Thursday, January 27, 2011

Trip to Chinatown

Here's a cute one from earlier today.  We went downtown to eat at this yummy hole in the wall Lebanese restaurant.  Then we headed to Chinatown to go to Mr. Kim's trading shop to get some rose quartz jewelry for a relative who was just diagnosed with breast cancer.  We had a fun day!  All the little Asian women in Chinatown loved Avery and she, of course, was hamming it up with all the attention.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Nine months of Avery!

We went to Avery's nine month well baby visit on Monday, her nine month birthday!  She weighs 19 lbs now!  And she's 27.5 inches long, which means she's grown more than three inches since her six month visit.

Avery's ninth month was full of exuberant exploration.  She has been crawling everywhere.  We are not baby proofed so that means my day is spent deterring her from pulling things off shelves or on top of her.  She is also pulling up on anything that looks convenient for it... which sometimes results in a few bumps and bruises (and tears).  No matter how closely you supervise, sometimes even when I'm right next to her, she still takes a tumble.

She is talking up a storm, babbling all kinds of different syllables.  Ba, ma, da, wa and some funny sounding ones like therby, blerby, and bwahp.  We were having lunch yesterday with my friend S and her baby who is seven months old, and the babies were sitting at the end of the table in high chairs next to each other.  Avery turned to the other baby and starts flapping her arm and going, "BWAP!  Bwah-BWAH, BAH!"  And the poor little guy stuck his lip out and started crying!  He must have thought she was yelling at him.

She is still not really interested in food.  She will sometimes enthusiastically eat banana or avocado or a date, but for the most part, she still acts like you put dirt in her mouth when you feed her something.  I see other people feeding their babies and I'm like, see Avery?!  That baby is eating!  I guess she will come around when she's ready...???  Or I'll just be nursing her until she goes to college, hahaaaa.

I'm pretty sure we are in the middle of the dreaded nine month sleep regression here.  Avery's sleep and napping are pretty bad right now (what else is new, right?).  It's taking me forever to convince her to nap while she fights it the whole time and then she naps for 20 minutes!  At night, she acts tired so we get her ready for bed but when I lay down to nurse her, she starts acting like a rabid ferret, so we come back downstairs to play for a while longer.  Half the time I'm just getting in bed with her and not bothering to try to put her in her crib because I'm ready for bed by the time we finally get her to sleep.  I'm trying to pay less attention to her night waking, so I don't know exactly how many times she is waking during the night, but it's a lot.  Like probably 5 times?  Or 8?  Not sure.  The more I pay attention and count, etc, the more frustrated I get and the more awake I get so I just try not to notice!

In spite of the sleep difficulties, we are having such a fun time.  This is the best age!  She is becoming such a little person and is actually learning things like how to give kisses, do snooties, hand you something, and even trying to imitate when you say hi, uh oh, or laugh.  It just keeps getting better and better.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another first

We have lots of playgrounds around our neighborhood, but none of them have swings.  Well now that I have the BOB, I've been taking Avery for walks and I found a swingset in a nearby neighborhood!  So we went there yesterday and Avery got to try out the swing for the first time.  She was laughing - I think she liked it!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


That is Avery's hospital bracelet from when she was born.  Every time I walk by my dresser I see it, but the other day I picked it up and joined the ends back into a circle.  I can't believe that fit on her LEG!  And it kept falling off while we were at the hospital.  She seems like such a big baby to me now.  She used to be so tiny!  I have pictures of myself holding her with her legs and bottom in ONE of my hands.  Was she really so small?  It seems unbelievable.   I can barely remember what her little seven pound body felt like.  Impossibly fragile.  And now she's all roly and poly and babychub.  Man I love that little girl.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

BOB Revolution vs Baby Jogger Summit XC

Before Avery was born I read and re-read the stroller section in the Baby Bargains book (the bible of baby gear and a must-have in your library!).  Their recommendation is to buy a basic snap-n-go stroller frame for your infant car seat and wait to buy a stroller until you know what you need it for.  They reason that it's easier to just leave the newborn baby in the car seat instead of getting them in and out and into a separate stroller.  Plus, as you might suspect, your life changes radically after you have a baby and you won't know what you really will use a stroller for until the little person is here.

That worked perfectly for us, especially since we were blessed with a baby who hated plastic seating of all kinds - car seat, stroller, bouncy chair, swing - and preferred to be in-arms.  Six weeks in, I was so glad we didn't invest in a stroller before Avery was born because we had little use for one.  If we were out and about, Avery was in the Ergo.  It took me so long to recover from giving birth that our walks around the neighborhood were limited to slow shuffles around the block, which the snap-n-go was fine for.

Fast-forward six months to when Avery learned to sit up and became more amenable to riding around in a stroller.  I borrowed my friend's jogger and she loved riding around the neighborhood.  And I knew I wanted a stroller for walking or jogging outside.  I initially thought I would buy a used jogging stroller on craigslist and invest in a nice lightweight stroller like a Maclaren.  I searched and searched, but didn't find what I was looking for.  I tried out two versions of the Maclaren and found them to be rather heavy and difficult to fold - not what I had in mind.  So I decided I would invest in a nice jogging stroller for outdoor stuff, and try to find one that would work as an every day stroller too.

Word to the wise - there is not one stroller to rule them all.  If you want a jogger, it's going to be heavy and big.  If you want a lightweight stroller, it's going to have crappy plastic wheels not suited for going over bumpy surfaces.  The best you can do is pick what's most important to you.  If you spend most of your stroller time walking around the mall or running errands and need to get the stroller in and out of your trunk all day, you need a light weight stroller.  If it's more important to go off roading and have a smooth, durable ride, an all-terrain or jogger is the way to go.  I personally fall into the latter category.

So I did a ton of research, and looked at lots of strollers.  At first I thought I would get an inexpensive one like the Baby Trend or Jeep joggers.  But after trying both out, they really bugged me.  They were heavy and hard to push and didn't fit in the trunk of our car.  Not to mention the skimpy sun canopies.  I coveted a BOB Revolution, but the $400 sticker nearly gave me hives.  I tried to find a used one, but the resale value is pretty high and I just couldn't stomach spending $300 on a used, rusted stroller.  By Christmas I had resigned myself that I would get a new BOB and look at it as an investment that would last through a couple kids.

Then I heard about the Baby Jogger Summit XC.  It's nearly identical to the BOB, but has some additional features that made me lean towards buying it instead.  But nowhere stocks them!  After hemming and hawing I finally ordered both from Amazon so I could compare them side by side.  I'll just tell you right up front that the BOB won out in the end, although both strollers are great. 

Here's the Baby Jogger Summit XC.
And here's the BOB Revolution.

As you can see, they are really, really similar. The dimensions and weight are almost identical, and they fold down to almost the same size.  The main reason I thought I would end up keeping the Baby Jogger is the one-handed fold.  Behold:
Now, the stroller pictured is the Baby Jogger City Mini, not the Summit, but the fold is the same.  What could be easier?  You can fold the stroller and throw it in your trunk while holding your baby in the other arm.

Other reasons the Summit almost won me over:

1. It locks shut when folded whereas the BOB does not.  You can use the wrist strap on the BOB to secure it shut, but it doesn't have an automatic lock.

2. Better sun canopy on the Summit.  It's really sturdy and opens at multiple positions.  It has a smallish peek-a-boo window on top that secures easily with velcro, and two ventilation windows on the side that secure with velcro.  The sun canopy on the BOB is just as large, but doesn't feel as sturdy and won't stay open in as many positions (i.e., partially open).  The peek-a-boo window is larger on the BOB, but the means of securing it is not as well engineered, and there are no ventilation windows.

3. More headroom in the Summit.  It has an inch and a half more headroom, which is technically not that much, but the canopy on the BOB kind of hangs down the seat back when it's not in use and unless you tuck it up, it cuts off several inches of room.

4. The seat in the Summit.  It's slightly more upright and more padded.  The recline mechanism is much better than the one on the BOB.  To the BOB's credit, its seat back is much more rigid and supportive.  One complaint in reviews of Baby Jogger strollers is the lack of back support.

5. Shocks.  The Summit has shocks on every wheel whereas the BOB has only rear-wheel shocks.

6. Accessories.  You can buy a belly bar for the Summit, and a rider-board for the back that a second child can stand on.  The BOB car seat adapter comes with a snack tray, but from what I've read, it's too high to be useful as such.  

So why on earth did I pick the BOB???  Well despite all the lovely facts above, the biggest thing that sold me on the BOB is that it's narrower.  The back wheels are noticeably closer together under the seat.  That makes it much easier to maneuver.  Even just pushing it around my kitchen I could tell a big difference.  The BOB felt so much better to push.  The handlebar is nice and padded and it turns on a dime.  I can imagine pushing the Summit through doorways or aisles would be trickier because of how far out the wheels stick. 

In addition:

1. The fold on the BOB.  While not quite as simple as the Summit, it's nearly there.  You have one extra step with the BOB - flipping down the handlebar.  Then you pull up on a handle just like the Summit and voila.  BUT... the BOB is so much easier to open.  You just pull on the handlebar and the thing flies open easily.  I was struggling to get the Summit open and upright.

2. Alignment.  The BOB has a front wheel alignment mechanism.  That's important if you plan to jog with it in the fixed wheel position so you can adjust the wheel if the stroller is drifting to one side.

3. The basket underneath.  The baskets are the same size, but it's nearly impossible to access the basket on the Summit.  There is no way I could fit my medium size diaper bag in it, not because the basket is too small, but because of the way it's nested in the frame of the stroller.  I had to squish, but my diaper bag fit easily into the BOB basket.

4. The handbrake.  I guess some people would see it as a plus, but I didn't like the handbrake on the Summit.  It just sticks up awkwardly from the handle.  The BOB doesn't have a handbrake.

And, most importantly, like I said above, the BOB's narrower profile and maneuverability were what won me over in the end.  It just felt better to push. 

I feel like I might end up getting a smaller umbrella-type stroller too at some point, but I'm going to live with just the BOB for a while and see if I think I really need that.  The BOB might prove to just be too cumbersome for some things like the mall or Target, but we'll see.

Hopefully this helps if you are deciding between these two very similar strollers!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Looking forward

Today is our last day on the mainland.  Tomorrow morning Avery and I are headed back to Hawaii.  No one is sadder than I.  Yes, of course, I'm happy to see my husband again.  Buuuuut... man, I just get so lonely on my own all day with the little elf.  Which is an unexpected state of affairs for me, the classic introvert.  Normally I am happy as a clam in my hermitage.  It's certainly not like being alone in solitude, at liberty to devour books, watch movies, take a long shower, go for a jog, and etc.  Sometimes being a stay at home mama can make you feel like you're all alone in the world.  (Sorry, was I projecting?  By "you" I meant "me".)

I know I need to get out more, make some friends, meet more moms with young'ns.  Apparently I am very bad at that.  I hope now that Avery is getting easier to cart around hither and yon, I will make some more friends or at least find some activities to keep me busy.  She is still too wee for story time at the library (which is mere blocks from our house!  how happy am I to live so close to the library!  however, it has all been for naught thus far as I have had exactly zero time/space/mental energy for all the lovely books I'd like), but I am planning to sign us up for infant swim classes, so there is that.  And soon she will be walking - I'd wager in the next month or two - so that opens up a world of possibilities.  We live close to several playgrounds and the pool in our neighborhood has a little area where water things squirt out of the ground that I think she will like.  Then there is the zoo and the beach - though those are two activities that would really be more enjoyable with another adult around. 

ANYWAY!  I am trying to think of all the positive things I have to look forward to back in Hawaii and not be sad that I'm losing my constant companion (Mom).  I'm being rather silly about it too, because she and a friend of ours are traveling to Hawaii in a couple of weeks to stay with me while Adam goes on a work trip.  And then a couple weeks after that Adam's folks will come to visit us and Adam will take leave from work for their trip so that will be fun.  And then, it will be March, and Avery will be almost ONE!  So.  Chin up.  Lots to look forward to.  Spoonful of sugar.

Wish us luck tomorrow.  We'll be six hours on the plane.  Pray we have an empty seat next to ours.

PS: Avery ripped a huge chunk of hair out of my head yesterday.  Just thought I'd let you know.  It really hurt!  Those sticky little hands......

Monday, January 10, 2011

A few things, randomly

 Diaper changes have become somewhat more... challenging lately.  And by that I mean it's like trying to wrestle a greased pig in a poke.  It is all the more interesting if there is poop involved.  No parenting skill is more important in this situation than your abilities to multitask.  You have to hold the feet so she doesn't stomp directly into the dirty diaper while maneuvering a wipe out of the container and simultaneously preventing her from flopping her entire body over.  Never underestimate the abilities of the baby to escape and crawl off with poo still on her bum the second you remove your hand.
 Avery has become quite talkative lately.  It's really very cute.  She looks at you with intensity, as though she is explaining something Very Important and says, "Bwah bwah bahbwah bwah!  Mum mum."  If you are not paying attention to her - heaven forbid you are trying to have a conversation with someone else - she babbles louder and louder until she completely drowns you out and you are forced to give her your full and undivided attention.

She is also developing an attitude.  If she gets mad at you, she will actually grab your hand and bite your finger!  It's adorable and hilarious for the time being since she still doesn't have any teeth.  I'm not sure how to nip this behavior in the bud before her chomping gets really painful.
This was Avery taking a "bath" in the hotel sink in San Antonio. I think her little crossed feet are too adorable not to share with you! I love the impish look she has about her too. Doesn't she just remind you of some woodland elf or fairy sitting on a toadstool or peeking out from a hollow tree?

This rocking chair was mine when I was a little girl.  My parents held onto it all these years for when my sister and I start having babies.  We dug it out of the garage last week.  Avery thinks it's pretty cool!

The little seat she's sitting in is a chair my grandpa (the one I introduced you to in the last post) made for me when I was wee.  It's just the right size for Avery.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Four generations!

 We were busy this week with a trip to San Antonio to visit my Grandfather - Avery's GREAT Grandfather.  Yes, we have five generations living on my dad's side and four on my mom's.  We are lucky!  Avery loved Papa and she went to him right away with no anxiety or tears! 
 It was fun to show Avery all the animals.  She's never seen animals like these before!  Papa has exotic birds, deer, peacocks, alpacas, horses, a donkey, dogs, cats, and even a lynx!  Avery was a little nervous about the big newfoundland dogs Tessie and Tory, and also about the horses. 
 That's Victor in the cage.  He's a funny bird who says, "Tom!" (My grandpa's name).  And, "hello!"
 In the four wheeler on our way to see the horses with Papa and Carol.  We got to see some deer on the way.

 Feeding apple slices to the horses.  Avery was a little scared of them and she kept trying to climb up me, presumably to get away!
That's Natalie the lynx.  Natalie just stared at Avery - I think she wanted to make a tasty snack out of her!  It was a fun time!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

I'm thinking we need bigger diapers

It's amazing how they seem to grow out of stuff overnight!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Walking in the desert

 The temperature dropped here and it's been in the 30s - brrr!  But today it was a sunny 34 degrees so we bundled up and took the Little out for a walk to get some fresh air and burn off some of those Christmas goodies we've been noshing.  She slept the whole time snug as a bug all zipped up inside my fleece.
Happy New Year!