Friday, February 29, 2008

Stefan: a willing model

Originally uploaded by Caroline in Paris.
Stefan is nearly 6 months old already! After so many people saying how cute Stefan was, I decided it was time for another photo shoot for him. He is such a great model. Still happy and easy-going. By the way, he is rolling like crazy now! Sits on his own for short periods. I'm holding off on solids because he seems to be spitting up more than usual. We're doing lots of laundry here. Click on the photo for more photos to view at my flickr site.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Marigolds a-growing

Maylin and I planted marigold seeds in these recycled plastic cups on January 28th. They first sprouted on Friday, February 1st. With daily misting and lots of sun (before this rainy week), the plants have been growing happily. This simple activity requires about a quarter cup of potting soil in each plastic cup, three seeds on top, a little extra soil to cover the seeds, and a little compression using your fingers. Water gently with a mister daily. Marigolds are very hardy but do prefer full sun. Watch them grow and watch your kids grow in excitement, too.

Speedy reader

Maylin is learning to read so fast! It's a joy to hear her read to me and to watch her pick up new words so quickly. Just when I think the repetition is going to wear her down (in a book or with flashcards), she keeps plodding along and eventually soaks in a new word. We've been complementing her homework reading books with the Hooked on Phonics system, and I think Maylin is very happy with her success so far.

And with her excitement in reading, she has taken on writing with extra zeal. After school yesterday, we colored four pages in her fairy coloring book together and I suggested that she write a story to go with them. She decided on her wording and figured out her own way to add the text to the pages -- written on strips of white paper and stapled on. I helped her spell only a few words. I'm a proud mommy!

Commando crawler

Stefan crawled once last week! He commando-ed on his belly for about a foot. So exciting! He hasn't been able to replicate it, but he's starting to move onto his knees. The real crawling begins soon!

Disposable contact lens wearers: save mucho dough!

Last night, I was cleaning out a drawer in one of our bathrooms and found my relatively new package of expensive toric lenses for my left eye (only eye with astigmatism). These lenses are supposed to last for three months each. While we were in Paris, I was running low on lenses and was too lazy (and maybe scared?) to go find an optometrist, have an eye exam, and get fitted again (it took a grueling three visits in the States to find the right lenses for me). So I ended up wearing these lenses for a year each and the ones for my right eye, at least three months each (labeled as one-month disposables).

So after we moved back here, I thought it was time to treat my eyes to new contacts. I confessed to the optometrist that I had worn my present lenses way beyond their expiration date and was shocked to hear from him that it was perfectly fine. One year is fine for 3-month lenses, 3 months is fine for 1-month lenses. So the lens manufacturers are lying to us, in a way, so they can make more money. Don't be fooled -- wear your disposables as long as you comfortably can. When they don't feel right anymore and your vision with them deteriorates, toss'em.

Let the good times roll

I am soooo happy this morning! First of all, Stefan is definitely over his cold and his two weeks of fussiness and horrible napping. Mommy feels liberated already! Second, I decided to try on an old skirt that I bought in Paris. Crossing my fingers, I was pleasantly surprised. It fit! As most of us moms know, it's a challenge to get back our original figures, so think how shocked I was when the skirt slipped on so easily and comfortably -- I didn't even have to suck in my belly. You might think, "so I guess all that exercising has been paying off," but actually, I stopped my regime during the holidays and never got back into it. Maybe we can thank Stefan for sucking all those calories out of me the last two weeks.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Me and the kids

Thanks to a friend (and a little cropping on my part), I have a photo of me and the kids. Go out and take a photo of a mommy-friend and her kids. She will be eternally grateful!

Onesie mania

Stefan and I were sick this past week, but we're almost fully recovered now. And I've been dying to do some sort of craft project. I finally finished one! I've printed some onesies using my handmade rubber stamps and special fabric paint.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Paris movie binge

Sorry I've been out of contact for so long. Last week wasn't the best week. Stefan was really out of sorts and has been spitting up a lot more than usual. He's not much better this week. Add to that a sleeping problem revisited (remember when I couldn't go back to sleep for two hours after waking up in the middle of the night?). I was incredibly exhausted last week. My sleeping is much better now, but Stefan is still waking up every three hours (yes, I thought he was going to start sleeping through the night, but that never happened) so I'm not getting a great night's sleep. At least I am sleeping some.

Even though I love Berkeley, there's still a part of me that's back in Paris. An alternate Caroline in a parallel universe -- and she's having a great time in Paris. Here are a few movies I've watched lately (thanks to the Berkeley Public Library and Netflix) that help take me back to that other city I love so much:

Paris, je t'aime/Paris, I love you
Le ballon rouge/The red balloon
Les quatre cents coups/The four hundred blows
Fauteuils d'orchestre/Orchestra seats (American title: Avenue Montaigne)

I highly recommend "Le ballon rouge" -- a whimsical, wordless short film, and Truffaut's masterpiece, "Les quatre cents coups." The other two are good, too, but these oldies are special.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Return of the Underpants

In one of my past lives, I was a retail manager, as some of you know. While I was still in training in one of the stores, I was called to one of the cash desks to resolve a situation. The employee just didn't know what to do with this elderly woman who insisted that we take back her circa-1950 bloomers which were, believe it or not, unused and still with the tags on. As a manager, I had the power to please the customer so we gave her her money back and tossed her undies in the trash.