Monday, 30 January 2017

A Day in the Life Winter 2017

0104 Woken by the downpour of rain.
0107 Husband gets up; he turns the light on in the bathroom to take the world's longest pee.
0110 This wakes up Tyler, who has been sleeping by my side.
0145 Woken up by the sound of Tyler batting is paws on the shutters in the living room. [we have plantation shutters throughout our house] Tyler has always been a nocturnal cat with annoying behaviors. It used to be banging our bathroom cabinets (we baby proofed them before we were pregnant) or trying to get into the linen closet (he does like to sleep on the towels), now it's banging on shutters all hours during the night. These annoying night time behaviors usually wane over time, but he's been doing this for over a month.
0155 He's still banging on the shutters. Pick him up and take him back to bed.
0313 More batting on the shutters. Pick him up and take him to bed again.
0440 That fucking cat!
0520 My alarm goes off to go to swimming. I didn't fall back asleep after the last time my sleep was disturbed by Tyler. I consider bailing since it's been a shitty night of sleep, but as I'm not working today, I can function on less sleep, so it's not an excuse.
0540 Turn off the alarm (which is unfortunately right outside the door to Kate's room). Wait one minute to make sure she doesn't wake up before sneaking out the door.
0541 Drive to swim. Contemplate that I need to contact the vet about Tyler. Watch the temperature drop from 56 degrees (my garage) to 43 (the parking lot at the pool)
0603 The moment I've been dreading. Taking off my parka and stripping of my clothes. Fuck! It's cold!
0604 Dive into the pool. Surprisingly, the water isn't too bad. Although the pool is covered at night, rain still gathers in the pool creating pockets of cold water. It usually takes a few laps to mix up the water.
0630 It's a butterfly set. I really don't have the energy for this.
0645 Get out of the pool. Practice goes until 7. I usually stay till the end on Tuesday (I leave 15 minutes early on the days I go to work) but Husband has a call at 8 AM and needs to eat and be showered before it starts, so I have to be back in a timely manner. It has nothing to do with the fact that the set is kicking my ass.
0647 Turn on the shower on the pool deck. The water is freezing cold
0650 The water is now tolerable, so I can start washing my hair. I'm feeling a bit guilty as I watch my teammates finish the set. After three rounds of 50 Fly x 4 and 100 Free, I can't believe our coach is having them get out to dive.
0653 Hot water is now coming out of the shower. It feels amazing. The water pressure is awesome. It's the best shower in the whole world. Especially when you're greeted with a beautiful sunrise.      

0702 In my car and getting ready to drive home. I'm not sure how much extra I paid for heated seats, but it was worth every penny. Turn heat on full blast
0720 Arrive home, our attached garage opens into the laundry room. Throw wet clothes and towels into the dryer.
0721 Walk past Kate's room; to my surpise, she's still asleep!
0722 Tip toe into my room and strip out of my swimsuit and put on my robe. I can't resist this opportunity and crawl back into bed. I pick up my iPad to email our vet about Tyler's behaviour. Is it too inappropriate to write 'Help! My cat is an asshole?"
0735 Finish email to vet. Read some late Microblog Monday posts. Check Facebook. Yup, the world is still going to hell in a handbasket
0740 Start to wish that I had made myself a cup of coffee to drink while lounging in bed. Especially as Kate should be up soon.
0742 Kate is awake
0743 Greet Kate and change her diaper. Her PJs smell a bit funky. The fleese ones are so absorbant it's hard to tell when she's wet through. Better add doing laundry to the to-do list for today
0745 Set Kate in her high chair and offer some milk, yoghurt and Cheerios while I cut up some blueberries.
0750 Perpare my weekly breakfast of sausage scramble.
0800 Sit down to eat                        
0820 Finish breakfast. Place remaining scramble into containers for my lunches and Kate's. Clean up breakfast dishes.
0830 Place Kate in the learning tower to work on some meal prep. Making butternut squash in the crock pot. I use pre-cut squash and I cut up carrot and onion last night. I also prepared the dry ingredients. I have to peel and cut apples, this isn't too easy with Kate trying to climb on the counter. I decide to use minced garlic in a jar in lieu of peeling fresh garlic.
0845 Soup is on. Next task is to make some packets for Kate. Steam broccoli, boil zucchini and cut pears. Throw everything into my Ninja chopper. It works much better than the Baby Bullet. Assemble filling station and label packets. Kate enjoys watching me fill the packets. She reaches for the first one I finish.
0930 Packets are done; head to the garage to put them in the chest freezer and to move some older ones into the house freezer. Both Kate and Tyler follow me into the garage. Kate wants to ride in her trike. I push her around a few laps before deciding that I'm getting cold. I use the trike to 'chase' Tyler into the house.
0945 I realise that I forgot to get some chicken and pork to thaw for this week's meals. Head back into the garage to be followed by Kate and Tyler
0950 Round everyone back into the house. I'm getting pressed for time. We have to clean the kitchen before heading to Baby Music.
0951 Give Kate a sippee cup of milk. It keeps her occupied while I clean up from making packets
1000 Change Kate and get her dressed. Put on her shoes and coat. Grab her diaper bag and snack bag, which I packed last night
1010 Realise that I need to get dressed myself. Sweetly ask Husband to put Kate in the car, while I get dressed.
1035 Arrive at Baby Music a little late, but the class hasn't started yet.
1140 Baby Music concludes. While I'm getting Kate's shoes and coat on, the instructor calls me over to her desk. She distributed the companion CD last week as it was the start of a new session and she saved us a copy as we missed the class due to Kate's 18 month check-up. I feel really guilty about the fact that I have never even unwapped any of the companion CDs from these classes; let alone listen to them with Kate. I acknowledge that I really should play them in my car.
1205 Arrive at the gym. Kate has fallen asleep. I decided to wait a little bit more before transfering her to the stroller. Check the news on my iPhone. Cringe at how Trump is destroying the country so quickly
1215 Feel totally depressed. Successfully transfer Kate to the stroller and push her into the gym.
1220 Set up the start my 'Baby Work Out'. Row 5K, 75 Wall Balls 10 Pullups.
1243 Kate wakes up. I've only rowed about 2500 meters
1245 I put her on my lap and row another 500 to finish at 3K
1250 Kate seems intrigued watching the class complete the WOD. I take advantage of this and join in. It's a Tabata (20 seconds of work/10 seconds of rest) doing planks, goblet squats and single leg dead lifts. I use Kate as my Kettle bell.
1305 Kate is actually trying to climb back in her stroller. I offer her a bottle while I complete my wall balls and pull ups. I mention to Kate that Mummy can do pull ups but Daddy can't.
1315 I change Kate in the gym bathroom. There is only a small amount of counter space to use. I unwap a tampon and let her play with it to keep her occupied while I change her. I figure she needs to become familiar with them sooner rather than later.
1320 Load Kate into the car and give her a vegtable packet. Head to Costco
1330 Find a parking space within walking distance of the store! This is the time to go!
1415 I can't find the canned coconut milk. They moved it to be a part of a display for Chinese New Year and I must have walked passed it three times.
1420 Take another spin around the store to hit the best spots of sampling. Kate has had some tomato soup, pork rolls and chicken tortitas.
1435 Secure Kate in her car seat and offer her a recently purchased Aussie Bite. Look at it longingly as I can't eat it due to Whole 30 this month.
1440 Eat my Epic bar and drink some coconut water.
1510 We arrive at the park. I feel a litte skittish as I'm pretty sure this is the site where she contracted Hand Foot and Mouth Disease
1520 Only ten minutes in and she poops. There are no changing facilities at this park. It rained last night, so the ground is still really wet. I would change her in the boot of my car, but it's loaded up with Costco groceries. I'm running out of options, so this is going to cut our park time short.
1530 Kate wants to go on the swings. As I'm pushing her, I glance at my phone to check the time and notice I have a work related text message. Answer the message as it involves scheduling an important meeting. I also received a reply from the vet. Apparently her cat likes to scratch underneath her bedroom door and she tried stuffing a towel underneath the door and squirting the cat with a water pistol. Cats are inherently noctural animals. She lists a website that sells 'quiet toys for nighttime kitties'. I figure I could spend money on such toys and Tyler either wouldn't play with them; or would play with them and then continue to bat the shutters. She says we can try Kitty Prozac. I reply that I want to give it a go.
1545 Oh crap, I forgot we were supposed to leave early as I need to change her.
1600 Arrive at a nearby sporting shop as they have changing facilities and they sell Lara bars in bulk. After changing her diaper, Kate wanders into the swim department. I take note that rash guards are on sale. I've been wondering if one might keep me warmer in the morning. At 40% off, I can find out. I also spot a kids TYR bathing suit is size 2T which is only $13. They have my favourite flavour of Lara bars so I buy three boxes as they don't always have this flavour in stock.
1630 Head home and prepare to face traffic
1705 Arrive home. Kate plays in the garage while I unload the items from Costco
1720 I wash a few dishes that I left in the sink this morning. Kate is in her learning tower watching me/biting my arm. I tell her not to bite. She does it again. I threaten that I will spray her with water if she does it again. She bites me again. I check the temperature of the water and quickly splash her with the sprayer. She has a dazed look on her face. To this day, she has not biten me or anyone else again
1730 Take Kate into her room to change her wet top and diaper again. We play with some puzzles and look at some books
1750 Head back to the kitchen to get dinner ready. Heat up some meatballs for Kate while I work on prepping our dinner. She is getting really cranky. I offer her some Annie's cheddar bunny crackers
1755 Not in the mood for crackers and she throws the container on the floor and really starts crying. I try to engage her in her little play kitchen, but she's not having it
1815 Place Kate in her highchair and offer her some yoghurt snacks while I wait for the meatballs to finish. She goobles them up and calms down
1820 She is devouring her meatballs. I made eight, figuring she's eat four tonight and have four to take to school tomorrow. She's already eaten five and is signing 'more'. Now I know why she was so cranky; she was hungry. Not to self: you can't feed your kid lunch by sampling at Costco
1840 Offer her some watermelon for dessert. The 'use by' date passed a few days ago, but it still looks and tastes okay.
1850 Draw Kate her bath. She received some waterprood books to use in the bath. We go through one with animals and she demonstrates the signs for each animal.
1900 Wrap her up in the Hello Kitty robe, while I drain the tub.
1905 Brush Kate's hair and get her changed into her bed clothes
1910 Husband brings in Kate's milk and says good night to her
1915 Read a few books as Kate drinks her milk. Turn on her sound machine. Turn out her light and allow Kate to turn on her sleep sheep.
1920 Take Kate to the bathroom to brush her teeth
1922 Return to Kate's room to cuddle for a few minutes before putting her to bed. I tell her "night, night" and she echos 'night, night'. My heart swells.
1930 Set Kate down in her crib, pat her back and leave the room
1935 Enter the kitchen. The salmon is baking and Husband is cooking zoodles
1945 Sit down for dinner. Realise I forgot to feed the cats
2010 Husband helps clear the dinner dishes while I start the task of packing lunches of myself and Kate.
2030 Lunches are done; now on to meal prep for tomorrow. I cut up veggies and prepare dry ingredients.
2105 Head to bedroom. Layout swimgear for tomorrow
2115 Climb into bed. Tyler joins me a few minutes later and settles on my lap. I google Whole 30 menu ideas from some of my favourite sites.
2200 Husband has drifted off to sleep. I load up Gilmore Girls from Netflicks. I'm planning to pay for only one more month and I'm trying to watch the whole series again. So far, I'm only on season two and I'm discovering that Rory was a really shitty friend to Lane. The friendship seems really one sided at a times Rory is even snide to her.
2330 Apparently I fell asleep as I was woken up by Tyler banging his paws on the stupid shutters. I take him back to bed with me and he snuggles next to me for about 5 minutes.
0116 I pick him up and give him a quick but firm slap on his hindquarters. He runs underneath my bed
0118 I feel really quilty and want to pick him up to cuddle him, but I know it will defeat the purpose.
0520 Alarm rings to wake me for swimming. Tyler is asleep on the foot of my bed, so apparently I'm forgiven. He didn't bang on the shutters for the rest of the night. This might have worked as well as the Prozac.


Thursday, 19 January 2017

2016 Reflections

I saw this survey on Non Sequitur Chica's blog and decided to give it a go:

1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?

I submitted an abstract to speak at a major conference. I was inspired by my Australian friend, who came state side to present at a conference. She described that she decided to submit on a whim, didn't think she'd get picked and then once she did, realised 'oh shit! now I need to come up with some data'. I was hoping to duplicate her success and sumbitted a propsal somewhat at the last minute. It didn't get selected.

I'm not too disappointed, but it really would have been nice. When I was in college, I befriended a guy from Spain. He was a classic over-achiever. The kind you would hate, if he wasn't also such a genuinely nice guy. He had a perfect grade point average while carrying a full academic load that consisted of some upper level classes. He was on Student Sentate, wrote for the paper and did many other extracurricular activies. Feeling that he wasn't being challenged enough, he decided to transfer to Harvard during his junior year and was offered a full academic scholarship. He wrote a letter to the Student Senate (pausing to remember when we wrote letters) to detail his experience at an Ivy League school. He submitted a few articles for their paper and they all got rejected. He was so excited about this. "I'm going to have to write stuff that is even better!". I'm going to channel Alfonso's spirit and embrace this as an opportunity to improve my proposal for next year's conference. Or submit multiple topics to try to improve my odds.

2. Did you keep any new year's resolutions and will you make more for next year?

I don't remember making any new year's resolutions, so I guess I didn't keep any. Following the advice of Body Shop Girl, I'm going to try to make very practical, realistic resolutions. One is to use my beauty products. I know this isn't really change the world, but I was cleaning through my bathroom and linen closet and was going to throw out all the unused products that had been sitting in my drawers for years. I felt bad about throwing stuff out, so I decided I would use them. It's been kind of a fun challenge.

My more serious resolution is to read more books. Actual books. Reading articles accessed from does not count as reading. My imposed caveat is that books must be purchased from local book stores. No ordering from Amazon.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth

No, but a close friend is pregnant (she conceived on her first attempt) My cousin who is a recovering heroin addict and his recovering heroin addict girlfriend are expecting their second boy in March. My other cousin who got married in June on 2016 are expecting their first baby in June 2017. Everyone in my family seems to be fertile, except me.

4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What countries did you visit?

No international travel, but we went to Hawaii and to the east coast

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Answering in reverse order:
2016 Bernine Sanders as the Democratic Nominee
2017 Trump Impeachment hearings

7. What moments from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory and why

We were in Boston in the middle of September, and while walking down the street some older white man shouted out "Only 6 more weeks until Donald Trump becomes President. It's going to be a great day for our country" The polls were tight at that time. I started to prepare myself for the possibility of a Trump presidency that night.

A few months earlier I was a first responder who started CPR on a man who collapsed during a run. I saw his face turn purple as his heart stopped beating. The next time I saw his face, he was handing out medals at the finish of the New Year's Day race.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year

I did Whole 30 back to back in August and September and not only lost 15 pounds, but got rid of a lot of bad food habits. I gave up soda and adding Splen.da to coffee and tea, which were huge Non-Scale Victories for me. I feel that I'm closer to walking the walk and as talk the talk about healthy eating with Kate. I've been maintaining a weight below pre-pregnancy, which is something I never thought would happen.

I swam in a long course metres meet after a nine month hiatus from swimming, although my times were very slow, I chuckle to myself just for having the courage to enter and it was the catalyst to get me back into the pool. I was hoping to set some PBs at the short course metres (as I did last year only 3 months postpartum) but I achieved my second best time in the 50 Fly. I also tied my best time in the 400 yard kick for time trials. I feel like I'm making gains to get back to where I was.

I did achieve a PR at Cross-Fit. Once the weight came off, my pull-ups came back. We had a WOD that required 50 pull-ups. My initial plan was to do 25 on my own, and then 25 with a band, but figured realistically it would probably be 20 on my own, 30 with a band. I managed to do 20 and felt inspired that I was the only girl doing real pull-ups. I banged out another 5. Still felt good, so did 5 more and hit 30 on my own. Let's do another 5. Can we make it to 40? Well, I had to break into 3 and 2, but reached 40. Everyone else had moved on to the next activity, but I was determined to reach 50 if it took the entire time of the class. I was struggling at the end and probably counted some no reps, but I managed 50 pull ups. It was a huge PR for me.

9. What was your biggest failure

Taking nine months off from swimming. I recognise that I wasn't able to go back to morning sessions until I had finished breastfeeding, but I wished I had started going to noon class once I started having Tuesdays off. I made the excuse that I didn't think I could get back in form by swimming just once a week.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury

I was diagnosed with pneumonia in June. Fortunately, antibiotics kicked in quickly, but I spent a miserable night with a 103 degree fever.

11. Best thing you bought

We hired a cleaning service to clean our house every other week. Husband is loathe to spend money on anything we can do ourselves, but as he got a pay raise, he decided it was worth our time to be free of cleaning chores on the weekend.

12. Whose behavour merited celebration?

Kate's. I'm so proud of her for achieving her developmental milestones and I'm fascinated by watching her process things.

13. Whose behaviour make you appalled and depressed

Ryan Lotche. In 2012 I thought it was just your average dumb guy (frankly, I'm surprised he knows IM order, let alone command such an impressive race strategy) but they way he fabricated a robbery to cover up his actions revealed just how much of a low life scum he truly is. Then the IOC condones him 'He's a great swimmer, so boys will be boys.'

The judge in the Brock Turner case. It is often very difficult to get a conviction in a rape case and it often involves hoping there is enough physicial evidence to support a he said - she said arguement. This case had two eye witnesses and physical evidence. There was no need to be lenient for benefit of the doubt. The judge felt more sympathy for Brock and didn't want the fact that he committed a heinous crime to ruin his life.

Donald Trump. I won't list all the offensive things he's said or done, because we all know what's out there. It just sickens me that such a honour is bestowed on such an undeserving man.

2016 was a celebration of wealthy while male privlidge. It is so clear they're living in a different world that is above laws, social norms, and decency.

14. Where did most of your money go

Day Care. Food. Stuff for Kate. Rarely spend money on myself.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The possibility of Hillary as President. Although she wasn't my first choice I was excited about seeing a woman President in my life time and wish I could have watched Kate grow up with a female President

16. Compared to this time last year, are you;

A. Happier or sadder
Sadder because of the election results
B. Thinner or Fatter
C. Richer or Poorer
Richer -both Husband and I got pay raises. Mine was a "we're increasing salaries to stay competetive" (translation, we don't want you to know you could have been making a lot more money working for Kai.ser) Husband learned that recent hires with less experience were earning almost as much as him and he seized the opportunity to ask for an increase when some other senior scientists had left.

17. What is something you wish you'd done more of?

Spent more time getting together with friends. I need to make more of an effort, we often talk about getting together and then never make any plans.

18. What is somethig you wish you'd done less of?

Waste time looking at crap on the internet

19. How did you spend Christmas?

At home with my parents visiting.

20. Did you fall in love in 2016

Yes, with Kate

21. What was your favorite TV program

Life in Pieces. Such a brilliant comedy, but they blew me away when they included a storyline where a character has a miscarriage. Knowing how common miscarriages are and living through the experience twice, it was so amazing to see it 'normalized' on TV.

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

I hate Donald Trump even more

23. What did you want and get?

A day off! In order to make it work financially, I could only cut my hours down to 36, so I pitched that I would work a late shift on Monday and early shift on Friday to improve options for patient access. To my surprise, upper management approved my request!

24. What did you want and not get?

Bernie Sanders and the Democratic Nominee and President Elect.

25. What was your favorite film of the year?

Rouge One, because it was the only new film I saw in it's entirety. We went to see Jason Borne, but feel asleep though it.

26. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?

This was the year of the big 4-0 and we spent it in Maui

27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016

My 'Mom outfit' of yoga pants and a nursing tank. I was happy once I stopped breastfeeding and could wear normal clothes again, but I pretty much kept in my work out clothes. Yes, I've been guilty of wearing active wear when I've not been active. I donated a bunch of clothes that I had been hanging on to for years with the hope that I'd lose weight. That was before I finally did lose weight, but as some of them were over 12 years old, I decided they needed to go merely from a fashion standpoint and not a size issue. I really need to buy some new clothes, but I'm waiting to see if I can lose a little more weight.

28. What kept you sane

Having a day off. With swimming in the mornings, working and going to the gym in the evenings, I feel that I don't spend that much time with Kate during the week. The cleaning service has often been a great relief.

29. Which celebrity/public  figure did you fancy the most

Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders

30. What political issue stirred you the most

Trying to understand how blue collar and middle class workers could support a millionaire who has never showed any concern for the poor and working class

Trying to understand how any one with a sound mind and rational judgement could support a candidate who has never held a public office, displays a narcisstic personality and fragile ego as well as an unstable temperment.

31. Who did you miss

I still miss my old cat Angus

32. How many miles did you run this year?

OMG, I think it was only 25! Maybe 30, if I include running during Cross-Fit. So pathetic!

Monday, 9 January 2017

Eighteen Months

Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season. Despite my attempt to keep things simple (see my last post) the past few weeks were busier than I anticipated. My parents arrived on Christmas Eve and left a week later. It was such a short visit that it barely feels as if they were here. Although she is still too young to understand much about Christmas, it was fun to share experiences with Kate. We decorated the tree while watching Love Actually (I figure this is a good age as she isn't aware that it is totally inappropriate for her) I'm not sure if it's motherhood or turning 40 that affected me so, but I think I cried during almost every scene in that movie (with the exception of the couple who work in porn -my favourite storyline). We also watched another classic, Home Alone and for the first time I started to wonder if the old man was bullshitting about being estranged from his son for over 15 years just to get Kevin to admit his own feelings about his family. Phew! My cynical side is still intact. I cheered during my favourtie seen in the Sound of Music "Reverend Mother, I have sinned" as the badass nuns reveal they removed the sparkplugs. Then I decided not to think about the fact that the Nazis probably killed them. 

Husband decided to take care of Christmas dinner all on his own. I think it's his way of representing some his memories from Christmases in England. He planned the menu and did all the shopping. I wonder if in someway he thinks it excuses him from the other 364 days fo the year when he offers no help to meal planning, shopping or food prep. He was insisting that he could do it all himself, and so when my parents and I were sitting by the tree waiting for Kate to open her presents... he was in the kitchen peeling potatoes, oblivious to what we were trying to do. Initially I was annoyed, but the frequent interruptions to work on meal prep actually worked in our favour as I could see Kate was easily becoming overstimulated with her presents and new toys. I think in the next few years, I'll build in breaks with the present opening or drag it out for a few days (she finally finished opening everything a few days later). After we finished dinner, we had to work on preparing our dessert to take to a friend's party. It seemed that we spent most of the day working in the kitchen. My mother suggested that maybe next year we could just throw something in the crock pot to eat on Christmas Day and have a more formal dinner on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day. We laughed initially, but it may not be such a bad idea. 

Stats: [will update after her well baby check on Tuesday] 

Teeth: Nothing new to report

Eating: I don't know if it's just because she's learned the word, but she's really into eating apples. Whole apples; not slices I cut up for her. The only trouble is that she'll take a bite out of a few apples and then try to move on to another apple. I've had to take to hiding our fruit bowl. She's really doing well with a spoon and fork, and I think may prefer to eat this way. We went to one of our favourite restaurants and for the first time ordered something for her off the kids' menu (I'm making this seem like it's monumental as the truth is that I just didn't pack food for her). She seemend only interested in the french fries and not the chicken strips, which I cut into small pieces. As I had also forgotten her spork, I asked the waitress for a plastic fork and boom! She started eating her chicken once she had a fork in her hands (we also hid the fries). I was planning to do a cold turkey approach of the bottle to sippee cup transition over Thanksgiving weekend, but as she was recovering from Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, it gave me an excuse to bail. I decided to do a more gradual approach, replacing one bottle at a time. It seems to be working, and just in time as Day Care wants her to be on sippee cups once she starts in the toddler classroom.
 At press time, we've gone almost a week with NO BOTTLES!

Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug!

Sleep: She still does really well at night. I brought back reading some stories while she drinks her milk, as she is really showing an interest in her books. She might fuss for 5-10 minutes once we put her down, but then sleeps soundly through the night. She's even been sleeping later on weekends! On Chrismas Eve, she slept until 8:30. It was the best present from her ever. I'm glad she's been sleeping later in the morning, but it does annoy me a little that on my swimming mornings, I'll come home at 7:15 and she'll still be sleeping (thus letting Husband sleep and or play with his phone for an extended period of time) while she seems to wake up at 6:00 on the days when Husband has to leave early. She's totally a Daddy's Girl. Not that I'm bitter. 

While she's a rockstar during the night, naps are another story. As I was confronting my reluctantance to switch our infant seat to a convertable car seat, I acknowledged that I used her ability to fall asleep in the car as a crutch to get her to nap [and to get errands done]. I feared that it could backfire on me. It has. I'll darken her room as much as I can, given her milk and a cuddle, she'll fall asleep in my arms, but wake as soon as I set her in her crib. On a few occasions, I've let her nap while sitting in the glider. Sometimes, I can get a litle shut eye, or do some reading. If I let her cry it out, it can take up to 20-25 minutes before she falls asleep and I once caught her sleeping sitting up. Even if she falls asleep in her crib, she doesn't seem to nap for very long.

This does not look comfortable. 

On Tuesdays, she'll fall asleep on the drive from Baby Music and I'll transfer her to the jogging stroller and she'll nap on the pool deck while I swim. So on the weekends if she's fallen asleep on the way home from the Market or doing other errands, I'll put her in the stoller and wheel her into the house. While my parents were taking care of her during the Christmas break, they would take her for a walk in her stroller to get her to nap. She'll sleep a good 60-90 minutes while reclining in the jogging stroller, sometimes even longer. I know that ever parenting manual would tell me this is wrong, but for now I'm accepting there are worse things I could be doing. Life is easier since she's been taking only one nap per day, as I feel there is less pressure to make sure this nap happens. Plus we only have to do this nap thing for a few more years, right? 

Diapering: Is hating diaper changes a sign of being ready for potty training? If so, Kate is so there. It used to be that she just wouldn't sit still, now there's crying involved every time. She's also started trying to dismount off the changing table. As I write this, I think I need to read up on how to start potty training. We moved into the next size of disposable diapers as her size 4 diapers were seeming tight on the sides. I thought it was interesting that she was in size 3 for almost 9 months, but only lasted in size 4 for 4 months, so I looked and size 5 is supposed to start at 27 pounds, so technically we're a little early. I think I need to face the reality that Kate will inherit my large sized ass and thighs. The inserts for her cloth diapers have been working really well and we're using them with her disposable diapers at night. 

Likes: So much to include! I joined a group where parents can buy and sell used baby goods. One of the hottest items has been the learning tower. Most people post a used one for sale at $100 and comment that it retails for $200. I thought it looked like something I could make for a fraction of the cost, so I searched Pintrest and found instructions to make a tower from an IKEA stool. I sent the link to my Dad, and suggested that maybe we could make it while he was out for Christmas and have a litte daddy-daughter projejct. I received a response about 5 minutes later: Call me right away. As I knew he was watching the Patriots game, this had to be pretty serious. He didn't feel the improvised IKEA tower would be safe as it wouldn't equally distribute her weight and could easily tip. He checked out the official Learning Tower and thought that given the sturdiness and the fact that it's adjustable, it was worth the price and offered to give it to Kate as a Christmas present. As my Dad is all about Ama.zon Prime and their free two day shipping, he sent it out and left it to us as to whether or not we wanted her to wait for Christimas to start using it. I decided that it would be a bitch to wrap, and would take up too much space in the living room, so we assembled it right away. She loves it. I was worried that I should have selected the model that had solid sides, as she quickly learned how to get in and out of it herself, but she'll actually push it up to the counter herself. [Also if I start working on a different counter surface, she'll move it to follow me] I picked up her own pots and pan set, so she can 'cook' while I meal prep. 

Her other Christmas gifts were a huge hit. As she loves to push things, I got her a 'You and Me' doll (who babbles) and her own pram. It is so sweet to see her cuddling her baby. I think she likes her 'Dress Me Kitty' but she mostly just takes her shoes off and hasn't worked on any of the other snaps or zippers. Myrtle sent her a small little kitchen, which also teaches Spanish. It's very cute, but very repetative. We also found a 3-in-1 trike, which transitions from a push ride to an early learning trike to an actual tricycle. It's supposed to go from ages 10 months to 3.5 years. I love transitional toys                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I also purchased a wooden IKEA kitchen (as it was one sale) but I'm saving it for when she is potty trained and we can get rid of the changing table (the kitchen can go in that space). I also picked up the Little Ty.kes classic red and yellow car, as it was on sale and I've always wanted one to give to my kid, but I'm saving that for her birthday as I didn't want to go overboard.

I am a little concerned as 'Dress Me Kitty' isn't wearing any underwear...

I have been buying her a lot of books and I suggested books when asked about presents for Kate. Her end table with the built in storage unit is overflowing with books and it's sent me on a search for a hanging book shelf, I've discovered why they're really called board books, it's because parents become bored reading the same stories over and over again. The two exceptions are Olivia and Splat the Cat. These are my favourites and I was so excited to discover there is an entire series with these characters! I think illustrations really make or break a kid's book, as the storylines can be so random. Olivia's drawings follow a pretty basic format, but they capture so much expression. Splat's are more detailed and I feel that I'm often discovering a new feature. It makes me appreciate what writing and illustrating children's books is harder than it might seem.

Seriously. I can't get enough of Olivia.

Oh, she loves her Daddy. There are days when she just wants to be around him and wants nothing to do with me. At first I didn't mind, I actually enjoyed having a bit of a break. Now, I'm starting to get a little jealous. Actually, while Husband is holding her, she'll extend one of her arms toward me and invite me in for a group hug. It melts my heart over and over again. She's also started expression affection with kisses. 

She is still pretty fascinated with the vacuum. It's not like the newborn days when I'd clean the floors multiple times a day just to make her calm, but it keeps her engaged as an activity. Recently she started pushing her air popper while I'm vacuuming, which is great as I can't hear the annoying noise.

Finally, she loves the Hamster Birthday card. Back in September, Myrtle sent Husband a musical birthday card that features a spinning hamster. She wrote something to the effect of 'I hope this card isn't too annoying..' Annoying? Kate absolutely loves it. It can break her out of a meltdown and it can keep her occupied during a diaper change. We fucking love it. I went to Hal.mark to get a back up.

Milestones: The language explosion has started! Her most frequent words are 'bubble' and 'apple' but every now and then she'll throw something random such as 'meatball'. She's also calling Tyler 'ai-la'. The other day I was getting her out of her car seat while dropping her off at Day Care and she spotted her friend and called "Lilly". I was so excited, I had to text Husband to share it with him. When does this get old? I mean, I learn a new word everyday thanks to push notifications from my dictionary app and my parents don't give a shit. I'm fascinated by the simplist actions or behaviors she demonstrates. She opened her travel food mat and tried to press the suction cups to make it stick and I was so impressed. While we were baking scones and watching The Sound of Music, I gave her a piece of a scone. She opened the container drawer, picked our a small plastic blue bowl, placed her scone in it and walked over to her chair, where she sat down and started eating while watching the movie. I was in awe. She's becoming such a little person!

Her other accomplishements include blowing her nose. The only trouble with this, is that she doesn't know how to reuse a piece of tissue and she tore through an entire box of Kleenex on her own. She's mastered climbing into her high chair on her own and she can now fasten and unfasten the snaps herself. I know where this is heading, all attempts at safety and security are going to be rendered useless. Although when I buckle her in the shopping cart, I often reflect that we never had safety straps on carts when I was young enough to ride in the cart and I lived to tell about it. I'm waiting for the day when I become the mom who is late to everything because my kid insisted on fastening herself in her car seat. Not really a milestone, but I'm just including as it's impressive, she's mastered the Maggie Simpson walk. As it became warmer, we stopped putting her in the sleep sacks, so I was curious to see what she would do as she's learned to walk in that time. No problem, she can motor along in her sleep sack. It's really cute.  

Not too impressed after her first Little Turkeys Dash

Clothes; While they have the most adorable baby clothes, I'm finding that I'm not too impressed with the toddler selection at Car.ter's. Gap has been a great source for stylish and high quality clothes. While I was Christmas shopping they were having a mystery box sale, where you could select a coupon offering 20-50% your total purchases. I got a 40% coupon, so I had to take advantage of that. My parents got us a Car.ter's gift card, but I'm tempted to take it to the store where you can turn gift cards into cast and hit the Gap outlet. I was finally able to get her a bath robe. I noticed that bathrobe sizes go from newborn to 9 months, then nothing until 2T. Gahh! I can't believe we're in 2T already, but what a way to break into a new size with something as adorable as this:

Health Issues: She recovered from HFMD uite quickly, but just after Christmas she picked up a cough and runny nose. Although the cold only lasted two days, Husband and I knew what was coming next. She becomes cranky and fussy and then doesn't want to eat. She develops a fever and a trip to Urgent Care confirms her ear infection. She cut her finger this weekend, it was on my watch, I was letting her play with some plastic containers from the recylcing bin and I forgot I stuck and empty cat food can in one of them. Of course, she cuts her pinkie finger on the can. Lessons learned; recycling is not a safe playing space and liquid bandaids are a must for a toddler!

Looking Forward to: Kate is transitioning to the toddler class! Gah! My baby is truly growing up. We're hoping she does well with the change. Fortunately, her "baby friends" Lily and Alex are going with her. Every morning when Kate is fussing about leaving for Day Care, we remind her that she's going to see Lily and Alex. I learned from Alex's mother that she does the same thing when they leave their house. Kate is also going to get to see her boyfriend Greyson again (he moved up in September). She'll be doing more art projects, music lessons and can sign up for soccer in the summer. As a bonus, they'll provide milk, so we don't have to prepare bottles (now sippee cups) each night. Another perk -monthly tuition drops $115 per month

We finally secured getting Kate a passport (at the last minute and had to pay extra for expidited service) as we booked a trip in England in February. Husband and I were discussing how to use our vacation time in 2017 and I mentioned that it would be too much to do a week of our Hawaii time share as we were going to England for two weeks."Two weeks?" he replied "I thought we were only going for one week" [facepalm] We do need to go for two weeks. My in-laws haven't seen Kate since she was four months old, and I feel a bit guilty as my parents see her for extended periods of time a few times per year. We also want to make the rounds and visit with friends, so we really need to spend two weeks, if just to recover from jet lag, adjust to the time change and delay getting back on a plane with a toddler. As Husband has an annual work meeting in New York during late January/early February each year, he's often scheduled his trip across the Atlantic to follow, so it's a cheaper and shorter flight (his company pays his rount trip to New York). A few times, I flew out with him, enjoyed a few days in the City, visited East Coast friends and family. I was considering doing that again, but then I realised I'd be getting off a plane and would be navigating the subway with a stoller and my suitcase. I could Uber, but then I'd have to take the super heavy and awkard car seat (which Husband is going to take). Oh, the fancy-free kid free days. I ditched those plans, but I did coodinate my flight so we'll land in New York and will meet up with Husband at the airport to board for London as there was no way I was going to do a long haul flight on my own.

I've also scheduled my first trip away from Kate. As the UCONN women's basketball team is handily  crushing their opposition in what is supposed to be a rebuilding year, my Dad and I started talking about going to Dallas for the Final Four tournament. I thought we would re-create our Father-Daughter trip from 2014, but at the last minute my mother decided that she wanted to join as she's never been to Dallas. So, my first opportunity for freedom and independence... is a trip with my parents... Actually, I have a few other incentives for visiting Dallas.  Last year, a couple from our gym moved to Dallas. She's pregnant with their first child and is due toward the end of March (conceived on their first attempt). I'm hoping I can visit and meet the baby, but she could be in labour at that time. A good friend of Myrtle's also lives in Dallas (we got to know each other pretty well while planning her shower and we recently reconnected over politics and have been emailing each other. Quite often.) I'm hoping to be able to visit with her, but she has a job interview in Chicago and if she gets the position, she has to move right away. So I may be able to catch up with some old friends, but I may end up with my parents for the whole weekend.

Speaking of Myrtle, I needed to plan some time to see her since I wouldn't be doing my New York stop over. Myrtle is an event planner and runs a major event in Las Vegas over Memorial Day weekened each year. I happen to have a medical education conference in Vegas at the same time, so Myrtle offered that I can stay with her. (She needs to be there for almost two weeks, so her company is putting her in a pretty posh suite). Not exactly a rocking Vegas weekend, but I'm hoping to enjoy some good food, a drink or two and spend some time lounging by the pool.  Finally, because it will be here in no time, I've started brainstorming some ideas for Kate's second birthday party. Don't worry, I'm not planning to do any baking. That lession, I learned.