Monday, March 31, 2014

Look Who's Talking: 5 months old!

Over the weekend, Forest turned 5 months old, which means it’s time for Forest’s monthly guest blog. Please give a warm Wife Without Borders  welcome to Forest Alexander!

Hey guys. By now, you know the drill. Every month I show up here to write a little diddy on my likes and dislikes. I'm gonna cut to the chase today because I'm this close to crawling and I can't be delaying my motor development by playing on the computer all day. 

Pulling my mom’s hair. When I first starting doing this I was tugging at the ends of her hair. Rookie mistake. She solved that problem by cutting 4 inches off the bottom and pulling her hair in a top knot 24 hours a day. Well now that I’m a tad bit more coordinated I have figured out how to grab at the source. Short hair? Top knot? No problem, I just go straight for the scalp and tug away. Whatchagonna do now, Mom?

Baby Einstein. 
I like it when my Mom does chores because it usually means she will pop me in my exersaucer for an episode of Baby Einstein. Have y’all seen this stuff? Trippy!
(P.S. You Tube has every episode of this for free so no need to buy the DVDs. You’re welcome.)

Rice Cereal. 
At first I was like ‘what in the world are you shoving in my mouth?’, but now I love meal times. I open wide for the ‘airplane’ (aka spoon for those of you with zero imagination) and I’d say I even manage to swallow 75% of what enters my mouth. The other 25% is for blowing razzberries with. It’s so much fun to watch rice cereal fly into my mom’s hair. 
Making it rain guys, making it rain.

My car mirror. My most favorite game is one called ‘Who’s that baby?’ Have you heard of it? It’s when your mom or dad plops you in front of a mirror and asks, ‘Who’s that baby?’. 
Trust me, it’s a hoot. Way better than that Cards Against Humanity nonsense. My parents got me my very own mirror that hangs in front of my car seat so I can play ‘Who’s that baby?’ everytime we run errands (aka go to Target). Best. Present. Ever.   
I’ve come a long way since my nap-protesting days. Now it’s quite the opposite. Rolling and scooting around all day is tough work. Not to mention bouncing in my exersaucer for minutes on end. That’s some serious cardio, my friends. I need a few naps sprinkled in throughout the day to recharge my batteries. Three naps to be exact; 4 if you’re lucky. I will let my mom and dad know it’s naptime by whining, moaning and screaming my head off until they stop what they are doing and carry me to my room for some shut eye. I don’t give a flip if mom is just trying to finish folding the laundry or putting dinner in the crock pot. I said it’s naptime NOW. Don't make me count to 3....


Sleeping til 7 AM. Now that I’ve got this nap thing down, I’ve got to make up for lost time. I figure the most efficient way to do this is to wake up at 5:30 AM. Mom is not too happy about this and pleads with me to keep snoozing til the sun comes up. Apparently she wants me to sleep 12 hours at night AND take three naps a day. Some people are just greedy. 

Sroller rides.  
I used to like rides in the stroller until I discovered the Ergo carrier. I’d way rather be strapped to my momma than ride separately in the BOB. I’m not sure why she doesn’t feel the same. 
Or why she keeps putting me into the stroller. If my genes are any indication, I’m figuring my mom is probably a smart woman, but these days I’m starting to wonder if I get my supreme intelligence exclusively from my dad. I cry when I’m in the stroller. I don’t cry when I’m in the ergo. Figure it out, Mom. It’s not rocket science.  

Seriously, who came up with this? I started cutting my first tooth on Friday and it's the worst pain I've ever been through (and I'm one of God's chosen people, if you know what I mean...). You're telling me I've got 19 of these bad boys left? And that's just  the baby teeth? Sheesh. 

Well, guys that’s about it for my dislikes. I’ve come a long way from my days as a colicky persnickety guy and I think I’m pretty easy to please. It’s sunny, I’m well fed, I get 10 hours of sleep at night, and I’m pretty stinkin’ cute. 
What’s not to like about life? You know, other than that bone currently wedging it's way through my gums...

Friday, March 28, 2014

Our New Place

Since we aren’t sure how long we will be in San Ramon, we decided to rent until we know what’s what. Jonathan had been to the area once before on a business trip, but the closest I had been was San Francisco. Needless to say, we knew very little about where to focus our home search. We had heard great things about the neighboring Danville area, and it definitely seemed up our alley. 
Older, established neighborhoods with larger lots. Walkable downtown area. Access to an expansive trail system. However, when we got here and started our house hunt there was basically nothing available there. 

We kept an open mind and Jonathan went to check out houses with our realtor while I worked on getting Forest back on schedule with the 8 hour Scotland-California time difference. The plan was for Jonathan to go see the selection, narrow it down to two or three and then I’d go view the top contenders the next day. Well, after all day of looking at houses Jonathan came home to tell me that there was basically only one worthwhile house out of the whole lot. While that was disappointing, it made our choice a lot easier. 

Apparently the rental market is really hot here because a lot of people can’t afford the steep down payment on California’s outrageous real estate prices. The Tri-Valley area is especially astronomical! We live in one of the more affordable areas and still- OUCH! But the city of San Ramon and surrounding areas is undeniably a desirable place to live, so you get what you pay for, I guess. 

Say hello to our new house:
We are located in a new development within San Ramon. The biggest perk of our house is the size. It’s probably triple the square footage of what we had in Scotland. We have a three car garage (tandem), 4 bedrooms, 2 living rooms, and a formal dining room with sitting area. Y'all, we could play some serious mahjong up in here.
Kitchen. I know, I know- elevated surfaces. His dad put him there.

Living room, open to eat-in kicthen

Dining room/sitting area/mahjong tournament room

Master bathroom

Master bedroom. Big enough for all our furniture AND room to do P90x
Upstairs loft living area, aka Forest's play area
I feel like we kind of binged on space but after having a living room too small for a 3 seater sofa for the past 2 years, we wanted room to stretch our legs, especially with Forest's toddling days fast approaching. It’s been so nice to have ample floor space for Forest to roll and scoot around. Just in the past 2 weeks, he’s advanced so much in terms of mobility and I think that just comes from not being so confined. 
The biggest drawback is the backyard space. 
It’s big enough for us, Forest, and Samson, but Bailey will have to adjust. The good thing is that we are 2 blocks away from 2 different trails where we can run her so she won’t be lacking for exercise. 
The parks and trails in San Ramon are unbelievable. Everywhere you turn there is another one. Seriously, every quadrant in our neighborhood has its own playground and open green space. 

Within a 5 minute walk of our house we can reach 3 different parks.  While a large backyard would have been nice, it doesn’t feel as imperative with the community spaces available so nearby.   

The running trails are also a perk. It is so hilly in our area that I can barely run 4-5 miles because the terrain is constantly inclining or declining pretty drastically. 
I’ll write more about this separately, but I’ve been getting quite the work out in during my jogs. Bailey will really enjoy herself here.  We even have a dog park in the neighborhood adjacent to ours so that’s another big plus of our house location. 

Jonathan’s commute is just about 8 minutes as well so that’s a big bonus too. We are really enjoying our new pad so far and can’t wait to get our shipment (estimated around April 6) and get settled. We bought some new furniture from Restoration Hardware that was just delivered this week, so at least that is helping us to feel a bit more at home. Check out our *4* seater sofa! 

I’m so excited to have a couch I can nap on again! I’ll give you more details on all of our new furniture in a separate post. Until then…

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Forest Firsts

Forest has reached an age where he’s changing and developing so quickly that he’s experiencing and accomplishing new things nearly everyday. His biggest ‘first’ over the past 2 weeks was rolling from his back to his belly. Once he got the hang of it, now he won’t stop. If I put him on his back, I literally cannot count to 3 before he’s belly down. 
It has made changing diapers very challenging with this roly-poly. It also means that we had to push up some additional firsts such as sleeping unswaddled and sleeping in his crib (well, his crib is on a ship somewhere so for the purposes of this blog, crib means ‘pack and play’). 

He seems to prefer sleeping on his belly which is pretty terrifying when viewed from the monitor. 
I have not been sleeping very well at all these past few nights...  

Also, most kiddos start solid foods between the ages of 4-6 months. Originally we had planned to wait til closer to 6 months but we kept seeing facebook pictures of babies his age and younger chowing on green beans so we decided to give it a go. We started him on rice cereal mixed with formula. 

He doesn’t quite get it just yet, but that’s ok. Its not supposed to replace any of his daily nutrition, just get him used to the practice of eating. 
On Sunday, we made some guacamole and had some avocados left over. I mashed it up pretty good and gave him a tiny spoonful. 

He was all smiles, but I’m pretty sure that was from the attention he was getting from momma and daddy as we anxiously awaited his reaction. He swallowed a sliver of it, but most of it ended up on his chin. It’s the same story with the rice cereal. It’s not til after 6 months that they need nutrition from sources other than breast milk and/or formula so we have a few more weeks to practice. 
For now we are just trying 1 or 2 times a day to feed him a few spoons worth. He likes the attention, that’s for sure. Such a ham! 
Other recent firsts include riding face forward in the BOB stroller instead of rear facing using the baby seat. 
Jury is still out on whether he enjoys this or not. The only time Forest gets really cranky is when he is tired and I think the stroller tends to make him sleepy. 
This means that meltdowns sometime result from our evening strolls which is not as relaxing and Jonathan and I would like. 

Sometimes instead of joy riding we take strolls to one of the neighborhood parks (...seriously one on every corner. So nice!) Most of the playgrounds are built for the toddler and elementary set but most of them have infant swings that he can use. Last week I decided to see how he enjoyed the swing and here is the result of his first swing experience: 
Not too impressed. But I did manage to get a few smiles out of him. 
We take him to swing several times a week and each time he’s just like ‘whatevs’.    
Another first he experienced recently was his first St. Patrick’s Day!
I didn’t buy my kid special outfits for Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day or Mardi Gras but by golly he was gonna have a special outfit to honor his ½ Irish side. 

His Scottish side also experienced a pretty awesome first recently: wearing shorts! 
It got up in the 80s two weekends ago so we had him all decked out in his California duds. 
He also went for his first big boy hike that weekend, but that deserves a separate post...  
He’s VERY close to sitting upright unassisted so I'd be expecting that first just around the corner. 

Also, crawling isn't too far off (*gulp*)
That's about it for the moment. Stay tuned for posts about our new casa, hiking in the Las Trampas Regional Wildnerness, my 3-5 month baby survival guide, and Forest’s 5 month guest post.