Blog Archive

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Anniversary Gift

You know you're married when most of your anniversary, birthday, Mother/Father's Day, and Valentine's Day gifts are items for the household.

You know you're married to the right person when that doesn't bother you one little bit.

(At least in our case.)

Behold, our 4 year anniversary gift to each other: a new Nesco American Harvest food dehydrator with fruit leather trays.
The one we currently have is really my dad's and it is probably just about as old as I am. Every year it makes a new noise and one of these days it is just going to quit--probably when we're neck-deep in tomatoes destined to become sun-dried. Besides the heater and fan mechanism failing, the plastic spokes on the trays are also breaking. We have only 2 fruit leather trays right now and we're super excited (seriously, even Dave is) to have more.

The only bummer is that in the 3 days since we placed our order the price went down another $7. Oh well, at least we got free shipping!

Friday, June 25, 2010


Wowza...yesterday was our four year anniversary! Where on Earth did the time go?

We were married in Point Arena on a Saturday night and had a huge reception the following afternoon in Gualala at the Arts Center. It is kind of cool that we're up here again on our anniversary weekend...I always know it is getting close to our special day when the miniature white roses are blooming on my mother-in-law's front porch. We took wedding pictures for a couple of days after the wedding and my original bouquet we made a new one with those roses and a boutineer for Dave to wear, too. I didn't want to have a contemporary style bouquet (red roses bunched together in a tight wad) so I asked the local florist to make something with whatever color gladiolas she had--those are my mother-in-law's favorite flowers and she has TONS of them in her front garden every spring. I ended up with a few of every color--pink, white, orange, purple. She said making the bouquets was a flashback to the 1980s for her since glads have since fallen out of fashion! Haha. It is very "Julie" to do things out of style... Anyway, the mini white roses will always be special to me, just like the glads because they remind me of Peggy and of my wedding.

I still can't believe how lucky I am to have such a wonderful husband...and I can't believe we have a darling little boy! I wonder how many kids we'll have after another four years???

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tomato Trees!

Whoa...our garden is out of control. In a good way, though.

This was in May:And this was today:
Some of those tomato vines are like 7 feet tall!

See the red arrow in the picture below? That's the TOP of the tomato!
Craziness. Tilled-in compost is nothing short of amazing, that's all I can say.

I can already see some fruits forming on the tomato, pepper, eggplant, zucchini, and squash plants. So far there's nothing on any of the bean vines (soy, sugar snap, or green). I can't wait to start eating all this fresh produce...and then to preserve whatever we can't eat in time.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father's Day!

We had both sets of parents and both our brothers here for Father's Day. Knowing so many people would be in attendance, I decided to make a FEAST. It was dang good, if I do say so myself. (And I'll be eating left overs all week because, as usual, I made too much food.)

We had smoked chicken...Smoked ribs...Pasta salad (made with TWO pounds of pasta...I told you I made too much)...Apple raisin coleslaw...Cherry lemonade...Corn on the cob...And creme brule for dessert.
Before dessert we headed to the park to take some family photos. Here's Eddie with all of the doting grandparents:
I want to say thank you a million times over to our parents for coming all the way from their nice cozy homes to dine and celebrate fatherhood with us. But mostly I want to thank Dave for knocking me up so we could be parents together. (I luff you, Lover!) He's the best daddy for our sweet, cute baby boy.While it was nice to have everyone here, it was really stressful for me because of Bernie. I won't go into detail because it isn't appropriate and I'm honestly tired of thinking about it (try as I might, I just can't figure out what I'm doing that threatens her). Let's just say that her behavior confuses me more than ever, it made me angry, and it also made me sad. Mostly sad, I think.

Enough of that. I look forward to next year when Eddie is big enough to pick out a gift for'll be so much fun to see what he picks!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Baby Sitting Swap

Right now I go to campus 3 days a week: on M/W Eddie goes to daycare at Cassie's and on F he stays home with Dave. I'd love to have an extra day or even a half day on campus but we don't want to spend even more money on childcare. So I started asking around to see if any of my mama friends were interested in swap sitting. After getting no interest from the pregnancy support group moms from last year, nor anyone I know on Facebook, I finally posted an ad in the childcare section of Craigslist.

My ad explained that I'm a grad student looking for 4-8 hours of swapping per week, ideally with another grad student, and that I won't travel outside of Davis for this.

Five people contacted me immediately. This afternoon Dave, Eddie, and I met Morgan and her baby boy, Jonah, who is only 4 days younger than Eddie. He's adorable and mellow and his mom is really nice. They also have dogs at home so that's not an issue (something I didn't mention in the ad). Starting next Wednesday we'll be swapping 4 hours each week at our house--I'll go to campus from 8-12 and then we'll switch.

Cassie knows that I've been looking for someone to swap with and she said I could rearrange Eddie's schedule at her house if I need to. I think I will have him at daycare M/Th. That way I'll go to school M/half day W/Th/F but will have all day T to get errands done and hang out with my darling Eddie Pie. When and if Dave EVER gets a job near Davis then we'll have Eddie in daycare on Fridays, too (unless we can't afford it and then we'll have to do more swapping).


I love living in Davis for a lot of of them is finding tons of nice, free stuff in our neighborhood. In a small town largely populated by students, the end of the school year means you see free stuff everywhere. It's pretty amazing what people deem unworthy of packing when they move out of the dorms or an apartment/house. Lots of my friends go "dorm diving" (like dumpster diving) and rummage through all the stuff left outside the dorms each June--they find clothes, lamps, school and cleaning supplies, and lots and lots and lots of unopened food. Crazy!

The other day Eddie and I were walking to the Dollar Store to buy some frozen peas (and a candy bar for me...shhhhhh). We walked down our old street a few blocks from the park and I found a whole grocery sack full of cookie cutters. Two of them are even the nice nonstick kind you can use to make pancakes. I took the whole bag (which also had a couple of books inside). I can't wait until Eddie's big enough to make sugar cookies or Jello jigglers with me...or to play with Play Dough.

I've never seen such tiny alphabet cutters before...too bad it is missing the V. For our wedding we received a larger set of letters and numbers so I'm sure we'll have lots of fun when he learns to spell.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I love finding pictures on the camera card that I didn't take. These are a few that Dave took last Friday while I was at school. He was trying out the different effects on the camera, thus the grainy black and white photos.

We have a bunch of left over pieces of PVC pipe scattered around the porch from our irrigation project. Eddie loves playing with them so we've never thrown them away. One of these days we're going to get him a whole box of pipe pieces and various fittings to play with. My dad fondly remembers playing with pipe pieces in the back of his family's station wagon on long car trips. I'm sure Eddie will enjoy it, too.
It'll be fun in a couple of years (or sooner) when we find pictures that Eddie took with the camera.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Weight Loss

Well, I finally made it back to my pre-pregnancy weight. The stomach flu allowed me to get down past it and then I rebounded back to my "normal" weight.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sippy Cup

I have always had a love-hate relationship with sippy cups. As a nanny/babysitter throughout college and much of grad school, I have dealt with these cups with many, many children. So when deciding whether or not Eddie would use one I had a lot of experience to draw from.

Initially I decided that he'd not use one at all, ever. So for the past 4-ish months we've had him continue to take his milk from a bottle while at the sitter's or drink water from a regular cup or glass when he's eating solid foods with us. It can be messy but he loves drinking from a cup and when you say or sign "drink?" to him he immediately looks at his cup. The sitter does give him bottles of water when he seems super thirsty.

Dave and I talked a lot about why I don't like sippy cups and why I wouldn't want Eddie to use one. I finally realized that I don't like them because:
  • most of the families or daycares I've worked for usually fill them diluted apple juice (don't even get my started on how unhealthy it is for people to carelessly drink pulp-free, sugary beverages all day...)
  • most of the families or daycares I've worked for let the kids have constant access to them so the kids end up leaving them all over the house (having dishes scattered around the house drives me nuts and condones "grazing" instead of proper meals/snack times/locations like the dining room table)
  • they are NOT spill-proof when the child shakes it so you end up with stickiness all over the house
Realizing that my issues with sippy cup use stems primarily from children having constant access to empty calories and undefined "eating" times, Dave and I decided we could just utilize sippy cups differently than most people. I know this sounds obvious, but sometimes we just get stuck in one way of thinking about a problem and we have to force ourselves toward some other solution. As a breastfeeding, cloth diapering, single-mom-during-the-week, I know first hand that although parenting technique often seems to come in a one-size-fits-all package you ARE allowed to readjust to suit your needs/desires/budget/capabilities.

I'm thinking ahead (with excitement) to when Eddie can drink cow's milk...only 2 short months away. Think of all the time I'll save at school when I won't have to pump my milk for him!

He'll either have to drink cow's milk out of a bottle, out of a cup, or out of a sippy cup (or a cup with a straw). We know he can drink from a bottle just fine. Cassie is fine with assisting him to drink out of a cup, but she admits that sometimes she doesn't have enough time during meals with all the other kids to hold the cup for him long enough to satisfy his thirst, hence she sometimes gives him a bottle of water. He doesn't quite know how to drink out of a sippy cup...and I generally don't like them.

But...we've decided that sippy cups were invented for a reason: because they are a good stepping-stone for a child to move away from a baby bottle towards independent use of a cup. So we'll continue using regular cups for milk and water at meals/snack times at home but get him used to drinking out of a sippy cup when he needs a drink of water at other times. Then he can drink his milk at Cassie's however is best for her and him.

My mom gave us some old sippy cups she bought from Tupperware years ago that are not spill proof at all. Eddie seems to understand that the spout is where the water comes from since it drips right into his mouth. Kaitlin gave me some spill proof Playtex cups and he's only just starting to understand that if he sucks (instead of bites) the spout something will come out.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bippity Bopity Boo

What was supposed to be a potato patch is now a pumpkin patch. I planted about 30 potatoes but after a month with only a few sprouted I decided to also plant spaghetti squash and Jack-o-lantern pumpkin seeds. Then a few days ago I decided to also plant some more sunflower seeds amongst the pumpkin vines for fun.

I'm pretty sure these vines are going to prevent us from parking more than one car on the driveway. But that's fine by me!
This sweet boy kitty came to hang out with us while we chatted with a neighbor this morning. He's come into our house before (when the dogs weren't home) and I gave him some milk. I wish I could keep him, he's so sweet. Eddie and I are working on a name for him since we don't know his real name. Any thoughts? I like pet names that are foods.
I love seeing the delicate, winding tendrils on the pumpkin reminds me of Cinderella. I think I have that Disney movie (on VHS) and I might just watch it later today! It always puts me in the mood to clean and if you could see the dust in my livingroom you'd know that some cleaning inspiration is just what I need right now.
Eddie has a diaper rash as of last night so I think we're going to hang out on the patio naked this afternoon to help clear it up. And then at 6:30pm we get to meet our favorite doctor (Kristin) for dinner at Thai Nakorn. Woo!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Melt My Heart

I. Love. This. Kid. So. Much. It. Hurts. (Sometimes...usually I just look down and see that my heart melted into a puddle on the ground.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Little John Bower

Eddie has grown to look just like my father-in-law, John. The resemblance is uncanny, really. I knew the male Bower genes were strong, but this is incredible.

We found a extra pair of John's ghetto 1980s glasses by the computer when we were up in Gualala. Of course, we had to put them on Eddie and snap a picture.

These pictures don't show how twin-like they are, but in person you can't miss it. (I should have brought a plaid shirt for Eddie to wear! Next time!)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Gualala, How We Missed You!

Ahhh...Gualala. I haven't been up there since the first week of January. January! That was too long ago. The fog on the coast, the sunshine on the ridge, the smell of salt in the air, my mother- and father-in-law, the fruit trees in their garden...I missed all of it.

From September through December I lived up there about 3/4 of the time so Eddie and I could be with Dave. It was nice being up there, but I really missed our house and our suburban neighborhood, with sidewalks and a proper downtown.

Pre-Eddie we used to go up to Gualala about once a month, if not more often. But now that Dave is off on Fridays and baby sits Eddie that day, us going up there requires him to drive down on Thursday night so he can have Eddie on Friday, then both of us making the 3 hour drive separately up to Gualala for the weekend, and then me driving home with Eddie on Sunday while Dave stays there to work the following week. Ug. This time, however, we had Eddie go to a half day of daycare at Cassie's on Friday (ka-ching...there went $30) so Dave didn't have to come down to watch him.

I was so distracted (read: excited about go up to Gualala) that I wasn't getting much done at school. The instrument wasn't working and the technician guy only had his phone on him so he couldn't look at the screenshots of the error code I had emailed him. So after a while I just decided my time would be better spent driving instead of being frustrated in front of the instrument or *not* writing my scholarship proposal at my desk.

So we left Davis at 2:45 and arrived at 6pm. Eddie slept about half the time, fussed a little, sucked down a bottle while we drove, and looked out the window the rest of the time.

We got to have delicious pizza for dinner (Eddie ate a WHOLE PIECE) and frozen cookies for dessert, in bed.

Saturday Dave worked (to make up some of the many hours lost to the stomach flu) while Eddie and I ran errands for my mother-in-law (grocery shopping for that night's dinner party, picking up people's mail at the post office, buying salsa at the farmers market, gathering some of our remaining household items from the coast house we lived in during the fall, etc.). That afternoon I was able to prepare the entire party meal--uninterrupted!--while Eddie played with his grammy's stuff on the kitchen floor. It was heavenly for everyone. Peggy sat in the kitchen and chatted with me, Eddie played, and I got to cook for a solid two hours. Ahhhhhh....

Eddie eating breakfast in Dave's old highchair:
That night we had 3 guests over for dinner and it was really nice. Eddie ate with us, sitting in Dave's old high chair at the table. He ate a little of everything: baked ham with pineapple rings, scalloped potatoes, salad, crescent rolls, asparagus (he wasn't a fan), and strawberry rhubarb pie. Peggy makes the BEST pies ever and I think this one is now my favorite, even above her apricot.

This morning Dave let me sleep in an extra hour after I nursed Eddie when he woke up. Then we packed up the van, played, and took some family pictures in the front garden. The moment Eddie got sleepy/fussy for his morning nap I boobied him and then popped him in the car where he instantly fell asleep (perfect!). Dave met me downtown with a white mocha and fresh scone from our favorite coffee shop (so I wouldn't have to take Eddie out of the car), we kissed goodbye, and we were off. We got back to Davis at 1pm.

After some lunch, Eddie and I returned my crappy HP laptop to Costco and then bought him a hard plastic kiddie pool and hose-end sprinkler to play with. Once we got home I got him naked so he could play in the water...but of course he didn't play with it. Instead he went straight for the dog water bowl, which we've been keeping out on the patio. We keep it outside since Eddie likes to dump it out and it has been safe there for the last 9 months...but today Eddie started going through the doggie door so now I'll just have to make sure the dogs have fresh water after Eddie dumps it out...

Oh, Eddie has perfected climbing up onto furniture. If there's a backpack or a pillow next to the couch or a chair he can climb right up. He can't walk, but he can climb. What a little weirdo.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Marriage vs. Ph.D.

Check it out.


...No, no, I'm not pregnant.

Yesterday I took Eddie to a radiation clinic in Vacaville to get a sonogram of his "undercarriage." The urologist thinks he can feel Eddie's undescended left testicle but he can't be sure. He said there's a 20% chance that it will come down on its own before the age of 2 and if not, then he will do a "minor procedure" to pull it down. First, though, he needs to determine that Eddie even HAS a left testicle and what it is stuck on.

I'm sure the sonogram technician has never worked so hard as she did to get those images from my sweet baby boy. My sweet WRIGGLY baby boy. We tried having him lie down, stand up, sit, etc. before I finally just held him in a spread-eagle position. Even that was tough because he wanted to grab the wand thing out of her hand. It was hilarious.

I finally gave him my phone and he managed to unlock it and call my brother, who was having an interview with Google in NYC at the time (sorry if we interrupted you, Edward!). My poor phone still works but it took a good hour before the drool dried enough so I could hear people talking.

The technician told me she wasn't allowed to discuss what she saw in the sonogram with me since she's not a doctor. I'm assuming the testicle is actually present because she kept labeling shots with "left test long view" and such.

By the time she got everything she needed, all three of us were covered in sonogram gel.

Eddie and I went to Winco afterward and he was such a good boy sitting in the cart while I did my shopping. He ate 3 whole Ritz crackers and about a million Cheerios.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Glass Plate Photography

My parents went to NY last week to see my brother graduate with his MBA from RPI.

While they were there, my dad and brother met up with a fellow my dad got to know through a large format photography forum online. The three of them made some pictures on glass plates (instead of film) just like in the olden days.

Check it out
. Isn't that incredible? They both look as old as my dad feels. Ha.

Memorial Day

We didn't do much of anything big BBQ with friends like we'd planned, no homemade beer drinking party at our friend Tara's like we'd planned. Dave's still recovering from the flu (his immune system is crappier than most since a bad case of Lyme wiped it out when he was a kid). We did get to have Jamba Juice and donuts while Eddie napped in the car yesterday afternoon and then we rented Up in the Air (it was okay).

Our house is cleaner than it has been since I was nesting--I cleaned EVERYTHING after I got better.

The chickens are now living in their outside coop. At first they looked a little scared of all the space (they were originally in a 4 square foot box, then a 12 square foot box, and now they have 75 square feet to run around in! I'll post pictures later.

I haven't been at school for almost a week due to sickness and the holiday weekend. I'm itching to get back to my thermal analyzer to see if I can get a good standard curve for the sensitivity calibration!!!!!!

After jury duty, days off for sickness and interviews, Dave has only been to like 3 days of work in the last month. GOD. At least he was paid for jury duty because otherwise we'd be beyond broke at this point.

Kay, I have to get Eddie's breakfast ready (he yells when he's hungry) and get us dressed since Anthony will be here in about an hour. It is supposed to be in the upper 80s today so I want to get the baby pool and water toys ready on the patio.