Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Back in the Saddle: Re-Discovering Self

I figured that after Rowan was born, I'd get back in the saddle as soon as possible.  However, all the baby & house happenings, along with a string of illnesses and lameness that ailed Ronin (the horse), kept me from jumping right back in. 

Finally, both Ronin and I are at a point where I can sign up for a lesson every other week and be confident that we will BOTH be able to attend.  I have to admit, it's nice to get away for a little bit and do something that I enjoy, on my own.  Riding {even just going to visit the horse} offers a much needed mental and physical outlet. But, things are definitely different since I became a mom.

First of all, I have to drag my butt up to the ranch. No matter how much I like it once I'm there {and I really like it}, I do not get excited to go. Part of this is that I'm tired, unbelievably tired and riding is a lot of work. And part of it is that when I go up to see the horse, it means missing an evening with my baby, since he's already in bed by the time I get home.

Second, I'm a scaredy-cat.  I was always on the cautious side, but now I'm a full on lunatic.  I'm scared to ride, scared to drive, scared to fly....you name it, I'm scared of it.  I guess you're not willing to take as many risks when you have more to lose. 

Also, I'm so out of shape!  While Ronin's made HUGE progress, I've turned into a soft blob. My last lesson had me huffing and puffing, even though I was sharing the lesson with another rider so I got to take breaks.  My comfort level on a horse has decreased dramatically from my last few rides before I gave it up. My seat isn't as good. My balance is off.  My core is weak.

All of these are reasons why I really need to get out there and do this, {which is actually my only motivating factor besides that my horse also needs to get out of his stall}. 

I'm not alone in this battle either.  Rogér has his own struggle to find himself again.  He may not have gotten post pardum panophobia {self diagnosed}, like I did, but his priorities have shifted away from himself as well.  And rightly so....to some extent.  But he needs an outlet too.  For Christmas, we gave him cash use at the International Swim Center {you can't buy a membership, but you pay a daily fee of $3}.  Now that he's gone a couple times, maybe he can find a groove.  His mind and body will be better for it.

We love being parents. More than we ever could have imagined.  But we're also determined to do some things on our own, for ourselves, and we don't want anxiety, excuses, or laziness be what stops us.

image credit: Norman Thelwell

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Driveway Love {Our New Stamped Concrete Driveway}

Our narrow asphalt driveway {and the HUGE juniper covering three feet of it} became extremely inconvenient when Baby came along.  There was barely enough room to park both our cars anyway, but we got by, cautiously opening the car door and inching our way out, using our best contortionist skills so as not to damage each others vehicles.  Add a baby, infant car seat, and a stroller to the mix and you don't have a pretty picture.  I ended up parking half my car on the grass {and by "grass" I mean assortment of dried weeds}in order to give us some room to move around.

Our house was in desperate need of a new driveway.  We considered pavers....until we got a quote that shot our aspirations to Hell!  Pavers require some serious dollar bills.  So, we "chose" concrete instead.  And to give it a little pizazz, we went with a stamped border and pathways.

We knew we wanted it widened about three feet on both sides, and we knew we wanted the path to the back yard gate widened enough to roll out the garbage and recycle bins {I know, a lot to ask, right?}, and that's about it.  As far as aesthetics of a driveway go, we were pretty clueless, but with the help our our neighbor {WWBD}, and the expertise of the man who did our driveway, we ended up with something we absolutely LOVE!

Preparing the ground

Form setting and rebar

Good thing Rowan supervised the cement pour
Goofing around
Oops, don't forget the baby feet!
And our name.
It was amazing to watch these guys do their work!  We had to water the drying cement twice a day and stay off of it for two weeks.  And we just got the stamped portion sealed today, to make it look pretty {and protect it}.

WooHoo!  We find ourselves checking it out multiple times a day.  I'd say it's a very satisfying improvement.  an't wait to use it!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Whoops! CDs and Diaper Rash Cream Don't Mix!

We LOVE our Gro Via Hybrid cloth diapers.  I can't say there's been anything to complain about {except the time it takes to dry them, but during summer, I just leave them out all day on the rack and that works perfect}.  So we've been surprised that lately, the daycare has been complaining that Rowan leaks right through his cloth diapers.  They've tried a number of their own methods for trying to fix this, including putting the pad in backwards, and just not using cloth diapers at all.  However, we've been skeptical because we NEVER have this problem at home...

Until today.

I picked Rowan up from daycare at 11:30 am to go to our company picnic.  They had just put him in a clean CD and I didn't change it during the picnic {he didn't seem to be fussing or wet}.  As I was carrying him towards the car, at 2pm, all o'sudden I felt a big wet spot on my shirt.  Lo and behold, his entire pee had soaked right through the diaper!  WTF??

I was seriously starting to panic a little.  I mean, we spent a small fortune on these diapers.  What the hell is going on?

The whole drive back home, my brain was turning.  How did we ruin our diapers?  I ONLY use Charlie's Soap for ALL our laundry.  Then it dawned on me!  Daycare uses a shit-ton of diaper rash cream {I can't blame them, since I actually authorized use of diaper rash cream, though I didn't expect them to use it as liberally as they do}.  Diaper rash cream is water repellent.  Diaper rash cream + cloth diaper = water repellent diaper. SHIT.  Over time, the diaper rash cream has worked it's way into the Gro Via inserts, making them, basically useless!!!

So why don't we have this problem at home?  Well, we don't use much diaper rash cream at home for starters and when we do, it's pretty much only at night, with a disposable diaper.  Also, we mostly use prefolds inserted into the Gro Via shell {we spare the Gro Via inserts for daycare since they're easier}.  I guess when we do use the Gro Via inserts at home, we've just lucked out using ones that weren't as contaminated with diaper rash cream.

I was still upset.  Solving the puzzle didn't make me feel any better about my whole {$$$} stash of CDs that don't work anymore.  So I got online, of course, and searched for ways to clean diaper rash cream from cloth diapers. I mean, this HAS to be a common problem.  And lucky for me, it is.  There's a whole bunch of info about stripping diapers of unwanted contaminates.  You have to be careful though, 'cause some methods don't jive with certain brands.  That's why I went straight to the Gro Via website for my info.

I smothered five of my inserts with dish soap and hot water and scrubbed away.  Then I rinsed. Then I soaked them in boiling water.  I'm still planning on running them through a hot, detergent free wash cycle. I am crossing my fingers that this will work.  I think I'll cry if it doesn't.

AND, from now on, we and daycare are on strict orders to use ONLY the Gro Via Magic Stick diaper rash cream, {which is made by Gro Via, for Gro Via} so this doesn't happen again!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rowan's Revolving Art Gallery

Rogér's dad's side of the family has a pretty exhaustive resume of art.  I mean look at his dad's work! Rogér picked up some fairly amazing skills himself, and, {to toot my own horn a little} I'm not too bad with a pen/pencil/paintbrush either, which I totally learned from my queen-of-all-trades mom. 

So I think it's safe to say that artistic genes run in the family.

And we obviously  have a little protogé on our hands.  check out these masterpieces!  Move over Monet, Picasso, and Rembrandt!  I bet 8 other moms didn't bring home anything like these when they picked up their kids from daycare!

Rowan's "Tropical Week" art and "Father's Day" and "Mother's Day" cards, proudly displayed on our wall with Dynamic FRAMES
{nevermind the lack of moulding on our window...it's on our list, okay?}

Okay, but the real point of my post is to talk about these super frames that I bought online at Dynamic FRAMESA little latch on the side opens them up for easy artwork changes.  So, as Rowan brings home new masterpieces, we can do a quick switch-o-change-o, and VOILA! We'll always be able to display his latest and greatest work!

This one would NOT load right!  What the heck?

And did I mention that each frame will store up to 1" of material?!  The back is spring-loaded, so they're perfect for displaying thicker items {like, say, an autographed sports magazine, or a special t-shirt}, OR, you can use it to store the older pages of artwork....just keep putting the new one on top and pushing the rest back!

Can you tell I'm really excited about these frames {maybe more than I should be}?  The mechanisms are actually pretty easy.  And if I think about it, I really shouldn't have had to pay what I paid.  But I'm still glad I did, because they're going to make collecting Rowan's work a breeze!

Friday, July 8, 2011

If You're Happy and You Know It..

Clap your hands!

I usually spend my work day humming some kind of tune that's stuck in my head.  Typically, it's something along the lines of a rock ballad (eg. Muse, Foo Fighters, and the like...with a Taylor Swift number thrown in the mix every now and again). 

But today, it's "If you're happy and you know it".

Guess this is the beginning of what I've seen happen to so many other parents.  Okay, well, maybe it started a while ago, when I acidentally left a NIN Rockabye Baby! lullaby CD in the car and listened to it on repeat for a week, but I'm not really going to count that. 

I don't mind listening to kid songs, or even having them stuck in my head all day {although I'm not sure how my coworkers feel about this}.  Actually, I'm glad that I can conjure up a song or two.  When we first brought Rowan home from the hospital, I was all o'sudden strapped to think of any songs from my early childhood past that would be appropriate for playtime or sleepytime.  I resorted to the only song I could think of, Sweet Baby James, by James Taylor.  And I'm sorry to say that that's still pretty much the only song that I "sing" when trying to rock Rowan to sleep.  But at least I've got a few others under my belt for other parts of the day.

A morning favorite is:
"It's ___day, it's ___day,
I like the shirt you've got on. 
In fact, I like it so much I'm gonna put it in a song. 
In a song, in a song. 
In a song, in a song. 
I like you and your shirt so much I'm gonna put it in a song"

A beauty, isn't it?

"Head, shoulders, knees, and toes"  {or hoofd, schouders, knieën en tenen} is another winner"

"The Hokey Pokey"  is our getting dressed theme song.

"Eca Moda" {sp?} is a nice little distraction, and "Baby Beluga" gets a line or two in on the way home from school.

Since my mom was a preschool teacher, you'd think I'd have more than that in my bag of tricks, but apparently I didn't retain that information.  I think it's safe to say we're getting there, though...slowly.

What songs do you remember singing to your babies, or having sung to you? 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Go SF Giants!

First of all, it's been over two years since we went to a Giants game.  This isn't on purpose.  I don't know how those two years slipped through our fingers.  Especially last year, when the Giants won the World Series.  I mean, talk about lame.  What kind of fans are we anyway?!

We've been REALLY excited to take Rowan to his first game for a while, so for Father's Day, me and Little Ro got the best daddy in the world tickets to the SF Giants vs. Cleveland Indians game. We chose what was supposed to be a 1pm game on a Sunday, in order to not screw with Rowan's nighttime schedule too much, but the game ended up being moved to 5pm...oh well.  We opted to drive instead of taking CalTrain, although, I think now that Rogér has seen how close CalTrain is to the ballpark, next time we may take the train.  Then again, it was nice for Rowan to be able to sleep in the car on the way up and back. 

On the way into the park, we got our promo Madisson Bumgarner tees and the guy handing them out asked if we had a first-timer with us, and directed us to pick up a first-timer gift at Section 119.  So Rowan got a little poster with Lou Seal on it and a printed paper that says something like "Welcome to your first game, Rowan Balyon...bla bla bla."  I have to admit, the printout is kinda lame.  But I think we'll keep it anyway for the little guy to decide what he wants to do with.

It was a perfect day to be at a ballgame in San Francisco, and Rowan did really great.  Something tells me he wasn't that interested in the game, and I can't really say that we got to watch the game that well either, but it was a fun family outing and Rogér got to show off his daddy skills {which is really what makes him happy anyway}.
Oh yea, and the Giants won!

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