Saturday, December 31, 2005

Sickie & more on starting to sign

After just one day of amoxicillin, Dash was up to his usual hightened cheerfulness!! When I got to daycare yesterday afternoon, I was wearing a leather jacket and his socks were off—I picked him up and those sticky little feet of his started climbing my coat. I wasn't prepared, but managed to keep hold of him before he was up to my neck. So active!

With the signing, I noticed parents & kids using it when Rosie was in early daycare and bought a set of flashcards. We didn't really try to sign with Rosie, though; the flashcards disappeared (behind a dresser) and re-emerged after she was getting pretty verbal. I dug them out again when Dash was a newborn and looked for signs that I wanted to start with.

I've been trying out: milk, more, food, all done. Next, I'm planning to add mommy & daddy. There is a workshop I'd like to try for teaching your baby to sign and is just on a weekend morning. More info is at .

Friday, December 30, 2005

Ballerina gift

On a very sweet note, Rosie got a wonderful Xmas gift of a pretty wooden cut-out of a ballerina (painted nicely) with metal dots in strategic places, a stand, and a selection of multi-colored *magnetic* tutus, pointe shoes, and tiaras. It's a fantastic gift for a little girl!! She was playing with the ballerina last night and I heard her say my name. When I responded, she said, "no Mommy, my ballerina's name is Alanna!"

I got kind of choked up... I mean, who didn't ever want to be a pretty ballerina?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Homemade baby food, need to get on it!

I was pretty successful making Rosie's baby food; she was especially fond of the sweet potatoes. I just baked them till they're soft, mashed them well with fork or masher, and strained them. One thing that was a big no-no was to put the sweet potatoes in a food processor or a blender because the fiber would combine to make a glue.

My book recommended processing most of the foods with a device called a "Mouli" which we went ahead and bought back in 2003—it grinds the food fairly gently. I lent it to a few friends after Rosie phased out of the purees and now I have it back. I have a veggie medley recipe that we used until Rosie got sick of it at 8 or 9 months. It was a combo of sweet potato, carrot, and broccoli.

So, I've got my Mouli and I have a potato ricer, so I need to start making baby food for Dash already, darn it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

1st ear infection & starting to sign!

Well, it's certain. Dash has his first ear infection. He had a fever yesterday, was sleeping quite a bit through the day, and the daycare ladies told me that he cried every time they tried to put him down, so I suspected.

Also, an interesting development: last week, I was feeding Dash some green beans and would occasionally stop to make the =more= sign and ask "more?" One of the times I stopped, he CLEARLY made the =milk= sign more than once, so I quickly mixed a bottle and he happily slurped it down!! He's made the =milk= sign several times since then and I try to follow up ASAP to let him know that he's communicating.

We dropped his mattress down, too, because he's been pulling up to his knees and on one occasion, to his feet!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Xmas 2005, glad it's over

Our Christmas started out hectic, but as soon as we left the house it got better. AJS even threatened to stay at home while he sent the rest of us off to my parents' because we were getting so stressed out. AJS HATES, hates to be late.

We were planning on getting to my parents' by around 10 a.m., but didn't arrive till 11:45 because, I don't know, it was just difficult to wrangle all the gifts, the kids and all the gear you need to spend the day somewhere else. AJS was handling the kids while I did EVERYTHING ELSE. And, it seemed that as soon as I started one thing, he would yell about something, so I'd drop what I was doing and start something else, and so all my stuff was in half-finished pieces all over the house. I wrapped/labeled all the gifts, fed and dressed the kids, got all of Dash's food & bottles packed up, re-dressed Rosie because she had a potty accident, somehow managed to shower and put on makeup while Dash napped, packed up all of the spare clothes and gear in case of more accidents, fed the bird, and on and on until I was about to cry.

I told AJS that it would all be just fine as soon as we were in the car and on our way, and sure enough, it was!! The kids were so cute all day. I already got all the gifts I wanted ahead of time, so I wasn't expecting anything. The kids got plenty of gifts and I hope my family was happy with what we gave them. I'm kind of glad it's over, you know? There are so many expectations about this holiday and stress and disappointment involved when expectations are unfulfilled.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Slept through the night!!

Dash didn't wake up ONCE last night!! He SLEPT THROUGH 10 HOURS straight!!! That's a major first for us. I had to wake him up to feed him this morning. He must have really needed his sleep. And TMI: The poor guy woke up this morning without any nostrils—they were caked over with snot! Ewwww. Seems like lots of kids are getting colds around this time of year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Struggling with pregnancy weight

I keep trying on my size 4 clothes, hoping that maybe, miraculously during the night, the weight redistributed or something. Even this morning! Like a pollyanna, I put on a size 4 skirt that still has at least 2–3 inches before it will zip up. However, I did manage to—very tightly, with jumping—fit into my Old Navy size 6 stretch jeans!!

I don't know what size I'm at right now—it's probably between an 8 and 10. Most of my work clothes are between size 2 and 6, but I'm managing it somehow (elastic waists!). I can't fit in some of my suitjackets because my upper arms are too thick.

Okay, blah, blah, whine, whine. I'm joining the gym today! Since I wasn't going while pregnant, I cancelled my old membership. There's a gym at my new office that's only$18/month and that just can't be beat (my old one was $60/month). The trick is that you have to work in the building.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

YES!! That's the stuff.

Last night, I fed Dash some peas and at the first mouthful, he threw his arms up in the air and waved them around, like, "YES!!" and continued to throw his arms up for the next few spoonsful. I guess I *was* taking a bit long to phase in vegetables... LOL

And, over the weekend, AJS was holding Dash so Rosie could play "doctor," giving Dash "medicine" with a little spoon. An empty spoon. The poor darling was leaning forward with an open mouth for the spoon and then looked so bewildered and disappointed when there was no food in it that I laughed so hard I was crying!! Ah, we should have had the vidcam out.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Dash is weaned; a rant at boob-nazis

For good or bad, 50% of mothers in the United States today begin formula feeding at their child's birth, and by 6 months, 70% are formula feeding. If your child is nursing at six months or nine months or even a year, big CONGRATULATIONS!! are due both of you. You are in a small group of 30% who are able to keep breastfeeding going in the U.S.

My decision to wean my son and switch to formula was NOT lightly made. My daughter was exclusively breastfed until she was nine months, and I found that it was an easy transition. However, with Dash, it really was a struggle to produce enough milk to keep up with his demand. I was working and pumping in both cases, so I don't know what changed (my age?). So this time, I altered my diet, I took vitamin supplements, I took galactagoges, I had consultations with lactation consultants, I spoke with and emailed La Leche League representatives but despite all my efforts, my supply kept dropping.

There were also nosy people in my office who asked me once or twice a week, "so how long are you going to be pumping?" or "you've really been at that pump long enough, don't you think?" Comments like this really stressed me out. Also, Dash was getting bottles all day at daycare, so when we swiched to the boob at home, it wasn't always his favorite thing, which was stressful for both of us. When Dash was five months old, in a 10-hour period I only expressed 5 ounces at work, and I knew that was it for me; it wasn't even enough to fill one bottle and he was taking 4 to 5 bottles a day. I did some informed research and found what I decided was the best formula to start him on. He still nursed upon waking and before bed until right before he reached 6 months, then he rejected nursing entirely and I gave it up. I WISH we were still breastfeeding. It was so convenient, a wonderful way to bond, and inexpensive. But it didn't work out like it did with my daughter.

Moms, please, let's attempt to be supportive of all the hard decisions that we make as moms! Parenting is hard enough without being attacked your peers.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Let's start babyproofing...

Lately, Dash has been very busy experimenting with different ways to move around. He pivots around on the floor, with some forward scooting; he rocks back and forth on his knees, sort of pre-crawling moves; he's been "swimming" on his belly, which is a full-arm waving and kicking move while balancing on his belly; he jumps and bangs his arms while in his saucer; jumps and dances while we hold him; and jumps and spins in his johnny-jump-up. He loves to find/go after a toy, bang it around, and then throw it; or alternately, chew on it for a while. All this busy, active behavior is very different from Rosie's. I remember that I was worried if she'd ever learn to jump... to this day, she's not much of a jumper, she never throws things, and is more of a thinker/observer than a doer. I guess we need to get busy babyproofing the house (we really didn't need to with Rosie)!!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Liam's birthday!

Liam, Thea's brother, was born on November 18, 2005! He was 8 lbs-14.7oz, quite a big boy. We are all so happy to welcome him to the world. YAY! Congratulations to Kelly and Todd!!

While their family was recovering in the hospital, I got a new tattoo the very next day! Here's a photo of my tattoo design, which was inked on my right calf:

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Rosie's three!

Rosie's birthday is today, and what did we do to celebrate? We took her to a cemetery, of course! Well, that's not exactly what was planned for her specifically, but she takes a great photo in one!

We are in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown. AJS's ancestor, RAdm Cornelius K. S...g is buried here and I was taking photos of his memorial for the S...g geneology group. AJS and the RAdm are 1st cousins, five times removed.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Rosie's 3rd birthday party

Rosie and AJS have birthdays that fall very closely, so for the last two birthdays, we've had a joint party for them, my darling Scorpios. We had a yummy chocolate cake and a tiara for the birthday girl. The boys in the picture are Nick D., Nick H., and Thomas D., neighbors of ours.

Coincidentally, both Rosie and Thea were dressed in Chinese silk that day! They looked fabulous, if not too happy.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Four month checkup!

Dashiell's getting so big! He went to his 4 month checkup last week and weighed in at 13 lbs-12 oz (25th %ile) and is in the 75th %-le for length. He impressed his Doctor with his hand-eye coordination by ripping her glasses off when she leaned over to check out his ear. He's doing very well and based on the doc's recommendation, we started him on solids last weekend.

Yesterday was the Fall Festival at the childcare center and I volunteered to do facepainting on the kids. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera, otherwise I would post some cute pics of Rosie with a ladybug on her cheek. I do have some photos of the kids in their Halloween costumes, however.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

TBA is on his way!

Kelly's baby shower was so much fun! The part that tickled me the most was that her family was late, because they had the time wrong. Bob gave them a call and found they were just hanging out, waiting for Thea to finish her nap, not realizing we were already there, ready to party. Daria had a fabulous spread and set up activities for all of us and the kids. We made iron-on onesies for TBA and used fabric paint to fancy them up.

I think all the kids had a fun time, too!

Rosie was painting while Dash tried different fingers to chew, good times for all.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Checking in on Dash

Hi Dash! It's Mommy.

You're almost four months old! So far this month, we traveled by plane to Connecticut on Oct. 7, your first plane trip! You did great. You were a perfect traveler on the flight out, but cried some on the flight back (my ears were popping, too, so I think the 2nd plane flew much higher than the 1st). We traveled with your sister Rosie, your Auntie M, and your Grandaddy Jim and spent most of your time in my lap (although your Grandaddy was holding you a lot, too). AJS stayed home to take care of Weegee and visit with his friend, Alan. Grandma needed to watch Grandaddy's bird, Groucho, as well as Auntie's cats, Riijah and Zita.

All of your relatives were very happy to meet you! We were visiting to celebrate your first-cousin-once-removed Eric's wedding to Sandra. We spend most of our time visiting with your great-aunt Judy, great-uncle Bill, and your other FCOR Chris. At the wedding reception, you were quite the popular little gentleman with the older ladies! Your FCOR Teressa held you the longest, along with many other relatives. You showed everyone how you like to try to talk, stand up, and smile all the time.

You love to flip over on your belly and grab onto toys and fingers. Lately, you're trying to do a sort-of crawl, which is like an inchworm: up on the elbows, butt up, scoot forward on the knees, and push the elbows forward. You're moving around more that I'd like at four months with that maneuver! You're sleeping on your belly and getting much better at keeping your pacifier in your mouth. Your daddy and I think you're a sweet, happy, good-natured little guy.

Love you!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Dash, Rosie, and I flew to Connecticut with his Auntie M. and Granddaddy Jim for my cousin Eric's wedding reception over the Columbus Day weekend. They did really well on the flights, although I don't think Rosie liked the security at the airport much -- those conveyor belts and metal scanners were scary. Dash was very popular with my relatives and was passed around to most all the ladies! I'm glad that Rosie has been able to visit with my side of the family, if only once a year. It's nice to know your relatives. I hope we'll be able to continue visiting with Dash, too. Rosie and he have a couple of 2nd cousins that are close to their ages. I know I couldn't have done it without Auntie M.and Dad there to help -- thanks so much to you both!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Why Dashiell?

For those of you who don't know this story, I'll let you in on how we picked the name Dashiell. Foremost, we were looking for a relatively unusual name that had some meaning to either of us. Dashiell made the short list, being the name of a crime-fiction writer whose work AJS enjoys, Dashiell Hammett (writer of "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Thin Man"). Some other names we were considering were: Orson, Jasper, Harold, Ronin, Riordan, Kane, or Vaughn.

Anyway, one evening, AJS brought home a DVD of "The Incredibles," the animated Disney/Pixar movie, and while we were watching it, the mom says to the son, "Dashiell Robert Parr, you are an incredibly competitive boy. And a bit of a showoff. The last thing you need is temptation." And we both looked at each other and said, "that's it! His name is Dashiell!"

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Dash:me, Rosie:AJS, assigned

AJS and I have pretty much been working things out so that I'm Dash's primary parent and he is Rosie's primary parent, on the occasions that we need to separate and neither of us are willing to take on both kids. It's working all right, except for when AJS needs to hold Dash, Rosie gets very jealous and wants him to hold her, too. This weekend, I took a yoga class at Pure Prana Yoga Studio and my mom watched Dash; AJS took Rosie to his mom's. He told me that she was crying for her brother all morning. How sweet! It's my dad's birthday today. Happy birthday Dad!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Dash & Jack: BFF?

Yesterday, Dashiell and I met the newest baby on the block, Jack Alexander! What a cutie. He was born August 31, and is just about the same size that Dashiell was. Jack has two older brothers, but we hope these two will be fast friends as they grow up together, two months apart in age. Jack lives about 5 doors down from us, and his next-oldest brother is close to Rosalie's age (although he's got wayyyy more energy than she does). Congratulations to Kurt and Leslie!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Alexandria's Irish Festival

A Washington Post photographer took a photo of AJS with Rosie! The four of us met Grandaddy Jim at Alexandria's Irish Festival in early August. I was carrying a sleeping Dash in a sling while AJS gave Rosie a better view of the Irish dancers by letting her sit on his shoulders. For hours afterward, Rosie kept talking about the dresses the dancers were wearing -- so pretty! Of course she wanted us to go out and buy her one right then...but only dancing girls wear those types of dresses, Rosie.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Baby Dashiell, born June 22, 2005!

Dashiell James was born on June 22, 2005, on a full moon and the first day of Cancer. The moon was a bright orange color and was strange-looking on our 15-minute drive to the hospital. After six hours of unmedicated labor (two of them in the hospital) and 35 minutes of pushing, he quickly came into the world at 5:23 a.m. He weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces and had an Apgar score of 9! He was very vigorous, punching at the neonatal nurses, and when he was brought back to me, he latched on firmly and had his first meal. His big sister, Rosie, wanted to hold him when she came to visit and did a superb job of it. She just got very upset when the nurse came in to take "her" baby away for tests! She continues to adore him and is a wonderful big sister.

We were in the hospital for two days and then I came home with him for eight weeks before I went back to work. His Auntie M. was a great help! She came over almost every day and held Dashiell and helped me do chores around the house. We took Dashiell on walks and to my chiropractor visits (my back went out of alignment during his birth) and even took him to the pool! He went to Ethan V's third birthday party at four weeks old, and to Keri B's PhD party at six weeks. His own debut party was August 13th, 2005 and we celebrated with lots of AJS's barbecue and many guests.

Since he started at his childcare center, he has learned to flip over onto his belly (at eight weeks!) and has been laughing. He is a happy boy who smiles and coos often. We love him very much!
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