Friday, July 13, 2012

HELLO


Yes, I know this blog has been sleeping. But, I wanted to say a quick hello and let you know that we're still here! We lost focus on the blog and I'm still not sure if it's worth it to keep updating it. Until we figure that out, here are some pics from our summer so far. You can follow us (marisa & ethan) on instagram to see more. *if you don't like loads of pics of a small child then you should probably skip it ;)

This has been the best summer for me in a long time. It's the first one from before my pregnancy where I'm truly enjoying the outdoors and sunshine. Forest is so fun and loves to be outside (one of his favorite words), play with/in water and eat! He's 16 months now and is such a little boy. And yes, he loves trucks, airplanes, motorcycles, buses, etc. This wasn't encouraged either ;)







Monday, January 09, 2012

The Little Shed Studio


The mild winter so far allowed me to finish what was originally slated to be completed sometime in the spring. Thank you La Nina, or should I say, 'gracias.' I should say it! As a result most Sunday afternoons and occasional other days off have involved puttering away on the shed. All told, I probably spent over a hundred hours working and something close to $2,000 converting the humble little shed into a humble little studio.

1. After the loft storage was removed and skylights were added
I wish I had taken earlier photos because the before and after shots would have been even more dramatic. The process or renovating the shed was a long list of small- or medium-sized projects that summed to one rather large undertaking for one weak little man to tackle. Thinking back on the demolition phase, I am reminded of how much hard work was involved. Luckily, I have never minded building up some sweat equity.
2. After the new windows and subfloor were installed
All of that weird and dated day-glo graffiti will be missed. As will the cracked concrete floor. As will the random collection of debris and waste left behind by at least two generations from the previous owners.
3. After sheetrocking and loft building
The loft is a little on the high side and the ladder/stairs have yet be built. Not sure what to build to access the loft - ideas anyone? The 4x4 was put in for a little extra structural integrity. It probably wouldn't have collapsed without it, but with it, it most certainly will not. That was a great sentence and I am very proud of it. That last sentence was nothing special, though, and sadly filled me with disappointment.
4. After painting etc...
Marisa picked the color. It was a Marsha Stalwart (I think that's her name) color. It was something (poetic) blue, but I can't recall the exact name. Wish I could because it is probably funny. The bamboo flooring was only $1.99 per square foot and is a real hardwood floor that I nailed down with a combination of pneumatics (brad nailer) and hand nailing (6D finish nails). I like this product because bamboo is a quick-growing sustainable resource, is very durable, and looks pretty sharp too. I am not a fan of laminate flooring - the cheap ones look like crap and don't wear or age well, and the more expensive ones are not worth the money.
5. After bamboo flooring


Look at that light fixture - isn't it ridiculous! I got it on clearance at Home Depot for like 10 bucks. It will probably be replaced at some point.
6. Another perspective
Marisa now has her art studio, but it will probably be too cold to truly enjoy at least until April. I hope this place helps to get her creative juices going. By the way, I am not a huge fan of the phrase, 'creative juices.' It will at a minimum serve as a much needed refuge from the pack of wild boys who run around the house like crazed animals.

Friday, December 16, 2011

MORE FOOD TALK


Okay, I really feel like I unnecessarily freaked out about introducing foods to Forest. I worried that I wasn't following the "rules" properly or he would only love one kind of food or he wasn't getting the right balance. And now he eats just about everything. Well he hasn't had meat yet, only a little fish because I was on the side of raising him as a vegetarian. Plus he really likes vegetarian proteins—beans, tofu, edamame, cheese, yogurt.

So, basically at this point I still give him his favorite foods—bananas, sweet potatoes or squash. But then, I also give him what I'm eating cut into small pieces (I eat pretty healthy so most things are baby friendly. We still need to avoid honey, peanuts, shellfish, whole milk and egg whites though). This boy loves to feed himself and plus it's great for his fine motor skills! This has been really wonderful because it keeps him occupied while we're eating or I can even wash some dishes without needing to entertain him. The only thing we need to work on is starting to make soup without salt for him since we've been making a lot for ourselves lately.

There's really nothing I can think of that he hasn't liked when he's able to feed himself or after he sees me eating it then wants some too. I think this little boy is going to be a foodie!

Sharing a pear with me.



I had to share this video. I took it after he was done eating as you can tell by his face. But I had the flash on the camera and he was so amazed by it...after a few seconds you'll see the best smile ever!!

video

Friday, December 09, 2011

THOUGHTS ABOUT HOLIDAYS


Ethan and I have been really starting to think about whether we should raise Forest with religion. This has become pretty challenging for me to think about because I'm not religious and Ethan isn't either. I wasn't brought up with it, other than just celebrating holidays. According to Jewish law, I'm considered Jewish since my mother is. My dad on the other hand is Italian Catholic. So I always felt I was half and half since really that's what makes sense. But, again it was just that we celebrated Christmas and also lit a menorah for Hanukkah. Did I know what these holidays stood for? No. Do I now? Kinda, sorta.

Now we're faced with whether we should blindly continue to do this or actually start to educate ourselves and therefore Forest about the meaning behind these holidays. I'm a bit in a bind. For one, I think as an American, Christmas is a huge part of our culture. This is even without the religious parts. It's everywhere—the lights, the music, decorations, trees, presents, etc. I really liked Christmas as a kid. I loved the magic of it. I would always wake up during the night to scope out the gifts from Santa with the tree lights twinkling and everyone sleeping and felt so happy. It was my favorite holiday as I'm sure it is for most kids.

But I do consider myself Agnostic. So when it comes to believing what Christmas stands for, I'm not sure I actually believe in that. I feel pretty phony introducing this holiday to my child with this thought about it. However, I'm also not sure if I want to take a holiday away from him that most people celebrate. Also, a holiday which I have a bunch of fond memories around.

What do you do? This is a tough one. Ethan is leaning towards getting into Judaism as a family. He thinks it'll give Forest a nice sense of community to be part of something that neither of us had. I see his point but I'm really not ready to commit.

Until then, Forest will celebrate his first Christmas this year since it's what our families celebrate and I just need to document his first one ;)...maybe I'll even sneak in some potato pancakes!

Friday, December 02, 2011

9 MONTHS


My baby is over 9 months old now. Holy cow! He had his 9-month check-up this past week and it went so well. I'm so proud of him. He is Mr. Personality at the doctor's office (well pretty much everywhere). I think he really just loves interacting with people and catching your eye. I wonder if this will be how he is when he's older—more of an extrovert and the life of the party. Funny because both Ethan and I are on the shyer side.

Here are some Forest stats:

1. He's now 19lbs 6 oz and 29" long.
2. He's letting go while he stands now and balancing on his own.
3. He walks while he pushes something.
4. He has 6 teeth. His front top ones were the last ones to pop through and those were the toughest for him. Poor guy :(
5. He mostly sleeps in his crib during the night now. We did the much debated 'cry it out' method and you know what, it saved all of our sanity. I'm relieved we found something that worked for us. He still cries when we put him in his crib but we're not giving in now.
6. He's a chatter box. He still likes to say "dadada" and "mamama". But now throws in those cliché baby sounds like "gooo goo ga ga" etc. I think he may know we're mama and dada but is teasing us about it.
7. He is such a charmer! He just flirts and smiles at everyone.
8. He's still breastfed but is also obsessed with the bottle. If he sees another baby with one, he will quickly crawl over and try to snatch it away.
9. Somehow he learned how to crawl up the stairs (I caught him on the 5th step a few weeks ago!). We have to install those baby gates soon!
10. Loves food. He still gets purees but I realized he prefers to pick up food himself (see pic with peas below). So I've been playing around with giving him pieces of what I'm eating and so far he likes everything even when he didn't like it mushed up. But his favorites are still sweet potatoes and bananas.




Forest comes to work with me on Thursday afternoons.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Shed Makeover Limping Forward


It has been challenging finding the time to work on the shed so there's a good chance it won't be completed until next spring. This is frustrating for me because once I start a project I monomaniacally work to see it through to fruition. It's actually a good exercise to have to take my time and pace the project around my full-time job work schedule and all the family committments that are much preferred to solo sheetrocking anyway.
New Subfloor, everything stripped out
Sheetrock in place, loft constructed

A closer look

New entry way, exterior mostly complete

Friday, November 11, 2011

TEETHING?!


Forest has been out of sorts and may just have given up on sleep. He had a double ear infection that is just getting better during that power outage fiasco. But now is having serious teething pain. I was worried his ears were infected again after a high fever and another night of screaming and no sleep, so I dragged him to the doctor yesterday morning again. But, no they are just about back to normal but the doctor said his gums are swollen and it looks as though more teeth are coming in. Really?!

What this means for us is that he gets up every 2 hours during the night atleast screaming in pain. Then is pretty much done with sleep around 4am. I feel really bad for him. We tried tylenol but that only seems to work during these 2 hour stretches then it starts all over again. He really seems to be uncomfortable and nothing is helping. Seriously, what do parents do in this situation?! (Do they sell baby sleeping pills? Just kidding!) I tried a frozen washcloth, baby orajel, teething rings, etc., but nothing helps.

(my poor babe snuggling with a fever)



(did niko and juniper know he was sick? they snuggled with us too!)



This all started during the week when I decided to get serious about putting him on a nap schedule too. So, that will have to wait. Possibly even wait until he is 2 years old and has all of his teeth...

Monday, November 07, 2011

OH MY


Forest started pushing around chairs and walking. What's next?

video

FOREST'S FIRST HALLOWEEN


As mentioned in my last post, Halloween was canceled in our neighborhood and all of the surrounding ones because of the snowstorm which resulted in dark roads, downed power lines and tree branches. But some of the towns postponed it to this past Saturday. We went to the Rag Shag Parade in Florence which seems to be an annual event. It's new to me.

I'm so glad we went, it was so fun. There were tons of families in costume, everyone I saw had a huge smile and School For The Dead played before the parade started.





Plus I was able to put Forest in the costume I found for him. I was starting to feel some guilt that his first Halloween was left unnoticed. He was sooooo cute and a popular addition to the parade! But really what's cuter than a baby in a costume?!

(He's definitely chubbing up but that tummy is part of the costume!)





p.s. I happily came home from work on Friday to a warm, well-lit home!!

Friday, November 04, 2011

THE POWER IS OUT


For anyone that isn't aware of this, we got hit with an unusual snowstorm last Saturday which knocked out power and today (Friday) we are still without power. It totally blows! It was so bad that Halloween was actually canceled!! We lucked out for the first few days since we had a planned trip to Brooklyn to stay with a friend so went through with that. So we missed out on all of the trees breaking and branches falling off with power lines attached. Thank goodness for that. We came home to major destruction through CT and MA though. Luckily we only lost a few branches off of a pine tree but our neighbors had tons of damage.

At first when I thought about not having power, I didn't think it sounded so bad. But then when I realized this meant no hot water and no heat it very quickly became more major. Forest had a cold too. The first night back home we decided to camp in front of the fireplace downstairs.



It was kinda cozy, I'll admit. But Forest was already not sleeping great because of his cold so it wasn't a great night. The next night a friend offered her place up. I was so psyched about a room to ourselves and a hot shower. Forest was up probably every 2 hours screaming. We felt terrible since it's one thing for us waking up from a screaming baby but for the non-parents it's really no fun at all. We rushed him to the doctor to find out he had ear infections in both ears!! I felt like a terrible mama. Poor Forest :( And I couldn't just go home and snuggle him :(

So basically we've been homeless. We stayed with Ethan's sister the past couple nights which was also cozy but still we want to be home. We're all getting on each others nerves. We're tired and achy. I've been showering but I still feel dirty. I think I've been wearing the same 3 things for the past week.

(Forest takes a much-needed bath in a friend's sink)


I realized this kind of thing is not for me. I'm not much of a survivalist I guess. I'm more high-maintenance. So I'm miserable. Ethan could probably deal if he wasn't concerned about Forest and Uly. But me, not so much. I hate this. I'm a nester and really really like being in my own home.

(Forest napping off his ear infection)


I know we're luckier than a lot of other people. I just needed to complain.


Monday, October 24, 2011

The Shed to Studio Project


I didn't think this project (described here and here) would be launched until Spring 2012 at the earliest, but at Marisa's urging, I have undertaken it in the last couple weeks. At about 150 square feet the space will work as a studio space for Marisa and a casual hang out space separate from the house. It will also have a loft bed so it can serve as a mini guest house to visitors. Everyone has made the same joke that I can move in there when Marisa boots me from the house (essentially, it will be the actual dog house when I'm in the figurative dog house). The backup mailman (not the regular guy, but the younger, funnier version) flipped that joke on its head by saying it's where Marisa can go when I kick her out. Hopefully, neither of these jokes will be realized.

Here is what has been accomplished in the last couple weeks:
  • Completed deconstruction of the shelving and other old remnants of the shed and disposed of a bunch of junk
  • Framed a new subfloor on top of the concrete floor using pressure-treated 2x4's and 3/4" interlocking sheathing
  • Removed two old single pane windows and installed two double pane windows in their place
  • Trimmed out interior and exterior of the windows as well as the skylights + primed trim
  • Ran electrical from the house to the shed underground. Installed two outlets + indoor & outdoor light switches
  • Sheetrocked interior of the shed
  • Built the loft
Probably spent close to 80 hours so far, but there is still a ways to go. Here is what's left:
  • Finish sheetrocking (tape, mud, prime)
  • Install other trim details and make the loft look nicer + add ladder
  • Install a glass storm door
  • Install lighting fixture
  • Paint everything
  • Install bamboo flooring
After that, it will more or less be complete just in time for the one season it won't really be a fun place to be: winter. I'll write an update soon and include pictures.

Monday, October 17, 2011

FIRSTS


Forest experienced two new things this past weekend. One thing he really liked. He went in a swing all alone. He was giggling and smiling and seemed to really enjoy it. Now we have a new activity we can do together. Yay!



Then his daddy took him down the big boy slide. This he didn't care for that much. I don't know if he even liked it at all--no giggles here. But no crying either.

Friday, October 14, 2011

RESEMBLANCE


I see my face in Forest's face. It's a strange thing when you first realize it. I love his face, to me he is the most beautiful boy (i know i'm biased). But it's been good for me. He's made me feel more beautiful myself. As someone who had very low self esteem growing up and never felt pretty enough or "cool" enough, he has made me love myself more. This was something I wasn't expecting.

I don't know how old I was here, but Forest is 7 months.

20 things about forest


Forest is going to be 8 months old next Thursday, the 20th. Wow! I never did the whole baby book thing. It felt like a chore to me. So I'm sure I'll be one of those people who forgets some of the milestones. But, I thought it would be fun to write a list of some of the things that are going on with him now.

Here it goes:

1. Loves bananas and sweet potatoes, like over the top love. But, does not like any food with a grainy, clumpy texture. This includes peas, carrots that I should have boiled rather than roasted, and avocado that wasn't mashed enough. He insists on being fed very fast. He hits his hand on the high-chair tray when we feed him and sometimes makes a raspberry noise with his lips. It's very cute.

2. Has 2 bottom teeth. These teeth are very sharp. Luckily he doesn't bite while he nurses, yay! He thinks it's hilarious when I nibble on his fingers.

3. Hates when I change his clothing and his face is covered. Changing him in general is starting to be more difficult since he likes to squirm and roll around on his changing table.

4. Is still not crazy about the bath. He hates it at first but then seems to slowly get into it. He discovered how to splash which I think was fun for him and messy for me.

5. Loves to smile and giggle. He has the biggest smile where his whole face lights up. His giggle sometimes turns into a high-screeched wail which in a giggle format is the cutest thing ever.

6. His favorite sounds to make are " da da da da." I've been trying to push for "ma ma ma" with no such luck.

7. Is super tickly especially under his arms, on his belly, his neck, his back, well i guess everywhere!

8. Loves to stand. Will try to stand on anything or anybody.

9. Thinks the kitties are funny. They don't think he's as funny.

10. Likes to watch mommy do a baby dance for him. He thinks this is hilarious.

11. His eyes are more of a blueish, grayish, greenish now. It's almost like the perfect combo of mine and Ethan's.

12. Gets mad at transitions. Hates to be put into his carseat or put down after being held, see #4 again, etc. But then will usually tolerate it.

13. Will not nap in his crib! I can only get him to nap in the car. Sometimes he does after nursing but not that often anymore.

14. Is very determined. If he has his eyes on something and I take him away from it, he will not give up.

15. Gets so happy seeing his daddy come home from work. (the same is true for his mommy).

16. Puts everything in his mouth.

17. Is very interested in my iphone, the remote control, the keyboard, and all electronic devices.

18. Prefers non-baby toys. Like the things listed above.

19. Likes to play outside and to just be outdoors in general. The fresh air is his friend.

20. Loves life and to experience new things. He's so curious and interested in the world. I think he's going to love to travel.


These pics were taken by jodi on our apple picking excursion.



this clearly demonstrates #8 and #16


I'm so crazy for this guy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

FRIENDS


Forest has a friend. Well he's a friend who we're forcing him to have. I know, bad parents! But really he doesn't seem to mind. His name is Theo and he's the son of our friends, Kelsey and Dave. Theo was born just about exactly 4 weeks after Forest. Kelsey and I shared our pregnancies with the backaches and similar cravings and now we have our little boys who are starting to like each other.

For awhile they'd just lay there and be oblivious of the other. But now, I see the fun starting. They look at each other, laugh and smile, grab and pull, and do all of that other funny baby stuff. I am so excited to see this friendship develop. What lucky guys they are!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

THOUGHTS ON CHILDBIRTH


This is a post that has been stirring around in my head for quite some time. It will probably take me some time to write. But I feel like I need to express my thoughts about childbirth. More specifically how we as women think and relate to one another on the subject. Maybe some of you will object to my thoughts too and that's okay.

Let me start by saying for those of you that don't know, I had a C-section with Forest, an emergency C-section. I feel even saying it clears the air. Was this what I wanted? No. I feared having one after reading about the physical recovery and the chances that I wouldn't bond as naturally with my baby. I thought our bodies were made to labor a baby and why would we need surgery to birth a baby. But that's what happened during my labor. And I truly believe that I needed one. And now, I am so grateful for the cesarean I had.

When I was pregnant, I watched the documentary, The Business of Being Born, and was shocked at the statistics of cesareans in our country. I watched it and felt empowered as a woman. I felt if any of these women can have a natural birth, so can I. I watched it and thought, I will not give into how our society has told us childbirth should go and what drugs we should take. I watched it and thought, the birth of my son is up to me and no one else.

The reason I've been thinking about this a lot is I feel we put judgement on one another on how we decide we want our labor to go or how it does go. Whether we want a natural birth, an epidural, more drugs, a water birth, elective C-section, etc. I feel so strongly that this is such a personal decision for the mother to make. I don't even think the father should have a say in this. I struggled with this when I was pregnant. I was worried Ethan would push me to have a natural birth and judge me if not since that's what Uly's mother did. But there was a point during my pregnancy after reading so much about childbirth, talking with my midwives and attending a birthing class taught by a doula where I realized this is my decision. No one can tell me what to do. I knew it was going to be hard, it was going to be painful, and I had to trust myself.

So now I'm wondering, as a mother of a healthy 7-month old, what are we trying to prove to each other or to ourselves? When I was in labor, I remember actually apologizing to my midwife when I asked for an epidural. I don't know why I did this, but I felt like I let her down and myself down. It's so silly now when I think back to it. Many women who I've told that I had a C-section give me a look of shock and then pity. I'm one of them. I feel the need to explain why. If I say things were hard in the beginning after Forest was born, I've gotten the reaction that it must have been because of the C-section. I wrote a post about my birth and maybe that's true. Who knows how I would have felt after a natural birth. But somehow I'm different.

Now, I look at my son and see how he's growing, flourishing, full of love and happiness, and I wonder why the hell did I care about the birth so much? I should be feeling so grateful that he's healthy and happy not upset that I had the dreaded C word. We got through it. It was hard and not what I envisioned but it gave him to me. I trusted my midwives call when she said I needed a C-section. I am so grateful for that. Without her, I may not have a healthy thriving baby right now. My scar is still very visible. I've contemplated trying to find ways to make it heal faster but it's the most meaningful mark on my body.

So now shouldn't we be sticking together as mothers? Raising a baby is the really tough part.

LET'S TALK ABOUT SOLIDS


We started Forest on solids when he was just about 5 months old. The first thing I tried were sweet potatoes and boy did he love them and still does. I know you can't really tell by this photo but it's true!



This boy is crazy for sweet potatoes and bananas. He went through a short phase where he liked green peas, but then the next time I served them he gave me this face like I was torturing him. How dare I feed him such a thing! He also did the same with green beans, but I mixed in some bananas and he quickly ate it up. I know it sounds strange but it was surprisingly good. That's the thing with baby food, you can make some strange combos since you're preparing them in such a pure state. I just mix water in to thin it out. You can also use breast milk or formula, but I don't feel I need to anymore.

So lately his meals are bananas mixed with some whole-grain rice cereal and water and then sweet potatoes prepared the same way. I need to try more foods! I'm a bit overwhelmed with all of the options. A 7-month old can eat more than I expected. He can even eat yogurt now. I was a bit hesitant about introducing this. It seemed like such a big leap to me, not sure why, maybe because I'm not making it and I was worried about the sugar. But after doing some research it seems okay. I bought the Stonyfield yobaby plain whole-milk yogurt. Apparently the full-fat variety is best for babies. He seems to like it okay.

Ethan hasn't been as interested in preparing his food like I have. So he started buying Earth's Best Organic baby food jars. I was mad. Again, not sure why. Maybe again because I wasn't in control of what he was eating. But, the ingredients are organic, no weird additives or anything. Plus Forest has liked them so far. It is easier especially when it comes to combos. I like that I can give him Pumpkin and Apple without having to prepare both. He loved that by the way. This baby loves orange food.



I'm a bit lost about what he needs in his diet now. I heard he needs more iron. What else? Should I be giving him protein regularly? How do I know what to do? This is very confusing.

Right now I want to get him interested in the greens that his mama loves so much.