Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Links

Walking home from a far-away park yesterday I was greeted by this sky. I thought for sure I'd get wet, but I stayed dry.

I'm verrrry tired today (thanks, son), and I don't have a lot to say, so I'll do some links.

Yesterday I made these galactagogue cookies, and they were gooooood. Oatmeal, flax, nuts, raisins, chocolate chips and peanut butter. These are all of my favourite things, NOM. The more I eat, the more my milk supply will be boosted, right? Right? For the record I'm not actually having a supply issue, but milk-makin' cookies can't hurt, can they?

Susi pointed out this interesting article to me from the Globe. It is about motherhood. It speaks to me a little, since the people I have been meeting since arriving here have been almost exclusively "mommies." Part of me wishes I could meet some folks who are more like my back-home friends (who I miss so dearly!), most of whom don't have kids at this time. Hm.

Two links seems kind of piddly, but that's it for now. Happy Friday to all. xoxo

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Do not drive through flood waters

All over Fort Collins there are ads which say "Floods happen. Don't drive through flood waters." I have always thought they were kind of weird and unnecessary -- it never rains here. Until yesterday, that is. Wowie.
Here is our street, completely flooded!
Heiko and I watched lots of leaf islands float down the river outside the window. The free paper that I had been "forgetting" to pick up from the walkway was carried away on the current. I saw our neighbour take off her shoes to get from her car to her house. 

It is drying up now though. Oh, here comes the sun. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

On my run

I am gradually overcoming both the altitude adjustment here and the loss of running fitness over pregnancy.  Well, it is going very, very slowly, but it IS going. I'm increasing both the length of my runs and the percentage of the "run" spent running (although isn't it irritating that transitioning from running six four-minute intervals in thirty minutes to five five-minute intervals only increases the total run time by one minute?).
Anyway, last night when P arrived home I passed Heiko over to him like a baton and off I went. On my run....

- I overtook THREE horses. Yes. There was one man, riding three horses. I went faster than them. It was somehow a bit weird, because I was only going a tiny bit faster, so I ended up running with the horses for quite a while.

- I heard a kid in the park yell "Rasta Pasta!".

- I saw a beautiful sunset over mountains and the yellow leaves reflecting in the lake in city park. (This is the lake, but not the sunset) Nice nice nice.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Nap time reads

On the topic of number 3 from yesterday, I began reading this masterpiece today:

Here is an interesting diagram:


The book is nice, actually. It seems to be a rather terse introduction to statistics for people who know some math (I guess I know math... even if I can't count). No colourful sidebars here. One of the key examples in the first few chapters is the birth rate of boys and girls, and the number of stillbirths to livebirths. I guess that is just science-y stuff, but I wonder whether a modern textbook would use this as the first example (this book was written in 1965).  Or maybe I'm just a little sensitive about this at the moment!
Speaking of little boy babies, the H-man is quite a charmer. I can't believe how many people comment to me about him when we he is in his forward-facing carrier. Today people were literally pointing at him from a restaurant patio, and engaging me in conversation everywhere I went. The power of babies to make people smile is pretty amazing. I'm happy to be tagging along for the ride!

Monday, September 24, 2012

jobsjobsjobsjobsjobs

I remember back in February, when I was pregnant with Heiko, I received all sorts of advice from all sorts of people. One woman I met at a conference told me that "after six months I was ready to go back." At the time I didn't know what to make of her comment, I had no idea how I'd feel after the baby was born.

I'm now in a better position to evaluate. I definitely feel less under the influence of those surprisingly powerful postpartum hormones, although I'd probably be feeling even more human if I were just getting a little more sleep. So while I can't say that I'm "ready to go back," but I'm certainly starting to feel a strong desire to figure out what it is that I'm going to be going back to. That is, jobsjobsjobsjobsjobs.

As I've written before, there are so many unknowns on this front. Do I pursue an academic career, and make things extremely difficult in the short term, and likely in the long term, for my family? A few postdoc opportunities are floating across my radar... in places like France, Germany and Austria. That would sure be fun, but it would actually mean that we'd need to start saving up money now so that we could afford it. Right: saving money so that I can have a job.  Of course there would be tradeoffs for this lower-income state, like the fact that we'd be living in uhh... France, Germany, or Austria. And later on down the line these jobs would theoretically make me employable for actual money. But it is unclear that this is the best option.

So what are the other possibilities? We are still trying to figure out what my status will be once P's greencard comes through.  But even if I can get a job in this country, what will I do?

A few things I'm presently considering:
1.  Freelance editorial work of a mathy nature. Sadly I know very little about what this would entail, and whether or not it is actually realistic.
2.  Computer programmer job. I actually think I'd like this, but my programming skillez aren't quite up to snuff yet. So, this means a little retraining.
3.  Getting a masters degree in statistics, and then doing statistical consulting. Everyone needs statistics, like it or not. But would I like it?!
4.  Freelance web development work. See number 2.
6. I may be able to teach part time at one of the nearby universities, but the pay for this is so bad, that it may only just cover the cost of the required childcare.
5.  Mompreneur. Ha. I just wanted to say that word. I'm not going to be a mompreneur, nor a pro-blogger, nor a career yoga instructor.
So, it is September. Job application season is upon us (and so is school application season, if that option really is under consideration). Time to bust out some sharpened pencils and a new notebook, dust off the old CV,  and do some serious thinking. I also have a paper or two to edit and resubmit. I guess I really do need to start cleaning these cobwebs out of my mommy brain.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Really a pretty Big Deal

I debated whether or not to write this, since I'm a little embarrassed about the whole situation, but I'm doing it anyway.

Last Thursday was a pretty big day for me. It was the first time since Heiko's birth that I managed to get out of the house and to a yoga class, just the one of me. That is, without Heiko. It felt so strange to be packing up a bag to take with me, and NOT putting diapers into it.

As some of you know, we've had some difficulties over here with the idea of Heiko taking a bottle. That is, he will not drink from a bottle. It is boob or nothing. And he still eats unpredictably, perhaps taking after his mother in his love for little snacks. As a result, it has been extremely difficult to get out and about on my own. Sure, I'll take off for a run or to bike up to the grocery store, but usually this only puts me out of the house for a maximum of 40 minutes. So the two hours that it took to bike to yoga, do yoga and then come home was almost certainly the longest chunk of time that I have been away from Heiko.

I'm embarrassed about this because I know other mums who are much more independent. Hell, many many mums are back at work far earlier, especially in this here country. Or they are just far better at maintaining some semblance of their pre-pregnancy life post-baby. But anyway, I think if I were to write a set of commandments for motherhood (not that I'm really into writing commandments, but you know what I mean), the first one would be Thou shalt not compare thyself to other mothers. The second is closely related:  Thou shalt not judge other mothers. Sadly I fail at both of these from time to time. I try to remind myself that every baby is different, and while I wouldn't describe Heiko as a difficult baby, he is certainly not an easy one.

Point is, I got out. I did yoga. Woo. Yay me, and super-yay for my supportive husband. I'm hoping this can happen regularly in the future, and become normal enough that it isn't worthy of a blog post! Especially because, in the ultimate display of my change of heart on the yoga front, I'm hoping to do a teacher training in the new year. I said it! When in Colorado....

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Our family, now with more wheels!

I'm so excited today because we are now much more mobile! After being inspired by several other Foco families biking with the little ones, we picked up our very own bike trailer at REI this morning (via Zipcar by the way -- so cheap and so convenient!).  We slapped the car seat in there (OK, "slapped" is definitely the wrong word: we obsessively checked and re-checked the straps securing the seat), hooked it up to my trusty Raleigh, and then we were off!
SO MUCH FUN!

Heiko displayed his enthusiasm with open mouth silence at first, and then he... dun dun dun.... fell asleep. That it is a comfortable enough ride for him to snooze is excellent. HOORAY!
We biked on the Poudre trail (pronounced poo-der, Canadians), which transported us surprisingly quickly from our neighbourhood into farmland, full of horsies and lakes and mountain views. Biking the same trail last fall we encountered a little deer. What a gorgeous day for a ride. The first of many, I'm sure.

On the way home we stopped into our local grocery store (Beavers Market!) to pick up some things for dinner. Into the cargo compartment they went. As I said, I'm excited!

Friday, September 21, 2012

In a pickle or a jam

Well hi there. Happy Friday.

Remember my lavender jacket, by Pickles? Love those pickles ladies. I really want to make this and this. Well anyway, I have been knitting up a storm lately and I'm almost done the jacket! The problem is, I seem to have run out of yarn. Oh noes. I did some googling around, and it seems that finding that last ball of wool is going to be a rather pricey proposition, so I've decided to restyle the sweater a little. The lavender jacket, now with slimmer sleeves! I'll let you know how it turns out. I don't usually freeform my knitting projects, but maybe this is the start of something new.
Speaking of knitting, Heiko has been sporting his baby surprise jacket quite a bit lately, with the cooler temps.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Old habits...

Remember minimalizing? One of my more successful forays in this direction has been my wardrobe. It has been helped by the fact that since Heiko's birth it has been impossible and/or undesirable for me to go shopping. Kind of an incidental shopping diet. So I'm just wearing what I have, which admittedly is a lot of clothes. Still, I love my closet right now. There is a little bit of space around each hanger. It's amazing.


Anyway, the other day after tiring Heiko out with playgroups and the swing set, I decided to head over to the thrift store on my way home. *Just* to get some new socks for Heiko and some sweaters to felt for some baby-crafts. But then, dream baby that he is, Heiko fell asleep in the stroller, leaving me recklessly free to browse the women's section and try on clothes.

I came out of there with two blouses and a skirt (might be a bit on the menno side of things, but I feel it fits with my current homestead-y frontier lifestyle: you know, I'm channelling Laura Ingalls). The problem is, I made a deal with myself about the number of hangers in my closet. That is, I can only have the number of items that will fit on the hangers presently in my closet, and any additional thing must be on a one-in one-out basis. Ugh.

Thrift stores are my weakness. And I am so weak. I love all the things! The colours, the textures, the histories and, dun dun dun.... the potential! But this is the problem with thrift store shopping for me. The prices are low enough that I end up committing to things that aren't really going to be long term players in the wardrobe (sometimes they are though: I'm currently wearing a thrifted sweater and pair of jeans that have a seriously low cost-per-wear). In any case, looks like I've already broken the one-in one-out promise to myself. Sigh.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The beautiful things

One of the problems I have encountered with baby clothes is that people give you all kinds of beautiful things. This isn't a problem. The problem is that these things can go from being comically large to just right in a flash, and if you aren't careful it is easy to miss the window. That was almost the case with this amazeballs abacus print kimono, hand-made by the multi-talented Alison. I'm so pleased I pulled it out this morning. An instant photo shoot was required.





Actually I'm not sure I quite captured the awesomeness of this slim-fitting little jacket, but I don't have enough hands to wield the camera and hold Heiko. Witness, our beautiful fence:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Three generations

These pictures really aren't the greatest, it was very bright out there, but I was lucky enough to be in the presence of three generations of Ingram men this weekend!

We went out for a little walk at the "Devil's Backbone" (you can see the so-called backbone on the left side of the top picture there). Really a pretty neat place, though very hot and did I mention it was bright? An occasion for hats and sunnies for sure.
After working up an appetite on the trail, we enjoyed a picnic lunch. Heiko then had a comprehensive numming of the sandwich wrapping. A good time was had by all. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

FUN!

Guess who had his first ride in a swing yesterday?
I'm such a swing newbie, I put him in backwards.

He didn't seem to mind. I think he found it very delicious.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rain rain, stay awhile


Last night it rained for the first time since we arrived here (that's rain Toronto-style, above). Well, I should say that it really rained for the first time since we arrived here. Sitting awake with Heiko last night, I was trying to figure out why the sound of the rain is so particularly wonderful here. I concluded that it must be a feature of bungalow life. The rain hits the overhang, giving that lovely rain-on-roof sound, but there is also the sound of the water from the drippy eaves hitting the soft, pine needle-y earth outside, which reminds me so much of Temagami.

The rain continued throughout the day, and the high today was only 15 degrees Celsius.  I'm not sure we even hit it though. I had to rummage in the garage for my fall jacket and umbrella (not yet unpacked!), and I bundled Heiko into his coziest carrier before heading out. No need to worry about the little man's sun hat today, and for once I didn't bother slathering myself with sunscreen. The cool rain was a relief from the sometimes overbearing dry heat here.

Days like these remind me of Vancouver, and I get a little homesick for it. Not that I ever felt particularly at home there, but I do like me a rainy day. It reminds me of all the long walks through those dark verdant Vancouver neighbourhoods. Coming in from the wet to a warm apartment, maybe there would be something delicious and fragrant in the oven. Or perhaps it is simply the comfort of not needing to make anything of the day: not another beautiful day to waste. 
Today also makes me think of Amsterdam, another rainy place. I was recently reminded of the Dutch word gezellig (c/o podcasts of the cbc program Babel, which I thoroughly enjoyed), which apparently doesn't have a proper english translation but roughly speaking means snug and cozy, warm and friendly.
I hope that we can go back to the Netherlands someday soon. In the meantime, I'll be gezellig on the couch, with my tea and my baby and the lovely sound of the rain. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Five months and sleepless

Tomorrow Heiko will be five months. It is unbelievable really. He is almost sitting up on his own, he is just about ready to try some solid foods and he is developing quite a personality. Unfortunately, this personality newly involves a lot of yelling, some of which seems to go down around 5:30am. It is not amusing. Recently we've been having a really rough patch in terms of sleeping. The other night, Heiko was up E.V.E.R.Y hour from 10pm to 7am. Yep. It reminds me of the newborn days. Maybe it's teething, maybe it's gas. Or maybe my baby is just a crap sleeper. Meanwhile, other moms in my mom cohort from the midwives collective (again!) are posting on Facebook about their child's 8-hour sleep stretches. What am I doing wrong? (Perhaps it is that DIY exersaucer.)

I was pretty happy then to see that one of my holds at the library had come in: "The Baby Sleep Book: The Complete Guide to a Good Night's Rest for the Whole Family". Sounds good right? I was getting all set to lay down the law and start to get some better Zeds. But, after browsing through the book, the real message I took from it was: in the great scheme of things, this time is short. A baby is just a baby for such a short time. And even shorter is the period in which he is comforted so thoroughly by breastfeeding. The suggestion then is to try to find ways to make the night-waking less arduous, and more enjoyable, or at least more tolerable. (Yes, this from Dr. Sears, not exactly famous for making life easy for mothers. Definitely not the French way, anyway!).
Anyway, with that in mind, somehow this morning's yell session was a little bit more OK. Recognizing it for the fleeting stage that it is doesn't actually help me sleep more, but it does make me feel a little better about it.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

DIY Exersaucer

All my mom cohort friends from the Midwives collective have been raving about their exersaucers. If you don't know what that is, a quick google search will show ya. Anyway, since Heiko is working on his sit-up skills, we've taken to surrounding him with a moat of pillows, comme ca:

He seems pretty happy about it.

Today we labeled the home brew. Hope this doesn't seal its fate as disgusting.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Saturday

Our neighbour (neighbor, really) gave us some apples from her garden. They are so delicious.
 And today is bottling day! Oh noes.
Hope we like it, 'cause we've got a lot of it. We'll see how it tastes after a week or two in the crawlspace. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Stop reproducing!

We live right in front of an elementary school. Every day at 8:15am and 3:15pm, our street packs up with SUVs, station wagons and minivans, and the procession begins. Kids and parents tumble out of the vehicles and hustle around the corner to the school. There are also a number of people with strollers and all manners of bike transportation devices. There is one lady I always see. She has a baby strapped to her front, a child in a stroller, and she is holding the hand of her school-aged kid. She is walking slowly and evenly. Every time I see her, I shudder to think about the administration and corralling involved in getting such a convoy out the door. Anyway, every time I look out the kitchen window and see all the kids piling in and out of the cars and strollers and trailers, I always have to fight back the urge to yell "STOP REPRODUCING!".
I don't really know where this urge comes from, and I'm sure it makes me a bad person. Sorry. It is clearly no crime to have three or four or seven children (as did the nurse at the clinic the other day). And we have just reproduced ourselves! Ha! So really I have no right to be opinionated about people having kids, but I'm going to be unpopular and do it anyway.

Perhaps seeing all the reproduction underscores just how resource-intensive our lives are here. It seems to flaunt the abundance of it all. Not that it wasn't like this in Canada, too, though there are a few differences. Here we have a big old lawn (I'm not sure I've seen very many houses here that don't), and we'll get a ticket from the city if we don't water it and let it go brown (never mind that we are in the middle of a drought in a state that doesn't have its own water supply). We also have private garbage collection, which means we can throw out whatever the fuck we want. And despite the fact that Fort Collins has an excellent bike infrastructure, I have been really disappointed in the last few weeks to discover just how car-centric this city actually is, especially if you are hoping to attend kid-themed events. Still, I can't count the number of times that people have told me that Fort Collins is "a great place for kids." And it is, I guess, in that we really have so much here. But that's just the thing, it takes so much to be a "great place" for kids.

I don't want to become a hater who suggests that people have fewer children to reduce their impact on the environment but.... the nature of everyday life here could lull one into adopting the false belief that everyone has such riches at their doorstep. So I'll continue being unpopular in this post and say that maybe people should consider having fewer children to reduce their impact on the environment! It is actually kind of self-evident if you think about it (more people = more resource use, and more potential for reproduction = yet more resource use), but there is also some math to back it up. From that article: "the summed emissions of a person's dependents, weighted by their relatedness to him, may far exceed the lifetime emissions of the original parent." Yes, ok, it really is obvious, although you probably won't make many friends with these kind of arguments. Plus, who really thinks of kids in these terms?

Reflecting on this makes me realize how incredibly lucky I have been to have siblings (the whole family blogs now: Hey Sare! Hey Graham!), but as of right now, I'm not sure Heiko will have the same privilege. Of course, there is a lot more to that decision than just considering the environmental impact, and I won't go into those other matters here. We have some time to figure it out. Right now, it's almost 3:15. I need to go rage from the kitchen window.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dum dee dum dum....

Nothing to say, really.  Here is a tree.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mr. Long and Lean

Today we had Heiko's first medical appointment on this side of the border. He is a healthy little guy, measuring in the 85th percentile in height, and the 3rd (!) percentile in weight. Yes, the little man really is just a willowy sprout.

He also had some immunizations, which are never fun for anyone. There was some confusion and back and forth about which immunizations to give him, since the schedule is slightly different here. Unfortunately I have little trust in the US health authorities, and I was surprised to learn today that the vaccination schedule is different from the Canadian one, so it was with some suspicion that I agreed to switch over to their system (in fact I only agreed because to continue along the Ontario schedule meant that H would have required four needles today, but it turned out they gave him three anyway (I thought it would be two), so I should have stood my ground). There is a lot of weird information floating around about immunizations these days, and it can be hard to make sense of it all. In general I'm very pro-immunization, but because we would like to come back to Canada in the long run, I would prefer to keep him on the Canadian system. And, despite this pro-vaccine stance, when the needles are out it is hard not to run through all of the sisters of friends of friends whose baby had seizures (or worse) kind of thing.

All told though, Heiko took the vaccines like a champ. I have to question the wisdom of putting bandaids on babies though. Is that really necessary? Guess who has the fun job of teaching this little shoot about the joys of removing said bandages?
The appointment was different in other ways too. Perhaps in a you-get-what-you-pay-for kind of spirit, the whole process took an hour and a half. An hour and a half!!!!! It makes me really appreciate our Toronto doctor's super efficient if somewhat terse fifteen minute appointments. Plus, she never felt the need to ask us if there are guns in the house. I had to laugh when the nurse today asked that. It also made me feel really sad.

In fact, the whole appointment brought my mood down a lot. Some of the advice we were given about introducing solid foods really doesn't sit well with me (perhaps the subject of a future post). Similarly on the topic of sleep (really, you want me to wake my baby up after nursing just so that I can put him down "drowsy but awake"? I actually consider nursing my baby to sleep to be one of my superpowers at the moment). I greatly dislike the feeling of not trusting the people we are apparently relying upon to be experts. Sitting in the examination room after the appointment, nursing a very unhappy post-needles Heiko, I felt my own tears welling up. I knew that the medical care here would be different, but I didn't expect the backwardness of the whole system to make me feel quite so homesick. Bleh.