Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What can Nora do? A way too detailed report of adorable things

Nora has entered a whole new stage of playing - the imagination/imitation games. She likes to pretend to talk on our phones or pretends to feed us. And she imitates everything - from washing her hands, to cleaning her self (she wiped off her feet with a napkin the other day, so adorable), dressing herself (everything goes over her head), washing her hair (she rubs her hair whenever she gets some liquid or lotion on her hands. She was doing it every time we applied sunscreen!), and helping us do the same (she wiped sunscreen all over daddy's face).
She has a great sense of humor. Nothing she loves more than laughing!

Being silly and Ellen and Jorge's house

Still dances whenever music comes on, and now will follow specific choreography depending on the song (anyone remember Sharon, Lois, Brahm and the Elephant Show? She mimics the skinnamarinky dance, but only when she hears that song - even if we just sing it). She has also tries singing a bit (especially to Feist's 1-2-3-4 on Sesame Street).

She will take several steps on her own (she falls as soon as she realizes what she is doing), but for longer journeys prefers dragging adults around by the finger for hours on end.

She isn't saying many specific words besides Mama, Nana, and Daddy. We hear the occasional hi or up but mostly just expects us to understand what she wants without words. Yet she can communicate very clearly what she wants without using words - it's actually pretty amazing to see. She points, uses facial expressions, and uses whatever other means necessary to get her point across. Not to say that she is quiet - she definitely a chatterer, it's just nonsensical at this point.

She has a bit of a diva in her. She shows a strong preference for having other people do things for, even things that she is more than capable of  doing herself (like with bottles and sippy cups - she will actually seek me out and hand me the cup if she is thirsty). Not sure where she gets that from, says the girl who never climbed out of her crib herself. My mom apparently even tried teaching me to get out on my own, but I refused. I just cried and waited for her to come get me.

She knows what "nice" and "gentle" means and will stroke our faces when we ask her to show us "nice."

She also understands quite a bit of what we are saying, since she responds to our commands.

She's way into buckles at the moment. I've gotten a lot of "little engineer" comments. And on a sidenote, I never really saw myself as a feminist until I had a little girl. I mean, as a woman I have always been pro-woman, but I guess I just took a lot for granted. Having a little girl has made me realize that feminisim isn't a dirty word. And isn't it awesome that we live in a time when people (men and women) don't think twice about calling my little girl an engineer? Not sure how often that was thrown around when my mom was a baby...

Nora is familiar with some less common baby games and rhymes, thanks to my mom and grandma. They learned little rhymes in Italian, a mix of Italian and English, or English translated from Italian. There is one that is about a cat and a mouse, and it involves stroking her face slow at first, then fast. She thinks that is so funny!

She also learned a sign this week - "CooCoo, no more!" My Italian Great-Grandma, when the kids' food was gone, would show her left hand to the child and twist her right index finger in her left palm while saying, "CooCoo, no more!" Yeah, Nora learned that one in less than a week. I was feeding her a pouch and when it was empty, she did that. I hadn't said anything to her - she just knew the pouch was all gone. We are considering a few baby sign language classes now. I wasn't sure at first, but she is clearly receptive to that sort of thing.

Still NO teeth. She chews on her hands a lot, and I can see some white under her gums but nothing coming through yet. Which I'm sure means she will get a billion all at once. That sounds painful, but I guess I would rather go through a lot of pain and get it over quicker than be in slightly less pain more often.

She gives kisses all the time. And she usually kisses everyone in the room, multiple times, in order.
Quiet time watching videos with Daddy

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A House Divided

I've never discussed this before, but Rob and I are trying to raise Nora between two very different world. I know we are not the first parents in this situation, but sometimes it is hard to reconcile the wishes of two families that will never see eye to eye on a very important matter.

You see, Rob's family are all Broncos' fans, and mine are Raiders' fans.

found on etsy http://www.etsy.com/listing/78478292/custom-house-divided-football-teams

If you know anything at all about American football (which I don't), then you know that these two teams are mortal enemies. There are some exceptions. I have a Raiders fan aunt who is in love with John Elway, and Rob doesn't hate the Raiders (he has many friends who love them). Personally I like the Raiders because of familial ties, but being a native Californian I have experienced the obnoxious behavior of Coloradans Broncos fans first hand, much different from what I saw when I lived in California. So of course that's a further turn off (And I'm sure all sports fans can be obnoxious at certain times, I'm just saying it was culture shock to see how crazy Coloradans get over sports as a whole). But Rob's family is fairly down to earth (although devoted) and his sister is actually a cheerleader for the Broncos, so I can't rightfully ban Nora from the Bronocos either.

So Rob and I have agreed to raise Nora to know both teams, so that she may decide for herself as an adult. To be honest, I have a pretty low opinion of professional sports as a whole, and especially football players. I think they are all overpaid and if you ask me, don't seem as gracious and appreciative as I would be in their position. And don't even get me started on Michael Vick. I like watching hockey, I like baseball, we used to watch a ton of MMA, and I do think that athletes should be admired for their dedication and skill. I just don't think they should be revered as gods.

That being said, we are on our way to my and Nora's first football game (Broncos vs 49ers).

*Update: The game was fun, although it was too hot to stay for the whole game. I have to admit the atmosphere is infectious, even for haters like myself. The guy behind us offered to take our picture. He sucked at it, but whatever. Can't complain when someone does you a favor.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ghost Friends for Life!

 It all started with a meme.

Seriously. My best friend Kyle posted this on Facebook (with the disclaimer that she doesn't hope; she knows)...

This is because it is true. That aside, I saw these awesome necklaces a week or two later, and remembering that Kyle's birthday was less than a month away, I bought her one. Then I got jealous and bought myself one. So yeah, we have matching BFF necklaces.  It says "SEE U ON THE OTHER SIDE." We're awesome.

image at http://fab.com/inspiration/see-other-side-cameo-necklace

Monday, August 20, 2012

We're Back...

Am I the only one who feels like sobbing the minute I walk back into work after vacation?

Our vacation was great. Fantastic. I love spending time with my family and this may have been one of my favorite trips yet. Rob and I had a few days alone at the beach, and then a week with a ton of my family by the pool. The grandkids are getting older (I'm the oldest, and the youngest is 16.5) which means (thankfully) less drama and more drinking! Nora loved all the attention and of course, everyone loves her. I need to do a separate post of all the adorable things she is doing now, because she seems to learn something new every day.

It has been really hard coming back. The vacation was great, but rather than "recharge our batteries," our time away has put into perspective how unhappy we actually are. Our lifestyle just isn't working for us, and we need to figure out how to make some changes. Of course not every day can be full of food, fun, and recreation, but we shouldn't dread our everyday existence either. There has to be some middle ground.

Don't get me wrong - I love my little family very much, but there are a lot of distractions and misplaced priorities. I am proud of what Rob and I have accomplished together, like buying our first house 4 years ago, or having careers with good futures. But being "proud of" is different than being "happy with," and I think we are starting to get that. What are we working towards anyway? A bigger house? A newer car? 50 more years in jobs we can't stand?

Looking at my mother and her siblings (and Rob's parents), this point is illustrated even more. My mother and her older brother both work corporate, professional jobs in high tech (as a service manager and program manager, respectively). Both have played the corporate game and climbed up the ladder to relative suburban success. Now? Both are burnt out and tired of all that. My mom's younger brothers are a teacher and a self-employed locksmith, respectively. Both love their jobs. Both are more or less as successful (based on your definition of success) and the other two. Maybe the money is less, but the (job) happiness is greater (again, I think my mom and her brothers are all relatively happy, but the younger two certainly win out in career satisfaction).

So what do I do? I feel like I am young enough to try something else and still come back to this if I need/want to, but there is always that concern that you shouldn't leave something stable and promising for something as frivolous as job satisfaction.

If money were no object? I would love to have a small business. Something creative. I've always dreamed of being one of those stay at home moms who made ends meet by doing this and that. Or the professionals who manage to fit in early morning surfing sessions before they head to office (another post, but Rob and I did surf and while I suck at it, it was every bit as amazing as I had hoped. Something about being surrounded by ocean made the lack of catching waves incredibly worth it. It has been a long time since I felt that at peace). But on the other hand, I like health insurance. And I have bills to pay. I keep saying that I need to sit down and figure out priorities and implement a strict budget to achieve those goals, but... I put it off time and time again - because I secretly fear that I will discover there is no way out. But there has to be a way, right? Even if it's not something that can happen right away... there has to be a way to a different lifestyle, somehow? I hope.

Frank Turner gets it.

If Ever I Stray


Monday, August 6, 2012

Random Thoughts, and a lot of them

  • Bullets make long-winded, semi-coherent ramblings seem more organized, right?
  • My husband and I have pretty similar taste in music (eclectic with a POV based in punk and rockabilly), with a few exceptions. For example, he can't see the appeal of The Cure, and I pretty much hate Rob's favorite band from his teenage years, Strung Out. Don't know why, but I cannot stand them. I was so in my head this morning that I was already to work before I realized that I had been listening to them the whole damn drive. I guess you could argue that since I didn't notice it didn't bother me that much, but I was certainly aggravated once I realized.
  • There is a little spider in my bathroom, in the corner of my shower. He is small and in a rather hard spot to reach so thus far I have let him live. He doesn't seem to move much which has led me to wonder if he was plotting something. Like, observing my habits so that he can plan a thorough attack. The minute shampoo is in my eye, bam, he goes straight for the jugular. I'm only half joking.
  • Not the same spider. This one was way ballsy-er - building a freaking web right in front of our front door? Well played spider, well played.
  • My parents offered to take Nora to California with them (they drove out this weekend) so that Rob and I can spend some time together when we first fly into CA. Also so that my grandma can be a baby hog before the rest of the family gets in next weekend. I miss her terribly, but I am happy knowing that she gets to meet some of her family that she doesn't see often. Most of my family she will be meeting for the first time this trip.
  • Gradual weaning didn't go well. I stopped pumping a few weeks ago, but for some reason, Nora started wanting to nurse more. Of course I let her -very short sessions, less than 5 minutes at a time, and only a few times a day so I thought it would be fine. Very, very wrong. Apparently that wasn't gradual enough for my body to adjust, and I am paying the price. Oh, and Nora refuses to drink cow's milk so this past week she has only drank juice and whole milk yogurt smoothies. Do I feel guilty for weaning on my schedule, not hers, only to have her refuse milk? You bet your sweet ass I do. And engorgement is the penance I must suffer.
  • I don't have a lot of friends, but I do have some awesome ones. I spent Saturday with my best friend Kyle, and she always makes me feel better. She doesn't mind my semi-coherent ramblings. :)
  • We are also less than a week away from seeing some other really good friends of ours, the Garcias. They "get us" so much more than most of the other people we know. Too bad they live several states away.
  • Rob and Jorge

    Ellen and me
  • Also on the docket for this week - 8/8/12 is our 4th(!) wedding anniversary. Oh, and 8/10 my 3rd anniversary at NREL. Or as I like to refer to it "Happy Partially Vested in a Pension Plan Day!"
  • From my wedding, not my first day of work.
  • I have gone through and edited several hundred photos, taken over the course of the last 6 months. I should post some. I was specifically looking to do a "12 months of Nora" project and I have some really cute ones.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Little dictator

I've said time and time again that Nora is a sweet, good-natured child, and that is totally true, but...she has a hilarious habit that sometimes makes me wonder if we are seeing a darker side to her personality.

She loves to stand up, get the attention of everyone in the room, and then launch into long (gibberish) monologues with wildly gesticulating arms. It is not unlike watching a very tiny dictator. Maybe it just means that she will be passionate and dedicated to sharing her passion. Or maybe it means we have a bossy little tyke. Either way, it's pretty hilarious on an 11 month old (officially today!).

Almost walking...

On July 17th, Nora took her first step. I was dropping her off at my mom's house, and she wanted my badge. I had placed her by my mom, who was sitting in her office chair. Nora stood up using my mom's leg, and took a step toward me my badge. She didn't even realize what she had done and she only took one step before she fell, but I had a witness and it counted.

She's a pro at standing and cruising, so I knew this day was coming soon. She has been doing the whole hold-my-hand-while-I-kinda-walk for a week now, so I know it's going to all click any moment.

Last Saturday (7/28), she took about three steps by herself before falling. I can't remember what her motivation was, but it was probably something totally baby appropriate like a knife or a cocktail or some assorted chocking hazards.

I'm actually surprised that she isn't walking already, given how active she is. It's one of those things that I am actually happy that we have had a little more time to come to terms with (not that we spent that time baby-proofing, unfortunately). Come September, when we are back from our vacation, we will have to have a nice long baby-proofing/re-designing session at our house. I can already see that all of my nice little vintage items will have to go, since Nora's favorite hobby these days is grabbing things off of table tops. As in she reached up and grabs wildly until she gets ahold of something, preferably something breakable or spillable (keep in mind she can't see what she is reaching for).