Blog Archive

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Weekends Are Too Short!

Our weekend was fabulous...but way, way too short.

Dave was here on Friday to take care of Eddie while I was at school. He showed our "manny" (a nice student named Jacob) how to take care of Eddie and let them hang out for an hour to get to know each other.

The weather was AMAZING on Saturday so we got up early and let Eddie have his morning nap in the stroller while we walked the dogs downtown. We ate breakfast at Bernardo's, then hung out with some other dog owners at the Farmers Market (border collie owners have a tendency to find each other). Then we ran some errands. My favorite part was stopping at a new mom-and-pop cafe for a treat. There is a proper changing table in the bathroom and no one minds when I nurse Eddie there--two things I have grown to love in an eatery. (Dave liked it because Office Space was playing on the TV behind me.)When we got back home we all worked outside in the fresh air. Eddie spent more than an hour happily bouncing in his jumperoo seat on the patio while I weeded the little yard. Then he spent another hour in the backpack while I weeded and raked leaves in the front yard. Eventually he fell I just set the pack on the porch, threw a blanket on him, and kept on working.We ended the day with our friends, John and Jessica, coming over to make s'mores around the fire pit. Eddie was asleep by that point so it was nice to have some adult time. =) Not that I really feel like much of an adult. More like a kid with a kid...but you know.

Today was fun because Dave and I got to go on a DATE! When I heard that my 67 year old mother saw Avatar last week I decided that I really had to see it. I'm sooooooooooooo glad that I did. It was really, really, really good. I liked the love story part, all the current events innuendos, and the special effects (we looked stunning in our 3D glasses). I told Dave we might have to buy it when it comes out on DVD...and we'll also have to buy a bigger/nicer TV on which to watch it. =)

Last week I started brushing Eddie's gums with his baby gum stimulator brush that came in his hygiene kit. Dave got such a kick out of watching Eddie munch on the brush after I was done poking around his mouth. His bedtime routine is getting longer and longer but at least it is firm: around 8:10-8:20pm he has a bath in the kitchen, he gets dried off in the living room, dressed in his jammies, gums brushed, then we try to read a cloth book in the rocking chair (usually doesn't work because by this time he's super tired and fussy), then he nurses, and finally (while still awake) he goes down in the crib. Usually he fusses for a few minutes but he's getting better.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Think Tank

Check out the HUGE fluorescent bulb we bought at Home Depot for one of my dad's photography lights. Isn't that crazy?I couldn't resist this picture...

If you know our dogs at all, you know that the bulbs are properly placed. Our boy Potatoes isn't the brightest bulb on the chandelier, if you know what I mean. But we sure do love him. Ruby, on the other hand, is a border collie/terrier mix so you know she's always thinking.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Party of 3...And Yes We'll Need a High Chair

Wooo! Eddie can sit all by himself now!

For the last week or so he's been able to sit alone as long as he was slumped forward. And yesterday while we played with Heidi he did a lot of sitting...and a lot of flopping over to the side, which seemed to take him by surprise. Today while he was at Cassie's house he began sitting for long periods of time WITHOUT flopping over. She sent me a picture of him happily playing and sitting. He and I spent our pre-bath play time in the living room tonight where he showed off his new skill.I know I'll miss having him sit on my lap all the time...but this milestone is great. It means that he can sit in his OWN chair at restaurants now so I'll actually get to eat my food with both hands. Right now I usually hold him or nurse him until our food comes, then try to balance him and eat at the same time. Meanwhile Dave eats his food quickly so he can take Eddie so I can eat. Whew.

It is better at home because we have the Bumbo seat and I make him in it at the table whenever we eat. Well, whenever we eat and he's be honest we prefer to eat in front of the TV to eat but no one needs to tell Eddie that. We want him to grow up understanding that family meals happen around the dining room table.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Red Soup

For whatever reason, I had a lot of red colored ingredients in my fridge that needed using-up this weekend. So I made Red Soup (my own invention).

Red Soup
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 or 3 cups chopped Swiss chard stalks
  • 3 cups cooked red kidney beans
  • 1 quart diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, undrained
  • 4 cups beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 8-10 cups coarsely chopped Swiss chard leaves
  • 3/4-1 cup Goya cilantro base (or just puree one bunch of cilantro (stems and all) with green chilies, garlic, and onion to make a paste)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp whole leaf thyme (1/4 tsp ground thyme)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp chili flakes (or less if you don't like spicy food)
  1. Pull out a shiny red pot.
  2. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and saute onions. Cook until onions are soft, 5 minutes.
  3. Add chard stalks and cook another 5 minutes.
  4. Add garlic then add red bell pepper and cook another 5 minutes.
  5. Pour in tomatoes, corn, beef broth, cilantro base, and other seasonings.
  6. Then add chard leaves and quinoa. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 15 minutes to cook down the leaves and grain.
  7. Make sure you get Eddie's approval.
  8. Add cooked beans and let simmer 5 minutes to heat beans.
  9. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with cheese.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

...Remember that book? I always loved it because my nickname growing up was "Mouse." Plus, I can totally relate to that mouse's antics.

This weekend was a perfect example:

If Eddie goes down for a nap, Julie will want to rush to clean the bathrooms while he's sleeping. Not knowing how long she'll have before he wakes up, she'll rush to wipe down the sink, wipe the mirrors, and scrub the toilet.

And if you give Julie a babysitter after he's awake, she'll decide to take advantage of her new-found freedom from playing with and holding the baby to deep clean the bathrooms. (The babysitter was Dave.) She'll scrub the sinks with Soft Scrub, scour the caulking around the bottom of the toilet, wipe down the baseboards, sweep AND mop the bathroom floors.

And since she has the mop bucket out, she'll decide to mop ALL the floors in the WHOLE house. So she'll remove all the little rugs by the doors and toss them into the washer. Then she'll vacuum the area and hallway rugs. She'll even machine wash the rubber no-slide rubber mats under the hallway runner carpets while she mops.

Then she'll decide the house stinks too much of Pinesol and Lysol so she'll decide to cook up a storm to get rid of the cleanser smell. So she'll make a huge pot of soup and a double batch of chocolate chip cookies.

And since by this time Eddie has gone down for a second nap and the cookies are in the oven, she'll decide to rearrange the living room area rug (so the babies have more carpeted area to play on). And Dave can help since he's not holding Eddie anymore.

And now she needs to go to bed because all that cleaning and cooking and furniture moving has wiped her OUT!

Good night! We had a great weekend!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Easiest Way to Wash Cloth Diapers at Home

For the first three weeks of Eddie's life we used disposable diapers and wipes. Partly it was for my sanity during the recovery--I wanted life to be as easy as possible while we adjusted to living with no sleep and while I physically recovered.

But mostly it was because the cloth diapers were so big that they covered his belly button, rubbed the scab, and made it bleed. So we waited until it healed.Before he was born I compared the cost of using cloth diapers (with a service or laundering them myself at home) to using disposables. The local diaper service charges about $20/week, plus you have to buy the waterproof covers yourself. The cheapest disposables available are from Costco. A box of about 200 costs about $30--so a box will last you about three weeks, depending on how often you change the baby and how often he soils diapers.

BUT if you own your own supply of cloth diapers and covers and launder them yourself you can save tons of money. Especially if you save them for your next baby. (From all my research on cloth diapers, it sounds like you should be able to diaper two babies and maybe three with one set of diapers before they wear out.)

We have 12 covers ($14 each) and 24 cloth diapers in each size (~$60 worth) and we have two sizes, which should last us until Eddie's at least 1.5-2 years old. So that's only $456 and we can use them again and again and again. The cost of the soap, Oxyclean, water, and electricity is practically nothing (especially when we use the clothesline). For the same cost you'd get about 15 boxes of Costco disposables...or about 45 weeks' worth.

Of course, that means we have to deal with cleaning them ourselves...and that means dealing with poop. Eek! But really, it is just poop. And poop is really just processed food, right?

Eddie's poop doesn't really gross me out--at this point he is exclusively breastfed so his poop smells like sour milk. But it'll be a whole 'nuther story when he starts eating solids...

So here's our system for washing cloth diapers and wipes. We have a front loading "h-e" washing machine (high efficiency).

At the changing table:
  • Our diaper pail is a Simple Human garbage can with a Bummis waterproof diaper pail bag inside of it instead of a garbage bag. These garbage cans are completely odor proof (and seem to be dog proof, too) when closed. We have two diaper pail bags so we can use one while the other is being washed.
  • Wet diapers are thrown directly into the pail.
  • Wet covers (just pee, no poop) are usually hung up on the towel rod to dry to use again later. After a few times of this they stink too much so we toss them into the pail.
  • Poopy diapers and poopy covers are sprayed with Bac Out, an enzyme solution that keeps the odor down, then they are tossed into the pail. I make sure to fasten the Velcro tabs on the wash tabs before putting the covers in the pail. Otherwise all the covers will attach together in the washer.
  • For older babies with solid poop, just shake the poop into the toilet (assuming your diaper station is in the bathroom like ours is). Or set it aside while diapering the baby and then use toilet paper to pick off the chunks of poop (lovely image, I know) and toss them into the toilet. Then spray the Bac Out onto the skid marks. (Gross!)
To wash the diapers (3 steps):
  • We pull the entire diaper pail bag out of the garbage can and take it into the garage.
  • To load the diapers we empty the bag into the washer by putting the open end of the bag into the washer. We push the contents into the washer by pushing on the bottom of the diaper bag--essentially turning the bag inside-out:
  1. Diapers are washed in a cold water wash without any soap (we use the "heavy" wash option but "normal" works, too).
  2. Diapers are then washed in a hot water wash with regular detergent and a big scoop of Oxyclean. We don't bother with fancy baby detergent--we use Costco's "free and clear" (no scent or dye) liquid detergent. I've also used the Costco powdered stuff and it works fine, too. I would NOT use scented detergent because I've found that it causes the pee stink to stay on the washed diapers (probably because the perfumy chemicals bind whatever is in the urine that smells bad). The Oxyclean is less harsh on the diaper fibers than bleach is and the bleach residue can be worse on a baby's skin.
  3. When they are done washing we take out all the covers and the diaper bag and hang them to dry on a drying rack or on the clothesline. In the house they dry in about an hour. The diapers and the cloth wipes go in the dryer for 60-75 minutes on high. DO NOT use fabric softener or drier sheets--these work by coating fabric with chemicals and will reduce absorbancy of the diapers. Besides, you don't want to have chemicals on your baby's tush.
Sometimes the yellow poop stains the diapers but I don't worry about it. The Oxyclean gets most of the yellow out and they smell clean.

I REALLY prefer the front-loading machine to the top-loading ones--you have to manually shake out the diapers as you add them to the top-loading machines. If you don't then sometimes they stay crumpled up and don't get washed. (Ew.) The front-loading ones wash by "tumbling" so the diapers uncrumple automatically--this means that you can shove all the diapers into the machine using the bag and not worry about it. You don't have to touch the dirty diapers at all because you can use the outside of the diaper sack to shove them into the machine.

We've been doing this now for about 5 months and it has been great. We always have some disposable diapers and wipes on hand for traveling out of state but use cloth the rest of the time. When we go up to Gualala or to Livermore we use cloth and just plan on washing diapers while we're there.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gualala Trip with Friends

The second weekend of January we went up to Gualala to hang out with some friends. Dyani and her fiance, Brice, had some time off from their residency jobs and wanted to explore Northern California (Brice is from France, has lived on the East Coast and is getting to know our coast now that they live here). Edward and his friend, Crystal, also came along. It was a super fun but relaxing weekend!

Because Dave works in Gualala during the week but has to watch Eddie all day, he had to drive down to Davis on Thursday and drive all the way back to Gualala the very next day. Whew.

My Fridays in insane--classes, seminars, and meetings solid from about 10am-5:15pm. Remembering to eat, drink plenty of water, and pump my milk between all of it is challenging. While I was on campus all day, Dave drove up to Gualala with Eddie and the dogs--we try to travel only during the day so we don't mess up Eddie's nighttime schedule (bath at 8:15pm-ish, jammies, a book or tummy time if he's not too fussy/tired, nursing, then to bed). So I drove up alone when I was done on campus.

When I got there, everyone was hanging out in the kitchen with my father-in-law. I bathed Eddie in the sink while everyone watched (who can resist a darling naked baby splashing in the tub?). I tried to put him to bed around 9pm like usual but he wouldn't have it. I don't know if it was because he was in the Pack-n-Play (he's used to his crib now) or the excitement of the day. But it took me a whole hour to get him to sleep! (Then when he woke up he wouldn't go back to sleep in the Pack-n-Play, even after crying for 20 into our bed he went.)

After a pancake breakfast made by Dave on Saturday, we all piled into our minivan and headed up to the airport. We wanted to show Brice the bee hives and fruit tree orchard since his family is into that type of thing. Then we went on a tour of the Point Arena Lighthouse.That night for dinner we had abalone, pesto pasta, salad, and squash casserole. Many of the ingredients were grown by us or caught in the ocean in Gualala. I prepared two whole abalone (we totally didn't need that much for only 7 adults) and got a big blister on my finger from tenderizing all of it. After dinner everyone but me played card games. It was a great weekend and in the evenings we got to just sit around. Soooooooooo nice!Eddie was super spoiled the entire trip, with lots of folks to play with him. Somehow I didn't end up with any pictures of Dyani or Brice. Dyani was nice enough to even change one of Eddie's diapers while I made breakfast on Sunday.

Sunday morning came too quickly and we all had to leave to get back to real life.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What a Jerk!

The other night I decided to make dinner using only ingredients I had on hand (which meant no garlic because I was out). Considering the size of my pantry this wasn't a problem...but I did want to use a butternut squash, beans, and brown rice. So I made Jerk Chicken Curry, to which I added kidney beans, squash, and Swiss chard stems.

The last time we were up in Gualala (post coming soon!) we picked a huge amount of chard because three other people were going to take some home with them. But they all forgot to grab their bags of it out of the fridge before they departed so Dave and I now have TONS of it. I have been trying to figure out what to do with all of it before it goes bad. And what to do with all those beautifully colored stems? Most recipes say to remove them before cooking but I don't want to waste perfectly delicious and beautiful veggies like that, especially in winter. Those color compounds in the chard stems must be good for you. So I chopped them up like you do with celery and into the pan they went!

That's the great thing about curries--you can add pretty much any meat or any vegetable and it will be amazing. Why do you think there are so many options at Thai or Indian restaurants?

This curry was scrumptious and fresh-tasting because of the lime juice.

Jerk Chicken Curry (with Kidney Beans, Squash, and Chard Stems)
  • 8 chicken drumsticks or 4 chicken breasts cut into 2" cubes (or an equivalent amount of pork, lamb, shrimp)
  • 4 tablespoons Jerk seasoning (or make you own like I did, below)
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • Small bunch cilantro, stems and leaves separated (finely chop stems)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cups cooked kidney beans (or 1 or more cans)
  • 3-4 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1-2 cups chopped Swiss chard stems
  1. Toss chicken pieces with Jerk seasoning and marinate for up to 24 hours
  2. Heat olive oil in large frying pan, heat to medium-high, and brown chicken pieces on each side. Don't worry about cooking the chicken at this point, just brown it. Remove to a plate.
  3. To the remaining oil, add the butternut squash, Swiss chard stems, cilantro stems, and remaining Jerk seasoning left in the marinating bowl. Cook about 5 minutes or until squash begins to soften.
  4. Add the tomatoes and chicken pieces, stir, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes to cook the chicken.
  5. Stir in the beans, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes more
  6. Serve over rice with cilantro and plain yogurt for garnish.
Homemade Jerk Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 small red onion, grated or minced
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground or grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 to 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 fresh or bottled lime juice

Monday, January 18, 2010

Eating the Phone

Like all kids, Eddie is fascinated by cell phones, Blackberries, and remote controls. We found Edward's old Chocolate cell phone in the office closet a few weeks ago and gave it to Eddie. He loves to chew on it and it is such fun to watch him do it.

Dave got this sequence of pictures on Saturday while Eddie was bouncing in his jumperoo seat. Isn't he so freaking CUTE?

This is my phone and I'm thinking about chewing on it.
Let's see...this part tastes pretty good...oh, wait...that's my finger...
Here we go!
Yummy...even better...but not perfect...Woo! This is what I much in my mouth as possible!

Now go back to the top of the post and look at Potatoes laying on the blanket chest behind Eddie without a care in the world.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Starting Over

The week before I was to return to school, Dave and I arranged to have our new nanny come over and hang out with Eddie so they could get used to each other. Then she quit so I had to find alternate care. So my plans of gradually easing him into a new situation didn't work out as planned, because now that I'm in school I can't ease him into the new day care he goes to.

After interviewing two potential nannies and visiting a small in-home daycare, Dave and I settled on the daycare for Eddie. Cassie runs a licensed daycare in her home here in Davis, just a short bike ride from campus. She always has her daughter with her (~2.5 years old) and often has another kiddo there, too. Eddie is the youngest child she currently watches so he gets to interact with lots of older kids and be endlessly entertained.

Yesterday was his first day at Cassie's house. I took him at noon and fetched him at 6pm. She said he had fun all day, slept twice, and only began to get fussy at 5pm. Evenings are his "fussy time" so I'm not surprised. The poor thing only took 4 oz of milk the whole time I was gone. With the in-home nanny he did the same thing, taking only a fraction of the milk he normally takes from me or Dave. He's probably too overwhelmed to eat enough. Cassie assured me that lower milk intake is normal for the first few weeks in a daycare as the child adjusts.

Tomorrow Eddie will probably be with her all day, 8am-6pm. Luckily my professor is very understanding about my sudden scramble to find alternate care and if I need to make tomorrow another partial day I think he'd be okay with that.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Baby Daddy

I just love this picture. It makes my heart melt.We grew these squash in our summer garden up in Gualala this past summer. So far we've baked a few with cinnamon sprinkled on top and I've made a few into caramelized onion-tarragon casseroles. Most of them were nice and big but there were two teeny tiny ones--Eddie sized. So precious.

I think I'll cook up the littlest ones and freeze the puree so Eddie can eat them in a few months when he finally starts eating solids. He is getting more and more interested in our food when we're at the dinner table. I'm glad he'll be ready to eat solids in only about 1 month (man, time flies!). To get him (and me...) used to always eating at the dining table and not in front of the TV, I now stick him in his Bumbo seat so he can "sit" with me while I eat. I snagged a nearly new seat with tray for only $20 via Craigslist. At this point he only plays with toys (his favorite is my tube of lanolin nipple cream...).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Today was my first day as not only a mom but also a babysitter. I had Heidi from about 12:30-5:30pm and then Anthony from 4pm-8:20pm. Whew. I'm freaking exhausted.

Heidi is super tiny for her age (she's basically Eddie's age plus or minus a day or two) and like Eddie, is used to being held all day. She doesn't know how to hold onto toys like Eddie does so keeping her entertained while not holding her was challenging. There were periods when she and Eddie were both crying because they weren't getting what they wanted from me (undivided one-on-one attention). Luckily she fell asleep in the swing for a couple of hours and at one point Eddie was also asleep in his crib. I'm sure it'll get better from here on out as she and Eddie both learn to be a little more independent (and mature).

I was worried about having Anthony here in the midst of all this but he was the easiest part! He is 8 months old, can crawl, actively plays with toys, and is learning to pull himself up on things. Lucky for me his is independent enough to largely entertain himself. I still need to calibrate myself on how much he eats. His mom left me a jar of food "just in case," crackers, and formula. He sucked down a bottle and then ate a bunch of crackers. I didn't offer him the jar of food because I got the impression that he didn't necessarily need it. When I offered him more crackers toward the end of his stay he didn't seem interested. Then when his mom got here and I told her how much he ate she said "aw, he's so hungry! Yeah, he eats a lot." That made me feel guilty. Next time I'll find out more specifically how often and how much he should eat (I will be providing food and formula for him from here on out).

In the middle of all this today, I got an email from our nanny (Laura) saying that she has to quit!!!!!!!! CRAP! Apparently her grandfather is really sick and she needs to move to New Mexico to take care of him. At least that's what she said. So I scrambled to email all the other applicants that we didn't even interview and made arrangements to visit an in-home daycare tomorrow morning (when I'm supposed to be at school). Luckily Laura can watch him through next week and she even arranged to have her friend take over for her from 8-2 every day. I haven't met her friend yet but I'm still stuck finding someone else at least for the afternoon.

Today could have gone a lot worse...but it was still a hard day all things considered.

Homemade Cloth Diaper Wipes

When I jumped on the cloth diaper band wagon, I decided to go all the way and also use cloth wipes, too.

To my mom's horror, I made cloth wipes from her stash of old receiving blankets left over from my childhood. We have a stack of 70, which seems to be plenty for our washing schedule. I don't know how to use my serger (although I do have one), so I just sewed a fancy stitch around the edge of each wipe. They have frayed but the strings don't seem to get in the way of wiping a poopy tush.

After lots of reading about homemade wipes online, I settled on the simplest recipe and we've found that it works great. One quart of wash solution lasts about 4 days (we wash out the wipes container before refilling it because it will start to smell musty).

Simplest Homemade Wipes Solution
  • 1 quart water
  • 2 tablespoons baby soap/shampoo
  • 2 tablespoons baby oil
  • Quart Mason jar with lid
  • 1 tablespoon measuring spoon
  • Plastic container to hold solution and wipes
  • Almost fill a quart Mason jar with water and add 2 tablespoons baby soap and baby oil.
  • Shake to combine and then pour into a wipes container or spray bottle.
  • If you use a spray bottle, you will want to shake the spray bottle before each use to distribute the oil.
I prefer to soak my wipes instead of spraying the solution on them because it is quicker to squeeze the excess liquid out than it is to spray enough to really wet them. Since these wipes result in a wet, but very clean, bum I always blot Eddie's tush with a dry wipe before putting on a fresh diaper.

These wipes are tossed into the diaper pail once soiled and we wash them right along with the diapers.

Although we do use cloth diapers when we're away from home (unless we're out of state in which case we use Costco disposables), we do not use cloth wipes when we're out. There is always a giant bag of Costco brand wipes in our diaper bag. I really prefer our homemade wipes, in part because they are much wetter and have more texture than disposable wipes--so they clean poop off Eddie's bum much more easily. But I've found it too difficult to take the cloth wipes out with me. I could probably bring a zipper bag or screw-top container full of damp (not dripping wet) wipes with me...but I haven't tried that yet.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Today's To Dos

  • Make lunch for tomorrow
  • Eat shiitake mushrooms that we harvested from our mushroom log last night
  • Figure out how to get to the new cardiologist's office in Sacramento
  • Bake bread
  • Pick up used baby bottles from lady who posted them on Craigslist
  • Deliver cinnamon rolls to friends
  • Take a nap since I'm starting work tomorrow and will be waaaaaaaaaaaay to busy during my days home to ever take one again
  • Make Edward clean up the dog poop in the yards
  • Buy milk
  • Buy a Sunday paper so I can clip the coupons
Tomorrow will be easy peasy since I will only have to go to the cardiologist in the morning and then go to work (Eddie will be home with the nanny). But by the time Tuesday I will be busy with two babies and by 4pm on Tuesday I will be SUPER busy with three babies. Ack. I hope we all survive the day without too much chaos. (Keep your fingers crossed for me, k?)

Dave keeps telling me, "Babe, if anyone can do this it's you." He might be right but I still don't believe him.

Friday, January 1, 2010


I can't believe I have to go back to school on Monday. Ug.

Part of me is dreading it and part of me is excited. The dread comes from the Mama part of me--the part who doesn't want to leave Eddie three times a week...and the part who is a little nervous about watching two other babies in the afternoons when I'm home with Eddie.

To recover part of the cost of having a private nanny for Eddie I've decided to watch two other students' babies. One is named Heidi and she's exactly Eddie's age and one is Anthony who is about 5 months older than Eddie. I've certainly watched many more babies at once before (as a childcare provider at a church nursery and at an in-home daycare) but never when one of them is mine. He's so used to getting my undivided attention and I know it'll break both our hearts when he has to share me. I'm nervous that I won't be able to deal with letting him cry when one of the others needs a diaper change, to be fed, or played with. Ug. I do realize that it will be good for Eddie to be around other kids his age and for him to develop some independence from me. But, God, is it going to suck.

It is super expensive to have a private nanny in your home, at least compared to using a childcare center or in-home childcare at someone else's house. But we decided that since I live without Dave during the week and will be transitioning back into work/school, spending the money on someone who can also help with household chores is the best choice. Perhaps next quarter (or when Dave eventually works here and lives at home again) we'll put Eddie into childcare. Given the number of folks around here who are having babies I'm hopeful that we can come up with a childcare exchange system or nanny-sharing so we don't have to spend a lot of money in the future.

Dave and I hired a nanny named Laura to watch Eddie during the two days a week when I'm at school. She's a senior at UC Davis and has oodles of experience watching many kids at once, including babies. We really like her so far.

Knowing that I should get Eddie used to Laura gradually instead of dumping him on her for a full 10 hour day, we asked her if she could start this week for a few hours a day. Luckily she said yes. Yesterday she came over and hung out with him for about two hours while Edward, Dave, and I took the dogs on a walk downtown to get coffee. She said he did great--getting fussy only when we predicted (wet diaper). We'd left a small bottle of defrosted milk but he didn't get hungry while we were gone since he'd tanked up on the boob right before we left.

Today she was be here for three hours and will be here for four tomorrow. Dave and I went to Lowe's to buy all the stuff needed to finish the bathroom at the Coast House up in Gualala. We bought the vanity, sink, faucet, mirror, and light fixtures. We also had time to get a treat at Starbucks and take the dogs to the dog park for the frisbee play. While Laura is here tomorrow we're going to gon on a movie date. I haven't seen a movie since a few days before Eddie was born and I'm sooooooooooooo excited. We're going to see Invictus--I have more interest in it than Dave since I lived in South Africa but I'm sure he'll like it. My mom and brother already watched it and they gave it two thumbs up.

My maternity leave was super expensive for us since I was completely without income for 5 months. So we've been trying to cut down on expenses where we can. Whereas I used to try to buy local dairy and produce at the food co-op and farmers market, these days I'm getting the cheapest food possible. And that means coupons, sales, and cheap stores like WinCo. Bleh. At least the challenge of finding the best deal without driving around to a million stores and wasting gas and matching up coupons is fun.

Over the last few days I've been running around to various stores to use some high-value coupons and to stock up on (cheap) food. Since I have no idea how things will go once I'm back in school--easy and enjoyable or crazy and draining--I'm getting as prepared as I can. We brought our extra bouncy seat down from Gualala and got Eddie a "jumperoo" seat at the thrift store to play in. Hopefully I won't have to go to the store for food during the week and will have enough seats to stick the babies in so they'll be happy. Heidi and Anthony are very easy babies who like to just "hang out"...but Eddie...well, he loves to be held and walked around all the time. I might hate myself for saying this once Eddie's getting into everything but I can't wait until he can crawl. He loves to move, move, move and right now that means hauling all his 16 pounds around in our arms or in the front carrier--either way we end up with an aching back. When he can get around by himself I think we'll all be happier.

Christmas 2009

This year we had two Christmases--one with Dave's parents and one with mine. The few days before Christmas I spent up in Gualala with Dave (Edward was there for part of it) and we celebrated the holiday on the 23rd with his parents, his brother, and our sister-in-law. (This was the second time I saw Bernie and she actually talked to me. Finally.)

Dave's mom made a delicious ham dinner for us and we exchanged gifts. I didn't take any pictures but it was a good time over all.

The next morning Dave and I packed up and we drove to Livermore so we could hang out with Dyani and Skyler. Of course we got ice cream at Loard's...what else is there to do in Livermore?
The next morning my mom announced that she wasn't done wrapping the gifts (surprise, surprise) and she kicked us out of the house so she could have "some time alone to get it all done." The only place we could think to go was IHOP--and man, was that place packed! After our Christmas breakfast out, we went to the grocery store to get stuff for that night's dinner. Then we all packed up and headed to Davis.

(So basically, Dave and I spent the whole holiday driving around!)

Once we were all in Davis I made a steak dinner and then we had presents around the dining room table. I got a watch from Dave and clothes from my mom. The best gift, however, was the set of mushroom logs from my dad. He gave me a pom-pom log and a shitake log--they are small peat moss logs innoculted with mushroom spores. You can grow the 'shrooms right in the house! I'll show these beauties off in another post.

Dave got a biscuit joiner from me and my dad......and Eddie got a bunch of safety items (a gate, spring loaded, outlet covers, and cabinet locks) from his Grandma and Grandpa. Lucky boy! Once he's survived childhood without electrocuting himself or poisoning himself with cleaning products he'll be grateful.

He had a good ol' time helping Grandpa open all the presents. Ribbon and shiny paper? Yum! Next your I think we'll just wrap up a bunch of boxes for him and fill them with bits a paper...he probably won't care about presents yet.We gave my mom a small photo book full of Eddie pictures. I put them in chronologial order starting with my "belly shots" of the pregnancy.The morning after Christmas we all headed up to Fair Oaks for a huge family breakfast at Brooksfield restaurant. My mom's brother and his wife were there, along with her sisters and their husbands, my cousin and his family, and my cousin's friend from China. It was SO fun to see everyone and let them meet Eddie.

A few days later we got to open our "stockings" from my mom. I don't think we've EVER had real stockings...she not organized enough for that so every year our loot is stuffed into some sort of bag. Sometimes it is a paper grocery sack and other times it is a plastic sack. Edward's friend, Crystal was here that day and my mom even got her a "stocking." We got lots of the things we expect to get every year: cans of smoked oysters and candy. Eddie's stocking was hilarious: he got a nursing bra, a gift certificate to the local baby store, and diaper rash cream. I'm sure he's sooooooooooooo thankful for all those items! I know I am!