Saturday, August 31, 2013

Under the orangutans at the DC Zoo

DC zoo!! Woohooo! Eric finally got a break from work mid-August so we hightailed it to DC to visit Amy and see her sweet new digs! After touring her apartment and watching Hannah open more birthday presents (including this awesome book that we are loving), we trekked over to the zoo and walked right in because the DC zoo is FREE! That's so sweet.

Amy and Hannah hopped in the letters out front and Eric photo-bombed from the back. And I somehow managed to cut off part of the "z" if getting the subject inside the view finder is terribly difficult.

These photos (along with the fact that I'm losing tons of hair from breastfeeding) are the reason I cut a significant amount of my hair off. I'm not sure what I was thinking slicking my hair back in a ponytail like that. Sheesh.

Hannah has been complaining about walking lately; I think she's jealous of her brother getting to ride in the stroller and the baby carrier. Anyway, I let her ride in the baby carrier for as long as I could manage, and she got a big kick out of that.

The orangutans commuting to school were the highlight of the day. They climbed up the tower in their yard and then climbed across those ropes over the walkways and trees until they got to the think tank. It was so cool!

After a few hours we found a shady place to sit so I could try to nurse Jacob who pretty much boycotts the boobs while we're out and about, but I managed to get him to eat a little, enough to tide him over until we were back home and could lay down in bed and let him nurse in style. This is where he's high maintenance. He'd rather starve himself than eat in public while sitting up. Amy and Hannah rode the carousel while I tried to force feed him.

The DC zoo is beautiful with these huge, gorgeous habitats and a ton of interesting animals, like Amy's favorite, the sloth bear, an adorable animal that I'd never even heard of. We had an awesome, albeit exhausting day and look forward to future visits to the zoo to see all the new babies that keep being born!

Friday, August 30, 2013


Big day for the family today! After a miraculous 8 hours of sleep, I walked into the kids' room and found Jacob laying on his back, kicking happily. He sleeps on his belly so this means that he rolled over on his own!! This in addition to the fact that he wasn't a hot mess after not eating for 8 hours made that early morning hour particularly exciting.

And then there was the chopping of tons of hair! Hannah's haircut now goes with her keen fashion sense making her the most stylish person in our family by a long shot. Eh, who am I kidding? She's always been the most stylish person in this family. I mean, I'm certainly no competition.

Ken Wong at Balance loved what Hannah did but thought he could improve a bit, and I think he succeeded. I love it, and think it's going to be FAR easier to keep tangle-free. She loves it too because it's out of her way and off her neck. We celebrated our cool new haircuts by walking down to the Golden West for dinner and then checking out this new bakery that just opened up for desert. Random people up and down the Avenue complimented her cool new do.

This is the side that she cut herself. She took it down to the scalp in one part, and obviously Ken didn't want to shave her head so he just left it a bit uneven. 

I got a significant amount of my hair cut off too, so I traded Eric the camera for the baby and attempted to strike my own pose. 

We left a lot of hair on that salon floor today!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hannah the hairdresser cuts her own hair

This morning I walked into the bathroom to find Hannah snipping away at her hair with the scissors Eric uses to trim up his bangs (are they called bangs on men??). I dropped jaw and cried out incredulously, "what are you doing???!!"

Then my mind caught up to my shock. I remembered that it's just hair, that it will grow, and that she's just a kid. I remembered reading Jada Pinkett Smith's defense of her daughter, Willow, cutting off her hair, and I remembered thinking, "hell yeah! That's the kind of mom I want to be." I remembered how I cringed when Hannah once told me she wanted to have long beautiful hair like a princess, and I realized that here was our chance to spit in the face of the long-hair-equals-beauty standard that media has effectively shoved down her throat.

All these thoughts went through my head as Hannah's face crumpled into sadness, and then I burst out laughing and apologized profusely, assuring her that it really didn't matter and that I wasn't mad. She told me that she wanted hair like her friend Julia (who cut her own hair a few weeks ago). She said her hair makes her neck hot and gets in her way when she sleeps. I reassured her that this new haircut was going to be great--it'd be cool and easy to brush and there'd be far less of it for Jacob to grab and pull. She was excited. She had a moment of sadness for her long hair lost, but I ran through all the salient pros to short hair again, and she's been smiling ever since.

Earlier this week I scheduled both of us for a haircut on Friday (we were talking about this appointment this morning minutes before she took matters into her own hands), and I see no need to change the appointment so she'll be walking around with half-butchered hair for the next 2 days, and then I'll have some pictures of Hannah's new short hairdo this weekend.  (If it's long enough, she likes the shattered bob haircut on this page, and it looks easy to maintain, so I like it too. She took it pretty close to the scalp in a few places though so she might have to go shorter.)

I don't really think it's a big deal if she does it again, as long as she knows I'm not going to race her off to the hairdresser to "fix" it every time she wants to play barbershop; however, she could have taken off an ear with those scissors so I think we'll move them to higher ground until she's a bit older.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

When city girls need space

The city was closing in on us one Sunday a few weeks ago so we took the kids to the trail at the north end of the Robert E. Lee park where every Fido and Bingo in the surrounding area convene with their owners to run up and down the trail and chase tennis balls in the river. We walked until we couldn't hear the traffic on Falls Road and then exhaled deeply and let go of the madness. We followed the trail to the river where we traipsed around and watched the dogs play. Hannah found a nice muddy spot to sit down and build a mud drip castle.

That little Zen activity of hers was a pretty messy affair so she rode home naked, and I made a mental note to start carrying extra clothes for her.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A random summer afternoon in the 'hood in which Jacob gets his swing on for the first time

I'm going on a blogging rampage starting tonight. I have two big posts pending (our visit to the DC zoo and our vacation), and I have all these miscellaneous photos floating around that aren't terribly exciting but that I want to share anyway. First up: Jacob's first swinging adventure during a trip to the playground with his big sister and two of her favorite friends from the neighborhood. (If you're feeling nostalgic, here's a link showcasing pics from Hannah's first trip to the playground.)

He might still be a little young for it, but we plopped him in the swing anyway.

When Hannah was a baby, she shared the swing with her friends (see above link). She's a bit big for that now...

Hopefully his sister and her friends will always want to help out and lend a hand when he needs a little push.

Hannah is far more entertained by this tree on the edge of the playground than she is by the playground equipment. I can get behind that.

And there you have it: one random summer afternoon in Hampden.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hannah's 4-year birthday extravaganza

I fully intended to catch up on blogging while we were on vacation, but alas, no wifi. We were forced into an unwanted but surprisingly nice sabbatical from technology. Well, I was. Eric still used his phone to stay keep current with the all things Facebook and Zillow related.

Up first on my "to blog" list is a 20-days-late post regarding Hannah's birthday. Her 4th birthday fell on a Monday this year so we decided to celebrate in true Terri fashion: for 3 days. In my pre-mama life, I started celebrating my own birthday on Cinco de Mayo and kept up the partying until my actual birthday on the 7th. I like birthdays; what's not to love about having your own personal holiday in which most things revolve around you and the people who love you are required to make some time to do fun stuff with you?

We bought Hannah three presents and let her pick one to open each day. On day 1 of the 3-day extravaganza, she donned the birthday crown and a halter dress that Eric and I have decided looks far too mature for her and should be disposed of immediately. After breakfast she opened the Groovy Girl doll we bought her.

Grammy showed up shortly after with a Nabi 2, a tablet designed for kids (but with adult features as well) in a far more reasonable price range than an iPad. It comes stocked with games, books, music, and a lot of learning apps. Hannah is loving having her own "iPad" so if anyone has any good kid games/apps, please recommend! I'd rather have using that than staring blankly at the TV.

My brother and his boys showed up next with some foam magnetic blocks that you can use to build 3D structures off the fridge (unless your fridge is stainless steel like ours, in which case, you can use the radiator covers) and a Brave sticker book.

After the mandatory birthday pizza, I frosted some miniature strawberry cupcakes and set them on fire. They were tiny so we had to put one candle in four different cupcakes. I used this recipe for the cupcakes but cut some of the sugar (of course), and for the icing, I just tossed a brick of cream cheese into the KitchenAid with some of the strawberry puree that was left over from the cupcakes with a little bit of sugar. They turned out pretty good but would have been better as a layer cake with the puree tucked in between the layers. I tried to swirl it into the cupcakes but they were just too tiny.

We had planned on spending the day at the pool but that parade was rained on, literally, so we packed up and went to the moon bounce place which happened to be open that afternoon. Those crazy kids move too fast for me to catch them with the camera, but here's Jacob enjoying the inflatables.


My dad and Sondra were here when we got back from moon bouncing, but I was tired by this point and had ceased carrying around the camera so I have no evidence of their presence. They got her an Aqua Doodle (great in the car), some princess dress-up dolls with magnetic gowns, and a cute twirly skirt that Sondra made.

After that Hannah wanted to play Pin the Tail on the Donkey which my mom managed to find at the party store (I couldn't find it at ours when she wanted to play it on my birthday).

After all that, day 1 of the birthday extravaganza was finally over.

On day 2, she opened a second present from us (this book) after breakfast. In the afternoon, she had a video call with Grannah and Granpah in Michigan and opened the package from them that had arrived the day before. She got clothes, pajamas (a nightgown that she immediately put on and some shorts and t-shirt pajama sets which she wore to camp the week after because she didn't believe me that they were pajamas or she just didn't care), a Spiral Art kit, and this really cool kit that lets you create your own books

After the video chat she flew kites in the parking lot at the bottom of the block with Kylie, and then Kylie came back to our house for dinner and cupcakes. Zoey came over from next door too and we all sang again.

Then the girls went back upstairs to add to their costumes. As usual, Hannah gets points for crazy.

Day 3, her actual birthday, was the least celebratory day. Since Eric was gone in the morning she waited until dinner to open her third and final present from us: a really great cooperative board game called Hoot Owl Hoot! We ate cupcakes again and sang to her one more time, and then the celebration was over...

...until the following week when she took some of her birthday money to the toy store. My two aunts sent Hannah birthday cards with $20 each in them and both of her grandmas sent her a few dollars too. She picked out this giant bag of ball pit balls which we dumped into her plastic pool out back. She sat down and started kicking them everywhere and laughing hysterically. Eric and I grew tired of picking them up within about 5 minutes so now there are little plastic balls scattered all over our deck and patio and our neighbors' patios, and I've found some in the house too...

Oh, and that's the skirt Sondra made her in the pictures above. She was wearing it with boots and a ton of jewelry which made her look like some pop star country musician. I have a ton of really silly dress-up photos of her in which she strikes similarly silly poses like the one above which I will hopefully get around to posting before her next birthday.

Happy 4th birthday Hannah!

Monday, August 5, 2013

First Oriole's game!

Today is Hannah's 4th birthday but I'm not going to tell you about our 3-birthday extravaganza because those pictures have not yet been freed from the camera. Instead I'm going to tell you about the Orioles game we went to last Sunday with Autumn, Kim, and Aaron. I'm ashamed to admit that in spite of being proud Balti-morons, this was Hannah's first game...We didn't make it to one the first 2-3 years because the Sunday afternoon games were prime time for naps, and Hannah's sleep schedule was nothing to be messed with. Messing with it resulted in melt downs, and no matter how much fun an activity was, it was never so fun that I didn't regret having done it when the melt down ensued. Hannah gave up naps pretty early on though so we don't have a good excuse to not making it to a game last year.

We opted to get the full experience and take the light rail down. I got so motion sick on that thing that I had a melt down of my own and had to get everyone off a few stops early. I haven't been that sick in years...Next time we'll deal with traffic and pay out the nose for parking. This time we ran, all to eagerly to the light rail. Excited, much?

Stole this pic from my cousin, Kim.
Our seats were in BF Egypt, in a section reserved for cheapskates like us. The view was terrible, but the shade was fantastic, the empty seats around us were great for spreading out, and I'm told it was a boring game anyway. I wouldn't know; I spent so much time walking around that my legs felt like boulders as we trudged up 3/4 of a mile of straight up hills all the way home from the light rail, and blisters grew and then popped on my feet.

Swiped this pic from Autumn.
I don't know why I walked around so much other than that one trip back to the main gate area from where we were sitting was probably close to a mile each way. I went back with Autumn and Hannah so Autumn could get pit beef and I could get those first game certificates for Hannah and Jacob. I found out later that there is a fan assistance office on the upper level where I could have picked one up...but that's okay, we mosied over to the kid section while we were out and let Hannah play some of the games. When she stood with her back to the plate they'd set up in the little batting practice area they had, I realized that we desperately need a yard so we can play ball with this kid!

Thank you Autumn, for this pic of Hannah fumbling with how to use a baseball bat.

After the games I took Hannah to one of the little shops and bought her a shirt and foam finger.

Stole this one from Kim.
Stole this one from Kim.
When I got back, I sat down for a few minutes and then needed to feed Jacob, but he wouldn't nurse where we are. He might fall asleep pretty easily, but he is a very high maintenance eater. Most of the time I have to lay down in a bed in a quiet room to get him to eat. There are not maybe places like this when we're out so he'll hunger strike. I packed him into the carrier and walked back down the stairs to try to find a cool, quiet place to nurse. The fan assistance office had a little closet with a door and a chair, and it was enough. He settled down and ate.

With the Orioles hat he inherited his sister and the Orioles onesie he inherited from his cousin, Jacob was our group's biggest fan.
Stole this super cute pic from Kim
Second kids don't have the luxury of being catered to quite as much as first kids. At the same time, I try to be fair and act according to his best interests. I get flack for this from people who think that babies are accessories who can just be schlepped around whenever and wherever, and some are that laid back, but mine aren't. Even Jacob who is much easier than Hannah still prefers to sleep in his own bed, and that's what's best for him so although I often request that he take a midday catnap on-the-run (instead of a short evening nap), I try to make sure we're home no later than 3:00 so he can have a good late afternoon nap. He did not make it home by 3:00 on the day of the game though. And he wasn't too much of a wreck for it. He took a few cat naps throughout the day and made it through.

I missed a lot of Hannah's firsts this summer, including her first (and second, third, fourth...) time tubing and her first time picking berries at a farm, but I was not about to miss her first Orioles game! If you are trying to decide when to have a second kid, my advice is fall/early winter. That's a good time to be couped up indoors with a newborn. I'm missing out on a lot of fun this summer, and it's okay, I know it's only temporary and the baby phase passes so quickly, and really, this baby gives babies a far better name than his sister did, but it's still hard to have a rambunctious 4-year-old and a baby in the summer months when there is so much fun to be had! It's also hard to meet everyone's needs: one kid needs to constantly be run like greyhound (Operation Exhaust Hannah begins anew every morning) and the other needs to constantly nap. Meeting everyone's needs often means Eric and I divide and conquer. Again, it's all fine, but if I had to do over, I'd aim for a fall baby. In the meantime, go O's!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

4 months (yesterday), baby!

Jacob-ee is now almost 18 pounds (17 pounds 14 ounces)!! That seems huge to me but I guess he's starting to regulate because that weight puts him in the 89th percentile. Hannah hit18 pounds around 11 months (she was a little over 16 pounds at 9 months and almost 19 at 12). His 26 inches puts him in the 84th percentile for length (Hannah was 25 inches at 4 months). His head is still in the 95th percentile (43.6 centimeters; Hannah's head was 41.6 at 4 months) which means there will be plenty of room for a big ol' brain to grow and thrive!

I intended to spend some time on this post writing about his temperament (pretty easy and far more laid back than Hannah though anti-car rides, just like his sister), his sleep patterns (FAR easier than Hannah), and just him in general, but it's late...So this will have to do.