Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hot Fun in the Summertime

Inspired by Austin Monthly's list, I decided to make a list for our family to chip away at. Some of our endeavors are simple, some are long shots, but I'm hoping that by the first day of fall, we will have filled our summer with delicious, refreshing, quenching, active, adventurous, educational, memorable, beautiful, challenging, patriotic, and exciting days that will make for memorable moments.

Feeling the summertime itch? Join us! Add some adventures of your own! Create your own list!

Our Hot Fun in the Summertime List:
  • Buy - and fill - an Austin pool punch card
  • Share a picnic with friends and Hamilton Pool
  • Make Jello orange slices
  • Dip our toes in the ocean
  • Find new swimming holes with Lucy
  • Bake cookies in the car
  • Skinny dip (maybe just Eddy!)
  • Thrift complete outfits for the whole family
  • Take the train and surprise Papa for lunch at work
  • Put the finishing stitches in Eddy's blanket - finally
  • Learn how to do a cartwheel
  • Swim lessons with Eddy
  • Go to a movie without Eddy, juuust the two of us
  • Master the art of making baby food
  • Make these frozen pops - and these
  • Make dog treats for Lucy
  • Finish knitting the pair of socks I started last summer
  • Go to a Major League Baseball game
  • Go to a Minor League Baseball game
  • Fly on an airplane with Eddy
  • Go to a Longhorn football practice
  • Give an awesome Father's Day gift
  • Set up an Etsy shop
  • Go to a National Forest
  • Build a sandcastle
  • Boogie down at Blues on the Green
  • Relax at Austin Symphony's Concerts in the Park
  • Keep our plants in the yard alive (hand watering, of course)
  • Get as many books as we can carry from the library - and get new ones 2 weeks later
  • Do a rain dance, if and when it rains (fingers crossed!)
  • Go to a zoo
  • Donate to an animal shelter
  • Go to Shiner, Texas
  • Watch a sunset from Mount Bonnell
  • Play at Butler Pitch and Putt
  • Yoga at Umlauf Sculpture Garden
  • Doga with Lucy
  • Watch the Congress Bridge bats
  • Karaoke for the first time
  • Cook an entire Farmers' Market meal
  • Watch a movie at Deep Eddy
  • Taste test Austin's Sno Cones
  • Watch fireworks on the 4th of July
  • Paint the antique dresser in Eddy's room
  • Cool off with a drink at Deep Eddy Cabaret
  • Begin marathon - or half marathon - training (haven't decided yet)
  • Celebrate the start of Fall with my birthday!

I will be keeping track of our progress here on the blog. Check back and see how we're doing. And let me know if you want to meet up for some of the fun!

Need some musical inspiration to start your list? Get down with Sly & the Family Stone:

Oh, and my favorite part of this song is when Rose is feeling so funky she can only manage to say, "Buh buh buh bum bum when I want to!"

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dear Eddy, Month 5

Dear Eddy,

This month, my baby boy, you have started to feel like a big boy. You are doing very big baby-like things, like rolling and scooting and reaching out for people (and dogs) that you love. I think that one thing that really made me realize how much you are growing up is the arrival of your little friend, Charlie. Our friends, John and Kathryn, welcomed a very big, healthy boy earlier this month and we went to meet him when he was about a week old. While I got new baby snuggle time, Charlie's grandmother snuggled you. He felt like just a little nugget in my arms even though he weighed more than 10 pounds at birth. Cradling his tiny head, watching his chest rise and fall with each breath, taking in his newborn-ness jolted me back to your spankin' new days. We all marveled at the difference between the two of you. In just 4 short months, you are a totally different baby. In the grand scheme, you are still brand new but the difference between a newborn and a four month old is incredible. By the time we came out of our new-parent fog, you were no longer a newborn. It feels like an eternity ago and a minute ago at the same time. Trading Charlie back for you before we left, I couldn't believe that you used to feel that light in my arms. You are verging on 20 pounds and I don't feel the constant worry that I may break you.

And then, just a few weeks later, I got a newborn day back. We went in for your 5 month round of shots, a combo you'd had before, and that evening you had your first adverse reaction. You started feeling crabby and sleepy and were running a low fever. We settled in for bedtime and had a pretty normal night. The next day went like this: {cry, nurse, sleep} repeat. Your cries didn't last long, nursing soothed you right away, and you didn't want to be put down to sleep. So I found myself on the couch again, with a baby in my arms and on my chest, all day. The beautiful part this time around was that I was aware that this was precious time. Since you have become more active and we spend our days doing fun things, we don't get that sweet cuddle time as much. But on that crabby, sleepy, fever day, all you needed was me. I wasn't happy that you weren't feeling well but I was in heaven being your soother.

There really is nothing like holding a newborn, a brand new human. My heart swells and my throat tightens when I think about the fleeting moment that it was. It is time that I cherish.

But I also cherish today. And tomorrow.

I love you.


7 days new. The whole world in my hands.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's May 22 (+1). Eddy is 5 months old!

5 months. 5 months! 5 months?!?

I know I have said it before but it bears repeating: this month has been awesome. And as a mama, I am at liberty to say that again and again if I so please.

Eddy is discovering new talents all the time. He has figured out that he controls those cool little tentacle-like things attached to his hands - his fingers! They are excellent for grabbing toys, beards, and noses. He is also working on a few new consonant sounds, like "uh-buh" and "nuh" to add to his "coos" and "goos". I love that he spends all day watching bigger people make noises (talk) to each other and thinks, "Hey, I can do that!"

Another very cool skill that he acquired this month: rolling over! While he was staring at his very own beautiful face in a mirror during tummy time, he managed to flip himself over. I reacted in a big way which startled and excited him at the same time. He is getting better and better at this skill everyday and it continues to amuse both of us every time.

But my favorite thing that he started doing this month is really reacting to Lucy. As much as she hates when we leave, Lucy loves it when we come home. She squirms herself into the tightest curl and tip-toes all over the living room, wagging her Snicker bar tail furiously. This cracks him up. He starts reaching out for her and when we sit down to greet her, she approaches slowly to start kissing him and he just keeps on laughing. And it's a fantastic belly laugh. If we've been sitting in one room playing for a bit and Lucy walks in, he starts smiling excitedly and reaching out for her. It is so amazing to watch this relationship grow and change.

So, five months. Cinco meses. A whole handful of digits. On our way to take this month's picture, Eddy faded into a nap just before pulling into the parking lot of Toy Joy. He was none too happy to be pulled out of his car seat but was quickly distracted by the flashy and sparkly objects hanging from the ceiling. We snapped a few quick pictures in the hand chair - five fingers! - and boogied out to get our sleepy Ed to bed. All the way home, he chatted about everything he saw and asked if we could go back to that awesome place soon.

You see that, folks? That is very nearly an unsupported sit!

I am so in love with this kid.

Oh, and he weighed in at a handsome, healthy 19 pounds 6 ounces during his 5 month doc's appointment. Will we break the 20 pound mark before 6 months?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tech-Free 24 hours: week 2

Here we go again! No phones, television, or computers from 7 pm tonight until 7 pm tomorrow. There were a few hiccups last week (read also: brothers in need of late night favors) but for the most part it went great. We made plans with people and then we showed up - brilliant!

And as I said last week, I think we're onto something. I heard a story on NPR on Tuesday about counties in the Midwest that are offering tech-free vacations. In charming tiny towns with main streets and bed and breakfasts, there can be very limited internet and cell phone signals so they have started to use this to their advantage by advertising quiet vacations free of a constant buzz. It was brought about when the Director of Tourism in the area spent Christmas with his extended family and noticed that when kids were not opening presents they were on their phones. Tim and I have witnessed things like this in restaurants and, long before kids, we agreed that it was something we wanted to try and avoid.

At the end of the day we realized how short 24 hours really is. For us, Friday night and Saturday are good times to be doing something other than plugging in. And when 7 pm rolled around, we surprisingly did not feel the urge to pull out our phones and count our missed calls and texts - although we didn't have many because our family and friends respected our request. There may be a different time of the week that works better for your family. My friend, Sara, suggested unplugging daily during a set time block, like 7 to 9 pm.

Whether it works for you or it just sounds silly, something needs to be said for good old fashioned human interaction. Can't beat it!

Eddy says, "Stop all the buzzing, man."

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A response to the TIME cover

By now, we've all seen this cover:

This picture has so brilliantly achieved its purpose of being double-take-worthy. I have seen and heard a slew of interesting comments. From college-aged boys on Facebook saying, "Whoa, she's hot - take the kid away and that's an awesome picture... MILF," to my brother, who thinks she's "gorgeous" but thinks it's gross and weird, it is certainly the conversation starter du jour.

I think the picture is incredible. Not necessarily in the that'll be me someday sense, but I love how it really drives the point home - drives it home and then crashes through the garage door. The Huffington Post wrote an article and showed two other photos from the shoot. I think they definitely chose the right one. A big, healthy 3-year-old boy standing on his own and nursing from his model-beautiful mom's breast. In yo face.

It comes as no surprise that I am Dr. Sears fan. I wouldn't go so far as to say I am a devotee or follower, but I am definitely a fan. In fact, The Baby Book (referenced throughout the TIME article) sits on my bedside table. It replaced The Pregnancy Book that sat in the same place for 9 months. My friend, Ali, gave me The Pregnancy Book. We had never had a blatant conversation about what my parenting style would be but based on what she knew about me she thought it would be a good fit. I remember making the switch from pregnancy books to baby books near the end of my pregnancy and I picked up Baby 411. This book is a great reference for lots of medical issues, like runny noses and diaper rashes, but it also offers parenting advice, like most other baby books. I read through the section about sleep patterns. It talked about baby sleeping in a crib, eventually letting baby self-soothe (aka "cry it out") if they wake up in the night, how many hours of continuous sleep a 1-month-old, 2-month-old, etc. should be getting. I started getting major anxiety. In my heart and in my gut I couldn't imagine doing those things. I grew up in a house that had a family bed - I don't remember it myself but I do remember my brothers sleeping in the family bed - and I couldn't imagine my brand new baby not sleeping next to me. But after reading this chapter I started to feel like I might kill my baby if I slept with him. Then I picked up Dr. Sears' book and my fears were quelled. He gives tips on how to safely co-sleep, or bed share, in order to prevent such scary scenarios. SIDS is an unspeakably awful thing that I can't even imagine but if a very small, miniscule even, minority of these deaths occur in the family bed, with the majority occurring in a crib or a couch, then can we really call it a danger zone? When you have a family bed, just as when your baby sleeps in a crib, you have to create a safe sleeping environment: a firm mattress, no pillows or blankets near the baby, no one under the influence allowed in the bed. But the main thing to remember if you want to have a family bed is don't be an idiot.

That's really a good rule for parenting in general. Plastic dry-cleaning bag looks like it would make a great toy? Don't be an idiot. Dog seems responsible enough to babysit? Don't be an idiot. Wedging your baby into the corner of your waterbed so it'll just stay damn still? Don't be an idiot.

Milwaukee launched this campaign last year because of scary-high SIDS rates in their city.

So wait -- baby sleeping on it's tummy amongst fluffy sheets and pillows with a kitchen knife within reach isn't a good idea? Really?? How about educating parents fairly and accurately rather than terrifying them.

The family bed doesn't work for every family. The Sears family didn't bed share with all of their children. Some kids are distracted, some parents are too restless. But family bed does work for our family. We are happy and we are rested. 2 victories in my book.

Now the issue on display on the cover of TIME is breastfeeding. I'll be brief here: American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) agrees that at least one year is best, the World Health Organization (WHO) advocates for 2, sometimes 3 years. It is what is best for your baby, what is healthiest, what is free, what is always available - so just relax if a mom makes that personal choice. I know that pumping when you return to work is a pain in the ass so HUGE kudos to those moms that make it work. A mom's choice to breastfeed for an extended period of time (I'm talking like 2 or 3 years-old, not this Game of Thrones business) in no way affects other moms - that is, of course, unless it makes them question their own choices. So make the choice that you are most comfortable with and that works for your family.

Dr. Sears' other pillar of parenting that is mentioned in the article is baby-wearing. I'm a baby-wearer. I happen to love it, as most other parents that do it would agree. Not only is it a super sweet transition from the belly to the world, it makes my life easier. I can grocery shop hands-free, cook dinner hands-free, vacuum hands-free, and so on. Yes, all very domestic, anti-feminist things for me to be doing, I know, but it's what works for our family and what makes me happy. PLUS - huge plus - I can always put my baby to sleep when he is restless by "wearing" him.

I read Dr. Sears' books throughout my pregnancy and continue to refer to them regularly. I am not a hippie. Mayim Bialik is not the celebrity mom I most identify with. I am educated. I have a healthy, happy baby that I give thanks for a thousand times a day. I have done my research, I have followed my heart and gut and I have figured out what works for our family. That's the bottom line: figure out what works for your family. And feel free to change your mind mid-stride if something isn't working. And for goodness sake do not answer the question "Are you mom enough?" If you are following your heart and gut then you probably are. If being an attached parent is anxiety-inducing, as the article claims it can be, then it's probably not for you.

In conclusion (*pushes nerdy glasses up*), I would like to add that this issue of TIME was on the same rack, pun intended, at my local grocery store as these magazines:

At least the issue of MAD says "50 Worst Things About America".

Now I happen to think that boobs and cleavage are marvelous and I have no problem with them being displayed beautifully and tastefully (I'm looking at you, Tori Spelling). But just remember what breasts (boobs, boobies, tits, fun bags - whatever strikes your fancy) are really there for before you go getting your panties in a bunch over the mother breastfeeding next to you at Hooter's.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day to ME!

I woke up like a 6 year old on Christmas this morning - except I was given the amazing gift of being able to sleep in. This is my first official Mother's Day. Yeah yeah, I know I'm Lucy's mom. But now I'm mom to a baby that grew in my belly. Yeah yeah, I know Lucy thinks she did so shhh, don't tell her.

Mother's day is so fantastic. Everyone, even men, get all gushy when they think about their moms. Strangers wish you a happy mother's day and you get flowers when you go out to eat. I was totally basking in the glow.

Two years ago, I surprised my mom by showing up to church on Mother's Day. After the homily, the priest starting recognizing the mothers. He said a prayer for mothers new and old, mothers-to-be, mothers that have lost a child and mothers that never got to meet their babies. I was 2 months out from a very painful miscarriage and I felt like he was talking directly to me. My face went hot and I lost it. Thankfully my mom and brother were on either side of me to support me. Among the exhaustive list of emotions I felt robbed. And obviously devastated.

Last year, we had just found out that I was pregnant and were still holding onto our precious secret. I gave thanks for the little squirt flipping around inside of me and prayed that I would be holding my baby the next time Mother's Day rolled around.

And now here we are. We started the day with pancakes and ended it with chicken fried steak. In between, I took a nap with my baby on my chest. We also squeezed in a family walk and Eddy cracked up watching Lucy play with other dogs. It was a perfect day.

'Mom' is this amazing title that feels shiny and new but also feels like it's always been. I have learned my own strength, seen weakness, fallen in love, and had my heart filled. I have gained a new appreciation for my mom and gained a new appreciation for my body. I have realized why I am here and what I was meant to do.

So Happy Mother's Day to new moms, old moms, and mothers-to-be. A special Happy Mother's Day to my mother-in-law, Bonnie, and to my amazing friends that are moms. A silent prayer for those that can't tell their mom that they love her today.

And to my mom, who taught me how to be a mom. Thank you for what you have done and what you are still doing. I love you and Eddy loves you.

A lovely day.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A tech-free challenge

Every time we are stuck in a crowd trying to find friends or having trouble getting out of the door on time, we rely on our cell phones to get us to point B. And in those moments, we always go, "Wooeee - what did we do before cell phones??"

I have figured out the answer: we made better plans.

After dropping my iPhone in the river a few weeks ago I "riced" it for 48 hours. In that 48 hours, I had lots to do, errands to run that required me knowing directions to new places, and emails that needed speedy answers. Wellll without an iPhone I was tethered to the computer at home and I had to write down directions with a pencil before leaving the house. During those 2 days I kept hearing phantom phone calls and texts.

A week later I read an article about a family that decided to go without technology for 24 hours each week. No cell phones, no computers, no television. It was brought about by the realization that during alone time with their partner they were never truly alone because they were always involving a third party: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, emails, etc. They also noticed that every time their toddler started doing something cute they pulled out a camera to capture it instead of just watching and taking it in. The timing of reading this article was kismet. I had just had a glimpse of my cell phone addiction and didn't like what I saw.


We are going technology free as a family once a week for 24 hours - from Friday at 7 pm until Saturday at 7 pm. We have let our family members and friends know to only call if it is a true emergency and prior to signing off for the day we will just make plans. For instance, this Saturday we are meeting our friends at the Farmers' Market at a set time and instead of texting to say we are on our way we will just get out of the door and be there. We will play board games, read, talk to each other while looking at each other, go for a walk, play with Lucy, make Eddy laugh, cook... and before you know it the day will be up.

I would love more time to look at this:

And this:

And this:

I think we're onto something here. I encourage you to join us. Drink the Kool-Aid, man.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Kacie the Grouch

Since December 22 (and long before if you're keeping score), I've had my share of not-so-fine moments. They are usually directed at Tim and they usually come from me snowballing an emotion into something not at all appropriate for the situation. I think these moments usually hit Tim like a ton of bricks: Whoa, where'd that come from?

Tonight, I had another one of those moments.

No matter how many times I've been told, or no matter how many times I tell myself, hanging out with a baby all day is doing something. But there are days when Tim comes home and I feel like I haven't done a thing. While I did run a few errands today, I had a list of things to do at home and none of them got done. The dishwasher remained full of clean dishes, the hamper remained full of dirty laundry, blog posts remained in the draft folder, and the floors remained un-vacuumed. Now I must make something very clear - Tim has never ever, not once even hinted at the fact that he wishes I would have gotten more done in the day. He has never ever, not once implied that he wishes dinner was waiting for him when he got home. He is about 50 times more helpful than the average husband so all of these feelings are completely self-inflicted.

Today when he came home things went as they usually do - I handed Eddy over to him, not because I'm tired of holding a baby, but because I really really want him to have fun with his son before things wind down for bedtime. Tim hung with Eddy while I made dinner, we traded off so I could nurse and Tim brought dinner to the table. We ate a family meal and then started to clean up together. Whenever Eddy is in Tim's hands I shift into hyper-drive and attempt to get everything done that is undone. After cleaning the kitchen I announced that I was going to give Lucy a bath. While I was bathing her, Tim answered a call from his dad and talked with him while holding Eddy. Once Lucy was clean and sparkly I prepared Eddy's bath. Tim brought Eddy into me, still on the phone with his dad, and I noticed that his eyelids were already heavy and he was nearly sleeping on Tim's chest. I bathed him and by the end Tim was off the phone so he came and pulled Eddy out of the tub. Really, no part of our nightly routine had been interrupted but something about Tim being on the phone while I was doing those 2 things made my frustrations bottleneck at the front of my brain. Tim could tell I was irked but when asked what was wrong, my reply was, of course, "Nothing."

Tim dressed Eddy for bed and I carried on, switching loads of laundry and responding to unanswered emails while silently grumbling, "... do I have to do everything around here... yes, or it doesn't get done..." I knew this moment of hands-free independence was fleeting because I'm the one with the boob that can put him down to sleep. I could hear Eddy's cries turning into the mom-I'm-sleepy cries but without me noticing, the cries stopped.

And just a bit later, on my way to switch a load of laundry, I peered through the dining room and saw this:

Isn't that enough to clear a bottleneck of grouchiness right up?

So the next time I'm feeling all matriarchal and telling myself that I'm the only one that can do things, I will just swallow down a piece of humble pie and tell myself to relax. Most things just aren't worth the heartache.

And while, yes, I'm the only one with the boob, turns out I'm not the only one that can put Eddy to sleep.

Papa done good.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Dear Eddy, Month 4

Dear Eddy,

This is the first month that really gave me whiplash. April 22 arrived like a race car but looking back on the month we spent together it feels very full. I'm lucky to be able to stay home and hang out with you everyday. We make excellent use of our time, whether we bustle about or just lie around and play.

The number four has special significance in your fourth month. You met your great grandparents, Waymon and Bessie Rae Wilson. We gave you the middle name 'Waymon' in honor of your great grandfather. Having great grandparents is a pretty amazing privilege and yours are some of the best out there. So during our weekend at their little house on the lake we had four generations of Wilson boys in one place. Cousins, grandparents, aunts, and uncles also made the trip to celebrate Waymon's birthday and to meet you.

Strolling with the cousins Olivia, Andrew, and Nick.
Our time that we spend out on the lake is always so special. With spotty cell phone reception and limited access to technology we soak up quality time with each other by just chatting. Great Grandma and Great Grandpa's neighbors, Tom and Melissa, open up their guest cabin for us when we visit and it feels like a mini-vacation. Not to mention the fact that sister Lucy is in heaven in "the country". She runs around with Great Grandpa Waymon's dog, Lucy (we call her "Country Lou"), and the two of the them are plum tired by the time we leave.

City Lou and Country Lou
Our country home away from home.
Needless to say, my heart was full and pride was over-flowing all weekend. Your great grandma commented on how sweet and good you were every chance she got. She wore a lovely red outfit while we hung out and you couldn't take your eyes off of her so we figured out that red must be your favorite color. You let everyone hug you and squeeze you and love you as much as they could and you filled that wide open country space with your sweetness.
The whole Wilson crew
Eddy Waymon, you come from a long line of good Wilson men. We realized shortly after you were born that every first born son since the first Waymon has the same middle name as you. Your Great Grandpa also pointed out that you are currently the one and only boy on this branch of the family tree to carry on the Wilson name. But, you know, no pressure.

I will treasure this picture forever.
What a good month.