June 24, 2011

Life of Wilder: Week Thirty

No. Nonononononono! I refuse to believe that Wilder will be 7 months old on Sunday. We're on the downhill slope to one year now and I have a feeling it's just going to start going faster and faster. I feel like I need to get started planning his first birthday party but just thinking about it makes me cry. I can't handle all of this growing and changing and growing! Time, I told you last month to stop moving so fast and you didn't listen, but now I'm really serious -- I want you to get out of the fast lane and go into grandma-driving-on-the-freeway mode. People always say, "They grow up too fast" and I always thought that was just a platitude, but seriously you can never understand how fast kids grow until one is breaking your heart doing it. Don't get me wrong, I love to see all of Wilder's new developments. I don't wish he would slow down, I just wish there were more days in the year (notice I didn't say more hours in the day, haha) for us to enjoy him. 

Speaking of new developments, his first tooth broke through a few days ago and, after trying every day since, I finally managed to get a picture of it today. Here are some of my failed attempts from this afternoon...
And finally the one successful shot while bribing him with food... Can you see it? Can you see it?
There it is!
Supposedly once a tooth breaks through it doesn't hurt anymore. Unfortunately, this tooth is apparently very happy with the mouth he popped into and has written home telling all of his friends to come join him because Wilder has been teething miserably pretty much 24/7 for the last week. He has been in an unusually unpleasant mood and, worst of all, he fights every nap and is waking up at 4:00 or 5:00 in the mornings again. :( I feel so sorry for him (and a little bit for myself) because I can tell he's just so uncomfortable. Hopefully, this is a phase that will pass quickly like the screaming did (thank goodness!). 

The other day I went to check on him on the monitor during what was supposed to be a nap and found him wrestling with his stuffed elephant instead. I guess he needed to take out some of his teething aggression on the poor pachyderm. It cracked me up, even though I'd rather him be sleeping...

Another new development this week is that I have now taken on a new title: Human Jungle Gym. Wilder has started climbing all. over. me. all. the. time. I think it's kind of funny/fun but he is wearing me out! Why did I never know this about babies? Admittedly, I didn't know much about babies before having one, but seriously no one ever mentioned that they would use your body as a playground. But I've discussed this phenomenon with several people now and they're all like, "Oh yeah, Human Jungle Gym"... what? So yeah, apparently there's a term for it and apparently it will last... for the foreseeable future. Ah well, such is the life of a mother, wearer of many hats.

This is not a new development but his love for Rider and Posey grows stronger every day haha. He is totally obsessed with their every move (and even their lack of movement, as you'll see in the video). One day he was sitting on the floor playing with his absolute favorite toy, the back part of the Roku remote (aren't babies weird?), and Posey was lying on the couch doing absolutely nothing as usual. But for some reason, every time he looked over at her he would just about die laughing. Was he amused at her general appearance, her extreme laziness, or just happy to have her attention? I will never know, but it made a pretty funny video anyway...

On Saturday Paul was at the studio all day so I strolled Wilder around North Park running errands. Between stops I was going to take him to the park down the street to swing and give him a break from the stroller, but when we got over there they were having a festival so we walked around it instead. I'm not sure exactly what the festival was for or about but Wilder experienced three firsts there: his first car show, his first motorcycle rally, and his first death metal concert. All three very key landmarks in a child's development, of course. Judging by those activities you would think it was a rough crowd that we were mingling with, and there were definitely a fair number of mohawked and leather-clad people there, but there were actually a surprising number of families too attracted, I'm assuming, by the face-painting, bouncy castles, and snowcones. It was a pretty odd festival and I'm still not sure what the point of it was. It was quite a weird conglomeration of things; but it was something different to do and Wilder seemed to enjoy it. I always like to let him experience new things, haha ;)
I so wish you could see the lead singer's
2-foot-tall mohawk. You'll just have to trust 
me I guess. It was pretty impressive.
Which one of these is not like the others?
Wilder and the motorcycle gang
(notice he's practicing his tough
guy face here)

Sunday was Father's Day and although Paul had to spend most of it at school we did get to hang out with him in the morning and eat lunch down the street at a cute little cafe we've never tried. For his first Father's Day, Wilder and I gave him tickets to a Chargers preseason game, which I was excited to surprise him with. I wasn't sure he would be very pumped about a preseason game but I got seats practically on the field whereas for a regular season game the closest seats we could afford were the farthest away from the action. And they wonder why no one comes to the games! Anyway, he was really excited about the tickets though so that was a relief. That will be fun to take Wilder to in a couple of months.

Mmm, hello Belgian waffle with
strawberries, bananas, and 
whipped cream

On Tuesday Wilder had another first -- his first trip to the zoo. We went with our friends Ashley and Lorelai and had a really good time. Out of all the exotic animals we saw, the big hit with the babies was the turtle exhibit (?). We pulled the strollers right up to the glass and they sat there mesmerized by the turtles swimming around in front of them for like 20 minutes. Other than that, they didn't get too excited about anything else but it was fun for Ashley and me and it was a great workout pushing the stroller up and down the hills for 3 hours. 
Watching the super-exciting turtles
Wilder was konked out after
a long fun day of being totally
unimpressed with amazing wild animals
(Isn't he sweet?) :)

On Thursday Ashley and I walked over to the North Park Farmer's Market and shopped and ate dinner. We walked around sampling cupcakes, truffles, and cheeses and then ate some delicious avocado melt sandwiches with bacon for dinner from one of the farmer's market food trucks. I love food trucks, and farmer's markets, and North Park in general, oh and also avocado melts, yum. 

Tonight we went to the NewSchool for the gallery displaying the thesis projects of this year's graduates. Several of our friends are graduating tomorrow (Whoohoo! Go Corey and Rob and Albert and Jenna and Elizabeth and anyone else I'm forgetting!) so it was fun to get to see the projects they've been working on for the last year. Wilder was enthralled with all of the people and lights and colors and was very chilled out as usual just taking everything in. A couple of Paul's classmates wanted to hold him and that always makes me happy. It was just nice to get out and socialize since those opportunities are few and far between these days. 
 And yes, Paul and Wilder totally match. I promise, 
that was not planned -- Paul got up there hours before
we did and I had forgotten what he was wearing
by the time I dressed Wilder, haha
 I don't know this guy but I thought his project
was really cool -- he went to Japan and studied
small space living. Click on the picture to 
enlarge -- his models are pretty awesome.
Wilder with one of Paul's classmates, Cassandra.
She absolutely adores Wilder and is determined
to teach him how to surf :)

Here are a few more cute pictures from this week...

Why Posey usually keeps more
of a distance: Exhibit B
(see Exhibit A here)
Have I mentioned that Wilder
loves the dogs with a passion?
He gets the hugest grin on his face
whenever he sees them, which is
like 200 times a day.
I love this sweet face and I get the
hugest grin every time I see it. :)
Practicing his pincer grasp with
some peas while waiting on me
to fix his lunch (and yes, for you
observant readers, I know there
has been a crockpot on my kitchen
table for like two weeks now...
it's a long story)
Please notice here how Posey and 
Wilder are double-teaming poor 
Rider who is just trying to mind 
her own business (for once)
Wilder in his new baby baseball cap
that I got him at the zoo (oh for goodness sake,
and yes, observant readers, he is chewing
on a medicine bottle and no, I do not let him
play with medicine bottles but I was trying to
get him to sit still long enough for a picture and
you do what you've gotta do in that case)
I've become obsessed with the 
Instagram app for iPhone
(follow me at "emmytaylor")

Well, I guess that's pretty much it for this week. We're going to the San Diego County Fair on Sunday and I'm so excited to try all kinds of weird fried things. Seriously, fried butter? Should be interesting. Alright, y'all have a super weekend!

June 23, 2011

Mid-Week Minute: My Husband the Genius

OK, OK, I know... two gushy posts in a row about my husband, but it's my blog and I do what I want, ya hear? Plus, I have a very good reason for this post. We are celebrating the end of two years (plus one year at MS State) of architecture studio work. For those who aren't familiar with the ins and outs of Architecture school, "studio" class makes up the bulk of the work in the years leading up to the thesis year. You have other classes during those years but they are mere blips on the academic radar compared to the all-consuming tsunami that is studio. For the last two years, studio for Paul has been a 10-hour a week class that has sucked in 40 to 100+ hours a week of work outside of class. He has pulled more all-nighters than I can count, not from trying to cram in all the work at the end of the quarter, but because even after 10 weeks of busting his you-know-what that is what it takes to turn out a project that he deems presentable. Yes, he is a perfectionist, and no, not everyone puts that much into studio work, but architecture is Paul's religion and he is a most devoted follower. 

This last quarter he got into an honors studio that turned out to be the mother of all studios. In keeping with the Biblical metaphors, this studio was Revelations, the end of days. I didn't think it was possible but he worked harder than ever before, even leaving a day early from our Memorial Day trip to TN because he couldn't enjoy himself for thinking about all the work he had left to do. For the last three weeks he has basically been MIA around here and the term "architecture widow" crossed my mind more than a few times. Although I have to say most days he made a point to either stay a little  longer in the mornings or come home a little earlier at night to play with Wilder -- something else that makes me proud to call him my husband. 

However, his project was due to be presented yesterday and this past week he literally lived at the studio, only coming home around 5:00 AM most mornings to sleep for 2 or 3 hours and then leave again. Paul is scarily brilliant and talented and I'm not just saying that because I love him. But sometimes he second-guesses himself and this project never did feel quite right to him. After getting less than 8 hours of sleep in the last 96 hours leading up to presentation day he was beyond exhausted, mentally, physically, and emotionally, and was so worried that he was going to bomb. But, I kept telling him, what he considers mediocre or unfinished work would be considered by anyone else to be excellent. And, of course, after all that his project got rave reviews and studio is now over forever and we found out he got the Presidential Scholarship again this year. 

So, yes, my husband is a genius and he will be so embarrassed by this post because he hates for me to say that but see assertion above regarding this being my blog, etc... I am SO proud of Paul for working so unbelievably hard the last two (really, three) years and especially for rocking that honors studio and especially especially for scoring that sweet scholarship. Now, excuse me, but I must get back to our celebration. If you call and can't reach us it's because we are sleeping or dancing or cheering or doing some other type of activity that two really tired, really happy people might do to commemorate the end of an era, the survival of a tsunami. 

June 19, 2011

Father's Day

I am one very lucky girl. I am so blessed to call one of the best men in the world my father and another one of the best the father of my child. Words can't fully express how much love I have for these two men or how absolutely wonderful I think they both are but I'll certainly try.
Growing up, I was always secure in the knowledge that my dad would protect me and that my brother and I were the most important things in the world to him. He went out of his way to spend time with us, always coaching our teams, taking us on trips, and being willing to join us in or make possible anything we wanted to participate in. He has always been interested in my life and, although at times I took this as nosiness, I am so thankful for the attention and encouragement he gave me because, I see now, the confidence and sense of self-worth this helped instill in me. My dad is one of the funniest people I know. Sometimes... OK, a lot of times he mortified me in front of my friends with his Ricky Ricardo impressions or silly sayings and I wanted to kill him or die myself (in those overly-dramatic teenage years); but, looking back, I just feel lucky that he cared enough to want to entertain us or make us laugh. He never made me feel like he was too busy for me and I am so grateful for the love he always made so obvious. He is also a wonderful grandfather to Wilder. It has been such a blessing to see his enormous love for me expand even more to wrap around my son. I just know Wilder is going to adore his Granddaddy as he grows up. My dad is one of the most intelligent, strong, honest, and kind people I've ever known and I am so blessed to have him in my life. Happy Father's Day, Daddy! I love you!

I also want to wish a very happy 1st Father's Day to my husband. I have been in awe the last six months watching him turn into the amazing father he is to Wilder. His priorities have shifted to make room at the top for family responsibilities and there is no doubt his son is the most important thing in the world to him. I am so thankful that Wilder will always be confident in that knowledge just like I was growing up. Paul works so ridiculously hard in school but each day he makes a point to spend time with Wilder -- either getting up early for morning play time or coming home early to see him before bedtime. They absolutely adore each other and both light up when they see each other. It melts my heart to watch them playing together, to hear Paul making Wilder laugh, and to see my husband moved to tears because of his overwhelming love for his child. I am so excited to watch them grow closer and closer through the years with that special bond that exists between a father and a son. I feel so incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful husband and father for my child. Wilder and I love you, Paul!

I'd also like to say Happy Father's Day to my father-in-law. He is one of the most caring and good-hearted men I know and his influence is part of the reason my husband is such a good man. He has always treated me like his own daughter and it makes me so happy to see the relationship he is actively building with his grandson. I am so thankful for him in our lives. We love you, Mr. Gary!

June 17, 2011

Life of Wilder: Week Twenty-Nine

This week Wilder and I had a couple of social engagements in addition to our normal dog-park-visiting, errand-running, and grocery-shopping. I try not to schedule too many of these during the week because it can get pretty exhausting. As you all can surely testify (hopefully it's not just me), when a baby is involved, having a set time and place to be requires strategizing the night before, starting to get ready two hours in advance, and physically starting to move towards the door at least 15 minutes before you need to be pulling out of the driveway. And I'm still always late. Can I get an amen? Sooo, anyway, this week we had a birthday party to go to on Sunday and a play date in Balboa Park on Tuesday and the rest of the week we just did the usual stuff. Oh, and I finally got my suitcase unpacked from the trip. Yes! Big accomplishment.

The birthday party was late in the afternoon so it wasn't so much exhausting getting there as being there. You see, the 3-year-old birthday boy who shall remain nameless would open one present, then insist that his mom take the toy out of the packaging, and sit there and play with it for at least five minutes (seriously, he read whole books, it was ridiculous) before moving on to the next present. It wouldn't have been quite so bad if the party wasn't in a park less than 100 feet from the bay off of which was blowing freezing cold air... and it was drizzly and overcast... and Wilder and I were dressed for the 70 degrees and sunny that it was at our house. Luckily I had a jacket and socks for him in the diaper bag and I wrapped him in my nursing cover while we stood there for an hour during which time birthday boy only made it through half of his presents. Finally I (probably slightly rudely) walked up, moved our gift to the front of the pile, and then promptly left as soon as he opened it because it was a Sit 'n Spin and I was terrified he was going to insist on assembling it and having "Hours of Fun!" on it while we died of hypothermia. Later, I asked my mom if it was normal for a kid to open presents that way and she assured me that it was not. Of course, that's coming from the woman who cleans before the maid comes, so who really knows. ;) One good thing about the party though was that my old boss was there, who I loved working for, and she hadn't seen Wilder since he was a couple months old so it was fun to get to visit with her.

Wilder visiting with Traci and her dog Copper

Tuesday we met up at Balboa Park with a friend and her 9-month-old son who we met at a play group a few months ago. 
Her son is so advanced, it's crazy -- he's been crawling since 5-months and is just over 9-months now and has just taken his first step. Like... what? Anyway, needless to say, I had high hopes that Wilder would take a few notes from this kid and pick up on the crawling thing. Instead, he picked up on something else... (Might want to turn your volume down)
Wilder had started squealing recently, but now, as you can hear, it's turned into something more akin to a scream-bloody-murder. The other kid did it out of excitement but, as far as I can tell, Wilder uses it indiscriminately to convey impatience, boredom, excitement, frustration... really any feeling that he has at any given time. For example, the first video is what he now does when he's waiting on me to fix his food and the second video is him excitedly watching the dogs run around the yard. Imagine hearing that at close range 20 times a day. I've tried ignoring it to no avail. He also doesn't respond to "shhh" or "no" and, in fact, he apparently thinks my agitation is hilarious. I guess all I can do is hope that he moves on to another, less ear-piercing new sound soon. 

Sooo remember last week when I said it felt like Wilder had gained 2 pounds in 2 weeks since starting solids? Well, that's exactly what has happened. He now weighs 19 lbs 6 oz. and the kid is breaking my back! I carry him in the Baby Bjorn at the dog park and, all I have to say is, I'm getting an awesome workout. He doesn't even just seem chubbier, he seems longer too. Makes me wonder what kind of human growth hormone-laced vegetables they're making this baby food out of. 

And no, I'm not making my own baby food like I planned to and for several reasons. 1) I didn't want to buy a food processor that I would only use for a few months so I tried using my blender's "puree" setting, which I quickly learned is not an acceptable substitute; 2) You can get organic baby food in every variety, but you can't always get organic veggies/fruits with which to make your own baby food unsuccessfully puree in a blender; 3) I thought about it and realized that at no other time in Wilder's life will I be able to buy healthy, complete meals for him in jars ready to serve. I'll be cooking for him for at least the next 18 years so I might as well take advantage of something being made easier while I can; 4) I read somewhere that baby food companies have very strict sanitation standards that are much higher than the average home kitchen. Now, you know, of course, my kitchen is perpetually spotless with ne'er a Rider-hair to be found, but it's a good argument in theory. ;) 

This week we've added several new flavors and gotten into a really good feeding routine. I've started giving him his solid meals shortly before his morning and noon naps and bedtime. This has increased his naptimes by half an hour and he has begun sleeping through the night again. Whoohoo! I'll trade having sore arms (you know, from picking up my little heifer) for a good night's sleep any day. 

Mmm, Green, Yellow, and Purple
for dinner... yummy!
Daddy feeding Wilder for the first time

For the past couple weeks I've been feeding Wilder in the Bumbo seat, which was working fine until a certain someone's 12% weight gain. Now he gets stuck in it every time I feed him so it's definitely time for a proper high chair. Remember this high chair that my grandmother loaned us in Jackson? I absolutely fell in love with it because it was sturdy, was a great size (not a veritable recliner on legs like some modern high chairs), and didn't have all kinds of padding/fabric in which to lose bits of food. So, this week I found an almost identical one on eBay and bid on it. The auction ends tonight so hopefully I win and it gets here quickly before the fire department has to come use the jaws of life to free poor Wilder from the Bumbo. 

In other exciting news, Wilder finally has a tooth coming in! I can see a bottom tooth popping up just under his gum and I think it's only a matter of days before it breaks through. I know you'll all be on the edge of your seats waiting for updates on this. :)

Let's see, what else has been going on?

Think it's time to lower the Pack 'n Play?
Discovering the simple joy 
of a good old-fashioned box
Playing in the yard -- pajamas with fisherman's
hats, we're starting a trend, people!
Why Posey usually keeps more of a distance
Wilder took a picture of himself with my phone.
(Sidenote: If you ever get a text from me
that looks something like this "eoizdfuhsdf" 
just know it's Wilder saying Hi.)
New favorite pastime

Alright folks, hope you all have a wonderful weekend!