So much more manipulative than asking for a glass of water

Judah's sleeping issues seem to be evening out a little, in that he goes down for his naps and the night now without crying. He's still waking up really early, like 6:00. And it's messing with my head pretty bad, but I suppose I just need to learn to live with it, since I hear from friends and family that when he was getting up at 7:30 or 8:00, THAT was the unusual part. If I was ambitious, I'd use that early morning time to head over to the park and take a long walk with Judah, but honestly, I can hardly see straight at that hour. I'd surely walk right into the lake.

Anyway. The other day Judah was refusing to take a nap and Nathan and I took turns going in and being stern with him. And Nathan discovered that Judah has developed a stalling technique. While he was lying on his back, he looked up at Nathan, tears running down his cheeks, folded his hands and said, "Let's pray." How can you not melt at that? So Nathan said, "Okay, what do you want to pray about?" And Judah responded, "Jesus loves me." As in, Even though you and Mommy have turned against me, Jesus still loves me. Nathan said, "Yes, that's right, Judah." And then Judah goes, "Jesus loves you." As in, even though you do horrible things to babies, like making them take naps, Jesus still loves you. I'm glad he's got down the basics, but couldn't he just ask for a snack or something? It just feels so wrong to finally tell him, "No. No more praying."


Some notes on Judah

I've been realizing that the main thing I do with my life is raise Judah, and yet I hardly ever talk about him here: how he's doing, what he's up to, the things he's learning. Here's what's been going on recently.

Judah initially handled the move the best of all of us (I think I'm handling it the worst). He loves the new place and enjoys exploring it and likes the big backyard where he can ride his trike and "play golf" and throw his ball around. The first couple of nights and days here he slept really well, as he always has. But he had begun to climb out of his crib and fall to the floor and hurt himself a couple days before we moved, and the climbing and falling continued here even though we lowered the crib mattress as far as it would go. So about the third night here we took his mattress out of the crib, shoved it into a corner on the floor, and pushed boxes up against the edge of it so he wouldn't roll off. And that arrangement worked really well until we got our hands on a toddler bed. Because Judah's room is near the top of the stairs and he's not quite used to the setup, I was worried that he'd get up in the night and fall down them. So we bought child safety handles and put one on the inside of his door. BIG mistake. Huge. The first morning he discovered he couldn't get out of his room he freaked out and hasn't slept well since. He's always been really reliable about going to sleep right when we put him down without crying, and getting up at a decent hour. For the last few days now he's been taking horrible naps, crying for a long time at night and getting out of bed, and then waking up for the day at 5:30. It's thrown us all for a pretty bad loop. My parents took pity on us last night and kept Judah overnight so that we could get some sleep, and that was so great. We decided today that the toddler bed is being set aside for a while, and Judah is sleeping in his pack and play, which he can't get out of. I think he just got too many changes at once. So we'll let him get used to the new place, get back into a routine for a while, and then try the bed again in a month or so. I know it's going to be hard no matter when we do it, but right now we all just need time to settle in.

Judah amazes me every single day. He's talking so much, putting words together into three and four word phrases, and he speaks pretty clearly. One thing he says all the time is, "Watch the fish movie?" which is Finding Nemo, and if we say no he immediately says, "Watch Cars?" And it's just so cute! He loves all his cousins and talks about them, and gets along especially well with Leah, who is only three months older than he is. They're having a blast lately, since they're both at the phase where they're starting to actually play WITH each other instead of just NEAR each other. They had fun this morning at my parents' pretending to sleep on a blanket on the floor. Judah has known all his numbers for a long time now, and loves to identify them wherever he sees them. He can count to twelve perfectly, but after that it gets a little shaky. And, thanks to Nathan's mom, he knows all his letters by sight and can tell you what sounds they all make.

But my favorite is his newest trick: when we're riding in the car sometimes he pulls off his shoes. Then he sticks one leg straight up in front of him with the bottom of his foot flat toward the ceiling, and then he balances a shoe on the bottom of his foot. While we're driving. And then he says, "Look at that! That's amazing!" And I have to agree, no matter how many times I see it.


Feeling Guilty

The Loudest Bird in Placentia has abandoned her nest outside our window. Was it something I said? Or maybe something Payasa said?


Movin' on up/The Money Pit

I debated on what to title this post. I could've gone either way.

I don't even know if I mentioned our move here. And I'm too tired to go back and look. So, about a month ago we found a new place to live. We moved in Saturday, and for the most part we're happy here. The condo is in a really nice community, it's huge, and the rent is incredible for the square footage we're getting (which means that if I mentioned the amount everyone in Orange County would turn green with envy, and everyone outside of California would gasp and go into immediate cardiac arrest, because you could buy 300 acres and an old, quaint farm house in Wisconsin for what we are now dropping in one month in rent).

So, the condo has some really great attributes. It's about 2,000 square feet, has three bedrooms, two fireplaces, a great patio and backyard, and a vaulted ceiling in the front room. Also, it has an attached two car garage, laundry hookups, and TONS of storage space (three linen closets so far, and I keep finding more). So the major selling points are all in place. It's everything we wanted.

But it's the little things that will kill you, right? Before we moved in, I thought that the trains would be our biggest problem. The train tracks (you know, the busy ones along Orangethorpe) are about a quarter mile from our new place. So far, that's the least of our worries. The big problem is that the condo owner lives in Texas, and the property manager is probably managing this place for him as a favor and wants to do as little work for us as possible. So when I called the gas company today to check out a gas leak in our kitchen and they shut off the gas to our stove and told me we couldn't use it until the gas line connecter had been replaced and I called the property manager to tell her about it and see what could be done she said "I'll send my husband to fix it Saturday." SATURDAY??!! We've been eating out almost exclusively for a week already because our kitchen was packed, and she's telling me now that we have to keep it up for almost another week. Seriously, we can't afford this. And it will probably be longer than that, because her husband's not really a repair man, just a guy who owns some tools, so he'll look at it one day, buy the parts the next, "fix" it the next, we'll call the gas company to come check it again the next day, and they'll tell us it wasn't done right. Then probably the guy will try it all again before admitting that we actually need to hire a professional.

Our other major concern is that we discovered last night that the water heater is leaning way over to the front, owing to the fact that the floor underneath it has collapsed. And it has no earthquake strapping on it, which we're thinking is illegal in a rental property. Worst case: the water heater falls over, breaks the gas line, and the place burns down. Or it falls over and falls on someone and seriously injures them. So Nathan talked to our handy "repairman" about what needs to be done (the floor needs to be replaced) and the guy goes, "Do you know how much work that would require?" You have got to be kidding me. So basically, who cares about the law or about safety, how much work am I actually gonna have to do, and how little can I get away with? We're dealing with schmucks. The owner seems cool, but the property manager is driving us crazy.

And those are just the two major things. Aside from those, the plug apparatus is broken on both bathtubs (a bad thing when you have a two year old), the carpet is seriously stained, the linoleum is peeling up in the bathrooms, one toilet doesn't work right.....and it goes on. And to top it all off, The Loudest Bird in Placentia likes to sit in the tree outside our window (5 feet from my head) at five in the morning and yell at our cat.

I know I'm complaining so much, but I'm really just getting it out of my system. We're so discouraged right now, but we know that once this all gets taken care of, this is gonna be a great place to live. But it's hard right now to get past the rocky start.


My Grandfather's Great-Grandson

My Grandpa Kimber was famous (and still is, I suppose) in our family for many reasons. Not so much for the reasons you'd think: because he was a kind and loving father, a good provider, a wonderful conversationalist, a man of God. He was all of those things, and we loved him for them. But I'd have to say that the things that come to mind most strongly are his sense of humor and his sense of adventure. Oh, and his bad table manners. He used to do the grossest thing at the table: to get someone's attention, he'd take his fork and press the tines very lightly into their arm. AFTER HE'D EATEN OFF IT. It got our attention for sure, so I guess mission accomplished.

And then there was The Throwing of the Food. Not to start a food fight or anything, but because he couldn't be bothered to pass food through regular channels. Like, say, handing it to the person next to you so they could send it down the table. He didn't throw everything, it was mostly just bread, usually toast, since the toaster was at his end of the table. You'd think he was born and raised in the backwoods of Tennessee, right? But no. He came from a wealthy family and grew up in Newport, Rhode Island. Posh. And still there was the bread throwing. It got to the point that he'd throw you the bread or whatever even if you were only a seat away from him.

This morning Judah pulled the bookmark out of my book (again). It's metal and kind of special to me, so I asked him to please bring it to me. He looked at me from five feet away, smiled, and, instead of taking the three steps, threw it to me. At that moment he looked just like my grandpa. Toast will never be safe around here again.


The Cowell Carpet Cleaning Magic Trick

People on Wendy's blog are talking about cleaning/baby care solutions that are much simpler and more basic than the complicated products on the market today, so I thought I'd post my favorite trick here.

I spent 25 years of my life using a rag to clean up spills on carpet. You know, rub and rub, and then maybe use some carpet cleaning product, and then watch the dirty spot appear a few weeks later. And then my sister-in-law taught me this magic trick: when you spill something, get a full glass of water and spill it over whatever you spilled. Then get a towel, put it over the whole mess, and walk around on it for a while. It's that easy! The liquid will come right up - all of it. I've used this trick to take red wine out of white carpet. I swear by it.

Am I becoming quite the little housewife, or what?


Just when I thought the teen angst was over

Lately I've really been loving the song "Young Folks" by Peter Bjorn & John. They've been playing it pretty frequently on KROQ and it's such a refreshing change from their steady diet of Killers, Peppers, and Nirvana. I realize that this song probably isn't typical of the group, since the female singer isn't in the group, so I can't say anything about the rest of their material, but this song just does it for me. A little Morrissey, a little Bjork, and a little Mazzy Star. It's angsty yet fun and very unlike anything else we're hearing today. I would have loved it in college and immediately run to Lovells and bought everything they'd ever recorded.

My music choices have evolved a lot in the last couple of years, but I'm finding that at the core my taste is fairly unchanged, I'm just more into a different side of it than I was years ago. I hardly ever listen to the Cure anymore, but I'd still list them as my favorite band and jump over large buildings to see one of their shows. U2 is one of my constants. They're just always good. The Smiths now tend to make me laugh where they used to make me smile cynically (because they were so RIGHT! Life SUCKED!) and feel sorry for myself, and Depeche Mode is like super dark chocolate these days: amazingly good, but only in small doses. Recently most of my music sounds like variations on Toad the Wet Sprocket. A little more sparse, a little bit introspective, but with a light side and a bit more fun to it. Even Owen can be a little comical in the midst of anguish.

I've been going through my CD collection in the last couple of weeks, downloading most of it to iTunes and preparing to **GASP** sell the CDs to Lovells where they will be thrown back into the sea of used music where someone like my college-aged self will spend hours excavating gems for a good price. I'm a little sad to see it all go, but really, it's just 500 CDs sitting in my closet, collecting dust and taking up space. So I'm sorting through it all, and have you ever noticed how songs evoke memories? There's the Flashback Cafe CD that introduced me to the Art of Noise. I bought it on a road trip to Idaho (don't ask) and spent much of my time playing "Moments in Love" over and over. The Starseeds album that I stumbled on at Borders. My guy friends all burned it for their collections because they thought it would be good make out music. The Brian Ferry album that I bought for the songs "More Than This" and "Slave to Love," which now remind me of working at Maternite that one summer. The Glove album that I bought in London. The Church album Starfish, which had "Under the Milky Way" on it, and for that reason made its way around Sigma at Biola because it was one of those songs that everyone loved but no one could remember the artist. And so many more.

They're worth so much more to me than the dollar the guy at Lovells will give me for each one. But it'll be worth it. Perhaps some new Cure fan will stumble across my old albums and it will be their own little piece of heaven: a ready-made complete collection. Too bad Lovells won't buy all my bootlegs too.