Saturday, June 28, 2008

This is the End

With the birth of our Valley Girl, Ruthann, life no longer revolves around the Vegas baby.  So we're moving to a new blog with a (hopefully) easier to remember name.

Keep up with the continuing adventures of Thomas, Ruthann, and Beckham (the fur baby) at

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ruthann Marie Pehl

6 lbs, 5 oz and 19" born at 11:02 a.m. on June 16, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

This is It

I'm off to bed because we've got a busy day tomorrow. At 7:30 am, I have to report to the hospital for my doctor to induce labor. Yep, tomorrow, June 16th, is Ruthann's birthday. At my last exam, my doctor estimated that I'd have the baby about an hour after my water broke. Since that's not much time, we immediately started talking about having her break my water at the hospital to have a little more security and observation during the whole process. She gave me two options: Friday or Monday. Since Monday was the day that Grandpa P. picked for his incentive plan (ie, bet actual money on), I picked Monday. Thomas was also born on the day Grandpa P. picked. (What can I say, I respond well to incentives).

Please don't call us, since we're going to be kind of busy. As soon as Curtis gets home, he'll send out a mass email to everyone whose email we have with details and pictures. Hopefully, he'll also post a picture here on the blog. I'll be back in a couple of days with the complete story.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

It's a Date

Between Mom and Curtis both being here, I no longer have to take Thomas everywhere. Shopping and errands are much easier not having to deal with carseats, shopping cart buckles, and Mr. Impatient. Today, Mom and I went out and did some errands, and yesterday, Curtis and I got to go out on an actual date. We went and saw the new Indiana Jones movie (fun flick with moments of stupid). I can't actually think of the last movie we saw in theatres. All four of us went out to a seafood buffet to celebrate Curtis being completely done with work and as an early Father's Day dinner. Thomas didn't seem as excited by shrimp this time, but was wild about grapes. Curtis couldn't cut them up fast enough.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tooth Number 11

Thomas's 11th tooth made a dramatic appearance yesterday. He woke up at 5 am and was crabby all day. Fussed a lot, didn't want held, threw toys and books and us and the cat, and barely napped. By 6 pm, when Curtis came home from football practice and errands, Mom and I were more than ready to turn the boy over to him. Thomas opened his mouth and there it was, a circle of gleaming white marking where his right lower molar had finally broken the surface. Hopefully, today will be a better day for him now that that tooth is up. One more of these huge molars to go, then the canine teeth, which are so sharp that they cause almost no teething pain at all.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Two-Step Thomas

That's my mom's new name for him. He's gotten much more confident taking a step or to to move from one handhold to another. He'll let go, shuffle one pudgy foot forward, then the other, and then lunge for the next handhold. Sometimes that second step is more of a stagger and sometimes that lunge leaves him a little short of his target. We've had several face-plants, which cause much woe and vexation. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he's walking confidently before Mom leaves.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Photo Dump

Sunday's Baby Shower (Admire the Diaper Cake)

Thomas at Timmy's bday (age 1). Timmy's older sister Jessie is totally in love with Thomas, though he doesn't seem to notice.

Thomas and Timmy acknowledge one another's existence

Thomas tastes his first quesadilla and ponders the meaning of life

Thomas has graduated from shapes to noodles. Spaghetti is Fun!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Welcome Mom

Mom arrived yesterday and is having a great time playing with Mr. Thomas, who in turn, is thrilled to have a dedicated audience. Curtis is chained to the dining room table working through his backlog of grading in order to have grades turned in by 8am Monday. I'm still hanging in there and looking forward to my baby shower tomorrow afternoon. It feels good to have my support team here on standby though.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Next on FOX: When Pasta Attacks

We had our good belly laugh for the day. Thomas is a full-fledged member of the Clean-your-plate Club. When he's finished eating, he throws every last crumb of remaining food onto the floor. This morning, he was tossing spaghetti noodles off his tray when the cat came to investigate. A noodle hit it on the head, causing it to dart backwards. However, running backwards, it discovered that whatever this strange creature was, it was also draped over its back and stuck to its back legs. In a panic, the cat now runs forwards into the mesh baby gate. Curtis had to rescue the poor cat from the vicious pasta. Its dignity insulted, the cat hid under the table until Curtis coaxed it out and petted it for a while. Poor kitty. It's hard to be calm when you're in the grips of a pasta attack.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Comings and Goings

It's been a crazy week and it's only Tuesday. It's as though everything must happen this week. Curtis has half-days until Thursday, but we seem to meet each other coming and going. Today, he left for work, then I left for a meeting at church, with a stop at the library and Trader Joe's. He got home while I was out, but by the time I got Thomas fed, changed, and ready for his nap, it was almost time for Curtis to leave to vote and go to a department meeting and his tutoring job. Before he got back, I was out the door again, to vote and go to my spiritual book club group. I'm not even sure if he's been home, because now he's at another meeting. Tomorrow may be even worse, since his half-day is in the afternoon; I have a doctor's appointment in the morning; and in the evening, the dean is coming over for dinner (AHH!!! Must clean!).

It'll be a big relief next week, when the calendar becomes completely blank as we officially hit "full-term" and go into baby-waiting mode. After Sunday, there's just blank space until the end of the month.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Monday's To Do List

Wash dishes
Put away last of the kitchen stuff from Roach Refugee Day
Mop kitchen & bathroom
Clean counters in k&b
Wash diapers
Write thank you notes

Where to start? . . . I'm thinking with a nap.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

14 Months

Today, Thomas is 14 months old. It's really starting to sink into me that the baby really is coming soon. I've been telling people for months that the two babies will be 14 months apart. In my mind, though, the baby's not coming until summer, but Curtis only has 4 days of finals left. Whoa.

In other news, my brain, or at least my memory, has apparently overloaded and shut down. This week, I lost the GPS, the digital camera, and checkbook among other things. In each case, I can remember the last time I used the thing, but have NO memory of what I did with it after that. So far, I've found the camera and GPS (after we really needed it), but the checkbook is still in hiding. Fortunately, Curtis reminded me that we have a box of extra checks, so I was able to pay the rent today. Darn pregnancy brain!

Friday, May 30, 2008

What's that Eerie Creaking Sound?

It almost sounds like someone walking. Is someone in the apartment? Are there rodents in the walls or ceiling? Is the ceiling about to collapse?
Oh, it's the cat, snoring.

Getting Closer & Baby Shower!

Went to the doctor for a checkup yesterday. She told me that I'm already dilated to 3 cm, but could stay that way for some time. (With Thomas, I was dilated for about 2 weeks before he was born.) I explained how we're really not ready for baby since I want to fly my mom out and Curtis has one week of school left. Dr. said that it would be a good idea to bring Mom out in another week or so, so she's flying here on Friday. (Yay!) So after all the talk about how it would NOT be good for baby to come right now, I had painful Braxton-Hicks contractions (false labor) all evening. So it definitely feels like D-Day (D for Delivery) is approaching.

Also yesterday, my mom's group had an end-of-the-year party with a baby shower for me. It was awesome. Lots of great potluck food and they pitched in and got me a glider rocker. Unfortunately, Curtis hurt his quadricep muscle on Wednesday and needs at least another day before he can carry in a 50 lb box of chair. I'm dying to see what it looks like.

Today's plan is to take it easy and not go into labor. Hopefully no painful false labor either. It's a good plan.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Free is Free

Friday, Curtis scored 4 free Dodgers tickets that one of his football kid's dad wasn't going to use. We got a hold of our friends, the good Drs. R, who were able to drop everything to come with us. Turns out that the tickets also included a parking pass for preferred parking. Curtis joked that we've had seats further away than our parking spot. The tickets were in the second lowest level between the home dugout and home plate. It was easier to read the small numbers on the fronts of the player's jersey than it was to read the number off the scoreboard. Amazing seats.

Thomas had a great time even though it was way past his bedtime. He discovered that the Drs R were a soft touch for sharing their food and that if you look cute and point, even the strangers in the row behind will give food to a baby. Turns out that he likes garlic fries, the little beggar.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Surrender to Sleep

I don't know why blogger is showing this photo in portrait, because every other program I open it in shows it right way up. Any way, if you tilt your head to the right, the picture looks better.

Tooth 10 - Halfway there

At last Thomas's bottom right tooth (lateral incisor) broke the skin. He's had 3 on the bottom for a while and looks a little lopsided. He's now got half of his complement of baby teeth. Next will be the molars (M1) on his right side, then the 4 canines, and around his second birthday, another set of molars.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Wine Coup Haiku

I went for Rooibos
Found eleven summer wines
One to six bucks each

Before the farmers' market, I stopped by Cost Plus (aka World Market) for South African Rooibos tea (which they were out of, so I got peppermint). I thought I'd run by the wine section to see if there were any interesting, cheap whites. Curtis had gotten a few from Trader Joe's and I'll be able to enjoy them by the end of next month. They turned out to be having an amazing sale. When I had found 10 different wines under $6, I figured I might as well go for the 10% case discount. The most expensive wines I got were $5.99 (before discount) for a French rose and a sparkling cava. The cheapest was $1.49. After the discount (and with the tea), I got a case of wine for $49.13. Curtis was very proud. I think our wine needs are now met for the summer. The cashier said that they only do this sale once a year and it only lasts for about 5 days. I don't remember anything in the ad about it, and I didn't see anything on their webpage either. But, man, was it awesome.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Bear in the Hand is Worth a Thumb in the Mouth

by request:

Why isn't he wearing any clothes? (a) It's laundry day. (b) See post below.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sooo Hot

It's SO hot!

How hot is it?

It's so hot that while we were gone a mini-keg of beer ruptured from the pressure, my hands and ankles have swelled up, the cat doesn't leave the room with the air conditioner, and even the baby has figured out to stand in front of the a/c. It was just as hot in Fresno. Mercifully, the forecast says it should cool down tomorrow. Thank goodness, because today I didn't have the energy to lift my own legs and the thought of cooking anything seemed like a fool's way to add more heat to the apartment.

A Beary Long Weekend

The Plan: Pick Curtis up from school on Friday and drive to Fresno, go to his cousin's HS graduation on Saturday, the graduation party on Sunday and then come home. It was to be our last visit until after the baby is born.

The Monkeywrench: Two hours from L.A., I gasp in sudden horror as I realize that I left Bear in the crib. Bear is Thomas's favorite stuffed animal. It's the one he holds while he sucks his thumb and falls asleep.

The Result: No bear --> no thumb sucking --> no falling asleep. I had no idea that a baby could function on so little sleep. It would take hours to get him down for the night, then he would sleep for only 4 hours (= 1 sleep cycle). Then he would scream and cry because he was so tired. On Sunday, we managed to get him to go back to sleep for a little while and he took one nap on Saturday. For comparison, he usually is asleep by 8pm, wakes up at 6:30am, and takes 2 2-hour naps a day. The amazing thing was that he was still really good in public. He was good as gold during graduation and church and was a big hit at the graduation party. Meanwhile, his parents were grumpy, grouchy, exhausted messes. While 4 hrs of sleep in a night was a fairly common occurrence at Caltech, we are way too old (and too pregnant) for that now.

Except for Beckham, we were all overjoyed to come home and see Bear. Thomas went straight to sleep and took two long naps today. Unfortunately, he slept so late that he's not tired tonight, but his parents are exhausted. We had no idea that we owed our sanity to Bear. At least we don't have to worry about him being a chronic thumb-sucker when he gets older. If he doesn't have Bear with him, apparently the thought never crosses his mind.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Another Month

It took two naps to make it through the day and I gave up on dinner and we went out. Not my most energetic day. But I did use a spiffy feature on my new vacuum. It can lay down flat to vacuum under beds and such. Thomas and I took all the stuff from under his crib and vacuumed under there. We found several missing toys and random items that he had thrown down between his crib and the wall.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I Guess He's Comfy?

Mother's Day Recap

Sunday, we went to brunch with a friend's family after church at her parents' house. Thomas got tired near the end of Mass and decided the cure was to scream. A lot. All the way to our friends' and for quite a while once we were there. Then he was finally distracted long enough to notice that he was in a different place and wanted to explore. He never did take a morning nap.

After brunch we brought him home for a long nap in his crib. Then we went to the zoo. We tried pointing out animals to him, but he'd rather look at the people. He only liked the animals that were a) close by, b) moving, and c) making noise. Not many zoo creatures will be that active. He did like the weaver birds and the capuchin monkeys quite a bit. He also liked the plants, the man with a camera, and the red-striped shirt on a different man.

Watching the Monkeys

"You Lookin' at Me"

Saturday, May 10, 2008

In the News

One Well-Read Baby

I don't usually like mentioning current events or politics on this blog, but I've been following several stories in the news that I'd like to comment on.

1. Trivially, remember to mail off your letters and packages today before USPS rates go up on Monday. We also bought enough forever stamps to be able to send off birth announcements next month.

2. People are talking that the Clinton campaign is finished and that Obama will be the Democratic nominee. It's been really fun watching a primary season that actually mattered. I'm kind of sad that California voted so early. I think the real test will be whether Clinton and her supporters will rally behind Obama going into the general election. Part of me hopes that she'll pull a "Bull Moose" and form her own party just for the entertaining chaos that would result.

3. While I am not normally a fan of the federal government, I thank God that we live in a free, functioning democracy after seeing the government of Myanmar (Burma) react to the calamity there. I'm praying for the additional thousands of people who will die because of their government's fear of losing power.

4. Speaking of calamities, we should all fast, pray, and donate money to help the people who will starve to death this year. Every time Curtis or I grumble about the cost of groceries, I'm grateful that we can still afford to feed our family even if we have to cut costs. Many people can no longer afford to buy enough food to survive and global prices continue to rise.

Tooth Number 9

Thomas has been drooling and cranky for the last several days, but now his upper left molar has broken the surface. When it's completely out, he will have an opposing set of molars and can really start chewing. I don't think he'll be completely back to his old self, though, since the lower right molar is visible as a big bulge in the gum. Cutting these molars has been really hard on him since they are so large and flat. We've discovered that he really likes frozen mango pieces though.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Hooray! It Sucks!

I love my new vacuum. Our old vacuum was Curtis's mom's old vacuum that she had been using to frighten the cat out of using the dog door. I'm not sure how old it was (I can't even remember how long we've had it,) but it was hard to push, didn't pick up clumps of cat hair, had no attachments, and shot dust if you bumped the bag. It was so hard to push, that it put a lot of pressure across my poor, pregnant belly (which meant I had to remember to ask Curtis to vacuum while he was home.) Breaking our last belt was sort of the last straw.

I picked out this vacuum from Amazon after reading lots of Amazon reviews, Consumer Reports, and user reviews from Consumer Reports. This one ranked excellent on pet hair and on carpets. Curtis had gotten Amazon gift cards from the Parents' Association for Christmas and we'd been saving them for something we really needed. Unfortunately, choosing free shipping meant that it didn't leave the warehouse for a week. I set aside Wednesday to play with my new toy, but it didn't get here until after Thomas was asleep. Then Thursday was my day out, but at last I got to try it out.

It's great. It pushes so easily. It's bagless, so I can see how much gunk I'm picking up. It gets the clumps of cat hair on the first pass, but did try to eat my shoes after I ran over the laces. It has a light on the front. A HEPA filter means that the room smells better after I vacuum instead of the vacuum shooting dust into the air. It also has several attachments which are built into the vacuum. I went over our favorite chairs and it turns out that they really are blue under the orange fur (they're Beckham's favorite chairs too.) Oh, and the handle folds down to make it even easier to store. I've been trying to improve my housekeeping skills and build some good habits before the baby comes. Hopefully, vacuuming will stop being the chore I dread and put off too long.

Contagious Insomnia

I was going to write a post about how I'm still awake at quarter to one in the morning, but I hear that Thomas is also awake.  Not that I really needed to STAY up until now in order to comfort him.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Tired of Waiting

As of 5am, the status on my vacuum has been "Out for Delivery." It's now after 7 p.m. and STILL no vacuum. All three of us have been home all day and every time I hear the front gate open, I get all excited. Grrrr, UPS. And tomorrow is my day out, so I won't be home much.

On a brighter note, I made sausage & cheese calzones for dinner and they were bee-yooo-tiful and delicious.

UPDATE: It finally arrived at 8:10 p.m.  But of course, it was too late to actually try it out, but Curtis unpacked it for me and it's waiting in the living room, taunting me with its shiny newness. 

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Who Needs Sleep?

What is WITH the insomnia!?!? But since I'm awake, might as well surf the web, write a short post, and raid the fridge.

Today was a take-it-easy day after yesterday's clean-a-thon. Yesterday, I dusted all the rooms, cleaned every mirror (there are lots), washed the entire bathroom (walls, cabinets, sink, counter, toilet, & every item in the bathroom), did all the dishes, and swept and mopped the kitchen. And cooked dinner and did 4 loads of laundry. Of course, by the end of the day, I had completely shot my back and couldn't get to sleep without good ol' Tylenol PM. Obviously, I'm going to have to spread the weekly cleaning out some.

Package tracking says my new vacuum will be here tomorrow!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Yay Monday

Happy Cinco de Mayo (or as today is being known around here Vacuum-Shipping Day!)

We had a delightfully dull weekend. Curtis spent all day Saturday with his giant pile of grading (snoresville). Sunday, we went to church, drove over to the Huntington Gardens and sauntered through the roses, and played board games with Zifnab & Co. Thomas was amazingly good throughout the day. The only rough patch was when he decided that he'd had enough with board games, wanted a nap, and did NOT want to nap in his portacrib. His siren imitation was the signal that it was time to go.

Today is housecleaning day. Dusting, kitchen/bathroom washing, and laundry. Then I'd like to figure out some Mexican food for dinner. I sort of enjoy Mondays since there's always that sense of "getting back to real life" and re-establishing our routines after taking the weekend off.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

A Step in the Right Direction

Thomas officially took his first step Friday! He had been playing "'round and 'round" on the swivel chair and reached towards my legs. I was just out of reach, so I leaned backwards to see what he would do. He held on to the chair with one hand and carefully lined himself up facing me. He let go of the chair, cautiously moved one foot forward, shifted his weight, leaned forward and grabbed my leg. Then he walked closer and looked up at me and grinned. Of course, he wouldn't do it again for me because he had reached his goal and was very insulted that I would try to stand him back up at the chair. But later, I saw him take another slow, cautious step from the leather chair to his jumper. Now it's just a matter of building confidence.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Another Morning in Paradise

Soft breathing comes from the crib as I sit on the couch in my pajamas and finish the paper and my tea. Through the screen door drifts a cool breeze that for some reason smells of flowers. There is even a bird singing in one of the courtyard trees and the sleeping cat's fur shines in the sunbeam. Moments like these re-emphasize to me that I have the greatest job in the world. Newspaper read, I'm actually enthusiastic to tidy up the apartment and officially start the day.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Clean Kitchen

I've been inspired lately to work on my housekeeping skills. It's been a snowballing project that started with the book my mom's group is reading, proceeded to a library search on home management/housekeeping/spirituality, and led to the discovery of the housekeeping bible. This book is all about turning that place you live into a home. It is a great reference book for teaching you how to do all the things that (even if your mother tried to teach you,) you never bothered to learn. After skimming through the book, I DUSTED! For the first time, oh, ever. I actually thought about how hygienic our living space is. I ordered a new vacuum. I discovered that the reason that I thought mopping was a waste of time was because I was doing it with the wrong kind of liquid. For around $3, I now have the joy of a kitchen floor that looks nearly new and is pleasant to walk on barefoot.

I've been surprised by what a difference this has made in my mood. Life just seems better when you wake up on clean sheets and cooking is easier and more fun in a clean kitchen. Now hopefully I can work on making cleaning a habit that will last through late pregnancy and new baby. (I can't wait for my new vacuum to arrive!)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hi! My Name is No-No-Bad-Cat.

6:30am - Family wakes up. Cat is congratulated for a hairball-free night. (Was becoming almost a nightly occurrence, but more brushing has helped.)
Sometime before 7:30am - Cat eats some cat food, jumps into windowsill above bed, throws up in windowsill, down wall, and onto Curtis's endtable.
7:45am - Curtis eagerly leaves for work.
8:30am - With Thomas down for a nap, Jenny tackles cat mess. Yuck. Need an apron and rags. Cat follows and decides to yowl for tuna. Cat wakes up Thomas. Grr!!!
9:00am - Cat naps to rest after its busy morning. Jenny finishes scrubbing and rinsing wall, floor, endtable, slippers, etc. Must avoid killing cat.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sleep Training

Sleep training usually refers to getting your baby to sleep through the night. We never really had a problem with Thomas and so didn't worry about it. However, pregnancy is definitely sleep training for mothers. I've entered that lovely phase where I'm exhausted at inopportune times, can't get to sleep at night, have to use the bathroom at least once in the night (and then can't get to sleep and often realize that I'm hungry to boot), and can't get up in the morning. I hate not having a normal sleep schedule, but it's hard to complain too much, since in another 7-9 weeks, it's going to get MUCH worse.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Baby News

I had my third ultrasound last night. None of the pictures turned out very well, so I'm not posting them. Ruthann looks good and has all the necessary parts and guts. She's much more interesting to watch than Thomas was. First she was playing with her hands, then she was trying to grab her foot. According to the measurements of her skeleton, she now weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 lbs 13 oz. The projected birthdate from this ultrasound is June 8 (2nd ultrasound said 6/12, 1st said 6/26). This technician was super nice and friendly and even showed me that Ruthann has lots of thick hair!

In other baby news, my friend Becca in KC gave birth to her son Connor on Monday night. It's the first other baby from the circle of friends we had in the Bay area. I can't wait to see them in August.

Not to leave out Thomas, Willowlaughter has a super cute picture of him up on her blog.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mr. Muscle

Curtis has been going through a conditioning program with the football team. It's led by one of the assistant coaches who is a personal trainer. He's really starting to see some results. Yesterday, they determined the maximum weight that they could bench press. Curtis lifted 185 lbs. At one point, I had the idea that (post-baby) I'd lose enough weight that Curtis would (at least in theory) be able to bench press me. Turns out to have been a stupid idea since he's already surpassed my current, preggers weight.

Busy Monday

We went to Fresno over the weekend to see Thomas's grandparents. Yesterday was catchup day from all the chores that I would have done over the weekend plus unpacking and finding homes for all of Thomas's new toys. Fortunately, Thomas took several naps and even went to bed early. I think the excitement and novelty of travel and different faces really tires him out. It always feels good to get back into our routine.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tooth 8

Normally baby teeth grow in in pairs, so I've been expecting his other bottom tooth to come in any day now. But I got a surprise yesterday, when I saw the glint of a tooth way in the back. His first molar (on the bottom left) had just broken the surface. It's a little early. We had to look it up, but molars are normally 13-16 months. No wonder he's been drooling more lately. Molars cause a lot of teething because they are so flat on top, that it's hard for them to move up. Now I'm curious about his upper molars. Unfortunately, he does not want to cooperate and open wide for me to look in his mouth from below.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Moving Day

Friday was officially Moving Day into the new high school. Thomas and I went to help Curtis unpack his physics lab. The new building is very nice. The bottom story is parking. 1st floor (which only extends across half the building) is the middle school classrooms and library. 2nd floor is the main level and has all the upper school classrooms and most of the offices. The 3rd floor (another half floor on the other end of the building) is the science labs and upper school lounge.
Only the rooms that are essential are finished, but this classroom will be just for physics next year.

This is the upper school lounge area.

Here's Curtis's lab.

I only have photos from the 3rd floor since the elevator was being used for the move and I didn't feel like lugging Thomas up and down the stairs.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Don't Have to Live Like a Refugee

Unlike yesterday, when we were refugees from the roaches. Some apartment upstairs has a roach problem, so all the neighboring apartments got sprayed. We had to pack up everything from the kitchen and bathroom and move it to one of the other rooms. Then Thomas, Beckham, and I had to stay out for 6-8 hrs after the spraying. It's hard to find something to do that you can take a cat to. We went over to a friend's apartment in Pasadena.

I had forgotten to write down their lab's phone number before I left, so the three of us walked from their apartment to campus. Beckham got lots of looks, though I carried it most of the time. Then we had to walk back, which was just too much for the cat. Lots of pathetic meowing and panting. The poor thing hadn't had so much exercise in years and was hot and tired. Curtis wonders how it ever survived outside. It spent the rest of the day sleeping on their couch to recover.

But now we're back and I get to move everything BACK into the kitchen and bathroom, not to mention that I'm behind on laundry and the other chores I would normally have done Monday and over the weekend. Sigh. Maybe a nap is in order if Thomas would agree.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Week 30

While it may look like June is soon approaching, it feels like forever. (Boxedcookies sent me this top.)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thomas's First Swim

In the same month as his first snow, Thomas had his first swim. (Isn't California amazing?). March 29-31, we went to Palm Springs to visit Thomas's great-grandparents. Every day, they go to a hot spring for exercise, relaxation, and socializing. I got Thomas a package of swim diapers and a cool swimsuit with built in flotation devices so he could have his first dip in a pool. He LOVES the bath, but had never been in deeper water. We started out in the wading pool where he liked walking around (with me supporting him) and splashing with both hands. Then we took him into one of the warmer, normal pools. He didn't like if his feet floated up, but as long as he was held vertically, he smacked that water with workman-like efficiency. Not many kids can say that they've gone swimming with their great-grandparents.

Things I Love About California

1. The Wednesday Night Farmers' Market just reopened for the season last night.
2. Today's Forecast (Notice the "abundant sunshine")

69° F
Abundant sunshine. High 69F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Tooth Number 7

Around March 10th (I think), Thomas got his 7th tooth. It's the one on the bottom left next to the center pair. Now he has the center 4 on top and three teeth on the bottom.

Bear Sweater

Thomas's Noni sent him this adorable sweater that he wore for Easter. I promised her a picture, but never got it posted. Curtis was very excited to discover that he owned the sweater that the bear is wearing and had to change into it for this picture.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Ski Trip

I have to catch up on the backlog of stuff that happened while I wasn't posting (Thomas reduced his naps, but mine increased). March 7-9, Curtis, Thomas, and I chaperoned the high school ski trip. Neither of us skied, so we got to hang out in the ski lodge guarding all the students stuff and eating all we wanted from the cafeteria. I bought Thomas a snow suit and we took him out for his first snow experience. Unfortunately, the snow had a very hard crust, so it was difficult to even break any off for him to play with it. Overall, though, he found snow interesting and tasty.

The view from my room

Monday, April 07, 2008

Thomas's Birthday

Thomas is now 1 year old. People often say that your children grow up in an eye blink, but it feels like Thomas was born a lifetime ago. When I think about all the moments, all the milestones, all we've learned, and everything that's happened, it's hard to believe that it's only been a year.

While we weren't planning a big party or anything for Thomas's birthday, we did want to make a day where we did things he enjoyed. We were going to make him his favorite foods, buy him a forward-facing seat for the car, let him take an extra long bath, and take him out to a restaurant for dinner. Curtis was still on spring break, so he'd have both parents available for play all day.

Unfortunately, things didn't work out that way. For his first birthday, he got his first illness.

It all started Sunday night, when he didn't want to eat dinner. Very strange for Mr. Chowhound. Then Monday, he didn't want breakfast either, he just wanted to sleep. When he turned away from lunch, I got really worried. I got him to eat a few bites, but then he threw up. Poor baby! I talked to his pediatrician for some reassurance. He spent almost all of Tuesday sleeping and snoring from all the congestion. He'd wake up only to cry pitifully and lay limp in my arms. Curtis and I hid in the den, playing video games without the sound to avoid disturbing him. By Wednesday afternoon, he was perking up some, but Thursday morning, he broke out in a rash. Fortunately, it was the day of his 1-yr checkup. The doctor gave him a prescription for an antibiotic, since he had a slight ear infection in his left ear (due to the congestion). He's been on the mend since then, and now seems to be his old self except that he's still sleeping more than normal.

At his checkup, he got his shots and weighed 23 lbs. (He weighed 21 1/2 at nine months.) He's up to 29 inches tall and his head is 19 cm. He's around 50th percentile in height and weight, but his head is well over 95th percentile. I refer to his "Charlie Brown head" everytime I'm trying to get a shirt over it. His blood test at 9 months revealed that he was slightly anemic, so he's now on iron drops every night. He's on track developmentally, though his pediatrician was very concerned that he doesn't say any words yet, not even "mama" or "dada". We finally reassured him by telling him that Curtis didn't speak until he was over two.

So Thomas's birthday was put on hold, but Wednesday, he got his new seat and can now see where he's going. Saturday night, he had enough appetite to take him out for dinner. It was appropriately enough the Olive Garden, which was the same chain that we went to the first time he was ever taken to a restaurant. For the first time, we ordered him his own meal off the kiddie menu. He had the grilled chicken with pasta (plain) and broccoli. He wasn't wild about the broccoli, but loved the pasta and breadstick. It also came with a glass of milk, and he drank from a straw for the first time. He would point to the glass and I would lower it down for him to have a drink. I was putting his food onto my bread plate as I cut it up, but he really liked to eat from both plates. Amazingly, only two pieces of noodle hit the floor. All in all, he was a surprisingly good dinner companion.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Thomas's Nickname Explained

trencherman \TREN-chuhr-muhn\, noun:
A hearty eater.

A living rebuke to the surgeon general and the diet doctors, Eddie "Bozo" Miller was once listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the "world's greatest trencherman." Mr. Miller, who died Jan. 7 at age 89, managed to outfox the actuaries even while consuming quantities of food and drink that might have put Diamond Jim Brady to shame. He once won a contest in Idaho Falls, Idaho, by eating 30 pounds of elk and moose meatloaf. He boasted of downing 25 bowls of minestrone and 30 pounds of shrimp, and drinking a whole bottle of gin in a single chug on a bet, then offering to buy the loser a drink.
-- Stephen Miller, "'World's Greatest Trencherman' Ate His Way Into the Guinness Book of World Records", Wall Street Journal, January 12, 2008

Trencherman is from trencher, "a wooden board or platter on which food is served or carved" (from Medieval French trencheoir, from Old French trenchier, "to cut," from Latin truncare, "to lop off, to shorten by cutting") + man. It is related to trench, "a hole cut into the ground."

Monday, March 03, 2008

Where There's a Will . . .

Thomas has defeated my McGyver-style gate for the hallway. I had calculated the maximum distance that he couldn't get through by including his giant head. Now that he's standing up, his head is above the end table and there's plenty of room. By pushing on the door and squirming his body sideways, he can get into the hall. Clever little bugger. So, we're getting a second baby gate. Hopefully El Gato will figure out this one a little faster than last time.

Though it was one heck of a shock to step out of the shower and find Thomas sitting on the floor, grinning at me.

Old Friends

It was a good weekend, spent catching up with old friends. We had a 3-hour phone-athon with a friend we hadn't heard from in many months. Thursday we went out for dinner with a friend from the Bay Area who was going to a conference at Tech. And on Saturday, we spent the day hanging out with our friends the postdocs, who emerged from writing theses and have rejoined the land of the living. Between Thomas and moving two years in a row, we often feel pretty isolated, so it was really good to spend so much time with friends.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Feelin' the Love

Tuesday, between one thing and another, Curtis didn't get home until 8pm, by which time Thomas had been asleep for an hour. Curtis kept circling the crib, being just a little bit noisy, and wanting to wake that baby up. After his shower, he decided that it really was too late to wake Thomas up just to play for a little while and then try to get him to go back to bed. It surprised me how much he seemed to miss the baby.

Next evening, Curtis comes home from work at the normal time and Thomas immediately crawls across the room to him and stands up with his hands on Curtis's knees. He gazed up at Curtis with a huge baby grin and started playing the head shake game. All three of us were laughing as Thomas and Curtis alternated shaking their heads at each other.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Good Visit with my Folks

My parents were here for a week and had a great time spoiling their grandbaby. Thomas enjoyed the constant attention. Though, after they left for the airport, he had to take three long naps (even one in the middle of breakfast) because he was so tuckered out.

Curtis was gone for most of their visit between work, football conditioning, and tutoring. Saturday was his (28th) birthday and his parents sent him (and his dad) to Fontana, CA for the weekend to watch the Nascar races. Unfortunately, it rained much of the time, but they had enough fun that they're already planning to do it again in August.

My folks and I mostly stayed close to home, but we did go to Mission San Fernando and the L.A. Zoo as well as some church events (mmm, church food).

Yesterday was strangely quiet after they left. I did four loads of laundry, spruced up the apartment, and turned the guest room back into a den. It's sort of nice to get back to the regular routine, but it was also kind of lonely after having people around all day.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My Parents Come Tomorrow!!!!

Yay! So excited. Must run errands, do laundry, and clean kitchen.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day

My attempts to reset Thomas's biological clock are finally seeing some results. Last night, he went to bed with little fuss shortly before 7pm. That meant Curtis and I could continue watching I, Claudius a BBC mini-series about the Roman Empire starting in the time of Caesar Augustus. We had some Trader Joe's yummies and my nose continued to imitate a faucet. That was our exciting Valentine's Day. Thomas on the other hand, was sent a small box of chocolates and got a balloon. I enjoyed the chocolates on his behalf.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Baby Mojo

Thomas must have had his cute on today. During 20 min at grocery store, three different people had to come up and tell me how cute/precious/etc he is. Now if only he could be persuaded to let me take a nap. The winds have kicked up and kicked off a bout of hayfever. Happy Valentine's Day, pass the Kleenex.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Possibly the World's Dumbest Cat

I got a baby gate for the kitchen. Thomas doesn't mind it, but Beckham is completely confused. Even after showing it that it could (easily) jump over the gate, the cat yowled for me to come and rescue it.

Shiny kitty eyes

Thomas says "I see you!"

"Let me in!", "Let meow-t!"

Experiments on Baby

This week, we've initiated a series of experiments to see if we can shift Thomas's schedule to something more convenient for us. While the rule around here was "Let sleeping babies lie," I've started waking Thomas at different times in the morning to see what that does to his bedtime. The goal is to get him to go to sleep at least an hour before we do, so we can watch at least part of a movie in the evening. As it stands, he goes to bed just before we do, and I sleep until he gets up.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What Me Nap?

I'd rather jump on the bed.

Having Kids Makes You Boring

Remember in high school when you thought your parents were the most boring people in the world? And how they got more interesting as you got older after leaving home? Turns out that it's not that you were gaining a mature outlook, it's that it was you who was making them boring.

A job candidate at Curtis's school asked what people did for fun. He had no clue.

Neither of us expected that having kids would change things so much. There's quite a lot of things that we can do and take Thomas along. But we have to work around his feeding/sleeping schedule, otherwise he's just unpleasant to be around. So we eat at restaurants with the "Early Bird" senior citizens and try to go out either mid-morning or early afternoon (not much crazy fun to be had at 10am).

So, sorry Mom and Dad for being such a drag for 18 years, and for all your childless folks, "Enjoy your evenings while you can."

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Somehow, without me noticing, Thomas cut two more teeth. In my defense, they are on the top, which is hard for me to see, since I'm somewhat taller than he is and usually looking down at him.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Mardi Gras

* Today is Mardi Gras, party like you'll be fasting tomorrow. I'm making a special Trader Joe's treat run (thanks Mom for the gift card!)
* Today is also Super Tuesday. Get yerself edjamacated and vote.
* Tomorrow's Ash Wednesday. Not actually a holy day of obligation, but people like it 'cause they're giving away free stuff (even if it's just dirt).
* Thomas got his first two pairs of shoes over the weekend. Stylin'
* My Lenten penance is to eat more, whether I feel like it or not, and whether Thomas objects or not. Also, no TV.
* The juice of 1/4 of a lemon, a spoonful of honey, and some hot water makes a delicious cough tonic. Stupid cough.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Now that Thomas is mobile enough to follow me around and try to climb up my legs, Baby R felt left out. So last night, he/she was rolling around while I was watching TV. My next ultrasound is the 18th, so hopefully then we can settle the Robert or Ruthann mystery.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Sensual Pleasure of Eating

Sunday was one of the best dinner experiences I've ever had. Curtis decided to make risotto using some turkey stock I had made and some leftover prosiuto from our zoo picnic. It was delicious! Creamy and warm, like good comfort food. The classical station was comparing recordings of Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini." The music perfectly fit the food. Thomas sat on my knee (with my arm around him for support) and Curtis fed him some of the risotto. (He loved it.) The cat was curled up on the footstool next to me. Having us all together with great food and great music, just made for the perfect evening.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Developmental Milestone = More Babyproofing

The weekend turned out to be busier than I thought. On Saturday, I went to take a nap while Curtis kept an eye on Thomas and read a book. When I woke up, Curtis had pictures for me.

Thomas had pulled himself up to standing on his toy basket. After that, he found he could pull up on everything. On one hand, I'm proud of his accomplishment, but on the other, it meant a lot of work for me, and one step closer to walking and running. Babies can reach a lot further when they're standing up, so we got busy with a big round of baby-proofing. Everything off the end tables, chairs, and couch and out with anything that might topple on a baby.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Lull

I'm looking at the calendar and there's nothing marked for this weekend (shock). Next week is the school's Peak Week where all the students do various off-campus field trips and projects. Curtis skipped the faculty meeting when they assigned teachers to projects (due to football practice) and is assisting the trip to the Learning Garden. (I find this hysterical after hearing him gripe for 4 years about the twice a semester trips to the Berkeley Gardens with Bi 1B and his avowed disdain for plants.) The upside is that since it's a project in L.A., he'll be home every night. Some of the projects are in D.C. or Mexico.

But after Peak Week, things get crazy. Friday we head to Fresno, then Tuesday is Election Day (still not sure who I dislike least), Wednesday is the start of Lent, and Friday, I'm making soup for 100 people for my mom's group. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the rain is going to let up in time to do anything fun outside this weekend.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Ever been eating and heard whining and whimpering from near your feet? Maybe even felt some pawing on your pant leg? Looking down, you see a big pair of sad eyes that look at you, then your food, then back to you. That's right, we've got a . . . crawling baby.

Thomas's new nickname is Puppy (or Mr. I'll-have-what-she's-having), because he believes that all food must be for the baby (never mind that pregnant women like to eat too) even if he was just fed. Since we've been working a lot on drinking from a glass, even drinks aren't safe. His begging is pretty cute, except that he'll eat a good portion of your dinner off your fork, if you let him. It's really frustrating when you're eating something that he's not supposed to have until he's older. He doesn't believe you, if you tell him "Babies don't eat peanut butter, grapefruit, whiskey, etc."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

He's Moving Up

I switched Thomas up to the 9-12 months size this weekend. On one hand, it's fun to see all the cute new clothes that I'd forgotten he owned, but I always feel bad boxing up the previous size. There are always clothes that he never wore, usually because it never got cold or warm enough. I'm glad that we're planning on having more kids, because otherwise, I'd feel really wasteful replacing his entire wardrobe every 3 months.

In other news, ALL the baby clothes are now neatly organized in labeled plastic tubs. It's part of the ongoing campaign to get everything neat and clean for my parents' arrival next month.

Day at the Zoo

Saturday was a beautiful day in Southern California (unlike now, which is chilly and rainy). Curtis and I wanted to go out and walk around, so we took Thomas to the L.A. Zoo. We stopped at Trader Joe's and bought a picnic and ate in front of the gorilla reserve. Thomas didn't seem to care at all about the animals, but enjoyed looking at all the people. We even paid for a year pass since the zoo is only 20 min from our apartment and it also gets us into the Fresno zoo for free.

Thursday, January 17, 2008