Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas 2008

This holiday season was marked with family, food, illness and a few good games of Scrabble. We'd planned to spend two days in Turlock to celebrate an early Christmas with my extended family. Our trip was extended to honor Garett's grandmother, Nonni, who passed away two weeks before her 91st birthday. It was a gift to get to get to spend some time with more of our family than we'd expected to see. Instead of driving back to San Luis Obispo following the service, we decided to spend Christmas in Turlock to have a traditional Swedish meal with my Grandpa. We then spent a few days in Morro Bay with my parents and brother before finally coming home on Saturday. After my fourth rotation of the same outfit, I was glad to come home.

Perhaps my favorite moment during my time in Turlock was the surprisingly bad combination of my brother's jeans and my parent's new white leather couch and ensuing hilarity . See, the jeans bled on the porous couch so he was required to take off his pants each time he sat on the couch. He soon found some "couch pants" that he could use if and when he wanted to watch television or a movie or just hang out with the family. My folks still don't have a long term plan for how to avoid getting denim stains on the couch so dark jeans are not recommended if you're invited to their home in the near future and prefer to keep your pants on. Fortunately Wyatt's jean overalls passed the test.
My other favorite part of the holiday week was playing Scrabble with my Grandpa. He is stiff competition and the king of vocabulary which makes my double victory all the more sweet. You might think it's uncool to tout a win given my Grandpa's kind demeanor and elevated age but, seriously, I can count on one hand how many times I've beat him and it did feel good.

Wyatt learned a few new things while we were gone, like how mimic his Grandpa and eat persimmons. He's still doing an army crawl and now he's focusing on speed. He got to play with a few new cousins and the picture below displays his friendly social skills. I suppose there must have been a few other happenings over the holiday week but I think I missed them due to being sick. Garett and I are still fighting a horrible cough and finally got cough syrup with codeine from the doctor this afternoon to hopefully help us sleep tonight. In fact, I did not take one of this photos in this post. All three of these are courtesy of my brother Josh.I'm still hoping to send out Christmas cards and am trying not to feel guilty about being perpetually behind. If you're reading this and have moved recently (Jana, I'm thinking of you.), please post a comment with your address or email it directly to me. Thanks!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Garett, Wyatt and I spent Thanksgiving with his sister and brother in law in Visalia and then drove up to the Portland area to visit friends. It was a long overdue vacation with a few highlights. One such highlight was Wyatt's first trip down a slide.The time we spent with our family was the best. We enjoyed fantastic food and watched holiday movies while Wyatt soaked in being the center of attention. The day after creating an unbelievably tasty Thanksgiving meal, my brother in law Joe prepared Roasted Whole Baby Pumpkins. Garett enjoyed not one but two of these decadent treats.
We then took two days to drive up to the Portland area to visit the Hsiehs. The best moment of the drive was our lunch stop at the Wildflower Cafe in a small town in southern Oregon called Cottage Grove. We met Marjory, a nearly 96 year old woman, who, by the end of lunch, was putting her foot behind her head to show us her flexibility thanks to her ballet dancing background. She was a kick and particularly fond of Wyatt. I love the adventure of a road trip, not knowing where we'll stop or who we'll meet along the way. This is a photo of the spot where we met Marjory and enjoyed a reuban sandwich.
We spent a whole week with Ben, Rebekah and Ava and hopefully did not wear out our welcome. It was good to be with friends, especially ones that you just can't get enough of. Ava is two years old and an absolute delight. In the photo below, Garett is reading her a book. I wish she was standing up because this outfit is just about the cutest one I've ever seen.
Finally, I love the look on Wyatt's face in this picture. He's all bundled up for a walk (thanks, Weyels, for the loaner umbrella stroller!) and not too happy about the hat situation.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hugs and Drugs

It's nearly 90 degrees in San Luis Obispo today and I'm reminded why I love living in this part of California. We started our morning at a Farmer's Market within walking distance of our house and found extra sweet strawberries grown about 30 miles from here and a huge, juicy tomato that I can't wait to slice up and put on a sandwich. Later in the day we walked to our nearby neighborhood deli and enjoyed a scrumptious California Turkey from High Street Deli. Wyatt's now fast asleep for his afternoon nap and I have a free and quiet moment.

One new thing that Wyatt seems to have picked up recently is the ability to show affection. Sometimes it's his head gently burrowing into my chest and other times it's his slightly puckered lips leaning in for a kiss on the mouth. Both make me feel warm inside and are remarkable pick-me-ups during otherwise ordinary days.

The picture below is a good example of mealtime. Though he isn't using baby sign yet to let us know he wants more, he does use a series of grunts and grabs to make it very clear when he is not yet finished with his meal. We haven't started working on manners yet and are getting used to finding crusty sweet potatoes anywhere from his ears to the back of his neck.On the drug front, Garett's experimenting with a new one. No, nothing recreational, it's a new medicine to help his ailing colon. I think he's been avoiding this particular drug for nearly two years but it's finally been made clear that it's the best thing for him at this time. It's in the category of immunosuppressive drugs which means that the potential side effects are pretty significant. We are praying often for his body to become more healthy and for less anxiousness related to this new medication.

Finally, we took a family photo this week in our living room. It's nothing too exciting but I thought worth posting since it is one of our first family photos since Wyatt joined us. Wyatt is wearing his favorite pjs and can't take his eyes off Ruby as usual.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Wyatt's Growing

Here are a few photos from the weekend.

Friday, October 10, 2008

New Digs

Remember how I said in my last post that we were planning to move into my parents home in Morro Bay until we found the right rental for us? We found the right rental just before our weekend move. It's a 100 year old farmhouse in San Luis Obispo. I love it because it's on eight acres, just a four minute walk to work and has loads of character. I imagine it will come with challenges (like not one drawer in the bathroom and no garbage disposal or dishwasher) but we are feeling exceedingly grateful to have found it when we did. Thanks to our generous friends and family, we were able to paint the walls on Saturday and move all of our things on Sunday.

This is the little house that we are now calling home. This is the fig tree outside our front door.This is Wyatt all dressed up for church in an outfit from my Aunt Donna. I think he scored at least three new girlfriends.
Wyatt is eating more solids these days. He seems to have the appetite of his father combined with the manners of his mother. Poor guy.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Moving Is A Fun Adventure

That's what I'm telling myself often this week. The fantastic news is that it looks like the sale of our house is going through. It's been a very speedy process with just a 21 day escrow. The upside is less time to worry about moving. The downside is having less time to put all of our things in boxes and find a new place to call home.

We started packing on Saturday and accomplished more than we expected over the weekend. Our brilliant realtor suggested that we check out craigslist for boxes and we ended up meeting the coolest people new to Cambria from Minnesota, she a woodworker, he a software engineer. They gave us loads of perfectly respectable boxes and even some specialty ones for dishes, glasses and framed items. Since Garett is fundamentally opposed to purchasing boxes, it's a good thing we can return to U-haul the ones we bought in desperation on Saturday morning before the former Minnesotans called.

Another beautiful thing in all of this is that we're going to be moving into a home in Morro Bay that my parents are in the process of buying. We've thoroughly searched for rentals but have not yet found the right thing. We'll be able to stay in their home until we do find the right thing, and, in the meantime, have a park within walking distance, a huge yard with grass for Wyatt to play on and very, very reasonable rent.
Wyatt hasn't been a huge help with the packing but he loves to sit in his director's chair and guide us with grunts and squeals, all the while sucking his thumb.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We Love Anna

Wyatt's sitter, Anna, is spending her last official week at our house and we're feeling sad about that. She has been watching Wyatt three half days a week for the past eight weeks and has been nothing short of fantastic. She is a friend of Wyatt's regular sitter, Rachel, who has been away from San Luis Obispo for the summer. When Wyatt first hears Anna's voice on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings, he gets a huge grin on his face and cranes his neck to try to make eye contact with her as soon as possible.

There are several things that I've especially appreciated about Anna. First, she has been completely commited to this summer job, only missing one day of work and she asked me about that day with several weeks notice. I've been able to thoroughly rely on her and that has made all the difference in my transition back to work. Second, and probably even more important than the first, Anna has been a warm, kind and trustworthy caretaker for Wyatt. Knowing that he's content and at ease in her care means a lot. Anna daily writes in the "All That I Do, By Wyatt" journal to share the highs and the lows of each day from Wyatt's perspective and I pore over it as soon as I get home. Finally, Anna has gone way above and beyond every day by noticing what needs doing around the house and taking the initiative to do it while Wyatt is napping. For example, today I came home from work to find the sink dish-free (not a common sight these days) and the dishwasher unloaded.

The good news is that Anna still has two more years at Cal Poly so I doubt this is the last we'll see of her. The other good news is that Rachel is equally as fantastic and she is going to pick up next week right where Anna left off. Thank you, Anna!

Monday, September 15, 2008

What I Love About the Central Coast

Today I was reminded why I love living in Cayucos.

I splurged and took a trip to Morro Nails for a pedicure. I've gone to this friendly shop at least every couple of months for the past several years. I tried to time it so that Wyatt would be moderately hungry but not so starving that he'd be crying when we arrived. It was a sleepy Monday morning with only one woman in one of the massage chairs and three available pedicurists. I asked my usual, "Does any one mind that I'm bringing a baby in here?" question and was pleased to see the pedicurists smile with approval. I held Wyatt in my arms, hiding his bottle behind my back and talking with him about all of the new colors and sounds and smells around him. Once the pedicurist started her process, another technician, Mandy, came up and offered to hold Wyatt and feed him. I enthusiastically agreed and she ended up holding him for the remainder of the pedicure. While she fed him, she observed his eating style (voracious) and spoke about him in Vietnamese with her colleagues. I could see his eyes looking up at her inquisitively, wondering what she was saying and noticing it was different than the English language he hears at home. Mandy kindly held him and played with him while I received an extra long foot massage. I learned that Mandy's only daughter is now fifteen, a sophomore in high school, so she took great joy holding an infant.

What I love about this area and what I think is unique compared to other geographic areas is how genuinely kind people tend to be. Mandy saw that she could hold my little boy and give me the gift of a peaceful moment. I could see that holding and feeding Wyatt would be a welcome break in her otherwise quite industrious morning. We also know each other well enough for there to be trust and sense of comfort and familiarity in her offer and my acceptance. As I sat there watching Wyatt eat and then giggle with joy at Mandy and the others in the shop, I was deeply moved. It is a gift to live in a spot surrounded by people like Mandy who choose to extend kindness.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wyatt's Six Month Birthday

In honor of Wyatt's six month birthday and my dad's 57th birthday, my parents gave us our first night away from Wyatt. Wyatt got the royal grandparent treatment and my dad got a 17lb, 10oz birthday present - a night alone with his grandson. However, it seems like Garett and I were the real winners in the situation, spending a luxurious night at the cozy Sanitarium Spa in San Luis Obispo. Below is our room complete with a Moroccan soaking tub, wood burning stove and private deck. We soaked in every possible moment in this lovely space and only called to see how Wyatt was doing twice.

It turns out Wyatt enjoys the company of his grandparents and really thrives in their care. And I'm not just saying that to get another night away. Really.

So, even though Wyatt made strides developmentally while we were away, our dog, Ruby, has reverted to ear licking and rough housing.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Sabbath

We take rest pretty seriously in the Stapp family.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Thank you, Josh, for my favorite photo of Wyatt this month. And, thank you, Sam Brown, for my favorite onesie that finally fits.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sweet Sweet Boy

We've been frantically working on house projects as we get ready to put our home on the market this week. Wyatt's been a trooper, making several trips to Miner's Hardware and being careful not to roll into the freshly painted baseboards. At the end of the day yesterday, I found him like this. When I walked around to take his picture, he didn't lift his head and only barely followed me with his tired eyes.
I'm struck by what a sweet boy he is. When I'm tired, Garett could only wish that I'd quietly lay my head down and not make a peep. I'm more likely to be cranky, extra critical and a bit more dramatic than usual. Maybe I can learn something from my sweet son?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Not Much To Say...Or Do I?

I haven't posted much the past few months because I don't think I have much to say. Sometimes it seems like I'm supposed to only be cheery and sunny on this blog (or at least moderately funny) and that has not been my experience the past few months. We're in transition mode around here and that has taken a toll.

My body has been screaming at me to stop nursing Wyatt and I'm finally listening. Weaning is going well and I'm beginning to feel slightly more like myself. Wyatt's gained about three pounds in just a few weeks so it's pretty clear that he needed more food than I was able to give him. His weight gain makes me smile although now he's in need of a new wardrobe.
I'm surprised how compulsively I feel the need to explain why I'm not nursing him, like I somehow owe it to the world to justify this decision but at least I'm noticing that and choosing to believe that nursing my son does not define me or predict my success as a mother or Wyatt's future brilliance.

We've decided to sell our house in an effort to lower our expenses and feel less pressure in general. It's mostly my pride that's taking a hit but I can't wait to be able to call a landlord when something breaks/explodes/leaks and not be required to pay to fix it. Unsure of where we'll unpack, I'm pouring over our local craigslist wondering if a clean, 2 bedroom home with reasonable rent and the option to have a dog will present itself at just the right moment.

More uncertainty stems from the reality that both Garett and I have chronic health issues that tend to rear their unfortunate heads during inopportune times. This time it's Garett not me which, surprisingly, tends to increase my anxiety about our future more than when it's my own body going through the exacerbation. Garett is quite possibly the most courageous man I know and I can only hope to learn to walk through life as gracefully as he does.

Too much information? Probably. But is life only meant to be shared when its rosy? In the thick of it, sometimes I answer that question with a resounding yes, leaning more towards isolation than connectedness. But I believe that community is a big part of what God uses to give us hope of something more. I believe in God, a God that is all love, all grace, all good and a source of freedom, hope and even purpose in life's challenges. I find God meets me right in these moments and reminds of what is true rather that what is not.

And, in the midst of chaos, beauty appears even more glorious than before.

A kind friend willing to openly share her postpartum experience and empathize.

A scrumptious meal of Thai Chicken and Noodle Salad shared amongst friends.

An Olympics party with my crazy-about-the-Olympics brother.

The giggle erupting from Wyatt's mouth when I kiss the crook of his neck.

A new pair of shiny purple sandals from a friend who knew how much they would make me smile.

Ruby's entire body wiggle when I get home from work.

A path more clear than before.

Eye candy and audio pleasure watching the movie Mamma Mia.

The feeling I have after a mediation when a mother and father reconcile their relationship with their adult son.

Seems I had a bit more to say than I thought.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Budget Woes

Attemping to save a little money, we're trying out a new babysitter.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Fives

I'm not a morning person. You'd think I'd then consider myself a night person. Nope, not a night person either. I'm more of a day person. In my ideal world, my day would start at 8am and I'd be able to crawl into bed by 10pm. Unfortunately, Wyatt is not entirely attuned to my preferred schedule and still wakes up early from time to time. One of those times was this morning. I first heard his little voice at 5:50am. I'll admit it, I hate anything in the fives. I honestly kind of hate the sixes as well but it's embarrassing to say out loud because adults are supposed to be okay with waking up in the sixes. I'm not. If I can sleep until the sevens, my day will generally turn out okay.

We really lucked out with Wyatt and his sleeping patterns. Actually, I believe it is a gift from God. He goes to bed sometime between 8 and 9:30pm and nearly always wakes up between 7:30 and 8:30am. For awhile he liked to get up around 6am but then we covered his window with two huge beach towels and it's been at least 7:30am since. But, something seems to be different these past few days and it's back to the fives, my least favorite time of day. The saddest part about him waking up in the fives is the combination of his sunny disposition and desire to play and my sluggish inability and and lack of desire to do so.

I wonder if I will ever become a morning person. I'd give that 10:1 odds. Place your bets.

This photo was not taken in the fives or sixes.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Independence Day and The Sick Pukes

We had a memorable 4th of July celebration complete with our favorite friends, the Tyndalls. This was our eighth year spending the holiday with Scott and Lisa and our third with their son, Jack. It's probably the only thing I've ever done consistently for eight straight years in my entire life. You know how you look forward to some house guests and not others? Well, we always look forward to the Tyndalls. They're such good friends, it makes every thing easy without a bit of pressure. Whether we have tons of activities lined up, sit and watch West Wing reruns all afternoon or have a mini-Wii tournament, it's always good times with these friends.
We hit up the Cayucos parade (where our teeny town of 3,000 swelled to a whopping 43,000!) and sandcastle contest and enjoyed kettle corn and fish tacos. At night we elected to put the kids to bed early and watch the fireworks from our living room.

Unfortunately, I came down with the sick pukes during the night on Friday and am still in recovery. Claire, our four year old friend in Texas, once called the stomach flu the sick pukes and Garett and I have been borrowing the term since. I thought it was food poisoning so I wasn't cautious with spreading the germs and, kindly, passed it along to Wyatt. Poor guy, I found him lying in his throw-up Monday morning. He's so mellow, he never cried or even made a peep. Yesterday was a long day filled with projectile sick pukes and long, tired moans from Wyatt but today is already looking better. His temperature is lower and he seems to be keeping down food.

Being sick and taking care of a little sickie, I feel like I'm going through an initiation period for becoming a mom. Learning how to care for myself and simultaneously care for Wyatt with a hint of grace is a good goal. For now, we'll keep laughing and hope the sick pukes are on their way back to Texas.

Sweet Dreams

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ruby Ruby Ruby

Ruby, our adorable and accident prone one year old Boxer, is my number one inspiration for putting a little money in my savings account from time to time. The thing is, you never know when she's going to swallow a bottle cap, snort a foxtail or need an expensive shot or surgery. I'm guilty of completely romanticizing dog ownership and the reality has been less than romantic. Despite the unexpected costs associated with Ruby, we love her quite a bit (well, Garett loves her more than I do) and are usually glad she's part of our family.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pump It Up

Today I went back to work. I thought I'd miss Wyatt but it turns out a little space in our relationship is not a bad thing. While I was on maternity leave, my employer, Creative Mediation, moved offices so over the weekend Garett helped me get my new workspace ready for my return. This is a photo of Garett standing in front of the curtains he meticulously hung to hide me from the busy street beyond. When friends and coworkers ask me about feeling ready to get back to work I nearly always mention my anxiety about pumping breast milk for Wyatt on the job. Of course my new office has windows with no window coverings on two of the four walls. I not only had to figure out a plan for cheap window coverings but also am determined to get over the mental block I have about pumping milk like a cow while trying to maintain some modicum of professionalism. I feel weird enough pumping at home so envisioning someone using the intercom feature to ask me a mediation related question with the hum of the Medela double pump in the background seems like a bit more than I can handle.

I'm pleased to report that all went well on this first day back to work. Our dear friend Nana Nancy spent the morning with Wyatt and Garett was home by one for an afternoon of parenting. I put aside my anxiety about the pumping, closed the door to my office and felt smugly pleased to get to take two 10-minute breaks during the day. We'll see how long I can hang.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Uncle Josh

We had a fantastic weekend highlighted by a visit from Uncle Josh who is spending the summer on the west coast (!!!) working for a law firm in San Francisco. As you can see, Wyatt is smitten with his uncle and who wouldn't be? The weather here was unbelievably warm on Saturday so we spent some time on the beach. Ruby kept a close eye on Wyatt while we played in the ocean.And here are a couple more photos from the weekend.
Wyatt's been asking when he'll get to see Uncle Josh again. He's pretty advanced linguistically.

Friday, June 20, 2008