Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Trip to Zachary

I took Garrett to my homeland for the first time this last week. He got sick a few days before we were to leave and ended up having a few REALLY rough days while we were there, but we were still able to do lots of fun things and see most of the folks we wanted to see. Here are a few highlights from our trip.
The day we left San Antonio I got a little excited (and confused) and got us to the Houston airport 3 hours early. So we visited the USO and had snacks and play time.
As of late, Garrett has been really fascinated with furniture his size.

Monday afternoon I went driving around in an attempt to get Garrett to nap. And I spotted my old house - the crepe myrtles are huge!

The trip to Baton Rouge (via New Orleans) turned out really well. Garrett was fascinated by the lady next to us on the plane and slept for a good bit of the flight!   
Monday night, after the little kids went to bed, I helped Eliza make a crust for pumpkin pie. Apparently she had been asking to make one for a week or so.
By Wednesday morning, Jacie and Garrett had decided they were friends.
Wednesday morning we went to a chocolate shop in Zachary and had some amazing hot chocolate. Here, Garrett is picking out what he wants for his variety box.

Sara gives Garrett a much-needed fudge sample.
Garrett throws a fit because he can't have alllll the chocolates. His mother, instead of responsibly fetching her child, takes a picture.
Later that day, Eliza and Jacie decided they wanted Garrett to learn to hold hands. He didn't like it!
Thursday morning we got up bright and early to head to music class with the Hopkins girls. Garrett loved it!

After music, we headed to Superior Grill to have lunch with Sara's little sister, Leigh. The kids played happily for a little while...
After lunch, I took this little gem of Garrett and Eliza looking much too cute.
And then Thursday afternoon there was an incident with yogurt and Sara's ottoman. Wuh-oh.
Friday morning we headed back. Garrett made sure he was read up on emergency procedures...
...and had a light snack of orange juice and Cheez-Its.

The trip home was pretty bad. Garrett was very unhappy on the flight despite appearances from the pictures. But we finally made it and were glad to be back with Russ and pup. We had a wonderful time and can't wait to go back!!! (And maybe drive next time?)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Garrett's Sleep

We have not gotten Garrett to sleep well since he was born. I remember the first day we brought him home. I had a little cradle all
fixed up for him. We were going to eat lunch, so my mom, Russ and I went and laid him in the cradle, swaddled tightly the way they showed us in the hospital. We stood there for a minute and looked at him like, "Well, is that it? He just sleeps now, right?"

Wrong. 5 minutes into our meal and he's awake, red-faced and crying loudly. And so it began. Despite my mom's repeated offers to keep him during the night, I lost a LOT of sleep those first few months. After a lot of work jiggling, pacing, shhhh'ing, swaddling, and trying to sneakily put him down in his cradle, he would inevitably wake up shortly thereafter, positively insulted that his warm and snuggly mom would dare to put him down. At one point, he slept well in his carseat/carrier. I guess he liked the snuggly-ness of it. I could maybe get 3 hours at a time out of him in that.

But, like most babies, what he really wanted was to be next to me, safe and warm. It took me a little while to get used to it and feel safe doing it, especially when he wasn't able to roll over on his own. I would sleep in the middle of the bed on my left side with my left arm tucked up under the pillow and my head. He would lie next to me, against my torso. Russ would be on my other side since he was initially (and reasonably) afraid of rolling over on him.

As Garrett grew, he was able to maneuver his way around the bed as he pleased and we moved him to the middle of us so that if he got curious during the night, hopefully one of us would feel him escaping and wake up. For a while around 9-12 months we were sleeping great, with 1-2 wakings at night. And then it just all went to hell in a handbasket. He started waking up 6+ times a night around his 1-year birthday. His soothing method of choice was to pull my hair while he fell asleep. It usually took 30 minutes or more of this torture before he fell asleep.

As you can see, it was really cute when Garrett slept with us. But he was a huge bed hog!!

We had tried a couple of times here and there to employ other methods. At one point he slept on his crib mattress on our floor. But sometimes he rolled off and woke up completely scared. We tried the crib...he would scream until we took him out and then look back at the contraption like it was a torture device. We tried taking one side off the crib and keeping it adjacent to our bed so he'd be in the crib but we'd still be accessible. But he always migrated back into our bed in his sleep. Or consciously. Little turkey.

When I started having my thyroid problems, sleep was hard to come by. And I needed a LOT of it. Things were just miserable for a while. And the whole time I was convinced that sleeping with us is what Garrett needed and he would stop needing it when he was ready and that it was working just fine for our family. But last week I decided it just wasn't working any more. As much as I loved snuggling with my little man, the hair-pulling was leaving me angry and with a headache. And the continuous waking was leaving us all exhausted. Maybe we were responsible for his restless sleep, Russ with his snoring and me with my 5 trips to the bathroom (yeah, I know, we have issues). So last Thursday Garrett started sleeping in his pack-and-play in the room by himself (!!). It's been hard. We have waffled between several "methods" and are finally finding it is best to let him cry. When we went in for comforting, as one method has you do, it just upset him more and prolonged the exhausted crying phase of his falling asleep. Some of the details are a little fuzzy, but here's how things have been going...

Thursday, October 17:
     7:00 pm - dad puts Garrett to bed in the family bed
     9:00 pm - Garrett is up crying, mom gets him up and they play
     10:30 pm - mom puts Garrett to bed in the family bed
     11:15 pm - Garrett is still not asleep and mom has lost a fistful of hair (ouch!)
     11:30 pm - mom puts Garrett to bed ON HIS OWN in the pack 'n' play; commence crying
     12:15 am - Garrett quits crying and finally falls asleep
     2:30 am - Garrett wakes, cries for less than 5 minutes, falls back asleep.
     4:00 am - G wakes up, cries for about 20 minutes, falls back asleep.
     9ish am - Garrett wakes up

Sunday, October 20:
     My brother and his family are visiting tonight, so we are sleeping in the same room as Garrett.
     9ish pm - we put G to sleep in the pack 'n' play.
     9:30 pm - He's up. We put him in bed with us. He crawls around forEVER and finally falls asleep over an hour later.
     the::rest::of::the::night am - I don't even know what happened. It was bad.

Monday, October 21:
     11:30 am - Garrett wakes up. This is not good.

Tuesday, October 22:
     10:00 am - Garrett wakes us. What is with this kid??

Thursday, October 24: **With renewed resolve** :)
     7:00 pm - bedtime! Garrett goes down easily with a bottle.
     7:30 pm - G is awake and crying. We let him cry. :(
     9:00 pm - G stops crying and is asleep.
     11:10 pm - G wakes up and cries for less than 5 minutes.
     6:00 am - G wakes up and cries for about 20 minutes.
Friday, October 25:
     9:15 am - Garrett awakens, NOT CRYING but walking around in his crib. He's super fussy, though, until naptime.
     12:45-2:15 pm - G naps, but is interrupted by Bernoulli howling.
     7:00 pm - bedtime! I could really get used to this...
     8:30 pm - G is awake and crying. For some reason, it really gets to me this night. :(
     9:45 pm - Crying stops and G is asleep.
     3:50 am - G is awake and crying. It's awful. After 45 minutes, we decide to give him a bottle to help him go back down. Techincally, this is a crutch, but it worked. :/

Saturday, October 26
     9:30 am - Garrett awakens, again not crying, and in a really good, active, chatty mood. :)
     12:30-3:00 pm - G naps, interrupted by neither dog nor waking.
     7:15 pm - bedtime! Crying from the get-go tonight, but only for about 15 minutes.

Sunday, October 27
     6:30 am - Garrett awakens, happy. But at 6:30 am - booooo!
     11:30-1 pm - Garrett naps.
     8:30 pm - Garrett goes down with NO protest. His bedtime was late tonight because we had friends over and he was playing.

---several more good nights---

So, as you can see, much progress has been made! We are enjoying our new life of much more and more-restful sleep. Garrett is a happier kid, too. I don't regret ever having let him sleep in our bed, but that time is over. We have all moved on. :)

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Latest on G

At 15 months, Garrett is growing and changing as fast as ever. Everyday, it seems, he learns a new skill, usually to my chagrin. Every so often I say to myself, "This first floor is completely Garrett-proof, I can't think of a single thing he could get into that I don't want him to." And then he goes and makes a liar out of me, tenfold. But I'm thankful he's a healthy, active, inquisitive kiddo. And I'm thankful he's mine.

Age: 15 months 
Weight: 26 pounds 
Favorite Foods: cheese, watermelon, strawberries, popcorn
Favorite Toys: small rolling suitcase, dog bowl, cell phones, sticks, balls
Favorite Games: bouncing around on couches, being chased, feeding the pup
New Skills:
  • Opening doors. The house we're renting has the lever-style door handles, which are really stylish I suppose, but they make toddler door opening way too easy. So ... the door to the hall closet where I keep my sewing machine and all my supplies? Yep. And the door to the air conditioning unit? Yep. And the door to the backyard?! Oh yeah.
  • Following directions. I really don't understand the whole language development thing. But G can follow things that we say without being able to speak a word. So I didn't know he knew the word "bowl", but when I ask him to go get his bowl, he reappears with it. And if he's feeling compliant and I tell him to "sit", he actually sits. And some days, if the stars align and I say "no", he stops doing what he was doing! It makes life a little easier since I'm actually able to communicate with him a bit. And it's really cool to see him learning.
  • Being gentle with the pup. The tail-pulling seems to have been curbed, and now he mostly hugs and gently pets Bernoulli. He loves to throw the ball for him to catch (and keep). 
  • Grump face. The pic above isn't even grump face. Someday I will catch it on camera. You don't want to be on the receiving end of grump face.
Recent first: haircut
Update: Kitty captured Grump Face...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ups and Downs

The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster.
Papa, Grandma Baur, Uncle Dan and Aunt Diana were with us for 9 days at the beginning of September, which was GREAT. We really enjoyed having them around for visiting, Starbucks runs, field trips, board games, and good eats.
So naturally it was a pretty big letdown when they left. We go back into our our routine pretty quickly and my Bible study restarted on Tuesdays which helps break up the week. And I joined MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) this year, which meets once a month and has been a lot of fun so far.
But there have been a couple of downers, too. A couple a weeks ago Garrett though my phone would like to go for a swim in my glass of milk. It didn't like it. It, instead, quit working, and forever gone was my list of birthdays and extensive collection of gift ideas. All my contacts were somehow saved (thank you, Google), though. And thanks to modern technology, my calendar magically synched with my phone as well. I went with a Motorola Android Mini. I was a little afraid at first that I'd gone too small. But now that I'm used to it, I realize it was the perfect choice! And I'm sure Garrett will destroy it in no time. 
The day after the phone incident, someone backed into the Mazda in the grocery store parking lot. But he was insured! And we needed a new bumper anyway! So I am counting this one under the "all's well that ends well" category. Kudos to Progressive for an excellent service process. While they've had our car for repairs, we have a rental: a Nissan Altima. It's a little big for my preferences, and kind of too grown-up for me, too, but I am slowly being won over. It's easy to get Garrett in and out because of all the space, the trunk is huuuuge, there's virtually no road noise, and the whole car is computerized. So I know, at any given moment, how many miles until empty, the ambient temperature, and any maintenance that needs to be done. For instance, for the past couple of days it's been alerting me that the front tires have low air pressure. This morning I went to put air in them, now knowing quite what the recommended pressure was, and I'll be darned if the car didn't HONK AT ME WHEN THEY WERE AT THE APPROPRIATE PRESSURE. I was beyond excited. We still plan on driving our cars until they can drive no more, but I am really enjoying this little car-vacation. I named her Nina.
Doesn't she look like she belongs?
Garrett's had allergies for a week or so, and I'm not feeling so great, thanks to my thyroid no doubt. But overall we are doing great, enjoying the slightly lower temperatures and getting ready for Texas's "fall."

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Garrett and His Mom Meet Up

It has always taken me a few months to find friends when I move to a new place. With the exception of Austin, I found dear friends there almost immediately - a fluke. I have several wonderful friends in San Antonio after living here for 3 years, but some of them work, or live far away, etc. So when Garrett started having a more predictable nap schedule, I decided it was time we make some "baby friends" - i.e. time for baby AND adult interaction, and a good excuse to get out of the house. There's a website I had been aware of for a while but had never tried, called, where you can join different groups with different interests in your area. Great! Sign me up! But, y'all, there are mommy groups a-plenty. So I joined two: a Christian moms' group in my area (everyone's houses and most of the meet-ups are less than 10 minutes away) and a "crunchy" moms' group (members of this group live all over town, so sometimes we have to drive a bit). We have had the best time! Garrett has made lots of good friends and we have seen parts of San Antonio we might have otherwise missed.

One of my favorite places so far is the Japanese Tea Garden. My crunchy moms' group took a field trip to ride the train at the zoo a few weeks ago. One of the stops that the train makes is at this garden, which from the street doesn't look like much other than a hike up some rock steps (daunting to me since I have 25 extra pounds to tote around on my hip). But when you get to the top ... breathtaking.
Made it to the top! Garrett is appreciating the beauty.
The cool stone pavilion at the top
The gardens are a former quarry, owned by the City of San Antonio Parks & Recreation.
Not sure you can see them in this photo, but there are koi in the water below.
Another group I joined a little more recently is a Christian moms' group headquartered in my neck of the woods. We see this group 2-3 times a week on average as our tradition is to do some kind of activity in the morning before G's first nap. The other moms are really lovely and have welcomed us. We have gone to several play dates at people's houses, lunch out, library baby time, open play at a children's gym (which Garrett LOVED), etc.

Yesterday, the group did something really cool. One of the organizing moms is expecting her second child so we threw her a surprise baby shower! We were able to meet in a room at a local library, and it just so happened to be a book shower! I thought this was just the cutest idea. Each mom brought one of her favorite children's books and a snack to go along with it. I brought the book A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams and, since there's a chocolate cake on the cover, chocolate mini cupcakes. I geeked out a little on the presentation, as Russ so kindly pointed out, and built a mini-chair (that resembled the one in the book, of course) on which to display my cupcakes. I actually held back a little because I really wanted to upholster it properly. But I also love the fabric so I just wrapped it around some boxes and can use for another project in the future.

The chair from the book, for comparison's sake. :)
I loved a few of the other combos as well...
Eight Silly Monkeys with mini bananas, Green Eggs and Ham with ham & pesto sandwiches, and Peter Rabbit's Hello, Peter! with carrots & dip
The Very Hungry Caterpillar with fruit and Barnyard Dance with pigs in a blanket
Blueberries for Sal with blueberry pie and blueberry lemonade
And a couple more shots of the festivities ...
A dozen or so moms and even more kids means the party was pretty much complete pandemonium.
The mom-to-be-again, Candice, and me & Garrett.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

2013 Summer Garden

The following is an exhaustive account of my 2013 summer garden. You have been warned.

One of the things I was SO excited about in moving to a house (vs. an apartment) was being able to have a garden! We're renting, so I am limited on what I can alter in the yard, but I cooked up a plan for a garden that can be reversed when we move out. There's a little wedge of space in our backyard that gets full sunlight all day, right outside the back door and close to the house so I don't have to haul the hose across the yard every time I need to water. Unfortunately the spot was "landscaped" with some dying plants, a couple boulders, and a bunch of gravel. I am probably responsible for the dying plants because, as you can see below (bottom right), they were once thriving.
Source: | circa 2011
A little better view of our backyard and where the garden is.
Anywho, they were dying, ok dead, now ... onward! I hired a couple of boys from down the street to move the rock into a big pile (to be replaced at a later date) because I don't do that kind of manual labor, y'all, I am a delicate flower. All that youthful energy - they had it done in 30 minutes! And then they put out my soil, too! Unfortunately, it being Texas and all, it completely dried out and then we had crazy wind for 3 days so most of it blew out. But I put some more out, a little of which Bernoulli ate. 
Lookin' good ... now for some plants
B after a satisfying meal of compost
My neighbor, Mrs. Sally, knew of a good nursery up the road that she had been wanting to take me to when she found out I "gardened." So we loaded up the little boy and headed to Schertz Nursery. She said it used to be owned by someone else and was much more impressive. I thought it was fine - maybe not the selection I was hoping for but, hey, it wasn't a big box store. I got 2 squash plants (yellow crookneck, per my Granny, and zucchini), 2 organic strawberry plants, a purple beauty bell pepper plant, an okra plant and 2 organic tomato plants (celebrity, also per Granny). I also got seeds for beans and watermelon. I also got a bag of peanuts at the grocery store because I wanted to try to grow them, but folks, it turned out those peanuts were roasted and salted and they did nothing in the soil! 
The okra struggled a little to get started. Here is the first pod it produced. I learned that okra likes it pretty hot and sunny because it has really started to produce later in the summer.
Squash plants just starting out. Yellow crookneck in the foreground, zucchini in the back.
Things were clickin' along pretty good, with the exception of my tomatoes. The first two plants died immediately upon being planted. I went to another nursery where I was advised that my soil may have been too rich (read: fertilized) because I bought the yucky pre-fertilized stuff at Lowe's -- that's all I could find! So I got 4 more plants, another breed, which also promptly died. So 2013 was not the summer for me to grow tomatoes, better luck next time, self. But there was another, more tragic death. Let's start with how WELL the squash were doing. They got big fast and were producing like rock stars, if rock stars produced, which is to say, very well. See here.
And then I went a did something stupid. I was trimming dead and diseased leaves from the zucchini plant, and I'll be darned if I didn't chop that vine right off at the roots. I was almost in tears. It had been nothing but good to me! Russ was sure we could just stick the butt of the vine back in the ground and it would re-root and grow. It did not. The zucchini's good friend, yellow crookneck, was heartbroken and in 2 weeks' time also died, spontaneously.
Going ... going ...
Boo hiss. At least I had this guy to keep my spirits up. Very effective, indeed.
Garrett boy
I should also mention that the beans never really took off. Probably didn't like the rich soil either, as they grew fine in their little pots filled with non-fertilized soil, but withered once they got in the big garden. 
The other plants did ok. The strawberry never produced much, although they showed good signs at first, with several offshoots and such. 
And the pepper plant has probably produced six-ish peppers, which turned out to be purple just on the skin - I was hoping they'd be purple all the way through and sweeter like red/orange/yellow ones.
A little later in the season I put the watermelon in the ground. I wasn't sure at first that they'd do much, but after they took off they took OVER. Now my entire garden is a watermelon patch, which I am fine with, because its only roommates are a healthy but no-longer-producing pepper plant and the okra, which doesn't need the sprawl space.
Watermelon, just starting out
The first watermelon rotted on the ground; lesson learned. So Russ wanted to pick the next one early. Too early. We are trying to get this one juuuust right. And the ones on the ground we put plastic plates under to prevent rot.

Thanks for tuning in for the highs and lows of the summer 2013 garden!