Friday, December 27, 2013


Oh hey, I have a blog! I have some catching up to do. I've been having trouble feeling motivated to talk about anything on here, as much of my life seems way too boring to blog about. So here's a little bit about our Christmas!

Lucas was a lot of fun this year at Christmas. He's still too young to know what's going on but he was so sweet and excited while discovering his presents on Christmas morning. It was amazing!

Lucas was a very good boy this year!

Christmas morning selfie!

Whoa. I can cook now.
Future Chef Lucas getting started

Santa also put Lucas's favorite, Clifford, in his stocking.

He also got a few really awesome trucks.
We had amazing weather this week so we took Lucas to the beach a couple times. He loves the beach and the ocean but it's often too big of an undertaking for me to do it on my own on weekdays. We went to Coronado on Christmas Eve and to Ocean Beach the day after Christmas. He had a wonderful time putting his feet in the ocean, chasing his shadow, and digging in the sand.

The ocean is amazing!
 We all did a lot of excellent eating and drinking this week. For Christmas dinner we had prime rib, mashed potatoes and gravy, roasted Brussels sprouts with onion and bacon, and popovers. So tasty! I got a lot of really nice clothes (my favorite present!) and a massage gift certificate from Brandon (so looking forward to this!). I got Brandon a watch, I think he likes it pretty well. We had a great time with my parents, especially Lucas who loves having extra people to drag around the house and boss around.

Merry Christmas to all! I'll be back later with New Year's resolutions and more recent photos of the Biggest Boy.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Lucas's Vocabulary Update

Lucas has been on the slow side for language development, but he's really started to pick up new words in the last month or so, which is a lot of fun! Here is his current vocabulary.

Mama: He mostly says this when he's whining about something. But he did ask for me a couple times when we were in Kauai.

Dada: He doesn't use this one much, but sometimes! The other night, I was taking him to bed and said, "Night night Dada!" like usual. He piped up, "Bwa Wa Dada!" It was super cute.

Hi: His favorite word. Mostly directed towards trucks and buses.

Uh-Oh: Another favorite. He tries to tell us "uh oh" when he deliberately throws something. Not buying it, dude.

More: "Mo?" The Cutest. I have to stop myself from doing whatever he asks a million times because I love it so much. He also signs this one.

No: He mostly just shakes his head but we get the actual word now too.

Ball: "Ba!"

Banana: "Ba!" I swear, he's using them to mean different things!

Outside: "Ah-eye?"

Car: "Ka!" This is a new one. I swear I heard it yesterday, though, while pointing at my car.

Book: Sometimes he'll say "Buh?" but I'm not sure he knows it yet. He does sign book very deliberately though.

Light: This one is sign only.

Please: Sign only and sporadic.

Want: This is a sign he invented himself. He uses the sign for "milk" but means it as anything he wants you to do, whether that's getting him a drink or playing whatever game he wants.

Sing Itsy Bitsy Spider: Not exactly a sign, but he does twist his wrists around to get you to sing this song. It's too cute to leave out.

Here are a few recent photos!

Fun at the pumpkin patch!

Hanging with Grandpa

Ready to watch Clifford, his fave big red dog

Playtime at the Park

Halloween memories! Haha

Smaug just wants to play cars

Smaug and Bilbo

Trick or treating! 

Backyard silliness

In his fireplace fort playing trucks

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Kauai Trip and Photos!

It's been a little while since I've posted! We had a great time on our recent trip to Kauai. It was hard to leave Lucas (he stayed at home with my mom, two aunts, and two cousins and did great!), but we were really glad to get away and relax for a few days.

Just arrived!

We woke up *really early on our first day and decided to make the long drive up Waimea Canyon on the opposite side of the island. It was beautiful and clear, we took lots of photos. We also had fun touring Kauai Coffee Co. on our way back. 

This is my new happy place, Poipu State Beach. We did some amazing snorkeling here and had a delicious lunch overlooking the beach. Our anniversary dinner was at a restaurant nearby, the Beach House, and was phenomenal. I ate so much delicious sushi and seafood on this trip!

I wasn't able to find Brandon as many waterfalls as I'd promised, but we did see these ones off the side of the road that were pretty good! Next time I'll remember to pack the guide book that explains how to find the rest of them.

Don't I look very relaxed and happy?

Spouting Horn

Kilauea Lighthouse on our last day. Rainy and muggy but still beautiful!
I don't have photos of all our delicious meals and afternoon naps, but they were probably my favorite part of the trip! We also had a great time "cave tubing," floating down old sugar plantation irrigation ditches one afternoon. Cold water, but very fun experience!

We also did a luau near our hotel, which was fun and had good food but didn't quite live up to Brandon's expectations! There was a guy who juggled fire knives though, so I think Brandon's expectations may have been a bit unrealistic.

An amazing trip! Happy four year anniversary to us.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Literary Character Dinner Party

Because when you're a stay at home mom to a young toddler, and you're in the middle of your tenth-plus rendition of the Itsy-Bitsy Spider for the morning, the mind tends to wander.

This week I've been thinking about which fictional characters I'd like to have over for a dinner party. I limited the guest list to five characters, and focused on book characters initially to keep things simpler. I chose my guests based on who would be the most fun to have over for dinner, not who I'd most like to meet. If you want to play along, feel free to come up with your own criteria for narrowing down the guest list! Warning: Super nerdy literary inside jokes ahead.

1 and 2. Queen Cimorene and King Mendanbar (The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede): My favorite characters from my favorite books growing up, they were my immediate first choice for my guest list. Also they are smart and funny and relatively friendly as long as you are not a wizard. Which is fine, since I was unable to narrow down the giant cast of Harry Potter to only one or two people whom I wanted to invite so none of them are on the list.

3. Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen): She's an obvious choice, to be sure, but a perfect one. How fun would Lizzie be at a dinner party? So fun! Her husband is not invited. He might be handsome, but he's too shy and a poor conversationalist with strangers.

4. Thursday Next (the Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde): She's an expert at navigating the confusing line between fiction and real life, so she's a useful choice as well as an interesting person in her own right. Also she'd have lots of fun anecdotes to share.

5. Theodore Laurence (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott): I needed another man to round out the party, and I bet he'd be funny and charming. He's allowed to come only on the condition that he not bring along Jo or Amy March, who are, respectively, socially awkward and generally insufferable.

Also specifically banned: Howard Roark and the entire cast of characters from any and all Ayn Rand novels.

Then I also threw together a list for television characters. I tried to do one for movie characters, but that just turned into choosing celebrities you like, and I've blogged my celebrity dinner party list before.

1 and 2. Sam Seaborn and CJ Cregg (The West Wing): Smart and funny. Hopefully we can get them to talk about something other than politics, though.

3. Veronica Mars (Veronica Mars): The grown-up, post-show version. Inviting her also guarantees that something scandalous or dramatic will take place at your dinner party. Instant infamy!

4. Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly): He seems witty and fun in the few happy scenes of the Firefly crew hanging out together in non-stressful environments. Also he will have lots in common with my final guest,

5. The Doctor (Doctor Who): Because come on. It's the Doctor. Any of the most recent three regenerations is fine. Although his presence puts us all in grave danger, it will be worth it if I can wrangle a ride in the TARDIS.

Okay, now you play!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Saga of Lucas and Sleep (A Partial History)

The relationship between Lucas and sleep has never been an easy one. I decided I want to recount what we've dealt with for the past almost year-and-a-half. Partly to have it written down for memory's sake, and partly to share our experience with a poor sleeper who resists sleep training who also has parents who didn't/couldn't rely on traditional cry-it-out methods. Infant and toddler sleep is an ever-changing beast, so I've subtitled this entry "A Partial History" to acknowledge that the way Lucas sleeps this week is likely different from how he may sleep next month or next year. Also, I've thrown in some sleeping Lucas photos just to keep things interesting/adorable.

Birth to Three Months: From birth, Lucas preferred to be rocked to sleep, and frankly, we preferred to rock him at this point so it worked well all around. There was maybe a handful of times he fell asleep in our rocking bassinet, and he's always fallen asleep easily in the car seat, but otherwise, it was in our arms and then he was transferred to bassinet or crib. We used the Rock'n'Play a lot these first months, although we always started him out in the crib at night and then moved him in the early morning when he had trouble staying asleep. Naps were either in our arms or in the Rock'n'Play or car seat, maybe occasionally in the crib. He generally drifted off to sleep or nursed to sleep without crying the majority of the time, although I'm sure he fussed a good amount as well, being a newborn and all.

Three Months: This month gets its own spot. This marked when he stopped drifting off to sleep and started screaming himself to sleep, sometimes for up to an hour before he'd give in. Nursing to sleep was the safest bet. He also slept through the night, up to 11-12 hours straight this month. Naps were unpredictable and anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours long. I'd bet he was rocked to sleep or in his car seat every single time he fell asleep at this age, and we still used the Rock'n'Play a lot for early morning sleep (2am-8am) to keep him asleep for longer stretches when needed.

Four Months to Eight Months: The four month sleep regression hit us with a vengeance. Sleeping 11-12 hours straight became a distant memory. He was up probably 4+ times nightly on a regular basis, and it became difficult to impossible to transfer him from your arms once you had rocked or nursed him to sleep. I basically held him for the entirety of his four daily naps for all of these months. In the afternoons, I could sometimes very carefully transfer him to where he was snuggled next to me in our bed, and then we'd nap together or if I was feeling awake (rare), I'd watch Hulu on the iPad with headphones in while he slept.

At night, Brandon and I would transfer him together into the crib to minimize the movement and try to prevent him from waking up after I'd nursed/rocked him to sleep. Early mornings were still difficult, particularly from 4am to 6am. I started bringing him into our bed at this time of morning to sleep next to me until 7am-8am, when he'd be up for the day. Brandon hated this, but I needed it in order to get an adequate amount of sleep. Middle of the night wakeups were easier, if frequent, because I still nursed him just about every time he woke up, which made it easy to put him back to sleep, although transferring him was still a problem and could take 3-4 attempts before he'd stay in the crib for more than 5 minutes without waking back up.

During this particularly miserable period of sleep, I attempted a bit of sleep training by sitting next to the crib and trying to soothe him to fall asleep there instead of my arms. He'd often scream bloody murder for up to an hour before giving in, assuming I didn't give in way before that point. It didn't work at all, and I very quickly gave it up. He still screamed while we were rocking him, too, but at least there he'd usually fall sleep more quickly (much more quickly if I was nursing him).

Eight Months to Eleven Months: From around Christmas 2012 until we moved into the new house in April, things got a little better and we tried several times to sleep train Lucas. He allowed us to transfer him from our arms into the crib much easier, which freed up nap times some for me. However, he tended to wake up anywhere from 20-40 minutes after being put down. I eventually realized that he wasn't done napping just because he'd woken up, and would have to hold him for the remainder of his nap at that point, since he rarely allowed me to rock him to sleep a second time and then transfer him; he'd always wake up. I spent a great deal of time in the glider in his nursery during this period; thank the Lord for a comfortable chair and my iPhone! Nighttime routine remained the same, and he was up around 1-3 times nightly, assuming he wasn't sick. Early morning were still rough, and he ended up in our bed by 5am more often than not.

After realizing that trying to get him to sleep in his crib while I sat there listening to him scream was too frustrating for both parties, I continued to rock or nurse him to sleep. We also gave Ferber a first effort during this time period. Generally, parents who use Ferber find that after a few nights of crying with check-ins, a baby will being to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own. Some lucky parents report that their child fell asleep after only a few 5-minute intervals of fussing on the first night. Lucas would scream for up to an hour's worth of 5-7 minute check-ins, standing in the crib and yelling for us the entire time while making zero progress in self-soothing. We weren't comfortable letting him cry for longer than an hour, so we'd end up just rocking him at that point. After 2-3 weeks of this, we gave up until the summer and just rocked him for everything.

Eleven Months to Fifteen Months: Once we moved to the new house, Lucas's nursery was too far away from our room; meaning, he didn't allow me to rock him to sleep in the early morning hours and then transfer him over to our bed. He'd always wake up on the walk across the living room. He continued to wake up between 4:00-5:00 just about every morning, but clearly want to continue sleeping until sometime between 6am and 7am. Since I could no longer rock him to sleep and then snuggle him next to me in bed so I could sleep, I spent every morning in the glider in the nursery while he slept on me. Sometimes I could doze off in the glider if I was really exhausted, but mostly I played on my iPhone in the dark. He almost never let me transfer him back to the crib at this time of morning. Naps remained the same; he would usually wake up after 20-30 minutes and then slept on me in the glider for the next 30-90min. At least now it was only twice a day! He always needed to be rocked to sleep for naps or else he just wouldn't sleep at all unless he happened to be in his car seat during nap time.

After a couple more months of rocking a screaming baby to sleep every night, especially after he was weaned at a year and I couldn't nurse him to sleep anymore, we agreed to try out sleep training again. We stuck with Ferber-ish (cry it out with interval check-ins), as the sitting by the crib was too frustrating for me and the kind where you hold them until they are drowsy but awake, then set them down was laughably ineffective for Lucas. For weeks or longer, following our bedtime routine, we'd leave Lucas to fuss/yell in his crib while standing up facing the door for anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour's worth of interval checks. Eventually, he'd let us lay him down and then one of us would sit by the crib to soothe him by singing or rubbing his back until he fell asleep. But we rarely had to rock him to sleep at nighttime anymore, which was great progress!

Gradually, the fussing/crying during the intervals lessened and he'd simply stand and wait for us to come back. But he never lay down on his own; we'd always have to lay him down and then sit by the crib until he fell asleep. He still woke up 1-3 times nightly, but would allow you to lay him down and sit by the crib until he fell asleep instead of rocking him.

[I don't have any more photos at this point, as he only slept in a dark room once we moved so no more ability to take adorable sleepy photos.]

Sixteen Months (Currently): One day a few weeks ago, I went back in during a regular nighttime interval to find him laying down on his own. A few days after that, I went back in to discover that he had fallen asleep! From that point, the past month has been a dream for nighttime sleeping. After sitting by the crib for just a few minutes until he gets settled, he'll then happily and silently self-soothe himself to sleep after we leave the room, and then sleep all night for 10-11 hours until the following morning.  It took us about three months' worth of gradual sleep training to get to this point, and it still seems miraculous to me that he does this. I hope it lasts as long as possible!

Although I still have to rock him to sleep for naps, they've gotten to the point where he'll take the entire nap (60-90 minutes) without waking up so I don't have to spend my hours rocking in the dark nursery anymore.

As I stated in the beginning, it's always changing. For example, just in the past week he's decided that he's ready to be up for the day at 5am instead of his usual 6am-6:30am. So who knows what will happen in the next few months? However, I think you'll agree with me when I say that after the last year and a half, I think I can handle anything Lucas throws my way when it comes to sleep.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday Picture Time!

Time to share some recent cuteness. You're welcome in advance

Fun at the splash park

A photo of the future?! He looks so old.

Fun at the reservoir

Grumpy because I won't let him jump in the pond


Halloween costume practice! Smaug the Terrible

Love his expression here.

Pumpkin patch!

I love fall.

Playing Pooh Sticks

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Small Updates

So we've all survived our first illness of the fall/winter season. Lucas came down with croup two weeks ago. He's had the croup-y cough before, last winter, but this was the first time we got the full-blown illness. After a day with some coughing on Thursday, he woke me with with a scary croup attack at 4am on Friday morning. After hanging out with the hot shower running didn't seem to help, the nurse suggested we bring him to the emergency room for some possible steroids and breathing treatments to open his airway up a little.

Our first emergency room trip! Luckily Brandon was able to go into work late and come with me. They dosed Lucas with steroids right away, and then observed him for about 90 minutes before the doctor examined him to determine if he needed to be admitted for breathing treatments. The Tank decided that the steroids would do the trick just fine, so we headed home after that for a couple days of recuperating.

He had one more croup attack the following morning, but on the suggestion of our ER nurse, we just took him outside in the cool morning air and walked him around and it really helped keep him calm and improve his breathing. Brandon and I both caught his illness and have been dealing with a cough for the past week or so; Brandon got it worse than me and stayed home from work a couple days last week. Now we all appear to be better, hopefully we won't have too many more illnesses this cold/flu season.

In other, magical news, Lucas's nighttime sleeping has improved dramatically in the last month. He's currently sleeping about 10-11 hours straight every night, and for the past two weeks he's also been falling asleep alone in his room without any help from us! Seriously, it seems like a legitimate miracle every time I walk out of the nursery while he's still laying there awake, and don't hear a peep from him until the next morning at 6am. So, non-CIO (cry it out) parents, there is hope!

Not too much exciting is happening otherwise. I've been volunteering at my old work, taking on a couple small legal cases to keep my attorney-brain awake. It's hard to find time to do legal work, but I manage to squeeze in 30 minutes or so a day, which is enough for the small issues involved in my cases. I also got a "job" running my church's nursery for one service a week. It's only going to be 8-10 hours a month, but it feels good to be responsible for things unrelated to Lucas, meal planning, or housework for a change.

Speaking of Lucas, I'm still trying to get him to take a nap today so I'd better go.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Day at the Zoo

Yesterday Lucas and I went on a trip to the zoo, just the two of us. It was nice to hit only a few areas of the zoo so that Lucas could run around and explore instead of being trapped in his stroller most of the time. We visited the Australian Outback, the Children's Discovery area, and the flamingo pond right inside the zoo, but those three things managed to take up over three hours of our day!

This is mostly an excuse to post a bunch of photos from our day! I love having the zoo membership, we'll definitely be back soon.

Zoo Date with my favorite

Checking out the koalas

An active koala, shocking!
Of course, Lucas would have been just as happy to sit next to a bus stop all day.

This cheetah was very active too, which was exciting for me!

We split an ice cream and did a little more bus watching

Mastering the stairs at the play area

Being a goofball

Love this ham

Handsome boy