Saturday, May 29, 2010

Classic Summer Day

I have deemed it Summer in Austin. I will be spending exactly four hours with students this week, and the rest of my time at week will be spent packing up my classroom in preparations for its use during summer school, grading tests and projects, and doing routine end-of-the-year activities. Vacation is so close that I can taste it. I get giddy at the thought of reading my book during Lydia's naptime, taking some of the reins in the kitchen (gasp!) while Robin and I switch out roles, and I become Lydia's primary caretaker and the one who clocks more hours at home.

This weekend, we are embracing summer. Robin took his bike out this morning, and Lydia and I went for a breakfast taco date. We ran errands, and Lydia took two champion naps. We didn't really eat on a schedule and did fun things as they came to mind.

What came to mind, you ask? We busted out the sprinkler!!! (There's a video at the bottom of the post.)

We played in the wading pool! (Click on this first photo to enlarge it and see Lydia's great facial expression!)

And I got what I have been dreaming of for AGES...


We wrapped up our day having dinner with the Luthers and their birthing group friends at what is possibly the most child-friendly, parent-friendly place in Austin. What a fantastic summer Saturday!


-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Nifty Fifty

Today I received an awesome package!! With the help of my Grandma Gloria and Uncle Rob (who works for National Camera Exchange), The Nifty Fifty, otherwise known as the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, has made its way to my camera bag, and I am loving it. It is too late to call my grandma and thank her over the phone, but since she is possibly my most devoted blog reader, I will thank her here and call her in the morning. I read about the lens in this article at Becoming Mom, and I am in love with it so far. I need to practice with it and get used to using the manual focus, as well as adjust to the fixed lens that doesn't zoom in, but based on the little bit I got to play tonight, I feel like a whole new world of photography is opening up for me (and, in turn, for you as blog readers--get ready for even more photos of the Lyds). Here are some shots from this evening:

Desperate for a subject before Lydia got home (she hung with Jessica--thanks!!--so Robin could get some work done, and we could go shmooze with developers at an open house), I focused on inanimate objects.
The puzzle...

My basil plant...
Lydia wasn't in so much of a posing mood, but she was in the mood to eat her hammer... And hang with Aidan. Aidan was pretty much in love with the Radio Flyer car... And he loves Lydia, too. He gives her hugs, first very carefully getting her into appropriate hugging position (the photos are out of focus, but the hugging was too cute not to post)
And snuggles her on request.Lydia wrapped up her night with a bath and went down without a peep. Thanks, Grandma Gloria!!! It was too late to call and thank you, so until the morning, this post will have to do!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

DIY: Dining in Style

About a month ago, I discovered the website Knock-Off Wood. In search of a summer project, I immediately was taken with visions of outfitting our home in furniture made by yours truly. I showed the site to Robin, and we picked out two projects to begin with. Here is the first. We have since added a final coat of paint, but I figured my audience would prefer a photo with Lydia to a photo of a better painted table sans child. The link to the entry with the plans is here. The paint color is Enchanted Coach Ride from the Behr Disney series. Lydia chose the color. Seriously.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Help a Family Grow

Nearly eight years ago, Robin and his roommates threw a back-to-school party. On a whim, I introduced two friends thinking they might hit it off. The whim proved to be the one and only time I ever successfully played matchmaker, and Jonathan and Becky were married in 2005. Now they are ready to take the next step in their family lives, and in their words,
"We have always dreamed of adopting. Becky learned at a young age that she would be unable to become pregnant, and adoption has felt right to us from the beginning. Although adoption has been our plan for years, we know that it has not been yours. Our hearts go out to you as you choose what is right for you and your baby."
The grace, patience, and wisdom that Becky and Jonathan have demonstrated in going about this process (as documented in their blog) has been humbling. Before they are parents themselves, they have reminded me that parenting is a privilege.

I did not know that roughly 65% of adoptions nationwide happen with the help of a family and a friend. I could only dream of playing that role for Becky and Jonathan. Friends and family, if you know someone who is addressing an unwanted pregnancy, please tell them about this wonderful couple. They have put together a website at Check it out, pass the word, and keep them in mind!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ladies in New York

I have two very special girlfriends from college. Elise and Anna lived two doors down from me in Middlebrook Hall sophomore year, and we lived together during our Junior and Senior years. This weekend, Anna kicked off the last year of her twenties, so Elise and I crashed in Anna and her husband Steve's adorable Manhattan apartment, and we had a wonderful four days.

Together, we...
...took the Staten Island Ferry and checked out Lady Liberty...
...ate a cupcake a day (almost). This one is from Magnolia Bakery, eaten while on the Sex and the City Bus Tour...
...Munched on vegan and gluten-free sweets from Babycakes Bakery...
...checked out Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Flea Market...
..walked across the Brooklyn Bridge...
...found my New York fashion confidence and rocked an outfit far more 80s than I would ever have the courage to wear in Austin. Look closely and you'll notice the knock-off RayBans. If you could see my cropped leggings and woven black flats, you would understand the magnitude of this phenomenon...
...and walked through Central Park, karaoked the Dixie Chicks, laughed at Avenue Q, and ate an entire loaf of bread and wedge of Brie cheese, all of which I decided to enjoy sans camera.

It is wonderful to have such longstanding girlfriends. This is the longest period of time we have spent together since we shared an apartment, and it was so wonderful to pick up where we left off.
For more photos, hopefully to be updated with photos from Anna and Elise's cameras, check out the slideshow here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Our Mother's Day

Yesterday was a perfect day. I woke up and, upon exiting the bathroom, was totally surprised.

This is what I saw. I have wanted this chair since I was pregnant. In an effort to be thrifty, we didn't buy it before Lydia was born, but the corner of our bedroom has been a constant reminder of the rocking chair that never was. I. love. this. chair. I haven't been so surprised by a gift in a long time. (The picture of the chair isn't the best, but the little one sitting in it--well, obviously she's a winner. I'll post a picture soon.)

We headed off to breakfast at a greasy spoon in Dripping Springs and spent the morning at Pedernales State Park. We played in the water, made rock piles, and admired the beautiful landscape. We haven't really explored Texas, and I have to admit, this made me want to get out of Austin more often.

We came home, and took a THREE HOUR NAP!!! It was amazing. A perfect, perfect Mother's Day.

Lydia's First Kiss

Aidan and Lydia--they are so cute, I have no words.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fist Bump!

Here is Lydia's latest trick. Note that when we encourage her to bump herself, she tries to say, "Boom!"

Dinner has become increasingly messy at our house as Lydia wants to feed herself more and more. I will do another post about restaurant dilemmas and coping methods soon, but until now, know that her face is not covered with blood but rather roasted beet. Also, note the slight shiner on her right eye, garnered at the playground when she fell and bumped her head. According to her daycare incident report, she resisted all treatment.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Not the Talking Kind

Last week I had Lydia's first parent conference at daycare. I signed up not knowing exactly why I needed a parent conference, but felt it was the responsible thing to do. I arrived at the conference prepared with some questions, and I wasn't sure what to expect.

Here were my questions:

--How is Lydia's interaction with the other kids? We don't see her with other children very often, so I was curious.

--What can we do to encourage Lydia's verbal development? Lydia was a late crawler, and at the time, she seemed to be focused on verbal skills. Now the tables have turned. She is cruising everywhere, taking a few steps independently without encouragement, and today, she went DOWN the stairs (with me close behind, of course. My friend, Elise, who is the oldest of eight and a Nurse Practitioner, assured me that this was an important skill to learn for purposes of safety, so I was really excited about it.)

--What should we expect in terms of preparations to transition to the next "room" at the center? Which room will she go to, what will be the main differences, etc.

The easiest question was the last. Lydia will most likely move to T2, and among other things, she will take naps on a mat rather than in a swing or crib. This is simultaneously hilarious and baffling to me. How will they get her to nap on a mat? This move will happen in August, so the other important milestone for the move isn't a big deal: she needs to be walking, which technically she already is, though she doesn't choose to employ the skill very often.

The other two, well... I kind of wish I hadn't asked. Apparently, Lydia is a daycare loner. She doesn't like other babies in her space. My connotation with "loner" involves sitting in a corner with one's back to everyone, slowly banging one's head against the wall. Not the happiest picture of my child.

When I asked about verbal skills, the teacher asked if I had had Lydia's hearing checked. Seriously. Now, I have been on a serious Googling and index-searching frenzy about Lydia's lack of words for the past few weeks, and the suggestion to have her hearing tested really threw me. I was moreso fishing for an "It's okay, she has enough words now to stave off any concern," but no. For the record, Lydia says "Daddy" and "dog" consistently, and she has imitated a few more words on rare occasion (done, Stanley, and this morning, tickle). **Note the absence of "Mama." Not that I'm upset.**

The frustrating thing with her lack of words is that we're doing everything we're supposed to. We talk to her. We read her books. Everything that has been suggested in my googling frenzy, we're already doing! Lydia dances to music, signs the appropriate signs that she knows to the appropriate word when we say it, and has learned to identify where her feet and tummy are, as well as my nose. (Her nose is still a mystery to her. I'm pretty sure her hearing is fine.

Okay internets, now is your chance. Tell me I don't have to be worried. I have come to the conclusion that if Lydia is a loner, it is only at daycare, especially after watching her with Aidan this past Sunday. The hearing/verbal thing, though--give me some comfort!!!

Saturday, May 1, 2010