Sunday, March 27, 2011

Little Things: Ada, Eleven Months

Ada is eleven months old! She is such a charming, happy, adventurous baby and I can't wait to see what she's like as she continues to get older. Here are a few details about Ada at this age...

Standing: Ada is very stable on her feet these days. She can pull up on anything, and also stand up in the middle of a room. It seems like she can stand for as long as she wants to stand, although she does lose her balance from time to time.

Communicating: Ada has a lot to say. She says "Jude", "Mama", "Dad", "Ba-ba", "Bye-bye", "Baby", "Beach", and many other expressive words and sounds. Her favorite sound is the letter B. She is constantly chirping and babbling, and loves to have long back-and-forth conversations. She is also doing a few signs - "more" and "all done". And she loves to wave to people.

Play: A few of Ada's favorite games include crawling though tunnels (especially tunnels made of arms and legs), playing peekaboo (she will cover her face with a blanket and emerge with the happiest expression on her face) and "How Big is Ada?". The last game involves Ada raising her hands above her head and laughing hysterically.

Sleep: Ada often has only one nap these days, although sometimes she'll still have two. As I recall, Jude had two naps until he was eighteen months old. She definitely does not need as much sleep as he needs! These days, he will often take a longer nap than she takes. She is doing very well with night-time sleep. Most of the time, she'll sleep though the night. Sometimes she wakes up once and goes right back down with a bottle. She is still swaddled to sleep, but I think we're going to stop wrapping her sometime soon. She really doesn't like having her legs wrapped tightly, so we just wrap her arms and leave her legs loose, and she seems content with that arrangement. She seems to want to sleep on her stomach these days, and we'll often find her face-down when we get her after a nap or in the morning. She's also started doing this cute thing where she burrows her face into a pillow or blanket or someone's shoulder.

Consuming: Ada is happy with 24-30 ounces of formula a day in addition to three meals and a couple of snacks. She's a pretty good eater, although she does better if someone can be interacting with her one-on-one during meal time (i.e. handing her bites to eat and changing what she's offered every few minutes). It doesn't work as well to put food on her tray and expect her to just eat it, although that does work if she's hungry. She really likes to eat meat, and her favorite foods are the protein ones.

Size: Ada wears mostly 12-month clothes, with a few pairs of 9-month pants that are still big enough. She's just about to grow out of her infant car seat, and we'll switch her over to the rear-facing Britax for her second year of life. She loves to wear suede-soled shoes for some extra traction on her feet, and currently fits in the size 6-12 month Robeez. We're finishing up the last box of size 3 diapers before we start using the size 4s. She still has four teeth, but I think a few more are about to poke through.

Jude: Ada just loves her brother, but she is starting to pester him a bit. He'll be watching TV, and she'll crawl over to him, pull up on the arm of his chair, and then start patting and pulling his hair. He does not like this at all and will complain or push her away, but that doesn't stop her. Or she'll stand up right in front of the television and screech so that he can't see or hear what's going on. I don't think it's intentional yet on her part, but this is a preview of the future, I'm sure. Jude also has become very possessive with his toys and other things. If Ada is playing with something, he has to have it. At first, she didn't care, but she has begun to object when something is taken from her.

Here is a video of Ada from a few days ago.

We are really enjoying Ada during her last few months of babyhood. She is such a joy.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Our last trapeze class on Monday morning was a lot of fun.  I started out by revisiting the splits, a trick that I had tried and failed to perfect last summer.  To my surprise, this time I was much more comfortable doing this trick and managed to master it during the first half of the class.  In the meantime, Margaret learned the set whip (the trick that I had been working on earlier in the weekend).

After that, we both learned a new trick called the single reverse knee hang.  This one is a little bit tricky because of the takeoff.  Your right hand starts out on the bar, palm up, and then the palm-down grab with the left hand is on the other side, so your hands are crossed at takeoff.  Then your body does a half turn during the first swing, and you have to let go and re-grip with your left hand so that both hands are facing the same way.  Immediately after this, you pull yourself up and hook the bar with one knee.  That part is not too difficult, but it's kind of challenging to put it all together when doing all of these new things at once.

I only got to try this new trick one time, and here is a video of my first, and only, attempt.  It is pretty rough, but that's often how it goes the first time trying something new.

Afterwards, I got to try a catch with my splits, and I was able to do the catch both times.

Margaret also caught her set whip, the trick she learned that morning.

Next time, I will probably work on my straddle whip again, then possibly learn how to swing (it's a lot harder than it sounds!).  Once we've got that technique down, it opens the door for many other tricks.

We had such a great time taking trapeze classes over the weekend.  I really wish there was a flying trapeze rig in Portland!  For now, I will have to wait until my next trip to New York.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

One-Handed Takeoff

We arrived at trapeze school Sunday afternoon still sore from our previous class, but ready to learn something new.  Our teacher for the day decided that a good next step for both of us would be the one-handed takeoff.  This is a basic building block that a flyer needs to master before moving on to more advanced tricks, and provides more independence up on the platform.

After a few warm-up swings, we learned the mechanics of the one-handed takeoff.  Grab the bar with one hand, bend your knees and simultaneously dip the bar down, then swing it up to parallel as you hop off the platform and grab for the bar at the same time.  It is a little bit terrifying the first few times, and then eventually feels completely natural.  Here's what it looks like.  I'm doing the whip again so that I don't have to work on two new things at the same time..

Margaret caught her straddle whip at this class.  Here's her catch, along with the one-handed takeoff.

In general, this class was not quite as much fun as our first one.  It was full, so the pace was a bit slower, and while we did learn a new technique, it was somehow less satisfying than learning a new trick.  It probably didn't help that I was very sore and also that I didn't make either of my catches...  But it was really helpful to learn the one-handed takeoff and by the next class I felt completely comfortable with it.  And I'm glad that I had a chance to practice my whip a few more times.  That trick is my current favorite.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Set Whips

I took a solo vacation to New York last weekend to visit family and take some trapeze classes.

Our first class was Friday night, just a few hours after I landed at JFK and took the subway to my sister's apartment.  The class wasn't full, so we were able to take a lot more swings than usual, which was fun but perhaps not the best timing considering that we hadn't been up on the rig in almost eight months.  After getting our bearings, we both learned a new trick called the Set Straddle Whip.  Margaret did really well with it, but I had some trouble.  Here's a video of how it's supposed to be done.

After falling out of this trick a few too many times and feeling like I just didn't have the strength to complete it, I moved on to a different trick called the Set Whip.  You'll notice that my feet are between my arms, whereas Margaret's feet were outside her arms.  I was able to catch the whip that night, which was a great feeling for me.

We left the trapeze tent feeling exhilarated and very tired.  I was also covered with bruises on my feet, knees, elbows, wrist, and chin from a few unfortunate landings in the net.  I looked like I had been in a fight, and the next day was even worse since every muscle in my body was sore.  But we couldn't wait to get back to our next class two days later.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Ada has slept through the night more often than not in the past week. That's progress. I can see a light at the end of this tunnel...

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tyee Lodge 2011

Last weekend, we took Jude up to Tyee Lodge (owned by the Trails Club of Oregon) on Mount Hood to play in the snow and spend some time with friends.

I spent a lot of time swinging Jude around in the dining room of the Lodge.

Several pint-sized friends also made the trip up to the mountain.

One highlight of the weekend was making popcorn for "kid-table dessert".  Jude is not impressed with how long it is taking to get the popping started.

We made forts and had snowball fights the next morning.

You'd think this popcorn was covered in chocolate!

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February Books

February was a little bit more normal in terms of reading.  I read four books, including two quick-read "thrillers", one "serious" fiction book, and one non-fiction financial book.  Here's my list and a short review of each.

  1. (2/6) The Scarecrow (Michael Connelly) - Got this recommendation from the Larry Swedroe 2010 book list.  A very fun, fast-paced thriller.  I stayed up way past my bedtime to read this one in about 24 hours.
  2. (2/13) The Lion’s Game (Nelson DeMille) - I seem to be on a streak of thrillers.  I read the sequel to this book sometime last year, and then this one ended up in my house over the holidays.  Another fun one, but I think I would have liked it better if I hadn’t already known what was going to happen...
  3. (2/19) Hush (Eishes Chayil) - I got this recommendation from Kristin Cashore’s blog.  This story of a young Orthodox Jew growing up in Brooklyn is both engrossing and a tough read.  I learned a lot about Jewish culture and mindset - useful considering that I work with a lot of Israelis!
  4. (2/28) I Will Teach You To Be Rich (Ramit Sethi) - I finished this one just in time to count for February...  I’ve had this on my to-read list for a while.  I’ve been following Ramit’s blog for a few years, and I found his book to be surprisingly good.  I wouldn’t say that I learned much from it, but I thought he did a good job of presenting a framework for putting together a financial plan for people in their 20’s and 30’s.  It has the right priorities and a very reasonable investment philosophy.  This is actually very close to what I recommend to people, although Ramit is much more entertaining than I am on the topic.