Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Adorable Moments and Stella's Famous!

I was just reading I'll Teach My Dog a Lot of Words to Stella and she was watching me read instead of watching the pages and she laughed out loud at me. It was so cute! I love her laugh, it's adorable. I just wish she'd do it for her Daddy.

We just got the latest issue of The Alcalde, the Texas Exes Magazine, and there's Stella! They printed the birth announcement we sent in. She of course puts all the other babies to shame, although I wish that I'd read that photo taking book before I did the one for the magazine, I'm sure it would look even better. I'll try to scan that and get it up so I can show her off to the world of non Texas-Exes.

Well, it's taken me hours to post this because Stella's teething hardcore (AGAIN!), so I've been spending a lot of time getting her to sleep, soothing her. I've also found out she LOVES old 80's Madonna. Especially "La Isla Bonita". I need to brush up on my Madonna, because, while I was a huge fan as a child, I haven't really listened to her in about 20 years. Stella was so-so on Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, but seemed to dig We Are the Champions and Another Bites the Dust. What I remembered of them, anyway.

Oh, and the picture above is of Stella being her cranky indy self and listening to cuts from her new album. In the next frame she throws a couch out the motel window and downs a fifth of Jack Daniels. She's such a rock star.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sometimes you just have to put the book down

I'm reading Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham (the author of The Hours and A Home at the End of the World). It's very good, so good that I even hold my breast pump with my arm to read it, which causes the plastic circle to dig into my flesh and leave a mark. Yes, it's that good, and yes, the only time I get to read these days is when I am pumping. Anyway, I was reading it, and it's suddenly become kind of scary. Like, I feel sick at my stomach right now, even though I put it down a few minutes ago. They described a kid dying and I had to put it down. It wasn't graphic or anything, just made me sad. Those things really get to me these days. I thought kids dying equaled sad before I had Stella, but boy, oh, boy, now it can get me into hysterics. Even in a fiction book.

I really should go back to the book because it's good and I certainly don't get many opportunites to read lately (Stella's sleeping, thank God), but I'm apprehensive about reading it. Really! Isn't that sad? I guess it goes without saying that I get really into books. I read Inconsolable: How I Threw My Mental Health Out with the Diapers by Marrit Ingram in like 3 days. And I read it while ignoring my child at play, I was kind of dangling things above her while I read it with the other hand. It's that good. If you are a parent, you definitely should read it!

Stella no longer allows me to read while I am nursing, which sucks, but she also no longer takes an hour like she did when she was a newborn, so I guess there are trade-offs. LGT meeting tonight. We're discussing budget. Should be the exact opposite of fun. Me: "Can we do it with what we already have? Check out our garage for lots of set pieces and costumes." Everyone else: "No, we need all these fantastic things that will make the show awesome and cost one million dollars." I don't blame them, it's just that we need a show to make money soon or else.... I can't go there, but we really need a show to make money! Come on Zombie!

Dude, I do not know why I am so scatterbrained today. You may just want to ignore this post entirely.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Punky eases Stella's pain

So our cat Punky who, as those of you who know her know, hates everyone and everything, apparently adores Stella. I got Punky when I was a sophomore in college so Punky's over 10 years old now, and she just gets more ornery and fatter with each passing year. But she lets Stella pet her. And today, she just did the most amazing thing. Stella was crying while I was trying to feed her because she's teething so bad, and she was hungry, but it hurt too bad to eat. It was awful. Well, Punky came right up and sat on my lap, which made Stella stop crying, of course, because she is fascinated by all our animals, and then Punky let Stella pet her. And I mean 5-month old "petting". Pulling of fur, pulling of ears, nearly poking her in the eye. I was supervising of course, but Punky didn't seem to mind a bit. And Punky would "kiss" Stella and lick her. Stella was in heaven. Of course, she'll also probably be coughing up furballs now. She had fistfuls of Punky fur in her hands, and then she'd stick her fingers in her mouth. Eww. But until I finally decided that I needed to try and get Stella to eat some more, at least 5 minutes, maybe ten, Punky sat there patiently and let Stella pet her and pull her and poke her. It was adorable! I think Punky has a new friend.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Season of Change

For whatever reason, I decided I was tired of the way my living room and dining room looked today and that I was going to move stuff around. Of course, it didn't make much of a change because it's just small stuff, like moving a candlestick here or there, changing what's on the coffee table, etc. I would like to move furniture, but unfortunately, my couch is the size of a small country and will only fit into my living room one way: the way it is. I remember when the couch was delivered. I came home and thought instantly: "my God, what have we done, this thing is huge!" And so it is. But it's also pretty darn comfy and fits tons of people, which is convenient for movie night, LGT meetings, and having peole over. But it does mean that we are stuck with a certain configuration in there. I also came dowstairs this morning and suddenly hated my dining room curtains. I've always loved them in the past. But now, they are ugly and kitschy and overwhelming. I should sew some new ones, although what fabric I'll use I have no clue. They have been up there for nearly 5 years, I was bound to get tired of them eventually. Of course, all decorating decisions have to be run by Tim. He's one of those guys that actually cares about how their house is decorated, which is good and bad. Good because it's nice that he cares and bad because I can't just do everything the way I want it:) I'm also trying to further pare down knick knacks and clutter, as it does not go with the modern aesthetic I now love. Even though my house is anything but modern. I suppose it's contemporary, with some fifties nostalgia thrown in.
We have a bunch of stuff on display above our kitchen cabinets, and I can't decide whether to keep it or lose it. Probably I'll most likely just take some of it down. It's amazing how much you can think about these things when you're home all day!
Left: Dining room (okay, it's really a breakfast room), complete with curtains I now hate; Right: Living Room, complete with MONSTER COUCH!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Take better photos

(This was actually written yesterday afternoon)
12:57pm I'm writing this blog for later posting since our cable is currently down. You forget how dependent you are on the internet until you don't have it for a while. In this case, it's been a couple of days. Tim accidentally cut the cable while gardening Saturday (we're both perplexed as to why the cable was so close to the surface). The repair guy will be here at some point today. So of course I'm housebound. I thought I'd be super-responsible and get lots done since I don't have the internet (or tv, but I never watch tv during the day anyway because Stella will try and watch it too), but I forget that I still have books. And I can do stuff on my computer that doesn't require the internet. I did start trying to write, but only got about half a page in before losing interest.
I read a great book Saturday afternoon about how to photograph your baby. I bought it at the monster library book sale a few months back and intended to read it before Stella arrived. That didn't happen, but I decided to read it Saturday and I'm so glad I did! It only took me about half an hour to read and I have already had great results. I took pictures Sunday morning and afternoon and they turned out better than any others I'd taken in the entire time Stella's been around. I used to take pretty good pictures, but digital has kind of screwed me up. It just doesn't work as well as film. But anyway, this book basically recommended some really simple steps which have already had a tremendous impact on my photographs. 1) Get really close to your subject. He said that most baby photographs are really a document of your living room. Good point. He said get close to your baby and fill the frame with them. 2) Turn off the flash and use natural light. He recommends putting your baby parallel to a window and taking pictures that way. It will create really cool shadow on one side of their face and light on the other and lots of drama. 3) Take lots of pictures. He'd written the book in the time of film photography, so he tells you not to be afraid to waste film, but in the time of digital, this is easy as pie. I just kept snapping continuously and then afterwards you can delete what you don't want. 4) Never center your subject in the middle of the frame. It's boring. 5) pay attention to the background. You don't want the Washington Monument growing out of Junior's head. Although if you fill the frame with your baby, this won't be an issue. 6) clothes are distracting, take pictures of your baby naked or just in a diaper. I haven't followed this one yet because once I have the clothes on, they ain't coming off unless they have poop or pee on them. But I'm sure he's right about this one also.If anyone wants to borrow the book, let me know. I think the shots I've taken speak for themselves, although the one on the left is way too dark. Now I want to get a better camera:)
yay, the cable guy just called and he'll be here in 20 minutes. Although this will probably be smack-dab in the middle of when i feed stella, of course...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Babies Every Frickin' Where!

Oh, before I forget, Joni, yes, please link to me, I look forward to reading your blog, too! And if I ever figure out how to put links on my page I'll link to yours:)
Okay, so Stella has been teething HARDCORE and so I don't get much of her nap time to do stuff. Maybe 45 minutes twice a day. So my house is in a shambles and my blog is a week old. So of course, which one do I do first? Update my blog of course! Actually, I did stay up until midnight last night to straighten up. It'd gotten to red alert proportions, where it messes with my inner peace and must be cleaned. I can ignore the cat hair on the couch, the dog hair on the floor, etc, but I cannot stand a dirty kitchen or clutter. So now things are liveable and I am spending Stella's nap blogging. Actually, I spent the first half hour trying to get into blogger because I couldn't remember my login which is a bizarre login I made up because I didn't realize I'd already used my usual login to set up an account for the Stella Lily blog. Sigh, I digress.
So in addition to dealing with Super Fussy Baby, I have been dragging her all over God's creation this week. This is very good for Mommy's mental health. We met Miriam for lunch Wednesday and Stella probably scared the crap out of her (she's 5 months pregnant), and yesterday we went to a Austin Mama's play group. It was pandemonium. Hence the title, "babies every frickin' where!" But it was fun. Although we spent most of the time tending to our babies and not a whole lot of time talking, I did get to chat with some cool moms. There was an adorable little 4 year old there who was really sweet and when Stella was crying was like, "she wants her pacifier" and put it back in her mouth and held it. She spit it out but a couple of minutes later, I guess I'd put it back in and she was happy and he was like, "see, she wanted it." So cute! He was there with his 7 week old little sister. He's going to be a great big brother! I'm looking forward to when Stella is that age and we can have real conversations, honestly. I always thought I was a baby person. But while babies are cute, I can't wait to be able to talk to Stella and really show her stuff and teach her. That's going to rock!
So much has been going on I haven't blogged about. First and foremost, I am way behind on plugging Ashley's great slings: They are awesome and you should totally buy one if you want a sling. Trust me, once you start trying different slings, you'll discover they are not only the easiest to use, but the best looking and some of the cheapest. I thought slings were for hippies until Ashley let us borrow one when Stella was first born. If we had not had that, neither Tim nor I would have eaten until she was at least a month old! And now it's the best way to cart her around.
Also, this article was fascinating and frightening. There is so much the media is not telling us about the downsides of formula: I think every woman should be armed with this information so they can make informed decisions about what is best for them and their child.
And I have decided that after my Yoga card from pre-Stella is done next week, I'm going to continue to budget for weekly Yoga sessions. Even on the weeks when I spend 2/3rd of the class soothing Stella, I still get interaction with other Mommies and a little exercise. I'm not getting much since it's 100+ these days!
Okay, Stella is stirring again, my popping the binky in didn't work, so that's it for now. Hopefully I'll be back in less than a week!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

99 cents!

I got a hankering for a cherry limeade after I had lunch with my chicas and I decided to order the large, I figured I deserve a large cherry limeade every once in a while, I'll splurge. Then the guy gave me a total of $1.07. Turns out they are only 99 cents right now! Sweet! This could turn into a regular indulgence. Maybe I'll even branch out and try other nifty drinks. Yes, this is what passes for exciting in my life right now. I am disappointed because it was mostly ice, but oh well, I guess that's how they afford to sell them for 99 cents!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Teething sucks

Stella is teething hardcore and breaking my heart/driving me crazy. We went to Yoga this morning and she was fussy for about 45 minutes out of the hour and fifteen minute class, then we drove to pick up my sunglasses at the Off Center and she fell asleep. We came back home and she was in a good mood for a little while, then I tried to feed her, which was quite a chore since because she's teething she thinks she wants to nurse, then it hurts to suck, so she comes off and cries because it hurts/she's hungry. Sigh. I finally gave her some Tylenol, which I try to avoid at all costs. Then she wouldn't go to sleep, just cried and cried. I kept trying different teethers, even used some Ambesol. Even, and this is a big confession, resorted to letting her watch tv because it calmed her down. Unfortunately, it only worked for about three minutes. Finally, the Tylenol kicked in and/or Coldplay soothed her and she calmed down and I was able to put her down for a nap. I wish these stinking teeth would just break through already, this is getting ridiculous!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Stella Has her First Solid Meal!

So we gave Stella her first solid meal last night. I was a bit skeptical, since she'd also had her shots yesterday, and I was afraid she'd just scream like a banshee. Luckily, she had a much better reaction to her shots this time than last, they seemed to just make her sleepy and maybe a little irritable. Although it's hard to tell now when she's irritable if it's teething or something else. Anyway, we got all set up and I was ready for her to completely reject the cereal, but she loved it! It was so cool to watch her figuring out what to do. At first she kind of lapped it up like a cat, then she got that she was supposed to put the spoon in her mouth and so she then wanted to hold on to the spoon and feed herself. She even wiped her mouth with her bib at one point, it was adorable! So I guess the girl is ready for solids. I do not mourn the passing of the all-breastmilk diet, but celebrate the excitement of Stella discovering how to eat! And I certainly shouldn't feel intimidated by her current meal, which is once a day and 3/4ths breastmilk anyway:)
Notice the nifty modern high chair? A gift from her Aunt Kate from Ikea so that Stella can eat in style. All those regular high chairs were too boring for our little trendsetter. Okay, they were really too ugly and too bulky to match our kitchen!