Thursday, October 29, 2009

2009 Memory Walk

My cousin Lisa, along with her husband Eric and her daughter Victoria, have been forming a team to do the Memory Walk for the Alzheimer's Association in honor of Grams. This year we joined their team and walked to fight Alzheimer's and remember Grams. The walk was held in Pawtucket, RI at Slater Memorial Park. We thought we were going to get rained out, but we ended up with a nice, if a little overcast, day.

We met up with Lisa, Eric, Victoria and Eric's girlfriend Liza. Eric had a test that day so he couldn't join us - but he was totally there in spirit. Lily had a fabulous time. She rode in the stroller a bit, but spent most of the 3 miles walking and running with her big cousin Victoria. Lily LOVES Victoria. Quinn had a nice time too. He spent the first half of the walk riding with me in the Ergo - then I started getting tired and transitioned him to the stroller for the end.

Our team, Reggie's Runners, raised over $800 for the fight against Alzheimer's Disease. A HUGE thank you to everyone who supported us. Your donations and generosity really meant a lot to us. We love you Grams!

Liza and Quinn

Lily and Victoria

Reggie's Runners in Action

Quinn Hanging with the Girls

Team Photo

Quinn: Take THAT Alzheimer's Disease!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The New Albion Park

One of the many things I love about Somerville is the city's commitment to making it a nice place to live for families. One way in which they do that is by keeping up wit the many many parks. When we moved in there were two really nice toddler parks within walking distance of us and one run-down sketchy one. The sketchy one is on the next street over, Albion street. It had old, falling-down climbing structures and had become a place more suitable for scoring some weekend fun and not so full of frolicking toddlers.

Well this spring the city started renovating the park. There were neighborhood planning meetings and design proposals. Lots of feedback was given and heard - and the results are AWESOME. We are so excited about this really cool new park right in our neighborhood. Now it's not only the closest park to us - it's also the coolest. There are two neat new climbing structures - one with rock climbing holds - a big splash pad area, a hill for rolling, stone bleacher-type steps for sitting, a community garden area, a cool see-saw, swings....

It just opened up a few weeks ago, and thanks to some nice fall weather we've been there a number of times. Gordon brought his camera on one of the trips and got some photos. The pictures are more of Lily though - so they don't do the park justice. We'll get more of the park itself I'm sure - we plan to spend a lot of time there!

Rope climby-thing in toddler section

the design reminds me of erector sets

hanging on the older kids gym

look! they have swings too!

and a great hill for rolling

and rolling and rolling

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Our Little Engineer

A while ago Lily came into the possession of a little flashlight that a friend's company was giving away as SWAG at a career fair. It's this little thing that fits in your palm and you can "charge" it up by pushing a little lever to get light. Anyway she played with it and then one day it disappeared into my diaper bag never to be seen again.

Until she was put in time-out in a chair right next to the diaper bag. I should have become suspicious when she suddenly stopped complaining. Always the opportunist, she had decided to use the time-out as a chance to peruse the contents of the bag and found the flashlight. It quickly became a "new" favorite toy for the day and followed us to dim sum with Ma Ma and Yeh Yeh.

On the way back into the house later that afternoon the flashlight fell - and being SWAG -broke into a number of pieces. She was pretty bummed, but kept saying that she wanted to fix it. Gordon explained that it couldn't be fixed (plastic seams had come apart and couldn't be snapped back together). She responded with "well, I'll just try very very hard then".

So not wanting to deter her Gordon laid out all the pieces on our dining room table and let her have it. Then he took pictures. And wow - she got really into it. The flashlight was of course never fixed - but Lily had a great time figuring out how it went together and trying "very very hard". We may have to keep the screwdrivers locked safely away for many years or risk coming home one day to find our computers in pieces in the living room. (because, yeah, we leave Lily home alone with sharp pointy objects regularly)

Taking Stock

Careful Examination

Please, no distractions!

Ah! There's the Do-hicky!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pumpkins 2009

We had bad luck with local farms this year. In August we tried to go blueberry picking and failed. We got there only to find out that there were no blueberries to pick. Then we gave Wilson Farms a try recently on a weekday looking for a pumpkin patch. It's possible we didn't look hard enough, but all we really found was a big old farm stand. Then last weekend we went out to Connor's Farm for some apple picking. Well we got there only to find out that the apples were totally gone. I think it had something to do with the crazy corn maze they got all this publicity for this year. And no, we were lame and didn't do the maze. However we did hang around the farm awhile and got the necessary "pumpkins and kids" pictures. And really, that's all I care about. There's just something about the awesome colors that is irresistible- oh yeah and the cute kids help too!





Group shots


We also managed to do a little raspberry picking. We didn't get much (a whole 88 cents worth!) - but Lily had fun with it and was really good at finding the "good" berries on the largely picked over bushes. She even did a quality inspection on the ones I had picked and rejected a couple telling me "Mommy, these are NOT good".

Monday, October 12, 2009


While my Dad was in the hospital and rehab he went through a phase in which he kept referring to Quinn as "Oblio" - yeah the kid from that movie The Point I mentioned a while back. It all started when I made some comment about liking Dad's new shaved head look. He went on to say that he looked like Quinn and that they both looked like Oblio - the round-headed kid in the Land of Point. From then on he'd routinely ask how "Oblio" was doing. It drove my Mom a little crazy, but I kind of liked it. I loved that Dad could remember details from the Point so well -and it was something special that he and I had shared when I was little. Anyway, since then I've been wanting to get a picture of the two bald guys together and it looks like Gordon snapped a perfect one this past weekend.


I also very much owe everyone an update on my Dad - I apologize for just sort of dropping that. He's at home now - has been for just over 2 weeks. We've been down there twice to visit. This last weekend we helped them set up my brother's Wii and Wii Fit to help Dad out with some balance games. He's doing well, but is still recovering. Mom is on leave so she can stay with him. I guess I haven't written about it because I'm not really sure what to say. He's SOOO much better than he was - but he still has a way to go to get back to "himself". So now we are "waiting and seeing", but in the meantime enjoying spending time with him again.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Kids in Action

I've always been .. umm, well a *little* behind the times when it comes to technology. I'm not sure why. For example, I just recently decided it's probably okay to deposit checks in ATM machines. As a result I've been way behind the "take video of your kids" craze. I've always said that I just didn't see the big deal about video -who's going to sit around and watch these little clips someday? Yeah - I know - it's a weird hangup. Anyway, I've inexplicably decided that I no longer feel that way - Video! It's fun! All the kids are doing it! So I've pulled out our little canon Elph and have started trying to get videos here and there. I think I'm seeing a Flip (is that what they're called?) in our future.

First - here's Lily. I don't know where she came up with this song or what she's talking about really. But it was pretty funny when she started dancing around like this out of nowhere the other night.

It's Very Very True

And then yesterday, I took one of Quinn to celebrate his 5-month birthday and to show off his pseudo-sitting ability and his destructive skills. I got carried away with the "taking of the video" part and forgot that he can't actually sit unassisted yet. Warning: not for the faint of heart. Also Warning: if the Blair Witch Project gave you motion sickness don't watch. I am an amateur and rotated the camera halfway through.

Q the Destroyer
Being a Second Child Sucks

P.S. He's fine - really.
P.P.S. I promise not to upload a zillion boring videos all the time - really.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Quinn: 5 Months

OK I have to admit it - turns out I'm not so much a "wee little baby person". I mean babies are cuddly and I am totally in love with that moment when I first hold my babies, but the day to day reality of infants - eh. I do like the cuddling and the sleeping on me and the cute little baby coos. But I'm not so much a fan of the constant demanding and neediness without a ton of personality. I'm just not one of those people who can sit around holding a baby for hours and feel totally awesome about it the whole time.

So now that Q is five months old he is capturing my heart in new ways every day. Each day he becomes less of an infant and more of a baby, rocketing towards individuality, becoming more and more QUINN. It's possible his infancy has been higher maintenance than his sister's. It's also possible that I've just forgotten what it was like when Lily was this age and now I have less to work with in the resource department. It's likely that my sheer exhaustion is due to some combination of those two things. But let me tell you -this boy is wrapping me around his finger.

He has a smile that can melt a room - I've seen him do it. When he smiles, his entire face lights up. Then he'll shyly duck his head and look away, as if he's so happy to see you he just can't stand it. I've had some very frustrating mornings (days!) trying to get him to take a nap or just hang out in some happy fun-time place (activity mat/bouncy chair/exersaucer) for a few minutes while I shower/email/groom/eat. But then he'll smile at me -that 500 watt smile - and my frustration just evaporates. Because - damn is he cute or what?

This month has been a pretty big one for Q - he's had his first taste of rice cereal and oatmeal, his first swing at the park and his first jogging outing with Daddy. He's mastered the art of rolling over onto his belly. He's now working hard at sitting up on his own. He's mastered laughing, discovered his hands and feet, learned to grab and hold things and figured out how to jam everything and anything into his mouth. He's learned how to knock over blocks and destroy towers. He's graduated from the mei tai to the Ergo. He has not yet figured out how to keep his food down upon ingesting it. He still thinks I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread.

King of the Activity Mat

Swinging with Jeh Jeh

Photo Shoot with Daddy

Exersaucer Smiles

Riding in the Ergo

Tolerating the Bumbo
(neither of our kids have been a fan!)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Not Naptime

I've mentioned before that Quinn loves to be held - a lot. And for the first three months I was down with that - he's a baby! an infant! you can't spoil a baby! And I still believe all that. But now - he's almost 5 months and it's feeling like we've transitioned from "I need to be held" to "really, Mom, I'd prefer to be held and I know I can make you do it if I really try".

Along with the desire to be in Mom's arms has come a desire to NOT be sleeping alone in a crib during the day. At first it was really only a problem with napping. His night sleep had been pretty okay. He started going 6-8 hours at a time and went to bed with just a little rocking/singing. But we always put him down asleep. The same tactic did NOT work so well for naps. We could get him to sleep, but then after 20-40 minutes he'd wake up and that was that. There was no more sleeping.

I have memories of Lily being such an easy, great napper - so when I started trying to put Q down for regular naps a la the Weissbluth schedule and it just didn't work I was dismayed (to put it lightly). Of course, I was also torn since it's not like the 3rd and 4th months of Q's life were all that easy/consistent. Our schedule was so crazy with hospitals and all that. Of course he learned to just grab a cat nap whenever he could while riding in the mei tai.

But once we got back to "normal life" a bit and Q hit 4 months and was headed to 5 it became apparent that he probably wouldn't just miraculously start napping one day. After a particularly frustrating day of trying to get him to sleep I went back and looked at my old g-chats when Lily was the same age. Turns out that she wasn't quite the miracle sleeper I remembered. She did something similar - a number of 30 minute naps. So that helped a little with my state of mind. However, we did have evidence that Lily *could* fall asleep on her own:

Quinn, on the other hand has NEVER just passed out while playing.

In the meantime his night sleep started to deteriorate a little as well. He would still do long periods of sleep, but putting him down became much harder. The time it took to rock him to sleep increased. There were nights when he'd wake in the middle of the night and stay awake for awhile after eating. Sometimes as long as 2 hours. We got tired and cranky - all of us - including Quinn. Maybe it's just because we have fewer resources with two kids, but sleep has definitely seemed a little harder to come by this time around.

So of course I've been googling furiously, looking for help/advice/encouragement anything. It does seem like short, frequent naps is not all that unusual for a 4-5 month old. So I am holding out hope that his naps still will consolidate into something more regular. I would love to start working from home in the next few weeks, but can't really do that until I know I'll get at least an hour or so here and there to myself. In the meantime I've started handling day time naps by being a little more "zen" about it. Sometimes he snoozes for 30 minutes in his crib, sometimes he grabs a nap in the stroller and usually his afternoon nap is in the ergo while I watch TV or snooze a little myself.

We did, however, decide it was time to do something about the going to bed bit. By the end of the day Q would sometimes be quite cranky from not sleeping enough. So although bedtime started as a pretty easy stint in the rocking chair until asleep, it morphed into something far more complicated. First we'd rock and rock and rock. He'd finally fall asleep. Then we'd sneak into the room and put his down as LIGHTLY as possible - leaving arms underneath him until we were sure he wasn't wake and then SLOWLY extracting ourselves. Sometimes this worked. A lot of times he would start to cry the minute any part of him hit the mattress. So then we'd pick him back up and start all over again. Gordon compared it to starting a lawn mower - it often wouldn't take on the first try.

Tuesday I had a particularly bad day with it all and decided we had to do something. So that night we started with sleep training. We did some version of the Ferber deal with "pick up/put down". I found this babycenter sleep post and it was really helpful. We started Tuesday night. He cried for about 50 minutes - including three check-ins by us. It stunk, but he eventually rolled over onto his tummy and went to sleep. The rest of that night was pretty good too. He woke up to eat, but when back to sleep pretty easily on his own each time. Wednesday night was much the same. Although we did have the added drama that night of Lily getting out of her bed and WAKING HIM UP ON PURPOSE after he had finally fallen asleep. Thursday night the crying period before sleep was down to only 30 minutes and tonight - there was hardly any crying at all. In fact he went down without any crying, but then after about 15 minutes cried for maybe ten minutes. That was well over an hour ago.

It's always a difficult decision - what to do about the sleep thing. I was worried that maybe he's just too young, its too soon etc. But on the other hand I do believe that good sleep habits are so important - both for parents AND the kids. Tonight's bedtime was so great that I'm feeling better about it again. Let's hope this pattern continues going forward and the eventually he works out the nap thing too. Fingers crossed! One positive side note of all of this is that we used the opportunity to also ditch the pacifier at night. You know, so we could avoid dealing with that again!

Who Me? Trouble? Nah!