Monday, January 04, 2010

the end of an era

The desire for change at this time of year is infectious, and I am not immune. After much thought, and for a variety of reasons, I've decided that it's time to retire Adventures with Lindsay.

Are you shocked? Perhaps you should be. I kind of am. When I started this blog nearly four years ago, I didn't envision its end. Nor did I imagine just how many regular readers would eat up my words and then beg for more. It's been an incredible thrill to write for an audience, and a great opportunity to hone my skills and love of writing.

But things have changed -- I have changed, as has my situation. I have two little boys who love and need me. I have a home that needs maintaining. I have other writing projects that I'm itching to tackle, things I want to make, books to read, new recipes to try, adventures in the city to embark on. I can't spend as much time as I have been lately sitting at the computer.

But before you panic, know this: I'm not going to disappear altogether. Blogging is something that I've grown to love. I love the audience I've gathered. I love the outlet and the opportunity to practice the craft of writing that it provides. I love how it is a way for my family, who we live so far away from, to be a part of our lives on a daily basis. And, despite the cliches associated with saying so, what I've written and will continue to write is recorded as a history of my small family, and that is too precious to abandon completely.

And so I'm moving to a new blog. Lindsay & Company will be simpler and less cluttered. It will be kept mainly as a way for me to capture the moments my family and I experience, as well as a few of the thoughts and ideas floating around in my head, and as such, I hope that it will be more focused. I toyed seriously with the idea of turning the comments off, but I think that, at least for now, I will leave them on. Blogging is, after all, a conversation, and I've enjoyed hearing your responses to what I have to say. I'm not sure yet how frequently I will publish posts, but I will very likely continue to write on a regular basis. And while I will continue to blog to practice the craft of writing, I will not be spending as much time as I currently do molding my posts with never-ending revisions.

What will become of Adventures with Lindsay? I plan to leave it up for a short time while I prepare to publish and bind it in book form. Soon, though, I will switch the setting to private and it will only be accessible to me.

I would be honored if you continued to read. If you wish to do so, please take a few moments to update your sidebar links and reader subscriptions, or bookmark Lindsay & Company.

This is, for me, a bittersweet farewell. It's been a great adventure, and it's hard to see it go. But if I've learned anything, it's that there are always new adventures in store just around the corner. Maybe I will see you there.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

the final books of 2009

36. Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems by Richard Ferber, M.D.
Not everyone loves the "Ferber Method," but since it's a method of handling childhood sleep issues that I follow naturally anyway, I really liked this book. I read it because we'd been having some problems with Garrett's bedtime routine that we needed to fix in preparation for transitioning Caleb into his bedroom, and Dr. Ferber's outline of the human sleep cycles, as well as his suggestions for solving sleep problems, really helped us to take control of them. I highly, highly recommend this book, whether or not your child currently has difficulty during the night.

37. The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got that Way by Bill Bryson
If the study of linguistics, especially historical linguistics, interests you, you'd probably like this book. First of all, it's Bill Bryson, so it's hilarious. Also, it's incredibly fascinating. I could have done without the chapter on swear words. (In fact, I did. After reading a couple pages, I realized that finishing it would neither add or detract from any other part of the book, so I skipped it altogether.) Definitely an excellent read.

38. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir by Bill Bryson
I read this one on my mom's recommendation. Again, it's Bill Bryson, so again I was rolling on the floor in laughter. This book is his memoir of growing up in Des Moines, Iowa, in the 1950s. His childhood is about as ordinary as they come, but he aligned it up with major cultural and political events of the decade, and that is what I think made it so interesting. Though I could have done without the profanity he sprinkled throughout, I've learned over the years that I'm the sort of reader who often brushes things like that aside when the rest of the book is worth reading.

39. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
It seems like everyone has been reading -- and recommending -- this book, so as my last book of the year, I finally jumped on the bandwagon. And, oh, I am so glad that I did. For the few of you out there who haven't read this one yet, it's a story set in Nazi Germany, and it's narrated by Death personified, which made for a very interesting twist. Zusak's writing is musical, and his characters (even Death) have this way of touching readers in a profound way (which unfortunately makes the ending all the more tear-jerking). If you haven't read it yet, resolve in 2010 to do so. You won't regret it.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

goodbye ppo, hello hsa

I woke up this morning with the realization that I only had one day left -- a few hours, really -- to make any medical claims before our insurance changes tomorrow. And so I did what any good mother would do: I took my children to the doctor.

The visit was for Caleb -- his four month well check up. (And the appointment had actually been scheduled for over two months, but the insurance company doesn't know that, and I'd like to come out on top for once as far as health care is concerned.) He's healthy as a horse and right on target developmentally. Here are his stats:

Length: 26 1/4 inches (up from 23 3/4 inches at two months)
Weight: 18 lbs 9 oz (up from 12 lbs 12 oz at two months)

He's currently in the 90th percentile for both. I know he's grown a lot in the last two months, but I have to admit that I was a little shocked when I heard the numbers because he certainly doesn't look chubby. I guess all that weight is getting evenly distributed throughout those whopping 26 inches.

He handled his shots like a pro, and as a reward (okay, we'd be doing it anyway), we get to start introducing solids. Cereal, followed by veggies, followed by fruits. Oh my. Is my baby already old enough for this?

Reflux is still an issue, and we left the doctor's office with another prescription for an antacid. Hoping to continue to milk the insurance company for all they've got, we stopped by the pharmacy on the way home to fill it. A health care angel must have been perched on my shoulder today because they finally had a generic version which cost me only $10 instead of $45. If I hadn't been weighted down with children and wet snow, I'm positive I would have skipped the whole way home.

Caleb cost us, and our insurance company, quite a bit this year, but he's been worth every penny, and I'm happy we get to claim him for our family. Here's to a healthy 2010 spent with him, his kooky older brother, and our new health savings account.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

29 words for 29 years

I don't think I can express in only 29 words how happy I am that Blake was born. But I can say that I love him, which is enough.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

deep enough

Yesterday, as we were sorting through the mail collected while we were out of town, we came across the official results of Garrett's evaluations for Early Intervention. It provided some rather interesting reading. Both the speech pathologist, and the special education instructor (who evaluated him a few days later) noted significant communication, as well as cognitive, delays in Garrett, enough for them both to strongly recommend he receive services. Whether or not he would receive them, however, was still up to the directors at EI.

A few minutes after we put the paperwork away, the phone rang. It was our service coordinator at Early Intervention calling with the news that Garrett has been deemed eligible for both speech therapy and special instruction. In the next week or so, an Individualized Family Service Plan (or IFSP) meeting will be scheduled where the course of Garrett's therapy will be outlined. Shortly thereafter, his sessions will begin.

I'm sure you can imagine how happy this news makes me. While on the one hand, it's hard to read through a report of how behind my child is falling, on the other, I'm pleased the results were what they were so that now he can get help. I was a little hesitant at first to accept the sessions in special instruction because, after all, Garrett seems to be a bright enough boy. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that he probably could benefit. The areas where he is delayed are likely related to his speech delay, and it can't hurt to do a little more to bring him up to speed.

So here we go. We're deep enough into the process that things can only move forward from here. Today Garrett pushed me out of his room and shut the door, preferring for what I think is the first time ever to play alone. He is growing up quickly. And it will be nice for his ability to express himself in words to start growing up with him.

Monday, December 28, 2009

and we were kept most occupied, most occupied indeed, ha ha!

If you know what movie I swiped my title from, then welcome to my world.

We are back in Brooklyn after our Christmas vacation in Provo. We had a lovely time and were kept busy visiting with my family, running around town, and playing drawn-out games of Hearts. Here are a few of highlights of our trip.

Family Photos. We can't all get together and not seize the opportunity to take pictures. They turned out great, I think.

The Annual Christmas Eve Extravaganza.
As per tradition, we spent Christmas Eve at my cousin's house in Orem. With the surprise addition of my cousin, Julie, and her family, who came in from Texas, we were all there for the first time in I've forgotten how may years. The clam chowder was consumed, the Nay-tivity was performed (with Blake and I reprising our roles as Joseph and Mary, this time with Caleb as baby Jesus and Garrett as our wandering foster child), the talent show was a success, and so was the dancing. And oh, the dancing. We do the "Merry Christmas Polka," the Charlie Brown Christmas dances, an exercise routine to "Deck the Halls," and, of course, our Nutcracker Dance. This was was its 25th anniversary. It just gets more hilarious every year.

Christmas Morning. We had a small Christmas morning preview before we left so as to ease the weight of gifts in our luggage, but we did leave a few to give each other and the boys on Christmas morning. It was fun stay up past their bedtime to play Santa. Between their gifts from us and other family members, both of them cleaned up nicely. Caleb came away from some awesome infant toys, and Garrett got his very own set of kitchen tools and an apron so now he can be even more helpful when I'm cooking dinner. Give Garrett a fruit snack, and feed him for five minutes, but give Garrett the components of a play kitchen (plus a few Froot Loops), and feed him for much, much longer.

Temple Square. Christmas in Utah wouldn't be complete without a trip to see the lights on Temple Square. As usual, they did not disappoint. Also as usual, it was very cold. Which was one reason why we stopped in the Visitor's Center to watch Luke II. I love that movie, and will never get tired of watching it. Garrett loved the theater experience (his first), and, even though the film is only 5 minutes long, I was so impressed with how well he sat through it, I'm just about ready to take him to a full length feature film. On our way home from Salt Lake City, we stopped at my favorite Baja restaurant, Rubios. You have not lived until you have eaten their fish tacos.

Hanging Out
with the Fam. I think the best part of the trip was spending time with my family. We may have overdone it on the games of Hearts, and, as much fun as the Wii is, I think I'm done with virtual bowling. But it was so nice to have my family all together for the holidays. With us in New York, one brother in Colorado, another brother soon moving to Ohio, yet another brother leaving in the next few months on a mission, and a wide open future for my two sisters, it will be a long while before we can again all be under one roof simultaneously. I spent the week soaking up as much time with them as I could get away with. Meanwhile, they were soaking up time with us. With the exception of my mom, no one in my family had yet met Caleb, and it was a lot of fun introducing him. It was also pretty great watching Garrett and his cousin, Henry, get to know each other. By the end of our trip, they were really warming up to each other. Together they de-ornamented the bottom half of the Christmas tree (with Henry's favorite items being the candy canes), played in their new tent, watched Sesame Street clips on YouTube with Grandma, and generally were up to no good. It was great.

A few other items worthy of mention:
  • It was worth every penny we spent to let Garrett watch Up on the airplane.
  • It's always good to see old friends. Thanks to all who were able to come to open house.
  • Garrett's intestinal track does not travel well.
  • I would give anything to have a Macey's in Brooklyn. And maybe also a Rubios.
  • Riley is freaking hilarious. (And obnoxious. But mostly hilarious.)
  • In-N-Out is good, but Five Guys is better.
  • After a little seating management overseen by Tyler, we all managed to fit around the dining room table for Christmas dinner. I'm pretty sure, though, that the next time we're all together, we won't.
  • Two children with a car can be just as difficult as two children without a car.
  • Even so, I like -- and miss -- driving on a regular basis.
  • Traveling back East does not bode well with bedtime routines.

As you can likely see, we had a wonderful time. It is, however, good to be back home. The remaining days of 2009 will be busy ones at our house, and there will be much to share with you, go goodbye for now, but I'll be back very soon.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

for caleb at four months

Dear Caleb,

You are now four months old, and are, I am convinced, a much happier baby because of it. You are stronger, your insides are more developed, and consequently you have less these days to cry about. I can't seem to get enough of your spontaneous smiles, your ticklish laughter -- your overall pleasantness. Let's keep this trend going, okay?

You have accomplished a lot in the last month, and I have trouble knowing where to begin. Well, for starters, you smile all the time. It doesn't take much to make you burst into a grin. All I have to do is look at you and a wave of excitement courses through your long, skinny body, erupting in smile that turns bashful at the end as you blink and look away. You laugh a lot, too -- a hearty, and sometimes hoarse, little chuckle. You are ticklish, especially under your arms and on your chest, though you do not have to be physically provoked to laugh. You are keenly attuned to your silly older brother, and watching him often cracks you up.

Other things are also making you happy these days. Your fingers, for one. You love to suck on them. You won't take a binky, but you can't seem to get enough of your fingers. You gnaw on them when you need something to play with, and suck on them when you need to soothe yourself. You can find them in the middle of the night when you partially wake and they instantly put you back to sleep again. You also enjoy it when Garrett and I sing songs with you. "Patty Cake," "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," and "The Wheels on the Bus," are some of your favorites. To demonstrate your happiness, you coo conversationally and blow spit bubbles like they're going out of style.

Of course all of this makes me happy, too. I also love (and let me just emphasize LOVE) that you sleep through the night. We're talking nearly 12 straight hours, from about eight o'clock at night until eight in the morning. You sleep on your tummy (shh...don't tell the pediatrician), which you now claim as the most comfortable position to sleep in, and it has consequently made daytime tummy time all the more enjoyable for both of us. I also love that you travel well, which you are currently demonstrating as we spend the holidays in Provo, Utah, with your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousin.

You are a strong boy now. You hold your head up high and firmly. You continue to roll over from your stomach to your back, and just recently you began roll from your back to your tummy -- a feat Garrett has also only recently learned how to do. You are also starting to grab toys with your knuckle-whitening death grip and bring them to your drool-filled mouth to suck on. When we get back to Brooklyn I will take you back to the doctor for your next well check up; I am anxious to see what the doctor has to say about how much you grown.

I love you, sweet Caleb! Until next month...


Saturday, December 19, 2009

live from provo, it's saturday night!

It might not have the same ring as "live from New York," but I'm happy to be here just the same. I really do love Provo. The big city is pretty magical, especially at this time of year, but Provo is a great place to have grown up and it's a great place to come back to. Plus, my family is here, and spending an hour with my brother, Riley, is more hilarious than an hour's worth of comedy sketches on Saturday Night Live.

Apparently, though, I'm missing a magnificent snow storm back in Brooklyn. As in, "church is canceled" big snow storm, which must be big because I've seen a few doozies in the last couple of winters, but this is the first time I've known them to cancel church. The part of me that has to venture outside is glad I'm missing it, but the rest of me wishes I wasn't.

I am, however, incredibly relieved that our plane was scheduled to depart before the storm hit, otherwise today I would not have been able to drive a car for the first time in two years. As I got behind the wheel, I was a little nervous that I would have forgotten how to make a car safely go (and so was Blake as he got situated in the passenger seat), but just like you can't forget how to ride a bike, you can't forget how to drive a car. It all came back to me in a heartbeat, and it made me kind of wish that we still had a car to drive back in New York. In the two and a half years we've lived in Brooklyn, I've never actually driven there, and I've only occasionally ridden in cars as a passenger, but I have apparently nonetheless developed a New York driving mentality. So if in the next week you pass me on the road, please forgive me my uncontrollable urge to honk and drive aggressively.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

take the key and lock them up

The knobs on nearly all of the doors in our apartment are as ancient as the building itself. Because of their age, they get stuck easily and are often hard to turn, which is one major reason why Garrett cannot open them.

Or perhaps I should say couldn't open them.

This morning he figured it out, thus plunging us headfirst into a new and potentially frightening era at our house.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go bury deeper the Christmas presents I am hiding in my closet.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

all wrapped up

A few things I've finished lately:

1. Monk. I haven't had access to cable for most of the eight years this show has been on the air, but thanks to Hulu, Blake and I have been able to do a bit of catching up. Last night we watched the 2-part finale of the show's final season. It was appropriately intense and everything I wanted to see happen as the show concluded did (and then some) -- specifically watching Monk finally solve his wife's murder. While I'm happy with how everything wrapped up, I'm sure going to miss the obsessive compulsive detective.

2. The Book of Mormon. Last night, in my personal scripture reading, I finished The Book of Mormon. I've lost count of how many times I've read these inspired words, but I never tire of the doctrine and stories it tells. I wish now that I could say the same about the reading of the Old Testament that Blake and I are plowing through together. We've been at it for months now, and we're still only in Numbers. One of these days (or years?) we'll wrap that up, too.

3. Christmas Shopping. With the exception of a few small gifts that I have to wait until we're in Provo to purchase, I am finished with my Christmas shopping. At my insistence, we started tackling our Santa duties early this year, and I'm so glad we did. It's made my December much more enjoyable.

What's not done? Getting ready for our trip to Provo. But by necessity that will be wrapped up in just a few more days. I absolutely cannot wait until it is.