Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bath time with Daddy

Jerry often does Lo's evening bath. A few days ago when I heard LOTS of laughter and joyful shrieks of "Mommy, come see me wash Daddy's hair..." this is the scene that greeted me.
Clothes and all, Jerry just hopped into the bath when Mr. Lo invited him. We've been feeling sorry for our child not having many playmates here in Texas, but really, who needs friends with a Daddy this goofy? I love my sweetheart's playful nature. :)
Also note Mr. Lo's farmer's tan. Apparently I haven't been diligent about slathering him with sunscreen this summer...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Last week for Father's Day, we made Jerry this keepsake necktie. The handprints of Mr. Lo turned out perfect, not smudgy at all and just the right size to fit on the bottom of the tie. But then we started adding to the design, and the cuteness of the overall effect diminished some. Always a temptation to keep "adding" to an craft project a little too much...But anyway, Jerry was proud to wear his tie to church and I'm sure it will be fun over the years to compare Lo's handprint size with his growing hands. He has always had big hands. That's what I remember the nurses all exclaiming about when he was first born--"This little guy has HUGE hands!" :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bremen Tam Musicians

Figured Father's Day was an appropriate time to announce... A few months ago, while killing time on Boise State Campus, I sketched this family picture. It is the Chinese Zodiac animals of all FOUR of us Tams. Welcome Dragon Baby! In early November we are due to add a second child to our family. The due date is one week from Lo's birthday, and within 2 weeks of my birthday. I'm actually hoping this baby will choose to share birthdays with either Lo or me--then as the years pass, we can go to get our free birthday treats all at once. Disneyland free admission, Red Robin free hamburgers, etc. normally allow only one freebie per family at a time, unless immediate family members share the same special day. :) I like the symmetry of Lo and this baby being exactly three years apart. It feels like good child spacing by any standard. Although having a winter baby wasn't my favorite last time in Massachusetts and Ohio (Lo was born in MA and about a month after the birth, we moved to Northern Ohio where it was frigid and gray, gray, gray for months), I'm hopeful Boise's winter won't be so bad. At least we keep blue skies all year there! And the snow doesn't usually stick longer than a day or so in the Treasure Valley. Being near family should help this time too. Oh, here is what the real Bremen Town musicians look like (my inspiration for our family zodiac sketch). We won't be able to find out if we are having a boy or girl until the end of the summer because we don't have medical coverage during the summer. Actually, Jerry just got an email saying he qualifies for Dell benefits right now, so maybe we will get coverage here during the summer and get an anatomy ultrasound done?? But we were thinking that email might have been a mistake--since when do temp. interns get benefits? Anyway, we have chosen a birth center with midwives in Boise. It is not hospital attached, but is located a 2 min. drive from a hospital. Already I have felt so much better about this midwife group than the ones we worked with for Lo's birth. The Boise midwives spend on average 1-1.5 hours with me each time we meet, discussing thoroughly every issue. When I have concerns or questions, they educate me on EVERY option--saying, "Some moms choose option A, some choose option B, some choose C, etc." and they are always respectful of my sometimes non-mainstream preferences and choices. Whereas with a few of my concerns in Massachusetts, the midwives did not help me find more information and even said comments like, "This is how everyone does it," or "This is our official policy," making me feel like there was only ONE way to choose. So yes, I feel like Lo's birth was overall good but this next one will be even more in harmony with our preferences. Vomited once during the first trimester, but it was a huge blessing we lived with my family so I got help with childcare for Lo while I napped, moaned about being nauseated, etc. Second trimester is pretty uneventful, so no news to add there except that I am finally getting comments from strangers about my pregnant belly (glad it has grown beyond that "bloated/chubby" stage when people only WONDER if I'm pregnant). Anyway, having a great pregnancy so far! I'll post a belly pic soon. Poor second child has not had nearly as much attention as the firstborn already.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Mr. Lo has always surprised me with his athletic inclinations. Anything involving a ball earns his adoration, and he has a knack for observing and copying the technique of various sports. Sports like mini golf. We did mini golf here in Texas last week, and the other photo is him putting in my parents' yard in Boise a couple months back. He really does pretty well getting the ball in the hole!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

First Visit to the Dentist

I didn't post about it a few months ago when it happened, but back in February, Lo visited the dentist for the first time! Shameful, I know--he turned 2 years old and we had KNOWN he had a cavity for months. But we had not put him on our dental insurance for 2011 (not sure what we were thinking) so we kept putting off going to the dentist until 2012 hit. But then turns out in 2012 we had no dental coverage either, because Jerry went back to school. So we got the joy of paying 100% out of pocket--but also felt the [TRUE] excitement of getting to choose whatever dentist my heart desired since we were not constrained by any health plan list of approved offices. Pros and cons. Anyway, suffice to say we LOVE Lo's dentist. She is a young lady with a couple kids of her own who are about the same age as Lo. Her experienced nature with little kids shows in every detail of how the office is put together, from the colorful, charming murals covering every inch of wall and ceiling, to the monster puppet she lets kids play with (pictured above). Have I mentioned Lo is really into monsters. He loved getting to brush this guy's giant teeth. And there is a bona fide treasure chest at the end of the visit from which patients can pick a toy (pretty good toys, too--Lo got a monster truck on his first visit, and a necklace on the second. Yes, a flowery neck apparel item). Anyway, his cavity still isn't fixed. The dentist said it is only a small one, nothing urgent. Lo is young enough he can barely sit in the dental chair for half a cleaning, let alone getting a filling. So our goal is to wait until he is 3 years old to fix the cavity--otherwise it would likely need to be done under anesthesia. Anesthesia, as in, at the hospital. Yikes. Definitely doing better on early teeth brushing for future kids!! I think that's how Lo got the cavity in the first place--for the first 6 months or so after we noticed he got teeth, we didn't brush or floss more than a handful of times. It just didn't seem like those little teeth could get any food stuck on them, I don't know what I was thinking?? Anyway, after I read in one of my breastfeeding books how ESSENTIAL it is to brush and floss before bedtime for kids who nurse throughout the night, we have been religious about teeth brushing and flossing. I want to add that Lo was NOT one of those kids for whom teeth brushing routine came easily. We tried about 10000 different methods to make it fun and ultimately, it just was a matter of time and him accepting the routine. It was so important to me that we not have a dentist breathing down our backs about the nighttime nursing, so we insisted on good oral hygiene and it has worked great so far! (breastmilk alone won't cause cavities, because it contains antibacterial compounds but breastmilk mixed with other sugars/foods causes accellerated decay). Lo has naturally stopped nursing at night since we moved him to his own bed about 6 months ago, but he still nurses as part of his bedtime routine (after we have brushed/flossed). He also brushes most days right before going down for his nap. So the dentist has said his teeth and gums look really healthy overall. Just that darn little cavity in his very front tooth! It is bugging me so much to see it every time we brush. I wanted to make a point about sharing how breastfeeding alone does not cause tooth decay because I cannot count how many moms I have heard say, "We stopped breastfeeding/nighttime nursing when our dentist said it was responsible for our child's tooth decay." Dentists are experts on teeth, but not simultaneously experts on breastmilk and apparently are not taught accurate information in dental school. I told Lo's dental office we nurse at night, and the only thing they were concerned about is whether or not his teeth got brushed at bedtime. So I was glad to see they seemed on-track with the correct breastfeeding/cavity prevention information.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Pool

Lo doing boat races with a leaf down these little waterfalls. Okay, have to acknowlege that last post was written in a time of much more homesickness than I feel now. It helps having gone to church yesterday; church always feels like home! Anyway, we have also gotten to have quite a bit of fun here and are continuing to locate all the important places (libraries, grocery stores, playgrounds), am getting lost less often while driving to and fro, etc. so I feel less "transition blues." Our apartment complex has THEEE best pool ever! For a toddler anyway. There are tons of shallow spots for him to wade in. He spends half his time in the volleyball sandpit, then runs to the pool. We shower off first in the handy outdoor shower they have right next to the volleyball place. There are also a few fountain pools (we don't have photos from those). We have spent so many hours in the pool already! It is so hot here, we can go swimming any time of day. Back in Idaho, it tended to be too cool early in the morning or later at night because of the desert climate not holding heat once the sun was down. No problems with that here. We have jungle humidity! It is great. When we are swimming. :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Missing Idaho, Greeting Texas

Moving to Texas for the summer has its perks. Since leaving our Idaho home, we've had Lo be extra on-track with his daily routine, waking exactly at 6am, napping at just about noon every day, and going to bed consistently around 8pm. We have enjoyed seeing new sights, swimming almost every day in the most glorious of pools, and meeting the BEST library story time lady EVER! But still, most days Lo mentions several times wanting to go back to Idaho. Here is what he misses: He used to have daily playtime with the little girl next door. She is about a year older than Lo, but they have similar personalities and interests. They would move from one activity to another, be it sidewalk chalk, swinging on the swings, jumping on the trampoline, eating snacks, checking the mail, climbing on the monkey bars or other playground equipment, sliding down the slide, gathering gravel from the driveway and distributing it all over the yard, riding trikes, etc. Lo misses all these fun times! We have yet to discover a playgroup or any friends his age out here and his definitely social personality feels the lack. Family! Living near countless extended family members made any activity more enjoyable. Here is Lo at the zoo with Aunt Booy and baby Ashlyn. Lo had really gotten to love Ashlyn. Being OUT in the dirt. This dirt pile was one of Lo's favorite places to be. If he ever snuck out of the house without me noticing, the first place I'd go check is the dirt pile (and 9 times out of 10 he'd be there digging away). So yes, we have a sand volleyball pit here at our apartment complex in Texas but it is full of cigarette butts. Not quite the same... Anyway, adjustment simply takes time and I'm sure we will keep finding more things to love about our new area the longer we are here. In the meantime, I'll keep Lo focused on the joys of Texas: daily ice cream, palm trees galore (he calls them "poky trees"), and frequent excursions to sites new-to-us.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Texas arrival

Safely arrived in Texas a few days ago. No, this isn't the plane we flew on to get here--just some old shot I came across. :) The flight here was a real confidence booster for me as a mom, because it went SO WONDERFUL, and not just because we got lucky (though there is always a little Heavenly blessing thrown in to make all successes happen). No, the travel was smooth and enjoyable because I have traveled a lot with a child by now and learned a few skills along the way. The main help I have learned is to give Lo emotional preparation. Weeks in advance, talking lots about the trip and drawing pictures about it, letting him be involved in the preparations, etc. gives him the power of visualization. Then, during the trip itself we get to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Another fun addition I did for this trip was wrapping all the toys/snacks in fun, brightly colored gift-wrap. He stared at those wrapped presents for days before departure. He even asked, "Let's play airplane," and then when he had pretended to seat us on the plane, he turned to me and smiled, "Now we get to open our presents!" I chose the toys and activities carefully, looking for basic, brain-building or creativity-inducing ones like Clay, wiki sticks (spelling?), and a new board book, etc. The clay especially was a hit, because he could easily play with it on the airplane's food tray. He has played a lot with play-doh in the past, but this was the first time to touch REAL clay, and apparently it is a different enough experience he felt totally fascinated. Here is our apartment. It has a generic, hotel-room feel to it, not very "homey" since we forgot to even bring framed family photos to display. Seriously only packed a few items of clothing and toys pretty much. And our rice cooker. :) But hopefully we won't spend much time at the apartment anyway, since we only get a couple months to enjoy the adventures of this new area! Yesterday we spent hours at the pool and "sandbox" aka sand volleyball pit. The heat here reminds us of Hong Kong--nice and tropical, never abating even for evenings. It is fun getting to live in all the different areas of the US. So far the Tam Fam has lived in: New England (Massachusetts), the Midwest (Ohio), the South (that's what Texas is, right?), Intermountain West/Northwest Pacific (some question as to what category Idaho falls into), and Rocky Mountain region (Utah). Where else do we need to live before we have it all covered?