Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Grandpa Moments

Ethan really likes to spend time with his Grandpa Larry. Unfortunately, my dad had to go back to work recently and leaves right when Ethan is waking up from naptime. It makes scheduling visits a lot more difficult, and so they've been missing out on time together lately.
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At least he has one grandfather he can love on and grow up with, though. One of Joel's major regrets is that his own dad isn't around to share this time with our family. We take Ethan up to visit Joel's mom Emelia and the rest of his family in the Oakdale area when we can, but even that isn't as often as we'd hope.
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It seems like it should be easier, considering that we all live relatively close to one another, but with appointments and schedules and just life in general, things tend to get busy quick and we let weeks go by without a visit. I hope to change that soon... or at least as soon as we can get a good enough income to not worry about paying for gas for those visits. Hopefully this year!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sink Bath

While we're gone this week, I decided to catch up on some old news that I've been meaning to post... like, for instance, the great, groundbreaking achievement of bathing my toddler in a tiny bathroom sink.
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Yes, the boy loves his bath time. Even more so when he can turn the water faucets on and off at will. In fact, it's more than just bath time. It's anything to do with water, and the controlling thereof. He absolutely adores flowing water, the colder the better. When he takes his bath, he loves to turn the cold water faucet on full blast, and stand there shrieking in delight while splashing it all over himself.
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My child, the only boy I know who will probably grow up to be one of those people who jump naked into iceberg-filled water, just for the fun of it. I even found a cool link at this page where they talk about the phenomenon of "winter swimming" (ack!) and the Polar Bear group; it was actually quite interesting. But I probably won't see Ethan in any of those pictures someday... or will I?
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Friday, August 27, 2010

Prepping for Burning Man...

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We're getting ready to go! After all of Joel's hard work on the RV, we are finally in the last stages of preparation before leaving on Sunday. Stefanie is coming in as a lifesaver and taking care of Ethan while we are gone; we're going to have to do some serious thank you's when this is all over. I mean, what a great thing to do for someone else, even if they are family. Last year, we were lucky enough to have our friends Jenny and Julie share custody (tee hee) while we were gone. This year, Stefanie is bearing the whole burden herself, with a few breaks planned-- she'll be taking him up for a few hours during the day to his abuela in Oakdale. In fact, I still have to introduce them... yet another thing on my "to-do" list this week. Yikes!

And speaking of to-do lists, you wouldn't believe all of the stuff Joel has done to this RV to get it in running condition. Some of it while Ethan's in there stepping on his feet and trying to "help out"!
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He is a man of many talents... here's his ongoing list:

-- fixed the fuel gauge (so that we can now tell whether or not we're on empty, a good thing to know)
-- fixed the water heater and got the propane tank rockin' and ready to go, so that we now have an oven, stove, hot water, fridge and freezer, and a heater :)
-- diagnosed the water tank problem and fixed it with the help of his brother (and his welding tools)
-- figured out the water faucet issue and replaced it so that we can use the bathroom sink and shower
-- attached side rear-view mirrors
-- attached latches to the bathroom door and the screen door, and made a "hook" to hold the side door open
-- figured out how to empty the tanks and will be building a gray-water evaporation crate for getting rid of shower/sink water (leave no trace!) while we're out in the desert
-- hooked up his iPod to the speakers, liberating us from AM radio only
-- installed cup holders in front and back
-- secured the microwave and put safety latches on every cabinet and drawer
-- set up a connection for a power converter, if we can get one (to run electricity without the generator being on)
-- is currently working on getting the RV's AC unit fixed
-- is also in the process of creating an exhaust outlet for the portable AC unit; he's putting it under the bar/table area in the back

Oh, my poor, downtrodden, used and abused husband...
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I'm not even sure what else he has done or is going to do to this rig... all I know is that he's a genius, and I'm a lucky girl. Get this man a beer, stat!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Carmel in June '10, pt.2

While we were in Carmel, we got a chance to stroll around a little bit (and I do mean, a little bit) and check out the shops.
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We found a really cool garden with a modern, eastern-esque fountain in a courtyard shared by a couple of restaurants and other shops, and decided to take a short break from all the walking around.
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I would dearly love to return here for a romantic holiday weekend with my man by my side, so that we could run around and explore this adorable little town more thoroughly than we can while shepherding around a curious and energetic toddler. I mean, check out the grip I have on his knee-- that kid wants to escape, pronto!
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There are so many amazing restaurants, galleries, craftsmen's shops, bed and breakfasts, gardens, and parks around that you could spend a week looking around and find quaint new spots to enjoy every day. Hopefully we can get back here someday and get lost for awhile... ah, paradise.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Carmel in June '10, pt.1

So, I'm a bit of a slacker... but I eventually get around to it! In June, we went to Carmel with Stefanie & Leila, and had a great time. Yes, there were some minor irritations, but they were great lessons-- as in, don't plan a beach picnic with a toddler. Instead, go for the quick, the easy, the painless. It's much better to pick up fast food or sandwiches somewhere and then head out to enjoy the beach, rather than spending your time hauling around picnic baskets and making sure food stays cool and then getting it ready, blah blah blah. Nope! Next time, keep it simple and life becomes much more enjoyable.

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It was Ethan's first time at the beach, and he wasn't always best pleased. He tried out the water pretty quickly with daddy by his side...
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... but just as quickly, realized that Pacific Coast water is c-o-l-d in these parts.
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Hopefully he gets more accustomed to it the more he goes... until then, there's always staying on the sand, and playing with the stroller!
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Drinking Buddy

He did it! Ethan actually drank from a regular cup, using both hands, and didn't spill a single drop. Okay, maybe one drop-- but not much more than that! He was so excited about it, too; he kept stopping to tilt the cup away from his mouth and start laughing and smiling. I think he really wanted to clap his hands, but figured out that they were a little busy with the whole holding-the-cup thing at the time. It was so awesome... my baby is turning into a little boy! Not only is he talking up a storm, and really starting to get the hang of communication and so on, but he is now eating sandwiches and pizza slices and burritos without having them cut up into little pieces first, and this whole drinking out of a regular cup thing has really got me speechless. Doesn't stop me from blogging about it, of course...

But seriously, folks; isn't that amazing? He has been using those straw cups for so long now (8 months??) and refusing to do the tip-up sippy cup that I despaired of him ever moving on to the next step. And how am I supposed to brag on the playground if we can't compare our kids developmental stages? Sheesh! On a side note, I can't stand doing that. Can't we just love our kids the way they are, and stop comparing them to one another? He's perfect the way he is, at whatever stage he's currently exploring, and I'm fine with that. So there!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mile a Minute

Ethan's vocabulary has really exploded in the past few weeks. It's so exciting to watch these new words just appear while he's chattering to us... The other day, for instance, he was listening to and watching a big garbage truck do its business nearby, and looked up at me with this intense expression of interest on his face. I said "Truck," and immediately he repeated it, perfectly-- "truck." I was so shocked! He said it several more times, and each time he got the pronunciation down perfectly. It's not like when he says "vacuum"-- which he says A LOT-- and gives us the Ethan version with "back-you"... with truck, he fully pronounced the t-r combo. Pretty impressive, at least to his mama.

He's also begun saying "outside," and "uh-oh," and "dog" (instead of just saying "woof" when he sees one). He says "juice" and lately has been handing me the cup when he's done, rather than chucking it across the room... most of the time, that is. One of my favorite words he picked up lately, though, has got to be "stuck." He loves it, and will purposely get things jammed into places they don't belong just so he can say it. He'll take his little vacuum cord and shove it into his chair latch over and over again, just so he has the opportunity to say "stuck, stuck, stuck" over and over. It's hilarious! I'm really glad that he's finally catching on to the communication thing, because it means that we're starting to be able to really understand each other now. What a simple, beautiful thing that is. :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shaking it Off

No more pity parties for yours truly. Time to put on my game face, slip on my big girl pants, and face the music one step at a time. Did I include enough cliches in that to please everyone? Good. Now it's off to the races!

Friday, August 6, 2010


I seem to spend every evening in a smaller and smaller space... I lie down on my side, facing the wall, my knee jutting out over the edge of the bed a little bit, and I curl my right arm underneath the pillow. I hardly even take up as much space as my body would require if I were lying straight on my back, and I tend to stay in that position for most of the night. I use less than half of the bed, and never stray across the center line. I suppose it should feel cold, or lonely, or distant, but I've stopped feeling those things so much... instead, I just see myself lying there as if I'm an outsider observing from inside the room, and I gently shake my head in sympathy.

On a related note, I found a neat article about sleep positions here.
They leave out a bunch of positions in the photo from Redbook's original article, but it's still interesting to think about... Is it weird that we tend to be a 'G'? Maybe that's mainly because I have a core temperature near that of the Sun... or maybe it's for other, more complex reasons. Either way, I yearn for A,C,F, or any sort of physical contact. I know we're asleep, but it is still comforting to be literally in touch with my partner.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dental Disaster, continued

So I finally got a call to come in and get my new, permanent crowns fixed to my front teeth. After a month of living with two and a half weeks of wearing a hideous temporary and trying not to open my mouth, then a week and a half of an ugly temporary that looked vaguely reminiscent of the McDonald's arches, I was ready for my teeth to be fixed. Finally. Permanently. Or not...

I went in to the office and they removed the temps, then tried on the new crowns. When I saw them, I was lying down in a dentist's chair and trying to keep them from falling out because they had so far not been cemented in. They looked a bit large, and didn't seem to line up evenly along the bottom-- but the dentist said that would all be taken care of once the teeth were cemented into place. And, like the sucker I am, I believed her. Unfortunately, it didn't work. Not only do the teeth not line up, but they are shaped so strangely that I can hardly stand to open my mouth for fear of people noticing how ugly my teeth are.

Here's the photographic proof. My original smile, with the veneers attached by Dr. Leon-Guerrero in 2004:

And my current look, provided oh so generously by Standiford Family Dental on 8/4/10:

Here are the issues:
- The two teeth don't line up along the bottom, and are tilted at a weird angle
- One tooth juts out and actually overlaps the other tooth a little bit
- The left tooth has such a large lump of porcelain in the back that when I talk, it sounds like I'm wearing a retainer-- the "s" is very sibilant, almost a lisp
- There are gaps between my front teeth and on each side large enough to see through (and blow air through, how cool is that?)
- The bottoms of both teeth have a line of thinner porcelain along the edge
- The left tooth appears whiter/more dense than the other tooth
- Both teeth are significantly larger, and shaped like oars-- narrower at the top and fanning out into a larger, spade-like shape on the bottom

What the heck, people?! I swear, I can't wait to NOT be poor anymore, to have insurance, to be able to hold my head up high and be treated like someone who deserves common courtesy and respect instead of disregarded just because I don't have money and health coverage. UGH!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Well, I didn't quite make it in to the Library with Ethan on Tuesday. Instead, we ended up shopping together for some fresh fruit and salad-- which he has started eating recently, by the way-- and then he stayed at home with Daddy so that I could go spend time with a dear friend for lunch. It's amazing how rejuvenating it is to the soul, those moments we spend with our friends... even when we are sad or upset or worried, even when those minutes or hours together are filled with words of remorse or fear or pain, even when happiness is the last thing we expect to find, somehow our hearts are eased and our load is lightened simply by being together. The thing is, the more troubles we seem to have, the less we seem to want others around, although those "others" may be exactly what we are in most need of in our darkest days. We avoid the company of acquaintances and close friends alike, either in an attempt to spare them or ourselves negativity, but in reality it's our shared presence together that helps ease our problems and make both of us feel better. Maybe it's time to start reaching out more, and huddling alone less.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Sorry for neglecting the blog so long... when things get dark around here, I tend to pull back from writing. Which is strange, because that also tends to be when I do most of my poetry. Then again, I haven't written any poetry for so long that I can hardly remember the last time I sat down at the keyboard to let my thoughts tumble out.

Today I'm planning to take Ethan to the Library for story hour. He doesn't seem to like sitting still for stories at home, so we'll see how well he does when surrounded by so many kids and books and curious new things around to explore. I really want him to have more interactions with other children; because he's not in daycare, he seems to miss out on all that stuff. I feel badly for him, especially because he doesn't have a sibling yet-- and may never have one. It seems so lonely to grow up without a brother or sister... if he never gets one, I guess I'll just have to suck it up and force myself to go make friends with parents who have kids Ethan's age. It'll probably be better for all of us, anyway. Socializing with others? The horror, the horror!