Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Bike

I've finally managed to get back in shape again thanks to this little contraption -- our awesome InStep bike trailer. I love this thing! Its incredibly maneuverable and easy to pull. Kellan is comfortable, protected, and has plenty of space to store his water cup, snacks, and toys. We've been out cycling as often as possible, usually first thing in the morning, and I've finally managed to drop that last 5 lbs! Now if only I can resist my husband's near daily summer treat of home made ice cream, especially the Ben & Jerry's recipes...


For his part in my exercise regimen, Kellan is rewarded half way through our travels with a trip to the "far away" park. Its actually the best park in our area for little ones, great equipment and layout. And good exercise getting there and back!






The Party

We had a really nice time last weekend when a few of Kellan's baby friends (and thus our parent friends) came over for an afternoon of play, food, and fun social time. The kids had a great time, as did the parents. It was also our first dinner party at the new house. Everybody stayed longer than the "set" ending time, so I assume that they all enjoyed the visit. Kellan, for his part, was so upset to see them go that he cried his little heart out as they left for their cars. We'll have to do it again soon.

Kellan and Carmen

Kellan and Dominic

Monday, June 20, 2005

Missing the NHS

Say what you will about the NHS (National Health Service) in Britain, but when compared to the lack of health care availability, options, or coverage in the USA, it is an infinitely better system. Yes, there are problems. You may have to wait a few months for non-emergency surgery or to see a specialist, but you will always have access to free unlimited quality health care for yourself and your family. Always. Not so in the USA. Not only do we pay a fortune for our health insurance, but it doesn't even cover the essential care that we need as parents of a young child. Last week we received a bill for $500 because Kellan apparently used up his annual well baby allowance at his 9 and 12 month appointments, and thus, his 15 month check up and injections are billed entirely to us. I'm talking about MMR and chicken pox vaccines. Not covered. And his 18 month visit also falls within the year, so will not be covered. Which means that, in all likelihood, I'm going to have to cancel that visit and simply take him in when our next "year" of coverage begins. I can't afford to pay out of pocket for pediatrician visits which amount to, "Yes, he's big and healthy, see you in three months". I am a research scientist and I don't earn much. And right now I am a very angry and frustrated mother. In Britain, my son would have had the best care, constant care, much more thorough than the every three months appointments here, and all of it would have been free. But here, in the USA, my son will be skipping appointments and receiving only partial care, all of which I am paying for at great expense. The next time that I hear a member of my family back in Britain complain about the NHS, they're going to get an earful!

Friday, June 17, 2005

My interior decorator

The move is complete and we're all settled in at the new house. But there was one final bit of decorating to be done this week -- the walls in Kellan's room. The room is brightly painted with an adorable sheep border, but it looked very bare without any pictures on the wall (aside from his big map of the physical world). So off we went, Kellan and I, to choose some pictures for his room. I immediately wanted to do the room in Winnie the Pooh, a favourite of mine, and the prints matched the room colours perfectly. How tasteful and cute it would be. But as I showed the pictures to Kellan, he registered no interest whatsoever, having only stumbled upon the yellow bear and his friends in the occasional storybook or toy. I realised that I was fulfilling my nursery decorating dreams a bit too late and that my son, now 15 months old, really isn't a baby anymore.

So, we went to the non-Pooh boxes and I started showing the prints to Kellan. It was obvious after only a few moments that he had an opinion. For many prints, he simply registered nothing and for others perhaps a slight interest. But then you'd hit upon one that, for whatever reason, truly appealed to his sense of style or wonder and he would squeal, bounce up and down, and point at it saying, "I want that, I want that, I want that". And this is how we decorated Kellan's room. Kellan chose a giant long puppy poster with three frames depicting different puppies, a deeply coloured drawing of a moon and cow, a cartoony classic American type picture of a city with a steam train, and, this one we had some debate over, a collage of animals that says, "All the Animals in the Zoo". The idea was good, but the poster is really cheesy looking and the animals aren't pasted together very well against the black background which also doesn't work at all. But no matter how many other choices I gave him, he was adamant, he wanted that animals in the zoo poster. It is his room after all.

I did have some say in the matter though. I selected white frames for them all, as that would match the light colours in the room and at least bring a bit of cohesion to the decor. And, in the end, I also grabbed three Pooh prints for the far wall. I couldn't resist. He is still my baby after all!

I wonder how many other one year olds have been permitted to choose the pictures that hang in their rooms? It was something which just happened naturally, and I'm so glad that it did. Kellan felt proud, excited, and involved. And I watched my son grow up just a little bit more.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Kellan concentrates on his strokes


Kellan is in swim class once a week at the YMCA. I'd like for him to be a proficient swimmer before long, as there is no excuse for being helpless in a substance that covers most of our planet. Both my sister and I could swim by the age of one, but we had intensive private instruction. I grew up in the water. My parents have always had a swimming pool and as a child I used to wake up, rip off my pajamas, and rush straight out to the pool each morning (I don't condone this parenting faux pas, but I'm still here today so I'll leave it in the past). I was on swim team from my earliest youth, practising every week, attending meets, and later doing the rough water swims in the ocean. Swimming has always been a part of my life. Living in the Midwest, its not going to be so easy for Kellan, as people don't have pools, the outdoor swim season is very brief, and the nearest beach is on Lake Michigan, 4 hours away. But we'll keep going to the YMCA class every week and swimming as often as possible during the summer months, so that hopefully my son will have the love of water inherent in his California genes.

Monday, June 13, 2005

I LOVE this sandbox!


Kellan in his New Sandbox




A gift from a friend this weekend. Kellan loves it! He cried heartily when I made him get out for a bath and bedtime.

Friday, June 10, 2005

My Relaxing Evening

After a long day at work yesterday and a week's worth of moving, I thought that I'd treat myself to a relaxing evening. I was going to put Kellan to bed, then pour myself a drink and sit out on the porch watching fireflies while I contemplated the many blessings in my life. I got the first bit right. Kellan was off to sleep by a little after 8pm. Then I poured that drink. And thought that it would probably be best to get the toy and room cleanup done first in order to better enjoy the rest of my relaxing evening, so I set the drink down and went to do that. Then I remembered that I wanted to do some laundry, and its best to get that out of the way so that it can wash and dry before bed. While I did the laundry I thought that it might be nice to get the dusting done so that I didn't have to worry about it this weekend. It would make the weekend house cleaning ritual that much easier and give me more time to spend with my boys. And before I knew it, I was cleaning, dusting, doing laundry, and had completely forgotten that drink. Ah, motherhood. I was worried about turning 30 later this year. Honestly, my carefree 20's are so far gone that they've stopped sending postcards.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

We made it!

master bedroom kellan1

This is a photo of Kellan sitting on the bed in our new master bedroom. We're all moved in now and enjoying life in a proper home again. The house is wonderful. We've set up and decorated all of the rooms. I even had some time to enjoy it last night as we ate our dinner out on the patio, then sat out after Kellan went to bed and watched the fireflies.

Kellan has been sleeping wonderfully since the move. He's waking once each night to nurse, but generally sleeping through. Even with the extremely hot weather we've been having (mid 90s every day and its only early June!). He's walking all over the place and adores his new bedroom. Kellan's overall happiness since the move has made it all worthwhile. He has a backyard, lots of space in the house, and of course his own room. Plus two happy parents. We are a happy family in our new home.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Here we go...

The move is officially underway. So I'll be away from the computer until the middle of next week. At which point moving horror stories will be posted. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A Farewell to the Pump?

Its been three days. Three days at work since I've needed to pump. I wonder if we've seen the end of the "pump room". And to think that I just made some home improvements in there last week! Kellan has been nursing really well just before I leave for work each day. I was still pumping once late in the afternoon, but realised last weekend that he's not nursing that extra time when we're together, so there really should be no need to pump at a time that he wouldn't normally nurse. I've been a bit full of milk when I come home to nurse him in the evenings this week, but nothing unmanageable and I know that he's getting a good feed before bed each night. A little fullness at 6pm is worth an end to the daily pumping sessions and, worse, the nightly pump washing ritual. Are all of those bits and pieces really necessary?

I won't say that anything's definite, and I'm sure that there will be days that he doesn't nurse well before work and I'll have to make use of the pump. But, three days in, its been a nice change of pace not needing the pump. We had a good run, but I think that we're both ready to move on.