Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cruisin' for a bruisin'

Miles figured out how to stand up. Bittersweet: he's growing up way too fast. Maxwell didn't pop a tooth until 10 months and did the Lt. Dan army crawl until at least 9 months. I cradle Miles and just try, with all my being, to keep him a baby. Just a little while longer. Please. Oh, boy. I also see two whitish swollen lumps where to the two upper front teeth ought to be.

Sharing something I found and love . I especially like the headline photo. Two kiddos snuggled up to a soft and comfy mom. And, picture number 14 from this expose on the endeavor.

No pics of precocious Miles pulling up to standing yet. He was trying out this new skill during nap time, but I'm certain it will make it's more public debut soon enough. Sigh.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Creepy crawlers and Disney are spooky!

Miles is totally crawling now. And, he's pushing up to sitting and gettin' back down to crawl. He's even climbing on various low objects (the scale I keep in front of the fridge, for instance- I'm sure we ALL know why that's placed there, so I won't elaborate). AND, he's got not one tiny tooth, but TWO- his lower right pearly gem is also there, alongside his Baby Daddy's Day gift (the lower left).

Maxwell loves movies. We're lazy exhausted parents, so we let him watch them. A lot. When he comes to the inevitable sad/spooky/non-Disney-absurdly-upbeat part his eyes get wide and he runs or calls over to us, "Dat part liddle scary!" Like, the part in Madagascar during which Alex the lion discovers his savage predatory instincts and takes off after Marty the zebra (voiced by Chris Rock, and don't you know it: genius animators made Marty the zebra LOOK like the funny comic. How do they do it?).

He woke up two nights ago after sleeping for roughly an hour mumbling something. Bjarni went in to him and he was mumbling about having to go pee pee, I guess. So, he gets up all groggy-like and jogs out to the yard (we're in the Swedish cabin so you can do those horrid things out here, okay?) to do his biznatch. Meanwhile he's telling Daddy that "I'm haven't woke up too erh-ee (early)," which is what he says each morning when he gets up and wakes us at 5:30 am.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Baby Daddy's Day 2013

Miles popped a tooth for Fathers' day. That was his little almost 8 month old gift to the big kahuna. Maxwell painted a painting for him. I let him rent a boat and go fishing. In the rain.
Can't win 'em all!

It was a great day, all in all. BJ (who I've now started referring to as just Arni-- I find dropping the first two letters of both our names a little too hilarious. Arni and Rita. Ha ha ha ha!) carb overloaded on pasta, dark chocolate, donuts and red wine. In that order. That was his Fathers' Day gift to himself. ;)

The latest from our end? We are enjoying each and everyday being able to both be home with the boys right now. Since February 1st we've both been home. It's a friggin' blessing of gargantuan proportion. Thank you, Friluftsraadet, for deciding to not extend Arni's contract. Thank you high taxes (which aren't all that high, by the way) for paying us out in manifold gestures: my free (plus stipend) master's degree, high quality subsidized childcare (organic meals, field trips and, like 5:12 ratio of educated pedagogues to kiddos), 5 weeks of mandatory vacation, a year of maternity leave (and a month before the due date so I could lounge like a fatty elephant seal when I felt like it), and now extended paternity leave for the father figure. AMAZING.

Miles has been pulling off the downward dog/plank pose for a month now, but for the dear little life of him cannot figure out how to use his knees instead of his sweaty little toes to push off. I promised Max if he taught baby how to crawl there'd be an ice cream in it for him. No such luck.

The baby has been sitting up for 6 weeks and will be 8 months tomorrow. Maxwell didn't have any teeth until 10 months, so this wee one is surprising us in many ways. I find it so enchanting how each child can be so strikingly unique. I wonder if I'll get over it. And, I still watch Max each day and wonder at how he's really mine. THAT little ball of energy and beauty came outta ME??? Holy guacamole.

We've been sleep training Miles since Arni built a separate bedroom in our previously one giant great roomed old church out here in Sweden (where we've been hiding out since returning from CA in April). Sleeping through the night since last week, that little bugger. Amen.

Maxwell turned 3 in early April and since then it's been a constant barrage of "Why?". About everything. Like, "Why do I have to poop? ... Why did I skin my knee? ... Why is my cup on the table?" I just give up and say, "Why not?" more often than not.

Likewise, he's asking if everything he eats is a vegetable. We've talked to him about how veggies help him grow big muscles and he darts his arm out and widens his eyes to show us how very big he is. "Is oatmeal a veggie? ... Is ice cream a veggie? ... Is a hammy sammy a veggie?" To be honest, he's always been a super eater- in fact, he requested and ate asparagus to go with his hot dogs on his birthday. He loves bell pepper, carrots, peas, broccoli, artichokes, corn, potatoes, green beans, avocado (a fruit, I know!). We've also got him thinking bananas are a special treat. I wonder how long we can keep that one up. He's precious. And, potty trained (during the daytime, at least). And off his binky. And, I'll probably go and jinx myself, but he's never pooped his (f)undies. A few minor pee mishaps-- no biggie in my book.

He loves to go fishing with his old man. And he loves to play with his trucks/tractors/cars and a vintage cardboard barnyard set our friends and neighbors up here in SE gifted him. He's getting so creative and his imagination is really developing. Even though I sometimes feel like an idiot, I get down and play 'house' with his cars and even venture a few story lines of my own.

We had Tia D up from Munich for a last minute Mother's Day gift to me-- we had an impromptu late night party with our CPH-based friends who also have a summer house near us. We trucked it back to CPH with them the next day listening to techno and driving upwards of 85 mph in a brand new BMW- playing autobahn (our adult version of make-believe- so who am I to get embarrassed when playing Big Rig Daddy and his tiny Hot Wheels offspring in a house made up of amassed Teletubby stuffed toys and Baby Mile's Bumbo seat?).

We went to Lucinda Williams that night at the DR Koncert hall. Wonderful night with my bestie. (Although we were among the 10 youngest peeps at the show, I cared not, for stellar music knows no age demographic.) We ate McDonald's awaiting our train from Central Station. I had a Fillet-O-Fish and soft burger with cheese. D had a McFlurry and fries. So what? We don't feign perfection! It was GOOOOOOOOOOOOD, too.

Miles is so soft and cuddly. I am trying to cherish every moment, as with number 2 you know how fleeting each phase is. He goes from contented babe to angry gremlin in .5 second. Take that spatula you need to finish dinner away from him and boy, will you hear it! I don't recall Maxwell being quite as quick to swing moods.

After the usual introduction-of-solids constipation bouts, Miles is a regular pooping dude. You know: big old ones. ;) He loves sweet potatoes, but is very happy with the mashed up bolognese he had alongside us the other night. He was all-eyes on Arni: "where is that next bite, buddy?" he seemed to be thinking while he was still gumming the prior mouthful.

He has also figured out how to generate sounds- banging things on other things, kicking his chubby legs (much chubbier than his bro ever was, and I am so glad for that!). He loves to sit in the grass and let the blades tickle his feet. Splashing in the bathtub? Loves it! Remember the 0-grump in .5 seconds? Just try to take him outta the tub before he's done having his fun.

Maxwell loves the movie Madagascar. He loves bugs, too. We made a bug paradise out of an old glass jar with holes punched in the lid and we spent a morning collecting sundry insects and arachnids for our menagerie. Arni and baby slept in. I think it's important that both boys get one-on-one time with each of us if we can swing it. I like to tuck Max in at night, he asks for me. I feel special. I talk to him about the day we had, walking him through our adventures and experiences, including naughtiness and time outs and the moments that made us crack up. He won't always ask for Mommy to "talk to me" and "fix my blanked" (adjusting his duvet cover and tucking him in), so I relish it.

Three days ago, after dinner, he crawled over to me and climbed in my lap. He said, "I love you, Mommy," for the first time of his own volition. My heart almost stopped and I couldn't hold him close enough. Ranks among the VERY best moments in my life.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Back, back from Cali, Cali.

We're baaaaaa-aaaaaaack!

The two month sojourn in California was nothing short of spectacular.
We spent extended amounts of quality time with family, especially cousins in Fremont and my dad, Yogi Dada, in San Francisco. For the first time ever we experienced some semblance of regularity in our relationships with important loved ones on my side of the family tree. We rented a granny flat fora month in a beautiful area called San Mateo Park- walking distance to downtown San Mateo and Burlingame, as well as the fantastic Coyote Point recreation area.

Upon arrival our very gracious cousins let us stay with them in Fremont, right at the base of a regional mountain. Needless to say Maxwell had tons of fun hiking with Mommy, Daddy and Sammy Uncle. My father's oldest brother and wife live there and I guess my dad looks an awful lot like his big bro seeing as Maxwell called Harshad Dada "Yogi Dada" the whole time. ;)

We saw my dad frequently and visited California treasures such as Half Moon Bay beaches and the renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium. Again: amazing.

A highlight for me was being so lose to one of my best friends, Caitlyn, and her kin in Morgan Hill. It was especially sweet for me that Maxwell fell so in love with her kids- for the first time, ever, he didn't want to come home with his Daddy, but wanted to STAY. Caitlyn does have an amazing family, so I totally understand not wanting to say goodbye. We even got in a "girls' day" of sorts when her mom came to town- I loved catching up with them!

We took two road trips to Southern California. We spent (not nearly enough) time with my mom, Grammy, in the desert. Her boyfriend Robert, has a condo in a cozy tennis club community he let us borrow. The weather was as close to perfect as one could imagine and the neighbors so friendly. We were in the pool, jogging at dusk, wearing shorts and sandals! Grammy held baby Miles poolside while the rest of us lounged around in the pool. Maxwell even swam across the pool relying on nothing but his own devices and floating noodles!

We also stayed with Auntie Mila. She took him on adventure walks around the neighborhood, collecting treasures in the form of Rollie Pollies and snails. Maxwell thought her two "boys", labs Brandy Brown and Duncan, were the most amazing things since sliced bread. Tossing their toys into the pool for them to fetch, rubbing them down afterward, brushing their teeth and feeding them their breakfast and dinner were exciting daily activities. Oh, and Auntie Mila even made picking up their poopies something to look forward to. :)

Thanks to Auntie Mila for watching the baby while I took a much needed break to visit a close childhood friend, Bree, who lives not 5 miles from her in Murrieta and who has newborn twins, Hannah and Nolan. They were sooo precious and I only wish I could have spent more time with her.

Maxwell's English really exploded- just as I had hoped. He's now truly distinguishing between both languages and will switch to English when addressing me. On. His third birthday, celebrated low key at Farfar's house with his requested meal of hotdogs and asparagus, he asked me "why?" For the very first time. He wanted to know why I was removing my nail polish. I said, "mommy is taking off. The old nail polish so she can put on new and be pretty." He then proceeded to ask me why again and again. I think I know what's coming next...

He is really giving potty. Training the old college try. We're proud of the strides he's making- now that we're back in rugged Sweden he's basically diaper free and going like a pro. ;)

Another funny thing he's started doing is telling me "two minutes, Mommy," with a outstretched finger and earnest look oh his face. This is a tool I've been using with him for at least a year and half: giving him a five or so minute countdown before we are leaving somewhere or shifting activity gears. So, now when I've finished the countdown to, say, brushing our teeth in the morning he throws a sweet and funny countdown right back at me.

He loves singing the alphabet song and almost ever lets anyone else chime in. He is identifying around 5-7 letters by sight, the world Elmo and is drawing A, L, O and E. I'm working on teaching him to spell his shortened name, MAX.

Just two days ago, our toddler genius ;) drew a roundish circle with two smaller circular o's inside. "It's a man," he said. We were beaming with pride.

Next up: saying fare thee well to the binkies. Wish us luck.

Baby Miles is a crack up. He's a little charmer, to be certain! He is very eager to smile and laugh. That's not to say he doesn't have a mean temper, because he does! From zero to angry cry in all but 3 seconds. Just try giving him a binkie at night when what he really wants is milk. Watch out! I must say, however, he makes the cutest little quivering pouty lip sometimes. Plus, we were almost rid of his "reverse tonsure" hair style (you know, the reverse of the old medieval friar 'do), but now he's again squirming all over, giving himself basically the same bald patches as his Yogi Dada. Hey, it's actually quite becoming if you're over 70 or under 12 months. :)

like i said, he's really rocking and rolling. From front to back at around three months and by five from back to front. Makes co- sleeping somewhat more taxing on us parents, though.

He's just about sitting up in his own. Loves his feet which he discovered about 2 weeks ago at 4.5 months.
He had solids, avocado, for the first time at over five months at Auntie Mila's house and loved 'em. He's now downed sweet potatoes and pears with pleasure and we are starting to settle into more of a schedule now that we're back and over jet lag; three naps a day, two solid meals and sleep training on the not too distant horizon for this little man.

He watches our mouths more determinedly at his age than Maxwell did. He's really keen on getting a head start on that talking thing and I bet he'll be quite the ham once he does. He just starting blowing raspberries a week ago- sometimes while nursing, spraying milk all over me!

Oh, and Miles quite surprised me and Biarni two nights ago when out of nowhere the little dude pushed up into all fours during some evening tummy time! Watch out world,crawling into trouble seems sooner than we first thought!

When my boys look at me, my heart melts. I can't imagine a better feeling or moment in life. Ever.

*****Dang it! The pictures are all TOOOOOO small! Sorry folks. Will correct this when I get another hour-long break to myself during which I do not prioritize something good for me like exercise or sleep or eating cake.*****

(forgive the sideways rendering- this old netbook just ain't what it used to be)

Maxwell at about 5 months.

Miles at almost 5 months

Maxwell and Sammy Uncle cruising Old Town Livermore one beautiful Saturday afternoon in February

Yogi Dada and his boys

Uncle Raj and Maxwell walking through the Presidio

Grammy and the boys

The family at Coyote Point Recreation area near Burlingame

Poolside at Auntie Mila's house

Bjarni in Uncle Richard's dune buggy near the Salton Sea (one of the best days of his life, says he!)

Auntie Mila and Maxwell on the Carousel at the San Diego Safari Park in Escondido

Maxwell and the python becoming best buddies (Safari Park)

The family at San Gregorio beach south of Half Moon Bay

Bass Pro Shop. Need I add more?

Ready for the pool!

Miles and Mommy poolside at Auntie Mila's

Miles and Daddy poolside at Auntie Mila's

Miles with a diaper wedgie

Maxwell striking poses as a Jr. Park Ranger in Joshua Tree

The family at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Mommy and her boys

Thursday, January 3, 2013


We cannot express how glad we are to have had ushered in the new year healthy and happy. 2012 was a year of immense stress coupled with the immense joy of getting our little Miles, purchasing a condo, finally getting a car to cart around the family and settling in with the invaluable help of family and friends.

December, in particular, was rough. Barely made it through, to be frank. Bjarni learned his contract will expire in February without hope for an immediate renewal which places us under financial strain soon. We know, ultimately, that this will be a wonderful, changing moment for him as he hasn't been the happiest with his work, but it is stressful facing this nonetheless.

Miles and I were rushed to the hospital in an ambulance the week before Christmas because he was suffering from the RSV virus- only a special visit to the pediatrician could diagnose him, after both a trip to the ER due to my concerns regarding this labored breathing and a trip to our regular GP. (!!!!!!!)
How they both missed the signs, I will never know- so infuriating and scary to be treated like a hysterical mother. Mothers, always trust your instincts! The only reason we were at the pediatrician in the first place was to monitor Miles' weight, as the doc doesn't think he is gaining enough weight. :/ despite my efforts to increase my supply, he is sucking me dry and left wanting. So, we might be supplementing with formula, which doesn't make me too happy. Better a satisfied, thriving baby than the alternative, right?

This comes on top of his lingering gas, or colic, problems! Oh, my!

But, he is so chill when he doesn't have gas- loves to stare and wiggle and talk to his hanging mobiles. He loves talking to Tia D the most and gives her a stunning supply of smiles and coos. I'm a bit jealous, but that's okay. :)
He started smiling at five and a half weeks, has inadvertently grabbed his hanging activity center, is a total night owl (very much the opposite of Maxwell), and will lie on his own contentedly which is another thing baby Maxwell didn't do at this age.

Miles' eyes are definitely going brown, his overall complexion darker than his brother's. And, he's loooong- in his 6 months jammies at two and a half months.

Max is increasing,y talkative and, it is certainly true what they say, kids say the darnedest things! He's constantly keeping us in stitches with what he comes up with. Of we ask him if we can do something for him, like fetching him a glass of milk, he responds, "yes, you may."
He says thank you on his own, which warms the heart- it has been my mission that he (and his brother) will have impeccable manners!
He eats pâté sandwiches with red beets and loves his "beet fingers" afterwards. He says, "woooow..." in an awed whisper when we tell or show him interesting things, like a big snow plow coming down the street.
He loves Gangnam Style and we have a dance party all the time. He even sings it at random times, say in the store, "... Heeeeey sexy lay-day..." cracks us up.

He did give the whole family a stomach virus over Christmas, but we all survived so he will be foregiven. :)

Christmas was so cozy, both Eve and Day, with family, friends (So happy to have DeAnna staying with us these days)and neighbors who were home. We drank yummy cocktails, ate till we burst, opened our traditional "thrift store Christmas" gifts, sang around the tree and played Bezzerwizzer. All in all, a fabulous holiday, especially following the tumultuous week prior. Our downstairs neighbor,with a sweet dog,was alone on Christmas because he is a social worker for a young man with MS. He was on call both days, in case he needed or wanted to do anything. We had him and the spaniel Aya up for dinner, drinks and coziness.

Oh, and while we were in the hospital with Miles someone broke into our car and stole about a grand worth of fishing supplies and Bjarni's, thankfully empty, briefcase. Who does that at the hospital??!!! We had toay for the window and locks to be replaced on our apartment, but insurance will cover the contents of the car.

I am doing great, but the body is much slower to recover this time around. And, I'm not a patient person! It's quite warm for this time of year, so the ice is gone of the sidewalks. Jogging starts today, in fact!

We spent the New Year in Sweden and just made it home yesterday... I expect big changes this year. Big, good changes.

Hope all your holidays were blessed with lots of love, health and peace.

Pictures show our little, humble abode!