Thursday, September 30, 2010

Love and Loss

This page is dedicated to my nephew, Nathaniel Ray, and his mother. He started growing inside her six and a half months ago... and was lost to her this week. We didn't get a chance to know him, but he is loved and will always be remembered. I cannot imagine going through such a loss, and I can only offer my unending love and support to my sister. I'm sorry your first experience of being a mother was so filled with grief, but I feel so honored to have shared at least those few moments with you and Nathaniel.


I'd like to find something for my sister that will help her through this grieving process. Her nurses are already making her a memorial book about Nathaniel, but I was also thinking about some sort of necklace or bracelet. A website called offers a wide range of healing jewelry for miscarriage, infant loss, fertility, sympathy, pregnancy and birth. Not only do they have beautiful and unique memorial gifts, but the author has a special gift for putting into words the thoughts and feelings of someone who has lost a child during pregnancy. I especially loved her writing about the butterfly as a symbol of the soul, and "the hope that the transformation that loss brings into our life, can result in something different, something beautiful."


A "footprints on my heart" necklace from La Belle Dame.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I swear, Ethan cracks me up so much. His latest escapades involve my attempts to wean him off of bed-time milk (I know, I know), and my inability to keep from giggling at his antics. See, he still doesn't know how to say "milk" with an m sound. He says "nilk" instead. And it's just stinkin' cute, is what it is. Especially when he really gets going on the echolalia and just keeps repeating and repeating the word, with different inflections sometimes, until you finally figure it out and get him what he wants.

In this case, he wants his dang milk before he'll be ready for bed, thank you very much. But I know that he shouldn't be drinking anything except water after brushing his teeth at night, and I know that he needs to develop a new sleep habit other than having to have his belly full of milk. It will make life a lot easier for both of us once he (and I) learn that little trick. Until then, it'll be a tough couple of days (weeks? months??) while we try to navigate our way out of this old habit. But it is so funny to listen to him try to beg or nag me into getting him his cup of milk. "Nilk? nilk? niiiilk? NILK?? nilk nilk nilk?" After a minute or so it just starts getting too funny for me, and I start giggling. And since at that point he's laying with his back against my chest and stomach, he can feel it every time I laugh, even silently. So then he starts laughing, which sets me off again, and pretty soon it's just one big giggle-fest. Which is fun, but not so good for the whole "bedtime" thing. Oh well; I've got to enjoy these days now, because who knows how long he'll let me hold him before bedtime? (And no creepy answers, please!)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Ethan finally did it-- he said "Grandma" yesterday. For a long time now, he's been calling my mom "mah-maw," which is getting the basic vowel sounds right but replacing the "gr" part with "m" (like mama). When he says it, he makes his voice all breathy, as if he's gently speaking it in an abundance of tenderness and love... it's the sweetest thing ever. But now he's starting to say it a little more clearly, which is even better! He seems to still be a bit slower than expected on his speech and language development, though by no means does that translate to unintelligent or slow in other areas. His gross and fine motor skills are unbelievable, but I do admit that I'm still a tiny bit concerned about the fact that he's just not speaking well right now. I'm going to really focus on this right now, and try to help him develop his vocabulary and communication skills... I'd better find the time now, before I end up going back to work!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Motorhome for Sale!


Yes, we're selling our motorhome. Not because we don't like it, but because (as you may have noticed) times are tight, financially speaking. We just really could use the money, and unfortunately won't be able to keep the RV. I'm so disappointed, because after camping in it twice so far, I don't think I can ever go back to tent camping. And there is absolutely *no way* I'll go to Burning Man again unless it's in an RV.


Things being what they are, we have already put the RV ad on craigslist, and now we're just waiting for the throng of eager buyers to bid up the price to $5000. But we'll settle for half that. ;)


So if you know anyone who might be interested, let us know! It is a 1976 Dodge Sportsman RV, we're selling it for $2500, and it has the following features:

* Just over 50,000 miles, and current with registration
* Gas Water Heater, and a 30 Gallon Fresh Water tank
* Power Brakes, power steering, and cruise control
* New propane/electric refrigerator
* Updated car A/C unit to accept 134a
* Comes with New 6.5 HP 3000W portable generator. Used for 5 hrs. Powered the microwave and A/C with no problems
* 1000w power inverter
* FM stereo with mini amplifier. Great
* New gas RV heater, new Fan Alternator, new A/C belts
* All gas appliances work: stovetop, oven, heater, fridge
* Two sleeping lofts, working toilet and shower
* RV is 21ft long. Small enough to share a two car driveway
* 440cid engine with 4 barrel carb
* Does have some interior water damage, but leak was repaired and it recently went through a major storm with no leaks or any other issues

Friday, September 24, 2010

Middle Eastern Menu


Like his parents, Ethan loves food from the Middle East. And luckily for us, we are able to access some very good Afghani food at our local Farmer's Market every week from April through November. I like to put the bolani pictured above (we prefer spinach, potato, or lentil) into the toaster oven to get it nice and crispy before topping it with the garlic mint cheese and/or sweet jalapeno sauce. It's a great way to get veggies into your diet without also adding tons of calories or fat or sugar. And so yummy! They freeze well, too, which is nice because the portions that they sell are actually pretty large.

We also love hummus, and so far our favorite by far is the Mediterranean hummus from Trader Joe's. They top it with pine nuts and olive oil, and it is just the creamiest, dreamiest hummus we've found so far. Not too garlicky, not too chunky, just perfect. We like to use veggie chips or thin pita chips for dippers, but raw vegetables work just as well. Great; now I'm hungry!


Thursday, September 23, 2010


By the way... Happy Birthday to my amazing husband Joel. You are the love of my life, which means so many different things. You are the person I want to call first when something awesome or scary or weird happens. You are the most handsome man that I'm privileged to know, and I constantly have to shake my head in wonder at how lucky I am that you're mine. You can make a day of walking and talking into a crazy adventure or a soothing oasis, and both will be exactly what I needed at that moment. Yes, you can also be an expert at driving me up the walls, but then you're also a pro at bringing me back down and calming my nerves. You inspire me to stay fit and encourage me to stay positive, and your quiet example of courage and optimism help me avoid my natural tendencies towards melancholy. I'm always astounded by how much you know and how talented you are, and sometimes I feel a sort of pity for the people who won't get to know you the way I do... and for the people who don't have someone like you in their lives.

You're a loving and fun and happy father, and my only regret is that we didn't meet earlier in life so that we could have enjoyed our couple-time and yet have a full household by now. I'm so lucky to have you for my husband, my mate, my partner; and I love you always. These tough times we're going through right now, financially speaking, will NOT break us. We'll get through them together, and just think... if this is how great it is while we're struggling, imagine how awesome it will be when we're stable. I can't wait to share those times with you, finally. Happy, happy birthday!

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First Tricycle!

Ethan got his first tricycle, finally, and loves it. Sure, it takes a little bit of concentration (note the tongue sticking out, below)

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but he really likes it. Once Joel shifted the seat forward, he was able to reach the pedals easier and can even get on and off of the seat without help. He's growing up so fast... next thing you know, he'll be wanting to borrow Joel's motorcycle to go to school. Guess that means it's time for another baby!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Scooter Time


I recently found a cute little Diego scooter for an insanely low price at a yard sale, and brought it home because I thought Ethan could "grow into it" someday. Apparently, that day is today. The first time I brought it over to him, he got up onto it and balanced himself like a pro!

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Yep, it's official: He's just like Joel. Not only mechanically inclined and curious about how everything fits together and comes apart and so on, but physically adept and so excited about everything on wheels. I can't wait to watch him grow up like his daddy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Burn '10: Art Cars

One of the awesome things about Burning Man is the infinite range of creativity and self-expression that you are privileged to observe and participate in while you're there. Just seeing the variety of costumes, vehicles, art exhibitions, and structures there sparks your own inner batteries and makes you want to create and build something of your own inspiration.

These are some of the mutant vehicles that caught my eye this year...

The industrial age dragon-
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The preying mantis-
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The robot handcart, built for two-
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And Sinbad's mini-ship-
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... which I think might be a felucca. I loved it! If I made a mutant vehicle, I think I'd like one with this persian-pirate theme, though I also liked Joel's preference for the British or Revolutionary war-era ship, complete with tea service. Cheerio!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Spartacus Without Andy Whitfield?


Oh my goodness! I just found out that Andy Whitfield has cancer and won't be returning to star in the second season of Spartacus: Blood and Sand. What terrible news! He is a great actor and was definitely the main reason we watched and truly enjoyed the show. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in March, and is resuming an aggressive treatment plan to help fight it. I'm sure he and his wife and family are more concerned about his health than anything else, but it must also be very disappointing to miss out on continuing his career at this point, when he is just starting to really "make it" because of Spartacus. I wish him the best in his treatment and recovery, and hope that he can return soon to doing those things he loves... and to our screens, of course!

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Burn '10: The Beginning

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Well, we scrimped and saved and sacrificed to get to Burning Man 2010: Metropolis, and then I was horrendously sick for the first several days. Ugh! What a way to start our vacation, our escape from the everyday, our honeymoon, our do-over for last year's disastrous week in the desert... but we made the best of it. I did what I could to combat the illness, and then when it got to be too much I sent Joel out on his own or with our buddy Chaz. If both of us couldn't go out and enjoy the week, at least he was going to have a good time! Poor thing, though; his chivalrous side kept kicking in and sending him back to camp earlier than expected. I was touched; he was worried about me and couldn't fully enjoy himself out there for too long without me. What a sweetheart!

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One thing he did do out there, though, was find a miniature of the Man. We were going to tell everyone that they were cutting costs this year, and could only build this little replica instead of the usual gigantic structure... but you can see the actual Man in the distant background. Oh well!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Free Hugs

It has been almost two weeks since my last post, and it feels like months! Probably because I wrote several of my entries before leaving for Burning Man, and then had them post while I was gone... so it's really been even longer since I last wrote.

Well, for now I'm not going to update about the trip, because it will take too long. Instead, I'll share about Ethan's latest cutest-boy-in-the-world move. He figured out that he loves hugs, and started hugging us back, complete with patting the shoulder and giving a sort of soothing "ohhh" or "hmmm" while he wraps his arms around you...

But the absolute sweetest thing of all was when he started walking towards us, arms outstretched, saying "Ug, ug!" until one of us hugged him. He'd hug me first, then Joel, then hold onto me with one arm and reach out for Joel with the other, saying "Ug, ug!" until we shared a group hug together. Yesterday he had us hugging for something like ten minutes straight; it was awesome. How is this boy so brilliant, that he knows something as simple as a hug (or even a hug marathon) can be so healing, so purifying, so miraculous?

Friday, September 3, 2010

First Camping Trip, Aug.'10-- pt.3

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Joel wanted to make sure we took Ethan down to visit the river before we left for home, so we got ourselves up bright and early and headed down the path. Ethan tried to make a break for it every time we let him out of the stroller, and he was more than ready to explore by the time we got to the water.
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After he ran into the water (ack!) we decided to take his shoes and socks off, and let him see just how cold it was.
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He loved it! Remember, this is the pre-Polar Bear kid (a Polar Cub?) we're talking about. He just kept going back into the water for as long as he could handle it, then would run up to me and jump up into my arms until his feet stopped tingling. And then-- straight back in for more.
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He liked checking out the water with Aunt Stefanie, too; even though she worried a lot about what could go wrong near the water, everyone did fine. And it gave us all a nice break before the long drive back home, too. Can't wait to do it again!
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

First Camping Trip, Aug.'10-- pt.2

When we first got up to the Dardanelles, near Strawberry, we got our stuff out as quickly as possible and then went for a walk.
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I, who had so strenuously objected to the stroller earlier that day, was now fairly glad we had brought it. Our son doesn't like being confined, but then I don't like running after him nonstop while he explores his surroundings. We all needed a break for a few minutes, and the walk was a great way to release some pent-up energy.
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Maybe a little too much energy... either way, we had a great time on our walk. We even met a little girl around Ethan's age who played around with him for a bit. It was a lot of fun watching them interact, and made me want even more to get back to work so that he can go to daycare and play with other kids. He needs it, he wants it, and he would be so happy to get that kind of interaction on a daily basis. It's time to let him go a little bit... just to daycare. For now, we're enjoying these moments as a family, and trying to take advantage of every minute we have away from the daily grind. And what a place for doing just that-- how can you not enjoy yourself, with this type of setting? Beautiful!
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First Camping Trip, Aug.'10-- pt.1

We decided to take the RV out for a trial run earlier in August, to see what worked and what didn't work in enough time to get things ready for Burning Man. Stefanie came along with us and we brought Ethan for his first ever camping trip; it was so, um, exciting!
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Well, let me be honest: It was a lot of work. Camping with a toddler is not my idea of a relaxing vacation. But then we weren't there to relax, really, we were there to diagnose any problem areas and figure out what we liked and didn't like for any future camping trips. Having Ethan there was definitely an additional chore, but it was a lot of fun, too. And it was nice sharing the child-watching duties with two other people, for a change. Because that kid sure liked to run off whenever your back was turned.
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Each time I caught up with him, I'd try to sneak some food into his mouth. Ethan hasn't yet gotten used to the idea of sitting still for a meal. He prefers to eat on the move, and tends to have a sort of nibble-while-trotting approach to his food. I just have to keep him busy with a toy (or lantern, in this case) while I finagle the food particles into his mouth.
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He's even figured out how to drink his milk while doing a million other things. Just bite down on the straw, and get moving. Sneaky monkey... gotta love his ingenuity!
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