I sewed my first pair of pants! I went with an easy pattern because I didn't want to have to mess with fit too much, but I did do some piping, a yoke in back, and pockets. I love the way they turned out.
They do look a little bit like scrubs, unfortunately. But they're comfy like scrubs, so I guess that works both ways.
I think my sewing improves with every project. I'm very proud of myself.
Saturday was a fabulous day! Baby was in such a happy mood all morning, so Levi and I snuggled with him in bed and played around for hours in the morning. Then Levi and his buddy went out snorkeling, and when he got home we had some *awesome* creme brulee french toast for brunch.
Levi hung out with the baby in the afternoon while I worked on a sewing project. Then we took a little outing to Petco (saw some adorable baby ferrets!) and went to Thai Jo for dinner. We saw my old boss there and got to catch up with her a little bit.
Last night I finished reading Teju Cole's Open City. I really enjoyed it. It is narrated in the first person by the main character Julius. Julius is a medical school resident in psychiatry at a New York hospital and is originally from Nigeria, son of a German mother and a Nigerian father.
Julius is a fairly solitary person, not unhappy in life but not exuberant either. The novel simply follows him around for an indefinite period of time, recording his encounters with friends and strangers, following his musings, etc.
What really interested me about Julius was to see how little time he spends thinking about race or his African heritage, and yet how often it colors the way strangers see and interact with him. When he describes a conversation with a stranger, it would surprise me that towards the end, the stranger would comment that they were both black men. Julius rarely mentions a person's race in his thoughts, because it isn't noteworthy to him. But his race and heritage seemed noteworthy to others. Fellow African immigrants immediately address him as "brother" and want to discuss the homeland. Julius is never bothered or annoyed by this, but he doesn't share the absorption with race and culture.
There are some really great vignettes in the book. Some of my favorites are Julius' meeting with a Liberian man inprisoned in an immigration facility awaiting deportation, his brief friendship with a Marxist Muslim Moroccan man in Belgium, his visits with a dying professor who was interned during World War II because he was Japanese American, and a shocking and very sad conversation he has with a woman he knew as a boy in Nigeria.
The biggest success of the book, in my opinion, is that Julius truly feels like a real person, not a character in a novel. He is as flawed, complex, and interesting as people are in the real world. I enjoyed living inside his head for a brief time.
I can admit when I'm wrong. And I've recently learned that I was wrong about sleep training the baby.
Let me back up. Before baby Levi was born, I was all about the "cry it out" idea. I was of the opinion that babies didn't need to be held every single time they cried, and the sooner they learned that the better.
Of course, that whole philosophy was gone in a flash when the baby was born. I just wanted to hold him and comfort him and snuggle him as much as possible. So then my philosophy took a complete 180. I was against "cry it out;" I thought it was too stressful on babies and on parents, I thought it wouldn't work for my little guy, I thought there were lots of other ways to teach him how to sleep on his own and comfort himself.
Well, I still believe two out of those three. But once baby Levi hit 5 1/2 months and was still waking up two and three times a night, plus having a hard time falling asleep at bedtime, I thought we had better give "crying it out" a try.
Baby and Grams in the wee hours of the morning
I am both happy and sad to say that letting him "cry it out" (within reason) got him sleeping through the night and going to bed on time. I wish we could have gotten there a different way, but I'm so glad we got there. He still does wake up once in the night (about 4:00 am) and nurse, but I'm fine with that.
The important thing is that he's happier and healthier, and I'll admit I'm wrong any day of the week to accomplish that.
Baby Levi went to the pediatrician today! I love taking the baby to the doctor. Since we don't have a scale, we don't know how much he weighs until his appointments. It's a lot of fun to find out how big he's getting. What is not as fun is those pesky shots.
This picture is from his 4 month checkup
I love our pediatrician! The first thing she does is ask, "What questions do you have?" And then, miraculously, she sits and listens patiently. So simple, but something my OB neverever did! Take notes, Bryan.
So do you want to hear baby Levi's stats? Six months old, 20 pounds 3 ounces, 29 inches long, head 18 inches. He's a big boy! He is literally off the chart for length, and in the 90s percentile for weight. He's getting tall! We love it. I call him Baby Shaq.
The doc concluded the checkup with saying, "I can't find a single thing wrong with your baby!" Just what we like to hear!
We bought a new car! Well, a new used car. A Honda Civic Hybrid!
All three of my sisters own Honda Civics. Niki also has a silver one and Lexi and Krystle have white ones. And Lexi's is also a hybrid. How embarrassing. What do you think that says about us? That we all appreciate a reliable, economical car in neutral colors maybe. How boring.
But I'm very excited to have a hybrid! Maybe it will make my conscience feel better about our gigantic gas guzzling Jeep Commander.
Known as the Jetta, Elle, or the Crayon Car (it smells like crayons inside), I had this car for 10 years before saying goodbye today. We're trying to buy a more fuel efficient and reliable car. The Jetta has been great, but it has over 150,000 miles on it and is pretty dang old. We sold it to a guy who is going to fix it up for his high school age daughter.
I finally figured out something that will make baby Levi smile on command!
Ever since he was little he has done these fake coughs, I think because he likes the sound he makes. When you cough at him, he smiles back at you like it's a big joke. Even if you're really coughing, choking on water or something, he smiles this big grin. What a meanie! But it's great for picture taking!
I just finished reading the book Outliers, by Malcom Gladwell. I actually got more than halfway through a 928-page book called 1Q84 before I had to put it down. The plot and descriptions got a little too scandalous in 1Q84, but it really sucked to read so much and then not even finish the book.
Anyway, back to Outliers.Outliers is non-fiction, which I usually don't read, but it's fluffy non-fiction, sort of like of Freakanomics. Gladwell's theme is that success is not just the product of hard work and a can-do attitude -- that the people we think of as "self made" became successful because of their background, culture, and even birth month or year. He has incredible statistics and studies to back up his position, and he leads the reader through case study after case study of extremely successful people, and shows the less-obvious (if non-obvious was a word I'd use that) reasons why they were able to acheive success.
That theme started out really interesting, but quickly became depressing. For every story of how a mega-successful person like Bill Gates was the beneficiary of incredible luck, you can't help but think of how many people worked just as hard as he did without success. And he even highlights the story of a man with an IQ much higher than even Einstein's who couldn't even get through a year of college because of the hand he'd been dealt by life.
The studies and statistics that Gladwell uses to prove his point are awesome. The whole time I was reading the book I was elbowing my husband every five minutes to say, "Listen to this!" and "Can you believe this?" That was the best part of the book. I also loved the chapter on commercial plane crashes.
Some of the conclusions Gladwell comes to are odd, and I wasn't on board with every one of them (working on rice paddies makes someone better at math than working in a potato field?). But the book assuredley made me look at the world differently. And with a new son, it really made me think about what I could do to give my son the most advantages out of life that I can. Read it in conjunction with Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and you'll be crazy-mom in no time.
We celebrated last night with dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Nothing fancy for us, but we had a really nice time. Tonight I have Young Women's and we're delivering Valentines to the widows of the ward.
Levi got me a beautiful gift:
And baby Levi knew just what I liked:
I've got the greatest two boys a girl could ask for! How did I get so lucky?
We spent this weekend in Gainesville, FL, home of University of Florida. Our good friends Lindsay and Nathan moved there about a month ago when Nathan took a job at the university.
Lindsay, Nathan, and their boys.
We spent the weekend relaxing and letting the boys play together. Baby Levi adored playing with Caleb and Cameron, trying to do what they do. Caleb and Cameron were really sweet with him, too.
We went to the Museum of Natural History on campus, which was really cool. We saw lots of dinosaurs and fossils, went to the huge butterfly garden, and checked out the fish aquariums. We also met a very sweet but kind of racist guide who made me hold a piece of fossilized poop. Good times.
Us in the butterfly garden. They told me to keep my purse shut so I don't unintentionally take a butterfly home.
Levi practicing his spearing. If he saw that guy in the ocean he would definitely go after it!
We drove around campus, saw the Tim Tebow statute, went to a Cuban restaurant, and rented a movie (although I fell asleep about 15 minutes into the movie).
All in all, it was a really nice weekend. I miss Lindsay! I can't believe she left me right when I had a little boy to befriend her cuties. We'll have to make another trip to Gainesville in the summer to see some more of the area and spend more time with our friends.
I definitely love being a stay-at-home mom. But ... I want some stay-at-mom friends! It would be really fun to have someone to hang out with during the day once or twice a week. The question is, how do I find said friends? Surprisingly, there are NO stay-at-home moms in our ward (except the bishop's wife, who homeschools their 5 kids, so she doesn't really have time to just "hang out"). Everyone works. And since we got expelled from story hour, I haven't found any play groups or the like for babies his age.
Ideas? Suggestions? My mom suggested going to a park the same time every day and chatting up moms there. I thought that was a good idea.
Other than that, my only idea was to call Niki every day and talk her ear off. :)
This little boy wants to move! It already looks like he's trying to crawl. Which is hilarious, because his cousin Piper is 12 months old and still has NO desire to crawl whatsoever. Check out his kicking and squirming legs.
Just in time for Valentine's Day, baby Levi has learned to give baby kisses! Except, this is his idea of a baby kiss: grab two fists of mama's hair, pull her cheek to me, and plant a big, slobbery, open mouth lick/kiss on her cheek.
Coming in for a big one!
File this under "Things Only a Mother Can Love." :)
Saturday we took it easy. We spent an hour or so at the Green Market right outside our house. The weather was perfect, and it seemed like the entire city was out showing off their dogs and their babies. I bought some spices and Levi bought some cookie bites. Baby Levi was admired by everyone we saw! I only wish I got some pictures.
After the Green Market, we spent some time at the pool. Levi took baby swimming, and baby loved it! I thought the water was a little chilly, but baby Levi was smiling and laughing and kicking (except when the camera was on him, of course).
So mean! I didn't think anyone would have the heart to kick a baby out of story hour, but I was wrong. They told us today that baby Levi is too young and they didn't think we should come back until he's at least 12 months. If he had cried the whole time, I'd understand, but he was a perfect angel. He did better than most of the kids there.
Last Saturday Levi wanted to do a scuba dive and try out his new equipment. He and his buddy Andrew did a beach dive, and baby Levi and I hung out at the beach and the adjacent park.
Baby Levi got his first ride on the swings.
Every weekend is a new adventure! It's so nice being home during the week, so we don't have to spend the entire weekend cleaning the house and running errands. It makes our family time so much more fun.
My sister Krystle had her birthday yesterday! Happy birthday!
Krystle is an incredible woman. She is the most driven and determined people I know. She never does anything halfway or mediocre. She does things extremely well or not at all. And she does so much! She's a mechanical engineer working on her PhD at Cornell. She's a fantastic baker, and makes a mean peach-berry pie. She quilts, does stained glass, swims, rows, plays piano, and more. And most importantly, she's a sweet wife, a terrific aunt, and a great sister. I love you Krys!