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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Pulling, Pushing, Playing

BB's favorite occupation these days is pulling herself up and trying to walk. She does this painfully adorable up and down butt-waggle as she tries to gather up enough courage to let go and take a step.

Today, she spent a good deal of time pushing around things and using them as walkers: the car toy, which was designed for such a purpose, the plastic baskets we use to store the toys, and the kid's chairs were very popular choices for this activity.

In other news, BB and BJ are actually starting to play together. Granted, much of it involves BJ announcing what is and is not "good for babies," but it's a start. He's getting really good about trading toys with her, and if they are both involved in something destructive, like tearing up this piece of butcher paper, it can keep them engrossed for a good five minutes!

Watching them side by side, their little heads bowed close together, I had a brief glimpse of the future I hope for them both.

S and I were talking last night about how much we hope BB and BJ will be friends. We know you can't force such things. But we do what we can to encourage it and to model the kinds of interactions we'd like to see. We are both blessed to have amazing siblings, so we know how wonderful it is to have a friend in a brother or sister, someone to respect, admire, and love. If all goes well, someday our kids will say the same about each other. Fingers crossed.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Feature -- LilyBeans

This week's featured Etsy artist is LilyBeans. She's a fellow EtsyKids member. She's also been an Etsy find on (How cool is that?)

Tell me two (or more!) interesting things about you.

I'm a stay at home mom of my 18 mo old daughter Lily, I love to scrapbook and bake, I am the president of my local MOMS Club and I am totally obsessed with my Etsy store and Etsy itself!

What do you sell in your Etsy shop?

My main product is Lily Beans Party Packs and Highchair Tutus - I have a few other items as well.

What inspires your creations?
Miss Lily! It was her first birthday that sparked all this!
Tell me a bit about your creative process and/or how you learned to do what you do.
I like to scrapbook so I've used some of those techniques in this process. It's really mostly the more I do it, the better they get. I also believe it never hurts to try!
What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?
I think right now it's the Highchair Tutu - Garden. I just love how it turned out!
What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?
Talkative, creative and a nurturer
What do you like about Etsy?
I love the talent that is here, all the creative ideas and the opportunity to profit from that creative flow! I know it's my dream to make good money from something I've created!
What makes your shop unique?
I can't say I've seen another party pack or highchair tutu on Etsy. I also can't say I've found a party pack anywhere that is quite like mine!
What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?
Good customer service. I believe that's the key to it all. I know you have to have customers to show your customer service, but how you treat others will come back, and they will treat you the same!
Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?
For more Friday Feature interviews, click here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More than Mom

Most days, taking care of BB and BJ takes about all of my time and energy. Most days are brimming full with breastfeeding, making meals, changing diapers, reading books, giggling, cuddling, kissing boo-boos, managing naptimes, wiping away tears, singing, swinging, giving baths, finding lost toys, and keeping the baby from eating random stuff off the floor. Not to mention cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands, and the countless other endless tasks of making house into home. Motherhood has been both more satisfying and more challenging than any other role I've yet encountered in my life. It is also by far the most all-encompassing role. Being Mom is hard work, worthwhile work, and these days, Mom is mostly who I am.

And most days, I'm okay with that. If you're open to it, there's so much joy, so much love, so much wonder when you spend most of your time with kids. I try to be open to it, to cherish the time I have with BB and BJ, to not get caught up in the mundane smelly details and instead embrace the miracle of this wonderful little boy, this amazing little girl. (One can get very sticky-sentimental very quickly about all this, I find. Let's not and say we did.) Anyway, I'm very lucky to be Mom, and I know it.

But I'm also more than Mom, and some days I really feel the need to stretch myself into that other person. Poet, writer, woman, wife.... thinker, teacher, student, friend.... daughter, dancer, dreamer....

Today, I was able to be more than Mom. S and I fit in a lovely lunch date, relishing a relaxed meal at a local French restaurant while Giki and Pop-Pop watched the kids. Then, this afternoon, my mom and I went to a book signing.

Granted, it was a children's author and at a children's bookstore -- so I'd not exactly left the land of mommy-dom -- but it was also Alice Walker, one of my most favorite authors. Sitting there, listening to her read There Is a Flower at the Tip of My Nose Smelling Me, basking in her peaceful presence, I felt at touch with parts of myself that have been dormant lately. It was a profound goodness.

"There is a poem
In the cradle
Of my Soul
Rocking me."

She also read from her latest book, Why War Is Never a Good Idea, and spoke eloquently about the need for peace. I'd decided to leave the kids at home for various reasons, but large among them was the worry about how BJ would react to the book. I'm glad he wasn't there -- but I'm also glad to have the book and to be able to provide its important perspective to both the kids when I think they are ready for it.

I'm always terribly nervous when I have the chance to meet those authors who have meant so much to me. Today was no exception. I tried not to be a blithering idiot as I babbled something about what a joy it was to meet her, how her books had changed my life, how happy I was to be able to share her books with my kids, how much I wanted to thank her. What else can one do? She must hear this sort of stuff all the time.

Nevertheless, it is true. She signed my books, shook my hand, and graciously said, "You're welcome." And it was enough. I was so happy, so lucky things lined up so that S could watch the kids and I could be there. And what a neat treat to be able to share it with my own mom! It reminds me that BJ and BB will not always be so little. If I'm really blessed, someday we'll share the sort of friendship that I have with my own parents. It's almost impossible to imagine right now, but perhaps someday I'll be going to book signings or something similar with BB or BJ. I hope so.

Tonight, as S works late, I am Mom again in earnest. It has been an evening full of the usual stuff. But now the kids are asleep, for the moment at least, and my folks have gone to their hotel for the night. The house is quiet, my heart is happy. Life is very good, indeed.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Look Who's Reading!

Day by day, BJ is reading more and more. Both S and I were early readers (reading before age 3) and it looks like BJ is going to be the same. Guess he comes by it honestly!

The other day, he decided that the way to make Socks feel better would be to read him a book. Which book? The Cat In The Hat, of course. And so he got up on the bed next to the cat and proceeded to "read" the book (reciting it from memory, is more like).

That's the tricky part about trying to tell how close he is to actually reading: he's memorized dozens of his books. He's been able to read letter by letter since before he was 2 years old, and for quite some time now, he's had an impressive set of sight words -- from "moon" to "Chrysanthemum," and including typical three letter words like: mom, dad, cat, the, and, big, dog, egg.... These and many more he can spell verbally, recognize on the page, and spell out using the letters from his A-Z puzzle.

So for some time, he's been really close to reading but we couldn't tell how close. Now, though, it seems like he really is starting to read. We'll see billboards and shop signs, and he'll try to read them, with mixed success. He's begun sounding out phonetically. When we were in the car a few days ago, waiting at a red light, he read "Road" on a "Roadway" tractor trailer, sounding it out carefully. I think he could have managed the entire word, if the light hadn't turned green.

And then, just yesterday, he gave us a bit more of a glimpse into how literate he is becoming. Pop-Pop and Giki returned from their side trip to Sequoia yesterday, and they brought him a new book called (appropriately) The Tallest Tree. He sat down on the couch and before anybody could say anything, he said, "The Tall Tree," and proceeded to pick out several of the words throughout the book on the first reading. So exciting!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday Feature -- One Girlie Girl

Today's featured Etsy artist is One Girlie Girl, a fellow member of EtsyMom and EtsyKids. She's also a member of EtsyCrest.

I can't wait until my little BB has hair long enough to justify buying some of her adorable hair clippies!

Tell me two (or more!) interesting things about you.

I was born 3 1/2 mos. premature, with no problems (except my love of making things). I have 4 wonderful children...3 of which came after my husband WON his battle with testicular cancer!!

What do you sell in your Etsy shop?

Mostly wool felt hair clips...vinyl covered diaper clutches and bibs.

What inspires your creations? Just everyday things :)

Tell me a bit about your creative process and/or how you learned to do what you do.

One daughter, not much hair...hated velcro bows, and tada.

What is your favorite item in your shop? All the clips, they are just so cute!

Why is it your favorite? So many ways to express your individuality! For yourself or little girl.

What 3 words would you use to describe yourself? Fun, Creative, Friendly

What do you like about Etsy? I love the is just the best!!

What makes your shop unique? Wonder Woman runs the whole thing :)

What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy? Don't give up! It may seem difficult, but like any business, you have to work at it! Items won't sell themselves, so try and get out and promote :)

Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?

For more Friday Feature interviews, click here. If you are a member of EtsyKids, EtsyMom, or EtsyBlogger, I'd love to feature you -- shoot me a convo!

Monday, September 17, 2007

My First Blog Award!

A big thank you to Amanda for deeming me worthy of the Rockin' Girl Blogger award! (And what a cool idea, Roberta!) Amanda is such a sweetheart!!! (And I'm so excited I'm spittin' out exclamation points like watermelon seeds!)

Sharin' the love, I'd like to do my own awarding:

To Angela at AMKStitches for her humor, enthusiasm, and down-to-earth perspective

To Cara at GreenBeanBoutique for sharing great crafting tips and her knowledge about Waldorf education

Y'all ROCK!

Look Who's Standing!!!

So I'm making dinner in the kitchen, and S is watching the little ones, when I turn around and see this in the doorway:

BB had pulled herself up on the gate and was watching me intently. First time for that!

She's a crawling speed demon and can navigate through amazingly small spaces. (Especially if she spots shoes. Her shoe fetish is already legendary. My pair of black sandals holds a special allure, apparently.)

A few days ago, she graduated from her commando crawl to an all-fours style, and she's been trying to stand up for days.

I predict she'll be walking in a month or less.

Cloning Chrysanthemum

Just in case anybody was wondering, it turns out that I have not missed my calling as a stuffed animal designer.

After looking high and low, making multiple Ebay searches, sending pitiful emails directly to the manufacturer, and posting everywhere from Craigslist to my local playgroup email list, it turns out that a Chrysanthemum replacement is nowhere to be found. The rip in her rubber seam is getting worse, so desperate times call for desperate measures.

In a moment of crafty confidence, I convinced myself I could make a replica out of fabric. How hard could it be? A little purple cloth, some yarn, some thread, a ribbon tail.

Well, it took about a day's worth of all my free time, and what I created looks very much like the country mouse to Chrysanthemum's city slick original self. I abandoned all thoughts of trying to do a switcheroo in the wee hours of the night, and instead presented her to BJ as Chrysanthemum's friend. "Two of them!" he exclaimed gleefully, and ran off to play.

Such folly on my part

Used to be, all I had to do was keep track of one rubber mouse. Now, both must be located at all critical junctures, and we have two little purple mice who go with us everywhere.

And both are named Chrysanthemum.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Breast Vs. Frozen Banana

BB is teething -- again, or should I say still. It's been almost nonstop for the past month or so. Her first 2 bottom teeth are finally all the way in, and her first 2 on top are coming in together. Happily, the breast biting has eased up (for now at least). She wants to nurse all.the.time, but I'm ok with that so long as she's nursing and not chomping. It's exhausting, but it obviously gives her a great deal of comfort, and I console myself by doing mental calculations about the extra calories I must be burning and how many scoops of mint chocolate chip ice cream might be justified as a result.

I have found one thing that BB seems to like almost as much as boob: frozen banana in one of those amazingly clever mesh feeder bags. She moans ecstatically the whole time she's sucking and chewing on it. A most welcome audio alternative to the fussing she's been doing!

I have a friend who actually claims to have made breastmilk popsicles and fed them to her baby when the little one was teething. The idea makes sense to me. (More sense than another culinary nursing experiment I've heard of: making butter from breastmilk.) Alas, BB will have to be content with warm, fresh mommy milk, straight from the tap. I can't begin to imagine having enough success with pumping to make a momsicle.

Watching the Wash

Is this what happens when a toddler doesn't get to watch enough TV?

The new washing machine was delivered yesterday. At one point or another, everybody in the house ended up in the laundry room, doing exactly what BJ is doing in this picture. (Even Pop-Pop and Giki.) BJ was utterly entranced. Who knew that watching the wash could be so entertaining?

(Apologies for the awful state of the miniblinds. It's actually not the kids' fault. It's from the cats pawing through them, and so long as we share our home with these felines it's pointless to repair or replace them. Sigh.)

Friday, September 14, 2007

BJ and the Moon

Yesterday, when BJ was fighting his nap (too excited about my folks being here to calm down for much-needed sleep), I went into his room for about the fifteenth time and announced, "We have a problem."

He turned to me, looking horrified. I might as well have announced that the world was about to end. I admit, my tone was much closer to a bang than to a whimper.

"We have a problem," I repeated, trying to sound a little more calm.

Instantly, he replied, "Yes! The moon is too big!"

So there you have it.

The moon is too big. Therefore, no nap.

(For the record, he was talking about the stuffed crescent moon that hangs from the ceiling in his room. Or at least I think so.)

Thankfully, he took a great nap today. Apparently the moon had shrunk. Or something.

More updates on lunar size as events warrant.

More Swing!

I'm so excited -- BB is really starting to get the hang of baby signs! For a while now, she's been doing:
  • "more" -- hands clapping together
  • "all done" -- waving hands, palms down
  • "fan" -- whirling her hand around
  • "dog" -- panting, which has been generalized by her to mean, "I'm so excited about that thing over there, just as excited as I was to see a dog for the first time!"

Today, while we were at the park, I was pushing her in the swing and showing her the sign for "swing," and she started laughing and signing, "More swing! More swing!"

It was exactly the kind of soaring mommy moment that I needed, an excellent balm to the bruises of the day. Spent the morning hunting for the instruction manual for the co-sleeper so that we could figure out how to fold up the silly thing. (There are few things more maddening, I find, than looking for something when I know I've seen it somewhere recently. Finally found it at the bottom of a pile of papers squirrelled away in the kid's closet.) Then, when I went to wash the co-sleeper sheets so that we could put everything away, they got stained with grease. And when I mentioned to my dad that these mysterious grease stains had been appearing on clothes recently, he informed me that it meant the washing machine had in all probability developed a bad transmission and would need to be replaced.

Mom and Dad, in their infinite generosity, insisted on giving us an early "Christmas present," and we have a new washing machine being delivered tomorrow. Thank heavens. (And thanks, Mom and Dad.... the thought of laundromat duties on top of everything had me weeping in the kitchen as I was making lunch.) I wish we were in a place financially where we could have turned down their offer, but the honest truth is that things are really tight right now. I'm so incredibly blessed to have such great family. Nana J. was very, very kind to us recently, and now this.

Of course, my amazing parents had helped to palliate some of the frustration, but I was still feeling pretty raw when we headed over to the park this afternoon. Pushing BB on the swing and watching her delight put things in a bit more perspective, and then when she started signing, I felt so much tension fall away. I'd swung from angst into joy, if you will, just left it behind me for the moment.

I know the swing will turn, following gravity's pull, and the angst will be back, sooner or later, for reasons more or less justifiable; that's the nature of things, the way the metaphor works. But I've always felt that swinging has a special sort of power. The literal act of getting on a swing and soaring through the air, the repetition, the rhythm, the meditative quality -- something about it almost always brings me back to center.

Used to be it was pumping myself back and forth that did the trick. Now, it seems, it's pushing my kids. Today on the swings, I could see BB blossoming into her own little person. It is a wonderful thing to see, truly magical and a daily miracle, and precisely what I needed to remind me what matters most: getting on the swing, laughing, and asking for more.

Friday Feature -- Present By Design

This week's featured Etsy artist is Present By Design. She is a fellow Etsy Mom and she has really adorable stuff in her shop.

For more interviews like this, click here. If you are an Etsy seller and would like to be featured on my blog, please let me know!

Tell me two (or more!) interesting things about you.

Well, I got married on the island of Santorina, Greece with only four of my closet family and friends. It was perfect! Recently, I got my Fortune Tootsies into the holiday catalog of Femail Creations.

To which Etsy Street Teams do you belong? Team Idaho, EtsyMom.

What do you sell in your Etsy shop?

Simplymilk - Breastfeeding Care Kit
Fortune Tootsies - Lucky Baby Socks
Fortune Onesies - Lucky shirts
Many cards

What inspires your creations?
Everyday life and the drive to create something new and useful.

Tell me a bit about your creative process and/or how you learned to do what you do.

I have learned that I just have to get my idea out to the masses. I do lots of journal - drawings to think out my next idea. But I love to create things, and wish I had more time to do just that!! Wouldn't that be lovely!! I also think that networking with other creative moms help keep up my motivation.

What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?

I would have to say the Simplymilk, because that is my first product that I developed with new moms in-mind. It has a soft spot in my heart!

But my Fortune Tootsies are the best seller. People love them!

What 3 words would you use to describe yourself? Creative, not-enough-time, mom

What do you like about Etsy? I love Etsy because of all the creative energy! I love just looking around at all the great stuff, some really talented group of people.

What makes your shop unique? We'll you won't find my cards anywhere else. I do sell the other product in other online stores.

What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy? Just do what your heart wants. Because that is reward itself!

Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Pop-Pop and Giki

My folks arrived yesterday from the East Coast for a visit. God bless grandparents. Life around here is so much more when they are here. Many people have observed that our isolated nuclear families are not the ideal for raising children, and each time my parents are here for a visit, I understand more and more why that might be. We do fine on our own, S and I, but with other family around our household is immensely richer, a bit more complicated, but also much easier. More love to go around, more attention, more hands to help with dinner and diapers and the like.

Living on the West Coast is wonderful, except for the part about being so very far away from family. It makes my heart hurt. But we are blessed to have visitors as often as we do, so I take comfort from that as best I can.

When we went to pick them up at the airport, BJ was so excited he could barely sit still in his carseat. Anticipation visibly thrummed in his little body. He'd made them a card as a welcome gift, and he clutched it in his fist the whole way there.

BB wailed her head off, which is unusual for her. She's still getting used to the new carseat. (Oh, how I miss the infant one with its handle! So much easier to get two kids in the car when one of them is self-contained and just has to be clicked in.) So it made for an interesting illustration in opposites, her crying and him chattering away about his grandparents.

Pop-Pop and Giki. The first is the name my dad chose for himself as a grandpa; the second is the name BJ chose for my mom as a grandma. She'd intended to be called Grammy. (Pop-Pop and Grammy.... they go together like popcorn and a movie. Or something like that.) But BJ couldn't, or wouldn't, say Grammy. First it was "Gucky," then "Giki," which stuck.

Luckily, my mom seems quite happy with this moniker. (Living in Silicon Valley as we do, it does elicit some strange reactions from people who hear it as "Geeky." As in, "Huh? His Grandma is a Geek???") But my parents are so smitten with their grandkids, I think they could be called almost anything and not care a whit.

Today we did some shopping for the kids (BB's first pair of Robeez and some clothes for BJ) and then went to the Safeway. My mom is so funny about grocery stores. To her, they are prime tourist spots. She gets endless delight from visiting a new grocery store. I'm sure that tomorrow or the next day we will be visiting both the new Trader Joe's and the new Whole Foods that have opened since they were here last.

And perhaps best of all, while BJ napped they watched BB so that I could get a bit of a nap this afternoon. It will be a laid back visit. Giki will visit her grocery stores, Pop-Pop will take hundreds of pictures, and they'll spend as much time hanging out with us and the kids as they can. My parents have very simple pleasures. That -- and extra sleep for me and S -- is one of the many reasons it is so nice to have them here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Name Your Tune

It's taken more than a year, but BJ has finally consented to hear something other than They Might Be Giants while in the car! Our Name Your Tune CD arrived last week, and it has been a big household hit. These fun tunes have each been personalized: Candace, the very creative mind behind the music, was kind enough to put together a special album for us that alternates between songs using BJ's name and songs using BB's name. Was that sweet, or what?

We're very picky about our kid's music around here -- no Barney or other aural atrocities, thankyouverymuch -- so it's saying something to give this two parental thumbs up. And it's saying even more to have BJ approve, given that so many things are deemed "not so good" these days. The songs are quite competent renditions of familiar ditties, with nice instrumentation and pleasing vocals. It sounds like the singers are smiling, putting a little sparkle and sunshine into every tune.

What's funny is that BJ seems to like the songs with BB's name even better than the ones with his own name. "The Rainbow Song" is a particular favorite of his. Personally, I like "I Don't Want To Live on the Moon." BJ was singing "If You're Happy And You Know It" on his own while I did dishes this afternoon, and he has already learned the days of the week by memorizing "There Are Seven Days." Very cool!

So if you're looking for a nifty gift, or if you'd like to make a worthwhile addition to your children's music collection, be sure to check out Name Your Tune.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

So Tired

First, a warm welcome to those readers who are here for the Carnival of Breastfeeding hosted by the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog. Thanks for stopping by! While you're here, I hope you'll look around and read some of my posts about family life, breastfeeding, and making jewelry for my Etsy shop, where I sell Baby Friendly Beads nursing necklaces and reminder bracelets.

This month's carnival topic is Breastfeeding & Sleep. There are many other great posts in the carnival, and you'll find links to them below.

I am the mom of 2 year old BJ and 7 month old BB (she is still nursing), so Sleep and Breastfeeding are huge issues around here. Or, I should say, Lack of Sleep and Breastfeeding....

I knew the sleep deprivation with BJ had reached a crisis point when I was moved to tears by the profundity of Eric Clapton's "So Tired." (It's never a good sign when pop songs on the radio start making me weep.) Soon after, we decided to transition him from our bed into his crib. It hasn't gotten that bad with BB -- yet -- but I believe that our co-sleeping days are coming to a close.

I have really mixed emotions about the prospect. I know how hard it will be to move her to the crib. For me, if not for her. There's nothing in the world quite like having her little warm body curled up next to me, totally vulnerable, utterly relaxed. I'll miss that terribly.

And even though she'll just be down the hall, I know I'll worry. I'll worry about whether she's too cold or too hot. If she wakes, I'll worry she isn't getting enough sleep. If she sleeps well, I'll worry she's sleeping too deeply. When insomnia hits (as it periodically does) I'll have those horrible, haunting, midnight convictions that she's stopped breathing, so I'll rush to the nursery and watch her gentle breathing until I've shaken the image of SIDS perched on the crib's edge like an awful gargoyle, waiting to pounce.

Sure, I worry now -- but I can calm my anxieties merely by reaching over to touch her. She's hardly a heartbeat away. For all its frustrations, the family bed is wonderful for a mom's peace of mind.

In spite of my worries, though, once she's in her crib it will probably mean more sleep for all of us. She rarely sleeps for more than 2 hours in a row right now; she loves to night-nurse, and with me right next to her she makes the most of it. If I let her, she'd be latched on all night long, sleeping and sucking away, completely content. I can usually get her to pop off and grumble her way back to dreamland, and often I doze through the feedings, but lately more often than not I'm left awake and restless. (It doesn't help things that the cat with bone cancer has now decided the best place to sleep is right between my legs.) It sometimes feels like by the time I get back into a sound sleep, she's waking me up 15 minutes later.

I keep hoping that the night-nursing is "just a stage," but she's 7 months old now and showing no signs of growing out of it. She eats solids 3 times a day, and nurses at least once in between each solid meal, but she still wants to suck all night long. And now that she's teething, she'll occasionally nip at the nipple.... and 2 a.m. is hardly the time that I want to practice my mother-smother move.

So while I'm not yet sobbing at pop-songs, I am indeed so tired. I recognize that the sleep deprivation is reaching a critical stage. Earlier this week, in the wee hours of the morning, after BB had woken me up for the fourth or fifth time that night, S asked if there was anything he could do -- "Grow breasts!" I snarled at him. Over breakfast, after I apologized, I conceded that it was time to start talking about transitions.

To date, talking is all we've done. But it won't be long before she's able to crawl out of the co-sleeper, and I'd rather worry about her sleeping in the crib than worry about her rolling out of our bed. I'm fantasizing about once again being able to journal last thing at night and jot down my dreams first thing in the morning. (Not to mention actually being able to cuddle with my own husband. Hmm. What was that like again?) I get giddy imagining being able to sleep for 3, 4, even 5 hours in a row....

And yet, I hesitate to push for moving her out of our bed. I know BB is going to be our last child. With BJ, such transitions were difficult, but they didn't have the same kind of finality. Whether it was weaning him from the bed or weaning him from the breast, I consoled myself with the thought that -- if everything went well -- I'd be going through all of this again with another baby. (Ok, I admit it, sometimes it was less like consolation and more like trepidation.)

And here we are now, going through it all again. Yawns and all.

I wouldn't trade it. Of course not. And I certainly don't want to rush BB's growing up. (Or BJ's, for that matter.) But I do look forward to being something other than exhausted. I'll be a better person -- and a better parent -- for having had a good night's sleep.

For more thoughts on Breastfeeding and Sleep, check out the other carnival posts:

Sinead muses on sleep deprivation and night nursing memories at Breastfeeding Mums
Isil discusses co-sleeping and the joys of nursing at Veggie Way
Amy writes about "co-sleeping for sanity" at Crunchy Domestic Goddess
Angela tells us why CIO makes her want to cry at Breastfeeding 123
Nicole writes about Breastfeeding and Sleep at Leche, Baby!
Jodi writes about sleep issues, sleep training, and nursing twins at Life With Twins
Hathor the Cow Goddess contributes a comic about the family bed
Jennifer writes "To Sleep, Perchance to Dream" at The Lactivist
Andi tells us about "the land of stroller-pushing-sleep-walkers" at Mama Knows Breast
Tanya elaborates on the benefits of side-lying nursing at the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog

Friday, September 7, 2007

Too Wavy

Today we made our first foursome family trip to the beach. We'd been meaning to go all summer -- hadn't been "over the hill" to the beach since BJ was about BB's age. Which meant BB had yet to see the ocean! So it was time.

We decided to go to Sea Cliff Beach, home of the concrete ship Palo Alto (or what's left of it).
Apparently, they used to let folks walk out onto the ship, but it has long since decayed too much for it to be safe for anybody but the seagulls.

BJ loved the long trek all the way down the stairs....

S and I were less enthused, what with all our stuff to carry, BB in the Sutemi carrier, and the constant fear that BJ would trip as he insisted on carrying his big purple bucket. S and I had never been to this particular beach before, so only after we were all the way down did we discover that we could have driven around and parked right off the beach. Sigh.

BB and I hung out on the blanket while BJ and S went to check out the waves and build a sand castle. She really enjoyed the texture of the sand, and she kept me busy keeping her from eating too much of it.

And, of course, she insisted on playing "tag" with me while I tried to take her picture. I got lots of good close-ups of her nose. In this one, you can see those pesky toofers that are giving her such fits.

Unfortunately, BB's first trip to the beach was hardly long enough to really count as an outing. We hadn't been there 2o minutes before I glanced up to see S scoop up BJ in meltdown mode.
S said the waves only got BJ's feet wet, but it seems that was too much for him. "Too wavy!" BJ kept sobbing. "Too scary! Want to go home!" I felt so badly for him; he was really, really terrified.

We got him calmed down enough to eat our picnic lunch, but only by moving everything to the picnic tables far from the shoreline. I'd hoped that he'd be more tractable after being fed, but no such luck. The best we could get was a compromise to try a different beach.

So we headed up the 1, always a lovely drive. BB got in her nap, and BJ nattered on and on about the scary waves, the boo-boo on his knee (a wee scab now, and is a source of constant fascination to him), random recollections from our trip to the aquarium, and the fact that his hands are made of "flesh and bone and blood." We stopped at one of the small beaches south of Half Moon Bay, and BJ consented to do a little beachcoming with me, but as soon as we got within damp-sand distance of the ocean, he made a beeline back for the car.

Looks like it might be another year before BB really gets to experience the full glory of a day at the beach. And who knows: by the time BJ wants to go back, BB might decide she doesn't like it. Parenting is truly a juggling act..... I'm just glad I've not dropped anybody! (Yet!)

Friday Feature -- PurpleHug

This week's featured shop is PurpleHug. For more featured shop interviews, click here.

Tell me two (or more!) interesting things about you.

I have many part-time jobs: Office manager at a real estate office (I am also a realtor), Treasurer for my church, Virtual assistant from home (website work for realtors) and now Etsy shop owner.

What do you sell in your Etsy shop?

I sell a variety of items. I like to dabble in many different types of crafts. I sell jewelry --bracelets, earrings, cell charms, wine glass charms -- scarves, baby bibs and burp cloths.

To which Etsy Street Teams do you belong? I belong to the Etsymom street team and Etsy believer street team.

What inspires your creations?
My kids helped inspire the bibs and bracelets that I have in my shop. The other items blossomed from them.

Tell me a bit about your creative process and/or how you learned to do what you do.

For the bibs, I was searching for a really good moisture-proof bib, as my daughter slobbered so much I thought should wouldn't have any spit left. Not finding anything that suited me, I created my own. My bibs have a gore-tex lining inside. It stops moisture from reaching baby's clothes and skin and at the same time is a breathable fabric - helping the top layer dry fast. I learned to sew in school and am able to create my own patterns. For the jewelry, I got started by "copying" another coil bracelet (for my own use) to help me keep track of when my baby last ate (instead of relying on memory or a paper log). Then I migrated to creating "regular" beaded coil bracelets and earrings. I learn best by examining other similar items and visualizing how they are put together.

What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?

Right now, I think my favorite item is the phrase bracelet .
It reminds me of the bracelet I had as a child with my name on it. I've modified the design to fit the coil construction that I use in my bracelets. I also offer additional suggestions for the phrase on the bracelet, any 1 or 2 word phrase ("Hope", "Believe", "Have Faith", "Give Thanks", "Princess", a nickname, your name, your favorite Bible verse - the sky is the limit!)

What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?
Thinker - my mind is always working. I get that quality from my dad. In fact, he helped with my bib creation.
Industrious - I have trouble just sitting around doing nothing.
Helpful - I am always looking for ways to help people, whether with my talents or my resources.

What do you like about Etsy?
The community that is behind Etsy - the sellers and buyers. You don't get that with other shopping and auction sites. I like that it is NOT an auction - my work is valuable and I don't want it to sell too cheap.

What makes your shop unique?
The broad nature of items available. I think a buyer could be in the market for many types of items in the same shopping trip. They save on shipping if they get it all at one shop.

What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?
Read the forums for information - what you need to know is there, you just have to look for it and read it.

Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?
I have a website that gives more background about me and the inspiration behind many of my items. It also has all the options available in customizing an item just for you. .

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Poor boo BB is a drooly, cranky mess these days. Not sleeping well (which means I'm not either), nursing like crazy, chewing on everything in sight. Including me. She has one and a half teeth, both on the bottom, and it looks like not one but two more are coming in at the same time on top. Her gums are puffy, swollen, and bright red. Makes me cringe just looking at them!

So things have been a bit of a challenge this week. Nights are the worst. It's clear that breastfeeding provides an enormous amount of comfort, and I don't begrudge her that at all, but more than once I've found myself having midnight fantasies about cyborg qualities like detachable breasts.....

(Yes, I know, I know. Such a thing exists and it's called a bottle. Try telling that to my daughter, who wants nothing to do with any sort of nipple but my own. Her preferences are quite clear on this: no pacifier, no bottle, no thank you! Believe you me, I've tried!)

I find myself quite sympathetic this week to those folks who believe in changeling children. I'll be holding BB as she squalls, and I can understand why someone might honestly conclude that their once-peaceful babe had been spirited away.... that their beloved baby had been switched in the cradle.... that the inconsolable creature in your arms is a faerie being, something other than flesh of your own flesh and blood of your own blood.

Teething will do that to ya.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Tapestry Arts Festival

Today we went to the annual Tapestry Arts Festival in downtown San Jose. As she has for the past two years, Nana J drove up for the weekend so that she could join us. Though hot, it was a lovely day. I was worried that BJ would be miserable, given his recent Farmer's Market phobia, but he had a good time once he realized all the white tented booths were selling crafts and not vegetables.

(I'm baffled by the whole "Farmer's Market is Not So Good" development. One Sunday he was delighted to go, had a great time dragging around his beets -- the next, he threw a fit at the prospect. I thought it was the crowds, but it was as crowded or more so today at the Festival. Go figure.)

He spent most of the first hour or so on S's shoulders, which really seemed to help with easing him into the experience. Also kept him from getting too friendly with the sharp metal sculpture for sale -- always a good thing.

This morning as we were getting ready to go, I asked BJ what he wanted to do at the fair. "Find letter puzzle and buy it," he said with great conviction. So he was thrilled to find the booth for the Puzzle Man, and Nana was kind enough to treat him to an adorable puzzle, picturing a turtle with the alphabet and numbers 1-9 on its shell.

Of course as soon as we got it home and BJ started playing with it, he wanted it to go up to 10. So he proceeded to go get the 1 and 0 from another puzzle and lay it alongside. (This is the picture I should have taken! Ah well. Life does not happen for the camera. And the only reason I have any pics from today is because Nana remembered to bring her camera. Thanks, Nana!)

Alas, there was no booth for the Monterey Bay Aquarium this year. The last two years, we've won free tickets, and we were looking forward the chance to spin the wheel again this year. But no such luck.

Even so, it was a good day. S found a great hat (which BB promptly appropriated for her own entertainment purposes).
And BJ got to play the drums.
Didn't buy anything for me, which is just as well. We're on a budget at the moment, what with the rising cost of gas, the mounting medical bills for Socks, and the price tag associated with the innumerable things required to raise two kids. (Like two sets of diapers. I will be so happy when BJ is potty-trained. But that's another post.)