Monthly Archives: January 2013

not the best day

I have the worst cold I’ve had in a long time, certainly the worst since I became pregnant.  My nose is running like a faucet and I feel like a giant, inflamed nose.  Before that, I’d just gotten over food poisoning from (presumably) bad sashimi Saturday night.  My MIL is visiting, which is fine, but it’s just a little hard to be sick and entertain visitors, and I feel it’s inevitable she’ll become sick, which really sucks for her.  (I’m hoping that I’ve caught the cold I and B already had and that we’re not heading for more sleep deprivation.)  Then, I left my purse at Safeway today.  I just got finished cancelling my five credit and debit cards (including one for work), and then got a call that it had been found.  It would have been a lot worse if it hadn’t been found, of course, but *sigh* I wish they’d had it when I drove back to Safeway.


I is still cute.  I love it when I put her down on her back when she’s wearing tights and she waves her fat little legs in the air.  It’s just so adorable.  

I absolutely loves books these days.  They are without a doubt her favorite toys.  A couple of months ago, she was obsessed with Pat the Bunny, and she kind of went through a “touch and feel” book phase.  Then, while we were on vacation, we picked up O is for Orca on a whim, and she has been obsessed with that ever since.  Sometimes she has spent literally and hour just looking through the pages.   I can’t really understand why.  It seems like a normal book to me, though it’s illustrated with bright photos rather than drawings, so perhaps that’s why she likes it.  She also has been quite fond of Where Giants Hide lately.  It’s a big picture book with brightly colored pages.

The above picture amuses me.  General chaos!  Family pictures become a lot harder when you have a baby and a dog!

Isla has begun to understand many words.  She’s yet to say any words clearly and repeatedly, but it’s been amazing me lately how much she understands.  The first one we noticed that she clearly understood was “sockadock” – B’s baby version of “sock.”  Since then I’ve noticed her understanding lots of things, from dog to O is for Orca.  I really need to make a list for posterity.

nanny hiring

We have the nanny field narrowed down to two candidates. I really like both of them. Right now, I’m feeling really good about our decision to hire a nanny as opposed to putting I in daycare. There are a few reasons. First and foremost, with B home, he gets to see I all the time when she’s home, too. He probably visits with her five or six times a day, just for a couple minutes sometimes, but it makes a big difference to him, and I think to her. Second, I plan to come home every day for lunch. While I could obviously visit her at daycare, I value the comfort and convenience of my own home. Third, the nanny will be able to give I individual attention. Fourth, the nanny will help us with household chores, including doing baby laundry and preparing dinner every night. I’ll be working roughly 8 to 6, so this will make a big difference to us. I don’t want to spend my limited free time on baby laundry, and having dinner on the table when you come home is just huge. Fifth, the nanny can take I places, from outside in the backyard to the library and so on. I don’t like the idea of I being in one room all the time as she would be at daycare.

The one major downside I can think of is losing the socialization of being with all the other kids all day long. That’s a big loss, but I think it’s worth it in view of the advantages. Oh, the other disadvantage is clearly cost. The going rate around here is $15 to $16 per hour for a nanny.

One thing I hadn’t considered before we began the hiring process is that we are an extremely attractive family for most nannies. The majority of people hiring nannies live in Belle.vue, Issa.quah, Re.dmond, etc – Micro.softland. Meanwhile, most nannies live where we do – Ke.nt, Au.burn, Ren.ton, Map.le Valley. The commute between these two locations is an absolute nightmare. I did the reverse commute for a few months and it drove me insane. The commute in the regular direction is over an hour on a good day if you’re travelling at rush hour. Many of those I interviewed have current jobs they’re perfectly happy with but ready to ditch due to the commute. People are willing to work for us for less because they save so much time and money by living right down the road from us. Anyway, it’s helpful.

We really need to pull the trigger on this, and the plan to do it this weekend. I’m still very ambivalent about returning to work, but that’s another post.


Say what you will about Barack, but there’s no denying that Michelle Obama is just stunning – love the coat, love the dress.  Wow.

birthday present

I’m thinking of getting Isla blocks for her first birthday.  Good idea?  Bad idea?  I remember loving Lego as a kid, but I can’t remember ever being all that into blocks, but that could be because I liked them when I was very young, and I just don’t remember.  Or maybe I never had blocks.  Do you remember what your child’s favorite toy was at age 1?

I’m planning to also make her a couple of photo books, which she might appreciate later.  First, I’m going to make one with 52 pages with my favorite picture from each week of her life.  I’ve also been keeping a private blog with periodic letters to her with photos, and I’m going to turn that into a second photo book, which I’ll set aside for her.  I know a lot of bloggers write public letters to their children each month of their life, but I wanted to be uninhibited, so I decided to do private letters.

Isla has a cold at the moment.  It doesn’t seem that severe, but it is keeping her up at night.  After three blissful nights of all three of us happily sleeping through the night (from 11 to 6 anyway), she woke up once, the following night, twice the next, and three times the night after that, including a solid stretch from 2:30 until 5 am.  Last night, she woke up at around 11 and didn’t go back to sleep until around 2:30 am.  Basically, she just has a hard time dropping off with her nose all stuffed up.

I was planning to run a 5K this morning, but I’m coming down with I’s cold, and around 1 am last night, I decided to put it off a week.


There’s no such thing as a free lunch.  From the NYTimes – Digital medical records don’t save much money (if any) and have mixed results in improving care.  I’m too lazy to link, but I also found it extremely unsurprising to learn that increased preventative care does not save money.  Reducing costs most likely means reducing quality of care, but here in the US, we subsidize the rest of the world in many ways, and we’re probably at a place on the cost-benefit curve where the slope is fairly low.

We had a rough time getting I to sleep tonight.  But she is so adorable, basically at all times.  I love that she loves playing games these days.  She loves peekabo.  She’ll play with her blanket, with her bib, with whatever she’s got handy.  She loves it when I play, and she’ll pull the blanket off me or whatever I’m hiding under.  She ever plays with inanimate objects.  Today, she was covering up the dinosaurs on her pajamas and playing peekabo with the dinosaur.  So cute!

She thinks the wave sign means Daddy.  Basically, at some point I realized I should teach her to wave.  Waving is just not something I do normally, and we never started with I around, so I started saying “Hi Daddy” and “Bye Daddy” whenever B entered and left the room.  We have done Hi and Bye with other people as well, but B comes and goes a dozen or more times a day, thanks to his work-at-home scheme.  These days, if I say something about Daddy, she’ll start waving.  It’s so adorable.  If we walk by his door, she sometimes starts the waving sign with her hand.

I also love that she loves books.  She loves books above all things – textbooks, board books, regular kids books, novels, even catalogs.  She just loves flipping through them, turning the pages over and over, examining this and that.   I bring home stacks of books from the library for her and me to look through (as if I don’t have enough on my shelves.)  We used to read through all her books regularly, but it’s become much harder because she has so many, between the ones she owns and the ones we have out from the library.  We read all of them yesterday, and it must have been 20 books.   Her favorite book is O Is For Orca.  I can’t really recommend it because I don’t know what she sees in it, but she just loves it for some reason.

Today, she learned to “play” the xylophone for the first time.  She got two xylophones for Christmas.  Playing a xylophone is more complicated than you’d think.  You have to manipulate the mallet such that the end strikes the keys and then is lifted again.  She’d done it by accident a few times, but today she was able to do it with some consistency.  Naturally, every successful effort was greeted with plenty of applause on my part.  Until today, I’d gotten much more use out of the xylophone than she had.  (My favorite tune is The Gift to be Simple.)


Our freezer and fridge failed the night before last.   We believe the main control board failed, which costs $100 on eBay but $200 from an overnight source, and $300+ if you pay a repair person to come install it.  However, it costs $5 + shipping if you can identify and replace the part on the board that failed as my husband is attempting to do.  He’s not sure it’s the MCB; it could be the compressor in which case it’s $500+, so we’d probably buy a new fridge.  So much for environmentally friendly.   We actually really like our fridge.  It came with the house, and is a higher end fridge than I’d ever had the opportunity to own / rent before.  It includes an ice-maker and also dispenses water, which is actually quite convenient.  Anyway, at best we’ll get the part we need tomorrow, so it’s convenient that the temperature outside today is 36 with a high of 39.  Perfect weather for the fridge-less.

Just the other day I was having a conversation with my Dad about the appliances he lacked as a kid.  He remarked on how hard washing clothes by hand is and how he never realized it until he moved away from home.  Apparently his stepdad bought his Mom and washer at one point, but they couldn’t make the payments, so it was repossessed.  They also didn’t have a refrigerator.  My Mom remembers having an icebox as a child, but in, they didn’t have iceboxes either, because unlike upstate-NY, there was no easy access to ice.  Of course, the weather there is cool most of the year, but still.  Finally, they didn’t have a modern cooker.  Apparently his Mom cooked over some type of turf-powered stove which also heated the house.  Crazy!  I love modern, wealthy life.  Even being without a fridge for a few days is annoying.


becoming a bit more environmentally friendly

I am no environmental saint.  I didn’t even start recycling until I moved to Seattle in 2004, despite attending grad school in a place where I could easily have done so.  Lately, though, I’ve found myself gradually having more and more interest in taking small environmental steps on my own.

One of these is trash reduction.  It used to be that the smallest trash barrel you could get was 32 gallons.  Recently, though, they changed it, and you can go down to something like 20 gallons or 13 gallons.  At around the same time, they also began collecting yard waste every other week, and you were allowed to put your food waste in.  We started collecting food waste.  With a little trial and error, we have found that storing it in the freezer until it’s time to take it outside is very effective because there is no smell.  (I am very sensitive to smells.)  I am amazed at how much food waste we generate.  Some of it is from food we fail to eat, but most is from things like banana peels, orange peels, the tough bottoms of asparagus, carrot peels and so on.  I can’t believe we used to just throw that stuff away!  After starting to separate our food waste, I found our 32 gallon can was usually less than half full, and we talked about going to a 20 gallon can.  However, this was PI – pre-Isla.  Once Isla arrived, we found our can was nearly full every week.  A major factor is her diapers, obviously.  Before she was born, I was pretty committed to disposable diapers, but it started bothering me that we were generating so much more trash.  As such, we’ve begun a foray into cloth diapers, and now use a bit more than 50% cloth diapers, I’d say.  It’s made a definite difference to our trash, but I’m still not ready to pull the trigger on 20 gallons.    Hopefully we’ll be able to do that in the not-too-distant future.  We just seem to generate more trash since Isla arrived and I’m not sure what it is.

Another thing I’m doing which often seems entirely futile but is also very satisfying is sending e-mails to everyone who sends me catalogs asking to be taken off their mailing list.  I just got infuriated after getting a phone book sized catalog from some furniture company one day, and I started a spreadsheet and track who I e-mail and if they require multiple e-mails.  One of the things that made me the happiest was getting off the list of the people who send the daily or near daily grocery coupons which we never used.  It’s not much work at all, just takes a few minutes, and I do think it’s making a difference.   Hopefully we’ll be nearly catalog free soon.

Next, I really like ordering clothes on eBay (as opposed to, not in addition to, buying new).  I haven’t bought any new clothes in a while.  While ordering used clothes is still consuming, I do feel like it’s a bit better than new clothes.  I like that the prices are cheaper, and you can get really nice stuff.  I’ve also been selling a ton of old stuff on eBay.  Some of it we might have donated to charity, so it’s purely a commercial venture, but other stuff we would have thrown in the trash, and so even if we barely break even, I feel like it’s worthwhile.

The one thing I am torn about are fluorescent lights.  Seattle is a very dark place for much of the year.  We’ve started using fluorescent bulbs lately, and the quality of the light is just so inferior.  I have to say that this may be one area where I am going to do the wrong thing.