29 April 2018

Baby: Two Months

Having this baby around all the time is so much fun.

What has characterized month two?

-- He's still a good sleeper, or at least I think he is. He's maintained the same routine of waking up to eat somewhere between 12-2 and waking up again between 4-6, usually then he's basically awake for the day other than naps. Early bird!

-- He's started cooing, or babbling away happily. He didn't do this at all during his first month and it's pretty much my favorite whenever he starts making his happy noises and "talking" back to us when we talk to him. His favorite person to talk to is Sarah. She talks to him and tells him stories and he's constantly talking right back to her.

--One thing we've learned about his "talking" is that whenever he says "Ghee!" He is seriously upset. No joking around. He saves "Ghee!" for when he's actually mad. So obviously we've begun telling him that it's okay, he can calm down, this isn't really the sort of situation that calls for butter. He's going to get real tired of his parents' sense of humor, I can already tell.

--Pretty sure the funniest line in this month's video is: "What is that? Is that an alien from outer space? No, it's just a camera." Sarah cracks me up almost as much as the baby does.

--He no longer gets completely swaddled for sleeping, because he's very insistent on sleeping with his arms above his head, like this:

This was a daytime nap--in the day he'll usually nap on a mat on the floor or maybe in the crib in his room and I just put a small muslin burp cloth over his legs because he seems to feel coziest that way. For nighttime sleeping I still swaddle his legs with a blanket and he goes to sleep in his bed in our room.

-- He's definitely chunked up a good bit and is now wearing his 0-3 month onesies with only a couple of the larger newborn onesies still fitting. Pants...well, he still has some growing to do, although a couple of his 0-3 month pants will now stay on his body...they're not quite fitting. But I think he looks hilariously cute in his little jeans.

-- Angel's discovered a new favorite bedtime song for Cyrus--he still gets his Spanish songs and hymns, but Angel's added a dubstep "song" into the rotation. Why he did this, I don't know, but Cyrus loves it--as soon as the beat comes on, he relaxes.

-- Cyrus had a lot of firsts this month--first stroller ride, first wedding, and first visit to the park!

-- His favorite hobby is looking at us like he's never seen us before in his life/ like he's questioning every life choice he's ever made that brought him to this point/ like he's absolutely shocked at what has just happened. Exhibit A:

He's not so sure about Angel.


Someone asked us what has surprised us most about parenting so far.

My answer was that...I'm surprised by how much I laugh. I mean, I knew kids and toddlers were hilarious. I didn't realize very tiny infants were also hilarious. His crazy cross-eyed faces he makes crack me up, as does how disgruntled he looks when he begins to wake up from a nap, and at how fluffy and messy his hair gets after sleeping. I try on clothes that are too big for him and crack myself up. I didn't know how funny parenting would be so soon.
Angel said that the biggest surprise for him was...he didn't realize that his wife would get so seriously ill in the first few weeks after baby. The baby was healthy and fine but I wasn't. That's what shook him the most, but he said that nothing so much about Cyrus surprises him.

When we went to the park and went on a walk I said to Angel in utter glee: "I can walk! I'm not out of breath! I don't need to lie down! I'm not scared that I'm going to faint!"

Worthy of celebration. What's next? Running? Jumping, skipping, even? Looking forward to month three.
24 April 2018

Humorous Tales of Sleep Deprivation

I hesitate to even use the term "sleep deprivation"--because I don't feel deprived at all, merely in a constant state of sleepy. Plus, I tend to think that Cyrus is an extraordinarily good sleeper. He goes to bed smoothly, usually between 9-10, usually wakes up once to eat (sometimes twice) and then wakes up for the morning between 4-6 a.m I know that that is fantastic for such a tiny baby, but my grown-up body still has a bit of adjusting to do when trying to live on a baby's quantity of sleep.

I wouldn't call myself deprived, however, "sleep deprivation" is a well-understood term, so I'll keep it.

Here are some funny stories from these first weeks with baby:

> Cyrus is an early bird, so I wake up with him early in the mornings, and then once Angel wakes up for work, Angel takes care of him while I hop in the shower. One early morning shower...I poured shampoo in my hand and proceeded to apply it to my face to wash my face with it. That was a first for me. No good. Shampoo works best for hair.

(p.s. I always hear moms talking about not showering for 3 or 4 days or something like that. They must not live in homes without air conditioning in the tropics. I'll wake up at any hour to make sure I get a shower in, even if it does mean being so sleepy as to mistake shampoo for face wash)

{I call this his "What does the fox say?" outfit}

> We always start out the night sleeping in our own bed with Cyrus in the playpen right next to us, but we don't always finish the night that way. The other morning I laughed when, by 5:30 a.m., Angel was sleeping on one couch in the living room and I was lying down on the other, arm outstretched and bouncing the baby in his bouncer. Hey, whatever works.

> We went to a traditional Chinese wedding dinner this past weekend, and baby came, too, of course. All 8 courses were finished being served by about 10:30, and we were home shortly after 11, which doesn't sound like an excessively late night. However, by the time Cyrus had been bathed and fed and danced with and put to bed, it was midnight. And then he was up at 3 to be fed, and then he was up at 5 for the day--a day which included church followed by youth group followed by basketball (for Angel) and dinner with the family. We looked at each other groggily at some point during the day and were, I don't think we're that awesome at late nights anymore. Not that we ever were. Angel and I are the kind of people who leave the party early so we can sleep by ten. Our siblings laugh at us.

> I've always heard ideas like, you can have grown-up time after the baby's asleep for an hour or so before you go to bed. Maybe at some point one would feel energetic enough to stay up past when the baby's asleep. So far for me, no. As soon as he's in bed I'm falling into bed as quickly as possible because I know this is my chance, and while staying up to read a book or watch a show with Angel might sound appealing in'll never seem worth it at 2 a.m.

> At 6 one morning, Angel is up for the day and getting ready for work, and I come back in the room and lie down with the baby. I call over to him as he's brushing his teeth: "You know what? We really should have had bakery cookies from Meijer at our wedding reception. That would have been awesome. We could have had tiers for the M&M cookies, the chocolate chip cookies, and the oatmeal cookies. But I'd get more M&M cookies, because those are the best.

Apparently when I've been up with baby since 4 a.m., my mind contemplates cookies...and adding them to the menu of our wedding, which took place 7.5 years ago.

To Angel's credit, he totally rolled with my suggestions and instead of questions like, "Why are we talking about cookies that we can only buy in America and our wedding reception at 6 a.m.?" he simply agreed with me that yes, we totally should have thought of that idea earlier (like...nearly 8 years earlier) and served those cookies when we got married.


I'm sure I'll have more interesting adventures in the wee hours of the months that lie ahead...but hopefully no more shampoo-as-face-wash episodes.

Has lack of sleep ever led you to a similar misadventure?
15 April 2018

That Time I Won a Kitchen Appliance

This past weekend, for the second year running, Angel and I were asked to lead a group of teams to participate in an annual "Mall Hunt" which is run as a big fundraiser on behalf of a local hospice care organization.

Our first year, we brought 5 teams to the event, and all placed somewhere in the top 10 when awards were announced after the hunt. This year, because of all the tales of the fun we had last year, we ended up with 8 teams of two signing up for the event (which meant that this year it was the two of us adults in charge of 14 teenagers...running around a mall...while 200+ other people are doing the same thing...oh, and normal customers are simply trying to enjoy a Saturday at the mall).

Read on to see what happened this year!

This "Mall Hunt" primarily involves finding the answers to a bunch of cryptic clues while wandering the mall. Answers are always the names of stores in the mall--but you should not underestimate the mysterious reasoning that goes into the cryptic clues that we're given.

For example, in this year's hunt, these were a few of the clues and answers:

Clue: A Greeting with No Directions

Answer: SHINS <--This is the name of a store at the mall. I figured this one out because S, N, and S can all denote directions (South and North), and if you remove those letters, what's left is "Hi," a greeting.

Clue: You can mix a single gin here.

Answer: Smiggle. <-- The name of another store. If you mix up the letters in "single gin", it can become Smiggle, that is, if you assume that you can glue 2 n's together and turn them into an M.

I told you that these clues require a lot of mental leaps!

Clue: If you add whiskey, this turns into traveling salespeople.

Answer: Hakers <--The name of a store. If I assume that Whiskey is a reference to W in the Alpha, Bravo, Charley alphabet, and I add a W into Hakers, I can turn it into Hawkers, who are traveling salespeople.

Clue: It makes a late singer

Answer: Levis <-- If you rearrange the letters, they can turn into Elvis, who is a late singer.

Does your brain hurt yet??

The startling fact is that I am very good at figuring out these bizarre clues while wandering the mall and staring at the names of various shops. Our group, like many of the other larger groups that attend this event, takes a teamwork approach to the challenge--allowing people like me to figure out the cryptic clues and share answers with the rest of the group, while others worked on other parts of the challenge, which involve buying very specific products and identifying logos around the mall.

But our teamwork must be a little bit above average. There were 131 teams of two participating in the event this year, 8 teams of which were in our group. All 8 of our teams of two placed in the top 30, with one of our teams taking home FIRST place (the prize was 2 49" TVs!). My team placed 7th...and that's how I ended up winning a kitchen appliance!

Our 7th place prize was: a vacuum, an air fryer, and two pairs of knock-off crocs (everybody won crocs--and everybody won crocs last year, too. It's a tradition. We all wear them afterwards and call them our "Winner Crocs").

I asked my partner which appliance he'd rather have, and he picked the vacuum.

And that's how I won an air fryer.

Admittedly, I wasn't entirely sure what an air fryer was when I won it. Based on my research, it seems to be a cross between a deep fryer and a very fast oven.

I own very few kitchen appliances (no oven, no microwave, no mixer, no coffee maker, etc) so it's pretty funny that an air fryer is the latest appliance to be added to my minimalist kitchen, but we're excited to figure out how to use it to expand our dinner options.

Last night was our first night experimenting and we made roasted zucchini slices, potato slices, and lemon pepper chicken breasts. All of it was tasty. Do you have any recommendations on air fryer recipes? I heard you can bake potatoes in it which I'm really excited about because this oven-less girl loves baked potatoes.


So that was my weekend. We were gone for the hunt from 8 in the morning till 5 in the evening, and where was Cyrus this whole time? Chillin' with his grandma. That's by far the longest we've ever been apart and it was very weird. Apparently, though, he behaved himself very well. We start excessively young--when we pick him up, we don't ask "Did you have fun?" but rather, "How did you behave for Grandma?" Six-week-olds must learn that they have responsibilities, too. ;)

What's the coolest thing you've ever won? This is somewhere up there for me, although when I was a kid, I won a $200 gift card to Toys'R'Us from a calendar art competition and that was pretty epic for an 11-year-old.
03 April 2018

Life Lately: April 2018

+ The most exciting news for myself was that I majorly changed up my hairstyle:

It was a family project, as usual. I talked Mom through the haircut and Angel through bleaching my hair and applying the blue haircolor. I'd been planning on cutting off all my hair as soon as the baby was born for quite some time now, and the color change is fun!

+ I also got a new dress. For 30 RM ($8)! I haven't really shopped for clothes, other than the 4 tunics I bought to wear during pregnancy, since last May. Last May, I bought new clothes while I was in the USA and then promptly was pregnant. I can now wear those clothes after quite the long break...but the problem is that I have a long-standing preference for dresses, woven materials rather than stretchy materials, high necklines, and not wearing layers. None of these preferences are terribly ideal for feeding baby. I have yet to figure out what to do about this, but this wrap dress is one foray into an attempt on compromising my fashion preferences with baby's fashion preferences.

+ We celebrated Easter with the family.

+ This year, Easter and my Dad's 50th birthday coincided, so on Easter Sunday we had a small party with longtime friends and neighbors to celebrate. There were a couple big surprises we'd lined up for his birthday--one being a book full of birthday messages that I'd decided to compile. Because contacting everyone Dad knows and scrapbooking a book full of birthday messages and photos and facts about the year 1968 is exactly the sort of project you should take on during the month you have a baby. I feel like I could have gotten more people involved if I hadn't been quite so sick or so distracted with my miniature person, but I ended up getting 35+ people involved in the project and the book contains a nice variety of birthday messages, stories about the hijinks he got up to in the past, old photos, drawings, and a copy of his AARP card, so that's all good. I think he was pretty shocked by the book! But he was especially surprised by the party entertainment we'd prepared--which consisted of about 75 photos of his childhood and teen years, collected by my grandpa, who, when he heard about my plans for Dad's birthday surprise, went through all of his old slides and used the very practical method of photographing them while they were being projected so that we'd have pictures of Dad throughout his life to share at the party.

(In case anyone's ever wondered why I'm ridiculously skinny...I come by it honestly.)

+ Also, at the party, we were talking about how all the party guests should line up in order of who had known Dad the longest. Of people at the party, Mom obviously had known Dad the longest, somewhere around 30 years, but I was runner-up, and for the most recently introduced, the winner was one party guest who had never met us before but came along with friends to the party, followed by Cyrus, who has only known his grandpa for a month. I think this should totally become a party game at milestone birthday parties!

+ Season 2 of A Series of Unfortunate Events is now out, and I've only seen two episodes so far, but it does not disappoint. The Baudelaires pretty much defined my childhood the way Harry Potter defined many people's childhoods, so my excitement for seeing the stories acted out cannot be underestimated. I love those books so much. "All nights are dark days, simply because night is simply a badly-lit version of day."

+ Cyrus's funniest toy that was given to him is a giant Minnie Mouse. Someday he'll be as big as Minnie Mouse, but not today. I've pretty much decided that this is the toy that ought to become his best friend, am I right?

+ I was laughing so hard at Cyrus's non-photogenic facial expressions while taking these photos of him and Angel that I could hardly keep the camera still. He wore pants in honor of Easter Sunday. It just didn't feel right to take him to church with no pants on. Grandma tried to buy him a pair of dress pants, but the smallest pair she could find weren't small enough to fit yet. So he wore the only pair of pants he has that fit: sweatpants. What my family always says about sweatpants is: "Sweatpants tell the world: I don't care." 
So I guess that was Cyrus's mood on Easter Sunday, if it weren't obvious from his face.

+ Other times, he's a bit more camera-friendly. I think in the next week or two we'll start moving from newborn to 0-3 month size clothing. Which I'm not too sad about. Everyone says they don't hardly need newborn clothing and they grow out of it so fast, so I believed them, but he's five weeks old tomorrow and his entire newborn wardrobe consists of 12 onesies and one pair of pants (Entire newborn wardrobe supplied by Angi C., my sisters Anna and Rebekah, and Angel's mom). Given that he wears at least three onesies a day, I'm about ready for a couple new looks at this point. When do babies normally grow out of newborn clothing? By the way everyone talked, I definitely thought it wasn't a whole 5 or 6 weeks first. We haven't actually bought this boy any clothing ourselves yet, other than the onesie we used in our pregnancy announcement, which we bought before he existed, so I'm not sure that counts. Even that onesie is a six month size so it'll be a while before he wears it...
I always just figured I'll wait and see how big he is and what kind of clothes he ends up needing. The great thing is that there's no need for seasonal clothing here--summer baby, all year round!


Linking up with What's New With You?

How was your Easter? Have you been doing anything fun recently?