Saturday, December 30, 2006

12/30/06 Scrapping

I took Katrina to a scrapbook store that's closing and is having a huge sale today, managing to spend more money in one shot than I ever have. She was being very fussy, so I had no time to make decisions -- if something caught my eye, in my basket it went. Besides, everything was on major sale. Total damage: $104. A grumpy baby and 30% off will do that.

Later, I discovered my mistake: I had her in the Baby Bjorn facing inward. Silly me. Don't I know this baby after 12 weeks? Once I faced her out, she was fine, though I kept having to peer in her face to make sure, since as usual she was in constant motion and it was hard to tell if it was fun or fuss.

I'm doing a scrapbook page that will have a short list of adjectives that describe Katrina. I asked Dave to give me a word for her, and without hesitation, he said, "WIGGLY!" Of course, that's the first word I put down too!

Today I caught a piece of a travel show on KCSM (a local public TV station) that talked about a museum in France featuring the work of Matisse. When he was old and sick and in a wheelchair and could no longer paint, he still created art, in a new medium: paper cutting! He took colored paper and scissors and glued cutouts to other paper. Matisse -- an early scrapbooker? We're legit!

Yesterday Gabriel got his bike stuck in some dirt in the backyard, and loved that he could spin the pedals and not go anywhere.
I found him out there happily sitting on his bike and spinning the pedals around, as though he were in a genuine spinning class. You go boy!

I attempted some self-times with Katrina outside yesterday, but she was winding down at the time, and it's especially hard to find a place to set up a camera, even with a tripod, which I didn't use. The recycling bin had to do for these.

We finally opened some more gifts last night -- we're still not done! But we did come across these adorable and very useful Robeez from Aunt Laura and Uncle Ryan, with little mermaids on them. Aww! They don't fit yet, but I couldn't resist trying them on anyway. Thanks guys!

While I was at it, I got some self-times with Katrina, this time just holding the camera facing us. No good shots again, though I think this expression on Katrina's face is pretty funny.
But I'm going to try more like that, this time when she's not, again, tired of being awake for the moment.

Speaking of gifts, Julian is doing great on his bicycle, riding it around our tiny backyard patio for a good half-hour today, turning it carefully, getting off and backing up when need be. He's so cute on it, with his round little helmet, and takes it pretty seriously and applies a fair amount of concentration to it. That's typical Julian; more cautious and reserved than his exuberant, but calculated, brother.

I remember now that I was dismayed that we wouldn't be able to all go bicycling together as a family when I got pregnant, at least not for a while. But then, seeing Julian today reminded me that little boys aren't going to wait around for their sister to ride a bicycle. One way or another, we're going to be doing all those things together. Baby will just have to go along for the ride.


Friday, December 29, 2006

12/29/06 The Backup

Instead of blogging, I'm backing up my photos onto DVD.

A coworker pointed out years ago that it never makes sense to delete things before backing up, since you often lose things accidentally during the cleanup! Of course, this was in a Unix shell command-line context, in which when you delete something, it's really gone. Before there were Recycle Bins, or Trash, or icons, or windows...even before mice.

But I don't need to be reminded what a dinosaur I am. Still, I should pop a dime (?)in a pay phone (?) and dial (?) my old coworker, he'd be amused to hear that I was still disregarding his always-sound advice.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

12/28/06 Another day at the Y

More 4am Happy Baby Fun Time today. Please, baby, save it for the daytime! It showed; Katrina was tired today and not as jubilant as she usually is.

It's such a pain being at home with the painters here. I have to keep the family room under control, I don't like to do workout videos with a strange man walking by at any time, I get in his way if I run upstairs to do laundry, Julian has to nap in the living room, it smells...argh!

I took on the serious logistical challenge of making it to a noon Pilates class at the Y today, and still having some time before the class, and not going over the 90 minutes free Childwatch time you get. That meant putting kids in Childwatch at 11:35, so I could have 20 minutes before class, then get them out at 1:05 after the class. Getting them all somewhere at an exact time is a logistical tangle of making lunches, feeding baby, boys go pee, wash hands, get shoes and jackets, strap in the car...whew. But I did it!

Begrudgingly, I went on the treadmill, with a doable goal of 5 minutes. A woman running next to me asked how often I run. "Twice a week?" she inquired. I said, "No, twice ever!" She asked how I like it, and I said, "I hate it! I'm only doing 5 minutes!" She laughed and said, "Me too! But it might be easier with someone to talk to!" and I told her, "Well that's not going to be me, 'cause I'm outta here in 3 minutes!" Actually, chatting with her extended it to 9 minutes, with 6 minutes of actual running. She may have something there about having someone to talk to.

Noon Pilates class...OK, but a little slow. As much fun as I'm having working out again, I know that ultimately, it will lead to the same thing: missing dance. At some point, I'll no longer be thrilled to get anything in at all. The tug of dance will increase; everything else is just a substitute.

As I was leaving the Childwatches with my little brood, I passed a woman putting jackets on her two little boys. She saw Katrina and smiled at me and said, "Oh! You got your girl!" I get this comment all the time, word for word: "...your girl." I'm amazed how people assume that we had a third to get a girl, though I shouldn't be, it's not that uncommon. They're usually surprised to hear me say I'd have been happy with another boy.

The woman I was talking to on the treadmill was one of the few who didn't say something about shopping together, but rather: "you'll be closer, you know, the mother-daughter thing," in the blunt honest sort of way that foreign-born people on the edge of English fluency speak. Our next-door neighbor is like that. I appreciate it.

I thought about her comment, the "mother-daughter" thing. I caught a bit of the ultimate mother-daughter movie, "Terms of Endearment" on TV while I was nursing, then playing with, Katrina yesterday afternoon. I loved that movie when I first saw it, ironically with my mother and sister, in New York. They didn't like it much, but I cried through the whole thing! Even though it doesn't seem as great to me now as when I first saw it, it still always makes me cry. And this time, I was seeing it not as a daughter, but as a mother, with my daughter. Just that realization by itself choked me up.

(Just like me, the mom in the movie had two boys and then a surprise girl. But then she gets cancer and dies. Actually, my favorite scenes are the ones between Shirley Maclaine and Jack Nicholson.)

We finally finished our gingerbread house today. After Christmas!

This is how it's supposed to look:

The reality:

I could blame the artistic mess on the boys, but really, I'm not much better! Lining the candies up on the peak of the roof was Gabriel's idea.

Gabriel joined me and Katrina for another experimental photo session today.

The best shots I got, one or both of them was out of focus. There were some real heartbreakers in there! But it was fun, and I'm encouraged. More to come.

I'm really getting fed up with this blogspot. Uploading photos is a real pain, very limited, and so often fails if I try to do more than one at a time. It takes way, way too much time. And the photos are my favorite part.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

12/27/06 A Windy Day

The morning bode very, very poorly.

First, Katrina decided to have some Happy Baby Fun Time at 3:30am, something she hasn't done in weeks. Plus getting me up twice. So I was tired this morning.

Next, the painters were here today. Which means, keeping the family room fairly cleaned up, and Julian has to nap in the living room, which at the moment is still filled with toys and gifts.

Then we lost power for nearly 2 hours, due to a windstorm. Of course, I didn't know how long the power would be out, so I was glad I had a place to go (the Y). The power came back on at 12:00...12:00...12:00...12:00...just kidding. It came back on just as we were leaving.

My survival strategy for this childcare-free week is to go to the Y every morning. I'm gladder I joined now than ever. I put all three kids in the Childwatch today, no charge for the first 90 minutes! And today was a big day, because Julian graduated to the big kids' Childwatch, by virtue of being 3 (and potty-trained).

I took a "yogalates" class, a combination of yoga and pilates, and I really liked it. Then I went to the fitness area and ran on the treadmill for -- get this -- FIVE WHOLE MINUTES. Yes, I'm that pathetic at running. Then a quick runthrough my arm weights, as I was quickly running out of time. I felt great having gotten exercise though. It's impossible to maintain my pregnancy habit of 6 days a week, but I'm sure going to shoot for it. Exercise is the absolute best thing for my mood and outlook, as well as headaches.

After the Y, I tried to go to Trader Joe's in Los Altos, but it was closed due to a power outage! Instead, we managed a grocery trip to PW (we were desperately low on milk), a struggle since the boys were rambunctious and Katrina was hungry and tired. But despite the windy and quasi-rainy conditions outdoors, we pulled it off. Actually, the wind made the boys pay attention and not screw around in the parking lots.

Katrina set a new record today: four outfits due to spitup soaking!

In fact, this interrupted a photo session. We were cranking nicely along with an attempt at photos of her semi-sitting:

Then the inevitable.

A wardrobe adjustment.

Oh never mind, I give up!

Gabriel spent the afternoon making a "tunnel" for his train track, out of Julian's Architectural Blocks. He even cleaned up the family room first, including tucking the couch's slipcover in! You can see how it's sort of pulled up in the photo. Then he excitedly pulled me into the family room to show off his handiwork.

He wanted me to take pictures of him jumping over his train track. The white train is his new Brio "passenger train" that Julian "gave" him for Christmas.

Another crummy camera video of Julian entertaining Katrina yesterday.

I can't wait to see what classes the Y has tomorrow morning!


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

12/26/06 Julian's 3rd birthday

Julian turned 3 today! We had a great day. I think I had more fun today than on Christmas!

Due to impending rain, we started with his big present: a new bicycle!

He was characteristically reserved when he saw it, but caught on quickly riding it around.
With some "help" from Gabriel, that is!

Then we did the birthday cupcakes, including an attempt at a train cupcake from this wonderful new train cake pan I got for Christmas.

I didn't prepare the pan properly, so the cake came apart somewhat, but that mistake was bludgeoned by my attempt at decorating it with buttercream frosting, and colored icing tubes.

Of course, it all tastes the same! Especially in the new Special Happy Birthday cup.

Then Julian opened all his other birthday presents. What a score!! He loved everything: the tool set from the Engels, the Ryan's Room clubhouse from Bonne Maman and Papa Paul, the fabulous Architectural wooden blocks from Aunt Laura and Uncle Ryan, the car carrier from Uncle Ronan, and the book from the Doudna grandparents.

Gabriel loved everything too, but was very well-behaved and helpful reading the tags. I told him how proud I was of him and made a huge deal of his excellent behavior. Which actually isn't unexpected; jealousy isn't a huge problem with him.

Later in the day, Dave went into the basement to try to detangle our phone lines (to install our new DSL line!), and Gabriel joined him. Dave got out once to check something, and I heard Gabriel calling "DAD! DAD!!" thinking that Dave had left him in there! He wasn't scared though.

Katrina spit up so much today that she went through 3 outfits! And I'm not one to change it for just a little spot; they were soaked.

(Gotta love this cross-eyed look: "is that my hand?!" She's been sucking on her hands lately.)

She also enjoyed being outdoors watching her brother riding his own bicycle for the first time, and she took this observation very seriously.

Dave goes back to work tomorrow, so we're back to a regular schedule. Except for one thing. Preschools are closed, so I have no childcare at all. All three of them, all day, three days in a row. Three for three. Yikes.


Monday, December 25, 2006

12/25/06 A late Christmas

Is Christmas really all about getting Stuff?

Pretty much. We might tell kids it's about love and family and the birth of Jesus, but really, what they're excited about is the Stuff. And is that so wrong? For as much as we admonish "it's better to give than to receive" (a platitude I've always thought makes only a useless comparison) and complain about the materialism and commercialism of Christmas, most of the effort goes into giving to other people. I'm reminded of that every time I see a huge line for a highway exit leading to a mall -- a lot of aggravation and effort to find things to give to others. And not just gifts; many people make great efforts to please others with food, drink, decoration, a warm and happy atmosphere. Commercial? Sure. So what if that lovely scented candle came from Williams-Sonoma? Most of the "materialism" of Christmas is in giving. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. But kids are allowed the latitude to enjoy just the getting, with little pressure or expectations to please anyone else. That will come later in life.

Or later in the day, if you're a Doudna kid. Our day started off poorly, with a nasty night for me. Katrina woke me up twice, rare these days. That by itself wouldn't have been bad, but Dave was strangely restless in his sleep, keeping me awake. Then I had a bad coughing fit that would not go away until I took some codeine cough syrup. That did knock the cough flat, but wiped me out until the afternoon.

But that wasn't the real problem. Day 3 of a bad headache, including while I'm asleep. This one, I can hear blood rushing past my ears with every heartbeat. To my surprise and dismay, the codeine cough syrup did nothing for it. I had more respect for codeine than that.

So I slept as much as Katrina would allow this morning, until about 10:30. And that of course meant Dave and the boys allowed it too, sort of. Julian did a lot of screaming this morning. When I got up, I made a big breakfast, and each of the boys got to open a few things while I was cooking.

After breakfast, it still wasn't a good time to open gifts (I forget why now), so I tried to take a nap. Katrina put a stop to that, but then Julian really needed a nap. He was really unbearable today. Then Julian napped until Dave woke him up at **6:30** pm!! Dinnertime, then finally the boys could finish opening gifts. Poor kids! They're supposed to have everything torn open first thing in the morning!

Gabriel liked reading all the tags, and Julian did too though somehow all the tags came up as "To Julian" when Julian read them!

Uncle Ronan gave Julian some classic Lincoln Logs...

...and the very next gift opened was a set of Lincoln Logs for Gabriel from the Doudna grandparents!

That was all the photos I got, but we did manage to open all the presents for the boys tonight, plus a few for the family. I will call everyone individually to thank you, since they got an awful lot of great Stuff! It's hard to top Uncle Ronan's Lionel train set though, WOW. It was quite the challenge holding Gabriel off from setting it up right then! We'll work on that tomorrow. (Or will we? Tomorrow is another big event!)

Julian screamed and cried the whole way through the bedtime process. No wonder I felt so depressed and out of it today, a lot of it was from his relentless screaming on top of a cruel headache.

I went up to check on Julian after he was in bed, because he was still crying. "I love Julius!" he wailed, because his toy monkey is missing. I told him that maybe Julius was hiding because he was screaming so much, and Julian answered, "Julius isn't scared." "Besides," he continued, "I'm not screaming now, I'm crying." I said that maybe Julius doesn't like crying, and he said calmly, "I'm not crying. I'm whining." I couldn't help but to laugh aloud.

Where was Katrina in all this? Either sleeping, or smiling and grinning broadly at everything around her. Often she'll watch the action with interest, sometimes not even wiggling that much, but as soon as there's a face to look at, she's all smiles. She is almost always happy when she's awake now, and if she's not, she's almost certainly tired, poopy, or hungry.

That got me to thinking. There are many things I did with my first two babies that I just never, ever do with Katrina. I remember with the boys, feeling frustrated when they were around 3 months old that I could never just sit and have an uninterrupted meal. With baby#3, I always sit down to meals. I don't nurse her at the table, I don't bounce her around to get her to stop crying, I don't blast music at 1am to rock her to sleep, I don't stand next to the dryer, and I never have to carry her in the sling. Based on the first few weeks with her, I don't think this is because she happens to be a super easy baby (like my friend Betsy's new baby Dylan). I really think now that much of the fussing my first babies did, and much of the angst and work I put into calming them, was simply because they were tired. Katrina gets a lot more sleep, longer, more solidly, and far far more predictably.

I almost feel let down by the alternative crowd. They didn't tell me that I'd have a much happier baby, and that I'd be much happier, if that baby got a lot more regular sleep in a bassinet, rather than getting catnaps dozing off in a sling. In my heart, I still feel like being physically close all the time is the right thing for the baby, but those frustrating back-breaking hours spent bouncing around a miserable baby weren't right for me, or for the baby.

Most of the time I hold Katrina, she's happy and gooey and adorable and positively charming. My favorite times are sitting with her propped up on my knees, so we can look at each other and make big smile faces, and I can play with her arms and legs. How did I get so lucky to have such a charming, rewarding, wonderful baby?

Completely frustrated with indoor point-and-shoot photography, I messed with a few camera settings tonight, and went from this:

To this:

Hard to tell on these Web photos, but the non-smiling photo is brighter and less grainy and a little less out of focus. I gotta learn something about camera settings!

Isn't that red toile outfit gorgeous...I hate that they outgrow these things so fast!

Merry Christmas to all, and thank you for all the great Stuff!


Sunday, December 24, 2006

12/24/06 The Doudnas on wheels

A late morning, our usual big bang-up Sunday morning breakfast, and a slightly cloudy day made for an easygoing day. After breakfast (really more brunch), Dave took a nap with Katrina, and I spent a surprisingly fun hour with the boys, trying to get in a little exercise.

First I tested out a new yoga DVD, which Julian did along with me. Gabriel wanted to know about the mountains in the background (I'd guess it was shot in the Canyonlands in Utah). Feeling time pressure thinking that Katrina was going to wake up any second, I switched to a more intense Pilates tape. Gabriel noted there were no mountains, but as with the yoga video, he pointed out which color leotard on the demonstrators he liked best.

When Katrina and Dave woke up (really, when Katrina woke Dave up), I had a plan: a family-wide wheeled excursion!

The boys got on their bicycle and tricycle, and I tried Katrina in the jogging stroller so that I could rollerblade.

(Note that the stroller is really for my sake, as I'm still a very unsteady skater.) The jogging stroller doesn't recline, so it's not designed for young babies, but other than scrunching down a little, she did fine in it. Not a peep out of her in fact, and she even fell asleep.

We went down Linnet Lane to the dead end, then past a small park to what used to be a basketball court, a perfect place for me to practice. Except that there were two little boys scurrying around.

Gabriel and Julian had a grand time racing around together, and I had fun chasing them and playing with them since I was on wheels too.

This is the last time Julian will go out on a tricycle, since he has a big birthday present coming up!

Tonight we went to Godfrey and Felipe's for a Christmas Eve potluck. This was very, very nice and pleasant. It was risky, since it wasn't a kids thing at all, but we got away with it. It was hard to concentrate on adult conversation, but what we were able to have was great. Still, there was one other kid there (a sweet, well-behaved girl Gabriel's age), whose Dad told us they're expecting again. Congratulations to the Wilcox family! (apologies to Anne, I don't know her last name!). Katrina arrived tired and cried the whole way there in the car, but once we were around all those people to look at, she was surprisingly calm and didn't make a sound.

Other than being in Day 2 of a nasty headache, it was a very nice way to spend the day.