Friday, December 31, 2010

It was a very Peppa Pig Christmas!

We had a really lovely Christmas with my mum and dad visiting. Raf is still a bit young to have a sense of what Christmas is, and my fears about him pulling down the tree, ripping presents open, and more were totally unfounded. He ignored the tree, for the most part, only showing interest in the red balls that he like to take off and put back on... He really had a nice day, though, and whilst he mostly was not that interested in his gifts, he did really love some of them, especially his Peppa Pig pressies! Funny boy.

Here's our day in pictures.


Father Christmas has been!

A pre-breakfast present from Granny and Grandpa!

There was a lot of happy shrieking during breakfast.

Raf was mostly non-plussed about his gifts except his Peppa Pig DVDs, his Peppa Pig books, his trains, his trucks, and this lovely wooden toy given to him by Jen.

Raf was totally underwhelmed by his rocking moo! He's since kissed 'Daisy' and had a bit of a rock but he's still apprehensive.

Raf loved his Peppa Pig books. Here he sat for a long time - reading and eating his Christmas stocking grapes.

Christmas pajamas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Last minute shopping and Rafi was just grooving to the Christmas beats. He randomly dances everywhere. He hears a beat and he goes for it!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


A quick note to report that my folks are here! They arrived on Tuesday night and it's been great to see them. Raf is LOVING having them here. He is incredibly sweet and loving with them, and they have been lovely with him. My mum had a HORRIBLE fall en route here, which involved a trip to the hospital. Unfortunately her face is so bruised (2 massive black eyes) ALL over that we've been laying low. I have lots of end of the semester work to do, though, so hopefully she'll feel better in time for some Christmas shopping next week.

In the mean time, this pic of Raf with my Dad just make me so happy!

Happy holidays, all!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Story of my Life

This pic...

Raf has always been a snuggly little boy, but at the moment he rarely likes to be put down. it is very hard to get things done as he clings to my legs until I pick him up. He'll sit in his highchair and snack whilst I cook (though not always) but as soon as I sit down to eat, too, he cries until he's sitting on my lap trying to eat my dinner. It is lovely having the extra hug time, but it's thoroughly exhausting especially since he even cries when I go to the bathroom during the night.

I'm sure it'll pass soon, and as soon as it does I'll be so sad, but i think for now I'll try and pop him in his Beco or Ergo and see if that helps.

If not, any ideas?!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wellness Check and Christmas Shoot

Raf had his 15 month wellness appointment today - except he's 17 months old now so we just made it is his 18 month appointment! I am all for fewer medical appointments, and I am guessing so is Raf who screamed and screamed blue murder as they took his height, weight, and head measurement. Really, though, who likes to be undressed and measured and prodded? Poor little guy.

He is doing well at 24 pounds, and almost 32 inches in height. He's actually now under the 50th percentile for weight - which is quite odd, really, given that almost everyone comments on how sturdy and stocky he is! I do think that the size of his head (yes, still off the charts), gives a misleading impression :)

The nurse practitioner we saw today (instead of Deb) was really lovely, and was very understanding about cosleeping, bf'ing, going slowly with vaccinations. So Raf has a tetanus and that was it. We've decided to hold off on a fair few (including the MMR) until Raf's at least 2.

Unfortunately, though, the NP did note a potential concern. i hate to spell it out here on our public blog poor Raf's private issues, but I'll just say that he has to see an urologist and it looks likely that he might have to have an operation. I'm already very worried, as is Rich, but I'm hoping that we'll know more after we see the specialist.

On another note, this past weekend we tried to get a few photos of Raf for our holiday cards...It was quite difficult as he was much less amenable to wearing a hat and as soon as we'd put in his head he's take it off again! We sort of gave up, but I do think we got a couple of sweet shots.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving... a bit late!

This is very late, but a quick few photos of our Thanksgiving with Stacey, Noah and their sweet newborn Nico and 21 month old Rosa. It was a lovely evening with their friends and family and even though Raf was a bit overwhelmed at first, by the end of the night he was having a fine old time.

We have so much to be grateful for, and some day soon, when we're less frantically busy, we'll write a proper post about it all. For now I'll leave these photos and say that we're so grateful for you lot for reading and leaving your comments. it means a lot to us.

Wee bit overwhelmed at the big boys and girls' table.

Uh oh...

Thanksgiving Tofurky

Playing with Addie and Rosa after dinner.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Raf's Thanksgiving List

Rich and I have a joint list of thanksgiving blessings brewing - as well as a post about our lovely Thanksgiving day with Noah, Stacey, their two sweet little ones and their friends and family. But I was wondering today what Raf might be grateful for - should he of course be able to think about it and express it. In lieu of Raf's actual thoughts I'm going to imagine what I think he might be grateful for :)

1) Mama's milk
2) sleeping next to/on top of other warm bodies in mama and papa's bed
3) Peppa Pig
4) Cupboards without childproof locks - especially when they contain packs of sugar to tip all over the floor
5) The pups to chase, torment, watch, laugh at/with - especially walking them on their leads
6) Daiya (vegan) cheese - which he sucks off anything that its been melted on
7) Chairs/tables/baskets/anything that can be used to climb on
8) Comfy carseat and Music TogetherCD when sleepy and wanting a nap
9) Large green expanses to run laps on
10 Snapeas to both eat and feed the dogs with
11) Endless games of 'where's mama?'
12) The kitchen aisle to run around, be chased, to chase, and more.
13) Daddy's hoody strings to shake daddy's head around.
14) The word 'NO" and a firm shake of the head
15) A patient kitty to pat and love on
16) The bell hanging from the kitchen door to ring, ring, ring, ring, ring.
17) loud, plastic, colourful toys
18) Being thrown in the air and, mostly, being caught
19) Little legs to run, run, run...
20) Hearing, tasting, touching, smelling, seeing this world which just keeps getting larger and larger.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Roll Up, Roll Up..

Before I get to the jist of this post - I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving (US folks), and had time to reflect on the past year. We spent the afternoon with our friends - Noah and Stacey, their sweet children, their respective families and a few of their friends too. It was lovely, and they went far beyond catering for our vegan tastes - the food & beer & coffee were fantastic. Everybody around the table had the chance to reflect on what they were thankful for - and it was a whole array of personal reflections and thoughts. It was our first 'real' Thanksgiving after nine years, and it was the time to celebrate for our little American born kid...which brings me to the point of the post.

Rafi since starting walking in mid-August, has quickly taken on the roles of part explorer, part acrobat, part stunt person - all usually within the same five minutes, which also makes our anxiety levels peak quite alarmingly! So when Rafi puts his mind and energy into scaling the next obstacle in his way - he will keep doing it until he gets over or through it - regardless of how many falls and head bumps it takes. First was getting on the sofa, which was accomplished and then repeated 20 odd times a day. Next was scaling a plastic chair at a vegan meet-up, much to his obvious pleasure. The big trick that Rafi has mastered though is clambering over the side of the sofa from the other side - which means getting on a small box and then with a lot of grasping, rocking, groaning as he reaches the crucial tipping point that thrusts him into the inner chair - landing on his head, which depending on his energy level can mean he'll be stuck like that for a few seconds or up to 10-15 seconds before he rights himself, lowers himself to the floor and goes around to do it again. He may repeat this 10-15 times before the attraction wears off for the day. One time - the momentum was so great he rolled straight over the chair and landed flat on feet without missing a beat!

It's so heart-warming despite the odd mishap/head bang to see Rafi exploring his home, opening doors and cupboards - or feeding the dogs his chips - with so much glee on his face. Next will be the garden, o'boy - time for some fencing perhaps...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

San Francisco

San Francisco was amazing! I visited 10 years ago, when in grad school, for the same conference. We stayed in a lovely hotel in Union Square, within striking distance of almost everything! We were a little nervous about flying with Raf, though, and before we departed I spent countless hours trying to work out how to download episodes of Peppa Pig so that Raf could be distracted on the lengthy flight. Hours and hundreds of dollars later (portable DVD players are pricey) we felt somewhat prepared to handle almost anything - and enjoyed a pretty easy flight to SF, with a shirtish layover in Newark. Really, Raf was amazing, and Peppa Pig truly did save our sanity.

Raf shows off his impressive tummy whilst watching Peppa...

I love this photo of Raf looking out the window as we arrived.

We were treated to some fabulous weather for much of our stay, so as soon as we arrived we got ready to head out. Because of jetlagged Raf, we usually got takeout food for dinner and stayed in - but we had some fun times visiting diners for breakfast and lunch.

Raf watches Peppa Pig with daddy as I get ready.

Out to lunch

We spent a lot of Thursday exploring SF. We headed towards the Wharf through China Town. As we were about to cross over the road to walk through the gates which take you into China Town, Raf made friends with two very nice homeless guys who were doing a nice job making Raf laugh.

At the Wharf

It's all a bit much for the poor poppet.

There's a really lovely place for the seals. Apparently the docks are usually covered in seals... there were just a few when we visited.

We left the Wharf and hopped on a tram and made our way to the Ferry Building where we met an old school friend, Matthew, who lives in Sacramento. It must have been at least 12 or so years since I've seen him, and it was lovely to catch up.

Chasing Raf through the Ferry Building...

Eventually I caught the little guy.

One of the highlights of the trip was seeing my former PhD advisor at the conference. ben kindly came to see my paper and afterward we headed out for brunch. Raf and Rich joined us toward the end.

I also got to meet a friend from an online running group I belong to. jen and I planned to meet in Golden Gate Park for a 3 mile run. because I wanted to run farther, I planned to run the 3.6 miles from our hotel. Well, Rich's nickname for me is 'the demented homing pigeon' so it was no surprise that I got hopelessly lost. I was sad to see the Ferry Building (meaning that I'd run in precisely the wrong direction) and then the skies opened and torrential rain ensued.... Rich directed me back to where I needed to be via cell phone and I eventually found my way to the park - only a few minutes late, though thoroughly drenched. It was a lovely run with Jen, though, and afterward we went out for breakfast in Union Square with Raf and Rich.

Since we had to check out at midday we ended up walking around SF for most of the day. Unfortunately the weather was just awful. Really, really awful... downpours and thunder and lightening, which we managed to get caught in a few times. Trying to find a cab to take us to the airport was quite a feat, but luckily the hotel guy got us a towncar to take us. Raf had resisted napping ALL day, which meant that he was very tired. Peppa Pig turned out to be a good friend as we waited for our slightly delayed flight, and as soon as we boarded the plane and I was able to nurse Raf, he fell asleep... for the entire journey. it was quite a risk getting the red-eye, but it really worked out for us. We actually had to wake him at Newark. We popped him in the stroller and he promptly fell asleep for the entire lay over.

The flight from Newark to Portland (Raf's tenth flight in 16 months!) was equally as uneventful. A cuddle, some playing, some milk, some Peppa, and finally, right at the end, more napping. We couldn't have been luckier with the flight! A wonderful trip, for sure.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Brave Boy

I'm planning on writing a post about our trip to San Francisco. We returned yesterday and, truly, Raf was a complete star on the flight to and from SF. Unfortunately I don't have time now, but I wanted to post this little pic of Raf and the boys. He loves to hold their leads and when they pull him along he gets such a kick out of it and starts to giggle uncontrollably. Funny boy.

Also, Raf finally had his allergy testing today and we discovered that he is NOT allergic to soy. It's a massive relief, but he does have eczema, and that might be irritated by things like soy so we still have to be careful. It was a very sad moment for me when Raf was getting pricked with needles as part of the testing process. Mama almost burst into tears. Raf was a very brave little poppet, though - especially once he found the toys in the medical upboard.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sunny Afternoon

I've mentioned before that Raf is incredibly shy when we're out in public... As I write that I'm wondering, actually, if it's shyness or just reservedness. Rich and I have our very introverted sides so it's not a huge surprise, though Raf is so gregarious when he's home, so who knows whether this is just social-shyness that he'll grow out off, or whether it's a more substantial and enduring part of who he is.

I so often wonder about these questions, because he's such a lovely chap and yet I want to know, sometimes intensely, what he'll be like when he's older. I wonder about our future relationship, I wonder what he'll want to do with his life, where he'll live, who he'll date, whether he'll have a wife or a husband or none at all, whether he'll have children, hobbies, and on, and on. So much potential... so much open to him.

Right now, though, Raf is heading into the terrific twos - and he is so much fun. I have been feeling pretty burnt out at work lately so today I sort of gave myself the day off, knowing I'd be at work tomorrow for an Open House, and knowing that I would be spending the remaining weekend hours working on a conference paper, So I spent the day with Raf - and lucky for us the weather was beautiful. 60 degrees, SUNNY, In Maine in November. It's such a treat. We went for a walk with the pups this morning... I usually wear Raf on my back so I have free hands for the pups, but I was hoping Raf would nap in his stroller and attempted to take the stroller and two crazy dogs for a 2 mile ramble. We all survived, though no sleep for Raf.

This afternoon we went to the park and met Rich there after work. This is where Raf's shyness and reservedness really manifests. I took him out the car and he stood there, smiling, observing intently, taking everything in - from the sidelines.

He soon got into the swing of things... though he was definitely more interested in watching others even when he was on the swing.

Little monkey :)

Eyeing the slide...

On the slide..

And back to the swings...

Getting used to the ducks.. he was a wee bit apprehensive as the ducks were so tame and coming close, but he soon got used to them.

Yesterday afternoon, after work, I took Raf to a little field near our house, and he had a fun old time running laps up and down a little grassy hill.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

sleepy boy

Tonight Rich and I went out on a date night. It was impromptu because even though our nanny was coming this evening, we were planning on doing some work, but instead we went to the cinema! It was a great night. We saw a very moving film and I cried a LOT! I really do react much more emotionally these days...

When we returned home at 9pm Raf was still up. This wasn't a huge surprise. But Jess told us how Raf walked to the stairs' door, opened it, blew kisses goodnight, and tried to go upstairs. Of course, once upstairs, he wouldn't go to sleep :)

But the sleepy boy was asleep within 2 minutes of our returning and, for the first time EVER, went straight into his crib.

I have so many posts about sleep to write, but I thought I'd start with a happy story first!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Each day, it seems, Raf becomes more of a toddler and less of a baby. Lucky for us he still likes to snuggle, but the boy is on the move. Today he turned 16 months. Tine has taken on such a different character since Raf appeared. During pregnancy time moved exceptionally slowly, and now minutes seem like seconds. I find myself so often willing time to stop, or, in the very least, to slow down.

But on it goes and Raf gets older and more independent as his personality emerges and his world gets bigger and bigger... Right now, as I type, he's crawling underneath a chair, giggling to himself.. and now he has my foam roller (a large circular piece of foam, bigger than Raf), and he's tottering around, picking it up, falling down, laughing and doing it all over again.

His favourite thing to do, though, is to terrorize his poor brothers and sister - aka the pups and kitty. He likes to walk with his walker trying to bulldoze whatever is in his way, and, yes, he likes to aim the contraption right at them. The poor things. When we tell him to stop doing something - or try and distract him, even - we're also getting a whole lot of tears. It's so unjust, he thinks, that he can't bash the computer, walk into the animals, throw his food all over the floor... and it's terribly unjust that we make him put on a clean nappy. Indeed changing his nappy has come to be quite a 'sport', more specifically, a wrestling match. Poor baby.

On Friday we headed to a toy store and bought Raf a Fropper (a funny looking bike thing) but taking him out the store was a nit of a nightmare with plenty of tears and a lot of sadness and frustration for Raf. The trip to Trader Joes afterward was not much fun, either. But our biggest challenges right now are related to eating and sleeping... He has become quite fussy in the eating department and, well, sleep... while he's never been a tremendous sleeper things have regressed somewhat.

And yet it is all so amazing, watching him grow, watching him navigate the world as he learns and gets to grips with the complexity of social life. It's amazing to see him respond to simple directions and for him to utter almost-intelligible words. And when he find things funny - such as when the dogs are on their joint lead, or when they 'dance' after they poop, and such - it fills you up with so much love. There's not a second in the day when I don't feel extraordinarily lucky, even when he is being a little toddler-monster. And my heart does sort of break when I see him a little overwhelmed when he's with other kiddos or in situations he's not very familiar with, and I suppose that this is the beginning of an ongoing, intensifying anxiety which every parents contends with.