Archive | May, 2012

Summer Plans

26 May

Our plans for summer keep shifting and changing, but it is definitely going to be a busy one. Instead of our usual summer full of weddings (If I hadn’t explicitly mentioned it before, hubs/our biz is to make wedding films), we’ve stepped back a bit and only have a few. I’m glad about it because we’re behind on edits (which leads to a lot of guilt/stress/arguments) and because we’re really taking time to refocus a lot of things in our life. Also, between the two of us juggling babe, we need someone to watch the kid and that doesn’t work if we’re both working full-time, even if it is from home.

I had a couple options for summer, but I was waiting on logisitcs. When it looked as though my RA-ship wouldn’t extend into the summer (which was previously suggested), I put in my schedule request to teach English-language classes to international students for the summer. Last week I got my ideal schedule teaching 31/2 hours back-to-back, in two advanced level academic courses. Yay! That schedule counts as full-time, except I’d be paid hourly (for what amounts to 12-15 hours of work, although the pay accounts for teaching the equivalent of a full-time job).

Well, at 4:50pm yesterday my boss called to offer me that RAship – he found some funds and wanted me to stay on. Today we went in to talk logistics and it would be a 50% position (i.e. 20 hours) but during summer we are allowed to work 100%. Do you see where I’m going here?

It looks like I can teach “full time” and do my RA-ship because 20 hours + 12/15 hours still adds up to less than 40 hours. So I just may have the chance to make bank this summer.

The only questions now are 1) can I handle doing that much work? 2 classes (both require grading some writing) plus the RA-ship (which looks like it will be coordinating/designing a website for fall) and 2) will payroll get mad? I have to contact my director for the teaching position to give him the heads up, but everyone in the English office (which coordinates payroll for the RA ship) emphasized that it won’t be a problem.

So can I handle it? My boss wants to go to Taiwan this summer. He wants to golf a lot. I don’t expect that he’ll want to see me a lot this summer, he just wants to do this project with me and make sure I get paid for it.

Oh, and did I mention that I still need to read lots and lots of books for my comprehensive exams in fall?

But hubs is really supportive (and excited about the prospect of making lots of money) and babe is getting onto a really good schedule. I’ve had the luxury of being really lazy the past 9 months–sleeping in ’till almost noon every day (nice when you’re not sleeping longer than 4 hours in a stretch in most nights), not being away from babe for more than 4 hours (therefore exclusively breastfeeding and rarely pumping), etc. I think we could manage to step things up a bit and still be ok.

So, I think I’m going to do it!


On sleeping and teething and other things

23 May


We have had a busy week for no other reason than living life: that is, we’ve had video projects due, I had a training to finish, N. has been teething, etc, etc. I have noticed that we go in cycles of tiredness, sometimes relative to how much sleep we’re getting, sometes just related to how much we have going on. Multitasking takes a lot of energy, and we’ve been doing a lot of it lately. But today seems better – N. slept from 3 am to 11am (after an 8pm-12 shift and another from 12-3), which meant that we got about 7 hours of sleep straight. Feels amazing! All this sleep is coming on top of nice long daytime naps, as well, so I’m pleased that our good little sleeper is going to a good little long sleeper 🙂

Babe’s top right tooth has definitely broken the gums and the top left can be felt as well. I’m guessing that his better sleeping patterns are coming from the teething pains fading. I also did a diaper change at 3am since he always wakes up with a full wet diaper in the morning. He’s beginning to sleep longer regularly and we are all thankful.

I’ve been helping hubs with video edits because it’s kind of fun and it’s nice to help him work faster. We’ve been really behind in our edits for the past year or so and that backlog of work leads to a lot of guilt and tension. We do good work, but if it’s not delivered in a timely manner, people don’t notice the quality . . . But even as we speed up, technology still conspires against us. For example, we just finished this edit that was really solid – high quality, creative, enjoyable to watch. But there was a bug somewhere in the computer-to Blu-ray process that made the audio out of sync for parts of it on the BluRay. Took us DAYS to figure out a work-around (as in, just this afternoon we think we may have gotten a DVD that works, not yet a BluRay). It’s frustrating and we still haven’t actually solved the root problem. But I hope that it’s just one of those little bugs that affects one project and we can all move on. Frustrating, but actually not surprising when you think about the amazingness of digital imagery (taking something that happens in real life, preserving both the audio and video as a sequence of 0s and 1s, bringing it to life on a computer screen, editing those images and sound to music, and then putting it back into 0s and 1s on a disc that can be played on your TV. Crazypants!). So if it’s working, that’s one less thing occupying my mind.

My RAship has been busy this quarter: I put together a conference proposal, I helped coordinate some trainings, I helped plan an assessment party. . . the list goes on. Having real projects with a real timeline means that even if babe is teething, our business is crazy, I get no sleep, or something else comes up, I still gotta go to work and get stuff done. But we completed the last training last Friday so now it’s a matter of wrapping up projects for the summer.

I got my teaching schedule for summer and it is great! A 2-hour academic writing course and a 1-hour academic lecture/writing course – it’s a full schedule and it should be great!! I have lots of ideas on how to make the classes useful and interesting to both students and to me.

Bad Kitty

16 May

good kitty

We’ve had our cat, Simon, since we moved to the US. We got him in July 2007 from the local humane society. He’s quite the character–he think’s he’s a dog (i.e. he wags his tail and plays fetch, he goes to the bathroom exclusively outside)–but he’s chubby and playful and we’re quite attached. We’ve had some crazy moments with him–one story always sticks out in my mind:

When we go to Montana to visit my family, we usually bring him along. He does get carsick, so we don’t feed him the night before we leave. One time he must have gotten food somewhere else and when we got about 20 miles out of town, he was doing his usual barfing so we stopped at an exit and let him outside for air. Usually we leash him when we’re somewhere new so he can’t run away, but for some reason this time he wasn’t (we were in a hurry? he jumped out too quick? I don’t remember). He ran out and into a vast expanse of blackberry bushes in his carsick horror.

We gave him some space, cleaned out his carrier (In the past he travelled in a a dog carrier–so it was big and comfy, but now he travels in a cardboard box because he seems to get less sick in a tight, dark, enclosed space), and waited for him to return. But he didn’t. We waited. We put out food. We called him. Nothing 😦

So hubs went into the bushes to try and get him out–he pushed thru the brambles. He beat them with a stick thinking it would scare Simon out. Nothing. He hacked through the brush to try and find a sign of our kitty.

We were set to drive to Montana that evening (leaving after work, this is happening before sunset) to go to my 10th class reunion. But we couldn’t leave our kitty to go to MT, but we also couldn’t sit by this blackberry forest all night. So we put out food, stopped by some houses nearby to ask about our missing kitty/mention that we’re looking for him and hesitantly drove back to Seattle to sleep and get up early the next morning to find our kitty.

We got up at 5am the next morning and headed out. We drove back to the spot where we let him out of the car. We called him and listened. Sure enough, we heard his faint meow! We called again and slowly we saw him sheepishly slinking out of the brambles exactly where he went in. My guess was that he jumped out of the car, carsick, and found a comfy spot to hide/rest/sleep. By the next morning he was feeling better, hungry, and missing us.

So we packed up our kitty and went on our way. We have since then found a good, natural carsickness remedy and this was about the time we switched to the box, so we haven’t had problems since.

SO – we love our kitty a lot. But he can be a BAD kitty 🙂 He’s done well with a baby in the house, mostly ignoring him. But sometimes he makes a nice bed in the baby’s things. Not sure if it’s for attention or just to find a comfy spot to sleep. I’ve been slowly documenting evidence of our bad kitty, and thought I’d finally share 🙂

He’s also taken to hanging out on our neighbor’s cars:

And hanging out on a camera bag (bad bad kitty!!)

(there were no cameras in the bag at the time!)

8 months!

15 May

The stats: Informal weighing puts you at 22 lbs. You seem to be getting really long, too. Next month we’ll have official measurements and I’m excited to see where you’re at. Our neighbor has a newborn and I just can’t believe you used to be that size!! For clothing, you’re completely in 9-month sizes, and moving into 12 month. It seems like I just packed away the 3-6 month clothing!

Nicknames: bunny (zayets), muffin, Nikitos, malchugan, krasavits, krasavchik, vampire baby (because you squint whenever the sun shines on your face as if you’ve never seen it before), “cutest baby in the world” (because you are).

Temperament: Observant and opinionated. Whenever we meet strangers, you just watch and take it all in. You notice your kitty all the time and I can just see you dreaming up ways to torture him 😉  When we were talking to grandma and grandpa on skype, you really began to associate their voices with the movements on screen.

What You’re Eating: This month food has become more consistent, although I don’t feed you solid food every day. Breast milk is definitely your constant, eating 6-8 times/day (3 solid feeds each day and 3 at night, with a few smaller feeds in between–especially when you’re fussy). Right now you enjoy eating baby mum-mum crackers, avocado, banana, steamed sweet potato chunks, pad thai, chex cereal, scrambled eggs, shredded cheese, and russian “zuchinni caviar.”  Spices don’t faze you at all! You don’t love your fancy organic puffed cereal treats and sometimes avocado or banana get the thumbs down. As does the gorgeous mango I cut up for you. Baby mum-mums get the thumbs up every time.

Baby’s first Pad Thai

Things I Could Do Without: inconsolable crying (i.e. teething). There have been a few rough nights this month when you cried like never before. Newborn crying is frustrating because it is hard to distinguish between types of cries and everyone is so sleep deprived. When you cry now, I can quickly tell your bored cry from your tired cry from your hungry sounds.  There have been a couple nights where you cry the saddest sobs of pain, tiredness, and frustration. One night I rocked you to sleep with you in the ergo and me bouncing on the exercise ball. Another night there was about 2 hours of passing you from me to dad and back until we could finally calm you. I was wondering what’s up but finally you let me get a peek into your mouth and sure enough–your two top front teeth are breaking thru.

Item/Toy I Love The Most: your play yard – I can put you down and you entertain yourself while learning new skills. You roll and stretch and try to crawl. It’s fun to watch you think and learn new things!

Item/Toy You Love The Most: You’re loving the hand-me-down foam letters our Brazilian friends gave us. Yesterday when you talked to grandma and grandpa in Montana on skype you were obsessed with your number “1.” You’re also loving your play center that grandma and grandma gave you at Christmas: not just the piano but all the toys on it. Food is pretty awesome, too.

Things I’m Loving Most Right Now: You are SO ACTIVE! Your grandma was so impressed with your dexterity when she watched you on skype yesterday. I don’t notice these things because I’m with you every day, but I do notice how excited you are and how active you are. You’re a laid back kind of guy, but there’s a special energy you have for playing with ma and pa 🙂 You love your papa so so much! You love to eat, but when you’re nursing and papa walks into the room, you immediately turn to look at him.

Things You’re Loving Most Right Now: Exploring: you love to touch and feel new things. Whether it’s trying to tear the grass out of the ground at the park or catch your kitty’s tail, you love to feel every new sensation. Whether it’s by touch or taste, you want to try everything!

Muffin, this month life with you has just gotten normal – normal as in I no longer care that I feed you a couple times at night – I still manage to get enough sleep. We were talking about when grandma and grandpa will visit next month and how we can actually go to the grocery store alone without having to pull you out of the car, put you in a stroller carrier, etc. and your dad said that he doesn’t even know how to go shopping without you 🙂 He has so much fun zooming around with you in your stroller that you’ve just become an indispensable part of all the little things in our life. We know your cries and giggles and glances. When things break up our routine (like teething), we both jump into action to console your sadness/frustration/hurt. We both love you so much and enjoy showing it, showering you with kisses and snuggles. One of the best nights ever was actually after the night of inconsolable crying when, after you calmed down, we three had a giggle party at 2:30 am in bed. So fun!

N is 8 months old!!!

And a little outtake from some video we shot just after this photo session (not to make you think that N. is perfect all the time – haha)

My First Mother’s Day

13 May

Today we celebrated my first mother’s day and it was delightful. My husband isn’t one to buy surprise gifts or flowers, so I’ve learned not to expect him to. Rather, I tell him how I want to spend the day/what I want and he happily obliges. When I really thought about it, I wanted to sleep in, I wanted tasty food, I wanted some cute pics, and I wanted some sunshine.  He delivered on all of it 🙂

The day started with baby and papa skyping with babushka and dedushka in Ukraine. I slept in a wonderfully empty bed until I wanted to wake. By then baby was hungry so hubs brought him to me and we cuddled and N. ate. I got up, took a long shower, and blow-dried my hair. I put on my new sweater and dressed babe in a cute new outfit. We took pics outside on my iphone:


Then, we went for a drive–stopped by Target to return some clothing that didn’t fit right and then we headed out to a neighboring town to hit up the Russian store for some treats. On the way I got a yummy frappuchino and we cruised with the windows down. On the way back, we picked up some really tasty grocery store sushi to snack on for Mother’s day dinner.

At home, we straightened up the living room (I put a new duvet on our comforter–so fresh! it made our living-room bed look almost tidy). Then we got back on skype and chatted for an hour and a half with my parents! Babe was totally entertaining showing off all his new moves.

After being so chatty, babe was super tired and he went right to bed.  Hubs and I have spent the rest of the evening chilling, with wine and our yummy sushi (I’d share a pic but we’ve already devoured it). 

I can definitely say I feel rested, happy, and appreciated. Yay for Mother’s day!


12 May

We went to the park today and N. tried the swings for the first time! He’s such an observant boy–whenever he tries something new, he just looks and watches. I’m not sure what he thought, but i think he liked it 🙂


Baby jail!

11 May