Saturday, November 2, 2013

And we're out...

This last couple of weeks has been *exhausting.* Great, and fun, and productive, but: I started a new job--Target for the holidays, I'm usually in a 6 which means up at 5, Isaac has stopped sleeping through the night by himself (grm), James has been waiting anxiously for his license to go through so he can get to work for real, and the Texas Ballards threw an enormous, elaborate Halloween party to which I've dedicated (delightedly) most of my free time.

The upsides (and there are a lot): Target has been really nice to me. It's nice, for a moment, to be overqualified and entirely prepared for a job. They've been great about working with our schedule and have me working good positions (not so much with customers which is nice), and it's nice to have somewhere to be every day.
Isaac has cute new teeth, and is working on a couple more, it looks like. He only had is two bottom ones for so long, and these top 4 have come in w/in a month of each other.
James is licensed! It's a **huge** weight off our shoulders--he can start taking on clients for real (he's done cotherapy up to now), getting a pay check, etc. Plus he's been calling the state licensing office twice a week following up with paper work. Done. Done and done. He's bona fide!
And Halloween was brilliant. We ended up with a Harry potter theme--James hung 150 candles from the ceiling, Danny (brother) and kids put together spooky stuff outside (including a dementor on a zipline and corpse in the pool, it was so brilliant), and I worked on food. In case you were wondering, a good butterbeer uses cream soda and homemade butterscotch syrup. It was silly. We had 100-ish people show up; a good time was had by all. [I dressed Isaac up as the snitch. I just couldn't be more pleased with myself--he was so so adorable.]

Speaking of the baby: he's doing great. He loves crawling, trying new food, and cuddles. He's into all cabinets (with a penchant for forbidden things), can pull things off low tables and counters, is still calling everything/one Da! but I think really says Dad! and Hi! Today he was nodding at me so enthusiastically (what he does when he's delighted) that he fell over backwards. He was also great considering some weird hours and late nights. I just love this kid.

Ok, speak of the devil, someone needs some loves. :)


Sunday, October 6, 2013

October 6

All of the cliches are true: it's like I have a new boy every week. Highlights include:
1. His first kiss that wasn't drippy-slobbery or bitey. Maybe he just caught my cheek with an open mouth? I'll take it.
2. His face is getting long. He's getting handsomer and I didn't think that was possible.
3. He loooved Conference. All the faces and voices and oh the Mo-Tab! He was surprisingly amendable to the entire thing.
4. His top teeth *finally* poked through. Poor kid, he's been sleeping terribly (for him) (for us), but they're out!
5. He's still our little vacuum, keeps me on my toes and our kitchen floor clean.
6. A highlight for me: I was getting him ready for bed and hadn't put his diaper on and he was soo cute, I tossed naked Isaac into the air and he giggled and giggled. This is the best thing I've ever done in my life ever.
7. He's off of fishlips (how did he learn how to do that!?) and onto blowing raspberries all the time. And ducklips. He also will bobble his head at you if you make a game of it. 
He's still scooting and faking us out with words that aren't. We spend a lot of time in his baby backpack which he is super patient with--I think he likes seeing what's going on. We hike a couple mornings a week in a park down the street and he usually falls asleep for an hour or so. It's lovely.

Other news: I got to visit with a college pal who lives on the other side of Dallas and her two girls. It was so great, one of those things where the 10 years that passed since a long conversation are just more fun things to chat about. And her girls are old enough to love the baby, it was just fun.

We're trucking. James is working 3-4 nights a week, he's getting his client base filled up. We're still waiting for his test scores so we can get his license through, but it looks like there's movement there too. And Conference was wonderful--so much good, no-nonsense practical advice. A lot of things to think about and to work on. Though there were some hard things, I haven't felt this touched by Conference for a long time.

Onward and upward, hurrah!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sept. 8

This week flew!

James' work is picking up a little. He's working Tuesday evenings, and is helping out with a similar program on Saturdays. He was called on to translate this week and it was rough--new vocab, a touchy situation, etc etc. I'm sure he did great, but on Saturday night it was all we could do to get our teeth brushed and fall into bed. He's working on getting up to date on the program his boss uses, so is doing a bunch of research for them.

I had a sort of floppy week. We've all been a little sick (I think the baby caught something from his cousins who've just started school again), and I'm trying to work on my thesis but a) I'm letting it get to me and b) we need to pay tuition so all this week was this battle of should we/shouldn't we. We will, and it will be fine, but the ambiguity made working seem sort of useless...anyway. I found some really interested recent articles that set the stage really beautifully; I just need to write the thing.
Highlights: I did a dry run of pumpkin pasties for our Halloween party. I did curry and lime/garlic Mexican-y, and a traditional one. My favorite, though, was bacon and collared greens with a little molasses. Nom. Also this week: peach and watermelon salad w/key lime, mint, basil, sriracha, and queso fresco. Winner. I'm excited for fall, but it's cooled down enough to feel like proper summer, and I'm in the mood for stone fruit al fresco.

And the baby is doing his thing. He loves babbling dadada, and he hasn't quite realized that he's talking about his dad, but we're working on that. He's still scooting--not quite off his belly yet, and he has no sign of any other teeth. I'm almost convinced he won't get any more. He also got a haircut this week but, alas, it was my first cut and I was going of an only semi-helpful YouTube looks fine with a little mousse? But like a little monk w/out it. I think I get credit for not cutting his ear off by accident. We're also trying to get him to use a stuffed animal instead of us/a bottle to comfort himself. He's taken to waking up screaming once or so a night and we hope that a little something will help him calm down. Right now we have a little longhorn (we're terrible Cougs) that he's starting to cuddle up to. It's adorable mostly.

And a story from the annals: James was loading Isaac into the CRV. It was just before we left Wisconsin, so Isaac was maybe 7 months. Anyway, Isaac was hanging out in the front seat for a sec while James was adjusting his car seat. James picked him up, strapped him into his seat and noticed that he had something in his mouth. J pulled on his chin, and out fell an inch-long socket, clunk, on the floor of the CRV. Of all the things to fall out of a baby's mouth...


Week of 9/1

Ok. Let's give this a try.

The hands-down highlight of this week: James took his national exam, and, though we won't get his score for 4 weeks (we're all appalled by this--I'm not certain the administrators know that computers are really good at this stuff), he felt good about it and has consistently gotten passing scores on practice exams. He worked so so hard studying, and it was admirable and awesome, but meant we had little time for anything else. But he's done! He also met with his new boss for the first time and attended a group session and is starting to get into the swing. I couldn't be happier--we've been working toward this for so long, it's nice to start to see the fruit.

I have been enjoying developing a routine. Like we run and plan every morning. I wash dishes as James puts Isaac down every night. It's exactly the blissful mundanity that I've been looking forward to. And I love it. I hung some pictures this week, am getting to know our local fauna--I worry over the spider webs every day: if I leave them there will be fewer bugs, if I clean them my house will feel clean--we had Karen and Danny over for our first dinner. I get bored, I haven't quite hit my groove, but I'm getting there.

Isaac is just getting smarter and more precocious and charming. He's found the door stoppers and not only scoots as fast as possible to twang them, but I noticed once that an overly innocent face was hiding a full mouth which ended up being the rubber end; he can also twist them out of their brackets, so we have to watch him carefully with those any more. His schedule has settled enough that I can put him in his crib to fall asleep at more-or-less predictable times. I read in a parenting book that chicken bones are fun for teething and he *loves* them. I imagine him saying "Wait! This is food?! You guys get to eat this stuff!?" No walking and no knee-crawling yet, but he can pull himself up and get where he needs to go. And though he is starting to understand that he shouldn't just crawl off the bed, we heard him crying when he was supposed to be napping to find him on the floor tangled in his monitor cord. Exactly what a parent wants to see.

So: happy, settling, ready for the next adventure.


(I was going to post pics, but this is *ridiculous*. Tumblr it is.)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

11 Weeks!

This week was nothing short of miraculous. James has worked and worked and worked on the thesis, overcoming the biggest logical hurdle of the project, one that's been gnawing at him since before he finished his prospectus, one that he thought might bring the whole paper down. But with a little extra research and a lot of hours logged and not a little inspiration (we count this as one of the miracles of this year), the way forward is clear. He has a section left to write, and probably a good measure of revising to do, but we're going to get this thing put to bed. Next stop: the future.

This has been a really great week for me too. I'm going back to work next week, and I had a visit from some of my pals that was a good reminder that things are going to be ok. I also found out that my assignment is going to change when I get back, which means less travel for now, but also I'll not be working with the folks I've been working with, which is a super bummer. I'm not sure what my next couple of months are going to look like--this could be a good thing or not so much. I'm hopeful, though. This week has also been really focusing. I've got together what I'd like this year to look like and, you guys, I feel so hopeful about the direction we're headed in. We're getting our act together and it feels good.

Also: Isaac! (Dubs? We're working on nicknames still) He can see! He smiles back at us and reaches for things and you can see his little wheels turning. He's also learning all about his voice--cooing and grunting especially and just charming. He's also learning to suck his thumb, adorable and helpful for calming himself down. About half the time he wakes up (after 8+ hours of sleep thank goodness) smiley and adorable, though he hates going to sleep and is usually up till 10 or 11. And he's growing like it's going out of style. I miss my little newborn (welcome to motherhood I guess?), though, really, he's just the best baby. Also his hair is starting to rub off in back. A minor tragedy. Check for new pics on tumblr (highlights: the Ballard eyebrow raise and more bearsuit action.

Our love,

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Week 8

This week was fantastic. We took a spur-of-the moment trip to Texas to visit the Ballards and we were very well taken care of. We got to see The Hobbit, we fit in a temple trip, we ate great barbeque and homemade lasagna and got massages and Isaac cried maybe twice the entire trip--his aunts, uncles, and cousins were just smitten and couldn't put him down. We also introduced the boy to a sunshine/fresh air combo that was completely novel to our winter baby and appreciated. Isaac had a great time being passed back and forth between his adoring fans. He's such a cooperative, charming kid.

As far as milestones go, I has slept through the night (10-6) twice in a row now. I'm not holding my breath that he'll keep it up, but it's been awesome. He's able to hold his upper body up for a long moment when he feels the need (either to complain or to check out his surroundings), and is able to stand up if we help him balance. His repertoire of coos is also expanding. Isaac hates falling asleep (once he's down, he's great at it)--he'll resist and resist and pop his eyes open (even if they're sooo droopy before he'll finally let himself fall off.

We're happy and healthy and feel so blessed.

Ballards out.

(For pics: