Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mahncke Park could take Mr Rogers neighborhood anyday

I really live in the best neighborhood ever. In the history of neighborhoods there has never been one better.

  • My lady neighbors brought us six weeks of meals to help us through the early post partum period.
  • There is always a neighbor on their front porch and you are always welcome to stop by and chat.
  • We send group facebook messages to set up impromptu playdates at Brackenridge park.
  • We all have the cutest stinkin' houses.
  • I have never had to run to the store for a last minute forgotten ingredient. I have a dozen neighbors I would feel comfortable borrowing a cup of sugar from.
  • I have made the best mama friends. They are women who help me when I am crazed and celebrate with me when I am not. 
  • Old Man Jesse lives here.
  • I am not even going to get into the location: walk to the Witte, Brackenridge Park, the zoo, the zoo train!, the Pearl Brewery Complex, Central Market, the Terrell Hills Firehouse, Cappy's, Tong's Thai, Cachito de Mexico - you name it!
  • There are running groups, book clubs, supper clubs, a gang of skateboarding dads, something for everyone. 
  • The moms have a bi-annual clothing swap.
  • My kid loves it here. Zahra will too, but she hasn't quite caught on yet.
Here is one of those impromptu backyard playdates that saved my crazy Tuesday.

Our neighbors have a tree house

And a great backyard

Our neighbors have sturdy babies and they let us gather all of their balls together

Our neighbors share

There is something for everyone that is just their size

Zayd's dream come true

And Old Man Jessie walks us home after the playdate

Lately I have been worrying over schools (because one thing we lack is a viable education system here is San Antonio ISD) and if our house can really accomodate us and our visitors forever. I am not really sure about the answer to those questions. Those things might push us out of our house someday...but it would be with a very heavy heart. There is no community I would rather live in and I think I am the luckiest lady to know what truly having awesome neighbors can really mean to your quality of life. You probably have to live here to know what I mean...

What do YOU love about Mahncke Park?

Friday, January 25, 2013


Zayd i is currently obsessed with this little guy

And even more enamored with his cute little sidekick

Yes, folks, that is the karate elephant that has taught Zayd all of his fancy ninja moves.

Now after a stellar lemon birthday party last year, and Sam promptly nixing a blueberry themed follow up, I am considering a karate themed second birthday party.

A karate theme would allow us to dress up, have a demonstration, stick to simple black and white decor and have a theme that I'm sure Zayd will love.

But is Zayd too young for the theme? Will the other mahncke mamas think I've gone nuts or assume I am letting the tot stay up all night playing call of duty?

I'll put a poll on the left and hope you will all help me out. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Whole Lotta Lovey Goin On

Zayd is 100% in love with all of us. Baby, Daddy, Mommy, Nani, Nana, Uncle Jon, Nini, and now, baby monkey. We go through the list often these days. "Who do you love?" and "Who does mommy love?" Sometimes we add things like our wooden train, elephants, or random objects - a diaper, a towel, whatever.

There is just a lot of love goin around.

My favorite thing to see is how Zayd has taken to his monkey Nani bought him long before he was born. He runs around with it under his arm now, takes it to bed, and gives it a truck to play with while we play cars on the floor. Its adorable.

Well, I guess my favorite favorite is how he loves Zahra. He rocks her in the rocking chair and kisses her at least 20 times a day. She is suddenly at an age where she spends a little bit of time awake, looking around and not crying, which means Zayd gets a lot more time with her. If she is sleeping, he can't be trusted, and if she is screaming, well, he isn't the best at calming her down. But, when they are both awake, they are together. Its adorable.

And here is a throwback - from almost a year ago when I thought Zayd might take a lovey. Ha! http://catchingsomez.blogspot.com/2012/02/lovies-for-all.html

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tea for Twenty

Zahra held her first tea party this weekend and it was such a wonderful time. A low key event where Mommy, Daddy and babies got to catch up with old friends and enjoy one too many cookies. (I think Zayd had a baker's dozen!)

The menu included four different types of tea, chocolate strawberry cupcakes, two kinds of scones (thanks Julie!), a baklava assortment (how Saleem-y of us), sugar cookies, and the hit of the day sour gummy worms. Ha ha ha. I thought the gummy worms were such a ridiculous purchase but they matched the cookies I had made and I heard multiple people exclaim "Gummy Worms!!" So I guess mom (Susan) hit the mark with those.

The kids had their own tea party table with Winnie the Pooh tea (chamomile sweetened with chicory root), tiny cups and saucers, mini milk jugs and SUGAR! We had to remove the tiny sugar bowls after Zayd discovered them.

 A tea place setting fit for a tot. The tea sets came from World Market and I am about to go buy a dozen more for all of our toddler birthday parties this year. What a great gift!

Thanks to Aunti Andie for helping with the setup and keeping the kids corralled. :)

Zayd drinks tea everyday but it is significantly more adorable when he does it in a sweater vest with a tiny cup.

Zayd was beyond thrilled to see Bri Bri arrive. (Thanks Auntie Kathy!) Here he is with one of one hundred gentle hugs. I have taught him to one-handed hug because he gets a little overzealous and people suffocate under the squeeze of his genuine hugs.

 It was wonderful to see old friends and little babies (who really aren't so little once you look at Zahra!)

Zayd kept the tea party going long after the sweater had to come off.

And when the tea got boring Uncle Jon to the rescue. Zayd has been trying to dribble every since. We have called Uncle Jon twice to ask that he bring over a ball. :)

The night wound down with a dozen of my favorite people gathered around the living room basically watching the Zayd show. I know I am enamored of him but it seems he was quite entertaining for EVERYONE. What an awesome age!

Thanks to everyone who made it out. It was such a nice time. Zayd loved the party, and now he is old enough to tell me how great it was. 

What a wonderful family, what a wonderful weekend, what a wonderful life.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Surrender to the Schedule

After many months of coaxing Zayd toward independent sleep I became an avid believer in THE schedule. In the idea that there is one proper schedule for my son at each particular phase of his life. It is my job as his mother to discover it and adhere to it. Strict, I know, but I really think it serves us both well.
Recently after a cold, Zayd's 530am wakeups have been more like 5 am and it just wasn't working for us anymore. So with a little baby whispering Wake To Sleep magic, I seem to have him starting the morning around 6:15. (W2S entails waking him 1.5 hours before the offending wake-up, letting him immediately resettle, thus throwing off his internal clock so he doesn't know when its 5am.) We had three successful mornings until today when he woke with a nightmare a little after five.
In the same vein, I have actually developed a schedule for Zahra as well. I don't make her adhere, but I work towards feedings every three hours and charting her sleep. She will benefit from our growing pains with the lentil.
So, to capture these early weeks, lets look at the schedule we had today.

12:30am Nurse Z2
2:30am Nurse. Playtime till 3:30
3:30am Z2 asleep
5:00am Z1 screaming with nightmare.
5:00-5:30am Pat Z1's back
5:30am Nurse Z2, put her back to bed
6:15 Z1 up
7:30am Z2 needs nursing snack to make up for small feeds during the night. Z1 needs breakfast.
8:30 Z2 actual "breakfast"
9:30 Z2 back to sleep till next feed
11:30 Lunch for Z1 and Z2
12pm Z1 nap, Z2 playtime
1:44 Z2 asleep in crib after Baby Whispering
1:44 - 1:55 Mommy naps!
1:55 Z1 up
2:30 Z2 eats Back to sleep.
5:30 Dinner for Zs. Playtime.
6:30 Z1 Bedtime routine.
7 Z1 asleep. Feed Z2.
9 Feed Z2. Pray she sleeps till 12:30!

Can't wait for them to grow up just a TINY bit. :) (Actually, he can stay less than two, and she should just catch up!)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Lesson Learning

All of a sudden, I realized that we can really teach Zayd things. I mean, I have been teaching him all along, but with the recent language EXPLOSION (honey is a new word from the weekend), you realize how easy it is to teach Zayd something new. Words are the easiest, songs are pretty simple too. Some things, such as holding your fingers to show 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 require dexterity he just doesn't have (1,4,5 are good to go!) but that will probably pop up just like the words did. And other things are going to take time. We worked on sharing this weekend. We went to the store with the specific purpose of buying cookies (and the week's groceries) so that we could share some with our friends. The cookie buying was exhilarating for Zayd especially since they had samples and he got to taste two kinds and pick his favorite. The sharing maybe ended in tears. But he did successfully offer a half-eaten chocolate snicker-doodle to the toddler visiting across the street. So some things, even things that a month a go Zayd was often recognized for!, will take some time.

This weekend we also worked on gratitude. In this amazing neighborhood of ours, we have received a prepared dinner 3-4 nights a week since Zahra was born. (Often with a dessert!) The neighbors pop over, deliver a meal and meet the babe. It is wonderful. And requires a lot of thank you notes!

One special neighbor also offered a bag FULL of wooden cars for Zayd to enjoy since her kiddoes had outgrown them. I thought he would LIKE them but I had NO IDEA. We now have to take these cars everywhere with us in our Elmo backpack. The night he got them, we had to push bedtime back at least thirty minutes before we could separate him from his car sorting mission. Here he is the night they arrived on our doorstep:

The amount of time he spends on independent play has skyrocketed with the arrival of these cars. And it couldn't have come at a better time! (According to Zahra...)

To express our sincere gratitude, Zayd and I worked together on a thank you card this weekend for the nice neighbors and included a sheet of Batman stickers.

Then we just had to deliver it, unscathed!

I love this lentil and can't believe how he has grown. I'm so happy to have a record of Zayd's first thank you note.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Lollipop turns One! (Month!)

Zahra is officially a month old - my goodness how time has flown and how much she has changed these past few weeks. I know I have been on this rollercoaster before but it feels just as surprising to watch her change by the day.

To celebrate her one month birth-aversary (which luckily coincided with our Thursday Mommy and Me brunch) we had the whole neighborhood clan over for spinach and leek casserole and some fun play time. There were 12 kiddoes here under 4 and two were still measured in weeks! Zahra got some loving from her favorite Mahncke Aunties and Zayd got to play with someone more mobile than his little lolli.

An update! Zahra can:

  • Control her head enough to look about, crane her neck towards the gripe water or towards her lunch!
  • Go to sleep in her own bassinet with some gentle back patting.
  • Sleep for five straight hours on occasion (rare but wonderful!)
  • Survive her first cold! (Well, she is surviving it and I know she can...poor girl!)
  • She seems to be in the 8 pound range but have to wait for her six week appointment to really get her weighed.
Zahra is different from big brother Zayd:
  • The car is not a go-to solution for her.
  • She screams less and mostly when eating or right afterwards due to our hindmilk/foremilk overproduction issues...sigh.
  • She is significantly less interested in sleeping on top of you.
  • There is a lot more vomit.
  • Loves her binky! (I have called her Zar Zar Binks but Sam says you can't make up a Star Wars nickname after the worst Star Wars character of all time...what do you think?)
  • Unlike her brother, she seems to noticeably calm when mommy picks her up! (And noticeably fuss when mommy hands her to someone else!)
Mommy is better at it this time:
  • Mommy can distinguish the gassy cry and face from the hungry cry and face from the tired or overstimulated cry. Woot! Makes it easier. No wonder she cries less!
  • Mommy is considerably less stressed.