Archive for the 'Life in the Koog House' Category

Not quite sure what she did to deserve it…

Monday, June 30th, 2008

but Emma gave Sarah a time out today (after a conversation that involved many pleasantries, including Emma asking Sarah ‘How was your weekend?’).  :)

Googling Bob Barker

Friday, June 27th, 2008

So part of having a baby (for all women and for some lucky men) is parental leave from work for some amount of time.  April 30 was my last day at the office, and I’ll return twelve weeks after that – on July 24.

Since Sarah’s birth was induced (four days before her due date due to concerns that she would be a large baby, and that labor was very near anyway), I was able to ‘schedule’ one free day off for myself before her May 2nd birth.  That May 1 was a quiet, neat day.  I just took it easy, decompressed a bit from the rush to wrap up/transition all of my projects at work, checked the hospital bags for all the necessaries, took myself out to lunch, and just tried to enjoy the last day as a mother of one child.

On May 2, well, we all know what happened that day.

And since then, I’ve been temporarily at home, caring for the special new little sweetheart in our lives. 

But another part of being on leave is getting to experience weekdays at home – a novelty for a full-time employed person like me.

One of the first things that struck me was that on the Soap Operas that I have loosely followed for years (going back to my high school and some college free days), most of the main characters turned up inexplicably married to different main characters than they were married to when I watched during the last maternity leave, about three years ago.  Not only that, but the children of the main characters, who were still tiny tots three years ago, have been rapidly aged by much more than three years and are, in various cases, now teenagers or young adults running businesses.  In the case of Victor Newman on the Young and the Restless (which is supposed to be set in Wisconsin, by the way), he has one whole new, adult son who’s turned up that I never knew about before.

Not only that, I have watched a little bit of the “new” Price is Right, with Drew Carey, instead of Bob Barker, as host.  As I first watched, I wondered how old Bob was doing.  Is he still alive?  Is he ill?  I thought about Googling him.  Then realized how ridiculous that would be.  But then realized that ‘Googling Bob Barker’ would make a spiffy blog post title.

The next thing that struck me was how bad daytime TV is.  One highlight is that a local independent station plays German-language Deutsche Welle for much of the day, so I can brush up on my German when the mood strikes.  Also, in the early days, I watched and got hooked on a few Lifetime Movie Network movies, but after the first few days, I’ve tried to stay away from the TV for the most part.

It’s more interesting, when I’m not doing dishes or laundry, and when I’m just hanging out with a sleeping baby on me, to simply pay attention to what goes on in the neighborhood, and even in our own house, during the day.

One of the greatest sources of amusements has been our cats, whose secret weekday daytime lives I am now privileged to observe.  Mostly they just sleep alot.  But Jim also makes a point of sleeping on, or in, every single baby-item in the house.  I’ve finally given up on removing him.  He just goes right back, anyway. 

The Secret Lives of Cats Darn that Jim... Darn that Jim!  I've given up on keeping him off the baby's things That Jim sits on ALL the baby's things!And the cats are enjoying having me home.  They get to go outside and come inside throughout the day now, which has led to a new hobbie for Minnie: sitting on the outside window ledges of the house and looking in.

Minnie - Inside Out Our cats Minnie's new hobby is to hang out on the outside window ledges

All this fun is going to come to an end of four weeks (minus one day).   

It’s almost a shame that a nice break of time like this isn’t built into the work year (or every other year or two or three) for every American.  It’s a healthy thing to do to just have the mental break and to refresh from the usual work routine.  Oh, well.  For me, four weeks is still a nice amount of time to enjoy, and that’s what I plan on doing.  Right along with the baby, the cats, the bad tv, the computer, and the errands and (decaf) Starbucks runs. 

With a baby who is reluctant to sleep anywhere else other than right on Mom, I know I’ll get in a lot of rest before this gig is up.

I’m (almost) back!!!!

Friday, June 27th, 2008

After quite some time away from the ol’ blog, I’m revving up to write lots of updates here in the coming days. 

In the meantime, feel free to mosey on over to our Flickr page to see a little of what we’ve been up to at our house. 

 

Me and my sweet baby (3 weeks old)

Sisters

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Two Sisters

This view isn’t the most flattering of sweet little Sarah, but you can sure see how thrilled Emma is about being a big sister – especially a big sister who gets to help do things (like hold the baby or hand mommy diapers when it’s time for a change).  There have also been an awful lot of kisses given by the big sister to the baby sister, too!

It’s Official!

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

BabySarah 016 

Baby Sarah has arrived!

We’re home now and all doing well.

More details soon!

Getting Ready for Baby

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

Getty Ready for the Baby

 

The whole family is getting ready for the new arrival.  Here’s Minnie dozing in one of her new favorite spots – the diaper changing part of the bassinet in the living room.

Jim often joins in by napping in the bassinet portion, itself.

I’m not concerned about the cats continuing this behavior once we bring Baby home.

They’ve both proven themselves to be pretty baby-averse.  So once we’re using this set-up for its proper purpose, I’m sure they’ll make themselves scarce.

Solos

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

My little daughter just LOVES to sing.  And we’re happy that she has the opportunity to learn lots of new songs at her new preschool.  She often comes home and starts singing one we hadn’t heard before. 

(I loved singing and learning songs, at that age too, and there is an infamous cassette tape still in existance that records me singing (at age 3) one little song-I’d-learned-at-nursery-school after another.)  Maybe all little girls this age love to sing?

Anyway, one of Emma’s daycare notes sent home last week indicated that she had, that day, performed a “solo” of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” for her classmates at school.

Then today, when I dropped her off, her teacher told me that now, most days during song time, she breaks into a solo performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (otherwise known at our house as ‘The Dorothy Song.’). 

The teacher said that the other students all listen in rapt attention, “because this is their peer singing to them,” and that Emma’s voice (which usually carries well throughout the house, by the way) “is so quiet and sweet.”  It’s true, she has a special soft singing voice for the Dorothy Song. 

She also doesn’t quite know all the words, but has a lot of fill-in words that almost sound like the actual lyrics.  I bet it’s pretty cute to see.

By way of background, since Emma LOVES the Wizard of Oz movie AND all of the songs in it, I have been receiving requests from her for the past several months to sing to her the various favorite tunes (The Dororthy Song, the Scarecrow Song, the Tinman Song, and the Lion Song).   She also made up her own ‘Toto Song’, which she sings to the tune of the Scarecrow/Tinman/Lion Song (they all have the same tune, just different lyrics), and she fills it all in with “ruffs.”

In light of these requests, I had to go online and print out the lyrics so that I could consult them, learn them, and sing them.

Emma now often sings parts of the songs I can sing most often (I know the Scarecrow song the best, the Tinman Song next well, and am pretty hopeless on the Lion Song; the Dorothy Song is kind of hit or miss, depending on the day).

She listens so carefully (and watches my lips) when I sing. 

And I only heard it once – one day when she broke into it spontaneously from the car seat in the back of the car as we drove around – but I’ll tell you, there’s not much cuter in the world than hearing a two year old sing the lyrics (from the Scarecrow Song):

“I would not be just a nuffin’, my head all full of stuffin’, my heart all full of pain…..”

We’re enjoying the performances from our little songbird.  I bet she’ll sing lots of these to her little baby sister, when the time comes, too.

Relief

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

Clearly, Paul and I have taken on too much, of late…

Moving to a new house, trying to get the old (duplex) house ready for new tenants, looking for new tenants, helping one (family relation) set of tenants to get a new apartment and leave our place because they’ve gotten behind in rent (and owe us money, which is stressful and upsetting), starting Emma at a new daycare, taking care of Emma every day, both of us working full-time, Paul doing his last semester of law school and hunting for a job, AND trying to get ready for a new baby on the way….

We’ve pretty much been stressed out of our gourds.

But finally and importantly, despite all else, we’re starting to make real progress on setting up the new nursery in preparation for our new arrival.

Last weekend, Paul finished painting the baby’s room (of course, it happened to be the ONE room of the new house that needed painting – it had previously been a crazy midnight blue color with an irremovable Bob Marley sticker on the wall – not baby friendly).

Also, during this week, Paul managed to find where, in those mystery moving boxes in the basement, our newborn baby clothes and nursing gear have been hiding! (Now, I’m just a few laundry loads – and a shopping trip for tiny diapers – away from stocking the baby’s dresser with her first clothes and supplies).

And finally, today, after an increasingly frenzied search, he has located the baggie of hardware required to reassemble our crib so that our little one will have a bed of her own when she’s ready for it!!  (Not knowing where that was had started to be a real concern).

So, whew! 

Forty-Seven days to go (if that many) to get ready for her, and now I’m actually feeling more optimistic that we will actually, indeed, be as prepared as we can be.   

And on other fronts, as my belly gets bigger and bigger, my walk (OK, waddle) slower and slower, and my general energy levels lower and lower, I’m being forced to accept that I can only do so much, and that clients and coworkers and fellow board members, the unpacking in the new house, and everything else will just have to do without as much of me for awhile. 

And that that’s OK.  Because I have a wonderful, other, part of life on the near horizion, and my attention has to be more and more focused there. 

It’s all starting to seem very real, and I’m getting very excited about being able to meet our new little one very soon!

Fever

Monday, March 17th, 2008

So much for cyberspace karma.  My last post was about how well we were all sleeping through the night, and no sooner did I post it than things changed for us.

Wednesday night, at home, we noticed that Emma was not only tired (rubbing her eyes before 6:00 p.m.), but warm.

Thursday and Friday, she had very high temperatures – in the 102-104 range.  This freaked me out a bit, but I’ve since learned that kids this age can run fevers this high without it being as alarming as if an adult’s temperature were that high.

Still, she missed two days as preschool, we had to cancel a much-anticipated evening play date, and we got her in to see the Doctor.  His prognosis – just a virus…

She’s doing better now, but we’re all a little tired from the experience (the extra care and some night-time wake-ups, including one throw-up event in her bed at 3:30 a.m.; let’s hear it for waterproof matress liners!!!).

We’re all on the mend now, though (knock on the Internet).

The Discovery of Insulated Curtains

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

It’s taken over two-and-a-half years of parenting, a move to a new house, and a trip to a hotel room in New Orleans for us to figure it all out.  But now we have.

And Emma (and we) have been sleeping better at night ever since.

Our new house happens to be in a neighborhood with LOTS of light from the street that shines into the windows at night.  Mostly, this is from street lights, although a lot of neighbors also seem to keep the porch lights, and or various garage/security lights on.

Also, the bedrooms in our new house came with some pretty Levelor blinds.  They are lovely things in two layers, but they are fairly translucent, and let in a lot of that street light.

During our first several nights sleeping in the house, if we woke up in the night, we saw how very light it was in the room.

It slowly began to occur to us that the high light level was negatively impacting our ability to sleep soundly through the night.

And Emma had a lot of wake-ups, too, that had to be attended to.

Then we went to New Orleans for a few days.  And the hotel there – right on busy Bourbon Street – had “black out” curtains that kept out all light. 

We were surprised to see how well we slept through the night, and how rested we felt afterwards.

We started to wonder if the colds we had were, in part, due to the cruddy sleep we’d been getting.

I decided, after we returned home to our bright-night rooms, that it was time to shop for curtains.  And I did a little research, and discovered that curtains can be “lined” or even “insulated,” with these labels indicating varying degrees of light-blocking abilities.

I ordered some insulated “black-out” curtains for Emma’s room, and some decorative “lined” curtains for ours.

Now that these are installed, the results have been amazing.  Emma has hardly made a peep from the pitch blackness that is her night-time room, since we put them up, and we’ve been getting much better nights of sleep and feeling generally more rested and healthier, ourselves, too.

As a baby, Emma had night-time wake-ups for a considerably longer period that some other kids do.  I marked it all up to temperment and disposition.

But what if we’ve finally now just discovered the key to keeping kids (and adults) asleep!  It’s simple – just block out as much light as possible!

What if the difference between parents who can get their 7-months old to sleep through the night and those who can’t can be explained only by the difference in the curtains in the two homes!?

We’re now going to be putting up some black-out curtains in the new baby’s room, too, and it will be interesting to see how her sleeping patterns evolve.

In any event, the ability to block light should help with daytime naps, at least. 

So we’re all sleeping better in the house now.

If any of you think you might also benefit from some new curtains, I recommend checking out www.countrycurtains.com online.  That’s where we got ours.  They have a large selection of lined and “black-out” curtains that really do the trick!