30 April 2006

one small step for a boy

Lots of giant leaps forward for Oliver this month, or perhaps that's for his parents. He's sleeping through the night, he's weaned and, drumroll please, he's walking! I let him go barefoot all day yesterday and by late afternoon he was going across the living room unassisted. He still needs something to pull himself up on, and it's still a bit faster for him to crawl, but he's letting go of things and walking on a regular basis so I think we can declare that as of this weekend, Oliver walks.

He had a few more bumps and falls yesterday than is his norm, but this morning I can find no evidence of them.

He's also saying "mum mum mum" more often, though I still can't tell if he means me yet. His words include Dada, uh oh, woo-woo and gee-ga, which seems to mean "Tigger". We have not met Tigger in our nightly reading of Winnie-the-Pooh but Oliver's toothbrush has Tigger on it and we say, "goodnight" to Tigger after brushing. It's an important part of the bedtime ritual (see that first achievement mentioned above).

Finally, he's become obsessed with books, in particular Moo Ba La La La. He will even say, "La La La" at the appropriate point in the book on a fairly reliable basis. Sometimes he just hands it to me and says, "La La". His insistence that we read it five or six (or seven or eight) times in a row is not unusual. In an effort to get him to branch out a bit I took him to the bookstore yesterday to choose a few new books. The three he chose were all by the same author as Moo Ba La La La, but once we got home, after a brief visit with Hippos Go Berserk!, he went right back to Old Faithful.

29 April 2006

donut dog

Penguin is home and feeling good, though she is not at all happy about having to wear a donut collar when we can't watch her. I wouldn't have bothered but she was nosing around her stitches a bit more than I was comfortable with and I didn't want to take any chances.

My efforts to keep her from jumping on the couch have been largely unsuccessful. Please don't tell my vet. I'm mad at them for giving her Rimadyl so perhaps we're even.

26 April 2006

under the knife, for the third time

Penguin is going in for spay surgery tomorrow morning. She's eight years old now, well past "advanced maternal age" for dogs, and our one and only attempt to breed her was unsuccessful. We know our next Clumber will be a male, whenever that might be, and the house doesn't lend itself to easy segregation, so with the planets finally aligned, the surgery is scheduled.

Pen isn't wild about spending any time at the vet since 2002, when she managed to require two foreign body removal surgeries in a span of five months. Our vet, who I adore and is the person I would most like to take out for a pint, offered to do the surgery as her first procedure of the day, thus giving us a chance of being able to take her home tomorrow and sparing her an overnight at the vet. I just hope those planets remain properly aligned and it all goes to plan. They will send her home based on how well she is coming off anesthesia.

WW update: A successful day first day on program. I didn't use any weekly points and ended up with 2 activity points unused, thanks to a 40 minute walk at lunchtime. I really like using eTools for journaling. I didn't realize it had lots of meal suggestions. While I am not likely to ever use them as is, I did like seeing the suggestions it could offer.

Update, 3pm on Thursday: Pen is out of surgery and doing fine. They got a late start so she won't be going home tonight.

25 April 2006

back on the wagon

I went back to Weight Watchers today. I'm a pound heavier than when I started the last time, in the fall of 2002, and lost 29 pounds. I'm about 20 pounds heavier than when I got pregnant. I tried going back a few months ago but lunchtime nursing always got in the way (not to mention providing a convenient excuse for skipping meetings). As I contemplate a second pregnancy, I find new motivation, beyond feeling horrible, sleeping badly and looking really, really bad. I don't want Oliver remembering his Mum this way and I still have a little time.

So what's different this time? I know I can't do what I've always done. I'm a crappy journaler so that's where I have to focus my attention. I'm trying eTools, for a change. I am also a crappy exerciser, so I have asked a WW buddy to walk with me at lunchtime on days when we don't have a meeting.

As I was listening to the leader today I found myself being reminded of Leo McGarry on West Wing and the things he says about alcoholism. It may be legal to drive after eating chocolate, but that doesn't mean it is good for me, especially in excessive quanitities.

24 April 2006

the daily oliver

Not sure I can ever hope to compete with this.

23 April 2006

cold-ish turkey

The last phase of weaning has begun. Oliver went to bed without nursing (or fussing) tonight, as he did last night, though I don't entirely know about the presence or absence of fussing. CD reports he went back to sleep this morning, after refusing the cup, when he usually nurses.

I pumped a couple of times while I was away, but less than 3 ounces each time. I am hopeful this is going to be as easy for me as it seems to be for Oliver.

I will be sending my favorite Lactation Consultant a thank you note this week, with a photo of Oliver. I haven't talked to her in a few months, which is probably a good sign from her perspective.

Throughout this little adventure I always said if we got to a year of nursing, I would not cut him off on his birthday but that I hoped we would get to this place shortly after. All seems to be going according to plan. It's completely okay with me. And I'm okay with it being okay. I'm not falling apart over it, like a lot of the things I read tell me I should be. I am ecstatic to have had the good fortune, as a BFAR mom, to have been able to give him this start in life but I'm ready to move on to whatever is next, like figuring out if any of my pre-baby non-nursing bras still fit!

not so long after all

It seems my weekend in Milwaukee is not going to be such a long one after all! I am going home on an earlier flight, thus being home in time to be fetched by my two favorite men AND in time to watch West Wing. Flight is boarding so I gotta go. Thank you Midwest Airlines!

22 April 2006

since you asked

Melissa asked about my bonus item in the list of six wierd things about me. It's a long story but I'll try to give the condensed version.

CD and I moved to Pittsburgh within a few weeks of each other in the fall of 1997, him from Cambridge, England and me from Walla Walla, Washington. I rented a house that was more than a little beyond my means, primarily because it had a great fenced yard (large for the city location) for Chewy. He arrived with no furniture and wanted a furnished place. His business partner was a former co-worker of mine, so we had met when I came to Pittsburgh for my job interview. It seemed like a good idea all around.

For nearly a year he was the perfect housemate. He was getting a startup off the ground and worked constantly. I saw very little of him, he didn't make a mess of the house, and he paid half the rent. In the spring I added a puppy to the household and CD starting showing a little more interest in spending time at home. When HBO aired "From the Earth to the Moon" that summer, we discovered a common interest. Finally he asked me to dinner in October. I thought it was to celebrate the latest release of his software. A day or two later I realized it was probably a date. We've been together ever since.

Our story should amuse the grandchildren someday.

miss him already

I've been at the airport less than an hour and I already miss Oliver. This is going to be a long weekend....

21 April 2006

things that are like sausage

Many years ago I learned there are things that one ought not observe in process, sort of like sausage being made. My first experience with this was the first time I had movers to pack my stuff before a cross-country relocation. I lasted about five minutes before I had to leave. The control freak in me was headed rapidly over the edge. It was so much better to just leave the apartment, returning a few hours later to see all the sealed boxes, the finished product.

Having trees removed this week gave me a similar experience, except I did stick around to watch this time. I just kept telling myself that these guys knew what they were doing and were insured to the hilt. Saying these things over and over in a very calm voice seemed to help.

Today Oliver was a little bit under the weather with a fever. CD stayed home in the morning, when I expected the house cleaning crew to arrive. I was home with Oliver for the afternoon, when they actually arrived. It was deja vu all over again. I really enjoy coming home to a clean house every other Friday afternoon. Thinking too much about how that occurs (beyond writing the check) forces me to face my inner slob, when I prefer to deny she exists or that she has contagiously infected others in the house. If Oliver had not been napping we would have gone out for a walk. As it was, Penguin and I went out on the back porch. I read email and blogs to distract myself. Penguin kept half an eye on the cleaners and their very suspicious vacuum cleaner. I was confident she would let me know if there was anything I needed to see.

20 April 2006

six things - tagged again

Melissa over at Booby Juice tagged me to list six weird things about myself. How does she have time for blogging? She has a very new baby and a toddler in the house! Thanks Melissa. This is kind of fun. (Okay, it was fun until I finished number five. Six was a stretch. Then I got a second wind, hence the bonus item.)

Here goes....

1. I have spent my entire life living near and since leaving school, working full-time at, institutions of higher learning. Until I moved to Pittsburgh, all the schools I was affiliated with were small, liberal arts colleges.

2. I spent six weeks of a summer (1984) in Saratoga Springs, NY, playing Trivial Pursuit every night, for money. We were ruthless. If the answer on the card had a middle initial and you didn't have it...sorry, you were buying the bad pizza.

3. Further proof of my capacity for retaining useless information, at one time, I could name the hometown and high school of almost everyone in my Williams College class. Quiz me. I still know a lot of them, despite barely being able to remember what I had for breakfast.

4. My girl scout camp nickname was "Nose".

5. If I had to go to a desert island and could have only one food it would be mushrooms.

6. We postponed our honeymoon for five months, mostly so I could go to a dog show in England.

BONUS 7. I lived with my husband for a year before our first date.

My taggees are Gerah at Baby Poop and Business Suits (who probably has no idea I read her blog faithfully) and Belinda at Ninja Poodles (the only other dog showing blogger I know). I would tag Misfit Hausfrau but she already listed 87 things about herself (even though most of them are not weird at all). I am in awe.

Update: I gotta tag Nicole at It's 4:30! Been too damn long since she blogged.

18 April 2006

boys in my trees

Our backyard is a work in progress. (What? You mean your's isn't?) The top part is navigable by all. Then there's a steep drop off that only Penguin and previously, Piper, can handle easily. Chewy and the humans tend to stay up top, but with a 5000 square foot lot in the city, it is really a shame that we are not using all of it.

We also have to think of Oliver's safety as he becomes more mobile. At some point this summer we may wish we had installed a fence at the edge of the cliff. I have a feeling my little boy's penchant for finding the most dangerous thing in a room will extend easily outdoors.

The first step in the enormous project that is our backyard begins today, with the removal of a whole lot of dead trees and some serious pruning of those that cling to life. One tree even received a "risk assessment" with a $4k piece of high-tech equipment. The risk (for it to fall on our house, presumably) was deemed low so we left it alone.

I am starting to think such things are like sausage...one really shouldn't see them in process. Watching the tree dude climb a rope, ala James Bond but without a tux and with more gear, was kind of cool. The rest of it is just plain scary. Maybe if the weather were warmer and the tree dudes were wearing a few less layers....

17 April 2006

answering the faqs

I keep getting the same questions....are you keeping the name of your blog, even though you only have two dogs now? And what if you have another baby?

I don't have much of an answer, except that for now, yes, I'm sticking with the name, yes we do plan to get another dog at some point, and yes, we are hoping to have another baby (Hear that very loud ticking sound?? It's my forty-year old biological clock.). It's not clear in what order those things might happen.

We had a number of interesting offers at the national but for now, we are in "wait and see" mode. We are watching a few bitches that we like, waiting to see who they are bred to and what is produced. We are very content to wait for just the right dog to come along and hope we are smart enough to recognize it when it does. It's time for me to have a new showdog and for Oliver to have a puppy but there's no reason to rush. All in good time.

If you have a name to suggest for the blog, bring it on.

14 April 2006

a good chair for reading a book

Oliver's birthday gift from his parents was a little late, but three weeks earlier than Pottery Barn Kids said it would be.

I wish I had captured his method of exiting the chair. It's remarkably like the way Penguin gets off the couch. Pen puts her front legs on the floor and sloooooowly drags the rest of her body behind. I was sure Oliver was going to land on his head but he managed to get his hands on the floor first and dragged the rest of his body off the chair. Chewy isn't the only one he has decided to imitate.

13 April 2006

old dogs and new tricks

Chewy, who is nearly 12, has a distinctive bark. Not so distinctive if you happen to have a house full of Clumber Spaniels, but for the uninitiated, it's a different sort of a bark.

Chewy's "Woo Woo" has captured Oliver's interest lately, and he has started to imitate. If I ask him, "What does Chewy say?" he responds with a, "Woo Woo" of his own.

Check back later for audio of one or both of them demonstrating the Clumber Woo. Click here to listen. Chewy is first, followed by Oliver. I have tried to explain to Chewy that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

11 April 2006

a musical sort of birthday

Oliver's insane parents gave him musical gifts this morning. As you can see, he's enjoying them.

But we failed to give each other ear plugs!

As usual, more photos of the unwrapping of presents at Flickr.

10 April 2006

banishing the scale

In honor of Oliver's birthday, we are abandoning weekly weigh-ins, instituted last June, when we stopped weighing him every day. I blogged previously about how happy I was to stop the daily insanity. Weekly weigh-ins have been slightly less problematic but a few weeks ago, when Oliver went four weeks without gaining an ounce, all the old worry returned.

I have read babies typically triple their birthweight by one year. At 23 pounds he has almost tripled his "going home from the hospital" weight of 7 pounds 12 ounces but not his birthweight of 8 pounds 10 ounces. Still, he's pudgy and I expect the doc to say he's just fine when we go for the one year checkup later in the week. Weight really should be the least of our worries but as a BFAR mom, even one with a full milk supply, it remains an obsession. I hope banishing the scale from the house puts an end to it.

in which we begin a reading project

In honor of his very important birthday, tomorrow night Oliver and I will start a bedtime reading project, The Complete Tales of Winnie-The-Pooh. Given his attention span, I figure we'll finish just before he learns to drive. We usually get through one short board book, such as Busy Penguins, followed by The Going To Bed Book (which I can now recite from memory...The sun has set not long ago...). He starts flipping the pages faster than I can read them aloud and I know we're almost done. The good news is that he's really getting with the whole bedtime ritual program, finally. PJs, nurse, brush teeth, book, wrap up in blanket, lights out, rock for a couple of minutes, crib, [cry], sleep. We skipped [cry] entirely last night AND tonight. I was sure last night was a fluke.

It will be interesting to see how things go with a non-board book, and one that is pretty big. Oliver can sit in my lap without being held and without falling but it's not something I usually ask him to do while we read. It may be time to break out the wooden book stand I never use. I don't have the edition linked above, but mine is pretty close. I'm guessing the dust jacket will bite the, ahem, dust quickly. More tales of reading Tales coming soon. And let's hope we finish before he's old enough for Whale's Tales.


Overheard at PicturePeople on Sunday:

"Elijah, no growling!"

I have nothing to add.

09 April 2006

birthday party

Hard as it is to believe, it's been almost a year since Oliver made his grand, though delayed, entrance into the world. We celebrated Oliver's arrival, and our survival, with a small gathering of the faithful yesterday. They demolished the cake pictured here. More pics of the party at Flickr. And yes, I'm STILL working on video.

We followed that with a photo shoot at The Picture People today. He's so darn photogenic we can hardly stand the cuteness.

One indication of the great progress made in the last year is that he was put down to sleep at 7pm and did not fuss AT ALL. Last night he was quiet before I got to the stairs and I thought that was a miracle. Tonight he was pooped from a busy weekend. All this, and it isn't even his birthday until Tuesday.

07 April 2006

how are you finding me?

I'll never come close to duplicating Jenn Mattern's post on this subject, but here are just a few of the search terms folks are typing in various search engines to find this blog:

dog baby
dog show crud
daboo is sleeping
baby beluga you sick
flowers that look like dogs

And my favorite from today, "naked ballerina".

So sorry to disappoint.

still more to tide you over

So I'm still working on getting some video of Oliver walking ready for prime time. In the meantime, check out this link to Rude Cactus. (And if you aren't reading this blog, why the heck not?)

Go read to your kid. Obviously, it doesn't matter WHAT you read. Just do it.

06 April 2006

angelina ballerina

Just to prove I really did get back into the show ring at the national....

The dog I showed, for the third national in a row, is CH Shogun's Angelina Ballerina TD. She's buck naked in this photo but I love her to bits. She's on the small side and I'd love to see a longer back on her, but the head is lovely, the whole litter has good hips and the temperament impeccable. I'd take her home in a heartbeat.

She is almost as easy to show as Penguin. From the "on your toes" litter, Angelina was perfectly named. She floats on the end of the lead. Thanks to Helen and Otto for letting me have some fun with her again.

05 April 2006

barfing baby

Another update to yesterday's post about sleep....CD checked on Oliver before going to bed himself and found the little guy had thrown up all over his bed. It was all over him and he was sleeping in it. Ick.

We got him and the bed cleaned up and all my "mama bear" instincts took over. We nursed and rocked and I put him in his crib asleep. I couldn't bear the thought of putting him down to cry it out if he wasn't feeling well. We didn't hear from him again until a little after 6am.

This morning he was clingy and fussy. He nursed, ate a little fruit and cereal, then had the most explosive liquid poo I've ever seen. A T.A.E. (my all-time favorite milk-out-the-nose post from MetroDad) if ever there was one. Not surprisingly, Oliver seemed to feel MUCH better afterwards. Still, I kept him home from school. CD and I are splitting the day work-wise. He's home this morning. I'll go home for the afternoon. Having his co-workers three time zones away has its advantages.

04 April 2006

night two

I will surely regret this post but tough love boot camp is going way too well. I expected tonight to be worse than last night because I put Oliver in his crib awake. Nope. He cried for exactly three minutes. He woke up again at 10:30pm and fussed for about 30 seconds, maybe less.

A correction to my earlier post: CD says he cried last night for 30 minutes. I could swear it was over an hour but it probably just FELT like that long. CD is most reliable with such things whereas I am not.

Nursing has settled into a pattern of just twice a day, and the bedtime nursing keeps getting shorter. He's barely making it 7 minutes, despite eating almost no dinner. He's much more enthusiastic first thing in the morning.

Thank You Thank You Thank You to the friends and bloggers (some of you know who you are, some of you have no idea how you have helped us) who encouraged us to try this. It's clearly what we all needed.

tough love boot camp

Inspired by recent posts on a variety of blogs (most notably Dooce) and some wise counsel from friends and readers, Oliver's parents have begun tough love boot camp. This mostly involves not entering his room after he is put down for the night. About an hour and a half after being put in his crib (asleep) he woke up screaming. We didn't go in. He screamed at the top of his very powerful lungs for over an hour. Then he went to sleep. CD bravely checked on him and covered him up with a blanket.

A couple of hours later he woke up screaming again, but this time it lasted 15 minutes before he went back to sleep. I think he may have woken up one more time but my memory of that is fuzzy. When he woke up at 5am I went in and nursed. He went back to sleep until 7:30am, waking up just as happy and cheerful as he does every morning.

I did rock him to sleep last night but tonight we will try putting him in his crib awake. I'm sure I will be wishing for earplugs or a distraction. Would it be horrible to leave the house entirely? No, probably not fair to make CD endure the noise on his own.

stair series

I'm still working on editing a video clip of Oliver standing on his own and taking a step or two, but here's a series of photos to tide you over.

Over the weekend Oliver became an expert at climbing the stairs (all four of them) between the first and second floors of the house.

Click here to go to the set on Flickr.

02 April 2006

opening day

In honor of Opening Day Oliver donned his Red Sox Kid Nation hat when we went for a walk in the park today. He was in his snazzy new backpack and definitely enjoyed the view.

california dreamin'

The lack of sleep is really starting to show up in my dreams. They are getting almost as strange as the ones I had when I was pregnant. Last night, Dooce and Leta featured prominently, though I don't know why, or why Jon was absent. Anyway, they popped by for a visit. Except we weren't at my current house. I don't know where we were but I was supposed to be the "resident". It was more than a little bit creepy. Leta was adorable, as you'd expect, but Dooce didn't seem to have any more idea of why she was visiting me than I did.

The only reasons I can think of for this dream are that I recently listened to the podcast of Dooce and Jason Kottke's keynote at SXSW and I am obsessed with wanting to attend BlogHer in San Jose (which is really just a way of saying I'd really like to find a way to make blogging generate income so I could quit my job).

If only BlogHer were a few days later and overlapped with WWDC, which CD will be attending. We could have made it a family vacation but no, we miss by just a few days. If they were both a bit later they would have covered the week Oliver's school is closed, but nothing in life ever works out that perfectly. Damn.

01 April 2006

enough is enough

The last specks of chocolate, sugar, alcohol and meat have left the house, never to return. Those margaritas I may have mentioned serving at Oliver's birthday party next weekend? Sorry...virgin all the way. If you thought you might see some Easter candy, think again. That cake I was going to order from Moio's? Nope...I'll be whipping up a little vegan carrot cake.

We're eating far too unhealthfully and if we want to live to see lots of Oliver's birthdays, it all has to stop. We've stocked up on rice, beans and tofu. Wanna come for dinner?