Blog Archive

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I've noticed lately that my house smells musty. I'm sure it has a lot to do with the dogs, dust buildup in places I can't easily clean (like the curtains and couches), and that I'm lazy when it comes to emptying my compost bowl. We cool the house in the summer by opening all the windows and sucking in fresh air with fans and that surly brings in lots of dust. I dust most of the horizontal surfaces in the house about twice a month (used to be weekly but that was before Eddie came along!). Davis is very dusty, probably due to the agricultural fields surrounding us.

I hate that nasty dirty-dishes-left-in-the-sink smell so I almost always do the dishes after I'm done cooking. Luckily Eddie's cloth diapers don't stink NEARLY as bad as disposables do. Our cloth diaper pail seals out stink completely when it is closed. I don't care what kind of "genie" you have, soiled disposable diaper stink is ALWAYS evident. I take out the bathroom trash every night after Anthony leaves so the bathroom won't stink.

The smell in my house is not offensive (to me anyway) and is only noticeable (to me) when I come home from someone else's better-smelling house. Eddie's daycare smells soooooooooo flowers or something. I assume Cassie uses some delicious-smelling cleaning products. I should ask her, although as a rule I try to avoid artificially fragranced laundry detergents and other cleaning products. I've always wondered what other people use in their homes when they smell is probably scented cleaning products so I'll never be able to match it.

I should look into natural extracts to gently scent some of my cleaning products...

Last time I was at Costco I bought a giant sack of baking soda and I started using it today to deodorize the carpets before I vacuum. My plan is to also sprinkle it on the couches and then vacuum them, too. But I'll need Dave's help with that since it'll be tough to turn the couches on their sides so I can vacuum the back cushions that are attached to the couch.

I've also decided it is time to wash all the curtains in the house since fabric holds stink pretty well. Luckily only one room has silk curtains so I should be able to launder them here at home.

We considered not having cloth curtains and just getting blinds for every window--but then we realized how expensive they are and what a pain it would be to dust them and changed our minds. I made all the curtains and it was definitely cheaper, even though we had to buy the curtain rods. Plus I can toss them into the wash instead of dusting each and every blind.

Anthony is taking a nap in the dining room so I can't go into the garage to switch the laundry over. My living room curtains are waiting in a heap to be washed...

Monday, February 22, 2010


Last week was wonderful--the weather was great (it was about 70F every day) so when I wasn't in lab I was outside.

Dave had Monday off due to President's Day so after we dropped Eddie off at daycare we biked to campus so he could help me move a $200,000 instrument cluster to a new room in my building. He and my labmate moved everything while I unhooked and labeled everything (I used color masking tape and numbers to match each plug with the proper outlet so it will be easy to put back together). Then we picked Eddie up early and went out to Indian all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. Yummy!

Tuesday I walked Eddie to campus so I could get some stuff from my office for my presentation I had the following day. He was a good boy and even slept long enough once on campus so that I could grab a bite to eat in the Memorial Union. Of course, by the time we made it to my office he was wide awake and ready to play! I was somehow able to find the articles I needed while occupying him with a clean-ish paper holding thing to chew on.

Wednesday he went to daycare in the morning. I did a run through on my presentation for my professor, who gave me some really good constructive criticism. The rest of the morning/afternoon was spent at the Colloquium where I gave my presentation (it went well and I wasn't even that nervous when it came down to it) and then listened to lots of other student presenters. The keynote speaker was a visiting chemist from Cal and she talked about the chemical fire retardants in furniture and how the chemicals are getting into our bodies and causing problems with IQ levels, fertility, and behavioral problems. Her colleague is testing the foam in baby items for the chemicals so I signed up to give samples from my items.

After the colloquium was over I walked to Eddie's daycare, picked him up, and walked back to campus so he could go to the wine and cheese social with me. I used the following picture of him at the end of my presentation (since I talked about my compost experiment) and got a lot of "aws" as a result so folks were excited to meet him in person.Thursday morning Eddie and I went to Costco to buy the ingredients for all the quiches I had to make for Dyani's wedding shower. Then when Anthony arrived later in the afternoon I took them on a loooooooooong walk in the double stroller I bought off of Craigslist. Both boys were really good on the walk, even though they spent most of the time yanking off their hats and grabbing each other's faces. We went to the grocery store to buy the canned crab I needed for the quiches and a gallon of milk (wow is it cheap at CVS!). Eventually they both fell asleep.

My head started feeling a bit stuffy that night, but I really thought it was allergies. I've never had allergies before but EVERYONE warns that EVERYONE gets them after about 3-4 years of living in Davis. This is our 4th year here and I finally think it might be true!

Friday was another typical "too many meetings and classes and pumping sessions to remember to eat" days so Dave brought me a burrito at lunch time so I wouldn't have to worry about getting food. That night we went to a late Chinese New Year's party at John and Christina's and it was soooooooooooooo delicious and fun! Eddie was his normal happy self, showing off his toy-sucking and sitting-up skills...until 8:15pm when he instantly got fussy. We'd lost track of time and then realized that it was his normal bath time. Poor kid. We loaded him into the car and got home to start his bedtime routine. He was out like a light by 9pm.

Then I got to work baking 6 quiches for Dyani's wedding shower. Everything went great until the egg-cream mixture in one of them started dripping out of the pie pan (I think I poked a hole in it when I was pre-baking the crusts), out of the cookie sheet, and down into a hole in the bottom of the oven. I didn't want it to burn and make the smoke detectors go off (read: wake up the baby) so I stopped using that oven and just used the other one. It took a little longer, but we were able to get into bed by 12am. By then my head was now I think my "allergies" were really the beginnings of a head cold.

The shower went great (another post) and I'm feeling much better after getting a good night's rest. I've stayed home from school today so I can rest...which I'll be able to do since Eddie is at daycare today!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Isn't he the cutest Valentine ever? We did nothing special for the "holiday," just hung around the house and worked in the gardens all weekend. It was perfect family time. Just the way I like it. Eddie wore his first sunscreen this weekend because it was 70F! I love this amazing spring weather during winter.

Friday, February 12, 2010

6 Months?! needs to slow down a bit. Eddie will be SIX MONTHS OLD tomorrow. Wasn't he just an itty bitty 8 lb 2 oz newborn, like, yesterday? All of a sudden he's a 16 lb, 13 oz kid!Today we went to his 6 month well baby doctor visit. His stats show that he's tall for his age and skinny for his height (he definitely didn't get either of those traits from me!). The doctor thinks his slightly-lower-than-average weight is probably due to his much higher-than-normal wriggle factor, which burns tons of calories.

Case in point: you know that crinkly paper that covers the exam tables at doctors' offices for sanitary purposes? Well, Eddie thought that stuff was so cool today. He bounced like mad so it would make as much noise at possible. Then he discovered that the soaker pad also made noise...and tasted pretty good, too. His constant spitting up doesn't seem to be a problem since he's clearly gaining weight and growing just fine. Even without having his measurements taken Dave and I could tell he was growing just the last month he's moved up to 12 month size bodysuits! Up to this point we've not had to buy a lot of clothing for him because people gave us so much at the showers. But somehow we didn't end up with ANY 12 month sized bodysuits...lots of them up to 6 months and then 18 months. We found some long sleeved ones on clearance at Target and Baby Gap and a few at the local second hand store.

He got a slew of shots today and he really wasn't all that happy about it. We gave him a dose of ibuprofen before the shots, but he still screamed his head off. A quick nursing session calmed him down a bit and then he promptly passed out on the car ride home. We popped his car seat into the stroller and took the dogs on a walk to CVS so I could get his fluoride/vitamin drops prescription filled. Once he woke up he was all smiles! He "helped" me cook dinner, using his small wooden spoon. Dave drilled a hole in the handle so we could tie it to the pack to prevent it from falling on the floor (not that I care so much, but I'm trying to reduce his dog hair intake...).Tomorrow we'll start him on rice cereal. Up to this point he's been fed 100% breastmilk. It is pretty empowering to know that he's more than doubled his birth weight due entirely to my milk. I'm his all-he-can-suck milk buffet, open 24/7. I have decided, at this point, to cut service between the hours of 9pm-7am in an attempt to get him to sleep through the night more consistently. I'll keep you posted on how he handles the change...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Eddie has hit a lot of developmental milestones lately. As you recall, I was super excited when he learned to sit up about a week ago.

Apparently the milestone directly following sitting up is:


If you don't believe me, feel free to come hang out at our house and I'm sure he'll gladly demonstrate it for you. Or you can ask all the quiet old ladies who were unfortunate enough to be at Joanne's Fabric store while we were there this afternoon. I seriously saw a few of them fumbling to turn their hearing aids down.

It is ridiculous. He looks so amazed and proud of himself when he does it. I can't help but smile through my cringing.

Monday, February 8, 2010

This Time Last Year

Today marks one year since my SVT episode landed me in the ER and then overnight in the hospital. I was 14 weeks pregnant then and was worried that my baby had suffered. Lucky for me he's just perfect!

At the time, the cardiologist told me that I would need to have electrical ablation done to prevent it from happening again (in other words a procedure where the doctor scars the "bad" neural pathway(s) inside my heart). I talked to everyone about this issue and asked who would be a good doctor to see for a second opinion. Cardiologist #1 is known for being pretty aggressive when it comes to doing surgery (rather than having a more holistic, "let's wait and see what happens" or medication/lifestyle management attitude). Eddie's doctor recommended someone to me and last week even THAT doctor said I need to have the ablation surgery!

He said the fact that my heart got up to 270+ BPM and that I had a rare polymorphic tachycardia happen after I reset my heart means that my heart REALLY didn't like it and it will happen again.


I'm still coming to terms with the idea of heart surgery. The good news is that the procedure has a 98% success rate for curing the problem. Which means I will qualify for life insurance again. The only downside is that there are risks, like any other surgery (puncturing a lung or vein, needing a pacemaker as a result, stroke). If the surgery doesn't fix the problem then I'll have to take a beta blocker for the rest of my life, which really isn't the end of the world.

Dave and I are trying to determine when I should do this surgery. It'll be after we go to France (so not too soon) but before I take my qualifying exam (so not too late). I haven't set the date for my exam but there's no way I'll take it before the surgery because I'll probably over-stress about it and set off my heart again. We'll probably wait until summer, when Eddie is much less dependent on me for his caloric intake. All total I should only be "down" for 3-5 days, which is great because I can basically take a long weekend from school for recovery.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Weekend Review

So much to say!

Friday: My phone has been freezing on me when I take pictures or send text messages (really, the only two things I do with my phone other than bother my dad at work by calling him). So Dave took it to the Verizon store here in town and since they aren't a "corporate" store they couldn't replace it. So they tried to do an over-the-air software update but it completely froze at 0% progress and stayed that way. I could answer calls but not make them.

We signed the docs to refinance our house. Woo! We started the process just before took too long.

Saturday: Dave got up super early to pack for his flight to AR for our nephew's wedding (which is on Monday...who gets married on a Monday?!). I baked cookies and made pizza for the mother-baby group I hosted from 11am-2pm. It was a group of some of the gals from the UCD graduate student pregnancy support group. All the babies played well together and Eddie went down for a nap (with very little fussing!) half way through. So he and I aren't in the group picture...oh well. I walked Eddie and the dogs to the Verizon store to see if they could do ANYTHING about my phone (I was at the point of using Gmail chat to tell Edward to tell someone else to call me if I needed to talk to lame). The stupid guys there said there was nothing they could do and I'd have to go to a corporate store or mail my phone in.

Eddie and I drove to Livermore with the doggies. He didn't get to bed until 11pm but I was able to do everything in his bedtime routine anyway--with the minivan having so much room I threw his baby bathtub in the back so he even got a real bath! He slept in the Pack-n-Play next to my worked okay except that he could see me and the dogs through the mesh sides, which was distracting him from going to sleep. I'll have to rig up a blanket on the outside so he can't see through it next time. I might also make the dogs sleep in another room next time because they woke him up in the morning jumping off the bed when they wanted to have their breakfast.

Sunday: We had breakfast at Emil Villas with my parents, then my dad and I went to Safeway to order a wedding shower cake for Dyani's shower. I completely forgot that it was Super Bowl Sunday--the store was PACKED. We ran into Mr. Fong (my high school physics teacher) and it was neat that he remembered who I was. He told my dad that he still has my dad's silly "Physicist At Large" business card and that he wants to make himself a shirt that says "Teacher At Large."

Then we went to a "real" Verizon store where they replaced my phone and even gave me a free 1GB card for my phone. The lady programmed the phone to automatically save all my pictures and videos to the card, just in case the phone craps out again everything is safe. (I'm planning on upgrading to a fancier phone next week anyway but it is nice to have a working phone again.) She also put the automatic contacts update app on my phone, which is great (and free).

Then my mom and I went to the Big White House Winery to figure out Dyani's shower. It's going to be held at the winery in only two short weeks--we bought all the wine we'll need and figured out how many tables we need to rent. It was fun and we got to do some tastings, too. I made a spreadsheet (surprise, surprise) of all the stuff I need to get done for the shower (decorations, make the food, signs to put on the road, etc.).

Since Eddie fell asleep in the car going home from the winery I let him stay in the car with my mom at the house while I loaded everything up. He stayed asleep until I was almost done shopping at Babies R Us in Dublin. A few weeks ago there was a deal on Facebook where you'd get a free $5 giftcard if you became a fan of Babies R Us or Toys R Us. So I did it and got Edward and Dave to do it, too. So I got to spend $15 there today for free! I bought some PJs and a pair of booties for Eddie and a pair of suede moccasins for my friend's baby (they are short of cash and shoes)--everything was on clearance and I only had to pay $3.60 of my own money. Not too shabby for all that stuff! Before heading back to Davis, Eddie nursed and had a diaper change in the "mother's room." That store bugs me because they sell SO MUCH STUFF that babies really don't need ($400 cribs? And diaper wipes warmers, really? We all survived without warm wipes just fine...) but I do love using the mother's room for nursing.

Whew...since being home tonight I've gotten the diapers started in the wash, packed my lunch and got all the nipples and lids put on Eddie's bottles for daycare tomorrow, ate dinner, let Eddie and Edward have a video chat session to show off the little man's sitting-up and screaming skills, and put Eddie to bed.

I'm headed there myself...another crazy week starts tomorrow...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Good Daddy

The FedEx truck pulled up yesterday while the babies were napping and dropped off a package. It was addressed to Dave but since he didn't tell me not to open it, I did. And my heart melted into a puddle when I saw that he had ordered Eddie a CD of kid songs. Dave mentioned the tapes of kid songs he used to listen to on the long drives between Gualala and Santa Rosa (the nearest city). Singing along was apparently a whole-family activity. I know he's been looking for a CD or mp3 collection of the same songs that used to be on his 1980s cassettes called Wee Sing Silly Songs. He kept finding collections that were close but not the same. Apparently he finally found it! I think it so sweet of him to buy this for our baby boy. (I just love saying that: our baby boy. I still--after nearly 6 months--can't believe we have our own precious babe.)

Anything having to do with Dave's childhood is special to us. There are a couple of years during elementary school that he hardly remembers because he had a really bad case of Lyme and it affected his memory (he probably also blocked a lot out). So I just know I'll melt into another puddle when he puts the disc into the player and starts singing along for Eddie. Knowing Dave he'll dance along, too!

What a good daddy!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Change of Plans

Since the beginning of the quarter I've been baby sitting two babies during the afternoons on the days I'm home with Eddie. Heidi is almost exactly Eddie's age and Anthony is now almost 10 months old.

I wanted to watch other kids because we could use the money to offset the cost of having a nanny or daycare for Eddie. And also because I wanted to help out fellow students who needed affordable childcare. Heidi's mom is just finishing up her dissertation and Anthony's mom is an undergrad psychology major.

Heidi is a much more sensitive child than Eddie or Anthony. She never seemed to relax or enjoy herself while she was here. That's expected the first couple of times as she adjusts to me and our house, but after a while it became clear to me that this situation was just not good for her. There was too much noise with the boys here, too much activity with the dogs running around, and if one of the boys screamed suddenly (as they are wont to do) she'd get so startled that she'd start screaming. Often she'd get into these cycles of screaming, not eating, and not sleeping for the entire 6 hours she was here.

It pained me to watch her day after day knowing there was nothing I could do to comfort her short of taking her to the back of the house where she could regroup. I could do that sometimes when/if my mom were here with me, but generally I was here alone and couldn't leave the other kids for long enough to clam her down. Even so, she was not easily calmed. I think we were both sensing each other's stress.

It became so stressful for me that I began loathing Tuesdays and Thursdays when I should have been looking forward to spending time with Eddie and his pint-sized friends.

After 4 weeks with Heidi I decided to ask her mom to find someone else to watch her. Heidi's mom was surprised when I told her, but she was very understanding. I explained that I just didn't think this was the right situation for Heidi at this point. That night I compiled all the resources I had used to find care for Eddie and emailed them to turns out she was able to get her sister to watch Heidi, which I think is great because it is family.

All through college I nannied and babysat (even did some geriatric care) and I've always felt that getting paid for this type of work should be the perk, not the reason. If you woudn't watch a particular person for free then you shouldn't do it at all. You have to be passionate about helping and caring for other people. This was a perfect example of that: the situation was not good for anyone (me, Heidi, Eddie, or even Dave since he had to deal with my stress).

So now it is just me, Eddie, and Anthony in the afternoons. Already I feel better. I'm less stressed so the kids are undoubtedly happier and I feel better knowing that Heidi is getting what she needs.