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8/28/12 05:58 am

Late-pregnancy insomnia sucks. There's basically no other time in one's life when the need to sleep and the inability to sleep are in such direct conflict. The toddler doesn't help; the past week or so, either he or the dog has woken me up at about 4:30 am. After I deal with whatever they need, I go back to bed and try to go back to sleep, but I'm awake now and that means I need use the bathroom and I'm hungry and thirsty.

Everyone tells me to get the sleep I can now, because I won't be able to once the baby is born. I just want to punch them in the face (just like all those people who told me to "sleep when the baby sleeps" when Silas was tiny. Little bastard didn't sleep, EVER!

Are we there yet?

Also, I started a little blog that is mostly supposed to be public-facing, and driving traffic to my etsy site. It seems to be working (although, oddly, increased traffic doesn't equal increased sales. Not sure what's up with that). Whining is still for LJ!

musicwench was due the day before me, but I thiiiink maybe she had her baby yesterday. That is totally mindblowing. I'm trying to figure out where in my own brain to comprehend the fact that my baby could come, more or less, today, and it would be fine. A touch on the early side--but nearly guaranteed not to have any major problems. Wow. Of course, her first baby was very early, so she wasn't expecting this one to go late. But still.

Also, I don't remember this from last time, but it friggin hurts at the top of my uterus, where I guess all the growing/stretching/changing is going on. I would have thought it would hurt for the first pregnancy, if it was going to.

This is Silas' last week of day care. I'm feeling good about my decision to pull him out, and my discussions with the day care lady have been totally fine--so much so that if I needed to send him back there, that would not be awkward. But that means only two afternoons of toddler-free time left! Today, I'm planning on blitz cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms. Thursday, I'm thinking maybe I'll make a dress I owe somebody. 

Ok, now I'm going to attempt to go back to bed...for fifteen minutes, until Silas decides it's time to wake up.

7/25/12 08:17 pm - OCD parenting in the age of etsy/pinterest

I want to do a Winnie the Pooh birthday party for Silas. He adores the folk in the 100 Acre Wood (though he has yet to make it through one of the actual stories--he reads this about 30 times a day). Also, he totally looks like Christopher Robin right now. And I sooo need an excuse to make him some gingham checked versions of the 100 Acre Wood shirt...with matching shorts!

It won't be a big party, and, let's be honest, a second birthday party is at least as much for the parents as the kid. Silas friends. So the guests will be family, a handful of friends, and said friends' children, ranging in age from 1 to about 10.

So, I'm mostly posting this for my reference, but also so I can get ideas and input from you geniuses. For those of you who are wondering, "Isn't this what Pinterest is for?" Well yes. It is. But I don't want to do EXACTLY what other Pinners did, and I'm not really a big fan of Pinterest's interface.

Besides what is specifically mentioned below, our resources include a kiddie pool, a sandbox, a few riding toys, a very wooded yard, and several young ducks.

So. Here's what I've got so far:
  • A "beehive" cake (I'm borrowing a lot of different sizes of round cake pans and I'll stack the layers, then drizzle some "hunny" over the top).
  • "Haycorns" made from Nilla wafers and chocolate kisses.
  • sliced veggies from Rabbit's friends and relations.
  • Pin the tail on Eeyore (it's a classic, right?)
  • A Woozle hunt (with a map...some kind of prizes at the end).
  • In keeping with Eeyore's birthday (when he gets a broken balloon and an empty honey pot), we'll ask guests not to bring a present for Silas. In lieu of gifts OR favors, we'll ask each guest to bring a book they think someone their age would enjoy, and then have a book swap table set up.
  • Blue helium balloons anchored to the ground with golf tees (straight from Pinterest, yes).
  • If the river is running (unlikely), we'll put up signs for how to get there and play Poohsticks.
  • Pinata shaped like a blue balloon.
  • Eeyore house (we have so many downed sticks....but what goes INSIDE Eeyore's house?)
  • Kanga's laundry stuff--clothesline + washtub + soapy water. What kid doesn't love soapy water? Oh, and teeeeny clothespins.

Also, MAYBE:
  • Bumblebee cakepops. Somebody please tell me not to do this. It's exactly the sort of thing I'm bad at. I will get frustrated and hate myself so much. But OMG SO CUTE. Somebody save me from myself.

6/3/12 04:10 pm - Spring 2012

What a crazy spring! It looks like summer will be a little mellower (as we get geared up for a crazy fall....)

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4/29/12 10:14 pm - Montessori influences

I want to preface this by saying that I AM NOT a Montessori teacher. I haven't done any of the training. I probably have it all backwards. Everything I know is from books and blogs and occasional visits to Montessori classrooms. I'd really love feedback and corrections from those of my friends who *do* have this training, because I want to know what I'm missing.

So, I started to write this as a comment response to Alice, who is thinking about whether Montessori would be helpful or NOT for her son, who is...four? I think. Forgive me if I have that wrong too. But I had too much to say for a comment. So here we go.

In the past year, I've read a couple of books on Montessori, including Montessori from the Start* and Teaching Montessori in the Home, which is apparently out of print. I've also read a number of books by Maria Montessori herself, which I found to be far more enlightening. These include Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook, Secret of Childhood, The Discovery of the Child, and The Absorbent Mind. I also follow a number of blogs by moms who are or were Montessori teachers, including Vibrant Wanderings, Peaceful Parenting, and (my favorite!) Sew Liberated.

From these sources, I've gleaned the following basic principles:

Follow the child. This is the one that has probably had the most influence on me. It doesn't mean that you just let your kid do whatever he wants. But it does mean that you pay attention to what he is communicating to you, both deliberate communications and involuntary ones. One of the really interesting stories I read in one of Montessori's own books (I think it was Secret of Childhood, but I'm not sure) was the story of how she came up with the cylinder blocks that are a popular material. She saw a child be reprimanded for constantly taking the stopper in and out of his mother's delicate glass perfume bottle. She realized that there was something about that motion of in-and-out that the child really NEEDED to do right at that point in his development. So she developed these knobbed cylinders that fit in slots, and then used the child's in-born fascination with that in-and-out to create a material that develops his sense of observation.

This brings us to #2: Teach attention. Many of the Montessori activities teach children to find and enjoy that state of total concentration that some of us call a "book coma" or "flow." This is not done by a teacher constantly saying, "Eyes on your paper! Stop fidgeting!" The idea is that, if you present a child with the right thing that will perfectly meet their developmental moment, they will be totally entranced. It sounds crazy, but I first experienced it when Silas was six months old. A number of sources suggested offering him a basket of five or six real-world objects to explore (not toys).

He spent forty minutes doing this. Not kidding.

#3: Stop interrupting! We spend a lot of time entertaining kids and distracting them. We have a lot of things that light up and get their attention. We also spend a lot of time saying "NO!" and taking stuff out of their hands or mouths. If we set up safe spaces where they can explore and stop trying to direct their exploration, they manage themselves surprisingly well. In our house, most of the spaces are really toddler-proofed. We have baby latches on exactly two cupboards--the rest, Silas is allowed to explore. He spends a lot of time exploring (which is how I get anything done).

#4: Tolerate mess and danger (to a certain extent)... When Silas explores in our house, he makes a mess. He loves to take all the lids for our food storage containers out of the drawer where they live and scatter them on the floor. This has been superfuntimes since he was first able to pull up on his own. I always let him do it and then when he loses interest and starts to wander away, I get his attention and ask him to help me put them away. He practically never participates...but a few months ago, he was messing with them, and then I turned around and he had put them all back, without my saying anything. Today, when I went to pick him up from the church nursery, the volunteer in there said that he had spent most of his time taking a bunch of plastic food, one item at a time, out of a drawer...and then he put it all back without being asked. "I've never seen a kid that age do that," she said. Also, when he spills water (about thirty-seven times per day), I try to enlist his help in cleaning it up. I really need to add some spill cloths to his cupboard that has all his stuff in it, so he can do this on his own...just one more thing on the to-do list. We also let him use breakable dishes (so he learns to be careful with things) and plan to teach him to do things like slice his own bananas in a few months.

#5: ...but limit mess and danger, too! We obviously don't leave rat poison around. We don't give Silas anything that we would be really upset if it broke (thus, the DSLR...he has not touched). When I give him water in a non-sippy cup, I give him only a tiny bit at a time (and I still use a sippy for milk or juice because I get cranky about having to clean it up all the time). We also limit mess by having only a small selection of toys out at a time. This keeps the toys interesting and also prevents him from entirely covering his playspace with them.

#6: Prepare the environment. I guess that's what this all boils down to. You set up an environment that will meet the child's needs and guide his exploration. The materials have what's called "control of error," which means, if something is done "wrong," it's immediately apparent. The child doesn't need to wait for the teacher to come by with a red pen. The materials tell the child that they aren't working correctly. A good example of this is a puzzle. If you have one piece left, you're not done yet. You have something in the wrong spot. You don't need anyone to tell you this. One misconception about Montessori is that it's self-directed. It is...but it isn't. It's sort of environment-directed. Materials-directed. The teacher or parent prepares the environment in such a way that it guides the child's learning. I guess what I'm saying is, it's not a free-for-all (and I'm mentioning this in particular response to what Alice said about how self-directed learning would either be the best or worst thing for her son, and she's not quite sure which).

#7: Don't give the mind anything the hand isn't ready for, and vice versa. There is a better quote about this somewhere, and I'm too lazy to look for it. The idea is that everything you do with your mind has some expression in the physical world, and you had better have hands that are prepared to do that expression. So, a lot of the Montessori activities, like transferring things with tongs from one container to another, are designed to cultivate hand strength and fine motor skills. I actually remember being terrifically frustrated in late elementary school--and HATING writing--because my hands didn't write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts. I understand exactly what the dexterity exercises are about!

#8 Respect and cultivate the child's love of order. It's sort of hard to see right now, in this toddler time, but children do have a sense of order. Silas adores routine, and he gets pretty out of sorts if the basic rhythm of his day is disrupted. By cultivating that sense of order early, you can help your kid form habits of mind that will serve him later. One example that I love is how lots of the activities are structured so that the child does them left to right--the same order that is instinctive to those of us who are literate. Even if it's not a reading activity, it prepares them for reading. Another example is something I'm working on right now with Silas, which is called one-to-one correspondence. This is the first foundation of math, essentially the thing that lets us count objects, assigning one number to each object. To help create that habit of mind, I give him twelve small objects (puff balls, puzzle pieces, whatever) and a muffin tin and show him how to put one in each of the twelve muffin cups. Then I take them out and give them to him. He hasn't yet managed to do what he has just seen me do (he is, after all, only 19 months old!), but he knows, when he runs out of pieces and still has three cups left, that he wants to try again. He wants the thing to be orderly, he just can't figure out how to make it happen.

#9 Teach me to do it myself! This is the other big one for me. Children long for a certain kind of independence. They want to do things on their own. They want to feel competent. I believe (and I think that this is in keeping with the Montessori ideas) that a child develops self-worth through trying challenging things and achieving them--not through people saying, "You're so great! Yay! Here's a trophy!" Self-care is a major area where learning to do it oneself is beneficial for the child (and ultimately, for the parent!). Silas is still too little to have complete management over any area of self-care, but he's getting there. We break down things like getting dressed or washing one's face or hands into small steps, and he can do parts of each task by himself. We also take turns with things--so he brushes his teeth first, and then lets me have a turn. At dinner, he has a napkin and wipes his own mouth (and does an awful job of it, but...). He's nearly potty-independent. In a lot of cases, he's just limited by being short--at 32", he's in the 10th percentile for his age, so he can't get up on the toilet by himself, even with a step stool (and he is SO over the "little potty"). All that will come, though. We're teaching him what he can do at his age.

All of this is to say, this is what's working for us, right now. It doesn't always go well. Some days we spend half an hour watching puppy videos on YouTube, which is enough to send me straight to Montessori hell. Contrary to popular belief, I do not think that Silas was born with a particularly mellow temperament. If anything, he was and is on the high-needs end of the spectrum. I'm really glad that I found this way of teaching him to focus and to enjoy his alone time, because otherwise, I'm sure that he would be driving me 100% crazy by now (instead of, say, 75%).

*Montessori from the Start is really good and all, but it's very black-and-white and orthodox. Also, it has some stuff to say about weaning, co-sleeping, and babywearing that I find totally ridiculous. It's mostly for birth-to-three. I've heard great things about How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way, but haven't read it because the title and cover are sort of embarrassing.

4/25/12 12:49 pm

Just having one of those bummed days. Not for any special reason, just a little bummed. So I thought I'd sit here and drink my NORA tea and write about stuff that is making me happy. Maybe that will help.

Happy thing one: After an hour-long tantrum in which Silas and I fought about nap time (Him: But I don't want to nap! I want to read! Me: I need you to take a nap because I stayed up too late last night reading!), he finally is asleep, and I'm hoping it will last a while.

Happy thing two: I had my first midwife appointment in a LOOONG time (because of traveling and then forgetting when my first one back was, and then my second one getting rescheduled because my midwife delivered seven babies in seven days!) on Monday. Misty (midwife) said that my uterus felt a little small, so maybe my dates are off--that wouldn't be a surprise, as I would have thought Silas was a week late if I hadn't had an early dating ultrasound. But I'm kind of hoping this baby will come in October anyway, so that they'll have different birth months--and I'll have a month between planning birthday parties! Then she said that she would try to listen for heart tones with the fetoscope, but she never has heard them with it this early (18 weeks) and might have to use the doppler. The second she put the fetoscope on my stomach, she said, "Oh my gosh, I hear it!" Heartbeat is 148, which is the in the high end of the normal range. As she was poking around trying to get to a place where she could hear it more clearly, I felt the baby JUMP and then she couldn't hear it any more. This was the first time I felt it move, really definitely, and since then, I've felt it pretty regularly. Happy! I like to imagine that when she first heard the heart tones, it was pressed up against the walls of its watery cage, searching for an escape, and that's why she heard it. :) We scheduled our first ultrasound for mid-May, and I can hardly wait!

Happy thing three: Silas and this Montessori stuff. OMG. And other things. He's just GETTING things so much now. He's learning people's names and loves to say them (he doesn't always get them right--like, his friend Lillian, he calls "Yi yan."). He is getting through his NO phase by informing the dog that he shouldn't be doing whatever he is doing, which is usually true. He loves to help me call for Ender when he's out across the field. The other day, he picked up his letter C magnet and said, "kuh!" I about fell over. I've been trying to introduce him to some self-care Montessori stuff, and I was a despairing a bit that I was asking too much too soon. He's only 19 months, and I was reviewing one of the Montessori books I have...and it says not to bother until they're 2.5! But then I turn around, and he's doing it by himself.

I set up this little self-care station in the bathroom, with a bowl for handwashing, his toothbrush, hairbrush, a mirror, and a hand towel.

He immediately did this:

Well, at least he's washing his hands!

I also put up a low hook for him to hang his jacket on. For a few days, I reminded him to hang up his jacket when we came in from our walks...and then today, he asked for help getting it off, and then ran to the hook saying, "Hook! Hook! Hook!"

He's really, by any measure, too young for water pouring activities (you're supposed to start them with stuff like rice, which moves slower). But like an idiot, I tried it a few days ago. He just ended up frustrated, so I put the pitcher and cup away in his cupboard. The other day, he got the pitcher and cup out, handed me the pitcher, saying, "Juice peeeees!" (he calls all liquids "juice"). I put a tablespoon of water in it, and he carried the cup and pitcher to his table, climbed up in his chair, and poured himself a drink...and then cleaned up the little bit he spilled!

Similarly, he got really frustrated with this spoon transferring activity I demonstrated the other day...but then a little later went and got it out himself and did it!

He's even helping put out the clover seed on the lawn (instead of trying to eat it).

Happy thing four: This is both a happy thing and an annoying thing. We're buying a new (new-to-us, that is) car. It's a Passat station wagon. I'm annoyed about spending the money and the general hassle about buying a new car...but it is super nice and not dented. :) We're picking it up on Saturday if everything goes well. We're financing through Everence (the Mennonite credit union) and they have been wonderful to work with. I highly recommend them.

Oh, and we're hoping to sell the Subaru for around $3000. If anyone wants one. We just need to get rid of it because 2 car seats + 50 lb dog = not working in the sedan.

Happy thing five: JC and I had a date last night. We went to a Ruby meet up (be jealous) and then Indian American Cafe. It was nice to just get to go out together and have fun.

Happy thing six (and this really might be the happiest thing): I have the greatest friends ever. Really. Lovely Pam remembered to write me from her writing colony vacation the other day. Laura and Bethany brought their children over for our Monday play date and we talked and laughed and tried to ignore the whining. Inkslingers had a great meeting on Sunday night (though we were minus Kirsten and Pam). It's just good to be home and seeing my favorite people again.

Silas is glad to be back with his friends, too!

3/16/12 10:56 pm - more on that

So, I mentioned in the last postlet that this pregnancy is so far opposite of the Silas pregnancy, and I just wanted to write down (for my own posterity, if not your interest) what that meant.
These notes apply only to the first trimester, of course, because that's where I am.

#1: I was really tired.
#2: This is the only thing that is the same.

#1: I slept the minute my head hit the pillow. I fell asleep whenever I watched TV or rode in a car.
#2: I'm awake at 3 am for no damn reason.

#1: I was so sick that I ate only triscuits and very mild cheese for about 7 weeks. I lost 5 lbs in the first trimester.
#2: I'm eating LIKE CRAZY. I'm hungry all the time. I have snacks CONSTANTLY. I have gained 6 lbs in the first trimester. I should also note that, due to nursing and Silas hating to see me eat, I started this pregnancy about 15 lbs lower than I started the last one, so eating a ton is very good. I was a little nauseous early on, but I got over that fast.

#1: I had anti cravings. I'd go buy food and then look at it and find it completely unappealing. There were whole categories of food (like "Asian food") that I just couldn't even think about. This lasted through the whole pregnancy.
#2: Mad cravings. OMG. Milkshakes. Guacamole. Apples.

#1: I had to pee every 15 minutes once he was big enough that I was showing. This was more of a 3rd-trimester problem for me.
#2: This might have been my second signal that I should take the test. Seriously. Totally crazy.

#1: I had exactly one pregnancy dream, which was that Silas was born, but he was a tiny furry animal, like a chipmunk. The midwife told me that it would be ok, I just had to dig a hollow in the ground and make a nest for him. This was almost at the end of the pregnancy.
#2: So far, I've had at least three, including one really damn scary and vivid miscarriage dream, and one in which I got talked into buying a pair of expensive fuchsia baby tights.

#1: I totally thought that Silas was a girl. All the old wives tales said "girl." I really wanted to have a boy first, and I feel like I never get what I want, so it had to be a girl. We had picked a girl name and hadn't really even talked seriously about a boy name, so I thought of the baby by that girl name. When the u/s tech said, "It's a boy," I said, "Are you sure?" even though I could see his...boyness very, very clearly. I'm glad I decided to find out, because I was really disoriented by it, and I'm glad that I didn't have to go through that along with the disorientation of having a new baby.
#2: Ok, so I used to think I wanted a girl second. I know you're supposed to say that you want a healthy baby, and that's all that matters, but I think that most people have a mental picture of their future family that is hard to ignore, and mine was boy-then-girl. But I didn't want that wanting. I wanted to honestly, deep in my heart, just want a healthy baby. And that's it. I prayed about it really intensely for a while in the summer and fall, and then, one day...that mental picture was gone. I literally can't even remember it. That hope for a little girl wasn't in me any more. Just a hope for two healthy, happy children. It was really a blessing. That said, JC's mom and grandmother think it's a girl, and JC and my mom HOPE it's a girl. The old wives tales are mixed. And as to really REALLY *JUST* hoping for a healthy child...well, I don't care any more if it's a boy or a girl, but if it's not a better sleeper than Silas, I am SENDING IT BACK.

#1: Even when Silas was six weeks old, I hardly believed that I had a real human baby. A friend's sister who was due a few weeks before me had her twin babies prematurely (I think they were at 34 weeks), and when I saw their pictures, I was mildly surprised that they looked like *babies*. This was the first moment at which I realized that mine probably also looked like a baby and not a sea monkey.
#2: I'm already picturing baby, and the pregnancy week-by-week thing that shows the picture of the sea monkey with no fingers doesn't feel as real as a Baby.

I'm sure that a lot of these differences are just because I've been through this before, and also because I was, until very recently, nursing. I weaned Silas in early December and got pregnant again in early January, so I think my body didn't have quite as much work to do to get all those hormones marching. Also, of course, I've had the experience of actually having a new human gestate in my body and then emerge from it, so it doesn't seem quite so sci-fi as it did the first time (but it's still pretty weird).

Also, the timing of this is weird. I found out that I was pregnant a week before I left to come here. We told our best friends (two couples--Silas' godparents and the friends we will likely ask to be this baby's godparents), our parents, and a few other people, but it was so early then--still in the time when it's weird to mention it. And now I'm here. I told my cast last Monday, when I officially hit 12 weeks, so that they would not hate me for snacking through rehearsals and being all out of it by the end of our late nights. I'm not telling my other friends at home, my small group at church, or my neighbors, until I get home, around week 16. So it's weird because lots of people know, but lots of others don't, and I have to remember who I'm allowing myself to say anything to.

Yeah, so that's all that.

3/15/12 01:44 pm

So, I'm pregnant again!

Due Sept 25. So far, this pregnancy has been the total opposite of number 1. I'm tired but not terribly nauseous. I've been eating like crazy.

Related news: I just killed a whole big bowl of guacamole. At least I ate it with multigrain chips, right?

Those of you who are my fb friends, please don't mention it there. I'm not telling my hometown friends until I get home in three weeks.

3/7/12 02:27 pm - Quarterly update: winter 2011-12

It seems like a long time since my last big update...Well, here we go.

When we left off, it was early December, 2011. We had just narrowly survived Thanksgiving and were slouching toward winter. And now the winter is about over...spring is around the corner! Let's rewind the clock...

At 13 months, I deemed Silas old enough to ride in the little car-attached-to-the-grocery-cart thing. He was THRILLED. I kind of wish I hadn't started this, because he always wants it, and those things are just awful to steer.

As an early Christmas present to ourselves (with some help from Dad and Robyn), we had some major work done at the house--insulation, drywall, painting, flooring. The house looks awesome, and is much warmer now.
Silas likes to help.

Here are some of our improvements (the walls really aren't this yellow, but I just couldn't get the color temperatures right).

For those in the Harrisonburg area, we used Sam's Construction, and they were wonderful. I highly recommend them.

Silas was actually able to participate somewhat in our Christmas preparations this year, which was really fun. He liked opening the doors on the Advent calendar.

Still not quite big enough to wrap presents...

Grandpa Frisbee taught Silas about Hanukkah. It's a holiday with spinning toys!

Silas enjoyed all the madness at Nanny and Pap's house. I think we had 21 people there!

In fact, I think he enjoyed the Christmas madness everywhere. He got a lot of attention, being the first grandkid and all.

I guess this was a boring book...

Already knows that cheek pinches are awful Grandma things.

Downtime with Daddy:

It can be tiring to entertain SIX grandparents!

One of my favorite gifts I made this year was a "Silas: Year 1" photo album.

Aunt Katie made Silas his own pie.

He liked it.

I know he's getting a LITTLE old for potty pictures, but I loved this so much...My grandma Betty got him some washcloth puppets for Christmas, and for a while, he insisted that every appendage had to be bepuppeted in order to spend any time on the potty.

He calls shoes, socks, gloves, and puppets "shooooz."
Here are a few Christmas gifts that I'm thinking of making for my etsy shop...What do you think? Would you buy them?
I made a new diaper bag for Silas. If I had a do-over, I would use canvas for the inside fabric, or some interfacing. It's a little too floppy.

Lillian and Elisabeth got these cute capes. The lining is some test dye work from Robyn that she was done with. I might have to learn shibori so I can make more!

Silas really is into music. He loves pianos--and he doesn't just mash them. Sometimes he does one or two fingers at a time, and really seems to be experimenting with attack and volume. Am I becoming one of THOSE moms? ... sorry.

I love how easily entertained he is. A bowl of rice and a measuring cup kept him busy for an hour...and sweeping it up was fun, too. This Montessori-inspired stuff rocks. Attention-span building FTW!

Silas continues to have a total crush on Pam Mandigo, the Great American Playwright. Here they are in a moment of shared bliss:

He's finally learning to be gentle with the cat. She...didn't totally hate this. Much.

International man of mystery chatting on his shoe phone.

It hasn't been a very snowy winter in Virginia. We got a dusting, and an excuse to wear the gnome suit.

It's been warm enough for lots of outside play time, which is wonderful. I've even let him play outside unsupervised a bit--and he loves it. I think he knows that it's special when I'm not following him around every minute. Irresponsible? Maybe...but I'm not going to stop any time soon.

Dad got Silas a tricycle for Christmas.

He can't quite reach the pedals. Luckily, it comes with a handle.

Now, we're in Michigan. I haven't taken many pictures up here--Silas keeps my hands very busy! We stopped at the Pittsburgh Children's Museum on the way. I highly recommend it. They had tons of cool stuff, like this sand-covered lighttable.

Our hosts, Linda and Steve, are very sweet with Silas. They even let him play their guitar (which he loves)

Linda went out in the snow with us (yes, SNOW, because we're in Michigan) and took some pictures.

First sled ride.

Mom and Gary just visited (and we went to the circus!). I'll post some pictures from that next time...
Oh, and JC is coming tomorrow. I'm so excited. This single-parenting thing is for the birds.

For more images, check out my Picasa album. Special thanks to Katie Smith, Alex Heimbuch, Wendy Werner, and Linda Namenye for your photos!

12/17/11 10:07 pm - Fall 2011

So, I've decided to do these updates quarterly, more or less, and to make them about the whole family, not just Silas. That said, I know what you all want to see, so...It's still mostly Silas.

I think I might have to write this over the course of a few days, as the little critter allows. Forgive me if that makes my time sense a little weird. I'm trying.

First, big news, Chubbs slept through the whole night--from about 8:30 to 6 am--last night. This is a first-time-ever big deal thing. At 15 months old. This level of indulgence is, I believe, reserved for the firstborn. Someone please kindly tell my next child that s/he better sleep through at about 6 weeks if s/he wants to live. k. Of course, this might not happen again tonight. But it could! And we're leaving for WV and all kinds of schedule-messing-up family fun in five days, which also is going to ruin this sleep thing. It's enough to make me consider skipping Christmas. Not that I *will*, mind you. But for those I'm visiting, forgive me if I seem neurotic about Silas' schedule. There is good reason.


Big things since Silas turned one... hm.
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11/1/11 10:25 am - Halloween

What has a cloak...

big furry feet....

...and the One Ring?

Nasty hobbitses!

(and yes, that's a Cheerio. Instead of going to Mordor, he ate it. Problem solved.)
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