Monday, November 30

Destination Anywhere

With the impending holidays, we have resigned ourselves to the fact that Tim most likely won't find a new job until after New Year. Which leaves us with the question of what to do with December. Of course we could easily pass the days and weeks with our usual routine, since we seem to be living in some sort of time suck lately and accomplish very little other than feeding and clothing the many people now banging around in this little apartment. However, it seems with so much free time, and our recently tested new road-trippers, we should do something. But I can't figure out what the perfect something is. Yosemite sounds exciting, but the required tire chains for the car sounds intimidating. A visit to the Bay area is easy, but is that a cop out? Matilda has been talking about the Grand Canyon a lot lately, but we just went that way so it seems silly to go straight back. Any recommendation? Maybe someone has the perfect house sitting situation for us in some exotic locations.

The Long Arm

Porter can reach clear across most any booth and makes dining out quite a challenge these days as he is so grabby. Usually some toys, or a bit of his own food serves for slight distraction, however, at this particular breakfast I had forgotten any form of entertainment. Instead he thrashed the half & half stacks Matilda was making, coated himself and me in syrup, ate ice (surreptitiously so his sister wasn't too jealous), and babbled at the bad ass motorcyclists sitting by us ordering Bloody Marys and Budweiser for breakfast.

Sunday, November 29

Uneventful Drive

We arrived home safe and sound with no elbows pulled out today. The most exciting portion of the day was when Porter jammed his fist into the maple syrup pitcher at breakfast this morning. Here's to a more exciting update tomorrow, with pictures.

Saturday, November 28

Tucson Traditions

Whenever in town we always manage a hike in Sabino canyon. Thankfully it was nice and cool the day we hiked this time since I had a heavy load to carry. Matilda's elbow seems fine today and we are enjoying a few last hours with family before we beat the pavement West.

Friday, November 27

Almost Urgent

After a bit of fooling around this afternoon, which involved me pulling her arm, Matilda grabbed her elbow and started crying and then kept crying even with an ice pack. Fairly immediately Tim and I wondered about her elbow being pulled out of joint and I started feeling quite guilty. After a chat with Grammy-the-nurse and a call to our pediatrician we decided a trip to urgent care was in order. The saddest part was when she was crying to all the gathered family, "I need to go to the hospital," as we all asked various questions trying to assess her situation. She seemed to be in pain the whole car ride to the urgent car, especially wrangling with the carseat straps, and even as I was carrying her in to the clinic. Then as I sat her down to fill out intake forms she suddenly started having increased mobility. When Tim arrived a moment later, as my mom watched sleeping Porter, he noticed the same thing I had: she seemed fine now. Without fully checking in, a considerate nurse gave M a few basic tests and helped rationalize what could have happened (like she had popped it back into joint as we sat there). I think we won't really know for sure what happened but I can say there will be no more carpet dragging in our household. At the end of it she left the clinic smiling and ran out into the parking lot yelling, "Grandma Marge my arm feels good! Let's go back and have our family dinner!"

Thursday, November 26


So, it turns out that three pieces of pie is too many. I ate them 3.5 hours ago (apple crumb, pumpkin and berry if you must know), and am still hurting. The giant meal was so yummy, it was very nice to see all the family and only one person (inexplicably) threw their plate across the room. All in all a great Thanksgiving. The only sad part was that Porter was not old enough to enjoy his first taste of turkey.

Wednesday, November 25

Enough Pie?

Today Matilda & I helped Mom and Grandma make pie. Or to be more specific, pies. Tomorrow we will average 1/3 of a pie per person attending Thanksgiving dinner. The choices are pumpkin, cherry, apple with a crumb topping, berry (blackberry and raspberries) and chocolate cream. I think we have the overeating portion of the holiday covered! Happy Turkey Day, everyone.

Tuesday, November 24

Zoo Poo

We went to the Tucson zoo today and there were awesome signs in their bathrooms. They had lots of frisky, alert animals too, but the bathrooms were especially informative. Nothing is more appealing on a hot day than some vulture pee.

Monday, November 23

Longest Ride Ever

Matilda & Porter successfully completed their longest road trip to date this afternoon when we arrived in Tucson. The trip went really smooth with only 65 minutes of crying from the boy, which spread over 7 hours isn't bad. Along the way we ate plenty of snacks, listened to lots of music, had our first family romp in a McDonald's playground, littered the backseat with toys, I climbed back and forth from front to back seat 2 times, and Porter ate his first jarred baby food (while driving!).....pureed apples & apricots. Yum. Almost as good as beef jerkly for road food!

Sunday, November 22

7 Months Old!

Porter Arrives - 58 4-23-09
Playground on the Hill 11-15-09
To celebrate today, he got himself to sitting. No one saw it, but somehow he got there from being down on his belly! Maybe now there's hope he won't get "turtled" forever.

Saturday, November 21

Soda Pop's and more

Today we did everything under the sun except pack for our road trip departure tomorrow. This morning Matilda & Tim went to (possibly) her last music class ever. Meanwhile, Porter & I ran errands to collect all the various car snacks, diapers, allergy medicine, and supplies we need for a week away from our home base.

For lunch we went with Anthony & Elissa to a new sandwich place in their neighborhood, Soda Pop's. It might just be my eating-out-deprived-self talking, but I would highly recommend trying the place. Elissa & I shared the Flank n Blue and the Steak Bomb sandwiches and both were so yummy. The homemade chips (in three flavors!) were also great. On the walk back we stopped at a psychedelic light store and the fancy dog boutique where A & E bought Daisy a dog treat. Matilda had the great pleasure of doling it out.

Then this evening Tim's Aunt Karen & Uncle Ron showed up for an overnight with us before the big pigeon race and we all enjoyed some yummy take out together.

Friday, November 20


At Sarah & Gaurav's tonight Porter & Stella had a party together. There was lots of baby babble and smiling as they first played together before dinner. Then all charged up on broccoli and acorn squash, they did laps around the coffee table. Well, Stella mostly lapped Porter. I think she'll always be faster than him. Matilda had her own good time playing with Gaurav's drum machine. All told, a noisy fun evening.

Stella attempts to demonstrate proper play technique to Porter in her (now long outgrown) jumper. I wasn't sure we could fit Porter's big cloth diaper butt in there, but we managed somehow and he had a grand old time bouncing and thrashing the toys.
Such a good sharer with her puzzle pieces (or maybe she's just taunting her slow, immobile friend).

Thursday, November 19


Here's what I have for you: A handsome shot of Porter at 1am last night. He woke up screaming from a nightmare and nothing would shake him out of it. Finally Tim brought the keys, which always distracts; however, then it took a really long time until we could get him to return the keys. Finally he agreed on a trade for this mushroom brush and a flashlight.
Also of note this week: I got a filling. Don't let dental hygiene become the last thing on your priority list when you have that second kid and all goes to hell. Sadly, my dentist did not have these awesome gloves that Matilda's dentist used.
First Dental Cleaning 10-30-09

Wednesday, November 18

Owls and Bribes

Porter and I head out for a walk sporting our owl hoodies. Just when I was thinking we had no long sleeve shirts for Porter I discovered a whole bunch of old Matilda clothes that will fit now, including this orange top.
Matilda enjoys her first real glass of chocolate milk. She had a pretty high fever last night and wasn't drinking enough. Seems like a little chocolate syrup makes everyone feel better.
Tonights' bribe was anchovies. She's barely eaten in days so I let her have most of the can in an attempt to get some calories into her.

Tuesday, November 17

Sick Day

Actually, sick days is more appropriate. Everyday since Saturday, Matilda has had a different symptom of some unknown illness: cranky/miserableness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or fever. Hopefully we can keep it all up and be done with it soon. She's been a really good sport about it. Since her re-discovery of diarrhea, yesterday, M has questioned everyone about their pooping preference: diarrhea and "regular poop." She will very emphatically tell you that she prefers regular pooping, not diarrhea. I don't think anyone will disagree with her there.

Matilda was very sad to miss school today (and even cried). School is closed for parent teacher conferences tomorrow so all the kids are going to one of our favorite local parks. I am very sad for her that she's missing a big school outing tomorrow, although she doesn't even know about it yet. We also have a make up music class scheduled for tomorrow morning. Hopefully Porter will manage to wake up without a fever tomorrow so at least he can go and benefit from the musical fun.

Monday, November 16

Sliding in Santa Barbara

Matilda and Tim ran off to Santa Barbara for the day. She loved this sliding hill at the zoo even more than the last time I think. What a great, simple idea for a playground.

Goggles Make Everything Funny

He's like a mad scientist in his taste testing laboratory.

Sunday, November 15

Weekend Photo Recap

We started the weekend off when Porter woke up extra early Saturday morning. In an attempt to keep the apartment quiet for Matilda to sleep longer (I swear she has radar for when Porter is up) I took him for his first spin in a grocery cart. He was very proud.
Saturday afternoon Tim & Matilda went with Gigi & Kyle to see the kids' They Might Be Giants show. It was greatly enjoyed, and fitting for the two unemployed dads since they played the "I Never Go to Work" song. It has become our anthem around here.
After the concert Gigi & Matilda explored the UCLA campus.
Today at the playground Porter was happy to practice his standing skills. He is getting quite speedy at cruising along.
Matilda & I practiced our digging skills.
Tonight we ate the most delicious roasted chicken ever at our friends house. Porter was thrilled when (after he finished the pureed food I brought along) we gave him some steamed green bean pieces & some very soft roasted cauliflower.....he ate everything left on the platter!
Matilda discovered that her buddy acquired a princess gown for dress-up since our last visit. Getting her out of it was quite an issue.

Saturday, November 14

A Pet

I am a little surprised it took this long, but Matilda finally asked for a pet this week. We were passing through the pet supply aisle in the grocery store when Matilda looked at a cat food bag, sighed, and said wistfully, "I wish I could have a cat." Then, with little response from me, she went on and on about the subject. "I could go to the pet store and I could get Juno! Or a cat just like Juno. It would be such a nice cat. If I had a cat I would buy that bag of food for it. I would love our cat so much."

As someone who grew up with countless pets, I feel so sad for her that she doesn't have any yet. Tim & I both really want that for her at some point, so it brought me to tears.

Friday, November 13

Baby Friend

Porter had his baby friend Stella over for dinner tonight and was SO happy to see her. It was awesome to watch them together. At one point in the evening Porter actually got upset and started fussing when Stella crawled away, and then recovered when she moved back closer. Too cute. While Stella showed Porter up in the mobility department, Porter won the eating competition finishing his dinner and most of Stella's.
Porter watches Stella's awesome moves.
Giving a concert for the babies.
On a baby related note, walking home from school today we ran into a little neighbor girl, Dana. After we said good bye and headed home from chatting with her Matilda asked me if Dana goes to preschool. I said not yet, she's still too young. Matilda then postulated that she goes to baby school. "Baby school" is something Matilda talks about very regularly. If you ask her what they do at baby school she'll tell you the babies learn how to poop on their pants! I do not know where she comes up with this stuff.

Thursday, November 12


Tonight as we were getting M settled into bed, she started doing some peek-a-boo moves with me. However, instead of saying "peek-a-boo" as she popped her face from behind her hands she would yell, "Bitch!" At first I was trying to pretend she misspoke, but when I asked her what she was trying to say she very clearly repeated the word. I then asked her what that meant and she went into baby talk mode. I offered up a few rhyming words that she might want to use instead, which made her laugh, and tried to emphasize that "bitch" is not a word we use, without making a big deal about it. Another milestone for the baby book I guess.

Wednesday, November 11

Downward Facing Dog

Stella is some kind of crazy yoga master already at 8.5 months. Porter was trying not to look too impressed with her moves and instead contemplates eating the camera case.

I Needed to Share

This is the outfit Matilda picked for herself today. The top layer is a flannel Christmas pajama shirt. Quite special. The best part is that when we arrived at the playground this morning, the mom of the family we were meeting told us how she had just told her son, Lukas, that he needed to change out of his pajama shirt because Matilda would laugh if he wore pajamas to the playground. I guess the joke is on Lukas!

Tuesday, November 10

On the Map

We have finally put heads on the big map Tim brought home for Matilda. For a long time now he has envisioned this family mapping project & I am really excited how it has come together. We scored the map from his old work as the company was closing down. Tim printed tiny photos of friends and family and then we cut them all out and placed them on the map with double sided tape. A world map would be nice to benefit Matilda's sense of geography, but for now we'll embrace ethnocentricity (and put our international friends' floating heads in the Pacific and Atlantic). It is really fun to see the country all laid out with our friends and family.
A few parts of the map are a bit crowded, Upstate NY for example. Rather than being represented correctly in his home on the westside of Rochester, Uncle Brian has been squeezed out to the middle of Lake Ontario. Oops.
It makes Matilda jump for joy. Or maybe she's just still bouncing off the walls from Halloween candy?

Monday, November 9

Meal Planning

While feeding Porter seems to be lots of fun right now, lately I am having the hardest time feeding the rest of the family. Each mealtime seems to sneak up on me before I have any idea of what to cook. All of a sudden it is 6pm, with no food in sight and we are in a mess of too-hungry-for-reason (me)/meltingdown-due-to-hunger(Matilda). As usual, I am still making a loose plan of what to cook for the week before I shop, but somehow the prep part is getting away from me.

Here's what we have on the docket for this week:
Pumpkin Soup of some variety
Cauliflower soup (our old standby)
Tofu Eggplant stir fry (from the first, scandalous Moosewood cookbook)
Black beans & rice (from the Dinosaur cookbook)
Artichoke frittata (source unknown)
Sides: creamed spinach, green salad, asparagus, cornbread

We will see if I can get through the list without resorting to take out pizza or fish tacos from around the corner!

Sunday, November 8

Porter Food

Matilda was never much for smushy baby food. By the time she really got into eating, at 9 months, we could just cut up really small for her from our plates so I never got into the full swing of making baby food. I think only once I made a batch of pureed something and froze it into little portions for her, before I realized it was a waste. Porter, on the other-hand, is our little eater. He loves just about any food he has tried. He had a strong reaction to peas (as documented in that video from last week), but has since come around. In fact, if you come at him with just about anything (spoon, toy, medical instrument, finger), his response is to open his mouth and try to eat the item.
Porter is eating about three cubes of food, three times per day now. I was limiting him to only 1-2 cubes per meal for a while, until the pediatrician convinced me to stop holding back. He almost always finishes everything we offer him with no encouragement. I am now in the full swing of making food for him and have a freezer full of little cubes of baby food. It is getting fun as his repertoire of food is getting larger & I am getting less strict with the 1-new-item-every-three-days rule. My entire trip to the farmers market I spend thinking about what things to buy for Porter to eat, with the rest of us just as an afterthought. New items up this week: fennel, roasted cauliflower, asparagus, stewed prunes, apples, maybe some beans?

Friday night was the first time I fed him the same thing that we were eating: root vegetables roasted with olive oil and pepper.
I just pureed them up with a little added water since it was quite thick for him.
Porter LOVED the roasted veggies, and ate more in one sitting than ever before. I image that very soon we will forego the separate baby purees and he'll be chowing down on anchovies and tofu stir fry right along side Matilda.

Saturday, November 7

Huntington Gardens Free Day

The very beautiful, but expensive to visit, Huntington Library and Gardens has a free day each month. For many years I have meant to do this but failed. Finally, on October 1st at 9 a.m. I remembered to log on to the web and reserve us some free tickets to go the first Thursday in November. It was so easy, and so free! I highly recommend it. The gardens were just as beautiful on free day.

Matilda just recently discovered this old dress of mine stashed in a dresser. I think we missed the window when it fit properly, since it is way too short for a dress now. The color is such a vibrant red, it is hard to believe the dress is 30+ years old. I even have portraits of me taken in it somewhere that I am too lazy to dig up and scan for you to see.
But why treat the dress like an heirloom? Instead I let Matilda run wild in it, do somersaults in the grass and get muddy in fountains. She particularly likes how it flares nicely when she spins.
Porter & Tim were looking especially cute at the gardens.
One big, happy family pile.
The kids garden there is especially awesome with fountains for splashing, magnetic sand for sculpting, tunnels for chasing and little doors to pretend you are in Wonderland.
They even had awesome benches for Porter to practice his standing skillz at. (And his open mouth kisses.)
All in all a fantastic afternoon, maybe now I can remember to try again December 1st!

Friday, November 6


Lately Porter has been into tackling Matilda. Actually, he has just generally been into launching himself forward. Sometimes he lands in a crawl-ready pose, sometimes he does a smooth belly-flop, and then there are times when he just lands on his face. I am not sure what he is trying to do when he goes for her. Occasionally it seems he is going after her shoes, but usually he seems to be just launching himself in her direction to see what happens. Regardless, it totally cracks her up. M ends up just laying under him laughing until we move him.

Luring Porter in with her awesome knee.
And he has her.
Seems like long enough for a full count, possible we have a new division champ.

My point of view (Yes, each parent has a camera ready at all times. How else would we take so many pictures?):