Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Jim and Amy: photographers extrodinaire

When Willa was about 4 months old, we started looking to upgrade from the free digital camera Jim (who is not a big black man - HA, Sadie!) got as a result of working for NASCAR. It was a nice camera in that it was free. And small. Jim took this shopping around opportunity to convince me that we needed a Nikon D blah blah blah. It does not fit in my purse. But it takes some darn nice photos.
Above is a shot he took from the top of the slide at the playground near the 6th street bridge.
Below is a shot I took of what happens every evening when the setting sun comes though our front windows.

And what would Grand Rapids blog in April be without a shot of a butterfly at the Gardens? This one was kind of a joint process. I saw the shot, but lacked the height for the framing. Jim did the button pushing. I think this one is called a lace butterfly. It was my favorite kind this year.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rabbits Redux and photos

Something about our yard calls to rabbits. Despite the fact that every resident of our home, with 2 and 4 legs, adult and child are intensely curious, we are celebrating the 2nd year of being the birth and nesting place of baby rabbits. Click here for last year's batch. Photos and updates of this year's to follow. Willa wants to go visit them every 20 minutes. I have to remind myself this is unreasonable and unfair to the wildlife, and don't let her. Otherwise? I'd be out there too. All. The. Time.

Just this morning, Jim uploaded proof that we're a fun family to the tune of 174 photos. I will spare you from seeing all of them, but here are a few.

Willa has claimed Arlo as hers and he kinda rolls with it. Especially if she's recently eaten peanut butter. Jim bought this shirt for her. I like it. It kind of reminds me of my Grandma Laws. Cousins, sister, and mom? Do you see it?

After trying to get her to sit just so among flowers in a different area, Willa found this raised square and posed on her own. Total diva.

Jim and Willa enjoying the totally awesome bubble wand Heather gave her for her birthday. Jim and Willa were completely tied for "who loved it more?" points.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Lesson learned

They sang, and I paused to take it in. A single candle, stuck in the brownies. 3 boxes stacked, tied with a beautiful brown ribbon. Willa on Jim's leg singing along.
When they finished, she looked at me and said, "mama?" and blew, like she was teaching me, or giving me permission.
It was a happy birthday to me.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Trust issues

Last night we were looking at one of Willa's animal photo books together:
"Thats a goat, Willa."
"No. Cow."
"No, that's a goat."

Today she was looking at a Tigers baseball logo:
"Roar!!!! Lion."
"That's a Tiger."

Today I told her it was my birthday:
"No mama, it's Willa's happy to you."

Jim's making brownies just so Willa can watch me blow out a candle. That'll teach her.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Word's out now, so I'm spreading the news here. Lisa is again "with child." MaKenna is going to be a fantastic big sister. I'm excited to have my sister pregnant at the same time. I'm also excited for her first dr. appointment where she'll get a better idea of when to expect #2.

I'm almost sure that I've decided to grow my hair out during pregnancy to cut and donate it after. On prenatal vitamins, my already thick hair is like the follicle version of baseball's Barry Bonds. Someone(s) is going to get a fairly nice wig.

Can you have a crush on a season? I can't stop thinking of Spring. I hope see spring in the hall and smell it as I walk past. I can talk to my friends for hours about how cool and sweet and smart Spring is. I put grass around my finger pretending that Spring's asked me to wear its class ring.

I hate how cliche this is, but I can't stop eating pickles. Ice cream? Naw... but pass me a jar of pickles. When I ask how I got this swollen, point me back here, okay?

I've started feeling the teeny inward movements of own spawn. Like a small, slippery fish doing rolls. It's delightful. Okay, pregnancy can be fun now.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Being held hostage by a first grader

Last year we got new neighbors across the street. Jim and I don't know exactly who lives there, but we know it's at least a dad and a gaggle of younger kids. I think they're all girls. I don't think the girls live there full time.

In the fall they came over a few times to pet the dogs. There was no actual petting. There was a lot of building up courage and then running away screaming when one of the dogs licked a shin. Or blinked.

Last week the weather was fantastic, which meant the Sinkis soaked up a lot of outside time. One of the girls, a first grader named Tianna came over nearly every day as Willa and I were getting out of the car.

And now she won't leave us alone.

I like kids a whole bunch, but I also value having some quiet time with my own family. And I don't want to spend the summer ducking the neighborhood kids.

Any suggestions for gentle ways to suggest fewer visits? Jim and I really like Tianna. Willa really, really likes Tianna (who she calls banana), but we're not ready to adopt her, you know?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Thanks REM

That's great, it starts with an "earthquake," birds and bees, a thermometer -Lenny Bruce is not afraid.
Eye of a teary mom, listen to yourself churn -embryo serves its own needs, regardless of his/her moms needs.
Feed it up a knocked up,speed no, strength no.
Miscarriage clatter with fear of height,down height.
Esophagus in a fire, represent the nine months in a uterus for hire and a combat site.
Need a nap, wasn't coming in a hurry with the bosses breathing down your neck.
Team by team reporters baffled, trump, tethered crop. Hear that great heart beat! Fine then.
Uh oh, overflow, population, small house, but it'll do.
Baby's growing every day, listen to your heart bleed.
Tell me with the rapture and the reverent in the right - right.
You parental, patriotic, slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty psyched.

It's the end of the first trimester as we know it.
It's the end of the first trimester as we know it.
It's the end of the first trimester as we know it and
I feel fine.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Willa away

It's still somewhat odd to me that Willa continues to exist after I pull away from her daycare. I know - holy ego, right? But imagining her life out of sight from Jim and I is difficult sometimes.

As she becomes more verbal, there is proof that she's leading quite a full life.

Yesterday I picked her up, and her teacher asked if she watches the movie Annie at home. I had meant to mention to them that Willa may try to turn the Toddler 2 room into a musical about a delightful red headed orphan. All day, Miss Kelly reports, she sang, "ToMORrow, ToMORrow.... a-wayyyyy" over and over again. In the sandbox, while relaxing pre-nap, during art. Like a broken record, that one.

We also found out that 2 of the boys in her room growl at her because it makes her cry. This is weird because at home she's been growling and laughing at herself for months. Jim was very upset when he first heard about this. We've been growling even more at home, hoping that she wouldn't be scared of the two boys anymore.

On the way to the grocery store, she started, "GRRRROOOWWWLLLL - like a BEAR!" she yelled, "mommy and daddy scared."
"We're not scared, Willa. We know it's just you."
She rumbled in the back seat for a while.
Jim said, "I know we want her to be a nice girl, but I want to teach her to bite the bullies."
"She'll get over it, and the teachers are dealing with it. I don't even know if it's happening anymore."
"When she's in high school, I'm going to teach her to kick the boys in the balls."
"That's fine. You can stay at home with her when she's suspended."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Win in the parents column

Turns out all we had to do to stop the night visits from Willa was tell her to cut it out. That, and 2 hours, starting at 3 am, of picking her up and carrying her back to bed in silence. They don't show those 2 hours of agony on Supernanny. There was so much crying, I was expecting the police to show up with a special teddy bear that made our daughter feel like they were nice people who were taking them to foster care.
On Friday, before putting her down for the night, we told Willa she had to sleep in her own crib until it was sunny out. And hours later we showed her we meant it.
The next morning, she and I had a talk.
"Were you sad last night when mama and daddy wouldn't let you sleep in our bed?"
"I'm sorry you were sad, but you have your own bed, and we all sleep in our own beds. Tonight when you go to sleep, you need to stay in your own bed until it's morning, and then we'll all play, okay?"
"Yes. "
And Sunday morning we woke up feeling rested. For two nights there has been no visitors or even crying from her room.
A small win.
Now we're moving on to eating vegetables.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A ripple wakes the pond

I'm a little giddy today. Spring has caused my senses to overwhelm logic, and I just can't wait to be outside and take it all in.

I have a rhino-sized burden off of my shoulders now that I've told my boss about the impending lime with reflexes. It went very well. She said "Congratulations." My last boss did not when I shared news of an impending Willa.

Also, it's Friday and we have Tulips in the front yard, and a hammock just waiting to be lounged upon.

Jim says he's feeling a little off today. He blames the ear infection. I blame the earthquake.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Stream of... whatever...

I have not yet recorded that the fetus is the size of a lime now. And developing reflexes. Big doin's.

Someone I know told me she's pregnant this week. One of their kids suggested a few names, and I told her we're stealing one of them: Fire Truck. Only, to distinguish from all the other Fire Trucks, we're changing it to Phyre Trux. Sophisticated, yes? Thanks to Tiffany for helping me get from A to B in a few steps on that one. Depending on how I know you, you may know the newly pregnant woman. I'm not telling until I get the all clear.

Watched Clinton vs. Obama debate last night while Willa climbed all over me (no doubt giving Phyre Trux the chance to test out some of those reflexes). I'm still not in love with either. Still yearning for John Edwards.

Wild violets are covering the lawn, and while I'm delighting in them, I'm pretty sure Jim's plotting their death.

Speaking of plants, here's what's going on upstairs at Camp Sinki:

This photo is about 2 weeks old. We now have sprouts in every pod. Be sure to check in next month when I post about free tomato plants, because what the heck ARE we going to do with 80 plants in 2 different varieties?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

2 moments

Yesterday. Sunny and warm. Sitting on the front porch sharing orange slices with Willa and our 7 year old neighbor. Willa was barefoot. The dogs were doing laps around the house. The neighbor girl was wearing her roller blades. Willa carried around the pansies we bought Sunday by the handle. She put them down and screamed like, well, like a little girl. Willa is now afraid of and intrigued by bugs. A large flying ant was perched on the handle. I do not fear bugs, but detest flying ants. I was heroically brave for my daughter. When it flew away all three of us jumped.

This morning. Three am. Willa walks into the room and starts pawing at my head, finally scrambles up the bed, and next to me. Then on top of me. Then on the other side of me. All the time coughing and mumbling. Jim tries to put her back into her crib, but she follows him back to our bed. I have a two year old stalker.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Small box, big kindness

A few quick things:
We took Willa to see "Horton Hears a Who" at the theater on Saturday. She sat and enjoyed all but the last 10 minutes. At that point, I think she realized there were other people there, and it was a very big room. So, for the last 10 minutes she walked up and down 3 steps and enjoyed the movie. Big fan of movie popcorn, that Willa.
We also gave her the birthday presents we've been storing. The play dough station and art table were big hits. She loves her tricycle. After we get a push bar installed, we'll all have big fun outside with it. Photos to come.

In the gift-opening chaos, she opened THE box. I was reading, and Jim was reading, and she wandered over to us with the box half open. Jim asked if I was all right with that. I was torn, but she moved faster than I could decide.

When my Grandma Laws died, I got most of her yarn. I intended to learn the art of making a long colorful string into something wearable, but alas, my first and only project can best be described as long and brown that widens at odd places.

I am on a message board with other area moms. When I finally admitted to myself that long and brown would never be even a wearable scarf, I asked about places to donate the yarn. One of the moms replied that her Grandmother knits prayer shawls the hospital that Willa was born at. I ended up dropping off a very large bag of yarn in the ER for her.

A few months later Amanda, the mom (hi Amanda), wrote to let me know that the yarn had been made into baby hats. My thoughts went to the hat(s 2- lucky girl) that Willa got she she was born, and then a year later, sitting with Amanda (a near stranger at the time) while she was in the hospital worried that her own baby would be born too early (adorable Addie just turned a year old), and then the future when Jim and I would welcome our second child. Pregnancy hormones and a strong sentimental streak had me tearing up. My grandma would be tickled knowing that her yarn would be used to nuzzle the heads of so many newborns.

Willa opened the box and pulled out a teeny knit hat. Orange and green (perfect for our near -Halloween baby). I started crying immediately. Jim handed me a little handwritten note: "Because your Great Grandma would want you to have this."

Amanda went through great pains to make this precious gift a happy anticipatory surprise. She used her cousin's address and not her own, knowing I'd look it up, knowing I wouldn't find anything. She also shared that she didn't think I'd make it until October. Sweet, fun, sneaky Amanda, thank you, and your Grandma so, so much.

Friday, April 11, 2008


At 5:38 this morning, I heard a noise, and rolled over to see what was going on.
Willa was standing 4 feet from the bed in her pink footie pajamas covered with bunnies.
"What's going on Willa?"
"Hi Mama," she lifted her arms, "up, up, up."
I pulled her into bed between Jim and I, she sighed, put her hand under my neck and fell back to sleep.

She's been waking up a lot in the middle of the night lately. I suspect she's started to dream.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Curiosity and this cat

I am not good at surprises. No, let me edit that. I love to surprise people. I do not deal with surprise well.
Yesterday a box came to our house addressed to "Baby Taylor." I opened the cardboard box to find a square box in wrapping paper and a bow with directions taped to it. The directions, in big, bold letters, say "DO NOT OPEN UNTIL THE DAY OF YOUR BIRTH." The return address is: "it's a secret" in a Michigan city where I have no close friends of family. I did a reverse look-up of the address, and found no name.
So, now there's this box in our house that we can't unwrap until late October which is a little more than 6 months from today. Which, in the surprise corner of my brain is equal to forever.
And what if we wait and wait and wait, and on the blessed day that our second child arrives, we finally open the package - which by that time will certainly be resting on a pedestal with tasteful back lighting - and it's a onesie from Huggies?
So, what would you do if a mysterious package arrived at your door with instructions to not open for 6 months? And how good are you at delayed gratification?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Sunday's b-day party in review

We had 2 daffodils bloom on Willa's birthday. Every year for 3 years, I've noticed my favorite flower at the same time as Willa's "welcome to the world" anniversary. I've been scanning GR, and it's entirely possible that we may have the only 2 that have popped.

Due to illness and travel difficulties, the Sinki family of 3 has delayed celebrating Willa's birthday. She has not received her super cool gifts from her parents. We have not done anything small to celebrate - just the 3 of us. Saturday, I think.

She did, in fact turn two on Sunday, and enjoyed time with my side of the family. She got to see her grandparents, and her great grandpa, her uncles, her aunt and her cousin, MaKenna. The only one missing was the newly legit aunt Jac who was working in Traverse City over the weekend. She had a pink cake (she picked out strawberry frosting), and blew the candle out like a pro.

On the way home, she was over tired and hungry (but so tired and keyed up at the same time that she wouldn't eat anything). She cried for the first 20 minutes of the ride, and when she finally went to sleep, Jim and I thought we had a quiet 2 hours in front of us. And then we hit Lansing. We finally stopped in Portland, and spent an hour in the parking lot trying to get her to calm down. Time and a vanilla milkshake finally got to her, and when she finished it, she was smiling and chirping out random words and phrases. Turkey.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I don't know who you are. Almost 2 months ago, I took a test that confirmed that there were hormones in my body that meant you were were. Probably. And your presence certainly has affected how I've been feeling since about that day. But that was all chemicals.

Today I finally had some real evidence that you're in there. It took a long time as the doctor moved the wand across my belly. I had the chance to say some silent pleading prayers. Time to start to worry. And just about the time I was trying to stop my heart so we could hear yours... there you were. Squimy and shy, but with a strong heartbeat of 160 beats a minute.

Tears streamed down my face as I looked at your dad, grinning in the corner.

Monday, April 07, 2008

2: mostly sunny with parts of terrible

Willa turned 2 yesterday. I would like to write all about it here. Today I am living somewhere behind my sinuses (flooded) and above my lungs (murky). When the sandbags start working, and the Red Cross sends the sandwich cart, I'll fill you in.

Quick tidbit. On her second birthday, my daughter told me I was making her mad, and I should go to time out.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Touchy, touchy

For a while I had a crazy fascination with senses. Not all at once, but in phases. I was lucky to have this phase hit me while living in DC, a place of great variety.

It once lead me to alter a route on my walk home by many blocks so I could stare at the way a tailor had his thread organized by color the the window. So gratifying to see dozens of hues of one color, arranged from light to dark and covering the rainbow spectrum.

I would order plantains from the same place just to feel the density and sweetness on my tongue.

Coffee beans, lemon zest, mud, and 12 year olds experimenting with the new horizon of perfume kept my nose busy.

The stillness of the monuments at night and bustle of the markets on the weekend wore out my ear. So many languages, so many dialects.

The phase of touch sent me to fabric stores to fondle the silks and velvets. I'd run my fingernails against and then with the grooves on corduroy. I grasped the arms of friends wearing fuzzy sweaters. Cold water, hot wax, smooth leaves, rough carpet... my hands were constantly roaming, looking for the next high.

And one day David, a co-worker took his braids out. And I asked if I could touch his gloriously gigantic Afro.

All side conversation stopped. I'm pretty sure the air left the room. The look he gave me... so violently offended. "Hell. No," he said. I quickly apologized and tried to explain.

He didn't care. I was just a white girl from the suburbs who went the stereotypical way of wanting to touch the exotic hair of a black man.

And I let him make me feel ignorant and small. Until this week. It was not him, or his hair, or his race that I was interested in. It was just the texture and looking for the next touch. For some reason that moment was replayed in my head while in the car, and I am letting it go.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Human toddler song Jukebox

Over the weekend Willa was in the back seat and randomly started singing Old MacDonald.
"moo moo 'ere and moo moo 'der"
Big breath in, and then: "DAAAAA-Deeeeeeeeee- Ohhhhh!"

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

double the fun

We had an eventful morning...
doctor: "There it is... that's the heartbeat of your second child. Oops, baby's active, let's move this around a little to see if we can hear it again. Yup, there it is."
-Warsha warsha warsha (that's kind of what it sounds like)-
doctor: "Hmm... let's move it just a little more...." pause while more warshas... and then overlapping warshas... long pause...
me: "What's in the background there?"
doctor: "That... would be the sound of your third child's heartbeat. Any history of twins in your family?"
Just kidding. April Fools.

Today is also the birthday of my Grandma who left us in December. Thinking of her.