Friday, April 29, 2011

Fruit Attack

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Ethan loves fruit. But only in certain forms... he'll eat banana, for instance, or apple slices (sans skin), or firm chunks of mango, and grapes and blueberries-- but on a completely random basis. Some days it's a go, other days it's a "no" that involves spitting the food out or totally refusing to let it near his mouth. The only thing he never refuses is dried fruit, whether it's raisins and cranberries or freeze-dried fruit. Our current favorite is the freeze-dried fruit crisps we found at Wal-Mart.

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He absolutely adores them! They are crunchy, flavorful, and purely fruit with no added anything to interfere with the nutritional value. And it's a lot of fruit in there, too; the strawberry-banana bag has approximately 4 strawberries and 1 medium banana inside. They run about $0.78/bag, which is so worth it to me for getting his fruit into him. They also have ten varieties, including peach, pineapple, and cinnamon apple... YUM. It's not a substitute for the real thing, but it does the trick in a pinch. I think they're also perfect for taking on trips, camping, and really anywhere you want to have the fruit but don't want to worry about it bruising or going bad. Great road trip snack!

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Language Blast

Ethan's language skills have shot through the roof over the past couple of months. It's so crazy to hear him speaking and actually understand what he's saying, and know that it means something rather than just being babble noises. Now that he's in daycare, interacting with several other kids who are around his age and stage of development, he's just blossoming... the only thing is, I don't get to witness it firsthand, so sometimes I'm not quite sure exactly where he's getting certain phrases.

Yesterday morning, for example, we were leaving for daycare when he stopped in front of the bushes that line our front walkway. He leaned over, sniffed dramatically, then scrunched up his nose and said, "Ew, gross!" My instinct was to laugh, which of course I did, but at the same time I was completely surprised by the fact that he said the word "gross" so clearly and so much like an older kid. Now, why again was I so worried about his speech several months ago? He's obviously got the important words down already! In fact, about the only time he's not talking these days is when he's doing this...

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011


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Could this boy get any more adorable?

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I guess I just answered my own question!

Love my little guy. Love that he can express himself in so many ways, and that he's talking and interacting so well these days. Love that his daycare teacher enjoys having him around and is impressed by how well he gets along with the other kids, by his friendly personality, and by his kindness to others. Love that he is exuberant and joyful and lives life with such verve. Love that I get the chance to see all of this up close and personal, and cherish every minute of it. (Even those minutes that aren't so great are just part of an overall wonderful, amazing miracle.) LOVE!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Itsy Bitsy Pider

Ethan's favorite song before going to sleep these days is the Itsy Bitsy Spider, or as he says, "pider." He likes it when I spider-crawl my fingers up his legs and then swoosh the rain down his tummy during the song, and he absolutely loves it when the "spider" accidentally gets lost and crawls all over his back and arms and chest on the way back up the spout, finally landing on his nose at the end of the song. He'd have me sing it fifteen times if he could, but unfortunately mommy has a lower tolerance for the bedtime performance than he does.

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He's also been wanting to be tucked in lately, which is funny... right as it starts to get warmer and he probably starts to sweat under his blanket at night, he wants me to tuck the blanket in around him before sleeping. But hey, at least it helps keep him on his little bed instead of on the floor in front of the door where he was sleeping for awhile there.

Did I mention that he's still sleeping in the closet on his little couch-bed? It used to stick out of the closet, because he liked to lay in front of the door and I was trying to provide an alternative... But he kept sliding off of it and scooting over so that half of his body was on the floor anyway.

I moved it sideways to fit lengthwise inside the closet, and he seems to be staying on it throughout the whole night now. Don't ask me why he likes to sleep there, when he has a perfectly good toddler bed in the other corner...

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I have no idea why he likes sleeping there. Just because it's close to the door, I guess... but so weird, to be behind the door and in the closet, with clothes hanging over his head all night! That's my son, though; knows his own mind, even when it comes to sleeping.

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Saturday, April 23, 2011


The other day we were playing in one of Ethan's favorite places (the car) and he was, as usual, fiddling with the radio. He turned it on and it immediately defaulted to playing the SD card that Joel had programmed with a bunch of primarily electronic, house, and techno music. Ethan started waving his head around, bouncing on the seats, smiling, and shaking his groove thang all over the place. After a few minutes, he realized that he hadn't been pushing all of the buttons on the faceplate and proceeded to change the "source" from the SD card to the radio. A regular, everyday, average pop song came on. He looked up at me with this puzzled expression on his face, looked back down at the faceplate, and then switched it back to the SD card. When the house music started thumping into the car again, this huge smile bloomed across his face and he resumed his little happy dance on the passenger seat. That's my boy! Already has his daddy's taste in music, except that Ethan's a bit more accepting of dub step than Joel is... either way, it makes it nice for mom and dad because we love that music too, so listening and dancing together is a family affair. Can't wait to get back out to the City and dance with my guy again!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Baby Shower Time!

Two of my cousins are pregnant and due in late spring/early summer I get to go to one baby shower this weekend and one a month from now... which is awesome because (a) I love baby showers, and (b) I love my cousins! The only thing that bugs me is that I have been trying to find this one gift that I was given and that we absolutely love, and I can't find it anywhere except on eBay, and it's not even exactly the same thing... Gotta work on it and see if I can find it!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On the Road to Recovery?

Well, I went in this morning and spoke with my placement specialist from the temp agency about what was going on at work. As usual for me during a stressful conversation like that one, I ended up crying in front of her. Ugh! I wish I could get a better handle on my emotions during those types of meetings... Anyway, she sympathized with me and agreed that the management was reacting inappropriately and unprofessionally in their communications with me. She suggested that I speak with the vice-president about what was happening and see how she responded to me. I agreed, but after leaving her office was so emotional that I felt unprepared to go in to work that day. I had a blasting headache from the stress and was weepy and tense, and so I called in to work that I wasn't feeling well and that I'd be in around noon that day. I used my time at home to gather my thoughts, calm down, grab some groceries, finish a homework assignment, and just try to bring up the zen factor before going in to work.

When I arrived, I found out that my manager wasn't even there-- he'd called in sick again. So the only other "yuck" factor was the president. The thing is, I think my placement specialist called over and spoke with the company, because everything was different today. The president was cordial, if a bit distant, and his wife (the vice-president) came over several times to check on me, ask if I needed any help or support, and let me know she was here if I needed her. When she asked how I was feeling, because I'd called in sick, I told her it was a pretty good headache. She said, "I hope it's not stress from work..." and then followed it up with "I don't want you to feel overwhelmed or discouraged by anything that's happened; we think you're doing a great job and we know that this is a complicated job to learn." We had a pretty decent conversation after that, and I'm thinking that things might be on the mend. Too early to say yet, but I'm hopeful. :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

From Yuck to Trucks

I decided to not dwell on the second horrid day at work in a row, and instead turn to the wonderfulness that is my son. He can always bring a smile to my face, even when I come home from work crying like I did Monday, or frustrated and beaten down, like I did today. He can change my focus from negativity to the simple joys of a toy car or a butterfly in moments. And I got a lot of support from Joel over these past two days, which felt very nice. How did I get so lucky, to be able to share my time with such wonderful guys?

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And how did I get to be such a push-over that I have somehow helped this child accumulate what appears to be the toy vehicle department for a small country?

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This kid is 100% all boy, that is for sure and for certain.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rough day.

Had a pretty bad day at work today. I'm just making so many errors, and feeling so incompetent, and it was tough to keep my composure in the office this afternoon-- especially when I made yet another mistake on the copier right as I was about to leave at 5:00. I came home close to tears and can't believe how bad I felt. After speaking with a friend, I have a new plan of action for tomorrow: Go in with my head held high, admit to my mistakes and then let them roll off my back. Treat myself the way I would like to be treated-- in other words, act as if I deserve to be treated kindly and respectfully and assume the best about what others are thinking. The worst that could happen is that they continue to act the way they've been acting, while I feel okay about my work. The best that could happen is that they begin to treat me better. It's really a positive change in any case, because no matter what happens I'll feel better about myself and satisfied with my efforts to learn this new job. If it works the way my friend hopes, they'll see me in a more positive light because I'll be acting more confident, secure, and pleasant rather than holding my head down out of guilt or shame or just feeling badly about the way things are going. We'll see... and I'll try to get on here more often, too; things are just so stinkin' busy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

No Time...

I feel like I have signed my life away to this MBA program. And not just me, but Joel, too. We are both going to school full-time and working now (thankfully), which means that we see very little of Ethan and even less of each other, not to mention hardly ever catching a glimpse of our friends and family. It's a little bit tougher than I thought it would be, this virtual isolation from our circle of loved ones, and this is only just the beginning of a long, long eighteen-month program. All I keep telling myself is that it'll be worth it in the end, it'll be worth the short-term sacrifice for the end goal... but that seems to be the common refrain of life. When does that fabled end goal arrive, anyway? I think perhaps it's time to start seeing that the process itself needs to be more enjoyable than miserable, or else reaching the legendary end goal becomes too great a burden to bear. We've got to build in some alone time for us as a husband & wife, some family time with our little guy, some get-away-from-it-all time, time with our couple friends and time for a girls/guys' night out, time with our relatives, and-- just as importantly as all the rest-- time to have some peaceful, solitary, all-by-myself solitude to recharge the batteries.

So I'll go ahead and put that plan into action, as soon as I can find some time.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Day Care Germs

My little guy has been battling a runny nose, sore throat, and cough for the past week. I even had to go in to work late on Wednesday so that I could stay home with him until Joel took over at 1:00. I was a little worried about how my supervisors would take it, but they're all parents too and were very understanding. The thing that bugs me is that this happened directly because of the usual stuff that happens by being at a daycare. It's so frustrating knowing that your child is getting exposed to more bugs than usual, and even more so when you can see that the other kids at the center are obviously sick when you drop off or pick up your kid. I love that it's a home-based daycare, because he gets extra attention in a warm, comfortable home instead of a center. But I don't love that sick kids tend to stay a little longer than they would if they were in a larger center-based daycare. I wish that other parents would keep their kids home when they're sick, rather than bringing them to daycare and waiting for the provider to tell them they have to go home. Usually it's too late at that point, and everyone else's children have been exposed to whatever is attacking your kid. Look, I understand that you don't want to or can't afford to miss another day of work to stay home with your child, but guess what? Neither can we!

And another thing that worries me a bit is that there is another toddler who attends Ethan's daycare but is at home this month recovering from heart surgery. What about when he comes back? He will be extra vulnerable to infection, and it's a bit scary to think of him being exposed to the bugs that have been floating around daycare this week. Did I mention that two of the other boys were out with major ear infections this week? Ugh! Just hope that my boy feels better soon. Even when it's minor, I hate seeing him feeling under the weather.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Big Boy :)

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I can't believe how "old" my gorgeous baby boy seems to be getting. He is truly talking a mile a minute now; he has so many words in his vocabulary that I can't really count them. The only problem is, I'm starting to lose the reference points I used to have for his speech. For example, I used to know that he was talking about his favorite UmiZoomi episode about the dump truck who tried to stop UmiCar from winning the race by various dirty tricks (raising the bridge, dumping sand on UmiCar, spilling slippery bubbles on the ground, etc.). He'd tell me the story over and over again and because I knew the sequence of actions already, it helped me to figure out what he was trying to say. Now that he's in daycare, he has a completely new set of experiences throughout the days that I'm not privy to, and it's starting to get a little more difficult to understand his conversations. Guess that means I'll just have to try a little harder!

At least I know one thing he won't stop talking about.... TRUCKS!
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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Working Woman!

So, I started at my new job on Thursday, March 31st-- and it's great! The company is an HOA management and real estate firm here in Modesto, just a few blocks down the road from my house. In fact, it's so close that I could actually go home to eat on a half-hour lunch and still get back with time to spare. Not that I really want to do that very often, but it's an option, which is nice. The office is open and friendly yet professional, and seems to be a pleasant place to work. There appears to be some manager-assistant drama brewing between a couple of people, though, so I'm going to do my best to stay out of it and keep a neutral stance at all times. The good news is that I seem to have landed a very competent manager, and the woman I'm replacing is quite good at training me to take her position, so I'm pretty confident that I can do well in this office.

The position is to work as an Administrative Assistant for one of the Property Managers at the company. My particular boss is responsible for managing two professional associations and several other residential associations, some of which are huge (over 330 units!) and some of which are tiny (only 12 units). He basically provides all of the management, meaning he coordinates the custodial care, maintenance, architectural changes to the complex itself (not the homes), and so on. He's also in charge of setting up and running the bimonthly, quarterly and/or annual meetings of the HOA's board of directors. My job in all this is to assist him in preparing for all of those events: Transcribe notes; type up agendas, letters and other documents; print copies and prepare mailings; review, type, print, bind, and mail meeting packets; prepare for seminars or conferences; handle phone calls; order supplies; etc. The usual admin. assistant type of job duties.

I'm glad to be getting this experience in the business/for-profit world, FINALLY. It gets me out of social services and puts a new chapter onto my resume. I don't see myself staying as an Admin forever, because (mainly) it just doesn't pay enough to help support my family, but also because I'd really like to eventually move into a more challenging position. But for now, this is an excellent opportunity to get to know the job well, get a better understanding of the nuts and bolts of business management, and all while being able to pay rent. BINGO! I think we have a winner here. :)