Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Memories...

Its Corbin's first Christmas.  One he will only 'remember' through our stories and photos.  Of course he had presents wrapped in pretty paper and toys stuffed in his stocking even though the wrapping paper was much more enticing for his five month old eyes.  But it made for nice memories for Mr. Incredible and me (and his grandparents and aunties and uncles etc).  I was reminded of one of my Christmas memories and a lesson I learned from that particular experience- one I hope to teach Corbin early on.

I remember my first visit to a Romanian orphanage- it was around Christmas time and I was only 12 years old.  The orphanage was built way up on top of a mountain, above the tiny coal mining village.  The day before, our team had helped pack Christmas gifts for the children.  Toothbrushes, soap, a few cookies, and dime-store toys were packaged into handmade draw-string bags.  As I quickly put these together, I thought about how lame the gifts were and how no kid would want these for Christmas.  My mind automatically wandered to my own Christmas list and all the amazing toys, gadgets, and the new bike I was anticipating seeing under our Christmas tree at home.

It was bitter cold and my California- bought coat and shoes were not adequate for a Romanian winter.  We went into a large room where all the kids were gathered and I realized it was colder inside than outside!  My thin coat and shoes suddenly felt like arctic expedition gear compared to the children's worn sweaters and rubber sandals.  We sang songs with the children and handed out the meager gifts.  The excitement on the children's faces was overwhelming as they carefully inspected each item in their bags. Our translator leaned over and whispered to me that we had just given the children the only present that they would receive this year.

After our little Christmas program, the children surrounded me, speaking eagerly and quickly.  I only knew how to say 'I don't understand' and 'where is the bathroom' so the conversation was very one-sided but I smiled and let them hold my hands.  My little brother and I stood out in the dirty snow with kids much older than us and oohed and aaahed at the hot wheel cars and rubber bouncy balls they had received.  It didn't seem to matter that the toys were cheaply made and tiny.  They just smiled and laughed and showed off each item in their bags.  I drove a toy car around in the snow for a fifteen year old boy whose eyes lit up, like, well, Christmas morning.  A girl about the same age as me handed me a yo-yo with a confused look on her face.  I threaded the string and quickly showed her how to use it.  More kids surrounded us and the laughter and joy doubled.

It was time for us to go and as I climbed into the beat-up van that transported us around, several of the children grabbed my hands one last time.  I inexplicably had tears in my eyes as we said goodbye.  The children were called back inside and as the van door slammed closed, I realized that I had several rubber bouncy balls and other small toys in my hands and pockets.  They had given me their only toys- the only presents they would receive for Christmas and as far as I knew the only gifts they would get all year.  I tried to call out to them and return the gifts but the children were already herded inside.  Suddenly my tears were not so inexplicable and that expected new bike was as far from my mind as California was from Romania.

I sat in the back of that old van silently shivering from the cold and sniffling from the lesson that I had learned - it is far better to give than to receive.  What we get in this life will fade- wheels will fall off, strings will get tied into knots- but what we give- smiles, time, joy- will last.

Merry Christmas- I hope it was filled with wonderful time with family and friends, smiles, and joy!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

checking in...

Hello there!

Just checking in after a busy week.  Corbin-o had his four month doctor appointment this week- he weighed in at only 12 lbs 9 oz which puts him pretty much in the 'squirt' percentage for his age but he charmed the doctor out of getting overly concerned by cooing and laughing and smiling at her the whole time.  He got a couple shots that he didn't appreciate but they were necessary. 

I finished up a big project for H2H this week, got a haircut, and hey- its December already!  We have our first Christmas party of the season this weekend and Mr. Incredible has big plans to put lights up outside...hopefully this year before Christmas.   

December has come really fast for me- Corbin reaching 4 months, Thanksgiving coming and going, Christmas approaching with all the shopping, parties, and events... its hard to take a breathe and enjoy the moment sometimes.  But we're really trying to do just that and establish a few traditions that Corbin will hopefully learn to look forward to as he gets older.  

Well, that's enough over thinking the holiday season for now- happy December!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

4 Months

Corbin is 4 months old today!

To celebrate and show off all his baby greatness, I decided to do a photo shoot with some of Mr. Incredible's baby clothes.  Incredible Relatives- does Corbin look like his daddy?

sweater and booties made by Mr. Incredible's Great Grandma

At four months old, our little one is over 12 lbs and has figured out this rolling over business.  He's a good eater but not such a good sleeper.  When he sees his reflection, Corbin gets a little shy and then smiles a very goofy smile.  He does not laugh, but chuckles when he is tickled.

Awesome little sneaker booties

He usually wakes up in the morning happy and talking to the ceiling fan (which is AMAZING to his little eyes).  Corbin is a pro at motorboat noises and shoving whatever is in his hands into his mouth.  He loves bumpy stroller rides, swinging on the highest setting, and listening to the Lullatones over and over again.  And he thinks Nora is pretty interesting to look at too.

Can't believe its been 4 months already!

And Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow from us to you!

Friday, November 18, 2011


On Tuesday we hit a major milestone.  Mr. Corbin rolled over for the first time. (!!)  He's been hovering on his side- arm flailing around, lip quivering- for weeks but on Tuesday, in front of a room full of people, he took the plunge and went all the way.  And Corbin received lots of applause and cheers for his achievement.  And when I flipped him back to his tummy, he rolled right over again and, I swear, looked around for more recognition.  (which he got of course!)

That night he rolled and rolled and rolled- over and over again- just so his daddy could see him in his rolling glory.  And I posted these photos on Facebook:

And then Corbin got all the virtual applause from friends and relatives in the form of comments and fb 'likes'.  Yay Corbin-o!

And since Tuesday, he's decided that he's had enough of this rolling business and is fine on his back.  And if forced to be on his tummy, he's ok with just resting his huge head, shoving a couple fingers in his mouth, and taking a little tummy nap (despite what the AAP has to say about THAT- pbbbbbbbbbbbb!).

Will he roll again?  Only time will tell.

Look how cute I am when I smile!

In other news, apparently all that figuring out rolling over business might have had something to do with Corbin's sudden sleep regression.  Thankfully (Puh-raise the Lord!) nighttime is no longer quite so painful and we've had a couple 5-6 hour sleeping stints.

So huh.

Babies are confusing.  The minute something starts working and we do our 'awesome parents victory dance' they change it up and we're back to scrabbling for answers on 2 hours of sleep and did you make the coffee this morning and forget to put the grounds in and what am I going to do with a pot of coffee flavored water arghhhghghghgh!

But for now we're (relatively) well rested and preparing for a little road trip with the bean-o for Turkey day... now that should be interesting!

I love three hour car rides!

Monday, November 14, 2011

the smell

We are in the trenches.  The trenches of establishing a sleep schedule for our little bundle of screaming-crying real tears- why are you evil adults trying to make me sleep joy.  We had a 'routine.'  Sometime in the mid evening, after Corbin had eaten and regurgitated his dinner usually all over me, we'd send him to his swing with obnoxious white noise to get all drowsy (baby hypnotism I tell ya).  Then when he was nodding off, Mr. Incredible would do The Transfer (all you parents knowingly nod and murmur in amazement.... those non-parents, Austin would scoop up Corbin and move him to bed without-hopefully- waking him up too much and thus requiring us to start the whole thing over again).  Corbin might wake up after a little while and then we'd try to calm him down or send him back to the swing on occasion but for the most part he'd sleep for a couple hours in his own crib. Ya-ay!  

But for the last few days, things have been different.  Probably a combination of us feeling guilty using a swing to put our baby to sleep plus the fact that we were just finally getting into a routine with the little bugger and he changed things up on us and BAM enter the sleep wars.

First we tried sending him to his crib without the swing... and he was pissed.  (Sorry for the language but I believe that is the only word to describe the look on my darling son's face as he glared at us in his baby straightjacket (a.k.a swaddle) and screamed his discontent.)  He screamed and writhed around until we caved and went and got him.

Then we tried weaning him off of the swing- he only got a few minutes in it and then to bed he went.  Where he pretended to sleep just long enough for us to leave his room, perform a victory dance in the living room, congratulate each other on our AWESOME parenting skills, and settle down on the couch to watch a TV show.  Then the screaming banshees of hell flew forth from his lungs and we were back to square one.

We had some variation of all this for several nights- we added patting and shushing in his ear while not picking him up, picking him up and rocking/shushing, and going back to the swing even.  However, once we had declared sleep war, Corbin was NOT. BACKING. DOWN.

Last night after ONE HOUR of on and off screaming (by on and off I mean he had to stop to catch his breath at some point-right?!?) I picked him up, rocked him, mangled the words and tune of "You are my Sunshine" (dang lullabies!), and put him to bed where he collapsed into exhausted sleep until 2:30 a.m.  Which brings us to the main story of this blog post.

At 2:30 a.m. I awoke to a smell.  I used to be a rock star sleeper- could sleep through earthquakes, demolition, Ed the stupid dog next door.  Then I had a baby.  Now I wake up if Corbin breathes too heavily in the other room or if the video monitor decides to lose connection and flash white for a nanosecond.  On the other side of the bed, we have our family sleep princess- Mr. Incredible.  He's always been a light sleeper and is usually awake a split nanosecond before I am if something is amiss in baby land.  All this to say, we have never been awakened by a smell before.

It wasn't a baby smell by the way.  Nor was it smoke... but a burnt, plastic-y, something-bad-is-happening-in-the-house kind of smell.  Corbin was still asleep (amazingly) but the smell was not good.  I sniffed around the hall, sticking my nose near our ancient wall heaters, the over, microwave, even our dryer out in the garage but I could not figure it out.

Mr. Incredible was pulled out of bed and sent to seek out said smell while I gathered sleeping Corbin (NJH@&%NFO@@!@## for waking a sleeping baby!!!) and took him to our room.  Mr. Incredible sniffed around for a good twenty minutes while I was trapped in bed with a now eating baby contemplating the news headline tomorrow morning- "Young Family Found Dead In Local Home" "Mysterious Gas Claims Family" and wondering if the batteries on our smoke detectors and CO2 detector were still good (when did we change those?  did they go off the other day when I burned dinner? why do we entrust our LIVES to stupid 9 volt batteries?!?!?!)

Mr. Incredible gave up and once Corbin was full and happy, I headed out once more to SAVE MY FAMILY!  However I could find NOTHING awry.  Finally, my middle-of-the-night rational took over and I went back to bed with my sleeping family (if we're going to go, at least we'll go together) (I know, overly dramatic but that's apparently how I get at 3 a.m.)  (I did set up a little fan to blow the toxic chemical filling our house out of our room and opened a few windows) (wow- grammar foul-excessive use of parenthesis. 5 yard penalty or whatever)

The next thing I knew it was morning and Corbin and I appeared to have survived the toxic gas calamity. And Mr. Incredible was triumphantly waving something in front of my bleary eyes.

The mysterious source of the toxic smell that was surely going to be responsible for the demise of the Christmas Tree Face Family!  Can anyone pull a Sherlock Holmes and figure out what the heck happened?

Well my dear Watson, apparently those directions- "For top shelf of dishwasher ONLY" are pretty serious.  Somehow this tupperware-container-thing- lid flipped out of its top shelf home and landed on the very bottom of the dishwasher where it melted into a goopy mess and filled our house with the smell.

By morning the smell had cleared away, leaving the eventful night of terror, certain death, and-most significantly-the failure of our only victory in the sleep war thus far, a distant and fading memory.  Good thing I took the time to retell it here where this tale will live on forever in internet-land.

I can now face the day a survivor.  Now if only we could reclaim those few hours of baby sleep victory... maybe tonight!  This is Christmas Tree Face signing out.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

more costume photos to come but for now:

Happy Halloween 2011!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


The windows are cracked, allowing air to woosh into the car and make our ears pop uncomfortably. Frantically Austin flips through the iPod, finally settling on something with loud drums and a pronounced bass line-this time it's Alien Ant Farm... My high school self is somewhere very far away rocking out... My arm is bent backwards, shaking a plush, primary colored toy and Austin is 'shushing' at the top of his lungs... But let's back up a bit.

We never thought we'd be 'those parents.'  You've seen them- hair unbrushed, babbling nonsense as they rush through the grocery store with a ginormous car seat perched precariously on the handle.  Their little bundle of joy screaming at the top of his/her lungs as mom and dad perform a ritual of shaking/dancing/singing/speaking jibberish despite the many onlookers.  Or perhaps you've seen them at your favorite local eatery- mom valiantly trying to rock darling baby and eat with one hand while dad- who has developed several nervous ticks whenever a baby starts to cry- has scarfed down his food so quickly he's forgotten what he ordered.

Yeah, we thought we'd never be those parents.  No cheesy nursery rhymes for our kid- we'd start Corbin out on good classical music and Ben Folds and Dave Brubeck.  Our easy-going lifestyle would naturally be passed down to our offspring- and we would have a the perfect public baby and enjoy movies and farmers markets and car rides anywhere we wanted to go.  As long as we fed him every few hours, we could do everything we did B.C. (before Corbin).

Fast forward to real life and real time and we've learned a few important parenting lessons.

Lesson one: Your baby is his own person- with his own agenda.  You either go with it or fight against it.  Our first two weeks with Corbin, we thought we had the best car-riding baby ever to be born.  We'd strap him into that big ol' carseat and he'd be out cold within seconds.  We could run any errand we ever wanted, toting him around like a stuffed doll.  Then at three weeks, Corbin woke up.  We had been battling a bad case of jaundice and once our little guy finally started filling his tummy and spending some time actually awake, it turned out car riding was not his favorite thing.  In fact, at the very sight of the car seat, Corbin's lip would begin to protrude and a pitiful hiccuping cough would soon follow and then meltdown! Tears! Screams!  And then Corbin would cry too.  He also pulled similar stunts whenever Mr. Incredible and I attempted a family dinner out on the town.  Corbin would happily entertain himself until our food arrived and then BAM! Tears, screams, terror.  I learned Parenting Lesson #1 most thoroughly when I attempted to run a bunch of shopping errands during his first growth spurt.  I had very firmly planted in my brain that he only needed to eat every three hours.  I fed him and headed out the door with plenty of time for a (admittedly horrible) car ride and some shopping.  Until an hour later when he was inconsolable until he was fed again.  And then another hour and a half later and it was the same case.  I tried everything to persuade him that he wasn't really hungry- rocking/patting/swaying to presenting a thoroughly drafted argument with sharp witticism and a convincing closing argument- but it did. not. matter.  He was hungry and he was going to eat or make my life miserable.  It didn't matter that I had a shopping cart full or groceries.  So for the next few days we stayed close to home... and spent a lot of time on the couch.  One point for Corbin.

But the baby can't be the absolute controller or your life (and the lives of everyone around you).  So there are times when you have to fight his agenda.  Which leads to Lesson two: You gotta do what you gotta do.  Or Do Whatever Works.  If you spend enough time around a particular infant, you discover the little tricks that 'turn off' the cry... at least most of the time.  For us right now, its a certain swing that plays horrible MIDI file classical music renditions (I swear Bizet, Bach, and Schumann turn over in their graves every time the three minute version of their masterpieces come up... but for some reason I don't think Pachelbel would mind so much...).  We've also learned that 'flying' Corbin around like Super Man and singing works too.  Ahh- singing, my chance to redeem Corbin's ears for 'good music' you would think.  But what song do I inevitable get stuck singing, over and over again when he starts to scream? "Fly Me to the Moon" by Frank Sinatra.  Which sounds kind of cool except that I can only remember the first few lines and then the last few lines of the chorus so he's getting some kind of Sinatra-hybrid ditty involving whatever words I happen to string together or whatever objects I notice around the room that Corbin is currently flying through ("Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars.  Let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars.  In other words, what's for dinner? In other words, I need to vacuum....)  But I digress.  The point is we do whatever works.  If that means playing Alien Ant Farm on the radio with the windows down so the baby is distracted from his scream-fest, then we do it.  And smile and wave at the high school kids staring suspiciously at us from the next car over.  One point for the parents.

Which brings us to Lesson three: you are going to look and act like a crazy person.  Yep.  Being a parent means you are that crazy person listening to out-dated music and performing car acrobatics to wave at your baby.  You are that person singing Frank Sinatra (or something like that) at the grocery store while you frantically get the milk and eggs and bread and get. out. of. there.  Mr. Incredible and I drove the little guy home last night and purposely steered for every bump, manhole cover, and uneven pavement in the road.  Because Corbin likes bumps and we like quiet in the car and we're willing to risk looking a little inebriated behind the wheel.  We regularly look like crazy people... and its all because of this guy:

And somehow, seeing this guy makes it all ok.  Craziness and bad music included.  I'm sure there are many more parenting lessons to reflect on but I think Corbin's starting to stir and I feel another rendition of 'Fly Me to the Moon' coming on!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

12 Weeks

Look who's 12 weeks old!  Our little guy is cooing, laughing, sitting and holding his head up on his own, and looking more and more like his daddy each day.

He has discovered his feet- but we're pretty sure he doesn't know that they are connected to his legs.

He's an expert at getting that hand to his mouth...

...and as many fingers as he can fit inside his mouth.

Oh and the drool... so much drool.

And bubbles...

He's still very serious...

But graces us with plenty of smiles too!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I'm Sailing Away...

Mr. Incredible and I joined some friends for a day of sailing at Dana Point, CA.

I love everything about sailing- the boats, the water, the wind.  The adventure, the excitement, the danger.  Even all the sailing terms- bow, aft, jib... I love everything about sailing except for the actual sailing part.  This is definitely one of those instances where I think I was made to do something but my body or brain or both didn't get the memo...

Ever since college, I am now prone to horrible motion sickness... and sea sickness is the worst!

So when we were invited for a day of sailing, every fiber of my being- except for my stomach or ears or whatever makes your stomach want to turn inside out- was thrilled at the prospect.  Somehow all those fibers overrode the sea sick part and I went anyway.

Everything was fine as we putted around the harbor.  Everything was still fine as we headed out past the wave break.  And everything was fine as we hit the open ocean- on one of the highest surf weekends in California's summer history... for about two minutes.  Then that one fiber of my being that controls the blowing cookies part kicked in.  Meanwhile, Mr. Incredible was doing this:

I should pause here and mention that Mr. Incredible NEVER gets sea sick.  The boat could be flipped upside down in the middle of a hurricane and he'd be sitting on the bow eating Cheetos.  To make matters worse, he's the kind of un-seasick-person who likes to rub it in... with comments like, ' Ehh... its all in your head."  Not helpful.

Anyway, I managed to hold it together and keep everything down but I was sooo grateful when our captain turned the boat around and headed back to the harbor.

It was a beautiful day despite the gale-force winds and raging seas.  And once my feet touched solid ground and the blood began to flow back to my face those 'we love sailing with every fiber of my being' feelings began to kick back in too... well almost.


Monday, September 5, 2011

6 weeks!

storyboard courtesy of The Coffee Shop Blog.

Monday, August 29, 2011