Wednesday, December 26, 2007

...And here it is...

Here's my bEco!
(This was Sunday)

We went for a three hour walk w/ Sophie on my back today!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The One That Got Away

A couple weeks back I saw a post that had JUST gone up on The Baby Wearer offering two bEco baby carriers, each for $80, an incredible price for the Cadillac of soft structured carriers! One was in the print Kashmir, and after looking at a few pics, I realized I LOVED the print. It was girly but geometric, with a touch of gothic thrown in. And I posted a reply... to find when the page reloaded both carriers had sold in a heartbeat! I sighed, and moved on. I needed to try my friend's bEco out still anyway, see if the fit worked for us, see if it helped with getting TF on my back. I needed to see an actual picture of THIS bEco to see the exact condition... It just wasn't meant to be.

Alas, I tried to tell myself all those things, but all I could think, especially when I saw other bEcos offered for $120, that this was The One That Got Away. I couldn't stop thinking of it. I was rueful. Come ON. Fourth-generation design, dual-adjustable straps, three-sectioned waist band, detachable matching hood, espresso straps...

And then today my incessant stalking of the for sale or trade boards payed off for real. The mama who had bought Kashmir had found another bEco in her dream print. She was offering Kashmir back up (for the same $80, per TBW etiquette). I typed as fast as I could, hoping that by the time I posted it wouldn't be gone again. And within a minute I got a reply-- Kashmir was mine for the taking! Dashing Daddy is happy he doesn't have to go Christmas shopping for me. I'm happy because I can try this out and if it just doesn't work, I can pass it along to another mama and only be out the shipping. And then use the $80 for something else fun! But I really hope the bEco works for us. We'll see! It was so fun to find it again!

Here she is:

beco


Now I just have to wait for it to make its way from the midwest; she's shipping out tomorrow!

Feeling Fortunate

We had a lovely family holiday gathering yesterday afternoon (pics are up on flickr) and it was so much fun to be jovial with Dashing Daddy's family all around. Tiny Face had a good long nap afterwards, and then we sped off to my friend S's shindig at her new home. We got there just in time to meet the baby of a fellow teacher-- we were pregnant at the same time and TF's just a couple weeks older than this baby. She was of course beautiful, all smooth porcelain skin, and her mama is a great woman (I mean, aMAZing, inspiring-students winning-awards changing-the-world kinda great), and not to be condescending, but I just felt so fortunate that I didn't have to go back to work like she did. She works full time and runs a very demanding extracurricular program all by herself. She told me last night (and I didn't ask, so I get the impression it's kinda haunting her) that she had to stop nursing, as she just couldn't keep up supply and the baby preferred the bottle, and she felt guilty but... ...and I said what are you going to do, until our government gets wise to the benefits and starts providing maternity leave (the US is the only "first world" country that provides no universal maternity leave!). I am SO grateful I can just stay home with TF and have it be simple. I'm always there if she needs to eat, and it's so simple to fill her needs. Of course being a SAHM is also very hard. But I wouldn't be away from my sweet baby for the world. So there ya go, I've got my family around me having fun, I get to be with my dear child, I have a wonderfully supportive hubby (who is very dashing, too) who is moving on to a new job where hopefully he will be very fulfilled and continue to make $$ so I can continue to stay home, lol. And I have TF, the cutest sweetest most amazing baby in the world (verified by guinness world records, actually). Life's good!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Book Love

My mother likes to say I would read ANYthing as a child, right down to the back of the cereal box at breakfast (I would). I remember nearly walking into lamp posts while holding a book before my face as I walked on the local university campus. I'm the nerdy girl who takes a book with her everywhere, even to parties. You never know! And yes, I firmly hold that an "emergency book" tucked into the trunk or backseat of the car is a necessity. I've certainly made more use of one than, say, a jack.

Yes, I love books. And this time of year I especially love to find myself curled up with a good read, maybe a pizzelle (Italian Christmas cookie), and wintry weather outside. That last one is a bit more rare now that I live in southern California. And curling up on a couch happens about once a month, maybe, now that Tiny Face is here. But I still savored curling up last night on the wood dining chair moved to the kitchen as I sprang up every three minutes to move pizzelle from the iron to the cooling rack and spoon more dough on the iron, reading snatches of Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods as they cooked. Ahhhhhh....

I need a good wintertime read still. I'll be done with poor cold tired Bryson in a couple days. I'm thinking Pratchett's The Hogfather or something deeply British and hundreds of years old. I'm sure something will find me.

And now for a look back on wintertime reads good and bad:

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis: this was entertaining, scary, moving, and all centered around rampant death at Christmastime. Yay! Definitely a good choice.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer: Why, oh why did I ever think a book about a hyperactive genius child's dealing with 9-11 was a good book to be reading directly over Christmas? Depressing and uplifting and very cool with its PoMo structure and pictures and all, this would have been better in November or January.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman: A Great Book. There was a nice wintertime interlude in the third act. Mostly bugged me how much the basic concept was like that for the book I had JUST written for NaNoWriMo the month before (without knowing about this book yet). Consuming and haunting and wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

Troubling a Star by Madeleine L'Engle. Vicky sits freezing on an iceberg in Antartica. I'm glad I'm cozy at home with some Christmas mints. Mmm, perfect.

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris. We like to read one essay from this at a time, on some nice familial winter night.

Tiny Face is up. Gotta go!

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Story of Stuff

Have you seen this video? I'm only partway thru it and it's striking a cord. Very SIMPLE explanation of a complicated--or is it simple?--process and problem. It kinda reminds me of the great documentary The Corporation, which I bought to use in my classroom (part of our 1984 unit of study).

http://www.storyofstuff.com/

A good kick in the pants for making all the changes we need to make... and I mean that personally and individually, as in, a good reminder for me to keep working on lessening my toll on the planet, and working to protect my family as much as I can in the meantime.

Why We Don't CIO

Well, DUH, for starters. And there's no way I could go into all our reasons in one quick post as DD naps beside me. But I've come across a couple really well written articles on the reasons why CIO is utterly unsupported by all the reliable research and, oh yeah, babies themselves, so I thought I'd link them up here. (erm, if I would take the time to figure out how to link up stuff! gotta get the nerd daddy to remind me of the code... YAY, did it!)

I just read this:
http://www.mothering.com/sections/experts/hunt-archive.html#cry-it-out
The baby is the expert! This totally clicks with how we parent! I love how it talks about babies providing immediate feedback, being programmed by nature, and just listening to your baby. I was anxious about this in the early days, because I wanted Tiny Face to know we were there for her, but WOW it's an amazing journey when you just tune in to their needs and how they communicate them, and don't let any other "noise" out there in the culture (of selling, and selling what certain parents want to hear) interfere.

Here's the salon.com article that explains the truth behind "Babywise." It's really scary how so many parents pick up this book or are gifted it; do they know the truth behind the book, its author, and his life?
http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/1998/08/cov_06feature.html

Then the classic Harvard study:
http://www.hno.harvard.edu/gazette/1998/04.09/ChildrenNeedTou.html
Which explains that closer is indeed better.

Okay, I'm off to relax more fully and watch some of the DVD that's loaded up :) Sorry this was so half-done!

Healthy Toys!

I've added a bit inn my previous toy post about the new web site www.HealthyToys.com (and any other sources for toys I'm finding). It has tested an abundance of toys and other child/family products for toxins, and after browsing for just a few minutes I had to come here and link it up! It's shocking what's in products intended for babies. They tested and list the results for each part of the toy, too. Also, they have a list of the best toys, that were tested and had no toxins found. I'm planning on attacking some of Tiny Face's Priddy books to cut out the parts that came up with lead, PVC (the bad plastic with phthalates) and arsenic. ARSENIC!!! Yeesh. And this is a nice looking expensive cloth toy book. I hope the web site keeps testing so more and more products are fully disclosed at long last. It just shows that you can't be too careful when it comes to the things your baby will play with on a regular basis. I know it's about continued exposure, but my baby plays with those books every day! Luckily I don't think she's chewed on them too much, but she grabs them for ten minutes and then sucks on her hands... ugh! I was glad to see her Fisher Price plastic toys (made in Mexico) vindicated; her ring stacker was in the list of best toys. But mostly this makes me want to buy only from brands that are above suspicion, like Selecta and other strong European ones, and reeeeallly limit what comes into her circle of toys. It's bad enough all the toxins we're swimming in on a daily basis that are in stuff all around the house... but that's a mission for another day! One step at a time!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Botanical Gardens

I discovered the Gardens last month when the AP playgroup sent out a reminder about free Tuesdays. I went, just to have someplace nice to walk around with Sophie. It's sooooooo much better than walking around the grocery store or shopping plaza for the umpteenth time! It was magical, and we explored for nearly two hours before she seemed like she needed to go home.

Today a group of us mamas went, all wearing our babies so we could go anywhere, through the dirt paths, up and down hills, through bamboo forests, African jungles with waterfalls, native California pants, an herb garden, a walled garden, a citrus grove... whew! I still don't think I've seen the whole place and I've wandered a lot twice now. I can't wait to bring Nonna :) Today was sunny and we could see an amazing view of the ocean. It was really nice to get out and hike around!

Sophie checking out the blossoms

Sophie in the bamboo forest

Sunday, December 2, 2007

And on the Seventh Day She Rested

And so did her poor parents! Sophie may have wiggled a lot in the morning and gotten up at 5am, but the HOURS of undisrupted sleep all night, with maybe a quick cuddle and nursing in there somewhere, were heavenly! We almost made it to early mass, but ended up going later, and she was a complete riot and wanted to walk around nonstop, so it was pretty crazy for her poor mama. Still, a peaceful moment in the midst of a crazy world and time of year, with some nice thoughts on focusing on people for Christmas and preparing for Christ in our lives.

So last night we all went to the town's Holiday Parade. We had planned on getting downtown "early" but were running a bit late, still pretty early.... but soon we were stuck in traffic and saw families disembarking from cars parked in the shopping center still a ways from the 101. So we made a quick decision, or even acted without thinking, and pulled into the Denny's parking lot. Lots of others were doing the same. We learned later there were shuttles but we had a marvelous walk down to the coast, and after the parade it was sweet to walk under the stars as Sophie went suddenly to sleep.

We walked all up and down the parade route, ducking into interesting-looking stores, checking out the rather small Christmas tree down at the shopping center at the end (pictured)...
The tree

Looking at the tree (the Christmas tree)
running into our next door neighbors (!) and enjoying the whole air of frivolity and holiday spirit. Sophie totally loved watching the parade , checking out all the many, many entries. She watched a while in the wrap on me, and then later in Daddy's arms for a change, and she made friends with a little 9 month old boy who came out of his stroller to play. The two little old ladies sitting next to where we stood finally noticed Sophie and loved on her the rest of the night. Aunt Emily and her friend Lindsay came by for a while and Sophie stayed awake and happy the whole parade, conking out as soon as we walked back up for a hot meal we took to make our parking job legal. She slept a good long time, woke up to dazzle the other patrons (mostly other parade goers and marchers), and went out easily again once we were home and cozy and had a loooong nurse. It was a wonderful family event and now a great memory for us. Pics are on flickr; here are a few....

Smiling

Watching the parade with Daddy

Family together

There goes a fire truck!

Sophie loved watching the parade




Saturday, December 1, 2007

Bad Nights and Good Mornings

Well, the sleep-deprivation experiment continues, although last night it was just periodic squirming and whining, not getting up for two hours to forestall that. But still not great sleep, and rather tedious.

But this morning I got up with Tiny Face, and got her changed (yay, stripping the diapers with Dawn totally worked and they are no longer leaking overnight!) and glanced outside. It. was. gorgeous. We were cooped up inside alllll day yesterday by the rain, which was persistently steady. So I dashed to throw on some clothes (we'd wash later) and threw her in the wrap and burst out into the morning. The sun was shining, there were big white clouds riding the sky, and some pregnant with rain off to the northeast. There was "glory light" pouring out of a break in the thicker clouds to the south. The eucalyptus trees were dark and high against the blue sky, and the vaulting branches and clouds created a feeling that we were in nature's cathedral. We enjoyed our walk all the way down the nave, er, big street, to Starbucks, saw a mama with a babe in a frame backpack and got smiles from folks, and trooped back home. We sang and bounced and laughed and when we got back Sophie nursed a long time, ands then was kinda mellow... for a little while. Now she's been shrieking and laughing with Mommy and Daddy. Some pics from this morning (more on flickr)....

Happy

It's Daddy!!!!