Saturday, January 31, 2009

Milk for Baby

This post is all about the impact of the new sleep regime on breastfeeding, so those not interested in reading about that can skip this one!

The first night that she slept in her crib, I got so engorged I had to go into the kitchen at 3 a.m. and hand-express what I could into a cup. Not the most effective method, but otherwise the sheets were going to absorb the excess. I didn't want to pump because I thought it might be too loud.

Over the week that followed, I realized that since I wasn't nursing her all night long anymore, my supply was really taking a hit. She's still nursing at least 5x a day (I'm counting) but when I tried to pump in between times I got NOTHIN'. That was discouraging. We didn't have any milk to mix with her rice cereal. We finally broke down and bought some formula, so we at least have it at hand should the need arise. Meanwhile, I started drinking Mother's Milk tea again and eating oatmeal for breakfast again.

Just now, I pumped 2.5 oz! So happy!

Oh! And! It's now over two hours into the second nap and she's still sleeping!!! I had to resettle her one more time at 3:00. But I'm so glad - poor baby was so tired!

Baby Whisperer Day 8: Learning

Now that Terry has read some of the material I've been working from, he's helped me fine-tune some of our techniques at key points where I think we'd gone off track.
  1. I think I was picking up too soon, when she wasn't actually crying, but more just fussing and complaining. At that point, it's better to rub her back and soothe her than to pick her up.
  2. I was also soothing when she wasn't actually upset, just annoyed. This did more to rev her up than calm her down. What she does a lot is get up on all fours, crawl to the side of the crib, and try to stand up. What I was doing at that point was to pick her up to cuddle and soothe her, but she'd fight me - pushing back with arms and legs - so I'd put her down immediately. Well, it's actually better to just lift her and lay her back down saying "time to sleep now."
  3. I was walking away from the crib before she was all the way asleep. My rationale was that she needs to learn to fall asleep on her own, right? So I should walk away before she's all the way under. But the result of that was that within 20 minutes - sometimes 5 - she'd be crying to be picked up again. What I did today, instead, was to stay with her, one hand on her back (or side, when she rolled over onto her back) until she was deeply asleep. This took twenty minutes. AHA!!! We learned a long time ago from Harvey Karp of the "Happiest Baby on the Block" fame that it takes a full twenty minutes for a baby to drop into deep sleep. At exactly 20 minutes into her nap today, she startled, gave a little cry, and rolled over onto her tummy. But I was right there instead of off trying to work or nap or do chores, so I just laid my hand on her back and said "it's ok, you can go to sleep, Mommy's right here," and she went back to sleep straight away. This observation supports Weissbluth's claim that a nap under 30 minutes "doesn't count" - ah, of course! If it takes 20 minutes to fall into a deep sleep, then a nap that short isn't really restorative sleep.

There are two more pieces to our action plan that we're going to implement starting today:

  1. No more nursing in the bedroom. Anywhere else is fine. This will help me be disciplined about not nursing her to sleep. After all, the first step to helping her learn to fall asleep on her own is teaching her not to depend on the breast to fall asleep. That's been the #1 problem disrupting my sleep since November.
  2. Posters detailing exactly the sequence of the wind-down ritual, and PI/PD rules. This sounds excessively anal, I know, but I've been driving myself crazy trying to remember these things in a haze of sleep deprivation and some posted rules will help me. Also the babysitters can follow them when they're here. (Dot, don't worry - we know that Grandma's house is traditionally a haven from mom and dad's rules!) I don't want to be legalistic, but just less anxious about whether I'm doing the correct thing or not.

So. Last night she went down at around 8, woke up 9x, and was up at 6:40.

But... TODAY... she had a good long nap in the morning (9:10-10:45), and is currently 80 minutes into her second nap of the day. YAY!!! Both times, one of us was there to soothe her back to sleep before she fully woke up 20 minutes into the nap. We're going to do the same thing at night: at the first squeak, we'll go soothe her back to sleep instead of waiting until she cries like we have been. If she doesn't wake up all the way, she should go back down easier. Eventually she should go back to sleep without us coming to shush her.

I feel hopeful.

Quote for the Day

"It's been known for many years that the effect of lost sleep accumulates over time...If the sleep disruption is repeated night after night...there is an accumulation of sleepiness that produces in adults continuing increases in headaches, gastrointestinal complaints, forgetfulness, reduced concentration, fatigue, emotional ups and downs, difficulty in staying awake during the daytime, irritability, and difficulty awakening. Not only do the adults describe themselves as more sleepy and mentally exhausted, they also feel more stressed. The stress may be a direct consequence of partial sleep deprivation or it may result from the challenge of coping with increasing amounts of daytime sleepiness."

~Weissbluth, M. (2003) Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child: A Step-By-Step Program For a Good Night's Sleep. New York: Ballantine Books, p. 54.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Baby Whisperer Day 7: and maybe the kitchen sink too... I've read most of the Healthy Habits book, and found it tremendously informative. The dude writes like a German Doctor. Fortunately I've read enough German philosophers and social theorists that in comparison it is very approachable. It just isn't the girlfriends-over-a-cup-of-tea vibe you get from Hogg and Pantley (especially Hogg - which is why I was so sad to learn that she passed away a few years ago; her voice is so reassuring and encouraging, you feel like you could e-mail her and she'd literally show up on your doorstep like Nanny 911 ready to save the day and solve all your problems). I like Weissbluth's research-based approach particularly; Hogg and Pantley do draw on published research but they are much more learn-on-the-job in their approach.

Anyway, one of Weissbluth's researched recommendations is to practice an early bedtime, like around 7 p.m. I have noticed that Valerie's waking time has crept earlier and earlier to around or before 8, and since I started the Log have documented a waking time between 7 and 7:40 a.m. every day. So Weissbluth says that the optimal nap times are around 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., with an optional additional nap around 5 or 6, and bedtime should be around 7.

So we're adding that to the mix, as of last night. We had mixed results: she went down easy at 7:30, but was up again at 8, 9:30, and 10:30. Then she gave us a break until 1. And another break until 3:30. But from then until about 5:30 she was just up and down and up and down. She fell asleep at 5:30 and woke up at 7:00. I got up with her, but she looked soooooo tired! Her eyelids were puffy and heavy, and she kept yawning. Nonetheless, I kept her up until 9 and she went to sleep again at 9:30. Unfortunately it was only a half-hour nap, which Weissbluth says doesn't count.

So here's my big dilemma - nursing to sleep, yes or no? Weissbluth says it's no problem, but you should follow up by leaving them in their cribs for the allotted nap time regardless of whether they wake up and cry or not. Hogg says don't do it, but do go in and pick up/comfort/reassure/put down. Pantley says it's ok, but break the latch right before they're asleep. I've been trying to do Pantley's thing but it really doesn't work for us.

Anyway, I made a nice chart of her sleeping and napping times (see below). While it doesn't reflect her night waking patterns, at least I can see that her nap times have been very irregular. We are going to try to establish more regularity there, but if in 3 days it doesn't at least ameliorate the night waking issue, we may have to try more drastic measures. I really can't go on like this.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Baby Whisperer Day 6: One step forward, two steps back

Last night was kind of a fiasco. Her third nap of the day didn't happen until 6 p.m., but she was so tired that it ended up just segueing directly into night sleep. Except that she went back to her old habit of waking up every hour... At around midnight, she woke up alert and babbling instead of weary and crying, so we changed her diaper, fed her some food and water, and read her bedtime books, all the while keeping things calm and mellow. She went to sleep then, but still kept up with the hourly waking. At 6 a.m. Terry took over the soothing back to sleep/PUPD and I dreamed about zombies chasing me. We got up at 7:30, and I kept her up until around 9 a.m. She ate some mushy pear and bananas with a little rice cereal mixed in. Right now Terry is trying to get her down for her morning nap and she's just not having it. We're supposed to keep trying for 40 minutes and then just let her get up, but I think she'll fall asleep soon. She's just overtired and upset right now.

My goal for today is to establish three good, solid naps so that hopefully she'll be better rested by tonight and do better.

I'm also reading another book I ordered, The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. It's a similar approach, but allows for co-sleeping and integrates the Sears approach pretty closely, while Tracy Hogg (the Baby Whisperer) doesn't approve of Sears. Pantley offers some suggestions for co-sleeping safely that might have made it possible for me to continue doing it - you get rid of ALL the blankets, instead keeping warm by bundling up. Mom cuts openings in her pajamas/sweatshirts/parkas for nursing. Pantley says she was able to get her kids to sleep through the night in her bed with her.

I also ordered Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child but have only dipped into it. The prose style is much less engaging than the other two books - a somewhat irrelevant detail, but it does slow down reading. With Pantley and Hogg both, I felt like I was sitting down for coffee with the authors and chatting in person.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Baby Whisperer Day 5: Day and Night

What a difference a night can make - I feel like a new person today. Plus I had help - T. watched her this morning, then she took a long nap, and then went to GG's for the afternoon. I got so much done...

Here's the Log:
9:00 fell asleep
11:00-ish WU PU/PD >10x over 5 min or so
12:00-ish WU PU/PD same
1:00-ish WU PU/PD about 3x, then BF strong both sides, went down easy.
5:00-ish WU BF immediately, went down easy.
7:40 WU PU/PD 5x, gave up, BF, played, eye-rub, tried again

1/28/09 (Wednesday) D5
8:00-8:40 PU/PD lost count x, ended up lying quietly playing with pacifier for last 10 minutes then we got up and she was happy and not tired anymore.
ate mushy pear and banana, drank water, playing with T.
10:47-12:00: nap. PU/PD about 8x over 5 minutes (?) - she wanted very much to nurse, so I let her BF for a few minutes, but then I gave her a pacifier to suck on which she did, while whimpering for a minute or two, then spit it out. I cuddled her one more time, put her down, and she was out.
ate blend of sweet potato, broccoli, avocado, and banana for lunch
played on floor, took to GG's @ about 1:15 p.m.
3:00-3:30 nap @ GG's
snacked on Cheerios

  • Tonight I'm not waiting so long to BF, I'll feed her the first time she wakes up.
  • She's been eating really well today, and seemed really happy and cheerful all morning.
  • The pacifier seems to help her settle down. I give it to her when she wants to suckle but isn't actually eating.
  • I really miss side-lying nursing her to sleep.
  • I don't miss spending the whole night contorting my body and blankets in awkward configurations around her (she doesn't like having any sheets or blankets touching her hands when she sleeps). I love being able to just haul the blankets up around my shoulders, roll over onto my stomach, and go to sleep. Love, love, love it. Adore it, in fact. Willing to forego aforementioned side-lying nursing for it. Call me cold, but there it is. I'm a better mother when I am somewhat rested.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Baby Whisperer Days 3 & 4: Contemplating

So. Monday was awesome, Tuesday has been ROUGH. But I think we are on our way back into sanity.

First in log notation, then in narrative/discussion form:

1/26/09 (Monday)
7:30 WU babbling, ready to play
BF strong both sides, about 10 min. Offered cereal/cheerios, not into it
8:30 sleepy cues. Played another 1/2 hour until def. sleepy.
9:15-10:40: nap, PU/PD 14x over 15 minutes. Left room a couple times when she was babbling, standing, not crying. Returned immediately when cried.
BF strong, not into food.
12:00-1:00 @ GG's. Not into food. Rooting.
BF strong @ 1:00ish, drove home crying v. tired.
1:15-3:20 nap. PU/PD 7x over 5 minutes
2:20 WU, resettled PU/PD 4x over 3 minutes
BF, ate food, played, BF again 2x; acted tired all through; tried to put down at 4:30 or so to no avail.
got up at 5 to play. BF, ate a lot of mushy pear, water, fed self cheerio! :-)
5:26-6:10: nap, PU/PD about 10x? over 11 minutes
went to Trek @ Martins', fed her a handful of Cheerios one by one.
8:50-ish started wind-down
9:20 PU/PD 15x over 20 minutes, much less crying

So. Trends of note: two good long naps in the day, during which I did not need to re-settled her down in the middle! I was so deliriously happy about this that I spent both chunks of time on the computer instead of napping myself, which turned out in retrospect to be a serious error in judgement/strategy. The proverbial chickens came home to roost today. But more on that later.

Another thing I noticed was that since we started this process, she has regressed somewhat in terms of eating solid food, but wants to BF a lot more. Yesterday she didn't eat any solid food until after 4 p.m. I don't know if it's because I am nursing her less during the night (twice at most), or just a general retrenchment in the face of this big New Thing we are doing. Also, the first day she was a little extra clingy with me, but not the second or third day. And the third thing I've noticed is that she seems to be talking a little bit less than she was, but that may just be my impression; I haven't really been monitoring her vocalizations that closely.

What I did notice on Monday was that generally she was really happy, seemed very content, fussed less during diaper and clothing changes, also less fussing in the car seat. I wonder if she's been sort of chronically overtired in the past few weeks?

Ok, now Tuesday (today), Day Four of the new sleep regime:
9:20 to bed; PU/PD 15x over 20 minutes, much less crying
11:20 PU/PD 1x
1:43 PU/PD 9x over 25 minutes, from wide awake/playing/babbling
2:20 restless, thump, cry - PU/PD 1x
2:45 or so, WU, BF, fell asleep around 3 (put down when almost out)
6:00 ish, WU, BF, PU/PD 1x

1/27/09 (Tuesday) D4
7:00 WU, got up instead of extending sleep even though she seemed tired still.
BF, cheerios, huge poop, v. tired
8:10 begin wind-down
8:20 in crib, awake, wanting to play, lost count of PU/PD, after 40 min got up again
BF, ate mushy pears, played
9:30 seemed v. tired, begin wind-down again
9:50-10:20: nap, PU/PD 12x over 10 minutes
*working on the soothing part of wind-down.
BF, ate cereal w/ avocado, cheerios, seemed tired and sleepy yet.
12:00-1:15: nap/interrupted
12:30 WU, resettled
1:00 WU, resettled
1:15 just got up and BF
ate some cheerios and cereal, drank a lot of water, played, skyped GGP
3:30-5:30: nap. PU/PD 2x, she went down quick!!
4:00 WU, PU/PD 7x, noticed she was pulling her left ear and shaking head hard.

On the chart it looks like she woke up five times in the night, but the section from 1:45 a.m. to 3 a.m. was just kind of all one jack-in-the-box up and down. I missed the hungry cue at the beginning of that period; when I finally did nurse her she went right down. We had two 2-hour blocks and one 3-hour block but I was still very tired at 7 when we got up.

I should have tried to get her to sleep a little longer, extending the night sleep for at least another hour, but it was a snow day and I wanted to let Terry sleep in a little longer, and the thought of another half-hour PU/PD session just made me tired. So I just took her out into the living room. This kind of threw our whole day off kilter, as she wasn't done sleeping and so spent the next hour rubbing her eyes intermittently. So I tried to put her down for a nap just after 8, to no avail - after 40 minutes I gave up (as per Baby Whisperer protocol). We tried again an hour later and she took a half-hour nap. I could/should have tried to extend that nap too, but again I was just tired and frustrated so we got up and fed her and whatnot, but she was still very tired.

By noon I was about DONE IN. Tired to the point of tears. I put her down and tried to nap while she napped, but she woke up every 1/2 hour, and in between I had to get up to use the bathroom, so with one thing and another I got no nap at all. It was very frustrating.

So then we did our afternoon thing - ate, played, skyped with Grandma and Grandpa Phelps in LA (that was fun!). At 3:30 she rubbed her eyes and I immediately called nap. She went down really fast and easy. I lay down myself as well, but at 4 she was up again. I resettled her to sleep again and at that point gave up on getting any rest myself today. Figures that at that point she finally DID take a long extended nap, an hour and a half! I took a bath and then got my turn on the computer b/c Terry was done working (he was home for the snow day, and I didn't have my babysitter for same reason).

Right now she is playing on the floor behind me and Terry is cleaning off the car to possibly take her to Grandma and Grandpa Jantzi's. Maybe I will get a nap yet.

Further Thoughts
  • The measure to which I am re-training her is matched by the measure to which I am re-training myself. Changing my ingrained parenting habits is no small undertaking. Keeping in mind the principles of the new regime is a challenge, but more important than just mastering the procedures/techniques/rules.
  • There's no way I could do this and be working full-time at the same time. I have this little window of time right now before I start my A-exams in earnest next week. It had better be working by then is all I have to say.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Baby Whisperer Day 2: Tentatively Thrilled...

To be fair to Ferber, I have read a little more and learned that this method does not wholesale advocate abandoning your child to his or her tears. But the big difference between Ferber and Tracy Hogg (the original "Baby Whisperer") is that in Hogg's method, you always pick up the crying child. You never leave him or her to cry alone. You comfort, then put down again, using your voice and a hand on the back to reassure the baby. On the other hand, Hogg does agree with Ferber's notion that the child needs to learn to put him or herself to sleep without depending always on nursing, rocking, swinging, etc. to fall asleep.

Now. I have a few more things to say about our household debates about the use of sleep props, as opposed to "wind-down" techniques. But I'll save that for tomorrow's post. Meanwhile, here is my Valerie sleep log from the past two days, with some comments/analysis after.

Key to abbreviations: WU = woke up
PU/PD = picked up, put down
BF = breastfeeding (nursing)
GG= Grandma and Grandpa's

1/24/09 (Saturday)
7:30 wake up
9:00-9:30 nap in stroller
11:00-11:30 attempted PU/PD, but she didn't fall asleep; she sat up and wanted to play, so we went back out to living room.
1:24-2:36 nap in crib: PU/PD 4x
3:30 went to play at GG's
4:30-5:00 nap in GG's crib
play, eat @ restaurant
8:30-9:00 PU/PD 59x over 30 minutes to sleep in crib

9:45 stirred, didn't wake up
WU, PU/PD 4-8x over 5-10 minutes each time:
1:17 - nursed about 5 minutes
3:50 - nursed about 10 minutes
5:45 sat up and started babbling, wanted to play. Took her out but she was v. tired.
6:45 PU/PD 8x over 5-10 minutes, slept 45 min.

1/25/09 (Sunday)
7:30 WU babbling and wanting to play.
showed signs of sleepiness off and on throughout morning; not too interested in food, but nursed a lot (very awake) and drank a lot of water. Big poop.
11:00-11:30 nap, PU/PD 1x after nursing to drowsiness, very nearly asleep (probably a little too long)
lunch, then out to eat w/ D&V
1:50-2:20 nap in Vern's arms and car seat (didn't nurse to sleep, but did rock to sleep)
home, played, nursed
4:15- nap in crib, PU/PD 26x for 35 minutes prior
4:45 WU, resettled PU/PD 4-5x over 10 minutes
5:35 WU, resettled PU/PD 13x over 10 minutes
6:30 WU
play/eat (not into eating)
7:30 meltdown; started winding down for bed
(clean up toys, draw bath, undress, wait for Terry to get home to help)
while waiting for T., BF strong for 10 min at least, then she ate ALL her dinner
8:00 bath, continued bedtime ritual (put on PJs, read books, cuddle and sing lullaby)
9:02 PU/PD 17x over 25 minutes to sleep in crib

1:15-ish WU, PU/PD 5x, 2x, 5x over 15 minutes
2:15 WU, PU/PD 1x!!!
3:00 WU, PU/PD about 5x? BF strong, both sides, 10 minutes
6:17 WU, PU/PD about 15x (lost count) over 25 minutes to extend night sleep
(slept another 45 minutes!) Note: v. engorged; hand-expressed about 1/2 oz.

1/26/09 (Monday)
7:30 WU babbling, ready to play
BF strong both sides, about 10 min. Offered cereal/cheerios, not into it
8:30 sleepy cues. Played another 1/2 hour until def. sleepy.
9:00-[still napping at time of post] : nap, PU/PD 14x over 15 minutes. Left room a couple times when she was babbling, standing, not crying. Returned immediately when cried.

  • Notice that the first night she woke up seven times, nearly every hour, and we got up very early. But the second night, she woke up only four times!
  • Even better? Notice that the longest sleep period during the first night was about 90 minutes. But the second night? Nearly FOUR HOURS!!! Except for one time last week when she was just getting over her ear infection, this is the first time she or I have slept that long in MONTHS.
  • Finally, notice that the first night it took 30 minutes and 59 times picking her up before she went to sleep on her own. But the second? Only 17 times, in 25 minutes.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

so big!!

wearing sweater my mom made

high chair!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

whispering to the baby

So I'm doing it: at the recommendation of a friend whose PhD is in attatchment theory, I'm trying the Baby Whisperer approach. No, not trying - there is no try: there is do, or do not. I'm fully committed, no turning back.

The books came on Thursday, I read them Friday, we set up the crib, and Saturday we began. Friday night was her last night in our bed. At 2 a.m. I looked at her sweet little face sleeping so gently next to me, and felt sad... at 5 a.m. I was like "can I put her in the crib now? How about... now? Ok, now?"

The sleep deprivation has been relentless. Friday morning at 5 a.m., after fruitless two hours of trying to settle her back to sleep, she and I were both crying and I told Terry, "I can't do this anymore." For probably close to two months she's been waking me up every hour, sometimes every twenty minutes, wanting to suckle back to sleep. It's just unsustainable.

So the basic principles of Baby Whispering are: establish a daily rhythm of eat, activity, and then sleep, and teach baby to put herself to sleep in her own bed. This is done by putting her down drowsy but still awake, and then practicing "pick up/put down" every time she cries until she falls asleep on her own. You don't leave her to cry it out, in the infamous Ferber method, but you stay with her, keep a hand on her back, and talk quietly to her the whole time. It's supposed to take 3-5 days to work.

I will keep y'all posted on how it goes!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Breaking News (*edited)

Yesterday was significant on a national level (and man oh man was I one happy camper!) but also for Babycakes - she pulled herself up to standing three times! Once on Daddy, and twice on the ugly old orange chair in our living room! Go Babycakes!

*edited to add: I was reminded today that she also pulled herself up to standing on Grandpa at some point during the inauguration festivities, which is why I missed that one!

I need to download photos... soon... meanwhile, here's one courtesy of a friend (hence not at our house):

Monday, January 19, 2009

the Baby Diaries

My SIL calls her our "people-puppy" and indeed she is up to a number of new tricks.
She is very intent on mastering the pincer-grasp, which is the ability to pick up small objects with thumb and forefinger. Unfortunately she also practices this on ME, especially while nursing. I have little red welts all over my chest.
It's fascinating to hear her expand her verbal repertoire. She started out with "Bababababa," and recently added "Bfff, bfff, bfff." This is now usually her first "word" in the morning, in place of the long, drawn-out "AAaaaaaaaAAAaaAAa"s that we used to refer to as "singing." Last night she added TWO new "words" - "Ananananana," and (closely related) "Adadadada"!
For several months she has also been making a clicking sound with her tongue behind her front top gums (where her front teeth will be), followed by a sound kind of like "goioioioing" in the back of her throat. Sounded a bit like a frog. I finally figured out how she was doing it, as I experimented until I could imitate it (although mine sounds different because my mouth is bigger and I have teeth): she makes a pocket of air between her tongue and palate, then pushes the air out the back of the pocket and down into the back of her throat in a series of little bubbles.
So in addition to "Precious" I can now call her "Gollum" too :-).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

eight months old today! In words

Valerie, you are eight months old today! It was a good day; you are feeling much better from your recent ear infection - your appetite is back, and you are sleeping much better as well (in 3-hour stretches, instead of 1-hour or 20-minute stretches as you had been recently...). You were happy today playing with your new babysitter. You have mastered crawling in the past two weeks, and are showing us all the things we need to baby-proof around the house. You want to pull yourself up to standing but can only get as far as your knees. You are fascinated by things that move and make noise: balls, rattles, and bells. And you looooove doggies. You laugh and giggle when I take you next door to look at the doggie Kai, and your eyes go straight to the doggie calendar Grammy gave us when we walk into the kitchen. You love the little toy dog that goes "ruff ruff!" And, of course, your favorite book is Doggies.

You don't love: being strapped into anything (car seat, high chair...), being dressed (stuffing limbs into tubes!), taking your meds - you've mastered the art of pressing your lips together while crying...

You appear to recognize the words: party, bath, walk, Daddy, Mommy, doggie, snozzle (the bulb syringe), and "quieres mas?"

We love you to distraction and hang on your every word.

eight months old! a photo retrospective

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Where we're at

So, in response to Rachel's questions - I'm not done with school, just with classes. Which means I don't have to be on campus anymore, but it will still be 2.5 more years until I finish my degree. This semester I'll be taking my qualifying exams long-distance, and working on my research proposal. Also applying for research funding. (Bleah.) I plan to start my research over the summer, concluding in June next year. Then I analyze my data and write my dissertation. Ta-da! PhD! :-)

So, for the foreseeable future, we're all together as a family. I have vacated my apt. in Ithaca, but still have a lease on it until the end of May... tried to find a sub-letter, hasn't worked out yet.

Oh, and I am still knitting... I just keep forgetting to take pictures of it! I sent three pairs of socks to Savannah, and am currently working on a fourth pair. It was supposed to be a Christmas present... I just turned the heel on a tweedy brown men's sock, that has a cable pattern along one side. It's going really fast... awesome.

Just for the record, if it weren't for my mother-in-law, I'd be toast right now. Trying to get anything done these days with the Little One-One climbing up my legs is nearly impossible. Thanks Dot!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Back to Blogging

It took us four days to travel across the country by train, three days to see my lovely friend C. get married in Yosemite, and another four days to get back to the East Coast. During that time I think I had internect connection twice. We spent Christmas Day in Union Station in Chicago, cold and bored, and I got food poisoning from (I think) a half dozen chicken wings. Then we had five days to pack up my NY apartment before driving south on New Year's Day. It was an eventful end to 2008. Little V. handled it all with equanimity. She is currently fighting an ear infection (boooo!), practicing her new-found crawling skillz, and declaiming "Bababababa!" I'm trying to figure out all our new systems here. Today the dryer broke. It's great having doting grandparents nearby!!!