November 2007

Monthly Archive

turkey and a pie or five

Posted by lynn on 25 Nov 2007 | Tagged as: family, friends

Jelly Bean's First Thanksgiving

Kai & Me, Ready for the Next Holiday!

Never mind that I just went back to work, Melina had her first few full days at daycare, and we haven’t had time to clean the house (I mean really clean) in months: Joey and I volunteered to host Thanksgiving dinner for my family this year. Then extended an invite to our friend Kitt, then to friends Jennifer and Delve and their son Donovan.

Amazingly, we had (barely) enough table space for all the adults, and were able to fill in missing seats with folding chairs, complement our fine china with everyday ware, and even set up a small table for the three toddlers. (They used it briefly before toddling off.)

Turkey Rub

Whipping Cream

Kai ate turkey later in the day with his mom but spent the morning with us eating pumpkin pancakes and helping prep the turkey for roasting and cream for whipping. He’s a great help in the kitchen and knows all the best herbs to use in a poultry rub.

The second best part of the day was enjoying all the yummy dishes people brought to share. Everyone pitched in and we ended up with quite a spread. Our dessert bar had at least three pies (pecan, apple, and of course pumpkin) plus an apple buckle, egg nog, and two kinds of cream (ice and whipped). Can you tell I’m a huge dessert fan?

Turkey Table

Drumstick Boys

The best part, of course, was spending festive time with such a big crew of family and friends. Melina got to use her high chair for the first time and had a blast taking in all the excitement – even if she only got to dine on pureed sweet potatoes!

missing mama

Posted by lynn on 24 Nov 2007 | Tagged as: melina

Daddy Bottle

I had my first day back at work on Tuesday, which meant Melina had her first full day at daycare. My morning went ok. I had a computer that worked and my old familiar cube, but had to grapple with the logistics of pumping in an odd office shower room and without bottles (I’d forgotten that I wouldn’t have any to pump into after sending six off with Meli). I received emails and calls of support from other moms – from my neighbor who I barely know to my sister to my oldest friend in the world. I missed my little girl but felt oddly at peace with the space and quiet to just be me.

Sweet Potatoes 1

Then I got the phone call. It was mid-afternoon. The teacher started the conversation with “Melina is FINE…” and I immediately thought “Great! She’s calling to reassure me on our first day.” But then she continued, “We’re wondering if there’s anything you forgot to mention, like a possible ear infection, maybe she’s coming down with something… Sweet Potatoes 2She’s just not the happy girl she was last week… In fact, she’s been crying almost non-stop since about 10 minutes after you dropped her off.”

My poor little girl! I asked about naps, made sure she had her blankie, and left an hour early to pick her up even though they assured me they could handle it, they just wanted to see if I had any information that could help them comfort my baby.

Sweet Potatoes 3

When Joey and I entered the nursery she was still crying. She slowed to a sniffle as soon as she was in my arms and gave me a big baby snuggle hug. And within two minutes of walking outside she was literally laughing – little bursts of joy – at the silly faces Joey made for her. We took her for a walk, picked up Kai from school, did our whole evening routine and she didn’t fuss once, not even when we put her down for the night.

Sweet Potatoes 4

She wasn’t sick, she wasn’t teething, she wasn’t coming down with something. She just missed her family and her familiar routines!

I remember hearing stories about me pulling similar attachment stunts with my own parents, though when I was closer to six years, not six months.

Yay Sweet Potatoes!

On hearing Melina’s story my mom reminded me of one of her own: She once cried and complained so much on a weekend getaway with relatives that her father had to drive four hours to pick her up in the middle of the night. I guess homesickness runs in the family. Hopefully the paradoxical drive to travel will, too!

On another “Melina milestone” note: Grandma and Grandpa Weiss brought her a high chair from their collection. Gaming With Uncle KittKai fed her in it the other day, and couldn’t shovel the food fast enough. Melina tried to take things into her own hands and grabbed at the spoon every chance she got, or flung her face forward and stuck out her tongue in an attempt to meet the sweet potatoes half-way. So far we’ve only found one food our little foodie doesn’t like: avocado. Can’t say I blame her, though her daddy’s a little disappointed. Meli was a good sport and played games with him and Uncle Kitt the other day, so he forgives her.

three m’s and a k

Posted by lynn on 17 Nov 2007 | Tagged as: friends, melina

The Girls

Miko Meets Melina

Today we had an impromptu visit from a friend I’d missed dearly for the past five or six years. Miko and I met on our year abroad in Grenoble, France, then roomed together at UCLA our senior year. We stayed tight in SF through the dot com boom, then parted ways sometime around the bust and the birth of her daughter, Mia. Without thought, our lives split in two directions and before we knew it we’d lost touch.

Mia Reads to Meli

I Can Sit! (Kinda)

Our roads are converging once again. She’s one of my few friends also living with a blended family (her boyfriend Arno has two school-aged kids in their Modesto house along with six-year-old Mia), we’re both trying to balance family with a web-related career, and we both still have a soft spot for France if not the French (ok, on the latter it’s complex…)

Why Are You Holding My Face?

Morning Siblings

Melina got some cool new shoes from Carrefour (the French “hypermarket” grocery store with everything), and also a chance to hang with an older sister-like figure. It was fun watching how Mia interacted with Melina compared to Kai. They both offer hugs, story-time, and play, but at least in this case the “nature” stereotype holds true: Mia has a much gentler touch, while Kai must seem like a big, comical cartoon character to Kai (Joey’s words, not mine). Btw, Kai felt offended when I told him this, though it was meant as a compliment. No one can make Meli laugh like her big bro.

identity upheaval

Posted by lynn on 14 Nov 2007 | Tagged as: friends, melina, writing

Big Smile, Sweet Adeline Bakeshop

I return to work in less than one week. To put things into perspective, I’m going back just three days/week, and my office is less than one mile from our house. Meli’s daycare is a little over a mile away in the opposite direction, making the distance just a short drive – or long walk in the event of an emergency.

Hangin' Near Jewel LakeMy feelings about this imminent transition are all over the map.

- It will be nice to have some uninterrupted time to just be ME, even if it’s in front of a computer in an office cubicle.
- Meli’s so interactive and FUN these days. I don’t want to miss anything and I know I will.
- She’s also super social. I’m sure she’ll enjoy being around the other babies.
Meli's New Friend, Little Farm- I’ve scheduled in time to write. Meli is signed up for daycare four days/week. I only go into work three. The trick will be my own discipline.
- It feels like a huge chapter of our lives together is coming to a close. Who am I kidding? This isn’t just a feeling. It’s a very real transition and it’s going to be tough – if only in terms of nostalgia – no matter how many positive things result.
Jewel Lake Walk- The daycare center is fantastic.
- I’m going to miss her like crazy.

Most importantly, I’m starting to realize that while I have the new mom thing down, I have no idea how to balance my new role with my old life. I can’t even find a regular day to go to “big people” yoga these days (though I somehow manage to take both kids to their classes a few times/month).

Swinging High

There’s something very comforting about having such focus to your days. When I left the hospital on June 3 the nurse said “You have three jobs. Feed the baby, feed yourself, and get some rest.” It’s funny to think back on how hard that was at the time. It wasn’t long before we added “play” to our routine, but Jelly Bean has been the absolute center of my days for nearly six months now.

Yummy Thumb

I do find comfort in knowing that going forward I’ll get to accomplish so much more with my days, and re-discover parts of myself I started to miss by the time she was around six weeks old. Plus, we have loads of new friends now to add to our lively mix. Again, the big trick will be balance, balance, balance…

the road to mendo

Posted by lynn on 12 Nov 2007 | Tagged as: family, friends, travel

Pine Beach, Fort Bragg

Kiddos 'n Me at Navarro Winery

Anyone who’s driven highway 128 through Anderson Valley out to the northern California coast knows about the spectacularly hidden wineries (some of our favorites) and gorgeous redwood groves. But for me it’s also a challenge to my lifelong battle with motion sickness. I always forget this until we’re half-way to Boonville, and then again by the time we arrive at Milo and Cassandra’s house just outside the village.

They’re expecting another little girl, and we took the occasion of Cass’s baby shower to take a family road trip. Kai had fun staying in a hotel next to the beach in Fort Bragg, Melina loved the fresh coastal air and new faces, and despite the rainy weather on the drive up, Joey and I enjoyed getting out of town for a couple days and seeing our friends. I also breathe a sigh of relief every time I see the rigid northern coastline. It never fails to rejuvinate and inspire me.

Kai Took This Pic

Sunday Stroll in Mendocino

Ironically, I felt rather uninspired to take many photos, of people or the postcard perfect scenery on our sunny Sunday. Or more likely, I was too busy tending to two small kids. I didn’t get a single shot of 33-week pregnant Cass, but did capture her daughter Julia with her tongue sticking out – a la Melina – as Joey read her a story. Kai’s latest career ambition is “I wanna be a food photographer,” and he’s getting much better with the camera. He took the shot of Joey, Meli, and me at Navarro, where Milo works.

Joey Reads to Julia

Cassandra was kind enough to squeeze in a brief photo shoot of Melina and us at the beach before we left on Sunday. Kai spent the time burying his fully clothed self in sand and running around with Julia, and Melina was busy drooling all over herself and wondering why the ground beneath her was so soft and uneven, so I’m not sure how they turned out. But I’ll post any worthy ones here.

peace flags in the neighborhood

Posted by lynn on 04 Nov 2007 | Tagged as: community

Peace + Love

I wish I could title this post simply “peace in the neighborhood,” but alas it’s not yet so. We had another homocide (drug-related shooting) just last month. It happened one block from Sweet Adeline Bakeshop, a favorite hangout among locals. We heard about it by chance on the evening news.

Painting @ Sweet Adeline

Joey tracked down the officer in charge of community relations for ours and the adjacent police beat, and I’ve had multiple conversations with him regarding steps being taken to “get the bad guys off the streets.” His words, not mine. In the past I would have cringed at such rigid distinctions (there’s always a back story, right?) but having two small kids, a mortgage, and a desire for pride in my community has left me feeling much more pragmatic. Most importantly, I want to feel safe when I walk out my front door.

More Painting @ Sweet Adeline

Since having Melina I’ve met a ton of neighbors, people I never saw before because I never walked the streets. Before having a baby and being a stay-at-home mom, our home was a destination by car at the end of every day, not a place I considered growing roots. Since June all that has changed, and I’ve found plenty of like-minded neighbors, like Caryn down the street who organized a “Dia de los Muertos” community gathering yesterday at Sweet Adeline’s.

Melina Eats Daddy's Shirt, Sweet Adeline

Several dozen adults and an equal number of young kids gathered to eat cookies, chat, and paint peace flags. We met a young family walking down the street the moment we stepped out our door, and discovered they have lived less than a block away for nearly two years. The actual celebration presented much of the same: wonderful, community-minded folks who want to commit to improving our neighborhood but don’t quite know how. Caryn and I started an email/phone sign-up sheet. We’re not sure yet what we’ll do with it, but it felt like an appropriate step. At the least, the gathering filled me with hope and encouragement, and a nascent sense of belonging in a neighborhood where we haven’t yet committed to staying but really, really want to.

it’s been five months?

Posted by lynn on 03 Nov 2007 | Tagged as: melina

Peas 'n Toes

Melina made five months on November 1. All parents will say this but I’m here to repeat: How did the time fly so quickly? What happened to our 8 pound newborn and wow, look how much she’s doing now! Even with all the joy, I’m already a little nostalgically sad about the fast passing of time.

This monthly “what’s she doing now?” update is as much for me as for anyone reading along. But if you’re here, enjoy!

First Food

We gave Melina her first taste of rice cereal about a week ago. She loved it, and was absolutely giddy with anticipation of each coming bite. Poor thing – at first we weren’t very consistent about feeding her cereal, but started making it part of her routine the day she made five months. We’ve also added peas to her diet. She’s a good eater – lapped ‘em right up!

Exersaucing

For playtime, her exersaucer (handed down from the twins) currently reigns. She’ll play in it happily for up to 30 minutes, several times a day if I let her. She also loves stories, mirrors (she now bats at her own reflection), and other babies and faces, plus water in her little tub and the Berkeley warm pool… and still adores her moo-raffe and other lovey blankies for both clutching and sucking.

She must be teething. My nipples are starting to feel like teething rings and it’s not pleasant.

Ready for a Swim

Another first on her five-month birthday: She chewed on her first handful of sand. We were at the park with Suli and oops – there it went! I think we got most if not all out before she swallowed.

She is starting to sit on her own, gorilla-like, for a few seconds. She only rolls (belly to back) occasionally but has been quite mobile for a while. As early as three months I put her on the play gym mat in the dining room and left for a couple minutes. When I returned she was half-way across the room (she’d unwittingly slid on her back), kicking in delight as if the play gym was still above her.

Winkle @ Tummy Time

Her latest movement trick is doing a 180 in her crib. We’ll put her down one way then check on her 30 minutes later and her feet will be where her head used to be. It’s hilarious.

Finally, she’s still our little super sleeper. She now sleeps for 11 to 13 hours at a stretch most (but not all) nights. We’re the envy of all our new parent friends. Naps are brief (anywhere from 20-45 min) but with nights like she has, who cares.

Since this post is so long I’ll be adding pics to it over the coming week or so. Thanks for visiting!