Friday, May 28, 2010

Natalie Meadow turns ONE!!

My sweet baby girl was born one year ago today! Right up there in my bedroom. It's so cool to think about that day.

For her birthday today we had a little neighborhood party. There are 18 kids on my cul-de-sac, mostly boys, but they're a lot of fun and it keeps this street full of life and busyness. I told Jason last week that we're never moving because you can't buy great kids to play with your kids. Anyways, Reem is my little helper and she made some invitations and came over today to make/decorate cupcakes. We put an invitation on everyone's porch that said to come outside at 6:30pm and we'll sing to Natalie and serve the cupcakes.

It was a good way to celebrate!

My little Natalie is still a sweetie, but her stinkery side is developing nicely as well. She's been taking daily lessons from Adam. :P So in addition to her smiles and laughter, there are now demands and tantrums and arching. All part of growing up! Lately her biggest lesson is learning that she's not allowed to go into the street. So she gets a lot of "No, no" from me and Frannie and "No street" and putting her back on the grass and this just really ticks her off. Boy this baby can really cuss me out sometimes when she's tellin' me what's on her mind and how dare I not let her on the street? And take the cell phone away? And take that penny out of her mouth? Are you KIDDING? Yep. She's got a lot of words for her mama. A lot of words.
I dressed Natalie in the same dress I put Frannie in when she turned one :)

One thing I love about her right now is the cool 70's baby hairstyle she's got going on. Soft and shaggy over the ears. A very common style for 12 year old boys. And 1 year old girls!

She has a few words in her vocabulary:
Ma ma
Na na (banana)
Did did (daddy)
No no!

And she's an excellent pointer. She understands a TON. For example, I say "Seepy seep!" and she starts laughing. She knows it is nap time. Jason asks her to dance and she'll shake a little booty. She'll give a kiss and hand me something when I say "Can I have it?" She's understanding the whole no street thing too.

One thing she does that the other two never did, is she has a favorite blanket. It is a pink fuzzy blanket that I keep in her bed. One day when I was changing her sheet, I had all the blankets in a pile in the hallway for washing. She came waddling down the hall, saw her blanket and dragged it all the way back to her bed and got on her tippy tippy toes trying to put it back inside. Every night she buries her face into that thing when going to sleep.

She nurses, but she eats a lot of solid food as well. She still only has two teeth on the bottom. She will jokingly nip while nursing and I say "Ouch!" and she'll start laughing. Then she'll do it a few more times. She's not hurting me or anything, but she knows that the potential is there. It's like her little joke on mom. :)

She loves to be outside and play in the dirt and sand and play in her little front yard house. There are so many kids around here that she is a pretty easy going baby. Just yesterday I peeked in the front yard and there were five boys, Ali, Omar, Nicholas, Christian, and Aman all sitting in a circle with Frannie, and they were doing goo goo ga ga with Natalie. Anyone who says kids, even boy kids, don't love babies is crazy. The age range is about 6-12. These kids love to take her for rides in the push car or wagon and they do a good job of making sure she never goes on the street.

Sweet Natalie I love you so so much. You are a wonderful delight to me. I love to nuzzle you up under your neck and nip your ears and give you delicious squeezes every day. My heart sings with joy at your baby ways and in watching you grow. Happy Birthday!

And just for fun, I want to throw in a few Natalie/Frannie comparison shots at one year of age. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Mother's Day Off (on Saturday)

For Mother's Day I asked for a day off. I really had no desire to be taken out for a meal or even be given a certain gift. All I wanted was a day to myself. No butts to wipe, clothes to wrestle on, fights to quell, messes to clean, meals to make, juice to pour, activities to provide, or even conversation to be had. Does that sound mean?

My only participation in the family was to nurse and say "Go ask Daddy."

On Saturday Jason left with the kids at 10am and thus began my day. It was quite glorious. I started by wasting lots of time. I almost started to feel guilty for this lack of productivity, but then I thought, "I can spend this day any way I want to, even in a thoroughly non-achieving way. I don't have to answer to anyone for my time or how it is spent." Wow. What a strange thought. What a strange feeling to give myself permission for pure nothingness. It was such a weight lifted off! After I wasted time, I took a shower.

Then Jason got back home. That's right. In the span of like three hours, that is all that I did. (Well a big part of the "nothingness" was updating the camping blog and that took forever.)

Once he was here I nursed the baby and set out to run an errand or two. I had shoes to return. Since I was returning shoes it only made sense to look for more shoes. And maybe try on a shirt or two too. On the way I got myself some ice cream. I wasted more time at that drug store just going up and down the aisles eating my ice cream and looking at pretty much everything in the store. Just because.

Once I got back home I went upstairs and crawled into bed with my book Confessions of a Slacker Wife. It is SUPER funny! I highly recommend for anyone who wants a light read and wants to have a laugh. The kids came into the room a few times and tried to get into bed and such, but I shooed them away with my "Go see Daddy! It's my day off!" Anyways, I finished my book. What to do after that? Well, take a nap of course.

It really wasn't a great nap because the kids were being kind of loud in the house, but it was ok. Once again, I started to feel guilty for napping and for my lack of involvement with the children, but I shoved it away. There is really NO reason to feel guilty when I do almost everything for my kids all the time every single day 363. (I guess I should subtract out Mother's Day and perhaps some other random day I haven't accounted for.)

Once I got up, I was feeling pretty good, so I decided to go outside for a walk. I walked about two miles. At home Jason said he wanted to go to the bike shop. I said, "Ok, but you have to take the kids with you!" he he he. I really like this day off thing. I need more days like it.

Pretty soon the kids were in bed. Before coming home from my errands earlier I stopped at Albertson's because they have a Red Box movie machine. I rented Julie and Julia for the evening. After a few matches of online Scrabble I settled into our big red chair with some decaf coffee and watched a very cute movie. (Learned a lot more about Julia Child than I ever would have I think.) Jason enjoyed the movie too.

So that was my day off!! Woo hoo!

Grandma Carol with her Grandbabies

Catie (5), Natalie (almost 1), Adam (almost 3), Francesca (5), Nicholas (6), Grandma Carol (I'm not sayin'!)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Afghan for Catie

My sweet niece Catherine (Catie) turned 5 years old last Tuesday. Last year around her fourth birthday she was at the house and admiring Frannie's afghan. I told her that I could make her one for her fifth birthday and asked what her two favorite colors were. "Blue and purple." Ok. A blue and purple afghan it is.

Here she is at the party with her friends.

Whenever I make a blanket for someone I think about them a lot. The process of crocheting is basically one year of monotonous stitches. One after another after another after another. During that time that I'm zoning out and stitching I am usually thinking about the person that I'm stitching for. In the end the blanket represents for me all the prayers and good thoughts and wishes I have for that person that now exist in a physical form to be enjoyed.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010



After all these years that I've been saying, wishing, hoping, thinking about going camping we finally did!!! HOORAY! And we had a wonderful time!

Now for those who are of the hotel variety, I'm sure there isn't much to be impressed about concerning a simple camping trip. (I shouldn't say anything bad about hotels. I like them too!) But I've got a list of reasons why camping has been on my mind for so long and why I've got the bug already to go back.

1. Childhood memories. One of my favorite childhood memories as a kid was my dad taking my brother and I to the Kern River on camping trips. It was a long ride in the back of the pick up truck (couldn't do that nowadays I guess) but once we got there there is just a certain spontaneous fun to exploring around and under trees, throwing rocks in the stream, and eating outside for a few days. Sure your feet get cold at night, but you're in a cool sleeping bag and you get to see stars at night and a sunrise in the morning.

I really really want to make these memories with my own kids. I want to be that family that goes and sees new places, pitches a tent and eats outside. I want my kids to see stars and trees and have those same childhood joys.

2. Nature and a change of scenery. I miss nature. A lot. My world is very suburban and it seems to get more claustrophobic all the time. When I grew up in San Dimas it was just in its beginning stages of becoming a developed city. There were still many agriculture plots with oranges or strawberries growing. I suppose my heart craves a slower pace of life, and yet the environment around me has only gotten busier with time. I am grateful to live in this part of Pomona that borders Claremont because there are a lot of nice trees here and nice homes, but it isn't the same as open space.

Also, because I am an at-home mom, I spend a huge chunk of my life inside of this house. I have been craving a major change of scenery for a long time!

3. Frugality. I always enjoy things more when I know it isn't costing me too much money. The lower cost of camping ups its fun-factor for me by a ton. Without the stress of thinking about the money, I can more fully enjoy the whole experience.


Now up to this point the main things that have prevented a weekend vacay in the woods are either pregnancy or baby related (how do we camp with a young baby???) or just our inexperience with equipment and such. There have also been work/schedule conflicts too.

Perhaps my dad took pity on us, or perhaps he was mostly sick and tired of hearing all the "talk but no action" in regards to the Oh-how-I-want-to-go-camping-we-need-to-go-camping-why-don't-we-go-camping discussions that have taken place over the years, but either which way he took the bull by the horns and organized this thing.

Thank you Dad!

He made the reservations, organized all the food, took me to buy a tent, bought us an air mattress, brought the tarp, tent stakes, and a bunch of other stuff. It was my job to pack clothes and bring my kids. And Jason too! Whew, that was tough!

Anyways, we decided to go to Malibu Creek State Park for our trip. It is local, has restrooms and showers, and has the type of scenery I was going for (wooded as opposed to beach). Here is the State Parks website where I searched for camping facilities If you know of other good websites that offer campsite searches, please let me know.

We arrived on Saturday and stayed until Monday. Here are the pics!

The Campsite

The Super Cool Tent

Oooh an Instant Tent! The box claims you can set it up in one minute.

It took about 20, but not bad for a first try.

It's big. 10'x14'

Big enough to fit Nattie's Pack n Play. There she is taking a nap.

Big windows! What a great view.

Good Eats

Dad cooked all the meals. And washed all the dishes. LUXURY! He made beef stew, brought hot dogs, for breakfast it was eggs, bacon and potatoes one morning and pancakes and sausage the next. Yum yum!

Animal Sightings

We saw several different types of fuzzy caterpillar.

There were lots of gophers poking their heads out of holes to say hello.

AND we saw a huge rattlesnake. Didn't get a picture of it though (the above is a web pic). Jason and I were walking and a man came up to us and asked if we knew the number for the Ranger Station because he saw a rattlesnake. He motioned for us to follow him and sure enough, there was a very healthy snake slithering through one of of the campsites that bordered the mountainside. I'm guessing said snake got hungry and wanted to give a go at one of the many gophers.

Having Fun

Jason, Dad and I had several sandbag tossing tournaments. This game is addicting!

Nattie was one dirty baby. Note to self: Next time bring the stroller so you have somewhere to sit her down when you don't want her sitting in/playing in/eating dirt.

Cold Mornings

Happy Family!

(We never did get a pic with all six of us, but I will next time.)