Wednesday, August 31, 2011

April Fools

Yesterday was a weird day.  It felt like someone kept playing tricks on me.

It all started in the morning when I looked outside to see if it was going to be cold or warm.  It looked cold.  The sky was gray and there was fog on the water.  However Seattle has tricked me before; looks cold in the morning and ends up being sunny and warm.  I pulled up the weather forecast on the internet and was blown away to see that it was supposed to be sunny and in the low 80's.  Wow, that's practically a heat wave for us this summer.  So, even though it was still cold and foggy, I put shorts on and put Levin in just a onesie.  Finally at noon, after freezing ALL MORNING LONG, I wondered when it was going to finally get sunny and warm up.  Our house thermostat read 62 degrees.  I pulled the internet forecast back up and according to it, it was sunny outside and in the low 80's... just like it had promised.  I thought, "this internet weather man is on crack.  He needs to get out of his chair and step outside."  It is neither sunny nor in the 80's.  Then I noticed that I was looking at Los Angeles' weather.  Seriously bummed me.  I had been anxiously anticipating the sun all morning and evidenced my faith by keeping my shorts on, despite the fact I was freezing.  I think I'll turn the heater on tomorrow; give myself a pseudo heat wave.  I hope you're enjoying the good weather LA.

Unaware of his impending doom by nurse and needle
Levin had his 2 month check up.  You know what that means... stats and shots.
Height: 24 in (80th percentile)
Weight: 13.5 lbs (80th percentile)
Head Circumference: can't remember (30th percentile)
I think my dad and Ray put it best.
Dad: All brawn and no brain to get in the way.
Ray: Ladies might love you.  Professors will not.
A healthy dose of Tylenol and a nap were on his agenda for the rest of the day.

The day just kept getting kookier.  Our house started smelling like gas.  We have a diesel furnace for heat, so I wondered if maybe there was a leak in the line.  I searched everywhere and couldn't find even a hint of a leak (except the smell of course).  I called the diesel delivery company to see if they had been out messing with our tank during the day... nope.  Finally, I called Ray to see if he had any suggestions and to warn him that Levin and I may be brain dead by the time he got home.  After talking on the phone for 5 minutes and brainstorming, we realized it was coming from the tool shed in the basement where Ray stores the lawnmower and a large colony of spiders (which are now probably brain dead as well).  The lawnmower decided to rid itself of its gas.  I spent the last half of the day trying to air out the house.  I think the diesel ran its course though, I feel stupider-er.  Poor Levin.  His 30th percentile brain never even had a chance.

The man that died with his boots on
Last, I kept seeing Ray's scuba diving dry-suit hanging from the deck as it was drying off.  All 12 times I saw it, I thought it was some person hanging from the gallows on our deck.  By the end of the day, I was pretty shook up about it.  You can only handle seeing a dead person on your back porch so many times... and that was about 11 times too many.

The good life
I think Levin sitting in his swing (with his growing gut) looks like a big man in his easy chair.  All he needs to learn to say is, "Woman, bring me my milk."  Ray about gagged when he saw the swing... a fuzzy bunny swing with ears on the head support???  As consolation, he's teaching Levin to grab the toy bunny (the blob between his legs in the picture) and strangle it.

And, I think I'll end on that note.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I've been thinking about cousins this past week, and I think they are really, REALLY important.

When I found out I was pregnant last fall, Ty and Michelle were newly engaged.  I would remind them that my coming baby was going to be that awkward oldest cousin that doesn't have anyone near their age (and doesn't have anyone to play with at family gatherings) UNLESS, they did something about it.  Well, they've done something about it and although I've only verbally teased Ty and Michelle about having babies, I'm very excited for all of my family to continue having children.

I grew up with a lot of cousins.  My mom is one of ten and my dad is one of six.  With that kind of fertility coming from both sides, I'm a thoroughbred baby-making-machine.  Well, I think.  I've only proven myself once...

I'm getting off topic.  That IS NOT where I meant for this blog to go.

What I really want to say is that I am so grateful for cousins.  They have made my life richer, and I can chalk up some of my happiest moments on this Earth to my cousins.

My cousin Haley and I are only a few months apart.  We didn't grow up in the same town and actually lived about 3 hours away from each other, but we got to see each other pretty regularly.  I think her mom (my Aunt Marcia) is mostly to thank for that.  Haley is an only child.  I think Aunt Marcia felt it was important for Haley to be around family and so they kept their family dentist in my hometown.  They also came to my hometown when it was time for their truck to get new tires and they spent a majority of holidays in my hometown.

Haley and I had a great childhood together.  I coveted her Lisa Frank trapper keeper (the one with the cow wearing sunglasses).  She coveted my family's dinners where we sat around the table and had to pass the mashed potatoes.  I wondered how wonderful it would be to have my own room.  She wished for a sister to share her room with.  I wanted to try being an only child so I could have hot lunch all the time.  She wanted my cold lunches full of leftovers.  Looking back on us, I think we balanced each other out quite nicely.

When Haley got married, she made me promise that once she started having kids, I would be their aunt and my kids would be their cousins.  No promise was necessary.  I already thought of her as a sister and I already think of her future babies as mine.  Hands down, Haley was the MOST excited person for me when I found out I was pregnant.  Well... hands down tied with my mom and Ray.  As soon as she found out she started making a quilt for this baby.  The fabric was boy colors so between she and Ray, they willed Levin to be a boy.

Her quilt came in the mail last week and I have been staring at it since.  It is so beautiful and the love it was made with is tangibly seeping out of it.  I see it and get the strongest feelings of gratitude that Levin is loved so much by her.

I'm becoming really attached to it too.  I'm afraid Levin, you'll only get this quilt someday when you pry it out of my cold, dead fingers.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Swaddle Breaker

He may never be known for his brilliance or his athletic ability or even for his chili cooking skills, but he will forever go down in the books as an expert swaddle breaker.

It's kind of a vicious cycle anyway... he doesn't sleep well when he isn't swaddled because he flings his hands around, hitting his head and waking himself up.  However, there isn't a swaddle he hasn't escaped.

How do you get a baby to sleep that isn't swaddled?
How do you keep a baby swaddled that isn't asleep?

However, it's pretty darn fun to watch him at his craft.  The best part is when that first hand gets free; nothing but raw pleasure on his face.

Sometimes in the morning I go in and he has the blanket down around his ankles.

And, don't think we aren't swaddling correctly.  Ray's watched youtube videos and takes the challenge seriously.

And, don't think we aren't doing it tight enough.  We've tried tag-teaming it in order to not get a millimeter of slack.

The facts are simple... our son has a gift.

Friday, August 26, 2011

This Week

Some of the best parts of my week have included:

"All Star" indeed
1.  I remembered I took this picture of Levin a few days ago for his Grandma Payne.  She LOVES it when he puts his fingers just so.  He does it almost daily for her and I try to make sure I capture each one.  Sometimes he only does it for a second and my trigger finger isn't fast enough.

2.  This week I started running again.  I felt like I looked like a wet noodle when I was running.  I guess what they say is true... you use your abdominal muscles even when you run.  My stretched out abdominal muscles are nowhere to be found and so I probably did look like a wet noodle.

Peacefully unaware he's wearing a dress
3.  Levin woke up this morning and he was GRUUUUUM-PY.  I think he was upset because he woke up and found himself in a dress.  He fell asleep wearing camo pants and woke up with a nightgown on.  I told him  to just be happy he wasn't born 100 years ago.  The black and white photo taken on his blessing day would have left everyone guessing as to whether it was a boy or a girl wearing that dress.

4.  I took a 4 mile walk with Levin in the park today.  It was a lot of work carrying that guy in a backpack and I've decided that I'll stop running and instead just take him on walks... probably a better work-out anyway.

5.  While walking today I realized the birds in the park have been at the blueberry and blackberry bushes.  All of the bird poop on the pavement walkway was purple.  It was absolutely beautiful.  Beautiful bird poop.  I didn't take a picture, but I think I will tomorrow.

Soon to be steak, potato, and vegetable pie
6.  I've made dinner all week with leftovers and stuff from the garden.  I think I'm in a bad way though.  Somehow my leftovers are only multiplying.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What This Blog Is Not

I've been noticing a trend in these last few posts... they are plastered with pictures of babies and are all about Levin.  I'm worried this blog has lost its balance.  I'm worried that when I finally have enough posts to actually print it as a book, it will merely be Levin's baby book.

This post is not about Levin.

This post is about what I've been working on lately.  Well... a few of the things I've been working on lately.

The quilt I made for our bed
Last November I decided I wanted to make our bedroom quilt.  I'd never made a quilt before, but I couldn't find a quilt that I liked for a reasonable price.  I wrote about working on it in this post.  What I didn't mention back then was that I was feeling sick because I thought it was turning out ugly.  Good thing I didn't give up on it, because I think it turned out amazing.  FAR better than I had even imagined it could.  This picture doesn't do justice to how amazing it turned out.  That being said, I learned a lot and know what I'll do different next time.  I'm afraid it gave me the quilting fever.

The mess that was a room
This room has been a mess since the day we moved into our house.  For the first year it was where we stored all the tools, paint, junk, Houdini, and lumber while we remodeled upstairs.  We spent the second year trying to turn it into a guest room and bedroom for a baby.  But junk rooms are a lot like junk drawers; once established as the catch-all, it's almost impossible to reclaim.  Let it go down in the records, however, this room was reclaimed.  After two years and 57 days, the last errant item was removed.

Partially reclaimed

The cradle Ray and my Dad built

A little bit closer view
We don't have a crib yet.  The only thing keeping Levin in his own bed at night is the height of the cradle.  He hasn't learned to jump yet.

Not one of those drawers are junk drawers.  They are all organized and everything is neatly folded.
 The polka-dotted thing on the dresser is a hot air balloon Ande made for Levin out of paper mache.  It will be hanging from the ceiling by tomorrow... just waiting for the spray paint on the ceiling hook to dry first.

In the closet

My hand-made poof balls
 I made these poof ball things right before Levin was born... before we knew if we were having a boy or a girl.  I had a feeling our baby was going to be a boy, but the purple tissue paper was a siren.  It called my name and would not shut up.  Levin told me a few days after he was born that he liked the color purple and that I could leave them up.

The first proof that Ray's sickly looking tomato plants will indeed bear fruit
Hmmm, not much more to say about that.  Ray can farm.

Fabric for future quilts
I've had this fabric laying out on the couch for a week because just seeing it makes me get excited.  I finally figured out how to explain my excitement to Ray.  I said, "quilting is for me what hunting is for you."  He suddenly got it.  The first few weeks of nursing Levin were kind of brutal.  He was a SLOOOOOW eater.  It felt like I would barely get done feeding him and it would be time to start again.  Levin's pot-bellied gut can be attributed to me discovering online fabric stores.  I started reminding Levin it was time for him to eat again.  I poured over website after website looking at the new fabrics coming out and finding the places online that sold them the cheapest.  I finally narrowed it down to the 4 collections I loved most.  They arrived in the mail last week.  Now I just need to decide what pattern of quilts to make them into.

A little bit closer look

I just wanted everyone to know that this house isn't ALL about babies.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Sunday Evening Post

I'm working on a post now that is titled, "Things I Wish I'd Done Differently."  As you can imagine it's going to be a long one.

Levin is lying on the bed with Ray and me right now and sleeping.  I don't think he'll be sleeping long though, because Ray found a single thread from somewhere and is using it to tickle Levin's ear and leg.  Now I know why Ray and my dad get along so well... I'm having deja vu of waking up from my own naps my ENTIRE life.

Today was a good day.  For lunch, Ray had left overs (don't feel sorry for him, we both LOVE leftovers) and I had a really good salad made entirely of leftovers or stuff from the garden.  It had lettuce (garden), tomatoes (garden), cucumbers (garden), mozzarella cheese (leftover from Abe/Grace wedding), candied walnuts (leftover from Ty/Michelle wedding), blueberries (neighbor's garden), poppyseed dressing (leftover from Ty/Michelle wedding).  I like to tell Levin what I'm eating for each meal because... well, he'll be eating it in a few hours.  He requests beet flavored milk and ice cream flavored milk the most.  I oblige.

I took a nap today.  I haven't taken a nap since the first week after Levin was born.  I've needed naps, just didn't feel like I had time to take them.  More about that later in "Things I Wish I'd Done Differently."  However, I don't deserve too much sympathy because Levin decided about 3 weeks ago that he'll take sleep over food.  I put him to bed at 9:00pm and he wakes up at 5:00 or 6:00am.  For about 6 seconds, I thought of waking him up; worried he might starve during those 9 hours or that I might bust open.  But, I haven't bust open yet and he certainly isn't starving.

Back when he was only a week old... and hated me pounding on his back.
I told Levin 3 times today that he is SOOOO stupendous, that he makes me want another one.  There's no such thing as too much of a good thing.

I'm worried I gave the wrong impression with the pictures of Levin crawling into his car seat yesterday; that Levin is a prodigy and that it is due to some deep, inner genius within him.  That's simply not true.  Ray gets all the credit.  He started with Levin when he was young.

Ray teaching Levin to crawl at 1 week

Levin saying, "I can't!"

Ray saying, "You don't want it bad enough."

Ta Daa

Today Ray and I started a tradition and hopefully it's a tradition that lasts.

We never had date nights before Levin was born, because pretty much every night Ray was home was date night.  Every night isn't a date night any more.

Bless the man's heart that offered to take our picture.
He tried really hard, but forgot to tell me I had some serious hair tweakers.

I planned this weekend's date.  I suggested we work our way through the alphabet to keep us from going to dinner and a movie every weekend.  We started with A.


We went to Gas Works Park on Lake Union and watched all the float planes take off and land at the water airport.  Since it was a perfect day in Seattle, we also saw all the boats going back and forth to the boat locks.  Levin just lied on the blanket and watched everything going on.  He would occasionally try and talk to us, but mostly he just wanted to see what was going on.  We had a picnic of KFC chicken, a cucumber salad (from Ray's garden) and beet salad (also from the garden).  We had a wonderful afternoon and I'm so excited for B.

We knew it was time to leave when Levin started trying to get himself back into his car seat.

Actually Ray was helping him learn how to stand.  We expect he'll be doing simple math by January.

Side Note:  I like to think a lot about what finally makes a person an adult.  Some of my best guesses are when you first subscribe to a professional journal, or when you buy your first major appliance, or when you take your first meal to a person that is sick or has just had a baby.  I think I've finally come up with the real answer... when you finally like to eat cucumbers and beets and squash and peas and all the other vegetables that made you dry-heave even last year.

Just in case you wanted to see one more of him.  I think the park wore him out.  He just lied on the floor when we got home.

Ray got a new camera and we're still learning how to use it... so a lot of the pictures are pretty washed out.  Rather than be upset I ruined a picture, I just think of them as artistic.