Thursday, July 31, 2008

oliver's 9 month stats

today we had oliver's 9 month wellness visit. he now weighs 20 lbs 14 oz and is 30 inches long. i'm pretty sure he actually weighs 30 lbs, but i wasn't about to sit on the scale to test its accuracy.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

memory lane road street adventure

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you. If you don't want to play on your blog, or if you don't have a blog, I'll leave my memory of you in my comments. EVERYBODY PLAY! I want to see what memories you have!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

it's a 3 cookie day

ok, this post will probably be out of order, since i can't recall which days we did what while in california, but you'll get the gist. it's a long one with lots of pictures, so hang tight.

thursday before last, oliver was an awesome baby and woke up at the perfect time so that he would be ready for a nap right when we would be getting on the plane. we loaded up our 87 bags and the stroller, and mom took us to the airport. oliver did well. unfortunately for me, the plane was 100% booked, crowded, and noisy. i gave him some motrin before taking off, and tried to nurse him, knowing if i could get that accomplished, i'd have a fighting chance. no such luck. he mostly did whiny acrobatics in my lap for an hour. eventually, i did get him to doze off, but not so long after that the loud stewardess came down the aisle, shouting ahead for who needed a drink refill. i couldn't even look at her for fear i'd rip her face off. oliver did take another short nap on the plane (after dumping half his jar of carrots on me, my carry on, and the floor), so it wasn't a total loss. luckily, he wasn't screaming much at least. he did manage to crash for a nap once we arrived at bill & linda's.

it was about this time that i realized this vacation wouldn't be as relaxing as i had been planning. it dawned on me that in all my fantasies of napping by the pool, there was no baby. talk about a rude awakening. :) he drove me nuts a few times. total reinforcement that i am NOT meant to be a stay at home mom!!

in terms of sleeping, it took a good day for him to adjust to his new surroundings, and still woke up a LOT more than usual. we also forgot to bring the probiotics, so the last 3 or 4 nights we had some serious gas issues, which we're still working through now that we are home. overall, though, i was very impressed with how well he adjusted to the time differences going both ways, and besides a few incidents, how well he napped.

bill & linda's house is beautiful, and the back yard is so relaxing. hannah rarely left the pool, being the fish that she is. she may have managed to get more than, if you can believe that.

that night for dinner, linda made salmon with a tomato caper sauce, lentils, roasted peppers, and her famous salad of deliciousness. after 2 months of no kitchen and lots of eating out, it was SO NICE to have some real food again! it was, of course, absolutely delicious, and had me excited for dinners for the remainder of the trip.

the next day, linda's son carl, his wife larissa, and their sons cade (3 years old) and nicholas (4 weeks old) came to visit for the day. we had a lot of fun hanging out with carl and larissa. they are absolutely great. cade developed a major crush on hannah, which was incredibly adorable. hannah made $5 keeping him entertained all day, though, so everyone one. nicholas is such a mellow baby, he just chilled in his bouncy seat all day. larissa said he is the opposite of cade, so here's hoping our #2 will be the same way!

bill and linda live in the foothills of the san gabriel mountains. the landscape is totally different than what i am used to - lots of brown, lots of rocks, and very dry. it doesn't help that they are in the middle of a drought either. that afternoon, they traveled up the mountain some to visit mt. baldy village. i did not attend, but they assured me that the views were spectacular.

saturday morning, oliver and i both donned our shades and took an early morning walk. diversion is the key! we tooled around the neighborhood, including uphill towards the mountain. so i got a good work out at least.

the following day, i chased oliver around the house as he practiced his amazing ability to crawl, while the gang went on a hike in the mountains. hannah *thinks* she may have seen a snake (probably), but as no one else saw any, her story is suspect. they had a lot of fun, though, and saw some amazing views once again.

that afternoon, bill's sister margie came by with her gentleman caller, jim, and her daughters karen and dawn. dawn is a vet, so hannah was able to ask a few questions, or at least bask in the glow (hannah wants to be a vet). margie quickly decided she wanted to kidnap hannah, so they could go to the beach together every day. they were such a wonderful group. aunt margie is a doll!

a few random shots from that day:

a gecko on the patio -

oliver & his prunes -

that monday, the family visited the huntington gardens, which also includes a library and art museum, while oliver and i hung out at the house. they got to see some beautiful plants (hannah got some great photos which i think will turn into artwork, including one which i swear looks like a monet painting) and eat a cactus. they even got to see a movie set! the filming of a thousand words is being done at the gardens, so they visited the cemetery set. no stars, though.

tuesday, bryan's mother sandra arrived. it was nice finally getting to meet her. she plays webkinz, so she and hannah became fast friends. she confirmed that oliver is the spitting image of bryan when he was a baby. we all had a lovely day relaxing around the house.

wednesday, bryan's brother jeff and his wife karen were due to arrive. bryan, hannah, and bill spent the day in l.a. while linda and i relaxed around the house with the baby. hannah was able to see the hollywood sign, rodeo drive, and all those things you see in the movies. so she was pretty thrilled; l.a. has a special place in her heart for sure. she also got to meet some of the freaks, which she thought was both funny and extremely weird.

that night, we had all the peters men under one roof. we finally got to meet jeff and karen, who were very tired from their 20 or so hour trip in from london, but happy to be there. i had lots of fun chatting with karen - she is such a sweetheart!

thursday, the month of bryan came to a head with bryan's birthday. we both arose early (with the baby, of course) so that bryan could manage junior while i baked his cake. while he already has a custom cake for his birthday (tres leches style coconut angel food cake with rum milk and orange whipped cream), he decided he wanted another one. so we came up with chocolate pound cake with salted caramel cream and toasted pecans. like a turtle, but cake.

one of the moms on my message board, carrie, lives in l.a. and we had been trying to hook up all week. we had made plans for monday but oliver refused to nap, so those plans didn't work out. luckily, we were able to meet thursday morning! it was *great* getting to meet her in person. as she said, it was like we had known each other forever. it was fun watching the babies interact as well. her son, jude, was a little unsure of oliver at first, while oliver was all ready to be best friends. jude warmed up, though, and they had fun staring at each other across the table and showing each other their toys. oliver was a total angel. i wish we had more time to hang out, but it was so great just getting to meet them.

i gave bryan the top chef cookbook, which he had been eying, and his mom gave him some olives and a fine quality olive oil, which we had been needing. his dad and linda contributed towards his ps3 fund (he has a little jar on his dresser for it!). that night, linda made a fantastic dinner of grilled lamb and sausages and i forget what all else (but it was all delicious). i even liked the lamb! the new cake was a big hit (though, of course, i learned some lessons and it will be better next time - and definitely more chocolaty). so all in all, a pretty successful birthday for him, me thinks.

the next morning, we rushed around to get packed and make the drive to the airport. we managed to make our plane on time. i gave oliver some benedryl before the plane took off (his allergies were bothering him, i swear), so he managed to sleep for a good amount of the plane ride. we had such a great trip, but it was nice to be back home.

at some point during the trip, linda took me out shopping. we visited a fresh and easy, which was so cute. they are very small but have a really nice selection of things. we also went to a sprouts market. again, lovely produce. they also had some great bulk items. we hit up a trader joes for some staples (including wine). linda also took me to claremont, which has a fantastic walking district with some great shops and restaurants. i was able to pick up some neat cards (which i like to keep on hand) as well as that top chef book for bryan. it was a very nice, relaxing morning!

we have a california vacation folder in the gallery, but here are a few more random images from the trip:

karen & oliver -

bryan & his mom -

my incredibly cute baby (in his star wars t shirt for bryan's birthday) -

did i mention he mastered climbing the stairs?

oliver wearing 3D glasses -

entertaining the baby -

my step daughter, the model -

like i said, it is good to be home. we're still trying to get oliver back to sleeping better at night, but hopefully once the probiotics kick in again, we'll be back on track. saturday, we tried to stay as normal as possible, just running errands and sticking around the house.

sunday after oliver's morning nap, we went over to mom and dad's house to cook bryan yet another birthday dinner. i got to work in the kitchen while bryan and mom fed oliver his lunch. it turns out he LOVES nectarines! although, he wasn't too fond of the slimy texture and therefore wasn't too keen on feeding himself. he also didn't much like the tiny pieces mom lovingly cut up for him - he much preferred to munch on the whole fruit. it was pretty cute and he polished it off in no time (and he had another one last night!).

for dinner, we had grilled shrimp wrapped in bacon with bbq sauce, grilled rosemary garlic potatoes and onions (from our garden), roasted beet salad with sherry vinaigrette (both the lettuce and the beets were from our garden), beet green gratin (using the beet greens from our garden), rib eye steaks, and, of course, bryan's coconut cake for dessert. everything turned out well (except the steaks did get a little charred on the bottom - turns out 5 rib eyes creates a lot of fat dripping into the coals!). everyone was stuffed and happy, so i did my job right.

hannah gave bryan the birthday gift she bought for him, which included: garden work gloves (he had been needing a pair), a new toothbrush (he LOVES new toothbrushes), and 2 frames which she decorated, one with family stickers (no picture in it yet, though), and one decorated with glow in the dark space/alien stickers. she printed out a vintage star wars movie posted and put it in that frame. all her idea. bryan loved it, of course.

a few additional pictures from sunday are in the july gallery.

katie arrives in town on friday to start getting things ready for her wedding next week friday. she is flying while kevin prefers to drive (crazy boy). she can't wait to see hannah and oliver. i think she will be stunned at how much he has grown in the short time since she saw him last!

the state fair starts on thursday. hannah missed out on it last year since she had to go home at the end of july, BUT since she is staying an extra week this year for katie's wedding, she will be able to experience it. she is pretty amped up about it! i think we'll plan on going late saturday afternoon and hopefully the whole family can go.

sunday i think we'll try to hit up the zoo. a change of scenery is always good for the kids, and we're members, so why not??

beyond that, i don't think we have much going on (i say that now...). i'm sure we'll be plenty busy getting ready for katie's wedding, and i NEED to clean my house before i go completely psychotic.

we are still without plumbing in the kitchen; bryan is working hard on a solution so hopefully we'll be up and running soon. i am sooooooooooo excited to be able to eat again.

speaking of that... i am reading the united states of arugula, about the american food revolution (or evolution, even). i had a light bulb moment when reading a section wherein the author explains the modern beef industry. i'm skipping a lot of the detailed explanation, but see if you can follow. in short, beef is like produce - it has a season. think about it - cows eat grass, and grass doesn't grow year round, right? so to get around that, ranchers began feeding their cows grain. additionally, it takes 2 - 3 years for a grass fed cow to be ready for slaughter. that's way too long in the world of making money. baby cows can't digest grain. hence the hormones and antibiotics. really gross, hey? so it occurred to me that it's always been very important to me to ensure what i am putting into my mouth is food (and not crap), and so i really need to change the way i eat meat. lucky for me, bryan is on board. i have a lot of research to do in order to find where i can get natural, organic, hormone free, antibiotic free chicken, lamb, pork, and beef, and locally if possible. this may raise our food bill each month. but it is truly important to me, and, i believe, essential for living well. so i think it'll be worth it.

that being said, it really changes the way i shop. when we went grocery shopping on saturday, i found myself scrutinizing every single thing i picked up. it made shopping very difficult. of course, i can't avoid some of the things i don't want to eat at a conventional grocery store. but i wanted to know what was in *everything*. and how was it grown/raised? were the raspberries in my all natural raspberry soda grown organically? what conditions were the pork that made my bacon raised in? in fact, who raised that pork? i ended up spending over 2x the $ to get hormone free milk. seeing as how i drink a gallon of milk a week, i'm not sure if that habit is supportable. i'd like to get local milk; i'm in wisconsin for crying out loud. i know it can be done.

like i said, i have a LOT of research to do. i am definitely excited about this, though. we are in the heart of dairyland, so i know we can pull this off. we already have our csa and our garden, so if we can supplement that with local meat and dairy, i really couldn't be more thrilled.

enough pontificating. i have some serious work to do. at work, i mean. not being at work for 7 days = giant backlog. yesterday was worse but i'm very tired so today isn't a whole ton easier. wish me luck.

Monday, July 21, 2008


no time for a full post yet (the baby is starting to realize i am not in the same room as him), so just a few pictures until i get the time:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

i'm in lurve

our kitchen has countertops! they were installed today, and they are *gorgeous*.

we really couldn't be happier. i am so glad we decided to stick with the alabaster voile granite. it matches the cabinets, paint, and floor perfectly.

i even have my marble work surface for pastries and pastas.

LOTS more pictures in the projects gallery.

we're still not in working order, however, as we're awaiting plumbing. in order to do any plumbing work in the city we live in, you must have a permit. and in order to have a permit, you must be a master plumber. and the city we live in is big on unions. and, apparently, the mob. so in order to hook up the sink and dishwasher (to existing plumbing lines, mind you), we are getting quotes averaging $1000. which is silly. the debate is do we do it ourselves, and risk having someone pull the permits to find there is none? can the fine really be more than $1000? OR do we pay someone $1000 to do it? we decided last night to go with the latter. bohmann plumbing was scheduled to come out today to give a written estimate, and said that they would be ready to do the work then. their estimate was $1500!! CRAZY AHOLES!! bryan showed them the written estimates from the other places showing $1000, and said he'd pay them that, and the boss man said no. so bryan asked them to get off our property. so we will never be calling them again. needless to say, even at $1000, i'm pretty sure we're getting squeezed by the mob.

additionally we have yet to:
- install the new light fixtures. we were waiting for the cabinets and counters to go in to avoid the dust, so now those can go up.
- replacing all the light switches and outlets. what, you thought i would keep the old ones??
- tiling the backsplash. we know what we want to do. another non critical job.
- ordering the butcher block island. all we have to do is agree on one. easier said than done.
- settle on a window covering solution. i think we'll just end up going with white wooden blinds. i believe drapes and even roman shades would get too gross with all the cooking we do; at least blinds an be cleaned relatively easy.
- paint the back hall. totally an ancillary project. but i'll finally get my blue walls, so i'm excited about it.
ummm, i think that's it. surely i am missing something that will make itself evident to me later. oh, besides loading everything back in the cabinets.

work has been literally insane. trying to wrap up some deliverables for my project and i feel like the proverbial chicken sans head most days. more so today, it being the last day at work before going on vacation for a week and a half. brilliant timing on my part, no? i got most things in a good state, though. i have a lot of work to come back to. AND i was added to an additional project that will be kicking off when i return, including 3 solid days at a client site, so we'll see how that pans out. it's great that they are giving me the responsibility and the opportunity to grow, though, so i'm still loving the job.

hannah and i took oliver to the park one evening. he had a blast swinging and eating the sand. it was so good he had 2 helpings. am i a bad mom for letting him eat sand? probably. but it was bound to happen sooner or later. and i stopped him after the second fistful.

our of sheer desperation last thursday bryan made dinner at home, braving the need to wash dishes in the laundry sink. i'm not sure about bryan, but i cannot stand to eat out anymore. it is just so gross. and expensive!! bryan grilled some chicken thighs, and served that along with braised swiss chard with a local bacon, and risotto (he loves me) with nasturtium flowers, which are, obviously, edible. it was so nice to have a real meal again. can't wait for our kitchen to be finished!

last weekend was great. saturday, oliver didn't want to nap, which is usually the sign of a new tooth. hannah and i ended up leaving him with bryan so we could go to the mall with mom and shannon to find a junior bridesmaid dress for hannah. bryan said ollie fell asleep about 2 minutes after we left the house, this being after i tried to get him to go down for 4 hours. PUNK. we spent about 3 hours at the mall, trying on every size 8 dress we could find i think. we ended up finding a very cute one at macy's, along with some really cute pink shoes at gap kids. oliver of course also got some things at baby gap (including a star wars t shirt, which was more for bryan than oliver!) and boston store, as did hannah. what can i say, i'm a sucker for really cute kids' clothes.

oliver has figured how to stand up on his own. can you believe it?? he tries to walk, crawls like crazy... that kid is getting pretty mobile. he loves standing up. luckily i think he knows how to get back down, so we haven't had to rescue him too much.

sunday after naptime we hit up the zoo. it was a beautiful day for it. we are loving being members of the zoo already. hannah was disappointed we didn't get to hit up all the animals (i think she is used to the TEENY TINY atlanta zoo that takes 45 minutes to get through... if you walk slowly), until we reminded her we can see them next time.

july gallery has of course been updated.

we are working on getting ready for our trip to l.a. bryan made me aware of the flight time (4+ hours), which for some reason i simply hadn't thought about, so now i am dreading the flight. with oliver teething (why? he doesn't need 8 teeth at 9 months) AND his need for constant entertainment (he's so used to the 6 kids at day care doting on him), this could be a total disaster. i'm planning on giving him motrin about 30 minutes before the flight to avoid screaming teething baby, and beyond that, praying that i can distract him by nursing, and promising my next born to whatever god will help him take a nap during the flight.

we are SO excited to go to l.a. hannah is literally freaking out. i think she is thrilled at the prospects of a) seeing the hollywood sign, and b) being in the same city as hannah montana. i am excited to have 8 days of sitting by the pool and relaxing, not to mention eating linda's delicious home cooked meals. and napping. there will be napping.

so that's about it. stay tuned for pictures from l.a. now, i need to go pack since i've been blowing that off to update this. had to brag about the kitchen, though.

as usual, i leave you with a picture of my adorable blue eyed baby.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

dear oliver

dear oliver,

when did you get so big? you didn't even seem to small when you were born, but looking back, you were such a tiny thing.

you are nearly a kid now, no longer a baby. you can crawl around like you have a jet pack strapped to your back. you can sit up on your own. i know you are trying very hard to talk. sometimes, i think you even believe you are saying real words, the way you look at me as if to say, "what, mom? didn't you understand that?"

you have 6 teeth and are loving real foods. baby food is fine and good, but you are more interested in what i am putting into my mouth, and you no longer want a bottle; you're a big kid and want a sippy cup. you're still figuring out this whole chewing thing, but with the way you were going at that tortilla last night, one would have figured you for a pro.

you've been learning how to stand, with support, and teeter around on those two tiny feet with your hands clutched in mine. but this new trick of standing up on your own, i am not ready for. when i come into your room and you are standing up in your crib, bouncing and looking so thrilled with yourself, i am at the same time incredibly proud and very sad. this means you'll be walking on your own before i know it, and i'm just not ready for that.

i love watching you learn and grow, and i am so excited to continue to have the opportunity to do new things with you. i daydream all the time of the things we'll be able to do once you're a little older: playing tag at the park, coloring together, reading stories, riding bikes, all the fun festivals and events we'll be able to attend, your little voice talking to me.

and there are certain things i certainly won't miss about you being a baby; most notably being so tired i could cry, and not knowing what is wrong when you cry. that cry that always meant something was wrong but i didn't know was has always broken my heart. it is hard being the parent of an infant.

but i will miss my little baby; i will miss the feeling of your little body curled up against mine, and that gentle baby breath against my chest. i will miss seeing your tiny fingers resting on my hand. i'll even miss those sloppy baby kisses when they turn into real ones. i will miss all the good things about being the parent of an infant. the number of good things may not be larger than the hardships, but the strength behind them far outweighs any difficulties.

you'll always be my little halloween baby, even when you're grown. you just need to promise me that you'll always pause to kiss me, hug me, smile at me, and bat those eyelashes over your amazing blue eyes for me.

i look forward to you growing and continuing to become the beautiful, happy person i can see you are. it is a miraculous process, and i feel so special to be able to see you live, and to be a part of it. but, just slow down a little, ok?