Thursday, May 27, 2010

Farmpark

I never heard of a "farmpark" before (in Idaho where I grew up, we just have something called a "farm" instead). But out here, there is this cutest functional farm, which has been formatted to encourage learning. We came on their horse theme day, so Little Tam got to pet lots of horsies, ride in a pony-drawn cart, and got a few freebies like a horshoe with his name on it, and a little soft toy horse. Lo kept grabbing the reins of this pony. He is ready to be a rider! Maybe in another year or so we'll try letting him steer the horse himself. =) Grandpa Dean, get those horses gentled real good for us, k? These lambs in the photo below looked like cats to me, the way they were lounging with legs half on/half off the ledge:
This baby foal was just 30 days old, and they had a contest in which attendees could name the horse. We submitted a name (the name is Lo's real name; we'll see if it gets picked).



These horses pulled people around all day on a wagon, which was another freebie included in the price of admission; I love places where all the fun stuff is included in one package.


Except food was extra. I almost bought a funnel cake, but then just ended up eating the granola bar I'd smuggled in. Check out the greenery in the background. Nope, not in Idaho anymore! It's a jungle out here.

We didn't get photos of a few of my favorite parts, including the part where police horses were being trained. These horses were really in the beginning stages of their training, so we got to see them progress in just the few minutes of watching them. One horse had never seen bubbles before, so one handler blew bubbles at the horse from a soapy bubble machine, and then the rider gradually coaxed the horse to chase the bubbles. Another horse got practice trotting over some garbage can lids, which popped and bounced under his feet. Having ridden horses before, I was impressed by how brave these police mounts could be--normally horses can be pretty skittish over unfamiliar objects.








The horse in this video was beautiful. It could do both reining and dressage (horse ballet), and put on quite the show for us. We had front row seats. When we got home, I read Lo a story about farm animals, and he seemed to really notice and try to grab at the photo of the horse in his book. I think he remembers the horses he saw there at the park.


videoOh! And hope ya'll noticed Lo's darling Carhart overalls. A few people at the farmpark commented, "he is dressed perfect for hanging out with horses!" Thanks Uncle Matthew for giving such a great outfit to our Lo.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chameleon Lo

We got some sheets on clearance at Kohl's. They match Lo's pj's. Time for a little game of "where's Wald-Lo."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

finally caught on video...

videoThis is the way Lo's been conversing over the past month or so. video

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Birds

We checked out a movie from our local library recently--a classic Hitchcock film, The Birds. We watch movies these days with headphones on at night after Little goes to bed (we learned the headphone trick after he got wakened a couple times from the noises of our movie watching). So...The Birds. I covered my eyes a lot and Jerry loved the movie too--until the final 5 minutes when we realized it has a most irresponsible ending. Why?? Bah. Anyway, it kept us talking about the movie all week, so maybe that's the point. This week when I walked out to the mailbox with that Lo, we stumbled on a group of geese with their goslings. I hadn't seen the flock until we were nearly on top of them (they were hidden behind some bushes as I came around a corner), so the parent geese felt threatened by my sudden nearness. They leapt and hissed at us. With the birds film fresh in my mind, my heart pounded as I made a hasty retreat.

That duck picture is unrelated to either the movie or goose story, but it gives me the creeps now to look at it. We like to point out animals to Lo though he has yet to show much excitement in them. Must be a later point of development.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Prom

My little brother went to prom with the girl of his dreams, and I just think he's so cute. He asked her to the dance by riding up to her doorstep on our horse Jasper. Jasper is the baby of one of our Mustangs. Isn't he a handsome boy. And Justin is too, of course. =) He wore a bandana around his face. Then he handed the girl some note that rhymed I think, and it talked about how she'd stolen his heart so he wanted her to go to the dance with him.

I never went to prom. I'm still thinking it wasn't a loss. But I'm glad Justin got to go and it sounds like he had a good time. They shot bows and arrows for their daytime activity (goes along with the cowboy theme?) and ate at Tucanos. I want to see pics of the pretty girl's dress! (Please email me some, Mom, since I know Justin won't get around to it.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Orange Peels

videoWe have started saving our orange peels so we can toss them in the can when that Little is around to watch.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Verdict on Carriers

I love babywearing for both practical and fluffy (er, "less practical") reasons. First of all, most obviously it lets babies and parents stay in close proximity while traveling or doing activities that require the use of parental hands. Also, it encourages social interaction for babies when they are carried since anybody the parent talks with tends to be close to eye-level for the baby. My Little always gets more conversation/attention from strangers we meet when he is being worn vs. when he is in his stroller*. Lastly, carriers of all varieties just make moms, dads, and babies look cuter! Observe: Jerry loves to wear Little when we go out because he gets a lot of attention. People approach just to tell him, "We love to see a dad with his baby." This pouch style sling was actually not a favorite when Little was...well, "little," because it tends to make his neck get pushed forward (is it apparent in this photo?). Recently a carrier of this style was recalled because a couple of newborns suffocated in it. Parents: don't plop your infant in a carrier of any kind and then forget about them! I always like to have my Little in sight while wearing him, because it feels safer, though when he gets a bit older I will probably wear him on my back.

Anyway, I digress: Until he could support his neck better, we actually avoided this pouch sling. But it became highly useful during approx. months 2-4, when we wore Little in an upright, sitting position in the sling. He appreciated being able to turn front-facing to watch whatever I was doing. After 5 months of age, I could still use it but the baby was sometimes leaning out too much and he had outgrown the weight limit. I don't use it much at all now by 6 months, but occasionally throw it on if we are just walking out to the mailbox. I do like how easy it is to put on/off. And if the baby fell asleep in it, I could just lift the sling over my head and he would usually stay asleep when he was at the age that he still slept through distractions (before about 4 months).

This carrier, while taking a few more moments than a sling to don, is what I recommend for a newborn. The Moby! I enjoyed how snug and tight this carrier held Little against my body. I could have tipped myself totally upside-down and he would not have slid out. He slept well in this carrier.
Regarding sleeping and babywearing, I have learned that for my baby at least, beyond about 3 -4months of age he simply needs dark, quiet, and no motion to sleep well. Wearing him tends to provide too many distractions, so that he resists falling asleep until he becomes overtired. I try not to have him fall asleep while being worn now; if I ever accidentally let him fall asleep while being worn, he generally wakes up cranky when I try to "un-wear" him. lol, what is the verb for taking a baby out of a carrier? Un-wear. Well anyway, moving on.
With the Moby, I could go on long walks or wear him for hours without feeling like it strained my back at all. I like how it is centered and the weight is spread around my waist, back, and shoulders combined.
Here is another carrier that distributes weight ergonomically. The Mei Tai is a traditional Chinese carrier, so obviously in our family we like this style. Jerry wore the baby frequently in our Mei Tai from birth on up til now, though I did not get the hang of it until our son was old enough to spread his legs around my belly (as shown in the pic). For younger babies that cannot spread their legs wide enough, the Mei Tai is generally worn like a pouch with baby curled inside/legs froggy-style. Like the Moby, this carrier distributes weight well across a variety of points on the body, and reminds me of a hiking backpack that attaches/buckles around the hips to make the legs bear more weight than the shoulders. I tend to not get tired as easily when wearing my heavy baby in this carrier. Though in this picture it looks like I am leaning a bit in my back, which makes me wonder if I need to be more aware of my posture while wearing the Mei Tai. Or maybe I was just standing funny during the picture taking.
This carrier is also reversible, so it can have different colors/patterns to match different outfits.
Not pictured, here are a few other carriers we tried: Baby Bjorn and African wrap. The latter is a back-style of baby wearing that I tried once and then freaked out about (for aforementioned reasons of wanting to see my baby!). I will probably try it again later, because it looks so cool (check out the link!) and would be useful for an emergency situation if all I had was a blanket/towel/strip of cloth but still needed to carry my baby somewhere. It seems like a part of provident living to be prepared for baby wearing in this way.
The Bjorn was nice for me to use between months 2-4 when I felt like using a centered carrier (which the sling is not) but when Little wasn't yet ready for wearing the Mei Tai with spread legs. The Bjorn we had was an older model and perhaps for that reason was not as comfortable on the shoulder straps--they were thin with no padding, so that made it get uncomfortable when worn for any longish time period. Also, we accidentally lost our Bjorn while in the airport a couple months ago so that is sad and we have been debating if we want to acquire another one.
I do like having a large variety of carriers to pick from, depending on my mood, activity, age of baby, mood of baby, developmental stage of baby, weight of baby, etc. And believe it or not, even with all the ones I have tried, there are still a couple others I really want to get! The classic ring sling and Ergo are carriers still on my list to try.
Any others out there I should know about?
*regarding strollers: I have used mine a handful of times, but mostly when I needed it to carry stuff, like when I walk to the grocery store with the baby and know I will be purchasing a gallon of milk that I would rather not carry home in my backpack. But strollers are bulky/difficult to maneuver in many shopping settings and furthermore decrease the amount of social interaction my baby gets (from me or other people) since he is so low down and relatively out of sight compared to when he is being worn.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Reporting on 6 months

Earlier this week Little Tam had his 6 month well-baby checkup.

The doctor pointed out that he has lost weight since he was measured when he came in a month ago for the rash, but she didn't seem concerned. I suppose the weight loss is due to a combination of the antibiotics he was on (they caused diarheaa, so therefore less effective absorption of nutrients from the food he ate); a couple of nursing strikes; overall less interest in eating/more interest in playing (normal developmental phase?); and higher activity levels in conjunction with his mobility (scooting). He is still on a similar trajectory to previous stats regardless of the weight loss, with current weight being 23 lbs (more than 98th percentile), length 28 inches (90th percentile), and head circumference 20 inches (75th percentile). Actually, I just realized his head is catching up with the rest of him. Head size had hovered in the 50th percentile up until this point. Must be since he is getting so much smarter. :)

He gave a couple strong wails with his immunization shots, but had stopped crying by the time the nurse gathered her materials and left the room. I nursed him before and during the shots like usual. The nurse said when greeted us, "you're the one who likes to breastfeed during the immunizations." So I felt special until the doctor told me there are quite a few other moms who come to that office who do it too.

Other 6 month reporting:
  • Little often "talks," whether to strike up an interaction with people or just to relieve his own boredom. His favorite sounds are still "dada" but he has also added the "b," "w," and "m" consonant sounds on occasion. Of course, gutteral/cooing noises persist as well.
  • Shows excitement when seeing his favorite people. A couple days ago, Jerry walked in the door from work and when the baby caught sight of him, it was all I could do to hang onto that Lo. Dangling legs kicked, that chubby face squealed, laughed, and turned side-to-side trying to get the most direct view of Daddy as I carried Lo over to him.
  • New favorite books: Dr. Seuss' Mr. Brown Can Moo. Can You? (this one makes him giggle so much); and Happy Baby Colors (which I have partially translated to Mandarin Pinyin and read it to him in that language). He also still seems to have a preference for some "old favorites," like the Very Hungry Caterpillar; Brown Bear, Brown Bear; and Ears, Eyes, and Nose.
  • Favorite position for playing: sitting upright, though he tips over a couple times a day and if I ever forget to put pillows near him, he bonks his head. =(
  • Scoots to reach toys, but rarely rolls over. Usually rolling happens after he tumbles from a sitting position into an awkward lump on the floor, and then he'll roll to the front or back in order to be more comfortable.
  • Still naps three times a day usually, but gives indication of wanting to transition to just two naps a day sometime soon. Some days he does just have two naps/approx. 3-4 hours nap sleep and seems cheerful enough on that amount. But other days he seems to need the 3 naps/4-6 hours I aim for. He sleeps about 11 hours at night, which I would like to see extended to 12 but oh well. And before anybody feels jealous, I will admit those 11 hours are punctuated by several feedings (he doesn't really wake up for feeding most of the time since we co-sleep).
  • We have been doing nightly baths ever since the neck rash fiasco, and Little LOVES that part of his routine. It doesn't matter how fussy or tired he might seem--once we plunk him into the tub, a sweet grin starts to grow on his lips and he'll soon be splashing away.

Well, I suppose that's a long enough list for now. He has grown and changed so much in the past couple months, and I feel more delighted with parenting him as he gets more interactive. We love our sweet Lo. I'll post pictures soon, but Jerry just re-wiped the computer since we had a saddy virus so the photos I want to post are on the external hard drive and too much trouble to mess with at this point.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Buddies

I have not made it out to any playgroups lately, so a few friends from church have been kind enough to come to our home for socializing. This past week Little Tam got to play with: Isaac and Lily (Isaac kept hugging and kissing that Lo).
And Claire, the lovely "girl next door." She and Little had more parallel play than actual interaction, but we staged a Cougar Checker's game for them.

Also we had some other friends over for games, Jerry's fellow GOLD associates and the missionaries. Though I spent most of my time in the kitchen making pizza while everybody else enjoyed Liar's Dice and Mad Gab (was that the other one?), it was a fun time. Next time I'll just risk the pizza dough tasting yeasty and make it ahead of time so I can feel free to go play the games. I still feel like a novice at hostessing, but Jerry and I get a little better, learn a little more, each time we invite guests to our home so it feels good.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Got Love?

Two friends eat a bowl of spicy curry. One shudders while the other smiles.
Two sons hear of the death of their mother. One cries, but the other remains silent.
Two people listen to a sermon. One says, with shaking head, "Weird." The other says, with joyful heart, "Wow."
I observed or experienced the latter occurrence yesterday, and feel intrigued. What causes people to have unique preferences, views, and reactions? Probably too many variables to count. Here are a few parts of my life experience that I figure contributed to me being one of the joyful types after last night's sermon:
  1. The sermon was given by someone of a different faith than mine, and while I feel confident in my own beliefs, I also highly respect and value the varying religions of the world. I have been deeply enriched from friends of other faiths, be it through the non-denominational worship services I attended regularly in college, or the countless conversations I had with investigators during my full-time missionary service, or the dozen or so Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings I attended with a friend (by the way, AA meetings seem similar to my own church's testimony meetings, though with more of a "rated R" feeling...lol). I generally believe there is some truth to be found in all walks of belief, so I actively look for it when given the opportunity.
  2. The 3-4 women seated directly near me during the sermon were thoroughly enjoying it, laughing loudly at all the right times, and nodding or otherwise affirming quietly when they agreed with the speaker. Probably their reactions colored my own.
  3. The personal theme I have developed lately in my attempts to grow my faith was addressed in the first minute of the speaker's sermon--thereby putting me on the edge of my seat with anticipation. The speaker said, "I do not come to entertain or instruct. I am here today to help you feel the love of God in your life." Feeling the love of God is something I seek daily, and wish upon all humanity. I have even lately started praying for specific people to notice God's love for them--to feel it, be changed by it, rejoice with me in it.

The preacher at last night's sermon stated that one of the most sure ways to feel God's love is through studying scriptures. "This book," he waved his Bible above his heart, "Is God's love letters to you." It is true in my life as well as this man's; the times I have felt most touched by the tender teachings of the living God have come through my study of His words. I believe the Bible is the word of God, recorded through ancient prophets. I also believe the Book of Mormon is the word of God.

So here is my shout-out to the blogosphere today: is there anybody within the sound of my voice who wants to feel more of God's love? If you do, please leave your address in a comment (I moderate, and will not publish your address for anybody else to see) and I will send you a FREE copy of the Bible and Book of Mormon. These two witnesses work hand-in-hand. I am excited to spread the joys I have found through living Jesus Christ's teachings. If you are more comfortable requesting the scriptures from an official source, check out my church's website: mormon.org.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Smiley stories

Some recent displays of "baby humor":

1. I was peeling an orange and pretty much ignoring Lo as I focused on my snack. He sat nearby watching me however. Eventually it dawned on me that I kept hearing a repetitive sound during my orange peeling; with each chunk of peel I removed and tossed in the trash, that Little would laugh heartily. I almost peeled a second orange just to keep him going.

2. Most of my best "babysitting toys" have worn out their welcome to Little Tam. He gets instantly bored, for example, when I plunk him in the once-beloved exersaucer. So I got suspicious when I put him in that play thing and soon heard giddy giggles. hmmm...it's been awhile since he actually found that toy enjoyable...something must be wrong. I came to inspect and discovered that I had set the toy close enough to the wall that Little was putting his fingers into the electric outlet!! And deriving great joy from it, apparently.

That is all. Sorry no pics, and maybe these stories are the kind that "ya just had ta be there" for getting full appreciation, but oh well. Thought I'd share anyway.