Friday, August 25, 2006

My Second Family

You often hear people talk about their second family... the Porters are my second family.

When I was a senior in high school I started working at a before and after school program in Carmel Valley. I worked there for almost 5 years. The Porters were one of the families there, with Lauren in 2nd Grade, Reed in Kindergarten, and Robert just a little one when I first met them. At some point, I think I was around 20 years old I was looking for a place to stay, an apartment or room for rent. I mentioned this to Nettie, the mom, who said that they had an extra room, and that I could stay there in exchange for occational babysitting. It was perfect. It wasn't really a nanny job, it was more like I infiltrated their family and became one of them. :-) I lived with the Porters for almost a year, we had a blast. Tickle fights, dressing the kids up like scarecrows and singing "If I only had a Brain" for their parents after a weeknd away, sitting and talking with Paul and Nettie in the evenings with a glass of wine (ok, maybe I was 21!) and the kids doing voice warm ups with me while I got ready to audition for a community theatre show. Paul, Nettie, and the kids really did feel like a second family to me... but even better they became good friends.

Over the last 14 years we have always stayed close. Ron and I always visit when we are down in California, Lauren came and spent a week with us in Seattle, and I was so proud to attend Reeds graduation last year. Paul and Nettie have been more than friends- they have been an example to me of what a good marriage and family is like. Growing up as children of divorce, both Ron and I have said over and over again how hard it is to even see a sucessful marriage these days, and how great the Porters are. When we grow up we want to be the kind of parents/partners that they are. Robert is now a senior in High School and a great athelete. Reed is a sophomore at Sonoma State, and Lauren is getting ready to finish her last semester of college as an art history major in Rome. They have all grown into such great people. All are caring, intelligent, fun, and friendly. Paul and Nettie did a great job!

So what's this all about? Well, last week Paul had a brain aneurysm that burst. He is currently at UCSF Hospital where he is getting the best possible care available. They have stopped the bleeding from the aneurysm, and he is breathing mostly on his own- but things are still very serious as the swelling of the brain still continues to fluctuate and he is in a drug induced coma because of that. There have been additional challenges- small strokes, vasospasms, and pheumonia. They are just trying to keep him stable, and every day they do so his chances get better. But Paul is a very very sick man.

On Saturday Max and I flew down to San Francisco for the weeend. I wanted to visit Paul, as well and just to be there for the family. I was unsure about it because it meant bringing Max along- but really I had no choice and in the end I was so glad that we went. Nettie and the kids (as well as other family members) all said that Max was the best medicine they could've had during such a rough time. His laugh made everyone smile and take a break from the sorrow and anxiety that everyone was feeling. It was Max's first time meeting the Porters, and he loved spending time with his Aunties Nettie and Lauren, and especially being "flown" around by Uncle Wobert. I wish Reed had been around to meet him, but he had to leave to get ready for the first day of classes. And, of course, I know how much Paul would've loved to meet him and watch Robert and Lauren play with him. We hope that he will get to do so soon.

In the midst of hanging around the hospital cafeteria, my mom and brother came up to visit Max. It was just too close to not see him! We took a nice walk to Golden Gate Park. Also, Max and I stayed at my old friend Kimmy's house and got to meet her daughter Penelope, who is just adorable. It was rough travelling with Max on my own at times, but he was a trooper and did great on the plane. I managed to snap a few pictures with my cell phone throughout the weekend and have posted them below.

Paul is such a loved person. He is not only a great dad to his kids, but is also a good friend to so many people. He has always made me feel valuable, like he is genuinely interested in my life- I know he is. He has so much to see and do still... please keep him and the whole Porter family in your thoughts and prayers, send energy, whatever you do... it can only help.

Nettie and Max

Uncle Robert and MaxAuntie Lauren, Uncle Robert, and Max

Uncle Larry andMax, walking in the park

Friday, August 18, 2006

Max's First Teeth!

But seriously, his two bottom teeth are popping through! We'll post some pictures when we can get a good shot of them.

Max has been rolling onto his belly and lifting his upper body way off the ground. He wants to crawl so badly! He also has found his feet and loves to stick them in his mouth. He'll grab for things, and wil even reach out and grab his binkie and put it back in his mouth the right way! And this morning he reached out for my spoon while I was eating breafast and was very upset when I wouldn't feed him. Not long before he starts trying some solids! Guess we'd better get a high chair and food mill. Here are some cute pictures we took recently. The "Hee Haw" overalls were Rons when he was a tot!

Friday, August 11, 2006

What's Up?

It has been a busy last few weeks... but then again, when isn't it busy???

We had a great visit with Grandma and Grandpa Blaker a few weekends ago. They spoiled us rotten! Max has already ougrown his infant car seat so a trip to the baby store was in order. A car seat, excersaucer, and baby tent later, Max was one happy baby. Now keep in mind that Ron and I really didn't want a lot of toys for Max. No need for overstimulation with every plastic gizmo on the block, might cause him ADD! Maybe just a swing or bouncer to give us 10 minutes to cook dinner or something. Well, Max really hasn't liked any of the things we have bought, but we keep trying- looking for that elusive "time relief toy". We've now got a bouncer, swing, boppy gym, floor gym, and excersaucer. Ugh! We have all but one thing put away at a time, and he seems to like the toy that he hasn't seen in awhile best. He does really like the excersaucer although he has become obsessed with one toy on it and tries to teeth on it but can't get it into his mouth so he cries and cries. Then when we take him out of it, he still glances back at that blasted toy and will start to cry again. Poor little guy. I'll have to post a video clip of him playing in it.

Last weekend Max and I went to the Babywearing Conference to check out the gorgous slings and carriers at the exhibit hall and to take a workshop on breastfeeding while babywearing. There were some fabulous carriers for sale, it was so hard to restrain myself from buying another one. I know, I have 4 different carriers now, but I use them all differently! Slings are like shoes. I mean, you wouldn't wear the same pair of shoes to the beach, or a wedding, or hiking, right? Yeah, Ron didn't buy it either. The two biggest temptations for me were a Nori Babywearing Jacket and a Mei Tai Asian style carrier. These you wear on both shoulders, and can nurse in,too. Like my Ergo, but more stylish. They have some GORGOUS ones! But they are fairly expensive. When I got home later that evening I got a call that I won a raffle from Along for the Ride and won a beautiful velveteen Hotsling! Well, as thrilled as I was, I also knew that the other carrier that Along for the Ride specializes in are BabyHawk Mei Tais... just the ones I was looking at! So I asked Kristen, the owner, if it was possible to swap and get a Mei Tai instead. She said sure! They would even make one with custom fabric if I want! YIPPEE!!! So Ron and I each picked a fabric- one for each side of a reversable mei tai. I'll have to post some pictures when it arrives.

The breastfeeding while babywearing workshop was very helpful, too. One of the women leading it was Darien from ZoloWear. They are the ones who make the gorgous black silk brokade sling that I have. She is also a friend of my cousin Kathie, so it was fun to say "Hi" to her. She said her son was even wearing a Ramonster shirt that day! I got some tips on nursing Max upright in a sling, and also saw how to nurse in the Mei Tai. I tell ya, it makes life so much easier to be able to nurse while wearing your baby! And with a sling like the Zolowear one that has a tail, you can easily cover up if you want to.

I saw Breana,Rich and the kids there (DID YOU KNOW THEY ARE PREGNANT AGAIN??? YIPPEE AND CONGRATULATIONS!) -they were all going to be in the fashion show on Saturday night. I also met a few people from that I hadn't met in real life before. I wish I had really looked into some of the workshops they offered on Thursday and Friday because there were some pretty cool ones like how to make your own sling or mei tai where you actually made one there and left with a finished product. Or how best to carry a refluxy baby. That one would've been good!

We were pretty concerned about Max having bad reflux, but the most recent homeopathic remedy that his doctor gave us has really helped. His whole demeanor is much better! I also cut out even more foods from my diet- that has helped, too. So now I am not eating: dairy, eggs, wheat, nuts, tomato, soy, garlic, caffiene, carbonation... I think that's it. I will start adding things back in one at a time, but I am pretty sure that Dairy, Caffiene, Wheat, and Tomato will still be out for awhile. I'm getting used to eating rice and corn products!

But all is well here with us all. It is great having Ron working from home, althought I am sure he wishes he had other adults to interact with throughout the day. It is really nice to have him hang out for lunch, pop in to grab coffee, etc. and Max is so lucky to get to see both parents throughout the day. I have still been interpreting a few nights a week, and will hopefully start teaching parents how to sign with their babies pretty soon. More on that later! This month is busy with picnics and home projects. Next month we will be in California for a week or so... a week in Sacramento while Ron works out of Rocklin, and a weekend in Carmel for my cousin Brittany's wedding. We are looking forward to seeing friends and family then!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Breastfeeding Awareness Week

In honor of BreastfeedingAwareness Week, here is a poem inspired by Dr. Seuss. I wish I knew who wrote it so I could give credit!
Would you nurse him in the park?
Would you nurse him in the dark?
Would you nurse him with a Boppy?
And when your boobs are feeling floppy?

I would nurse him in the park,
I would nurse him in the dark.
I’d nurse with or without a Boppy.
Floppy boobs will never stop me.

Can you nurse with your seat belt on?
Can you nurse from dusk till dawn?
Though she may pinch me, bite me, pull,
I will nurse him `till she’s full!

Can you nurse and make some soup?
Can you nurse and feed the group?
It makes him healthy strong and smart,
Mommy’s milk is the best start!

Would you nurse him at the game?
Would you nurse him in the rain?
In front of those who dare complain?
I would nurse him at the game.
I would nurse him in the rain.

As for those who protest lactation,
I have the perfect explanation.
Mommy’s milk is tailor made
It’s the perfect food, you need no aid.

Some may scoff and some may wriggle,
Avert their eyes or even giggle.
To those who can be cruel and rude,
Remind them breast’s the perfect food!

I would never scoff or giggle,
Roll my eyes or even wiggle!
I would not be so crass or crude,
I KNOW that this milk’s the perfect food!

We make the amount we need
The perfect temp for every feed.
There’s no compare to milk from breast-
The perfect food, above the rest.

Those sweet nursing smiles are oh so sweet,
Mommy’s milk is such a treat.
Human milk just can’t be beat.

I will nurse, in any case,
On the street or in your face.
I will not let my baby cry,
I’ll meet his needs, I’ll always try.
It’s not about what’s good for you,
It’s best for babies, through and through.

I will nurse him in my home,
I will nurse him when I roam.
Leave me be lads and ma’am.
I will nurse him, Mom I am.