness for that swing. It's a lifesaver.

At this point, I go to work, and it's up to Daniel to take care of him until I'm done for the day. So after his nap. Declan's hungry again. Daniel takes the opportunity to catch up on the previous night's Daily Show and Colbert Report. Declan always has this dazed look when he's getting burped.

Next...you guessed it. Nap time in the swing again.

After Declan wakes up late afternoon, he and Daddy play around. Today it was going for a horse-ride around the house. I think that's the first time he's ridden on Daddy's shoulders.

He's cranky again, so we'll try another nap. This time, we'll see if he can nap in his crib.

Nope, he's not happy. I'm not sure what led to this sequence of pictures, but it's funny.

Normally Declan gets his bath at 7:30, but he just wasn't tired tonight. I needed a walk to help my back feel better, so we loaded him in the stroller to take a walk at 8pm, when it was marginally cooler. We have those Off clip-ons, and they actually seem to work pretty well. Little guy goes about as naked as we can manage for the walk.

Then it's bath time:

And bed time. First a new onesie:

And then swaddled. That's the only way he sleeps. I hope he grows out of it soon, but for now, every time he waves his arms around, he wakes himself up.

Ah. Now Mom can have a glass of wine and put her feet up. Nope, no pictures of that.

Good night, little guy.

That was a long week

It was my first full-time week back at work, and it was both kinda long. Daniel said it was even longer for him.

I have a great teleworking schedule. I had originally set it up because I planned to breastfeed, and I didn't want to have to pump at work all the time, every day of the week. Unfortunately, Declan had other plans and refused to breastfeed. So we're bottle feeding now, but I'm still doing the teleworking. It helps me a lot because I can spend an extra half hour at home in the morning, and that's just when he is finishing his bottle and going back to bed for a nap. So Daniel can sleep for another hour or two while I'm working and Declan's napping. It's good for Daniel since he's the one who gets up in the middle of the night to feed or soothe him.

There are some downsides of working at home though:
1) People think you are goofing off. I admit, the temptation is stronger, but I actually work more at home because I feel guilty if I don't get a lot done. In the office, I think I spend more time talking to people and being less productive.
2) It's harder to just catch up with someone. You can send an email or voicemail, and it's not bad, but sometimes, you just want to ask someone a quick question and show them something.
3) The phones for meetings aren't very good. I had a couple of meetings via phone, and I couldn't hear everyone in the room because they were sitting too far from the room.
4) I hear the baby crying even with the door closed and the fan on. It is distracting.
5) I want to go play with the baby. But I content myself with peeking in on him when I get a drink or go to the bathroom. Sometimes his dad brings him in to say hi when he's in a good mood.
6) I need a better office chair. Here's my office set up:

The good things:
1) I save an hour a day in commuting time.
2) I don't have to dress up every day, which is good considering I still don't fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes.
3) I get to take peeks at my baby during the day. When I'm at work, I don't call home much because I never know if it's a bad time to call or not. And there's no video when I call home.
4) No one taking up all my time at work. That happens quite a lot, just in misc hallway convos and such.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Maybe making progress on sleeping through the night

Declan was a bottomless pit last night. He ate 11 ounces before bedtime, when he normally eats 4-6 ounces at a feeding. I hoped he would sleep straight through, but apparently not. He got up at 2 am and Daniel fed him 2 more ounces. He woke again at 4:30 am, but put himself back to sleep. That's a major improvement! It's the first time he's soothed himself back to sleep at night without getting fed.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Things I need to do

Take Declan to the pool and get him used to swimming.
Go check out a couple of local farmer's markets this Saturday.
Make some soft blocks for Declan as toys.
Make a baby book of animal silhouettes.
Find time to exercise.
Finish arranging our sitting room.
Move the table to the playroom and get rid of this big, old TV.

Long days and crying babies

I don't know what got into Declan last night. Maybe I shouldn't have given him that bottle at 11 pm, when he was sleeping. He woke up at 3:30 and wanted to be fed, but he didn't eat very much. Then I got him up at 6 am, since we're trying to get him on a schedule that's compatible with my work. But he would'nt eat very much, and he would not go back to sleep. I know he was tired, because he was yawning and rubbing his eyes. But when I put him in his swing, the place he loves to nap, he started crying really loudly. We went back and forth from the changing table, to the bottle, to the swing, to walking around. Nothing worked. He cried for an hour and a half, non-stop. Finally, he woke Daniel up, and I had to go to work. So I got to escape, while Daniel took care of him. He said it took a long time for Declan to settle down and go to sleep.

Then all day, he hasn't slept much and he hasn't eaten much. Plus he's been spitting up much, much more than normal. Argh, why are babies so confusing?!

At work today, everyone seemed to assume that I'd be crying about leaving the baby at home. Not this morning. :) Besides, I know he's in good hands.


I got ambitious last night and made lasagna from Tyler Florence's recipe. It was good, but not great lasagna. I think our consensus was less ricotta, more sauce, and more saucy sauce. It was too dry, overall. And a little more mozzarella. But it was good enough that we kept it for leftovers.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Big days for Michelle and Declan. Daniel, too.

Monday was my first day back at work after my maternity leave. I'm only working half days this week, to ease myself back into it. Declan didn't cooperate Sunday night; he woke up at 4:30 am screaming. I forget why. Daniel said it had something to do with giving him water, then he got wet, or got his swaddle blanket wet, or something. I pulled the pillow over my head, but sleeping was out of the question. Anyway, I got him up again at 6 for a bottle, and by 7, he was back in his swing, napping away.

The first thing I had to do was reset all my passwords. That done, it was on to email, voicemail, and regular mail. Only 3 voice mails, and only 700 emails. Not bad for being out 2 months. I spent all morning on my email, and by the time I left at noon, I had it down to 59 emails. Pretty darn good, I think. Of course, I did it by being ruthless about old emails that I'd been hanging on to. I figured, if I hadn't fixed it after 4-5 months and the person hadn't called me back, I could delete it.

And of course, I had to show off pictures of Declan to all my office coworkers and talk to them about how he was doing.

Declan's big accomplishment yesterday was grabbing his pull toy and pulling it down, then letting it spring back up, then pulling it down again. I think he might have started figuring out cause and effect. He played with that toy for at least 10 minutes. It was very cute.

And Daniel's big day consisted of taking care of Declan all morning. Plus he did laundry!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Baby in a bar

Thursday night I met up with an old friend of mine from Virginia. She traveled to Houston for work, and we got to meet up for dinner. We ended up going to Boondoggles, a local pub. I brought Declan so Kristen could see him. I was a little worried that we would cry and be upset, and he was. The noise in the pub upset him at first, then he calmed down. Turned out the pub was a great place to go with a screaming baby. It was so loud, no one could hear him scream except me and Kristen, and he was yelling for all he was worth for a while. Only downside is that there's no good place to change a diaper in the pub. Guess they don't expect babies in there very much.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Overhaulin' and Hair Stylin'

Just wanted to throw up a couple of pictures from last week.

Here's Daniel, finding a convenient new way to carry Declan through the house.

And I had fun styling Declan's hair the other day. I think punk rock agrees with him.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Declan is two months old!

Wow, two whole months, and we haven't done anything horrible to our child. He's survived, and we haven't dropped him or anything. Well, he did hit his head on the floor one day, but he only cried for a couple of minutes. Since then, we've put his play mat on a folded up blanket for more padding.

Just in the last few days, he's started batting at his soft toy on the play mat. I think he's starting to make the connection that he can make it move or even grab it on occasion.

Daniel and I think Declan may be left-handed. He bats at his toy with his left hand, and he sucks on his left hand. We'll see. His baby acne is clearing up, and he's starting to look like the typical cute baby you see in commercials. We finally gave him some infant Tylenol the last couple days, and his fussiness has almost disappeared. He's content to lay on his play mat and bat at his toy, or to coo back and forth with Daniel and me for 20-30 minutes. Or maybe he's just finally getting some good naps in. We have been pretty busy the last couple weeks, and it may have prevented him from getting the sleep he needed during the day.

Want to see some cute baby pics?

It's starting to get more fun to play with him. He grins and coos back at us.

It's not all grins and giggles, though. Just three seconds earlier, he was beaming and squirming, then boom, he wants his bottle, and he lets you know it. Loudly.

Thoughts on the futility of home baking

While Carolyn was here, I picked up a couple pounds of fresh cherries. I got more than I would eat, so I decide to bake something with them. I ended up making a cherry pie. I pitted all the cherries, rolled out a double pie crust, followed the directions in my Betty Crocker cookbook for a cherry pie, and baked the most perfect looking pie I think I've ever made. It was perfectly golden brown and flaky. It looked great until I cut into it. Then it was soupy, the cherries hadn't softened completely, and worst of all, there were lumps of granulated sugar in the cherry juice.

Take another favorite of mine: brownies. I was at Target the other day, and they were selling 6 mini brownie bites for $0.99.

Consider that it would cost me at least that much to purchase ingredients to make brownies, plus the time to bake them. I could pick up a can of cherry pie filing for a couple bucks and make my own pie crust. Or if I didn't want to do any work at all, I could buy a cherry pie already made for about $8-9, and it cost me over $13 for the fresh cherries.

So I have to ask myself sometimes, why would I bother baking anymore? It almost doesn't even seem worth it. The only reason would be to make something that the store doesn't, some family recipe passed down through the years.

And why is it that bad-for-you calories have to cost so much less than good-for-you calories? Brownies for 99 cents versus a dollar fifty for an organic apple. Something is very wrong with this picture.

Oh, and the cherry pie? I had one slice and threw the rest out. It wasn't even worth saving just the cherries out of it.

Bye Carolyn, and Thanks for All the Help

It was very nice to have my friend, Carolyn, visit for a long weekend. Unfortunately, we took all the pictures with her camera and I didn't have a chance to get the pictures off of it before she had to leave. So Carolyn, send me your pictures!

I think she managed to visit while Declan was at his absolutely fussiest he's been. I think his vaccinations last week made him crabby for days. We finally gave him some infant Tylenol and ever since then, he's been in a much better mood.

We went to Galveston and ate at Cafe Michael Burgers, a local eatery that made really good burgers. We ate on the second floor porch overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Then we drove to the west end of the island to see how much had been rebuilt since Ike and stopped at a couple of the pocket beaches. Didn't put my toes in the water though. There were a bunch of jellies washed up on shore.

Carolyn was a great help while she was here. It was nice to have someone to talk to like we used to when I lived in Virginia. I'm glad she came down, and I think it was good for her, too.