Friday, July 31, 2009

Which Kid Do We Love Most? The human or the dog?

Happy Birthday Burly Bear, our favorite kid.
Pre-Claire beach and home lounging...

The World's Best Dog, Burlington Philippe Evans, call sign: Tornado, turns 3 today. We are celebrating him and loving him even more now that he's the best big brother to Claire. He snuggles with her all day and is always curious about her, he even takes naps in her nursery. The verdict is still out which kid we love more, but we both lean towards him. I'm sure this will change, and it's a good thing Claire won't remember us saying we love the dog more than her; but it's true...

iPhone help

Can anyone tell me HOW to post videos we are taking of Claire on our iPhones?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Before giving birth I didn't realize...

(this one is for all the moms out there)
One month ago I didn't realize:
The value of having grandparents close by, and what a loss it is not to have them close daily...

How close this experience would make me to my own mom...

That multiple days could pass (at first) without me leaving our house...

That 20 pounds could disappear in one week! Amen...

That I could survive without a full night's sleep, getting conditioned to shorter stretches...

That I would "hear" my baby's cry, even when she was sound asleep...

That I would be able to walk a 5K less than a month after giving birth...

That taking a 4 hour road trip by myself with an infant could be possible...

That my bad (fast) driving wouldn't change with my new precious cargo, bummer...

That going to the bathroom (TMI) could be scary at first and such a challenge with stitches:)

That bras were made in a size H! Uggh.

That something as natural as breastfeeding would be so hard for me, and that something as stupid as low milk production could make me feel like a failure in life.

But that supplementing would be the course we have to take.

And seeing a 10 pound, one month old, asleep in her crib would be the most beautiful sight ever.

Lots of stuff I didn't realize til this past month... I could go on (like how fast/high weeds grow in a month in my yard in the summer) I am glad to know that life goes on post-baby. We've taken Claire to restaurants, churches, grocery and clothes shopping, a baseball game, the beach, all over Austin, etc. Not bad for less than 5 weeks of life.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Baseball is ticket to traveling the world- sweet article about my little brother

Baseball is ticket to traveling the world
Published online on Saturday, Jul. 11, 2009
By Matt James / The Fresno Bee
For 50,000 rupiah, you can eat as if you're on death row: shrimp, lobster, beers until the bartender suffers carpal tunnel syndrome.

Rupiah is how you buy things in Indonesia, and 50,000 rupiah is worth about $5. You can feast for five bucks, and go nowhere near a Dollar Menu. Financially speaking, if you could commute cheaply from your current job to a home in Indonesia, you would be in much better shape.

Whitney Pierce went to Southeast Asia with a few hundred bucks and, well, he didn't live like a king, but he made it quite a while. For $2 a day, he slept in a hut on a beach in Thailand. He surfed in Bali. He caught a ride on an elephant.

Pretty much everyone who dreams of making it big in professional sports has to wake up eventually. "It's a numbers game," as Pierce says, and he's right. For every guy who made it, there are 1,000 who didn't because of a bad knee or bad luck or a bad attitude.

And lets face it, somebody has to be not quite good enough, right?

Pierce was a dreamer. He still is, though baseball reality long ago slapped him across the face. He graduated from Clovis West High in 2000 and went to Cuesta College to play catcher. He was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 32nd round and then turned down a scholarship from Lewis-Clark College to turn pro. (The Orioles promised him $10,000 for tuition down the road.)

It went like a lot of minor league baseball stories go, three years of playing in towns in Florida and West Virginia and Maryland, until the Orioles released him in 2005. The Chicago Cubs organization picked him up for two months, then Pierce injured his hamstring and headed for independent baseball, the Gateway Grizzles of the Frontier League and the Chico Outlaws of the Golden League.

And when it came time to move on, when his mind and gut told him he would never make the big leagues, that it was time to do "real-life stuff," Pierce instead got another chance. This time, baseball would show him the world.

After the 2006 season, he already had gotten a couple of jobs in San Diego, one at a gym, another doing part-time construction. He'd never had a job before, never done anything but baseball. It felt pretty suffocating.

It was about that time, Pierce got an e-mail from a baseball team in Switzerland. They wanted to fly him to Europe, give him an apartment, pay his living expenses and give him travel money. And all he had to do was play baseball and do a little coaching now and then.

It seems there was a man putting the profiles of out-of-work American baseball players on his global scouting Web site. The guy even called Pierce to ask if he could represent him.

Pierce is certainly not your average young person, let alone baseball player, massive curly hair and a lot more free spirit than most. His parents are that way, too. His dad, Greg Pierce, is a teacher at Roosevelt High. His mother, Randy Robinson, is a psychologist. (Of his mother's job, Pierce says, "That's why I'm so normal and have such good people-talking skills.") They had dubbed him "Whitney" before they knew whether he was a boy or a girl, named for Mt. Whitney. When asked why parents would name a baby after a mountain, the normally outgoing and hysterical Pierce quickly gets quiet and says, "No comment." Ah, got it.

Before Switzerland ever e-mailed, Pierce already had traveled all over Southeast Asia by himself, backpacking and camping, eating the mysterious, living on a few hundred bucks. So, of course, he said yes, even if the Swiss baseball and the pay were equally terrible.

After that season in Europe, he got to thinking, if there's bad baseball here, there has to be bad baseball other places. And then he was playing in Germany for a season and then Australia for a season and then he was picked up by a team in the Netherlands. He hit in the lineup alongside a garbage man and a student from the Czech Republic.

"I've had baseball buy my plane tickets to six different countries," he says.

At age 27, his passport says he's visited more countries than most Americans have visited states. Luxembourg was No. 23. France was No. 24.

Some parents would be lecturing about education and responsibility and getting a job that pays, but his tell him how lucky he is.

"If it wasn't for my family," Pierce says, "I would have been in San Diego doing regular jobs. They've just said, Go do this. Go do this while you can."

He's been to the Eiffel Tower, hiked the Swiss Alps, visited Angkor Wat, the famous temples in Cambodia. Sure, he could do all this later, but the question is a good one: Would he?

"Is anyone really going to do that now that they've got a job and a kid and a wife?" he asks.

He could do this forever. There will always be another team and another league and another country. He could drag his guitar all over the world to play ball. A Division 3 team in Holland offered to put him in a hut above a beer factory in a league that uses aluminum bats once a week.

A lot of kids go to college and supposedly get ready for life. Whitney Pierce went to life and got ready for college. He might play ball another season or two, but he's ready to go back to school.

"The first time I went, I didn't really want to be there," he says. "I wanted to play baseball. I wanted to talk to girls and party. This gap in my life has me ready for school."

I'm convinced Pierce was in school all along. A really great field trip.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

One Month Old

Well our little missy is one month old today. I can't believe I've made it this far. It has been a rough transition, to say the least. We think Claire is the world's most perfect little creature, and yet we've had fleeting homicidal thoughts. She has made me feel more deeply in love, and more crazy than ever. What a wild month. I will post some pics soon, maybe tomorrow? After all, she did just get her second bath of the month, she's clean... She now weighs 10lbs!! 9lbs, 15oz. to be exact, but I round up. That is a gain of 3lbs. since her lowest weight. If she stays at this speed, she'll be 43 lbs by her birthday:) Let's hope she slows down... She's gained so much probably because we've been supplementing with formula, and she's gone through a few growth spurts where she was throwing down 5oz. a feeding, and does nothing but sleep and eat, pretty good life.

Not being able to solely breast feed has been really tough on me, I have felt like a "failure" since my milk supply never matched her demand. This has been the biggest headache of the past month, even though we've met with 2 lactation consultants and tried special herbs and I've pumped more than the local dairy... Many a tear has been shed over this issue, but the bright side of this whole situation is that at least our girl is healthy and thriving.

It was REALLY good for me to take her on a road trip up to Austin the past weekend (Thursday-Monday). I go a little crazy when I stay home all day, and if there's anything I'm good at, it's road-tripping. Of course the 3.5 hour trip took longer with a baby to feed and a dog in tow, on a 100 degree day. But we made it! And they travelled like champs. It was restorative to get out of town for the first time since our trip to Seattle in March (I didn't feel like traveling much the last 2 months of the pregnancy) and going to a city that we love for 4 nights was awesome (free- courtesy of your tax dollars, thank you very much). Los flew there and got in an hour after we arrived. I picked him up at a special airport for private planes and famous people (ever wonder why you never see them in the airports? I just found out, they don't have to travel with the masses, lame) My mom (our nanny, best gift ever!) flew in to hang out with Claire, and Los and I got to go on our first post-partum date. We went kayaking and to lunch at a popular Austin restaurant... Then we met Kiesha and Dave for dinner and we got to listen to the symphony's outdoor performance and watch fireworks over the river (the Colorado river goes through town) that night. We did a lot of shopping and went to church at Austin Stone (the church Chris Tomlin used to be at)- big fans! Both times we've taken Claire to church it has been really moving for me; praying over her little life is one of our favorite things to do, and holding her little hand with one of my fingers, while singing, was really special...

All in all a GREAT weekend, I mean, someone else even got to vacuum up all of puggy's hair! What could be better than that?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Little CB is 3 weeks old... time for a ROAD TRIP.

She will never be 6, 7, or 8 pounds again... kind of sad. She's starting to really fill out her NB size clothes, but still a bit too small for the 0-3 month size. I am driving with her and Burly (and no Los!) to Austin tomorrow; pray for me:) I'm nervous to take her so far by myself. Los is flying a plane up there to meet us for 3 nights. AND my mom spontaneously bought a ticket and is also flying into A-town. It will be awesome to celebrate the 4th of July there.

We're all doing the FREEDOM 5000, 5K. I will be walking with the stroller... And that night, along with over 100,000 of our closest neighbors, we'll hear a free performance of the Austin Symphony on the lake next to downtown, followed by the requisite fireworks show. Exciting. Kiesha and Dave are headed up there too, and we are excited to play in Austin for the long weekend. I love it there. I just hope traveling with an infant is not too challenging! You can see more photos of ClaireHERE.