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Friday, May 28, 2010


Jeez...why did I have to write that last post? The universe must have seen it as boasting (even though it most definitely was NOT) because only 24 hours later our household was hit by a stomach bug. Ick.

I started feeling icky (tired and nauseous) at school in the afternoon but figured I just hadn't had enough water that day since I'd mostly had only coffee. When Eddie and I got home I tried to nurse him laying down so I could rest but had to yank us both to the bathroom instead.

Let me tell you: sitting on the pot and leaning over to the tub to barf repeatedly while pulling your baby away from the tub to see what you're doing is NOT easy.

I made it through feeding Eddie dinner.

He had to have a bath in the kitchen sink since our tub was definitely out of commission until I could clean it (what a nasty, nasty task). Not two seconds after I got him settled in the sink I had to wrap his wet body up in a towel and run to the other bathroom for a repeat episode (except into the wicker waste basket--don't worry, I threw the whole dang thing away afterward).

Luckily I made it through nursing and bedding him down for the night. Somewhere in there I called Dave and told him to come home--I had no idea how long the illness would last or if poor Eddie would get it.

Dave--my savior--got home that night around 11pm and slept on the couch and made sure to wash his hands after touching pretty much anything in the house. He took care of Eddie pretty much all day Thursday, during which time Eddie threw up a few times and had diarrhea. It is amazing how nothing phases a baby--they don't know they can feel sorry for themselves so they just keep trucking on.

Eddie seems almost back to normal today, I'm definitely on the mend...and now Dave is sick. I feel so bad having him come down here to help me and then he gets sick, too. =(

I think we caught the bug from Anthony, who apparently was sick last week. His mom didn't actually TELL me he had been sick until she picked him up from my house on Tuesday (I'd commented on his loose stool). GOD! Everyone knows it is common courtesy to share knowledge of illness among childcare associates--ESPECIALLY stomach bugs! Another little boy I watched for a few hours on Tuesday apparently barfed on Thursday, too. I made sure to tell Cassie about it and she said she'd spread the word around the daycare for everyone else to keep an eye out for it.

I know this type of thing is all a part of parenthood...but it SUCKS.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Single Mom Update

About this time last year I wrote about our postpartum living situation--our plan for Dave to continue working up north and my being a single mom/student during the week.

In hindsight, it was really silly to think it would be okay for me to raise Eddie largely on my own. Not because it isn't working, but because it just isn't fair to Eddie. (Or me.) The thought of Eddie realizing that Dave isn't around all the time breaks my heart. But luckily he doesn't have the brain capacity for that kind of pattern recognition yet.

I'm pretty sure my uber-nesting instinct, I-can-handle-anything feeling during the middle of the pregnancy caused me to convince myself that Dave not living at home with me full time was the a reasonable thing to do. And it wasn't necessarily the wrong thing to do (I mean, we've all lived to tell about it with honest smiles on our faces)...but looking back I would have insisted that he start job-hunting right when we found out I was pregnant.

I remember Googling phrases like, "how to be a single working mom" and being so disappointed that almost ALL the results were about how to date when you're a single parent. What I was looking for was specific "how to" advice--like how exactly does a single mom manage to shower, dress, and feed herself every morning before work with an infant? And how is she supposed to train her baby to sleep through the night without having the benefit of the 'baby daddy' to help wean the baby from nighttime nursing by attending to the baby in the middle of the night? Tips on how to jump back into the dating game were NOT what I wanted! (There were some discussions for military wives with deployed husbands, but the tips offered were not specific enough for me and they usually boiled down to suggesting that mothers get help from fellow military wives...also not helpful for me.)

Finding few useful tips, I made sure to think about how I'd do things with a baby around whenever I did my normal household things when I was still pregnant. I basically ended up buying a variety of baby holding devices at the thrift store so I'd at least have somewhere to put him for a few minutes at a time (bouncy/vibration seats, a jumperoo, a door frame jumping seat, a Bumbo chair, etc.). I also made sure Dave and I got the house in order so daily tasks would be as easy to accomplish as possible (without sacrificing my standards--like avoiding disposable diapers and making all of Eddie's baby food).

It is amazing how things have worked out. Dave still works away from Davis most of the week and I alternate between working in the lab and staying home with Eddie. There have been relatively few hiccups (like watching little Heidi, our nanny quitting, and a horrendous breast infection).

Eddie and I are a pretty good team and we make the whole single mom thing work smoothly. The reasons I think it works for us are:
  • He's a really good baby (no colic, no major illnesses or confounding health issues (yet), learned to entertain himself very early, good nighttime sleeper, SUPER SUPER SUPER cute--yes, this really helps)
  • No postpartum depression
  • The most amazing daycare provider I could ever imagine
  • The fact that I get to spend every other day at home (allows me to catch up on household duties after a crazy day at school...or at least mess around on the internet like I'm doing right now!)
  • I'm really organized with my time and my household infrastructure (laundry/cooking/cleaning routines)
  • Constant internet access and an unlimited texting plan on my cell phone. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't at least vent to Dave and my brother at all hours of the day. They don't always answer right away but I at least know they are receiving my messages (I love that Verizon sent messages show a check mark when the recipient has received your message.)
So, things are working out really well--not perfect, but really well. We could keep on doing this if we had to. That being said, Dave has been looking for a job "down here" since this economy it is tough but I'm sure something good will come along...............someday.

(Would someone please smack me next time I come up with a crazy idea like single motherhood? Thanks.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

9 Months Later...

We've not really had to buy any clothes for Eddie since we received SO much stuff at his showers and people have been very generous with hand-me-downs. It is always fun to go through the next batch of clothes when putting them away and even more fun to pull out the next size when he's ready to use them. It's like shopping!

Somehow Eddie ended up with the same outfit in newborn size and in 12 month size. Although it is a very "Julie" thing to do, I can't take credit for having them both--I think they must have been shower gifts.

I was super excited when I found a second stripped outfit. Dave was outside at the time and I ran out there to show him. He just looked at my blankly because he had NO idea that we ever owned anything like it before. Gah! Just like a man to not remember anything about clothing...

Despite his poor memory, he was a good sport and helped me (attempt) to pose the same pictures of Eddie on the changing table. Unlike his slothy newborn self, Eddie was NOT interested in staying still for the pictures so they are not perfect. He wanted to get down off that table to crawl around instead of let his weirdo parents put dirty money on his face. But you get the idea anyway.

Two days old:
Nine months, 3 days old (look at how big is ear is now, compared to the quarter!):
Two days old with Grandpa:Nine months, 3 days old with Daddy:

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

I'm not gonna lie--my first Mother's Day as a mama started out "eh" but ended up being quite nice. In true Julie fashion, all I really wanted to do that day was to stay home with my boys and work in the garden. (I also wanted to get my nails done but I'm cheap AND most salons are closed on Sundays so I figured I wouldn't be able to do that anyway.)

But when a little birdie told me that my mom was pouting because I hadn't planned anything for "her" Mother's Day, I realized I was going to have to trade my rubber muck boots and jeans for a skirt and make up to go out for high tea with some lovely ladies. I did realize at some point that it was my FIRST Mother's Day and she hadn't planned anything for me. (Whatever...)
My mom, Gayla and Amanda Lucas, and I went out for a girls-only luncheon at Ciocolat in Davis and then got our nails done (my mom found a place that was open!). The food was super yummy and overly filling...course after course of little sandwiches, cakes, quick breads, and fruit with cream. Unlike last year I got to sip on a free mimosa, too, which lightened my mood quite a bit. =)
We ended up having a really good time; chatting with Amanda while our toes were soaking at the salon was really fun. The massage chairs we were sitting in were a little bizarre, though. Our faces kept changing from normal having-a-pleasant-conversation-together to painful-and-unsure as the massaging mechanism moved up and down our backs, pounding and jabbing somewhat randomly.

My mom and I both ended up getting purple nail polish on our toes!
I was bitter about not getting any special treatment on my very first Mother's Day, but I'm over it. In the end it was more important to pamper my mom since I know that in reality I have more of these specials days ahead of me than she does.

Sous Chef

Make that sous de les peids chef.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Garden Progress

Oh good lord. I just looked at some pictures of my garden at the beginning of spring. It was a freaking jungle!

I took the following pictures at the beginning of one of Eddie's naps so I could see how much progress I'd made by the time he woke up:
Two hours later (I moved an umbrella out there so Eddie could hang out with me while I harvested the collard greens. At that point he couldn't crawl but he kept scooting off the blanket and grabbing the weeds.):

A few days later my dad came up for a visit and he really helped whip that garden into shape! He helped me finish weeding the nastiest weeds (not the annual rye grass, though, since it never seems worth dealing with). We also rototilled the beds to break up the clods of dirt before adding two cubic yards of compost--that's a LOT of compost! Since it was so carbon-rich, we tilled in some inorganic P and N fertilizer and let the soil microbes do their thing for a couple of weeks while we were in France.

It isn't a good visit with my dad unless he and Dave decide at the last minute to start (and usually finish) some huge undertaking. Sometimes it is a wiring project or removing a giant stump. This time it was installing proper irrigation lines throughout the garden yard. They even put two spigots in that yard--one for the garden and one for the chicken coop. Dave installed 350 feet of PVC pipe and made a manifold of 6 valves and pressure regulators.
He took this picture to show what little was left of the 350 feet of pipe he bought and the empty jars of primer and glue he'd gone through. After everything was done he estimated he'd made over 220 glue joints. Whoa.Most people put their valves a lot closer together (like this), which seems silly because then if anything needs to be replaced because of a leak there isn't room to unscrew the valve and they have to cut the pipe. Dave thought ahead...and thus, we have a giant manifold.
Now each of our 5 garden beds has two options for timed irrigation--a long term soaking circuit (like for tomatoes and squash) and a short term circuit for everything else. Since every bed is outfitted with both circuits I can plant whatever mix of things I want.

After another round of tilling we finally got to plant everything! Gosh, it is amazing what a few hundred feet of pipe, my dad and Dave, and a few weeks can do to my garden. (Those 3 posts along the back of the house will soon hold a shade structure from which I can hang shade cloth to block the sun from hitting the house this summer...those rooms get soooooo hot.)See the nice gravel path on the right side of the picture above? Dave finished installing that on Mother's Day (he claims it was my present...har, har,har). There's a conduit line buried in it so we can eventually have power out to the chicken coop. The coop is at the end of the path there, but it is hard to see since it blends in with the fence (by design).

The narrow patch of dirt along the driveway has never been planted so I decided to plant something edible there, too. But I felt limited in what I could plant there because it is in dog-peeing range (so low growing things were out) and within reach of the path to the park (so tall things might get messed up by rambunctious kids grabbing them as they ride by on their bikes). We settled on planting potatoes and some squashes (spaghetti and pumpkins) since those things either grow underground or will be peeled before eating. The potatoes haven't sprouted yet but the squashes emerged this weekend.Our garden is so industrial looking and I'd like to girly it up a little with some flowers. I'm not sure how much more money I want to spend on it so I might just stick with whatever random seeds I have left in my stash from the last few years. If they germinate, great. If not, oh well.


Sorry...the weather has been so nice that I've not spent any time inside (much less on the computer) so I've not updated in a while. We've been having fun (still!) enjoying having Dave at home for jury duty--there are lots of pictures of Eddie being cute and I'll be sure to post some soon.

I have about 90 papers to grade so I've got to get back to it.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

For the Record

I'm sure many couples take each other for granted--they don't realize what a blessing it is to share each other's company or household responsibilities (laundry, cooking, childcare, yard work, killing icky cockroaches hiding in shoes). Normally everything during the week falls on my plate. In the last few months Eddie and I have gotten our routine down pat and we do really well when it is just the two of us.

The nights when I want to throw in the towel because of having to do everything myself are long gone. Once Eddie could sit unassisted my life got so much easier--I could then take a shower, cook food, start a load of laundry, or whatever without having to juggle him and do things one-handed (he was never a fan of tummy time or being in a swing or bouncy seat for more than a few minutes at a time). I made sure to let him learn to entertain himself with toys or whatever (safe) goodies were within his reach. Now that he's crawling and navigating the furniture--learning to walk already--my life is really easy peasy all things considered.

I remember when he was itty bitty and I'd tip toe around the house lest I accidentally wake him up. I'd think, "Please oh please oh please don't wake up yet! My nipples hurt so much I don't want to nurse again just yet. And I really want to take a shower and eat something!" Now I find myself missing his company during his 2 hour naps but I'm wise enough to enjoy the alone time instead of waking him up. When he only sleeps for 40 minutes instead of 2 hours I'm no longer disappointed. I just figure if he's ready for play and not sleep then so be it.

A few weeks ago I was cooking dinner after picking Eddie up from daycare and realized that I finally missed Dave for the right reason--I just missed his company. Before I'd complain to him that I needed him to get a job closer to home because I needed help raising the baby. It wasn't fair that I had to do it all myself. I guess it is a valid argument but it really wasn't constructive to make him feel bad. After all, he works hard to provide financially for our small family. (But I have to say, being distracted by his tv shows while on the phone listening to me gripe on the phone after work while I'm at home folding diapers, nursing, walking the dogs, etc. is NOT okay. HELLO! I want to have leisurely time to watch tv!)

This week Dave's been home with us because he's on jury duty. I can't even express in words how much I looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove having him home with us for dinner and breakfast every day. It makes the sun shine brighter, the spring air smell fresher, and our precious baby that much cuter (if that's even possible!). Being able to go back to lab for a few hours after Eddie's in bed is also a treat--I'm so much more productive with my schoolwork, too.

Yesterday Anthony didn't come over to play so Eddie and I met Dave for lunch near the courthouse and then visited one of my fellow grad student/new mommy friends. Seeing Dave during the MIDDLE of the day was icing on an already scrumptious cake.

Thank you lunatics from West Sacramento who do stupid stuff that lands you in court so Dave can be your juror and live at home with us.

My fingers are crossed that the universe will align and Dave will get a job he likes in Sacramento so he can move home. A job with benefits in Davis would be the best, but I'm not going to push my luck. The job Dave used to have in Sacramento was SO terrible for both of us that he just had to quit after sticking with it for almost 2 years. We realized we'd rather live on the streets with no job than keep working there. Of course, then the economy tanked and he couldn't find another job in our area so he went back to work for his dad.

So to all you folks out there who get to have your spouse/partner live with you, make sure you stop to enjoy their company and realize how lucky you are!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Up and Down

With regard to losing the baby weight after pregnancy, many books say you should give yourself 9 months to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight.

Nine months up, 9 months down!

If that's the case then I have 4 pounds to lose by Thursday. I really don't think it's going to happen.

All I can say is, it is a good thing my mom doesn't come visit me every week anymore...because when she was here helping me babysit in January she ALWAYS bought takeout food for dinner and cake from Nugget for dessert. I actually think I regained some weight that month.

How likely is it that my 4 extra pounds are newly acquired arm muscle (from holding my squirmy baby all the time) and extra dairy real estate?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Little Helper

Last weekend Eddie helped me plant up some mint, cilantro, and parsley. The poor mint plant was unplanted 3 times by my chubby-cheeked little helper...good thing mint is so robust! My dad saw these pictures and said, "Careful there Julie, Eddie's going to grow up thinking that ALL kids get to play in the dirt as early as 6 months old."

I had to stop and think about that...but he's probably right. Most kids these days probably don't "get" to play in dirt until they are much older.

Poor things.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Updated Post

I added another line to the ELB Quality Control post for your giggling pleasure. I thought of it while riding my bike to school on Friday.