Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A classic lesson in gratitude

Thanksgiving came and went. My absolute favorite holiday. No questions. Family, food, and a four-day weekend. Sounds fun and fulfilling eh?

This was my aunt mitzi's spread of pies. Does that look amazing or what.

We've been pretty grateful around these parts for a lot of things. The most verbally stated things of gratitude are of course either new and exciting, or temporarily unavailable.

Of the new and exciting things:
  • Jackson is eating a huge assortment of solid foods, and as result has not had a blow out in a month! Stop feeding him straight liquid, and suddenly his poop solidifies. It really is the little things in life.

    Sweet potatoes, bananas, applesauce and avocado, get mashed up and fed to the little Mr. 2-3 times a day. yum.

  • Jackson also has moved to a new step in communication--called "reach and whine." We no longer have to guess what item he really would like to hold. He now can tell us. Unfortunately we do have to put our foot down with many objects--our phones, forks, glass cups etc, don't make the makeshift baby toy list. However, old remote controls, plastic cups and water bottles do. The favorite? Definitely the water bottle.

Of the temporarily unavailable things:

  • We are still grateful for warm weather. After those frigid weeks in September, we had a gloriously warm October and November. We feel grateful for any day above 40, and we're grateful we live in a semi-mild place. This here is our solution to cold fingers. Swaddle. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but it's a lot better than wearing 4 pair of PJ's.

  • Last, and probably of least importance, we are grateful for internet. There's a lengthy story included below of our little unplanned-week-long-internet hiatus. Feel free to skip it. I think it was mostly therapy to write about it. Of course, as in all classic gratitude lessons, we were liberated in knowing we could survive without the internet and shocked by our addiction to it. We're grateful to have it, and thrilled we got to take that hiatus.

Last monday morning (Nov. 22nd)
Me: hmm. The internet is not working. Better call Verizon.
Verizon: "So you've powered down the modem and computer 3 times, and it still isn't working?"
Me: "Correct"
Verizon: "Ok, I'm going to walk you through some steps and we'll see if we can trouble shoot the problem."
(After powering down the modem and computer and waiting for 15 min.)
Verizon: "Well it seems like that didn't solve the problem. I guess we'll send out a tech."
Me: "I love logical things."
Verizon: "Wednesday from 12-4 is our next available time. Please be sure to be home during that time, and answer your phone if it rings."
Me: "Wednesday. OK." This will be healthy. A little internet diet.

...Wednesday --I keep my phone glued to me all day. 4 pm... no Verizon tech...

Me: "A tech was supposed to be here between 12 and 4. It's now 4. Just wondering if I get to leave my house, and when I have to be back so we can get the internet back. I'm glad it's coming today--it's Wednesday you know. Blog day."
Verizon: "I'm having difficulty understanding you, can you repeat what you just said?"
Me: "Where is the technician who is supposed to magically fix my internet. I'm having major withdrawals."
Verizon: "Give me a minute I'm checking"
...30 min. later
Verizon: "It appears there was a mistake in the computer. You were never scheduled for a technician today."
Me gasping for air. Deep breaths.
Me: "So, when do I get a technician?"
Verizon: "Well it looks like we can send someone over on Tuesday from 8-12."
Me: "TUESDAY!? That's almost a week from today!"
Verizon: "We are terribly sorry about the glitch in the computer. But the earliest, is tuesday. 8-12 am. Be sure to answer your phone if it rings."

...Monday afternoon, my phone rings.

Verizon: "This is an automated message to inform you we will be at your house before 7 pm tomorrow."
Me: I love how things change so quickly! And to think I get to call Verizon again!
Me: "I just received a message saying a tech will be at my house before 7pm tomorrow, when originally you said they'd be here before 12. I am planning to leave my house tomorrow afternoon. I do not, under any circumstance, want to miss the technician, and have to reschedule an appointment."
Verizon: "I'm sorry, there must have been a glitch in the computer"
Me: "Please unglitch it."
Verizon: "I'll see what I can do"
30 min. later. "OK Ms. Brown, someone should be at your house before 12 tomorrow."

....The technician did come. He called at 11:45 am, and came by 12:45. That was close enough for me. Gratefully, he did work some kind of magic and got the internet working again. Strangely, I almost didn't know how to use it. It was almost like recovering from food poisoning... after all my yearning to see my emails (that Mark had been reading to me over the phone), and check my friends' status' on facebook, it almost made me sick to think I was going to be swept right back into the time-sucking, world-at-my-fingertips life. Despite it. I'm grateful. Grateful to have it back, more grateful to have lost it. It was such a disguised blessing, I almost feel bad calling Verizon to ask for a reduced payment next month. I feel bad until I remember I was on the phone with them for 3 hours over the past week and a half. There will be no bad feelings about that.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You were probably too little to remember, but we did take you to see....

Living in DC has afforded us incredible opportunities to explore US history live. Jackson has visited numerous war sites, some of the best museums in the nation, and homes of a few founding fathers. Unfortunately for him, he will remember about as much as I remember living in Boston as a toddler. Nilch. Oh well. All this culture must be affecting him in some sort of positive way.

(He looks so interested in his surroundings!)

Mark had Veterans day off, and we also knew that all National Parks were free. Woo hoo! Except, we didn't want to go further than an hour away from home--which meant we'd either be going to National Parks we'd already seen, or to places that were free anyway.

We found some interesting historical sites we had never heard of before, and despite their being in SE DC--the side of town that is not quite as... stable--we decided to risk it and go see what the sites had to offer.

Remember this man from black history month back in 8th grade? He was pretty much amazing.

fredrick douglas Pictures, Images and Photos

Fredrick Douglass was a self educated slave who eventually escaped slavery and became a famous equal rights activist during the mid-late 1800s. "Self educated," meaning he taught himself how to read and write... which means a lot to me as a 1st grade teacher. Truly a phenomenal man. Who would have known the house that he last lived in just happens to be in Washington DC?

After he died, his second wife had the foresight to understand his mark on history, and preserved almost everything in the house--to the point of building a second home for herself behind the original home. We've certainly seen a lot of houses that famous people lived in, but this was the first that we've experienced that was preserved from the death of the person.

The home doesn't seem to be the most popular tourist attraction in DC, but I feel like I'm out to turn that around! It is located on its own little hill that has this view of the city:

Anacostia, has a bit of a rough reputation, which might be why this house is not 1st on everyone's touring agenda, but this little gem offered free admission and a private tour. Not bad. We LOVED it, and would highly recommend it as a must-see in DC.

Since we were in the area, we checked out the Kennilworth Aquatic gardens, which boast ginormous tropical lilies in the spring. We weren't quite as enthusiastic about this find--and feel we might petition the government to cut its spending, but we could imagine it being kind of cool when the lilies are blooming, but for now... the best we got was this Monet in the fall picture.

We managed to do all of this in the morning, and get back in time to greet my dear cousin Heidi who came to visit! Jackson was as friendly as normal and wanted to let Heidi know he trusted her enough to feed him ;)

We had a lovely, lovely time with Heidi, and are looking forward to seeing her again next week for some intense eating during my FAVORITE holiday, and maybe we'll sneak in some football... go cougars!

More memories for Jackson to forget :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Big Deal.

Around these parts (1st child/1st grandchild parts) every little milestone seems like such a big deal. Funny how theoretically most of these "milestones" will eventually happen naturally--i.e. being born, rolling over, cutting a tooth, sitting up, crawling, walking, talking, etc. So why is it, as a parent I not only take great pride everytime one of these natural milestones take place, I try and push them along? It could be because Jackson's not exactly sprinting from one to the next, or maybe it's because I'm naively anxious for the day when he can set the table and take out the garbage.

Whatever the reasons, I am as proud as a parent to announce that he can sit down... or I guess sit up. Yes. I know it's a big deal. (How long does it take for horses to start walking?)

We have a friend who said they use to position her kid's fat rolls just right, allowing him to sit up really early on. Our little Buddha is certainly not lacking on the rolls.

But it didn't work for longer than a second... until about a week ago. It's so funny to watch him balance himself out using his stomach muscles--playing the balancing game.

We're not quite to the no spotting zone yet.

But that doesn't stop us from practicing all the time.

If no spotter is available, we try to insure a cushie fall.

I'm not sure he's quite as thrilled with his accomplishments as we are,

but what kid is? Isn't it just natural?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Torture Zone

Now that autumn is here, Jackson's been hard at work trying to amuse himself. His latest includes utilizing all the strength in his cute little fingers to tug on any part of our faces.

The nose is a pretty easy target--since it protrudes and has holes just the right size for fingers.

He obviously does not think there is any kind of problem with this situation.

In order to escape the torture zone of the house, Jackson and I took a little walk to take pictures of the leaves.

It's funny how many years I've been trying to take great pictures of trees and leaves, and I finally learned it's unfortunately all in the camera.

I'm in love with our neighbor's tree (bottom right). The leaves have been green in the center for the past 2 weeks!


Out on the walk, I decided to set up an impromptu photo op, since we certainly don't have enough pictures of Jackson, and he's getting better at being tortured with the big black box.

Never mind that it was freezing, his hands were slobbered all over and his clothes were not matching at all. We're all about seizing the moment these days.

We had to cut it a little short, since all he really wanted to do was eat the leaves

Meh--we're natural people right?

This little 6 month old needs his fiber anyway. Happy 1/2 birthday babycakes.