Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Surreal Hyperminimalist Office

Ok, so about 4 people will appreciate the reference in this post. My office is “LEED” Certified, meaning it's met certain enviromentally responsible standards.

There are signs like this posted all over the walls:




You can see evidence of this cheap “green” strategy throughout the building. In the break room, there is coffee. But no cups. What does this remind me of? Upright Citizen’s Brigade Hyper-Minimalist episode, of course. “Would you like a cup of coffee?” (No coffee ever comes.) “Have a seat.” “There is no chair.”

When I first started, I didn’t have a trash can in my cubicle. Someone explained to me that nobody had trash cans. Um, why? Because it was part of being “green.” I didn’t understand. Was this wishful-thinking legislation (if we outlaw guns, there will be no gun crime!)? If we don’t have trash cans, people will produce less trash? I was confused. But they did this so that they would not have to have a night-time cleaning service collecting trash from everyone’s cubicles, eliminating the need to keep the lights and air on at night. A cost savings too.

So what we were supposed to do with trash? We were supposed to take it to a nearby trash receptacle. Except they weren't really that “nearby” and who wants to walk to the trash can every time they have to throw something out? So inevitably everyone uses their personal recycling container (which we were allowed to keep) to collect trash. So forget recycling – we are too busy fiddling with emptying our own trash bins.

A “green” plan that resulted in people giving up on recycling. Of course. Also known as the law of unintended consequences.

At the end of the day, you’d see pissed off executives trying to stuff their trash in the tiny little trash receptacles. Of course, not everyone would empty their trash every day, resulting in day(s)-old food-wrapper/leftover smells floating around some of the cubicles.

No night-time cleaning crew means the cleaning crew cleans during the day. I never really figured out the etiquette of what you are supposed to do when someone started vacuuming inside your cubicle and around your feet while you were working – and on a conference call, of course. Are you supposed to stand up? Move?

Thankfully, after a few months, they gave us our trash cans back and no longer vacuum in our cubicles in the middle of the day. There are some non-disposable cups in the breakroom and a dishwasher, which I’m all in favor of (reducing unnecessary waste and cost). But I always get a kick out of the fact that for every bright idea, the law of unintended consequences is always at work… breeding chaos, destabilizing the status quo, undermining ordered civilization, and along the way, providing bouts of insanity.

More Coming Soon...

I'm way behind on blogging. But we've been busy.

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Ok, our contractor was really busy. But we are also still busy settling into our new place and will post some pictures soon. We love it. Check out the awesome new floors. They make a huge difference and really brighten up the room. (They were a very dark brown/black before.) The new white paint helps too.

Thank God I Was Born in the 80’s

Killian finally goes to bed at a consistent time each night and has one of those mythical smooth bedtime routines. He takes a bath and then about 7:40 or so, happily trots to bed. I lay next to him for a few minutes until he falls asleep. This is a big improvement from him fighting sleep so hard every night and it usually taking a 20-minute walk in the stroller to make him surrender to sleep.

So…Mike and I now have some newly-found down time in the evening. We decided to start watching a show together and tried out Mad Men. (Thanks Tim and Faye!) We are hooked. It’s a GREAT show. Every night after each episode, we find ourselves discussing the interpersonal dynamics and sitting dumbstruck over the rampant sexism and racism that was just part of life then.

I knew “it was a different time” back then, but it really didn’t hit home how different it was until the show gave me a birds-eye view into what it was really like to live in the 60’s. I feel so bad that it has taken me watching a fictional TV show for me to really understand (and internalize) how bad things were. It makes me wonder how we’ve made the progress we have made as a society in just a few decades.

The show paints an accurate depiction of the reality of the 60’s; nothing has been glossed over or is shown in a rosy light like so many other depictions of the 60’s. It was definitely not the good ‘ol days. Shudder.

Every night Mike and I have been falling asleep grateful that we were born in the 1980’s. And I wonder, what will our kids think of our present society and generation? Will they also be so glad they weren’t born “back then?”

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Killian Update

Killian has been adjusting well to his new classroom. I knew once he got comfortable with the new people, he would really start to enjoy the class, because they do a lot of hands-on arts and craft-type activities that I knew he'd enjoy. One of the teachers sent us some pictures:

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When we pick him up, he is usually covered in paint or markers.

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Here he is with his buddy Ashton.

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In other news, I (painfully) trimmed the back of Killian's hair. He had a cornflake or something stuck at the bottom of one of his locks that was turning into a dreadlock. And his beautiful blond locks were getting too unruly and were distracting from his even more beautiful face :)  So it was time for a little trim. Of course, the girl who used to make fun of scrapbooking (me) saved the hair that I trimmed from him. (He may not have blond hair forever and we will need proof!)

Monday, September 13, 2010

15 Months

This has been a month of change for Killian.

Killian moved from the “Infant” Room at school to the “Toddler Room.” You would think because it was a familiar place (he saw the Toddler Room every day, he was familiar with the teachers, and his buddy Ashton is in that class), it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but it was a difficult transition for him - more so then even switching to a whole new daycare when he was 8 months old. He loved his class and was very attached to his two primary teachers. And I was too! They are wonderful. This explains one reason why.

It was supposed to be a two-week transition period: the first week, his primary teacher would accompany him to his new classroom and each day he would spend more and more time there. The second week, we all decided it would be easier for him just to go cold turkey on the Infant Room; bouncing back and forth between the two rooms was just too traumatic for him. Mike and I both spent a couple hours with him in the room, which helped a lot.

There are lots of things he loves about the new classroom, mainly the climber. Here he is staring at it when he was in the Infant Room. “Climber, one day you will be mine.”
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Killian went from being the big kid in the room to the youngest. It was almost surreal for Mike and I to be around all those older toddlers (ages 15 months to 2 years). They all could…talk…a lot! One of the little girls in his class is already potty trained and a lot of the other little ones are interested in using the potty too. I’m hoping the verbal skills of the older kids rub off on Killian!

Speaking of verbal skills, Killian has definitely started vocalizing more this past month. Lots of babbling. We have heard some new words (“hot,” “up”) but they are occasional. He always surprises us, casually saying new words we’ve never heard him say before. Did you hear him just say “car?” (as we are getting into the car).

The other change is that we moved to a new unit in our building. Killian has responded really well to this. He took to the new unit immediately. He seemed to understand immediately where “his” room was and “his” bathtub was. He was very interested in taking a bath in a bathtub.

These past few weeks Killian has seemed to outgrow toys. No interest in them whatsoever. He wants to be playing with all of mom and dad’s stuff. He recently learned how to flip over laundry baskets, climb on top of them, and then find his balance and come to a standing position on top of it. I let him do this in his room where it is carpeted, but the kid’s got really good balance and he never falls!

This past month Killian has been more touchy feely with me. I think sadly a “Mom Deficit” built up during these past few weeks of bad “morning” sickness. I couldn’t do all the things I normally would do with him, like pick him up from school and take him to the park. When he sleeps with me at night (which invariably happens at some point in the night), he always wants to be touching me. His hand on my arm. His cheek on my cheek. And sometimes he will want to fall asleep lying on my chest, which he hasn’t done since he was a newborn. I love it.

First Parent-Teacher Conference

(I wrote a post for Killian’s 15-month birthday, but it was so long, that I decided to make the description of our “transition meeting” with Killian’s teacher a separate post. Killian has transitioned from the “infant room” to the “toddler room” and we met with both Killian’s original primary teacher and his new teacher toward the end of the transition week.)

I didn’t really know what to expect from a “transition meeting” for a one-year old, but I certainly did not expect I would have to hold back tears! His primary teacher from the infant room put together a portfolio for Killian. She wrote about special moments that had happened during his time there. His teachers always write a few sentences on his daily sheet about what he did that day, and they would always try to remember to tell us in person anything especially funny or cute he did that day. But I didn’t know that they had been collecting and recording all these Killian anecdotes over the months.

The notes that really made me tear up were about how Killian demonstrates empathy with the other children. When other children were upset, Killian would often try to comfort them by offering them his own pacifier and putting his hand on their back. She concluded one of the notes, “Killian will make a great big brother!”

Awwwwwww.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Birthday Weekend

Now that I'm a mom, I now sometimes think of birthdays in context of mothers. You know, the lady who made the birthday possible :) I've started to make it a habit of thanking my mom on my birthday. That's really when Mother's Day should be. On the anniversary of each child's birth (or adoption). As many times a year as the number of children that you brought into your family.

Of course, I've only been through one birthday of one child so far, and I'm sure because it was his first birthday, it was all the more poignant. A combination of a fierce celebratory spirit (we made it a year!) mixed with reminiscing sentiment (my baby's not a baby any more!) & (remember this time last year he was inside of me?), along with a great anticipation and happiness for what's still ahead.

So on my birthday, I'm thinking of my mom and what she was up to 28 years ago and in the early '80's.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Economou Boys

I just came across this photo - one of my favorites. I went to Florida with my dad and Luke & John back in 2003. Dad had a convention to attend in Orlando, and I went to have fun with the boys at while he was working.

I think I like this photo so much because each of their personalities really shines through. Luke: laid-back. Yeah, I'm wearing pink socks. What? John: sweet and caring. Nick: cool.

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I Wear My Sunglasses...in the bathroom.

We are very excited to be moving a few floors below to a spacious two-bedroom, two-bath unit.

It's all about the little things. Here are a few things that I am looking forward to most about the new unit.

1.  I won't have to wear my sunglasses in the bathroom in the afternoon. I'm totally serious. In the afternoon, it's like living on the surface of the sun in our condo, especially the bathroom. This picture doesn't really capture how bright it is in there.

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Our current bathroom has floor to ceiling windows.
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While this seemed really cool at first, it did get old after awhile. The glass is mirrored, so during the day, you don't have to worry about privacy, but I'm looking forward to being able to walk around naked at night in my bathroom (or without worrying if the lawyers and cleaning people working late in the office building next door can see me). (We were too cheap to install curtains since we knew we were only going to be here for 6 months.)

2. A bathtub!
Our current bathroom has a family-sized shower, but no bathtub. We've made do by using an inflatable pool to give Killian his baths. But this doesn't work out so well for me. I miss my occasional shower-bath.

3. Killian will have his own room!
Most of his toys will be in one place (and no toys will be in our bedroom!).  Our son won't be sleeping in our closet anymore, which by the way, is a very big closet! Kids in Tokyo would be jealous! And Killian loves nookish spaces, so please don't call social services on me :) And it is ventilated...blah blah.

4. I will have a door to my bedroom! Ahhhhh. I will be able to rest or take a nap without Killian running around the corner and jumping on me or without having to send Mike and Killian out of the house. But hopefully I'll be past the lying-in-bed-nauseous days soon anyhow.

5. A slightly bigger kitchen for Mike.
A few extra feet of counter space and some more cabinet space goes a long way.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Killian's Table

We finally ordered Killian a wood table and chair like he has at school. It's another "Montessori concept," called a "weaning table." He was so happy to see it when we unpacked it today.

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Like other Montessori concepts, it fosters independence, self-confidence, and responsibility. He enjoys being able to seat himself at the table and feed himself.

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He focuses on eating while at the table and he actually seems to be a much more of a "responsible" eater compared to when he is in the high chair. I guess it makes him feel like a grown-up!

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His cup skills are really improving!
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