Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Remembering Farrah

In the wake of this rash of celebrity deaths, I keep thinking about Farrah Fawcett. Am I a huge Farrah Fawcett fan? Not really. But in the circus that has surrounded the sudden passing of Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett's death on the same day was really overshadowed. I don't think many could argue that Farrah Fawcett's impact on pop culture came close to Michael Jackson's, but she did something that was incredibly admirable: she brought her cancer to the public eye. Yes, she had lots of magazine coverage preceding her death, and yes, she had her documentary about her battle with cancer, a disease that kills way too many women and men. Let's remember that dying at 62 is premature and tragic, and in opening her struggle up to the public, she brought much-needed attention to this disease. I can't imagine that a woman who filmed her terminal illness would want her death--her final opportunity to drive home to the public how much research is still needed in finding a cure for cancer--to be overlooked. So as the media is saturated with the story of Michael Jackson, let's not forget Farrah.

Lydia Eats Local

This extremely clever onesie was a gift from Uncle Markus!

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Robin, Lydia, and I have arrived safely back in Austin after being gone for nearly two weeks. Our trip was as packed as it could have been, and like always, I still feel like there were a lot of people we didn't see! I will post pictures as soon as possible, but I wanted to talk about the things we did that made our time in the car go so smoothly.

--One of us sat in the back seat with Lydia nearly the entire trip. There were a few periods when she was sleeping pretty soundly that I crawled up into the passenger seat to talk with Robin, but for the most part, it was a lot easier to travel with one of us in back.

--We started both long car rides (to MN from Austin and from WI back) with three servings worth (14 ozs. or so) of milk in bottles in a cooler. Lydia eats very frequently (a result of sleeping for such a long stretch through the night), so I would feed her a bottle roughly every 2.5 hrs. and then pump afterwards to replace as much of the milk she drank as possible. This was made a lot easier by the facts that 1.) Lydia doesn't mind taking bottles cold instead of warm and 2.) she has no issue taking them from me, even though I primarily feed her by nursing her. (A big shout-out to the Medela Swing pump, which can be powered by AA batteries. While I much prefer the Medela Pump Instyle at home and work, the Swing was perfect for travel, both because of the AA batteries and its size.) Thank goodness for tinted windows.

--Lydia slept in her Pack 'n' Play. We learned along the way that this worked best when she was in a room by herself just like at home. (Lydia's been sleeping in her own room since she was about 2 weeks old.) We followed her bedtime routine--undress, change diaper, bath or sponge bath, nurse, rock) as closely as possible, and she feel back into her regular sleep habits pretty quickly. I think the biggest sideline of her sleep wasn't the travel but our failure to remember her swaddle-me blanket. (We bought a new one in the next size up, but it was a bit too big and didn't work as well. We figured out how to work it a few nights in.) Her penchant for sleeping alone meant that when staying in a hotel on the way home, Lydia slept in... drum roll... the bathroom. Yes, we set up the Pack 'n' Play in the bathroom. This allowed us a good night of sleep, plus the opportunity to veg out in front of the TV after Lydia fell asleep.

--We were lucky enough to stumble upon a hotel with very affordable suites, rather than a basic room. This meant we had a full refrigerator and freezer, as well as a microwave. While this trip didn't require a microwave or stove, the kitchen was very nice to have. (A shout-out to Candlewood Suites, which offered a room with a full kitchen for $70 via hotels.com!)

--We stopped to change diapers, fill up the gas tank, and get food to go. Nothing else. This meant we made both trips in about the same time we have done in the past sans baby, and the period of time when Lydia was "done" and fussy, but we still had time in the car before we reached our destination was kept to a minimum. In this same vein, we did the "long haul" drive on the way to MN, and split the drive back to Austin from WI. I think this was best for all of our well-being.

--The iPhone was invaluable. It gave us directions, allowed us to find restaurants and coffee shops, as well as book a hotel room on the road. It also allowed me to play very addictive games while sitting with a sleeping Lydia in the back seat, post to the blog, and keep up to speed on the Michael Jackson ordeal.

I grew up with the statement that God doesn't give you more than you can handle. Apparently, we can't handle much. Robin and I were lucky to have a very easy, well-adjusted baby. Sometimes I find myself anxious that Lydia's ridiculously easy temperament and good health is a sign that things will be difficult down the road. (Adolescence? Oh no!) I don't want to brag (Read: Bragging ahead), but she was an amazing little traveler on this ridiculous endeavor. Two adults, one three month old, one shih-tzu, 2705 miles, and 42 hours in the car: Mission Accomplished.

On the Road: Installment Seven

Lydia's first hotel stay=success!!

543 miles and 9 hours to go.

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, June 26, 2009

Project Pacifier

Lydia has refused a pacifier this far, so I'm making it my on the road goal to get her to take one. We're making progress!

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Happy Father's Day, Robin!!

This past week has allowed me lots of time to reflect on where Robin's and my journey has gone. Cruising by the University of Minnesota campus always causes me to get misty and nostalgic, but on this trip home, I kept marveling at just how far we have come. We found ourselves outside the restaurant where we ate dinner on our first "real" date, grabbed a late night snack in Dinkytown, the commercial district next to the U of M campus, and walked the same aisle we did shortly after exchanging wedding vows, only this time with our daughter.

Robin and I have been together for nearly eight years and married for nearly four. Robin has been an incredible partner to me, and I am so proud that he is the father of my daughter. His patience with Lydia is endless, and he is so careful to make sure that she is happy and well-cared for. If I began to list the things Robin does for Lydia that demonstrate how amazing it has been to watch the two of them these past months, I wouldn't know where to start or finish. No other man could have given me Lydia, no other man could be a better partner for me on the road of parenthood, and no other man could be a better father to Lydia than Robin.

Happy Father's Day!

On the Road: Installment Six

Robin and I have been enjoying our stay in Madison so much that we decided to extend it a bit. We'll be heading out tomorrow and have decided we're not even going to attempt the one-shot trip we made on our way to Minnesota. Neither of us have the energy, and we don't want to push our luck with cross-country travel and Lydia.

Lydia has been a real trooper this entire trip. There have been tons of new faces and lots of outings--quite the contrast to the routine we'd established in Austin that involved mostly just Robin and me and maybe one outing a day. She has let us know a few times that she is "done" and overwhelmed, but even that has usually been easily remedied with quiet time and a nap. I had no idea how different it would be trying to manage a visit home with a baby. Visiting Minnesota has always presented a challenging schedule for Robin and I, as we want to visit as many friends and family as possible and so many of our loved ones are in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area, and this time it was significantly more difficult to see the people we hoped to see while making sure we didn't push Lydia too hard. (We definitely failed at the not-pushing-Lydia-too-hard thing a couple of times, resulting in a Lydia Meltdown.) My heartfelt apologies to those we didn't get to see. :(

On the Lydia front, we have a bit of news. 1.) We are fairly sure Lydia has begun teething. She is drooling like mad and constantly chewing on her fingers (or anything else she can get in her mouth.) Not sucking. CHEWING. We made a Target run to invest in a teether we can put in the refrigerator and some teething tablets. 2.) Lydia is officially the loudest baby I have met. To say she has discovered her voice would be an understatement. Because Lydia is our first, we assumed all babies scream the way she does, but we learned that screaming is one of her skills. We have yet to hear a baby scream at the volume she does. She has also learned how to shriek. Do not confuse this with crying or whining. Shrieking is generally an excited or expressive sound, but my lord is it loud. In the same vein, we are fairly sure our days of eating out with a peaceful, sleeping baby are over. We will have to transition to eating out with an alert, excited baby and learn how to entertain her!

Wish us luck tomorrow as we pack up and venture back south!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

On the Road: Installment Five

Robin's heaven: Blue Moon in Madison, eating the Blue Moon Burger

-- Post From My iPhone

On the Road: Installment Four

Cafe Manna in Milwaukee with Gramma Mree and Aunt Treesuh

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, June 18, 2009

On the Road: Installment Three

We arrived safely at my parents' house late Monday night; Mission Accomplished! Our plans had been to drive as far as we could based on Lydia's temperment and our energy level, and it turns out "as far as we could" was all the way. We rolled into Forest Lake at 3 AM to find two very excited grandparents, and we were very glad we didn't have to do the hotel thing and then drive more the next day. (We did have an interesting encounter with a police officer at 2:30 AM when we missed the speed limit change coming into St. Paul. Turns out that speeding through a city in Minnesota in the middle of the night with an infant makes you look a little suspicious. The Texas driver's license and plates did not help. We couldn't figure out why he was drilling us with such questions as "How long are you going to be here?" "Why are you traveling?" and "Where are you coming from?"--Robin said he felt like we were crossing the border rather than cruising through St. Paul--until we later came to the conclusion that he may have thought we'd stolen Lydia. She is pretty cute.)

Our trip so far has been wonderful. As I'm sure I make pretty obvious, I am a Minnesota girl at heart; Robin and I both feel the pull to the Midwest pretty strongly. The 70s and 80s days are a welcome change to the 100+ weather we had all last week, and introducing Lydia to family and friends that I have known since I was in junior high or high school has been so rewarding and fun! (When I saw the person I sat next to in band my senior year, and he asked with shock, "Is that yours?") We also had the chance to go out to dinner with some very good friends who had a baby in May; Lydia loved meeting Sam! (Yes, Laqua family... Lydia had a date with Sam. How coincidental? For the non-Laquas, my great-grandma Lydia is Lydia's namesake, and she was married to great-grandpa Sam!)

I also have to say that Lydia traveled extremely well. Only towards the end did she get fussy, and after spending 19 hours in a carseat, I would have been fussy, too. We managed to make the trip in about the same time frame we would sans baby, fueled by our willpower and the handy battery-powered Medela Swing pump. I had prepared a few bottles for the road and sat in the backseat with Lydia almost the whole way. (Normally, Robin and I always sit in the front together, but we figured between feeding, pumping, and having to entertain Lydia, a backseat rider was necessary.) I would feed her, pump to make up for the ounces she ate, play with her a bit, and then she would snooze until the next feeding. We got home, and after being rocked by some very excited grandparents, she went to bed. I am also glad to say that by the next night, she was right back on her regular sleep schedule, something I was very worried about.

Only those with infants that share Lydia's dependence on swaddling will appreciate this: WE FORGOT THE SWADDLE-ME!!! For those not in the know, the Swaddle-Me blanket is an amazing contraption that velcroes around babies to keep them secure at night. Lydia tends to startle and wake herself up, so swaddling is really helpful, but she is so strong, that she busts out of any sort of wrap we try to do ourselves, hence the Swaddle-Me. We did manage to improvise with a large blanket and some reinforcement that I will not specify here, due to my guilt over "reinforcing" something keeping my baby's arms and legs restricted, but it did the trick until we made it to Babies 'r' Us yesterday for a new Swaddle-Me.

Photos will be coming; I just wanted to check in!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On the Road: Installment Two

Caffetto in Minneapolis

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, June 15, 2009

On the Road: Installment One

Miles traveled: 548
Miles to go: 647
Bottles: 4
Dirty diapers: 3
Lydia meltdowns: 3 (All corresponding with dirty diapers.)

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, June 14, 2009

On the Road

Tomorrow we embark on our journey to Minneapolis and then to Madison. Robin, Lydia, Stanley, and I will make the trek via automobile, so wish us luck!

Almost Like Heaven

Nearly every day this week, Robin took Lydia for a little bit of time, and I ventured out on my own. Most of the time I ran errands that are more difficult to get done when I have Lydia with me, and I did manage to get a yoga class in. Today, though, took the cake. Today I went to Deep Eddy and spent some quality time in the sun, wading in the pool, and reading the book my English Department chose as the first book club book of the summer. The little bit of alone time paired with the super cold water in the 100+ degree heat that we have been experiencing all week, this really was almost like heaven.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Travel Tips

Anybody got 'em? We're about to embark on a cross-country car trip. Any suggestions?

The Megasaucer!

Yesterday, Robin and I decided to try out a hand-me-down toy given to us by some friends--the Evenflo Megasaucer. Lydia loooooooves it. Best thing about the Megasaucer--I plopped her in it, and she played away while I ate both breakfast and--wait for it--lunch without the assistance of Robin or a drive-thru! Excellent! I will post the video soon; it features both the Megasaucer and Lydia's trademark googly eyes that she gets when she's very into something--usually that thing is pooping, but now it's the Megasaucer!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Laurie is really doing a wonderful job

I just realized that Laurie had been posting under my login...I have to admit that I've not been the one so diligent about keeping everyone informed. She deserves the credit.

I also want to take this moment to tell what an incredible job she's been doing. She's snoozing on our bed with Lydia right now and Lydia is visibly in the happiest place in her little world. Lydia has been ravenous the past few days (even more so than usual) so Laurie has pretty much been on constant feeding duty. I think she's hitting her stride as we move into the summer...she's giving Lydia a healthy dose of out-of-the house activities, tummy time, reading, and just hanging out. It seems to be an important stage in her development for so much quality activity and I'm terribly grateful Laurie is home this summer with her.

10 hrs.

In the past two weeks, Lydia has been steadily increasing her sleep time. She has been consistently sleeping for 8 hrs. at a time during the night, and we are slowly working out naptimes. She's not really on a nap schedule, but she's on a consistent cycle, and her daytime naps seem to be stretching out a bit. I've even taken to napping with her in the afternoons, leaving me feeling a little less harried. She is currently in the process of breaking her personal best; she has slept for 10 hours. That's right, kids. TEN HOURS!!! I was told these days would come, but I didn't believe it until now! I'm going to go grab a bowl of cereal, and maybe even eat it in peace!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Waking Up

The lighting on this is not awesome, but it's still cute!

More motor skills!

Lydia's latest trick is reaching out for something and grabbing it. (It has to be a pretty easy-to-hold something!) Here she is playing with some toys given to her at her showers. Note the very tricky hand-to-hand pass!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lydia - May 2009 - Picasa Slideshow


Lydia's Great Aunt Judy bought her this diaper cover! It screamed for a tummy time photo shoot!

Thursdays with Lydia - Week 12


Lydia is pretty solid with her head control, so we decided to try the Bumbo seat, lent to us by Jessica and Aaron. This was probably a bit premature, but the picture is amusing. Also, note the onesie made for her by my friend Amanda at My Little Dear!

Lydia's Been Culverized!

Thanks to Lea and Culver's for the great package! Lydia has officially been Culverized!!! Maybe we should start putting custard in her bottles...


For those not in the know, this translates to little devil girl. Onesie available at http://www.willheron.com/ or at the Austin Farmer's Market.

Ski U Mah!

U of M Cheerleader outfit given to Lydia by Uncle Markus and the onesie providing modesty given to her by Kelsey and Andy! Thanks! Go Gophers!

Thursdays with Lydia - Week 11

Better late than never! (Outfit provided by Grandma Jeanette and Great Aunt Judy!)

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Changing of the Guard

Robin's mom, Marie arrived yesterday to take care of Lydia this week. It is so much fun for us to show her off to her proud Grandmas!! I can't wait to get her back to the Midwest for her to meet more of her family!

I promise to post pictures soon; I am trying to capitalize on the limited time I get with both Lydia and Robin's mom!