Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Welcome to 2011!!

Dang - that was fast! 2010 is already over - and I didn't get to complete all my goals! Luckily... I did finally complete my 2009 goals... so I'm not holding over goals for two years!

2010 Goals Completed:

- Started a back yard garden.
- Participated in and raised money for the March for Babies.
- Exercise. I joined Jazzercise and have been aiming for two aerobics classes a week (sometimes even two times a week is hard to come by!).

- Be more "green" at home. We rid our house of paper towels and use mostly Method cleaning products. We also switched our pest control from Terminx to Eco First (saver for Andrew, the kitties and the rest of the environment!).

2010 Goals moved over to 2011:
- Date night *alone* (not with friends) with my husband once a month. We're "getting out there"... but usually when we have a babysitter (free or not!) we tend to go out with a group. We really could use some one-on-one time.
- Attend a community church. We have a list! Now we just need to pick a Sunday and GO! :)

New 2011 Goals:

- Family vacation. I really want to plan and go on a fun, LONG (more than a week) vacation this summer. Doesn't have to be far... its just has to be AWAY!

- Household upgrades. We've got a lot of "I want to do 'X'" things going on in our heads about upgrades to the house (garden area, garage makeover, paint the exterior, take down the wood paneling, retile the fireplace). I'd love to put the "I wants" into action!

- Plant fruit trees. I really want an Avocado tree... and maybe another apple tree (green this time).

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

He gets this from Nana and Papa!

You know how they say certain things skip a generation? Well, that is true for me, with the artistic talents that run in my family. My parents are incredibly skilled artists. Both are fantastic sculptors and potters. My dad also creates beautiful pencil drawings. My mom... displays many of the creative talents with various crafts.

Me... eh... not so much.

So I often wonder... will Andrew inherit some of my family artistic abilities?

I sure hope so!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Mother-Child Connection

Last night I woke up at 4 am... not for any reason, just awake. I laid silently in bed... and about 30 seconds later... I heard Andrew coo-ing from the other room. Just a few grunts and he was back asleep. Did I wake up 'cause I heard him? Did he wake up 'cause he heard me?

I don't know... all I know is that it is not infrequent that Andrew and I wake up at the same time. Maybe we're sensing each other... maybe we feel a change in the air... maybe its just a coincidence.

But I prefer to think that the Mother-Child connection... is PROFOUND.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Buildin' a new table

A few weekends ago, we bought Andrew a kid-sized table for him to color, play and eat at. I think he was more interested in helping Brandyn put the table together than the table itself.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"No, no, no, no, no, no."

Andrew's latest mantra. However, its not what you think. Andrew isn't telling us "no," he's not telling the cats "no," he's not telling other people "no,"... he's telling HIMSELF "no."

Lately... when Andrew does something he KNOWS he's not supposed... we hear this soft little chant "No, no, no, no, no, no!" Like when he spilled milk on the ground... grabbed my makeup brush... or stating squirting the soap pump all over the sink.

He's tattling on himself! Cause now every time we hear the chorus of "no's"... we just look for Andrew and see what mischief he's up to!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The "Other" Linus

We have two cats. Linus and Lucy. (No, we're not crazy fans of Charles Shultz... it just happened). Andrew loves both cats and regularly makes desperate attempts to pet them. Linus usually obliges... but Lucy never does.

Despite her dislike of Andrew (well, any person, really)... Lucy was one of the first words that Andrew could say - "Woo-cee." But lately... he seems to have forgotten her name.

Last night, Andrew and I were playing in front of the house. Linus was wandering around with us. Andrew caught site of him and started calling "Yi-nus," over and over again.

M: "Yes Andrew, there's Linus. He's eating grass."
A: "Oh. Yi-nus, Yinus." (Desperately looking around and around.)
M: "Andrew, Linus is right there, see... he's digging in the dirt."
A: "Blah, blah, blah, blah (gibberish that I couldn't understand), blah Yi-nus." (Still looking around.)
M: "Are you looking for Lucy? Lucy is in the house!"
A: "Oh."
(Lucy wanders outside from inside the house).
A: "YI-NUS!!!"

Apparently, Andrew has renamed our cats Linus... and the Other Linus.

(We might also be having a similar identity crisis with Mama and Dada... in the last week... we are currently BOTH known as "Mama"... much to Brandyn's chagrin).

Monday, October 25, 2010

Good Morning!!!

Andrew likes his yogurt!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


When we are home and around the house... we can often be heard calling for Andrew. Whether we're playing hide-n-seek, or he just wandered off and we're trying to figure out what room he's in. Andrew's response to hearing his name called... to repeat us. We call out "An-drew"... he responds "An-dew." Damn cute.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Who's having more fun?

Andrew and Grandma...


Daddy and Grandma...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A boy and a paper bag...

Look out Lucy!! That's Andrew's bag!

Does parenting make you more or less happy?

I know that I'm only a little over a year into my title as "Parent," so perhaps I'm not the best judge of this, but... A recent article in The New Yorker, addressed this very question by looking at numerous studies to determine whether the benefits of having children, outweighs the costs. Most of the studies showed that people with kids are busier and more stressed - leading them to less happy with life than people without kids.

These studies... just didn't resonate with me. Perhaps its my "only YOU can make YOU happy" outlook on life. Perhaps its my "I refuse to be UNhappy attitude"... but parenting... has NOT made me a "less happy" person. Busier, yes. Stressed, yes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Country Girl, Raisin' a Family in the Big City

I grew up in a rural area. My parent filled our acreage with a large garden and chickens roaming everywhere. When I move off to the “big city,” I assumed I had lost those “home grown” elements for good. It was only when I started my own family that I realized I needed to take a closer look at what we put in our bodies.

When Andrew was born over a year ago, I began making his baby food. I was amazed at how easy it was and how much money I was saving in the process! Now, we have moved on to a small home garden and compost barrel.

One of my biggest “ah-ha” moments was earlier this summer, when a plant started growing in our garden. It was NOT something we planted – it was a “volunteer”. As it grew, we realized it was an acron squash. The plant grew from the seeds I had cleaned out of a squash when making Andrew's food. We threw the seeds in the compost, and later, threw the compost in the garden – the plant grew all on its own!

What an amazing full circle.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Eye Yove You"

Can you hear it!?!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Andrew and his buddy Dane.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Two, two, two"...

Andrew has recently learned the excitement of "One, Two, Threeeeeee!!" We play games where we throw things on three... or swing him in the air on three... or tickle him on three, etc. He loves the game soooo much, that he tires to count with us. Unfortunately, he's still doesn't really talk well... and he ends up saying "Two, two, two"... copying us in our sing-songy counting voices.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dance Machine!!

They say that toddlers LOVE music! Well, Andrew certainly does! He especially likes the Beatles, Lady Gaga, and Nelly Furtado (amongst others). He loves when you sing to him, especially if the song has hand motions that go along.

Andrew recently learned the "Itty Bittsy Spider" song with hand motions from his teachers at day care. I had no idea they were teaching him that and imagine my surprise when he started doing the hand motions when I started signing it the other night! I tried to catch it on video... but as you can see, as soon as I turned the camera on, he got shy.

Andrew loves to dance too! He has a magnet toy on the fridge that signs "Old MacDonald"... its not a jukebox, but it works! (Perhaps Andrew needs to learn how to dance from someone other than his Mother. Note that I did NOT include the video with Andrew and I dancing together - ha!).

Monday, August 2, 2010

Missing my son... but only the cute, fun one!

This weekend Brandyn and I went out of town without Andrew for two nights. Its was fun and fabulous! But when I woke up on Sunday morning I was anxious and lonely... missing my baby!!! We took advantage of our few remaining hours of peace and quiet, packed up... and headed home. The whole way there, I was nervous with excitement to see my little guy.

But something happened when we got home... the sweet little adorable Andrew that I was missing so much in my head... was a whinny cranky mess! Perhaps he was mad at us for leaving, perhaps he's teething (although he was perfect for Grandma and Grandpa all weekend!)... who knows why.

Needless to say, THAT was not the child I was aching so much to see!!

There's definitely a difference between Motherhood (and the child of mine) who lives in my head... and then the reality!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer time!

Andrew's been very busy this summer! Here are a few of his favorite summer time activities!


Bean bags...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sunday Morning!

I went out Sunday morning for my aerobics class and came home to this........

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Home Improvements

Another summer vacation from teaching... another "home improvement" project for Brandyn. Last summer Andrew and Brandyn took on a little back yard "sculpting" together. This year, its a full on overhaul. Stayed tuned for before and after pics... but for now... a few "progress" pics.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Al, you're such a Mom!"

That's what my 20-something coworker told me yesterday, when I told her about my latest adventure in "me time" - Jazzercise. (Hey, at least she didn't call me OLD!!)

I've been trying to get my butt out of my office chair to take walks during lunch, but when I'm trying to leave the office at exactly 5 (sometimes earlier) to rush home to see my family, taking 45 minutes for a lunch walk, seems like a waste. So, I signed up for a class. One that will hold me accountable and force me to get my butt moving! I've been to three classes so far... and I'm telling you... my butt... its SORE.

I'm not sure how often I'm going to convince Brandyn to let me sneak out of the house, juuust before Andrew's bedtime routine, but so far I'm loving it. And the greatest thing about it... its ME time... just ME.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

No, NO, Noooooooo!!

Is what I heard from the back seat of my car, on the way to Day Care this morning.

And so we've entered The "No" Stage (and the hitting stage and the general defiance stage).

Its so interesting to watch his mind grow and change. I remember distinctly around 6 months, Andrew started to be more aware of his surroundings.

Before 6 months he only cried out of need - he needed food, sleep, a diaper change.

At 6 month, he started crying when he wanted something - usually one of us.

At a year, he began crying when he wanted something he couldn't have - a toy, to be out of his crib, etc.

And now, now he's crying to make a point - to communicate feelings. He knows he's upset and he wants everyone to know it to.

We hear you Andrew, we hear you.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Halfway through 2010 - Goal "Check In"

The year is flying by! Andrew is getting bigger, work is plugging away, and Brandyn is home for the summer playing house husband - yay!

Just a quick checking in on all the things I wanted to accomplish this year.

- Grow a few of vegetables/fruits/herbs in our back yard. Done. Thanks to my parents who helped us construct and above ground planter box. We had lettuce early this spring, now we have tomatoes, herbs, and a squash plant that grew on its own, out of our compost which we used to accompany the potting soil.

- Participate in the March for Babies. And I'm going to bump this year's goal up a little bit... I'm going to create a TEAM! The race is April 24, 2010. Done! Thanks to my friends - our team had 22 walkers raised $3,450. My friends and family helped me personally raise $1,145.

- My "green" efforts are to *try* and eliminate paper towels from our kitchen and instead use rags. I would also like to purchase only environmentally friendly cleaning products from Method. Done and done. The paper towel thing was much easier than I thought - although guests of our home aren't all on board.

- Date night *alone* (not with friends) with my husband once a month. I can't say "done" cause its on-going, but I'm happy to say that we're succeeding so far.

- Explore community churches to participate in. Well... I Google'd a few churches in our area, and nothing caught my attention. I need to work on this.

- Walk 30-45 min, 2-3 days a week. I'm going to start... TODAY. (Seriously).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

When can they tell time?

Andrew needs a clock in his room... and a little lesson on what "weekend" means. This weekend we were visiting friends in Reno. The first night there - he woke up at 5:30 - ouch!! We took him back to bed with us, but he did not fall asleep. The second morning he woke up at 6:30 - MUCH better.

This morning - Monday morning - he woke up at 6:30, I brought him to our bed the same way we did the two weekend morning - and he fell back asleep until 7:30!!!! Meanwhile, I had to sneak out of bed at 7 to get ready. UHG! Why can't he sleep in on the weekends!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Work from home Fridays...

How I get things done.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The stupid games I play...

Last week Brandyn and I took Andrew to an amusement park for the day. Brandyn was going on a class field trip and we would be chaperoning 40 7th graders from 10:30 am to 5 pm (really, we just checked in with them three times).

When I told a few friends what I was doing - they gave me a little "you're crazy" look. A toddler, all day, out and about, no crib for naps, no white noise, no dark/quiet room, etc... don't get me wrong - I thought it was crazy too. But a crazy challenge that I was excited/willing to take on.

When it comes to taking Andrew to places we've never been before I get this bizarre twist of feelings. Part of me get super nervous about messing up his schedule and putting ourselves in the unknown... but part of me... gets an adrenaline rush for the excitement of seeing him behave and succeed with the challenge!

We've taken Andrew out and done so many different things with him - long car rides, airplane, dinner/bedtime at a friends, sleep over at family's, napping in his stroller, babysitters, etc., etc. And I'm always surprised (and proud) of how well he adjusts.

The thrill of the end result pushes me to do these things, but when they fail, its the fear of the unknown that makes me hesitant to try again. All in all, 9 out of every 10 times we expose him to a different situation... he does very, very well. Its sorta like a game to me, with a WIN at the end (well, most of the time!).

Up next....... camping! Ack!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Last Friday, Andrew and I accompanied Brandyn on a class field trip to Discovery Kingdom. One of the highlights - the butterfly habitat!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes...

Andrew is quite the talker - he's constantly babbling something or other. He often talks at you with real purpose, expecting your response. If you ask him a question, he almost always answer "Yeah" and nods his head in agreement (even if you ask him a question to which he should respond "No"). Last night, we started singing. We know its singing cause he dances around and spins in circles.

Some of his words areL

Byeee and sometimes Bu-bye.
Ni-night. (Usually in response to our prompting, but sometimes he says on his own if he's super tired and ready for bed).
Hi! (Short and sweet!).
Nose (Said to get our attention when we haven't interacted with us in a while. He's got almost a "I'm so smart" attitude when he says it.")
Mama and Dada
Aaa-Done (With his hands waving about his head in sign).
Mi (Milk).
No (Said with a questioning tone - No? You've never heard a cuter word, I promise.)
Hi Dada! (Hopefully soon to be followed with "Hi Mama"!).
Yeah. (Complete with head nod).
Shhh (shoe).
Sock. (And holds it up to his nose and quickly pulls away, mimicking my "Phew - your socks are stinky" game!).

Friday, May 21, 2010

Going for a walk is exhausting!

I'm fortunate enough to be able to work from home on Fridays. One of the most fabulous perks of not having to commute into SF is that I gain two hours in the day! My Friday morning commute consists of Andrew and I taking a little stroll. Sometimes to the park, sometimes to Starbucks, sometimes... just around the block.

Its always exhausting!

Monday, May 17, 2010


I'm a BIG fan of nicknames. Most of my family calls me "Ali," some friends too... some even drop straight to "Al." Since long before Andrew was born - Brandyn and I discussed whether we'll give him the nick name "Drew" or "Andy." And here we are... a year later... and we don't call him either!! Just straight Andrew! Ha!

We do, however, have a few other nicknames we use. Wonder how long these will stick around.

- Big Boy (bet that one sticks around a while).
- Crazy Legs Coleman (used when he was a pre crawler and would kick his legs around uncontrollably - so cute!!)
- Cranky Pants Andrew
- Handsome

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Canon in D

Andrew has a crib soother in his bed. It looks like a fish aquarium, with water, and fish swimming and it plays music. The primary song it plays is Canon in D, but it has other classical music songs, as well as ocean and water sounds.

The soother has a big button on the front so that Andrew can turn it on and off himself. When he was itty bitty, we used to turn it on at bed time to help calm him down and get him ready for bed. Then, he discovered how to turn it on himself... and occasionally in the middle of the night, through the monitor we would here the sounds of Canon in D playing away in his room. Now, he mostly turns it on when he's settling down for bed.

Yesterday Andrew missed his late afternoon nap, so he had a really hard time going to sleep. I spent about 15 minutes in his room rocking him to sleep, listening to Canon in D in the background. Often when I hear his crib soother play that song... I think about Andrew all grown up, on his wedding day... his wife walking down the aisle to Cannon in D... the reception with all our family and friends... and the speech I'll give at the dinner. No doubt I'll be talking about these very moments and my memories of Baby Andrew listening to Canon in D in his crib.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

22 Team Walkers, 4 Miles, $3,450 Raised!!

On April 24, our family joined the masses in the March for Babies. Our team had 10 walkers, 7 support walkers (husbands, etc), 5 babies and raised a total of $3,450!!! My friends and family helped me personally raise $1,145 - amazing!! A HUGE thanks to you ALL!!

All in all the morning was very emotional. There were families walking with photos of babies gone too soon. Many families walking with children born too early - but healthy and thriving. On the walk, I remembered many babies who left us too soon.

May the March of Dimes succeed in their mission to deliver healthy babies the world around!!!

Already a big boy moment!

This morning when we were getting ready to leave the house, I told Andrew "Ready to go bye-bye" and he nodded his head and walked towards the front door. I stopped him and put my hands out - "Come here Baby, Mama will carry you" - our normal routine. Nope. Andrew did not want to be carried out of the house this morning - he wanted to walk. Out the door, down two stairs (with my help) and down the side walk to the driveway. What a mix of emotions. Our little guy is getting so big and "needing" us less and less.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Andrew in action!

We've been trying really hard to get video of Andrew doing all kinds of "everyday" things. So I thought I'd share a few.

The first is for the Grandparents. I got requests for more video of Andrew walking. They all got to see him for his birthday a month ago, but how quickly things change. Here you go!

This one is Andrew and Maddy. Maddy's mom, Michelle and I were cracking up watching the two of them play peek-a-boo!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Giving the word DIET... a whole new meaning.

With all my efforts over the years to shed a few pounds, never has the word "diet" come into play. I like to call it "healthy" eating. And I like to think of it as a life style, not a fad.

But all of a sudden "diet" has taken on a new meaning in my life. The nutritional diet for my baby. If someone asked me, right now, the single most stressful thing about parenting - I'd say FEEDING your baby. (Ask me again in 2 years I'm sure I'll have long forgotten about this!).

When Andrew was itty bitty and getting all his nutrition from breastmilk/formula - I stressed stress about how often to feed him and how much to feed him. And now that he's on to solids and milk, I worry that he's not getting a well rounded and balanced nutrition.

Right now, his diet mostly consists of...
- Blueberry muffins, whole wheat toast, cereal/Nutragrain bars and puffs (of all kinds - he's not picky!).
- Bananas, grapes, pears, peaches and blueberries (the occasional strawberry).
- Milk and yogurt.

Notice the lack of vegetables?!? Notice the lack of protein?!?

I'm constantly stocking up on new "experimental" items - whole wheat waffles, cheese filled raviolis, garden burgers, edamame, green beans, tomatoes, zucchini, apple sauce, oatmeal, mushrooms, watermelon, pot stickers, soup, noodles/pasta of any kind, mac n' cheese, grilled cheese, quesadillas,beans, etc., etc., etc.

The knowledge that everything we're putting into his mouth right now... is helping develop his mind and grow his body... there's a lot of pressure in that. I always knew that having a well balanced diet would be hard to achieve, but I never knew that I would be so consumed with the thought of it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Come and get me!!

Andrew and Maddy have been friends since day one... well... really even before then! They really do have a connection and love playing together. Chase is one of their favorite games, followed closely by peekaboo! They are really cute to watch!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happy Easter - Now and Then!

This the first, second of one holiday that Andrew has ever celebrated!! Get that!?! This is the SECOND time Andrew will have celebrated Easter in his life! So the first time he's ever celebrated a particular holiday - twice!!

And my, has he grown!

This year...

Last year...

I can even image what next year has in store!!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Work is not supposed to be fun!!!

One of our goals for this year was to create our own garden and grow a few fruits and veggies. So, on the weekend of Andrew's birthday - we got started on that. My Dad and Brother were in town, so the three of them were able to construct a garden box in no time! Not with out a little goofing around, of course!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Beer me!!

More pretzels and another beer - stat!

Monday, March 22, 2010

To Andrew on your 1st birthday!!

Happy birthday my handsome baby boy. Today marks your transition from "baby" to "toddler." While I have been blogging about your life, and my experiences as a mom, from "day one"... I would like to try and look back and reflect on the collective year. This is one of "those moments" that we are all told to treasure forever, but honestly - its hard to comprehend that we are even here already.

Even from your first day of life we have know that you are a very social little guy. In the beginning you wanted only to be held, all day and all night! Thank God for Nana - who came and held you from 10 pm to 1 am - for a week - so we could get some much needed sleep.

And now, while you love to play on your own, you always make sure there's someone in the room with you. If I step over to the kitchen, you crawl, speedily over to find me. Not so I can hold you - just so you can show me your toys, or talk to me, etc.

You have so many friends both at school and with the babies of my friends. When you see your best friend, Maddy, your face lights up with HUGE smile!!

You have grown so much in one year. Your little arms started off scrawny and with spastic, uncontrolled movements in ever direction - as you try to grab on your play mat for toys. Then we sat, your dad and I, and watched the day you discovered your feet. You grabbed and played with them for 20 minutes, awestruck with your discovery - and so were we! And now you "cruise" around the house - holding on to whatever you can - including Daddy's leg hairs!! And last night - you took your first steps!! ON your birthday!!!

Everything about you changes so very fast - especially your looks. When you first arrived, we coo'd over your bald head and gummy mouth and discussed how we couldn't even imagine you with hair and teeth - and how you would look so strange! And now we marvel over your blond wispy hair and the cute gap between your top two teeth!!

And your personality - oh my! Always so happy, smiley and giggly - even if its your fake "hu-hu" laugh!! But I know that we're in for trouble - as you thew your first tantrum on Sunday!

Gone are the days of "only" crying when you were tired, hungry or needed a change. Now you cry when you want us, when you want a toy we took away, or when you're trying to tell us something and we don't understand.

Like the first time you signed milk. Sitting in your highchair eating dinner. You started grunting and groaning and waving you hand! We couldn't understand why - and then Daddy saw - you were signing for milk!!!

We love to listen to you talk. In the beginning, you slept in our room, and we listened to you grunt all night long. We finally moved you to your own room after about 6 weeks - so we could all sleep better. And now, even though our house is small enough to hear your cry from any corner - I keep the baby monitor on so I can hear your "dada, dada, dada" sighs as you lull yourself to sleep. We can't wait to hear what you voice will sound like!!

And oh, have OUR lives changed in this past year too - but that, my love - is for another story!

I have loved every moment of this past year - can't wait to see what is in store next!! Happy birthday big boy!