Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A resolution for 2014: Support my fellow parent

While browsing Facebook the other night I came across the post below from a friend from high school:

My knee-jerk reaction was "yeah, some people just aren't cut out for this parenting thing"... and then I caught myself...

You see, I've been THAT MOM in Target where everything was going along fine and then out of nowhere my infant son starts screaming at the top of his lungs. I quickly did a sniff test of the diaper which came back clean, nothing was pinching or hurting him, taking him out of the car seat and holding him didn't help, he ate just 45 minutes ago but even so, offering the spare bottle I brought wasn't cutting it. Nothing from my bag of tricks was working. So there I was, trying to walk and bounce my one-month old son in the middle of Target while softly singing his favorite songs, desperately trying to grab the items I needed so I could make my quick exit. Onlookers scowled at me, others watched with pity as I struggled to balance my screaming baby, push the cart, and grab the items I needed. But nobody offered help. I'm sure judgement was passed on me but what those people didn't know is that nobody wanted my son to stop crying more than I did. What they didn't know was that I was out of diapers and wipes and some essential food items and I figured that Target could be my one-stop-shop to get everything I needed and go back home as quickly as possible. What they didn't know was that it took me three days to muster up the courage to leave the house with my baby who needed constant attention from me for fear of this situation happening. What they didn't know was that it took me all day to try to schedule his feeding and nap times around showering, gathering items for the diaper bag, and loading the car. What they didn't know is that I was crying on the inside wishing that this trip would just end.

Even though the parent mentioned int he Facebook comment should have been giving more attention to the fact that their child was in a potentially dangerous situation, I quickly had a change of heart about my friend's post. All of a sudden I was fired up and angry at how quickly they passed judgement on this parent, and I was ashamed I had initially done the same.

When you see a parent struggling you don't know if they have had a rough day/week/month/year and their kid's behavior has left them challenged, frazzled, overwhelmed, frustrated or exhausted. Kids can be energetic and loud and are great at testing their boundaries - especially in public. And we have to take them out in public to apply the behavioral lessons learned at home. Not doing so is like assuming your degree alone will get you a job and real-life experience doesn't count. And Lord knows that you can't really control children, only teach them as they grow. My goodness, if we could so easily control our children this parenting thing would be a breeze! And let's not forget that if the child has a learning or developmental disability (autism, anyone?) then there is sometimes little the parent can do to predict, advert, or manage their child's actions.

I've seen it time and time again on social media, blogs and in real life. Observing a person's one action leads to judgement of their entire life. "That mom is letting their child throw a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store. They're a bad parent!" How unfair and how selfish of us to assume we know everything about a person in just a moment of observation. How awful of us to stand there and watch parents struggle and not offer assistance. I was ready to take action!

In my frustration I wrote this response to the Facebook post:
While there is no excuse for letting a toddler loose in a parking lot, the parent was probably overwhelmed and exhausted trying to wrangle a high energy toddler all day and probably could have used your helping hand to guide their child back near the car. Instead, you stood idly by and now mock them on Facebook. Good for you.
But I didn't hit post. It's not really my thing to get into discussions or arguments on Facebook and I wasn't looking to start an argument. Plus, I didn't want to come off all high and mighty because I am certainly not winning any parent-of-the-year awards over here. But I have re-channeled my frustration and resolve to make a change in 2014: I want to be an example of Jesus' love for us, and follow his calling for us to love one another. And I think I'll start with parents.

I believe that we all do our best and that we operate with the best of intentions. Some people only see a blip of our lives and that blip certainly doesn't tell the whole story... where some see a moment of weakness or oversight, God sees the whole picture of who we are. While others may look at a dandelion and see a weed, God looks at the same dandelion and sees a flower blooming. I want to see the flowers, too.

It's time we supported each other in this parenting journey, even if you don't have kids. We're all in this together. Everyone's children will inherit the world we leave them, so why not make it a better place to be?

So next time I see a parent struggling with a tantrum-throwing toddler in the store, a back-talking pre-teen at Starbucks, or a child running loose in a parking lot I will do what I can to be a help and support, not be just an observer. Whether it be a smile and nod letting them know "I feel your pain, hang in there" or physically helping a child make their way back to their parent, I want to be genuinely helpful (and hopefully not creepy).

Maybe you'll join me, maybe you won't. But in all sincerity, if you have some ways that I (or anyone) can be a help and support to other parents in a non-creepy way leave your thoughts in the comments. I'd love to hear them.

Here's to a great 2014 and to making our community a better place for parents & kids, and all who encounter them along the way. Cheers!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas as a family of three

Christmas this year was very special for our family - it was our first time celebrating with Carter! We have been looking forward to sharing Christmas with our children for years and it was so wonderful for it to finally happen. And if that wasn’t enough we were also privileged to have my Aunt Pat and Uncle Tim come and visit us from Santa Barbara to celebrate the holiday! They are like a second set of parents to me and a third set of grandparents for Carter and we were honored to have them here!


Pat and Tim arrived on Christmas Eve. We went to church for the Christmas Eve service and then headed out to P.F. Chang’s for a yummy dinner. Carter did well at the restaurant and even enjoyed some cuddle time with Aunt Pat after dinner.


Before bedtime Carter set out some egg nog and cookies and wrote a letter to Santa… well, I wrote the letter but I’m sure it was what Carter would have written, if he could write.


After what felt to be a short night we woke up to find that indeed Santa visited our house!


We caught Carter’s trip from his bedroom to the living room on video (a long-standing family tradition on my side of the family). Checking out the shoes seemed to be more exciting initially, but I’m sure that was because he didn’t know what was in store for him in the living room…

Then the fun began as we showed Carter how to check out all of the loot from Santa in and below his stocking (that my mom, aka Grammy, made for him)!

After this we headed into the family room where our Christmas tree was to open gifts under the tree from family and friends. The tree was certainly packed for only having five people’s gifts under it. What a blessing!


It was really fun teaching the little guy how to open presents and he caught on pretty fast! He’ll be a gift-opening pro in no time!


After opening the gifts under the tree we ate brunch, hung out, did some video calls to family, made dinner, ate dinner, and hung out some more - a pretty wonderful way to spend the day if I do say so myself!



We had a wonderful first Christmas as a family of three and we’re so glad we got to share it with Aunt Pat and Uncle Tim! We hope your holiday was wonderful, too! Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Work from home day

On Wednesday our daycare provider was called to jury duty so I got the rare privilege of staying with Carter while working from home. 

It wasn’t ideal to actually try and work from home since I couldn’t give all of my attention to Carter and I also couldn’t really accomplish too much while wrangling my busy baby, but it was still more time than I usually get with him so I was glad to have it.

While I was working on my laptop Carter was playing on his own just talking away and banging things together. When he wasn't paying attention to me I caught a little of his play time on video - until I was caught!

I was so glad for a day with my little love! I hope we can do it again soon...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Weekend trip to Santa Cruz

This past weekend we took a little family trip to Santa Cruz just to get away for a little while. It was nice to step out of our routine and spend some fun time together!


We headed out Saturday after lunch and started the fun at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. We walked around for a little bit to get the lay of the land and Carter enjoyed cruising in his stroller while sipping on a bottle - arguably the coolest baby ever.


Dave and I decided to take turns going on the roller coaster (The Giant Dipper) since we couldn’t take Carter on the ride. Amusement parks are certainly a little different now that we have a little one! While Dave was taking his turn on the roller coaster Carter and I (OK, just me) sampled some fried Oreos and enjoyed a beautiful ocean view. I have never had a fried Oreo before so I wasn’t sure what to expect - but it was tasty!


After the roller coaster rides we headed over to the carousel to share Carter’s very first carousel ride with him. The fun began even before the ride did! After I put Carter on a horse he just started squealing! It was so funny and we caught some of it on video:

And THEN the ride started. He wasn’t really sure what to think at first and I wasn’t sure if he was excited, scared, or ready to throw up.

We made it through the ride with no crying or throw up so I call it a success! It is such a joy to be able to share Carter’s firsts with him!


On Sunday we went to the Mystery Spot which is a gravitational anomaly where this cabin slid down a hill and because of its placement there are a lot of optical illusions where you experience variations of gravity, perspective, and height.


They claim the area “defies physics” but the optical physicist I brought with me has a different opinion ;-) At any rate, we had a fun time and took some interesting photos.


For the record, it was hard to keep my balance walking on a sloped floor and it was even harder doing it with a 20+ pound baby strapped to my chest!




After our Mystery Spot tour we headed to Capitola for lunch and some sightseeing. Carter enjoyed a bottle on the pier while Dave took a few fun photos.



This photo cracks me up. It’s like the seagull is daring anyone to clean their fish. Ha!


It was time to head home and back to reality but not before Dave was able to show Carter the ocean.


We had a wonderful weekend away and we were sad to see it end. But we are definitely looking forward to when we can get away again soon!

Friday, November 8, 2013

He's standing! (with a little help)

The other night Carter pulled himself up to a standing position while holding onto my hands. It was so cute because he was SO proud of himself! He was just beaming and couldn't stop laughing and smiling and Dave was quick to capture it on video. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Baby babble

Carter has been “talking” to us more and more lately and it is soooo cute! He can say dada (well, make the sound but not associate it with Dave yet) but hasn’t quite got the mama sound down despite my constant subtle pushing encouraging. The other night I caught him on video babbling away as he was trying to climb all over us. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Happy Halloween! We had a great time celebrating Carter’s 1st Halloween with him! We started off the week carving a pumpkin for our front porch. Carter wasn’t too sure what to think about it, but I’m pretty sure he had fun watching Daddy.



For the last few years I have helped to plan the Fall Festival at our church and so I was already committed to working the event on Halloween night. Luckily I got an hour off of my duty time so I could spend time with Carter and Dave at the event. I also had to dress as a busy bee so I would match the other committee members and Carter and Dave had a cute costume theme going without me. They were pretty cute, no?



It’s not every day you see a banana holding a monkey!


Carter was too little to really play any of the carnival games but we had him try to fish for candy, go through the maze, and enter the costume contest with Dave. It was so much fun!


Next year I will not be helping with the Fall Festival so I can spend more time with Carter and I look forward to that! We hope you had a great Halloween!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Carter - 7 months

Carter James, you are seven months old! I’ve been trying to write your heartfelt post all morning but you keep crawling into my lap and trying to play with the computer, pull on my hair, and give me hugs and “kisses” (you open your mouth and move towards my cheek or nose with your drooly smile) - all which make it very difficult to type. But this is typical of life lately! You crawl all over the place and are into everything - you barely sit still! We had to baby proof this month and even switched our living room and family room spaces in order to give you a larger, safer place to play and explore. You seem to love to have the freedom to roam around and play with your toys and we love having the room to get on the floor and play with you (and let you crawl all over us).

You are getting better and better at eating solid foods and we can already start to see which foods you do and do not like. You LOVE oatmeal, rice cereal, and your veggies (peas, green beans, broccoli, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes) but you are not a fan of bananas, unless they are mixed with something else. Go figure. We’re excited to continue to introduce new things and see your reaction!

You still like going to Carrie’s house and reach out to her when we drop you off in the morning and even when you see her at church. It breaks my heart a little to see you so comfortable with someone else, but I’m glad that you are so comfortable with your caregiver when I have to work.  I’d much rather have you reach out to her than cry! Carrie takes very good care of you and we are so lucky that we have her!

Carter, you are so amazing to us with everything you are learning and doing. To think that this time last year you were just a little guy inside my tummy blows our minds. You have won over our hearts and we can’t imagine life without you! We love you, Bug!


Weight: 20 pounds, 4 ounces

Length: 28 1/2 inches

Clothes size: You just barely still fit in size 9 month or 6-12 month clothes and I’m sure we’ll have to move you to your 12 month clothes in a couple of weeks or less.

Diaper size: Size 3


Sleep: At night you go to bed between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. You sleep in no consistent pattern but can usually be resettled easily without having to nurse. I usually end up nursing at your first wakeup between 1:00-3:00 a.m. and then again around 5:30-6:00 a.m., but that is it. If you wake up at any other point then we snuggle, rock and sing you back to sleep. Some nights you are a rock star sleeper and other nights you wake up frequently - and I’m sure teething isn’t helping you. You still end up in bed with us by the end of the night because nursing is easier that way, but I also love snuggling with you and waking up next to your sweet, smiling face.

Eating: You are still a distracted nurser and breastfeed for 5-15 minutes on each side… unless you are really hungry, then you get to business right away. You have 3 100mL bottles of expressed milk along with 2 oz of solid food at Carrie's house and we still breastfeed any time Mama is not working. You have gotten the hang of eating solid foods and very much enjoy meal time! So far you have had rice cereal, oatmeal, puffs, pumpkin, avocado, sweet potato, green beans, broccoli, peas, peaches, pears, and bananas. We are still introducing a new food every 4 days to make sure you aren’t allergic to anything we are giving you and we’re still making all of your food with organic produce.


Likes: Playing with your toys (favorites are your remote, helicopter, musical monkey, and giraffe), sucking on your binky, being held, army crawling, watching Gromit, listening to music, trying to play with our cell phones and TV remotes, going to public places and taking in all of your surroundings, and playing in your Baby Einstein Activity Jumper. Favorite songs right now are Going to the Zoo, Wheels on the Bus, Jesus Loves Me, You are My Sunshine, the theme song to “Jake and the Never Land Pirates”, and the special song Grammy made up for you.

Dislikes: Being hungry, being bored, having a dirty diaper, and being overly hot.


Milestones this month: Still army crawling, crawling to us when you want to play or be picked up, crawling to chase Gromit, going from the crawl position into a sitting position, grabbing things with your thumb and pointer-finger, getting your first tooth, ever-improving motor skills, and “talking” more and more.

Memorable moments: Going to the farm and doing the corn maze and taking pictures in the pumpkin patch, meeting the Upsilon ZTA girls, riding in the shopping cart at the grocery store, and Grammy visiting and watching you for a few days.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

First tooth

It has been a big week at our house. Dave has been off and on with work on account of the government shutdown, but I am happy to report that he is back to work on his regular schedule! He only lost two 2014 holidays as a result of the shutdown but we will gladly take that over losing his pay. Let's just hope this fiasco doesn't repeat itself in January/February.

But in bigger news this week, Carter got his first tooth!

His gums have been swollen for a while but that first tooth (his bottom left) finally popped through. It been a rough week of being fussy and presumably some mouth pain but we got through it.

It looks like the other bottom front tooth may poke through soon and then I think the top ones may be next. The next few weeks and month will be interesting!

Monday, October 14, 2013


Happy Easter!

OK, that might confuse you, but today Dave was granted his (2014) Easter holiday from work because otherwise he wouldn’t be getting paid. Let me explain…

Dave works for a research lab that is mostly funded by the government, and the government is currently shut down, so funding for the lab has stopped. The lab has worked hard to make sure its 6,000+ employees can continue to be paid for as long as possible so they have been using reserve funds to pay their employees through this past Friday. Now, they are in their last bit of reserve funding and have pulled out a few last tricks to keep everyone paid while the government sorts out their problems. Today the employees were given their 2014 Easter Holiday early, they will be able to work to wrap up current projects on Tuesday and Wednesday and then on Thursday and Friday they get two more of their 2014 holidays (President’s Day and New Year’s Eve, if you were curious).

While we’re super grateful that the lab has worked it out to keep paying Dave, they cannot pay anyone starting Monday, October 21. If the government is still shut down on Monday then Dave and everyone else at the lab will be furloughed without pay. And because he works for a lab funded by the government but is not a federal employee then even if the bill passes to back pay federal workers, he won’t be included.

So if the government doesn’t get their act together soon we will join the ranks of the thousands of furloughed workers in this country. It’s a shame that the leaders of this nation seem to be too stubborn to really see how their decisions, or lack thereof, are impacting real people. And I’m not just talking about closing some national parks and memorials.

Our local economy will take a hit. With 6,000+ local workers in a smaller community losing their pay even for a short time, local businesses will see reduced spending and reduced revenue. Some families we know will lose their only source of income (and we would lose 2/3 of ours). And it’s not like these furloughed workers can apply for unemployment or just go get a new job. Technically they all still have jobs, they just can’t work at them.  And as soon as the government gets going again they will all go back to work. It’s just this crummy time of unknowns that is causing a lot of worry and frustration. And the worst part is there is (almost) nothing that we as individuals can do to make any difference or move things along faster.

Please pray for our leaders to come to an agreement on our national budget and get all of the furloughed workers back to work ASAP. Regardless what your political beliefs are, I think we can all agree that keeping hard-working people from their paychecks isn’t a good thing.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Carter - 6 months

Carter James, you are six months old! How has half a year already passed us by? I was looking through photos from the past six months and pulled together your one, three, and six month photos. You have changed so much! You went from being so uncertain about us and your surroundings to the giggly, cuddly, bouncy boy we know today.

Carter 136 month

You have started to army crawl across the floor and we know we’ll have to start baby-proofing soon. I’m not quite ready for you to be so mobile but I think if you had it your way you would get up and walk. It’s just a matter of time! You started sleeping in your crib in your room across the hall this month… well, you start out there (while I keep a close eye on you from the video monitor) and after your first or second wakeup I put you in the pack n’ play in our bedroom before you eventually end up in bed with us. I don’t sleep as well when you are in our bed, but you just love snuggling up next to me and I can’t complain about how easy it is to nurse you back to sleep when you wake up. You started eating solid food this month, just a week before your six month “birthday”. You’re still not too sure about what I am putting in your mouth but you love to play with the empty spoons. I can’t wait to see which food you do and do not like as we start to introduce new things to you.

You are such a joy to be around! We love that you reach out to us when you see us and that we can make you smile and laugh. We love that you still want to snuggle with us when you’re tired and fall into our arms when you’re excited. We love sharing life with you and we love you, Bug!

Blog 1 

Weight: 19 pounds, 6 ounces

Length: 27 inches


Clothes size: You are wearing size 9 month or 6-12 month clothes and we are currently buying some 12 month items in preparation for your next growth spurt.

Diaper size: Size 3


Sleep: At night you go to bed between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. You usually sleep until 11:30-12:00 and then wake up every 1.5-3 hours in no consistent pattern. You most often wake up during the night because you are unsettled and start rolling around in your bed. I try to settle you back down before nursing and sometimes that works, while other times nursing is the only thing that will comfort you back to sleep. Often times you wake back up when I try to put you back in your crib or pack n’ play so you end up in bed with us (usually starting between 2-4 a.m.) but that makes it easier for us to "side nurse" which lets both of us get more sleep and seems to keep you settled for longer periods of time. Because of this I now have a kiddie rail installed on the side of the bed to keep you from rolling out. Safety first!

Eating: You are such a distracted eater and breastfeed for 5-15 minutes on each side and often stop eating to talk me or pop up to check out what is going on around you. You now have 2 100mL bottles of expressed milk at Carrie's house and we still breastfeed every 2-4 hours any time Mama is not working. You started solid foods one week before you turned six months old. I’m so glad that we were able to exclusively breastfeed for so long before starting solid food. You are still getting the hang of “chewing” and swallowing but you are getting better every day! So far you have had rice cereal, pumpkin and avocado. You have had pumpkin for lunch at Carrie’s house and rice cereal and pumpkin or avocado for dinner at night. We are introducing a new food every 4 days to make sure you aren’t allergic to anything we are giving you and we’re looking forward to expanding your pallet.


Likes: Playing with your toys, sucking on your binky, being held, army crawling, watching Gromit, listening to music, taking baths and splashing, going to public places and taking in all of your surroundings, and playing in your Baby Einstein Activity Jumper (which you LOVE!). Favorite songs right now are Going to the Zoo, Wheels on the Bus, Jesus Loves Me, You are My Sunshine, the theme song to “Jake and the Never Land Pirates”, and the special song Grammy made up for you.

Dislikes: Being hungry, being bored, having a dirty diaper, waking up on your tummy, and being overly hot.


Milestones this month: Army crawling around the floor and getting faster every day, pushing up on your hands and knees, starting solid foods, sitting up by yourself, reaching for (and moving towards) things you want or drop, reaching for us when you want to be picked up, recognizing who we are, ever-improving motor skills, and “talking” more and more.

Memorable moments: First airplane ride, first campout (we didn’t spend the night though), first trip to the park, meeting more extended family members, and riding in your front-facing stroller.