Wednesday, August 31, 2011

<< rewind: mom visit

geez i am so behind! before it turns into 2012 i figured i should catch up. back in july my mom came to visit [for the birthdays of course] and we had some seriously fun seattle adventures.

one day we toured boehm's candies, a chocolate factory right here in lovely issaquah washington. i was in love -- i mean, hello, it's chocolate -- because it's all german inside and out. they even make mozart kugeln which you can buy all over europe. yum!

you can see the candy factory through some windows in the back -- they even have a chocolate conveyor belt just like on i love lucy. awesome.

another day, we met up with my friend natalie & her girls at remlinger farm to pick raspberries! you will probably think i'm a totally naive city slicker for saying this but i seriously couldn't get over how COOL it is that i can drive 30 minutes and go pick raspberries on a real farm. what?! how is this legal? i mean, i paid for it, but that is so awesome. i've never been to a farm before this. washington is the best.

this is what a raspberry plant looks like in case you're wondering:

jack spent most of the day like this:

he was in heaven, crawling through all that dirt and eating raspberries. i, on the other hand, tried not to flip that he was getting filthy. i guess this is just the beginning of being a boy-mom.

those poor jeans :( [roxanne, we love the shoes!!!]

luckily mom was hard at work picking berries while i was baby-chasing, and we made off with a great collection. we brought them home and made freezer jam and a berry tart. MMM.

we loved having grammie visit! and now we are officially caught up.

Monday, August 29, 2011

good life.

my favorite blog has a sweet playlist on it's page. [you have to push play -- it's not an auto-play like so many annoying blogs are these days] and through that i found "good life" by one republic.

it's funny, in high school and college my life was all about music. i used to know every up-and-coming band and went to concerts and made mixes for specific people. in the dorms, my friends and i would post lyrics to our favorite songs in our IM away messages and i spent so much time picking songs that explained exactly what i felt at that moment. music defined me.

music is good. but somewhere in the past few years, i've had to make room for better things like a career and a husband and a baby, and one by one these things pushed music to the back burner.

in fact, life has been a little TOO crazy lately. i've been so swamped with work that i'm barely keeping my head above water, trying to juggle housework and friends and being a good wife and being a good mommy and hobbies and my need for a spiritual's just too much. i'm in the process of re-evaluating things and dropping clients and picking up exactly what is most important to me. it's hard to realize i really can't do everything, but it's so cleansing at the same time.

anyway, once in a while, a song will grab me and take hold and make me feel music again like i used to, when it made such an impact on me. good life did that for me. everything from the tune to the lyrics to the beat seems to speak to me at the moment i'm living right now and i love it.

i feel a little silly to post these lyrics on my blog, but for old time's sake i thought it was appropriate. imagine you're my 19-year-old self, reading so much meaning and soul into words written by someone else. this song resonates with me. sure i've lived in four states in three years and i feel overwhelmed by my life sometimes (and really have been from paris to colorado), but it's all just so GOOD. this is a good life.

Woke up in London yesterday
Found myself in the city near Piccadilly
Don't really know how I got here
I got some pictures on my phone

New names and numbers that I don't know
Address to places like Abbey Road
Day turns to night, night turns to whatever we want
We're young enough to say

Oh this has gotta be the good life
This has gotta be the good life
This could really be a good life, good life

Say oh, got this feeling that you can't fight
Like this city is on fire tonight
This could really be a good life
A good, good life

To my friends in New York, I say hello
My friends in L.A. they don't know
Where I've been for the past few years or so
Paris to China to Colorado

Sometimes there's airplanes I can't jump out
Sometimes there's bulls*** that don't work now
We are god of stories but please tell me
What there is to complain about

When you're happy like a fool
Let it take you over
When everything is out
You gotta take it in

Oh this has gotta be the good life
This has gotta be the good life
This could really be a good life, good life

Say oh, got this feeling that you can't fight
Like this city is on fire tonight
This could really be a good life
A good, good life

I feel like there might be something that I'll miss
I feel like the window closes oh so quick
I'm taking a mental picture of you now
'Cuz hopelessly
The hope is we have so much to feel good about

baby jams

i mentioned before that jack really likes music. he hums little songs to himself, and he'll always stop whatever he's doing when a song comes on TV or the computer. therefore i'm happy to share good tunes with him -- raising him on something corporate and florence & the machine, among others.

i do try to give him age-appropriate music once in a while, since i am so lucky to live in an era where baby/kid music doesn't totally suck [mostly]. i'd rather gouge my eyes out than watch imagination movers BUT there are actually some good options out there.

we've had plenty of friends and friends-of-friends who work on the show yo gabba gabba...i thought it sounded cool before i had jack, but now that i actually pay attention to children's programming i really love it.

with songs like this, how could you not? thanks, elijah wood, for getting this song stuck in my head for five days. jackal loves the puppet master.

Friday, August 26, 2011


jack has had a big week! on wednesday, august 24 he WALKED. it looked a lot like this:

he's just a wobbly mummy-armed blur most of the time. but he's really proud of himself.

before this he had mostly "walked" either by holding our hands or by falling forward with his legs moving in a semi-walking fashion. on wednesday, he'd actually walk across the room alone, stopping to regain balance along the way. it's adorable.

and since this is the week of jack updates, let me also tell you that he can point to both his tummy and his ears if you ask him where they are. and he will growl at you if you ask him what sound a dog makes. i'm so proud of him i might explode. heaven help me when he actually strings a sentence together.

he also still makes the squinty smiley face when he's in a good mood. nothing makes me happier than seeing those two loner baby teeth:

in other news we've also officially switched to being a one-nap household. i was seriously dreading this day, but i gotta say it's not so bad. that one nap is usually 2.5 hours long, so i can definitely handle this set-up.

he's also becoming increasingly affectionate and will crawl/walk over and plop himself in my lap for TV or story time. he sort of gives kisses and will bury his head in my lap/stomach/shoulder before giving me a hug. i love this kid.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

the latest on JACK.

guess it's been a while since i gave an adequate update on the little jackal and i'm pretty sure it's due, because this kid is growing and changing every day. seriously. (do you care about this? do you care about ANYTHING i blog anymore? i never get comments and it's bumming me out. come on stalkers, say hello!)

so, here's a list of jack's current faves, in no particular order.

[mom and jack on our sunday walk in the crazy-thick forest behind our house. i kept expecting an ewok or sasquatch to pop out. washington topography is the coolest.]

[jack and grammie at ONT]

the stairs have been a fave for a while. he used to only climb the three stairs in our complex hallway, the five stairs to the stage at church, and the concrete stairs at a nearby park (jack highly prefers crawling on concrete vs. grass, what a silly boy) but when we stayed with my parents he went bananas for stairs. we spent time evvvvery day going up and down their stairs and now he's a pro. he's also started climbing on other stuff -- i catch him trying to heave himself up onto the ottoman or the couch once in a while. i'm terrified of what's to come.

which leads us to walking. no, he is not walking on his own yet, thank you for asking. but he loooves to walk, holding on to us with one or both hands. one day last week we went for a "nature walk" (i.e. i let him guide us without a predetermined purpose, rather than letting him "guide" us as i led him to the mailbox or the dumpster. multi tasking at it's finest, people.) and he walked all over, checking out rocks and dirt and trees. it was a blast. tonight we practiced letting him walk unassisted between me and b, and he rocked it, so i'm pretty sure real walking is right around the corner.

[jack with aunt rachie at the family reunion]

[playing with emmy at church in california -- long distance bffs]

jack is my best friend-making tool. because of him, i have an automatic in with the other moms at church, the library, the park, etc. and i am happy to exploit that.

however, today at church he was a holy terror (ZERO naps today, that's a first) and despite his frequent freak-outs i was able to meet some lovely potential friends -- so hooray for that! (hopefully they don't think i'm a crazy horrible mother after watching me laugh helplessly at his tantrums, because that's really the only reaction i'm capable of.)

(side note: i haven't paid attention in church for one single moment in more than two months and i'm pretty sure it's not getting better for another five. i used to abhor the nursery because i'm a germophobe but seriously -- after days like today -- i say bring on the germs. puke/runny nose/etc has GOT to be better than trying to wrangle a sweaty screaming writhing feral cat parading as my baby for three hours each week.)

he still has a great adventuresome appetite -- he'll try anything i give him, at least for a few bites -- but getting the kid to finish a meal is a major chore. he hasn't gone down in weight percentile but he's not really going up either, so i'm trying to fatten him up. sometimes i resort to letting him watch mickey mouse clubhouse or yo gabba gabba during a meal because i can shovel more food in while he's distracted. it's a work in progress.

jack has a couple "words" that could kind of count as talking -- boy words like truck and go and bear and wow -- but mostly he communicates through grunts. he makes the funniest excited noises when he sees something he wants, it makes me laugh every time. he has also starting singing, humming little notes while we drive in the car or while he plays with toys. guess he's taking after his daddy. [more proof of this: jack already wears 18 - 24 mo. shoes.]

he'll also wave on demand, and squint his eyes at you if you do it to him. mimicking is my new favorite pasttime; we can go back and forth with various facial expressions for hours.

jack loves his toys [a wooden train set from ikea and ANY ball or remote are always faves] but the first thing he usually goes for is a book. he loves books. loves pulling them off the shelves, turning their pages, pointing out pictures with me, listening to us read to him, yanking on the pages. there's really no other way i'd have it -- i LOVE books too and i'm happy to see him fascinated by them already. i hope he develops a love for reading and continues that through his whole life.

also, if you hand him a pen, he automatically starts "writing" with it on any surface. this is a big reminder that i need to keep caps on pens at all times. i've also started letting him watch a little TV each day. he grabs a remote and points it at the TV and pushes buttons -- so observant. he loves hearing ANY music and will usually dance to it, so i pick shows with good tunes. or sometimes i pull up 80s music videos and we watch those instead. gotta make sure he knows the classics, am i right?

life with jack is pretty wild these days -- i'm equal parts thrilled + overwhelmed to see his little [oh-so-strong-willed and passionate] personality come through more and more all the time. i love spending my days with that crazy monkey.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

back to work + 9/11

we're home! hooray. i'll be digging out of my inbox for the next 3 weeks if you need me.

in the meantime, check out this PSA produced by one of my clients. i've been working hard for the past six months on spreading awareness about 9/11 in light of next month's 10 year anniversary. did you know september 11 is now designated a national day of service and remembrance? our goal is to get every man, woman and child to do an act of service on 9/11/11 to remember those we lost 10 years ago.

this is a sensitive topic to me, as it is to everyone in the country (read my past thoughts here) and i feel really privileged to be part of such a special campaign.

[warning: i get choked up every time i watch this and i bet you will too.]

the PSA was released last week (during SYTYCD, lol) and will be on TV, radio, billboards and online throughout the coming weeks. you can also read about MyGoodDeed and 911day in the september issues of reader's digest, family circle, real simple, shape, the costco connection, redbook and others.

go to to share what YOU will do to remember 9/11 this year.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

family reunion

just got back from a whirlwind family reunion in yellowstone. after coming home from san diego and taking one day to detox, jack and i hopped in my parents' suburban and drove 2,500 miles.

my grandpa [who is now 91 years old] was a ranger in yellowstone for a few summers during the 60s. my dad and his whole family would move up there for three months each year. this year, for our once-per-decade family reunion, everyone coverged in montana to check out grandpa's old digs.

i had never been to yellowstone before and it was seriously gorgeous.

pretty sure poor jack hates his car seat by now. the poor guy was trapped in it practically all week, despite my wholehearted attempts to give him as much play time as possible. he is seriously a champ. jack observed much of yellowstone like this:

here's my dad in front of the tiny cabin they lived in when he was just a little kid:

we all loved wearing matching shirts. obviously.

we had lunch in mammoth hot springs, near grandpa's cabin, and a family of elk came to join us! they were pretty much the only creatures we saw during the whole trip, and i was pretty excited about it. apparently i need to get out of the city a little more.

overall it was really fun [despite some requisite family drama, of course]. we had 60 long lost family members from all over the country, many of whom i hadn't seen since our last payzant family reunion in 2002. the only people we were missing were my brother grant [on a mission in mexico] and b [who couldn't get off work seeing as how he just started his new job a few weeks ago].

the best part was watching all the GREAT grandkids play together. at our last reunion, it was just me and all my cousins/siblings. now, most of us are married with kids and i loved watching the next generation interact with each other.

the little kids loved playing with jack -- even accommodated his need for checking out strangers' belly buttons -- and these little boys followed him around, collecting rocks and pine cones for him to inspect and sharing their frisbees. it was adorable.

what would a good outdoor trip be without some crazy mosquito bites? per my usual circumstance, i wound up with 6 bug bites -- some of which swelled to ridiculous proportions.

i especially loved being with my sister and my parents. sad that seattle is so far away because we won't be seeing any of them again for a while.

jack and i fly home tomorrow after a very long 12 days away. i can't wait to see b and sleep in my own bed -- but it's been a great trip!

Saturday, August 6, 2011


just got done with a whirlwind three days in san diego for blogher11. that's a blogging conference i've wanted to attend for years, and this year i finally got to go thanks to a corporate sponsor and a freelancer schedule.

i'm still trying to process my thoughts on the whole thing, but let's just say it was amazing. i was MADE for this conference, both as a blogger [come on, read the stationery place!] and as a communications professional -- it was so refreshing to be around people who "get" my industry. from meeting face to face with friends (whom i'd only known online, beforehand) to networking to reconnecting with old friends to learning more about the social media space to feeling inspired and enriched, i got it all.

it was a bit overwhelming (at 3,000+ attendees, this is by far the biggest blog conference around) but blogher delivered everything i was hoping for and more. like this.

a. me and gretchen rubin [go read her book!!] -- who was super gracious and nice -- in the expo hall
b. rooftop bar at the hotel solamar
c. amazing cake at the hostess with the mostess party
d. giuliana rancic just hanging out, no big deal

and speaking of pseudo celebrities, i walked past this blogger in the hotel lobby and did a major double take. i literally changed direction, ran right up to her and gushed my adoration all over the place like an idiot. she was super nice and even asked for my business card [she said: "oh, cool! i love stationery!" and then i died.] and i said hi to nella and that was it. eep.

[i'm a dork.]

and where was jack during all this? my awesome mom came down to sd for the weekend to babysit, so i could soak up all the blogging goodness. they had a blast together and visited me during lunch.

we miss b of course, who couldn't get away seeing as how he barely started his new job. but if we have to be somewhere, california is a great place to be. especially when it's full of bloggers.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

a tip on diapering

soooo here's a good one for ya.

monday night, we put jack to bed wearing just a t shirt and diaper because it was hot and we don't have a/c in seattle since the temperature never gets above 80. we could hear him talking to himself and playing in his crib, but he wasn't crying so we left him there. my rule is, if he's not crying, don't bug him just let him go to sleep when he wants to.

so, left him we did. but the weird thing was, he babbled in there for almost two hours. hmmmm. normally he goes to sleep pretty quick, so that was different. i even went for a run and came back and he was still talking. he sounded so happy and playful in there, though.

woke up the next morning and went in to get him and what did i find? the result of all that happy playtime.

jack had taken off his diaper, pooped in the crib, thrown it overboard onto the carpet and rug. i'm pretty sure he might have eaten some judging by the poop on his face. it was in his hair, on his hands and feet, on his legs and rubbed all over the railings. he slept all night in that stuff!!! i took pictures (for posterity, of course) but you should thank me because i will refrain from sharing them here.

if you know ANYTHING about you me you know that i am completely averse to gross stuff, so this just about sent me over the edge. i freaked. bath and disinfecting for j, bleach-cleaning of his entire crib, oxy cleaning of the carpet, immediate hot laundry for the sheets/bumpers/mattress cover.

not the most fun way to start your day. b, of course, thought it was no big deal. to quote him: "all kids do this kind of stuff." uhhhh...pretty sure that's not true, but if it is we're never having another kid.

anyway. moral of the story: always ALWAYS make your kid wear pants (or shorts, or a buttoned onesie) to bed. you never know what adventure they will discover. and i guess i've officially been inducted into mommyhood. like my own mom said -- after this, cleaning up barf will be a breeze.