Friday, June 27, 2008

4 years ago tomorrow

Last month, I chronicled the less than fireworks and birds singing meeting of Mr. Sinki. Don't remember? Look here.

Tomorrow marks another anniversary. I was going to write about it here, but know what? I already did.

What I haven't shared before is that he was making some pretty obvious moves before he left town for his friend's wedding, but I wasn't getting it. Telling me he'd like to sit on his front porch and watch fireworks while holding hands seems pretty blatant, right?

I didn't really process it until I was driving home from that visit. I sat in the driveway with my head on the steering wheel, certain he was going to meet someone at the wedding.

Luckily for me he came home w/ no digits in his pockets and a terribly misaligned back.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Babies in waiting

Every Sunday for a few months I've turned to Jim and said, "hey, I'm _ weeks pregnant today" and he gives me a high five. It was not intentional, but we eased into it as a routine.
On Sunday Willa was in the bathtub and we were standing outside the bathroom door watching her float on her back.
"Hey, I'm 22 weeks pregnant today."
He got a little pale and I noticed his hand gripping the door frame. There was no five.
"There's so much to do."
"I know, holy crap, right?"

At least we're set with a name. Last night sister Lisa called and four year old MaKenna chatted with both Jim and I. She shared her suggestion for a boy or a girl: Peter Pan!

I think that I mentioned a long time ago that someone close to me was expecting twins, but until she shared with the world, I couldn't here. MaKenna is going to have identical twins coming to live with her this winter, and she's making my sister tell everyone: the bank teller, the gas station cashier... They're identical, so either 2 boys or 2 girls. MaKenna's decided their names too: Delilah and Delilah.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dark secret of shallow waters

I am struggling with the knowledge that I am vain about our daughter's looks. We, of course think she's beautiful. I mean, come on...

Cutie, yes? Anyhow, said cutie was swarmed by mosquitoes yesterday at daycare. View of woodland creatures from their window? Great. The bugs that also lurk there? Hungry.

She apparently has a very high sensitivity to the bites of some bugs. She has welts on her face, and one of her eyes is 1/2 closed. I know it doesn't hurt her, and she's not bothered by her appearance. Yet.. and this is where I hang my head, while out running errands I was feeling kind of sensitive about it. "Stop staring at my daughter, she's fine," kept running though my head. Folks, it's not a little bit. The right side of her face looks completely different than the left.

Here's the obligatory statement about loving a child no matter how they looked. I - we - totally would. And that's where I'll leave that line of thought.

While at the mall, watching her jump on the breakfast themed playscape eggs, Jim leaned over to me and said, "I almost want to show these other parents a photo of her to show she doesn't always look this way." I almost made out with him right there in breakfast land.

We're both laughing and suspicious about our own shallowness in this case. But if our boat has hit some shallow seas, at least we've got each other.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Demands from the backseat

I'm driving along the expressway, enjoying a minute of silence in the hectic morning when the demand is issued from the back seat.
"Ba Ba Black Sheep! Have you any wool!"
"You want music, Willa?"
"Kids sing. Ba ba...."
So I turn on the Dan Zanes CD. If you need music geared to kids that you'll probably like, check him out. There are a few songs on this particular CD where kids sing along too. I avoid purchasing the $3.99 CDs with "all the songs toddlers love" because it's just some 3rd grade class singing "twinkle twinkle" while their music teacher plays the piano. And until Willa's in that 3rd grade class, I don't need this kind of recording. But Dan Zanes does a good job at incorporating the musical midgets.
I was singing along with Song #6 (if you click on the link, you can listen to a sample of the nursery rhyme rap) and Willa scolded me: "no mama KIDS sing."
Just a glimpse into the future when my music isn't cool, and I'm just the driver.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Her great-grandpa.

This is Willa hugging my grandpa. I mentioned below that she hugged him and said, "I love you" when we saw my family last weekend. I wasn't sure he heard her. Then I saw his face in this photo.

He heard.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Teething and still funny

I've got my fingers crossed that mother's intuition has finally decided to come to roost at Camp Sinki - because most of the time? I'm just wingin' it.

Willa's been... well, there's no delicate way to put diarrhea. And a precursor to that was a terrible diaper rash.

We've made and have been using the legendary "magic butt cream."

Recipe: equal parts Desitin, Lotramin and Malox OR, if you've got decent prescription coverage, have the doc call in a script. It's about $15 to diy or, in our case, $3 for the script. We're got both now.

Willa is well and healed. I saw the tips of her 2 year molars poking just below the gum line 2 night ago (this was my suspect all week).

Last night she wanted peanut butter.

"Peanut butter what, Willa?"
"Peanut butter... jelly."
"Peanut butter and jelly what?"
-blank look-
"What's the magic word?"
She raised her face to mine, got the most wonderful grin and proudly shouted, "magic butt!!! Willa's magic butt."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I wore that "A"

Cities and towns near the banks of the Mississippi River and other bodies of water are battling to keep their people safe and the infrastructure in tact. Terrible stories of loss will emerge, as will glimmers of hope, inspiration, and lessons to get that all important flood insurance. I was so proud to read this story this morning.

I've written here about my experience as an Americorps member. It changes individual lives and entire communities. Today there are Americorps members helping with the floods, serving in schools, helping the elderly get meals, building houses, planting community gardens, building bridges in state and national parks... they are heroes.

I am proud to be among the ranks of alumni today.

Monday, June 16, 2008


We were visiting my family this weekend. When it was time to go, she gave hugs and kisses to everyone there, including family she hasn't seen since December. I was so proud of her. Two weeks ago, she wouldn't make eye contact with any adult except for Jim, myself and her daycare providers. Jim and I get to live with this little person who knows how to tell us what she's thinking/feeling/wanting and, for the longest time, very few people got to see just how charming and sweet she is.
Some highlights of the weekend:

  • Spending time with Jim in the car on the way there, after a busy, hectic week. We have agreed on a boy name! It's not in stone, but it's a step. A girl name, I'm pretty sure we'll never agree on anything again.
  • Eating rhubarb strawberry pie (compliments of the Sinkis) on my parents' deck on what may have been the most lovely of summer evenings. Willa deciding to "go get" the birds eating out of their bird feeder.
  • Detroit Zoo on Sunday (for FREE, thanks again, brother Brian) with Jim and Willa. Jim declaring that he didn't want to go see any small animals. This was his day and he only wanted to see the big animals. Willa taking a walk with her new peacock buddy. Willa telling me she was going to "go get" the hippo when she saw her. Jim watching Willa watch the animals.
  • Big picnic in my parents yard with dad's side of the family. The last time we were together was for Grandma's funeral. It was really nice to see everyone relaxed and enjoying each other.
  • Hearing Willa tell her Great-Grandpa, "I love you." I hope he could hear it too.
  • Willa playing with her uncles, and hugging her aunt.
  • Amazing lightening show we got on the drive home.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The juice running down her chin was precious

I have been having a difficult time keeping Willa inside, what with the delicious strawberries growing in our backyard. I forgot to lock the screen door and heard it quietly shut. I ran to the front door and dragged a mostly naked* Willa into the house. "Straaaaaaw... berries," she howled.
"We ate all the of ripe strawberries yesterday. They won't be good yet. How about some blueberries, Willa?"
"No, mama. Red berries please."
Then I dazzled her with my fine art of changing the subject, "how about if we play with balloons."
It worked.

* She's got a diaper rash that we're trying to extinguish with a lot of air.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sinki flashback

This blogging stuff... sometimes you mean to post something, and suddenly it was a week ago, or a month, or more. We have a bunch of photos from "the winter thaw" on that I haven't posted here. Let me share a few, okay?

A few weeks ago when we were enjoying the land that is "up north" in Michigan, we got to spend a good amount of time with my parents at Higgens Lake.

Willa was just starting to come out of her anxiety about anyone but Jim and I looking at her stage, and my dad got some special fun play time. See? Here it is. This looks like it could have been a very serious conversation.

Here she is sitting on a bench on Mackinac Island. Her giant Sinki head is hiding the Mackinac Bridge.

Willa and I enjoying our feet in the sand at Higgens Lake.

This one was at the Nature Center in Grand Rapids. I am posting it here to look back on in February when I am cursing living in the tundra.

Here they are casually looking for frogs. Two minutes later, they were both on their bellies on the boardwalk.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Garden inventory

Travel, exhaustion, and weather backed up our usual garden schedule this year. But last night we're 90% done.

Jim built a box for our tomatoes. Now they'll get more sun, and we have more space for other veggies. We have beefstake tomatoes we bought and Roma and cherry tomatoes we started from seed. On Friday we planted about 35 of our seedlings, knowing that they wouldn't all make it. Darwinism has been active in our raised bed, and after the torrential storms of the weekend, we have about 20 nice looking plants. We'll continue to pluck the little guys as the next few weeks go by.

We also planted 10 pepper plants. Jim went a little nuts on the peppers this year. Between those, the tomatoes, and the cilantro that reseeded from 2 years ago, we'll be making plenty of salsa come August.

Willa and I planted radish and green bean seeds. She loves gardening, and I'm happy to have a little girl who doesn't mind getting dirty.

We might put in one or two more veggie plants this year, but have scaled back on variety because we knew we'd be in transition.

I've already mentioned the cilantro, but we're also working with basil, oregano, mint, chamomile and rosemary.

In the fruit department: our blueberry plants are celebrating their first anniversary in our garden this summer. They are growing well, and even though we didn't expect it, we were a little disappointed to not see blossoms. Our strawberries, on the other hand... we have delicious berries that are at peak ripeness this week. The chipmunks have left them alone thanks to the cage Jim made for the plants. They are small and sweet and just the right texture.

It's been a lot of work getting the soil ready, building new beds, and growing some of our stuff from seed. I certainly hope our harvest is decent.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The kids, an update

On Sunday morning, Willa woke me up by poking me in the back with her finger. I rolled over, and she said, "more big booms?"
Someone is a big fan of the show Nature put on the night before.
She also liked the big band music at Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts. We walked away and she said, "more horns?"
Being a toddler must mean that you can't get enough. Of anything.
She shared something with me while I was putting on a diaper. She patted her vagina and smiled, "it's sunny, mama." Magical time, two years old...

Sinki numero dos is the length of a banana now. And crazy active. We're half way to the finish line, and our house reminds me of a Sesame Street skit with Ernie and Bert. The one where the fish is in the pot because Ernie needed the fish bowl for the flower because.. and it goes on and on. Before the baby comes, we need to move one thing to move another to get another thing done. Our house is like Ernie's brain. And Tetris.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Progress in Pottyland

You know how when you're an adult and you wake up in the morning, stretch a little and then make your way to the bathroom? Mmm hmmm, toddlers don't do that.


This morning I woke up because Willa was poking my back. When I rolled over, she handed me her wet diaper. Then her pants. She then walked away quietly. A minute later I realized this was really happening, and got up to follow her.

She was sitting on the toilet, finishing up. She wiped, got down and flushed.

I'm not sure if my body will be able to handle containing all of this excitement and pride. So, you know... share with with friends and internet strangers here.

This kid has moments that astound me. When did she get old enough to do this? Later, she made us eggs and toast with fresh squeezed orange juice. Kidding, kidding (she totally slacked off and used frozen juice).

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Here's Willa and "her" guitar. She loves to pick it up, insist that
Jim or I play the other guitar and move the capo on and off of
the mandolin neck.
Like the Jack-o-lantern socks? So does she. She picks them out, just like she picked out the headband.

There's a baby in there, more confirmation

Heartburn caught up to me yesterday.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Those other Sinkis

Watching Jim and Willa together is one of the most rewarding pieces of parenthood.
Yesterday she and I were at the fridge getting some juice, and I suggested she go hug Jim and say, "I love you." This is a new phrase, and she's been trying it on for size.
She took her sippy cup and ran to his lap. They cuddled for a few minutes.
I sat next to them. "Willa? Were you going to tell daddy something?"
She looked up at him and then at me. She slid to his slide and was looking at the floor. Suddenly she whipped her head around and shouted with a smile, "I LOVE YOU!"
They spent the next few moments saying it back and forth and then beeping each others noses and pulling on different parts of ears. This, apparently, leads to animal noises. The lobe = moo, the upper ear = meow, etc.
I, being chock full of hormones, started tearing up.
Love you, Sinkis.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Life I love you, all is groovy

4 chambers of a beating heart, 2 hands, 2 feet, spine, kidneys, bladder... adorable alienish profile. Mouth open and shut, hands moving, fist pumping, squirm, squirm, squirm.
Above, you'll see baby's head at the right. Huge forehead (normal for this age), nose, neck, belly, and then the leg and knee. Baby's foot is behind the placenta, which is that mass above its head.

Everything looked great. Everything we could see, anyhow...

After 40 minutes, the tech told me to go pee a little (after drinking 32 oz of water, I was happy to oblige) to see if we could get a shot easier that way. Nope.

After 50 minutes I told her that we had time, but understood if she couldn't spend much longer looking, and we wouldn't leave devastated not knowing the gender. She said SHE needed to know, it was going to drive her crazy.

After an hour she started to clean off my belly while asking Jim what he did. When he told her he worked for an organization that allows intellectually disabled people participate in competitive athletics*, she put more goo on me and tried again for 15 more minutes. Her daughter swims with said organization.

The baby was very active: breach, head up, head down, and then breach the other way. BUT legs crossed and the cord in the way the whole time. At one point all 3 of us saw and thought for sure "girl." A minute and baby shift later, we all thought "boy?" back and forth so many times!

It is still a mystery. And might be so until baby arrives. Baby is measuring a week ahead, and heart rate was 144. It was a sweet and lovely experience, and I'm not at all disappointed to not know. In fact, I'm kind of tickled.

Universe? You're pretty funny. Jim and I spent a lot of time on the "do we want to know this time" question. And this was a good lesson/reminder that it wasn't up to us. Anyone need to share a secret with someone? Tell our baby, he/she's good at keeping those quiet.

*He, of course said the name, I'm trying to keep that off of the blog for privacy sake. I'm sure you've figured it out, but it's not Googleable this way.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Sneak Peek

Sinki numero dos is the size of a "large heirloom tomato" and a candidate for Cirque de Soleil
(click here for an artists rendering of our contortionist fetus). Tomorrow Jim and I will get our first glimpse of baby through the magic of ultrasonic imaging.
I am nervous and anxious more than excited. I remember a small feeling of dread when facing the ultrasound with Willa too. "Everything is going too well... surely we'll find something is wrong at the ultrasound." She's fine, I'm sure (honestly? no I'm not, this is why I'm nervous) this one will be fine too. I'm hoping to be able to see 4 heart chambers working together well and with ease, 10 fingers and toes, a well formed brain and spinal cord.
Fear is a potent thing in an expecting woman. And an ultrasound can be a window to those fears realized.
In addition to health concerns, the real reason of this scan, we will be given the opportunity to find out the gender, should baby cooperate.
We have decided to try to find out this time.
While pregnant with Willa, there was no doubt we were going to wait. "Good, it should be a surprise," people would say in response. I was (frankly) smug in my agreement. I wanted, Jim wanted, that "it's a ____" experience after the baby arrived.
Jim assures me this happened. But I have absolutely no memory of this.
I remember Willa was on my chest, gooey and warm and brand new. I knew she was a girl. I don't remember anyone telling me.
So, darn it, I wanted to have this experience in a moment when I hadn't been in labor forever and wasn't pushing for eons.
And Jim was all, "that's cool."
I don't know if we'll be sharing right away tomorrow. We may keep our excited buzz to ourselves for a day. But stay tuned.

My Boyfriend's back...

You know when you don't have your favorite sleeping pillow (or maybe for you it's the fan isn't on or the blanket isn't just right) and you just can't get to sleep? Willa's sleep comfort must be knowing that her dad's in the house. He got home and she slept. It was still later than her normal bed time, but there were no howls of "Nooooo diaaaaaaper." No throwing up, no tears, not even a lot of playing after being kissed goodnight.

It feels good. Getting a bed all to yourself is no special treat if you aren't actually relaxing or sleeping.

We went to Grand Rapids' farmers market on Saturday morning. I had a great conversation with one of the producers:

"So, what's the difference between the 'homegrown rhubarb' and the 'fancy rhubarb'?"
"I made this sign, my wife made the other one," he said with the most serious face.

I bought the fancy rhubarb to honor the farmers wife's marketing genius. It is now all cut up and in bread and pie. Kerri shared a rhubarb walnut bread recipe from her mom and I had to try it out. Next time I should remember to actually put in the baking soda. This time we have very dense, but tasty bread. Keri (these are 2 different people, not a spelling error) posted on her blog when she made pie with her own crust. That inspired me. So, strawberry rhubarb pie with buttermilk crust. This was Jim's first experience with rhubarb - maybe. He's not sure if the weed the neighborhood kids chewed on growing up was actually rhubarb or not. Anyhow, he loves the pie. Growing up eating my mom's recipe, this one had a lot to live up to, and it didn't disappoint.

Tomorrow is a big day, friends, but because this is already getting long, I will stop here and revisit and repost later this afternoon.