15 Month Appt.

G had his 15 month appt. today (1 day after his 15 month “birthday”) and behaved liked a total champ. He stepped on the adult scale for the lady (no more baby scale!), laughed and giggled as she looked inside his ears and throat (I guess it tickled?), didn’t even notice when they pricked his finger to test for iron levels (he’s got plenty, they said!) and only whined for about 30 seconds after he got his Pertussis shot. Actually, the shot hasn’t seemed to affect him at all…he’s been running around playing with the dog ever since we got home.

We are still opting out of the MMR and chickenpox vaccines for right now. It was a personal choice that I feel completely comfortable with, especially considering my prenatal bloodwork says that I am immune to Rubella (a disease that can permanently damage an unborn baby. We actually grew up next to a girl whose mother caught rubella while she was pregnant, and she was born deaf as a result). Measles and Mumps can be serious, but they are super rare and are usually only serious to adults. Eventually, he will get vaccinated, just because once he’s older I won’t have any control over where he travels, who he comes into contact with at the grocery store, etc., but for right now I want to let his little one-year old immune system be!

The BEST news is that G is now in the 25th percentile for weight at 22.4 pounds and in the 20th percentile for height at 30 inches! This is the first time we’ve seen these kind of numbers since his 3 month appt. The pediatrician seemed very pleased that he’s put on weight, especially since he just looks more “solid” than he ever has.

As far as illness goes, he’s still only been sick the ONE time as a 2 month old with a chest cold. No runny noses, no fevers, nothing. I’m absolutely terrified of his first illness– I don’t know how we’ll both handle it. Since he never feels sick, he doesn’t know what it feels like, and I’ve never had to console him. At least when he falls down, we can “blame” the table or the floor…

Also, he is already at a 2 year old level for speech, since he can now string together a few words at a time! I’ve heard him say, “Bye-bye, bah-bah!” (bye-bye, bottle!), “pees, ma-ma?” (please, mama?) and “da-da-boo?” (daddy, read me a book?). Yes, our smart little cookie 😀

He is repeating everything we say now, especially when we talk directly to him. As he was ripping apart my purse this morning (best distraction ever!), I said, “That’s mama’s gum.” and he said, “guh?” In Dallas this weekend, Jenny was feeding him pumpkin, and he said, “Pum-pum”. I gave him his pacifier today, and he said, “pah-pah”. It’s such a fun stage!

Also…he has quite an obsession with “piggy toes”. I ask him where his are, and he giggles and wiggles his feet or tries to touch them. Whenever I’m not wearing shoes, he comes up and grabs my foot, saying, “Pee! pee!” He’s even tried to grab a stranger’s toes…and yes, it was awkward 😉

Mom-Blogs

Just yesterday, Courtney Jenny and I were talking about how some “Mom-Blogs” sugar-coat their lives and end up only being a Photo-shopped version of their real life at home with kids.

I explained that I really have no patience for these kinds of blogs– I like real, and I like honest. Sometimes, it’s inspirational to read someone’s blog when they have it all together, (because, come on, let’s not hate on competent people, you know who you are), but inspiration is not always what I need. Instead, sometimes, I need to read about someone who wants so so badly to give up, but chooses to overcome instead. On certain days, this kind of encouragement isn’t just helpful, it keeps me sane.

So, I thought I would list a few of the blogs that I read, in case you, too, are a mom that needs to keep sane once in a while. I’ve included the blog by posting the link to one of my favorite articles from each:

Little Miss Momma on Momma Guilt: Although I didn’t include it, you need to read their love story! It’s so sweet that she decided to write it down in story form for her kids to read someday 🙂

The Wiegands on how she lost her 3rd baby at 14 weeks. If you turn on your volume, her blog plays such pretty music. Love it! Also, she has the most gorgeous kids I’ve ever seen. So, I guess if you have ugly kids, don’t read this blog (gotcha! every mother thinks her kids are the cutest thing ever, right?). They are also poor as dirt, which makes them extremely relatable 🙂

Momastery on 7 years of marriage and 3 kids later. I don’t agree with everything she says, but I gotta hand it to her, she’s encouraging. Big time. If you want to laugh until you pee your pants, just read her archives. There’s one post about Target that had Courtney and I crying. GO for it.

Caved In: When Parenthood Collapses Around You on refusing to feel Mommy Guilt, no matter how hard others might push it on you. I included her blog because she’s a fulltime working mom (a nurse) and provides a good dose of the “other side” for me to understand and try and relate to. Her son is just a few months behind G, so it’s fun to compare notes.

 

 

Another Praise

Since last Wednesday, when I found out that I would get to partner with and advertise at the Montessori school, I’ve received 10 potential piano students. 10!!! The exact number I wanted.

I don’t think all of them are going to pan out, as I am now getting so many inquiries in Atascadero (one, a family of four who lives 2 min. away!) and don’t feel like driving the 20 min. to San Luis Obispo anymore. But we’ll have to see.

In the meantime, that is incredible. When God answers prayer, he answers quickly!

Dallas Pics

Anthony and Micah, fighting it out 🙂

27.5 weeks vs. 35 weeks. Apparently, according to the lady at Target, we are "both having boys...BIG boys..."

G and his godmother, reading at the Folsoms

G throwing the ball around at a piano student's house

Dallas

It’s been almost a week since I posted! Well, there’s a good reason. After a crazy filled Thursday, we left bright and early at 7am for our 3 hours drive to El Segundo, where we caught a non-stop flight to Dallas! We’ve been planning this trip for months, as we still haven’t been out to visit our friends and church family since we moved in August. Virgin America offers great $99 non-stop flights, so it made the trip do-able, even with a toddler. We also used Easy Park LAX, parking our car for just $30 for the 4 days we were gone.

As far as flying with a toddler…well, it’s easier than the 4 times we flew when he was a baby…in SOME ways. In other ways, it’s a ton harder. Basically, there are pros and cons to every stage. In some ways, I prefer the infant stage, and in some ways I prefer this stage.

The pros, for instance? He can tell us what he wants. He’s very distractible when we have lots of treats and goodies. He loves to read books (yes, the same 3 that we were able to fit into our diaper bag, for 3 hours straight!!!).

The cons? Anyone who’s ever had a toddler can tell you that they love to MOVE. And when that movement is impeded by close rows of seats and they feel claustrophobic? Hysteria becomes their new best friend. And don’t get me started on how tough they are to deal with when they’re tired, bored and hysterical. I mean, we tried to get him a good nap earlier that day, but he was still a mess, kicking and flailing everywhere while shrieking. And, let me tell you, this 15 month old has got LUNGS!

So, parents with babies….fly while you still can!

Anyways. We made it to Dallas and had a great time. We stayed with the Folsoms in their spare bedroom/office, which worked out great. G and Fiona (their boston terrier) took a day to get used to each other, but after that it went smoothly.

The Unruhs drove up for dinner on Friday. It was so nice to see them again, and the boys all played together so well! It’s already apparent that G idolizes Topher…every little thing he did, G watched, eyes shining with admiration and wonder. Topher also clung to Jesse like a barnacle. They talked non-stop. When Jesse went to put G to bed, Topher ran to Courtney and said, “Mama, let’s make-pretend you’re Jesse and talk to me.” He didn’t melt down about leaving the Folsoms later until he asked if Jesse was “coming home with him” and Jesse had to answer that he had to take care of Gregory (um, and me?).

Saturday morning, Jenny, Courtney and I had coffee at a lovely little place. Courtney and I then drove to Buy Buy Baby to buy Jenny’s baby bash gift (alliteration! it was actually a baby “shower”…baby bash sounds psychotic, when you think about it…). After some afternoon naps, we headed to Vespers at our old parish, St. Seraphim’s, and then we headed over for pizza at the Unruh’s place.

Sunday, after church, was Jenny’s baby shower (she received a lot of stuff! wow!). Sunday evening, one of our old friends and her husband came over to have dinner with us at the Folsoms. After we were done and Lil G had been put to bed, Jenny and I went to Katie’s house for a “girl’s night” with Courtney and a few others. We watched the Golden Globes while Jenny and I stared enviously at all the girls drinking wine, whilst consoling ourselves with icecream and apple cider 🙂

And then Monday, our last day. The Unruhs came over for a yummy breakfast made by Jason (Dutch-baby pancakes and sausage! Yum!). At around 1pm, we all said our goodbyes. Jenny and I made a quick run to Target to return a few baby shower items and buy the organizer she wanted (to store all those new baby gifts!). Then, at 3:30, we headed to Southlake to see Julie and a few of my piano students. Out of the 4 families I contacted (there simply wasn’t time for all of them, so unfortunately, I had to choose), I was able to see 3. I even got to listen to one of my “girls” play her newest song for me. She’s advanced sooo much in 4 months, it’s incredible. It makes me feel deeply comforted to know that she still loves the piano and wants to excel!

And then, at 5 pm, we headed for the airport 10 min. away. There were absolutely no lines at all (even though we only brought one carry-on for the 3 of us, we still had to “check” our carseat), not even through security. The flight was…well, I already mentioned that. The headline for that flight should be, “TIRED TODDLER WREAKS HAVOC ON PASSENGERS”…or something similar. We made it to LAX at 8pm, found our shuttle right away, and made it out of our Easy Park Lot by 8:45. We arrived home at 12:35, after a few bathroom stops.

All in all, the logistics of this trip (er, the ones we could control!) went awesome. Jesse and were super organized and it really made a difference. We chose to do only 1 carryon, 1 personal item, and the diaper bag, simple because I start having Braxton Hicks contractions anytime I do anything that my body deems as physically exerting in the slightest.  After walking through the airport to get to our gate, pulling nothing but our carryon, I couldn’t stop cramping for nearly an hour. It was actually kind of worrisome, to be honest.

Luckily, I have a wonderfully strong, patient and selfless husband who not only wrangled G and carried most of the luggage a good deal of the way, but he also drove all but 30 minutes of the 6 hours to and fro from El Segundo. What a guy, seriously.

Aside from the logistics, the trip also went great. While we know that we made the right decision to live and be near family, it’s also good to be reminded of why we’ve remained such close friends with both the Folsoms and the Unruhs throughout the years 🙂

 

Also…

Before any of this goodness with the Montessori school happened, I attended a tutoring info-session last night in San Luis Obispo.  Since I almost have my MA, I qualified for the top tier of pay, so I decided to apply. It doesn’t pay as much as piano lessons, but hey! Helping some Cal Poly student with their English 201 class? Sounds kinda fun!

I filled out an application last night. Today, they notified me that I am now on their list of potential tutors. We’ll see if they match me with anyone (did that sound like a dating website, or what?!).

Blessings

Many of you might recall when I posted, “The Plan” a few months ago. Since then, the only part of Phase 2 not yet enacted was the part about me making more money. I have my English class to teach, a piano student, and my online writing job for my old piano boss. All 3 of these add up to about 5 hrs./week of outside-the-home work and about 3 more hours/week of inside-the-home work. Only 8 hours total, which is not much. This only adds up to about $750/month, which is also not quite what we need for aggressively paying off student loans, adding lots of savings, etc.

What I really need is more piano students. Teaching piano is not only something I love to do, but it brings in a lot of money per hour (usually, about $80/month for every student I can find for 2 hrs./month of work), which means that I don’t have to work much to make the amount of $ we need. I only want to be working 10-15 hrs./week outside the home, and only while I have a babysitter from within the family (another one of my “rules”). Both my mother and mother-in-law have graciously covered the 4 hrs./week I teach my class. Teaching piano in the afternoons would greatly complement Jesse’s work hours, since he’s home by 3:15pm.

So, I’ve been aggressively marketing, sending advertisements to every newsletter I can think of within my social circle (s) and posting ads online.

And then I got a great idea– my old music company (the one that I now write for) used to partner with preschools and Montessori schools, offering to give them a percentage of the monthly profit in exchange for using their location and piano. The benefit for parents? Not having to drive to a separate studio or location while getting a reduced tution. The benefit for me? Not having to drive to tons of different homes, lowering the earning power/hour since you have to account for driving time. Back when I lived in Dallas, I had to add at least 40 min./day onto my work hours, so it really adds up!

So, I sent out an inquiry email to 4 different Montessori schools in the area. I heard back from one last week. She said that they already had two piano teachers on staff, but would let me know if anything changed.

As of this morning, I still hadn’t heard back from the other 3, so I decided to send out a follow-up email.

Less than an hour later, I heard back from the Montessori school in Atascadero, saying that they had just gotten back from Christmas vacation yesterday and couldn’t wait to have me come in and talk about the possibilities! Not only do they already have a nice piano in their art room, but they also have Tues-Thurs. afternoons available!

Even if I only get one or two students, and even if they’re spread out in times, the school is literally 5 minutes away. So no biggie!

I was able to meet with the director this afternoon, bringing with me some updated flyers. She made copies and hung them around the school with me! I was already fingerprinted in August, so that’s already been taken care of! Now, I just need to wait….

On top of this, today I also got two email inquiries about private piano lessons!

So…we’ll see what comes of all this. Definitely a step in the right direction, even if it hasn’t translated into $ yet. Oh well, such is the self-employed life!….For now, I’m just grateful, because this definitely is a huge encouragement, right when I needed it 🙂

New year, new…suit?

I know it’s really early to be thinking about bathing suits. In fact, some of you are probably dying a little bit inside, right here, right now, as I say this.

But I am so tired of being huge. I’m also trying not to think about the fact that I will only get bigger, as these last 13 (maybe less?? please??) weeks progress. This is my way of dealing.

One thing I am coming to grips with is the fact that I now live in CA, which means that there will be lots of beach trips this upcoming summer. Also, my parents have a large pool in their backyard. Enough said, right? Bathing suit needed.

Way back when, in my teenage years, I tried to wear two piece suits, but it just wasn’t “happening”. I know this is hard to believe, considering that most people are the opposite, but I was actually much heavier in high school. Seriously. About 15-20 pounds heavier! Most people vow that by their 10 year reunion, they will look like their high school self again.

If this happens to me at my 10 year reunion? It will probably be because I’m pregnant with #3 (oh man…scary thoughts here, people…).

When my metabolism kicked into over-drive, sometime around my sophomore year of college (for the record, I did nothing to cause this. I was eating cafe food and late night “Molca Salsa”, exercising less than I did in high school…none of it makes sense!), and I suddenly weighed 15 pounds less than I was accustomed, I swore off one-piece bathing suits. Who knows…maybe I was rebelling, just a little?

Surprisingly, after I had G and thanks to the absence of stretch marks (thanks for the genes, mom!), I was able to wear a 2 piece once more.

But, let’s be honest here…Baby SnowCone is due in April. In CA, that’s when people start wearing shorts and tank tops. Instead of having 8 months of breastfeeding to take off all that baby belly, I’ll have just days/weeks.

Yes, realism. (And, yes, I realize the complete and utter irony of that statement, seeing as I am 7 months pregnant, sitting next to a roaring fire, eating cheesecake, dreaming of bathing suits).

So…perhaps a one-piece bathing suit is in order here? Just to take off some of the pressure? To spare the world one more muffin top floating in some pool?

Being honest, it’s been years, YEARS since I bought a one-piece bathing suit. Approx. 8 years, to be exact. So I had no idea what I was looking for.

Until I saw this adorable suit in Anthropologie’s new collection:

Totally cute and retro, right?

The only problem? The price tag. $148!!!

Wow. No thanks. I’d rather buy a house!

But then, I found this suit at Shape FX.

comes with a removable halter

Almost identical.

The price?

Normally, $79.  Right now, however??? On sale for $10.

It’s almost like I just made that up, it’s so wayyy too good to be true! Hard to believe, even!

Actually, there are probably a lot of things you’re finding hard to believe right now…

But I can’t possibly think that I’m the only pregnant woman, dreaming of one day wearing a swimsuit again? That actually seems pretty probable, no?

 

Our Growing Man

Our Lil’ Man is growing by leaps and bounds lately!

If you ask him where his hair and ears are, he will sometimes grab them (he has to be super focused).

He can drink through a straw.

He’s almost figured out how to get Claire out of her crate (uh-oh..)

He kisses icons at church (actually, it looks more like a head-bump, which he does out of affection for people when he’s tired of hugs… 🙂 )

He says, “please” consistently (although it sounds like, “lssss”)

He says “thank you” (“dah-doo”)

He says, “Yeah!” (especially when I say, “do you want juice?”)

If you ask him to get something or put it away, he does it! (or, if he chooses not to, he makes sure that YOU KNOW he’s choosing to deliberately disobey…). If I say, “No, bring the ball to da-da!” he does exactly that.

He says, “Aw duh” (all done). This is a wonderful development, because when he’s mooching food off of my plate, all I have to do is say, “All done!” and he holds his hands out in the air to the side and walks away.

He is babbling ALL the time, trying to imitate every word we say. I say, “Go to grandpa!”, he says, “Ban-Bah!”. We say, “we’re going to church!” and he says, “Chur!”

He holds basketballs/balls/anything high in the air, raises his eyes to the ceiling, bends his legs and straightens quickly, trying to “shoot”. Seriously, I’ve never seen a baby do this!

He can catch gentle bounce passes (um, wow with the eye/hand coordination?)

Last but not least, he is obsessed with basketball.

This is how he stands whenever basketball is on TV. If it's anything else, he ignores the TV and doesn't even care that it's on.

New…couch!

I’ve been waiting for this couch for MONTHS. Literally. I’ve checked Craigslist daily, typing in the words, “vintage couch”, hoping for one to pop up in our price range.

The problem with most couches like this?

They’re either wildly expensive:

Exhibit A: Anthropologie couch, $3,200

Or they have some ugly 70’s print that needs a reupholstery job (which can run about $800):

Exhibit B

Or they are torn up from years of use/abuse:

Exhibit C

I’ve been searching for something JUST LIKE this ever since we sold our huge beast of a Chesterfield sofa back in Dallas (it LOOKED cool, but it was one of the most uncomfortable things EVER).

Exhibit AWESOME

But I’ve had no luck. The couches were all Exhibits A-C. Until last night, when someone posted this couch!

Exhibit "Match-Made-In-Heaven"

I was the first to email her, so it’s ours! I already drove out and paid her for it, since there were tons of offers. Mint condition, perfect neutral color, and only $200! 😀