Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Moose Is Loose

We are in Maine for a bit, and hoping to see some moose, albeit not ones that are firetruck red.  Nonetheless, Owen prepared for his vacation with a bit of moose-riding practice:

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Base Camp, Etc.

One of Owen's favorite things to do these days is crawl up the stairs.  He will do it as often as we let him, and that is pretty often, even though it is rather boring following closely behind him.  It is good exercise for him though, and he is very proud when he reaches the landing, or as I like to call it, base camp.  Here he is tra la la-ing up the stairs with Sean close behind him:

He likes to make snide physical comments on our housekeeping by picking up any stray piece of lint or pet fur that he finds on a step.

Another thing that Owen enjoys doing these days is hiding and playing peekaboo.  To put it mildly, when he hides, Owen is not very hard to find.  Case in point:

His favorite hiding place is to put a pillow in front of his face.

He definitely seems to understand most of what we say to him, even though his language still consists mostly of variations of buh and duh.  He will get frustrated with us when we say "no" to something that he wants to do, and he will often wave his arms in anger.

He's also eating his weight in watermelon weekly, along with all sorts of other fruits:  peaches, kiwis, grapes, etc.  He likes a cheese sandwich too, but isn't so sure about vegetables that aren't in puree form. We need to work on that.

Owen has also given up his morning nap, mostly, which is sort of a pain, since he gets cranky without one.  On the weekends I still will put him in his crib and give it a try, as one never knows if he will sleep or not.  And then when he does sleep, I do a little dance.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Feline Mani Pedis

I noticed the other day that Plum had a thumbnail that was curving around and on the verge of growing into his thumb pad.  I couldn't get the clippers underneath it to cut, and I was afraid to cut the outside of the curve since I couldn't see where his quick ended -- plus he didn't like me touching that nail at all.  He used to be a cat who wouldn't mind getting his nails clipped.  In fact, he would often give me a paw lazily and lie there purring as I snipped away.  But those days seem to be over.  Nowadays I have to catch him in a good mood, and then he'll still only let me cut one or two nails before he starts giving me warning nips.

Posy has always been difficult about her nails too.  She doesn't mind having me cut them, but she won't stand still for it, and her nails retract too easily.  I usually only get one nail per attempt, and even then I think I end up cutting the same nail over and over.

So I called the vet on a Saturday morning to see if they could fit me in to get Plum's nails clipped.  And when they said yes, I thought about it for awhile and then called them back to see if I could bring Posy as well.  Both cats thus were brought to the vet for a quick mani pedi.  Posy got a little overwrought, so they said they had to put her in an oxygen chamber.  Coughdivacough.  I think they just weren't used to the sound her nose makes when breathing--which is something akin to a permanent snuffle and snore.

Luckily, they didn't charge me for Posy's extra oxygen, and I left ten minutes after I had arrived, with 36 short nails and not as much money out of my wallet as I would have thought going in.

Plum in a picture by Sean, showing some of the offending digits:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Snoozing in the Park with Owen

It was so hot here that for awhile we didn't take Owen to the park.  There's no shade in the park and standing in the hot sun by playground equipment on a ninety degree day has no appeal.

But then it got cool again--and the first time Susan took Owen to the park in a long time he squealed with glee when he saw where they were.  (Note he's wearing long sleeves in most of these photos!  It was that cool!)

Sean and I also took him to the park on the weekend, and he was still pleased to be there:

But after a few trips, perhaps the novelty wore off?  Add to that the fact that Owen is in the process of giving up his morning nap, and well, this is what happened the next few times he went to the park:

He kept falling asleep on the swings!  And then staying asleep when Susan would lift him out and put him on a blanket!

He even fell asleep on the seat swings too!

Apparently it is hard work being Owen!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Woodland Critter

Our backyard rabbit, Peter, seems to have vacated the premises.  He did that last year, too -- he was in our yard for May and June and then mostly gone in July and August.  We did see a large rabbit on our driveway this week, but I don't think it was the same Peter.

A few days, ago, however, we noticed that we have a new visitor!  And he seems to have set up a pied a terre under our garden shed.  The other day Sean was able to get a good photo of the fine fellow:

Welcome!  We don't really have a garden in the backyard yet, so he is welcome to munch on whatever he can find there.  Our elderberries are beginning to ripen, and I've noticed that the birds are all devouring them.  At one point I had thoughts of making an elderberry crumble or buckle or grunt, but ennui is causing me to be generous to the birds.  Berry away, my fine feathered friends!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

More shots!

Like his mother, Owen does not enjoy going to the doctor.  But whereas my dislike of a doctor's appointment has to do with the inevitable rage I get at my health insurance company for their incompetence and highway robbery, Owen's dislike seems to stem from abject terror.  From the minute we walk into an exam room, Owen cries and screams for his life.  It's really quite horrible.

He screams while we undress him; he screams while he gets measured; he screams while we walk down the hall towards the scale, and then screams the whole time he is on the scale; he screams the walk back to the room; he screams while we wait twenty minutes for the doctor; he screams while the doctor is in the room talking to me; he screams while the doctor is examining him; and finally, he screams while he is getting four shots into his chubby thighs.

It is all very stressful.  He is old enough to know that the visit is going to be painful, but not old enough for us to be able to describe why we are there or to bribe him with a post-doctor's visit treat.

And in his defense, all four of his shots involved rather long needles, poor baby, and one resulted in a fever later on that night.

Anyway, his appointment was yesterday and we learned while there that he has fallen out of his ninety percentiles -- and fallen out of his eighty percentiles for that matter.  His weight is in the 79th percentile, his head size in the 48th percentile, and his height in the 39th percentile!  I'm not convinced that that last number is quite accurate though.  According to the records he only grew one quarter of an inch, but they measure him by penciling a line by his feet while he is lying screaming and writhing on the table, and then penciling a line by his head, and I'm not convinced that a particularly heartfelt shudder didn't bump the penciling hand of the nurse doing the measuring.  Especially because he has left 12-month clothes behind and is comfortable wearing the 18-month ones.

But at any rate, we are done with the pediatrician for another three months.  And both Owen and I are very glad.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Happy Birthday, Owen!

Owen turned 1 on Thursday, but we decided to wait until Saturday to celebrate.  We also decided to more or less forego a party.  Neither of us are big party people, and we figured why go all out when Owen was too young to appreciate or remember it?  We'll do more next year when he is a little more sentient.

But I did make a cake for Owen from scratch, using the yellow birthday cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen and then my own recipe for chocolate buttercream frosting.  It was quite good on the whole, although the cake is really of the hearty variety rather than the light and fluffy.

Owen definitely liked the piece of cake we gave him, although truthfully he seemed more excited about the fact that we gave him control of his utensil with which to eat the cake, than the taste of the cake itself.

He wasn't too excited about the Elmo birthday hat we put on his head, although he did later enjoy drinking from an Elmo cup with his own two hands.

We also got some balloons from a party store and he liked them very much.  He sees balloons weekly in the grocery store and gets very excited about them, exclaiming BUH! whenever he sees one.  He seemed impressed anew each time he went into the dining room and saw the balloons again.  I don't think he had realized that one could have balloons in one's very own house.

Of course, the cats were rather impressed with the balloons as well, along with the dangling string that was attached to them.

Owen's Aunt Susan came to celebrate with us, and as always, Owen was very happy to see her:

After the cake, Owen opened and played with his many gifts.  He's at the age, too, where he just wants to focus on the present he opened, rather than put it aside to look at the other gifts still to be opened.  He also very much likes to look at the birthday cards which we put on the mantel.  He enjoys having us walk slowly in front of them and comment on each one.  Then at the very end he opens the one with the song inside from Aunt Joyce and Uncle Bob and we both do a little dance.

Happy first birthday, Owen!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

BumGenius 4.0

I am now going to write about diapers, so feel free to skip the text and instead just rest your eyes on this gratuitous picture of one small but feisty exotic shorthair, Miss Posy Fern.

There.  I will keep this short, but I feel the need to write a brief BumGenius 4.0 recommendation, since while deciding what kind of cloth diaper, if any, to use for Owen, I was overwhelmed by the amount of choices out there and greatly helped by a few blog entries from various people saying what they used and what worked for them.

So.  The first two months Sean and I basically just used pampers on Owen.  We were new to diapering, and aghast at how frequently diapers needed to be changed in the beginning, and it was just easier to throw them away without having to bring laundry and basement stairs and this and that into the mix.  When Owen was two months old, however, we started using BumGenius 4.0 diapers on him in the day, and then pampers at night. 

(We still do this, and I’m not quite sure why we didn’t switch to using BumGenius in the night as well.  At first it was because when it was the middle of the night and we weren’t at our best, it would be easier to just use what we knew well – i.e. pampers.  But then it became a habit.  We now put a pamper on Owen at 7:30 pm and it pretty much lasts through the night until 6-ish, with the occasional bit of leg leaking.)

The BumGenius have been great though—easy to use, easy to launder, and they have fit Owen well as he has grown.  We started with them snapped into a medium-size diaper and now he wears them on their largest setting (although I’m told that as he gets more mobile, his shape will change, so he won’t grow out of the diaper). 

They are pretty!  Here they are looking like Jordan almonds on the drying rack:

We have 28 of them and basically end up doing two loads of diaper laundry per week.  When Owen was just drinking breastmilk, we could throw the diapers into the laundry without having to do any pre-cleaning of them first.  Once he started eating other foods, we added a Bumkins flushable diaper liner to each diaper, and then dump that in the trash upon taking the diaper off Owen.  We tried hooking up a sprayer to our toilet first and cleaning the diapers that way.  But the sprayer had way too much force, and once I discovered the liners, it was so much easier to use them and not have to do any pre-washing or spraying, not to mention carrying the diaper from Owen’s room to the bathroom while also carrying Owen.  The Bumkins liners are inexpensive too, and a soft cotton (they are flushable, but with our rather old plumbing, it seemed best not to attempt to do so).

Perhaps because of the liners, the BumGenius diapers really still look like new.  The insert is a little flatter then it once was, but I don’t really notice that the absorbency has changed at all, and the diaper insides are still clean and white.  I can definitely see how one could re-use the diapers for multiple kids (although of course we will not be doing so!)

The only downside is that they definitely are bulkier than a pamper, so they tended at first to push Owen’s clothing up a size.  And he often looked like a teletubby in a onesie.

I know some people used different cloth diaper brands and structures for different occasions, but I’m pleased with my decision to get one kind only and then not think about it again.  It worked for us, and I definitely recommend BumGenius for anyone looking to use an easy and effective cloth diaper.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Petless Manor

The other day Sean was somewhat grumpily picturing a future when Bulldogge Manor becomes Petless Manor.  That is because four days out of five we come downstairs and find that one or other of our three pets have vomited somewhere during the night.  Or coughed up a furball.  There always seems to be something temporarily wrong with Dorothy or the cats, and sometimes, what with full-time jobs and a baby, it can all seem a bit much.

So I thought I’d shift the focus away from our pets this entry and instead give you a picture of Dorothy’s very dashing Texas cousin, Kramer!  Here’s Kramer loving the USA at a Independence Day parade:

 Now that’s a handsome beast!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

LL Cool Owen

Since beginning to crawl in earnest a month ago, Owen very shortly thereafter began to stand while holding onto things.  He now crawls very fast and very loudly (hands and knees slapping the ground with purpose), but seems most proud of the standing.  His feet still appear more decorative than useful at this point—they are so round and solid, and look like two dinner rolls, as Sean puts it.  But I have no doubt that soon he will realize he can take a step or two on them.

We make a ruckus if he gets too near a reclining Plum, so he pretty much will avoid Plum and crawl right by him now.  I’m sure at some point Plum will hit Owen, and I’m hoping that he will not use his claws.  Dorothy is not so sure about Owen’s new mobility, and will often go over to him and try to kiss him mid-crawl.  Posy runs away when she sees Owen coming—she wants nothing to do with the boy.

Other random Owen moments:  Susan has been getting Owen to make faces that show different emotions.  Here is his mad face:

He started playing peekaboo by hiding behind the curtains—and he did it the first time by himself.  We all say “where’s Owen?” and he laughs and laughs, with of course most of his fat little body in plain sight where the curtain ends.

He also does two different kind of “dances” now.  One is a spazzy moving-his-arms dance which he tends to do in his high chair, and the other is a kind of rhythmic sway he does when he hears music.

And finally, when out on a walk Owen loves to touch reachable objects, like trees and leaves and posts.  He’s very gentle about it and seems to really like the different textures.  He will also say “duh” when he sees a dog outside and “buh” when he sees a bird.  He will really follow the birds with his eyes and watch them intently.