Laird at 20 months

Xander and Laird ready for a bike ride

Gosh, where has the time gone?  Every time I look at the little guy he looks different to me.  Less baby-ish.  More kid-ish.  So what is Laird up to these days?  He’s still under the wonderful care of his sitter, Liz, who watches him and a few other kids three days a week when I’m at work.  I think he has a hard time taking his naps there though, probably due to all the commotion, and by the end of the day is exhausted and delirious.

Mondays and fridays are his mommy and me times, days that we do whatever it is we feel like.  Realistically, these days are times where I tirelessly try to get the house reorganized from the weekend or the week by doing laundry, cooking, cleaning and maybe some gardening if it’s nice.  We occasionally have playdates with friends and more recently have started venturing to the park more often.  His favorite place to be is outdoors though and he will beg me saying “Outside?   Outside?”

Laird’s vocabulary is expanding rapidly.  I am often taken completely off-guard when he boastingly states the name of an object that I had no idea he knew or remembered.  Pineapple, penguin, guinea pig and surfboard, are examples.  It’s also amazing to see him start putting words together to from short sentences.  I know, every human goes through these stages and eventually learns how to talk.  But, I just can’t believe how fast it all happens.

Bath time fun!

We are still cloth diapering and after a recent episode of diarrhea/mushy poop, I cannot wait until he is potty trained.  Laird has started showing a (very) remote interest in using the potty.  He might say “stinky diaper” or “go potty.”  From which I will then walk him to his little potty only to have him see it, say “potty” and then “all done, all done,” without having done anything.  I’m finally starting to believe all those people that warned me that “boys take longer to potty train.”  Really, how much easier could it be for boys?

How is little man’s hair looking?  Pretty crazy, actually.  Due to the sloping shape of Laird’s head, the top of it sticks straight up, while the rest of it all lays neatly.  I’m still waiting patiently for it to grow back.

Henry and Laird playing at the park

About Laird’s diet, many people often ask me, “Will Laird be vegetarian also?”  And while trying to disguise sarcasm, I reply “Yes, he will be a vegetarian.  At least while we’re feeding him.”  What I really want to say is, “Of course!  Why would I feed my child meat, if I don’t eat it myself?”  He eats a diet full of whole grains and lots of veggies.  He loves his bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, filled with bananas or strawberries, sometimes peanut butter, hemp seeds and raw cow milk.  Lunch is at the sitter’s and since she is vegetarian also, is fed similarly.  Dinner is all over the board.  He doesn’t mind spice and so we give it to him.   Whatever we eat, he eats.  Thai curry, Mexican, pasta, Indian, veggie burgers, etc.  But nothing beats the look on his face when I ask him if he wants blueberries for dessert.  The light in his eyes could illuminate the sky.  He loves blueberries.

At the Children's Museum

Sometimes I wish I could pause the hands on the clock and slow life down for just a bit longer to relish this amazingly, fun time…


Why I love Portland…

A somewhat long list in no particular order, except for the last thing, which is the best:

  • It’s easy being green here: Recycling, bicycling, the outdoors, Priuses, composting, it’s all here.
  • You can wear any combination of clothing and be in style: All you have is a suit and hiking boots?  No problem.  I’ve seen it, at a dental conference.
  • You can be a vegetarian and not starve: Restaurants abound for the meat-eating and non-meat-eating alike.  This town is known for it’s abundance of good food and foodies adore this city.

Laird birthed in our tub

  • People think you’re only a little weird when you tell them you’re having a home birth and you’re planning on planting the placenta in the backyard: It’s when you add that you’re doing a “hypnobirthing” method that the “you-ARE-really-weird” thoughts commence.
  • But, no worries, if you think you’re weird, there’s always someone weirder.
  • No sales tax: You pay nothing more than the price listed.  (Don’t ask about income tax though).
  • You don’t have to pump your own gas: This is especially nice during the winter months when I’d rather stay in my warm car.  This, however, becomes a negative when I’m in a hurry, there are 5 people ahead of me and only 1 attendant who doesn’t understand the concept of walking fast.
  • Evergreen trees keep everything green year-round: The pine needles can get a bit annoying though, but I’ll stop complaining.
  • Owls live in our backyard: I can still hear them, even with my earplugs in.
  • Hot, dry summers: There is nowhere else I’d rather be on a hot, summer day than Portland.  However, summer lasts but 3 months.  The rest of the year is a seemingly, never-ending mixture of clouds, rain and fleeting breaks of sunshine.  I’m clearly not into the winters here.
  • Our neighbors drive an old, gutted, school bus named the “Rhino Bus” (as indicated by these words spray-painted on the back of it):  In it lies a bed fixed to the floor for “road trips to Burning Man.”  The downside, of course, is this thing is the biggest gas-guzzler and takes up half our driveway.  It’s still cool though.
  • Year-round farmer’s market: I’m sure you could find one in California or Hawaii, but who wants to live in those places?

    Atop Mt Hood. There were at least 50 other people who summitted this day.

  • Everyone loves and appreciates the outdoors: Again, this also becomes a negative, especially during the summer when it is nearly impossible to reserve a campsite on the weekend, trailhead parking lots are overflowing and REI used-gear sales become urban campgrounds.  Actually, I think the true definition of a Portlander is “I love the outdoors more than you.”
  • Super dog-friendly: Dog parks, dog stores, dog bakeries, dog trainers, dog daycares, dog walks, dog breweries and veterinarians.  Dogs rule here.  I’m probably biased though, because I have dogs.
  • Our church is in a community center: Thank God for Riversgate Church.  We’ve made close friends here and have finally found a spiritual home.
  • Best airport ever: These TSA people have their act together, as I’ve never had to wait like I’ve had at other airports.  It’s clean and not so huge that I can actually not use the moving walkway and still make it to my gate on time.
  • Micro-breweries: Many of you who know me know that I can’t handle alcohol, at all.  Bad things happen when I drink.  But Curt loves a good IPA and Portland is home to many an IPA and many micro-breweries.  This makes him happy.  Which, in turn, makes me happy.  Really, PDX is a beer connoisseur’s utopia.
  • Alternative transportation is encouraged: Public transportation is excellent here and P-town caters to the bicyclist.  This is generally good, except for those bikers that feel entitled (blowing through stop signs, whizzing by extremely too close to runners, swearing at cars).  See this video for better explanation.  I actually had a bicyclist get mad at me on the Max train, while I was pregnant, because I didn’t give him enough room for his bike.
  • Home of Dave’s Killer Bread: Already discussed in a prior post.  It’s awesome.

Playing a round of "golf" at McMenamins Edgefield. Wby is Curt keeping score?

  • McMenamin’s Brew Pubs and Theaters: My cousin introduced us to McMenamin’s and I was in heaven.  Theaters with couches, tables, pizza, tots, beer and movies for $3.  Need I say more?  I will say more, though, and add that they even have Mommy and Family matinees.  Yes, it is perfectly acceptable, even expected, that there will be a screaming child in a movie, likely mine.
  • Community acupuncture clinics: Why have acupuncture alone?  At this place, I get stuck with needles, lay back in my comfy lay-z-boy and fall asleep for an hour next to other acupuncture addicts.

Timbers game

  • Portland Timbers: Finally, we have a major league sports team for a sport that I actually love.  Soccer.  Although I’m not really a fan of the mascot.  A lumberjack.  Kind of against my environmental beliefs.
  • Portland Marathon: Of all the ones I have run, this by far, was my favorite.  Fans, bands and lots of people.  There was a guy handing out cups of beer at mile 4.  I can’t imagine that stayed down.
  • People here actually know what cloth diapers are and more people are using them.
  • Our neighbors throw an annual Apple Smash Party: Every year we catch up with our fellow Portlanders, smash apples and drink fresh apple cider.  I’m not sure it’s organic though, I really should recommend organic apples.
  • I am not the only one using reusable grocery bags: And this is not only at grocery stores, but at the shopping mall too.  Plus, the grocery checkers here don’t give you a P-Oed look when you ask for paper bags instead of plastic.
  • The Portland grocery checker tells your BFF (who is from Florida, has never been to Portland and just arrived the day before) that “Florida is a dirty state”: This, of course, leads to an awkward exchange, whereby the checker adds that he visited the state and trash was literally everywhere.  The quick-witted BFF then irritatingly replies that it is the “tourists that make the state dirty,” grabs her beer in a plastic bag and storms out of the store.  (Who knows where that plastic bag is now.  Probably caught in a bush on the side of the road making our state look “dirty”.)  She now strongly dislikes Portland and deems it the “heroin and runaway capital of the U.S.”  I’m laughing here just thinking about this conversation and I wasn’t even there.

    Camping on the coast. Not sure how we scored this oceanfront site on a weekend during the summer.


Cotton and chickens

I look forward to my fridays…sleeping in sort-of, waking up slowly with Laird and taking off mid-morning to explore the city with my little buddy.  As I mentioned in previous posts, I am currently working on a project making pocket diapers for Laird and am constantly on the hunt for cute, fun and colorful (gender neutral for the possible 2nd child) fabric.  I have hit up Joann’s countless times and had looked at the same yards of fabric over and over again, it was getting monotonous.

I googled “fabric portland, oregon” and rediscovered a place I’ve driven by a number of times, but never had the chance to stop in and browse.  The store is Cool Cottons and is located in an old, renovated house on Hawthorne Street in southeast Portland.  The owner of the store was more than friendly and I was pleasantly satisfied with the rainbow of colors and variety of designs she had stocked in the store.

Figuring out those stairs

While I looked over the fabric again and yet again, Laird occupied himself with a wooden, toddler-sized rocking chair and a balloon (his love affair right now).  Eventually, I honed in on some fabric that would work well as diapers and left content with my new material.  I would highly recommend this place for fun, trendy, cotton fabric, be it for quilts, clothes, diapers or whatever it is you want to sew.

After a half-hour spent in the fabric store, we headed on our way to get our cheesemaking supplies.  Urban Farm Store was a chance find after I emailed the owner of a cheese product supplier to find out where I could purchase her products.  Just as the title states, the store is the mecca for anyone who wants to have a farm in the city and is located on southeast Belmont.

Prior to the dreaded peck

They carry cheesemaking and soap making supplies as well as chickens and chicks.  What is a farm without chickens?  Of coure, Lairdy made a B line for the fluffy little chicks and actually got pecked by one.  Let the crying begin!  I can’t recall every breed they sell, but Rhode Island Reds, Delawares and Ameracaunas were just a few of the dozen or so.  They also have classes on raising chickens and gardening.  My hope is to eventually have an urban farm, complete with chickens, an abundant vegetable garden and possibly goats (we’ll see if Curt lets me do all that).

Picking out his future chicks 🙂

I bought my vegetable rennet for my cheese and let little man check out the chicks one more time before we headed off to our next destination, OHSU to meet daddy for lunch.

Cloth diaper project

We’ve been cloth diapering since Laird arrived in this world with prefolds and diaper covers.  Anyone who has cloth diapered probably knows that it can be frustrating at times, establishing washing routines, dealing with rashes and the annoying ammonia stinkies.  I have spent hours (days probably) scouring cloth diapering forums trying to learn how to resolve these issues.  And for the past 6 months we have been battling a horrible diaper rash that would just not get better.  I made fleece liners, microsuede liners, stripped all of Laird’s diapers and was about ready to give up.–well not really, I could never use disposables 100%.  I had heard from cloth-diapering friends that pocket diapers worked well for them…easy to use, not many problems with rashes, not to mention cute fabrics.  But, they can run almost $20 for just one.  I decided that this was something I could potentitally make on my own. 

After doing some research on the internet, I found out what I needed that I didn’t already have.  PUL waterproof fabric, various cotton fabric, a snap plier and snaps.  Luckily the only things I had to buy online were my snaps and snap plier,which I got from kamsnaps.  The PUL fabric I got at Joann’s on sale for $6.50/yard and I bought some other colorful, fun fabric that was on sale there too. 

I wanted to make a one-size pocket diaper, so that in the event that we do have another baby (God willing), we can use them again from birth to potty training.  I made my own pattern from outlining a Flip diaper cover and started sewing.  I was about to give up after the first one…I wanted to take a sledge hammer to my cheap sewing machine.  After a lot of trial and error, I was able to start cranking these diapers out at about 2 a day (yep, I’ll be keeping my day job).

Some people use microfiber for the insert, but I really wanted to keep synthetic materials out of the diaper (except for the PUL), so I opted for a hemp/cotton fleece instead which I got online from Hemp Traders for about $10/yard.  These are 4 layers of fabric, serged at the edges and are supposed to be pretty absorbant.  We’re currently using two of these at night, with the pocket diaper and a wool longie just in case there is any leakage (which there has been).

So far these have been working out great and Laird is still diaper rash free!  I am totally biased, but I think he has the cutest behind around.  I’ll attach pictures of all the steps, should anyone want to make them!