Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Seven months

(Note: I began writing up this post yesterday, the 29th.  Volunteer obligations interrupted my writing, so I continue the post today, the 30th.)

Seven months ago today, I was relaxing at home after the out of hospital birth of my first son.  It seems simultaneously like yesterday and yet like it's always been like this.  I am so used to so many aspects of our daily routine.  And morning just would not be the same without his wake up smiles.  He is such a happy boy, especially now that his GERD is almost completely under control.  Plus, we took him to the chiropractor a few weeks ago and that settled a lot of his aches.

We had a follow-up with the chiropractor yesterday.  His back and neck tension is much improved--even the spots that are characteristically troubling for GERD babies.  Most of his tension was in his jaw.  No surprise as he has been teething like crazy.  Two teeth at once.  Poor guy.  Thankfully his bottom left front tooth has just broken through.

Declan continues to amaze us in many ways.  He is very quick with a smile and has the cutest little giggle.  Not much of a belly laugher, he choses to quietly chuckle instead.  He does so well sitting on his own now, he only teeters when he gets distracted by a toy or new interest.  No crawling yet, but we do not mind.  I'm going to enjoy him in arms as much as I can.

He takes after his father in more ways than just his good looks.  Like dad, he is not much of a conversationalist.  He will chitter from time to time, but not too often.  However when the mood strikes, there is no shutting him up.  He loves to blather away at his squeaky giraffe, Sophie, or sing songs to his fishie-keys.

Holding up his own bottle of coconut water
His favorite game is probably still the Stand Up Game.  He just loves it when Dad grabs his hands so that Declan can pull himself first to a seated position and then into a supported stand.  Declan can support his weight very well (he's been doing it for about two months now).  It make his so happy to stand up and survey the world around him.

Favorite toys include Sophie and his key rings.  Just the other day, though, I let Declan play with the monkey that I had knitted for Brian.  He took to it right away, immediately putting it to his mouth and squishing its soft body in his little hands.  It was so sweet to see Declan has so much fun with something that I had knit.  I may have to knit up some toys just for him.

New foods in Declan's diet include pumpkin and mashed potatoes.  Yes, from his Thanksgiving dinner.  We also made a huge batch of sweet potatoes--probably his all-time favorite.  He has become a good little eater.  We still breastfeed, of course, but he also gets bottles of coconut water from time to time.  All of this is helping him to put on weight.  (He even has regained his cute little double chin!)

He's not really skin and bones, but he is messy!
In short, Declan is still right on track developmentally except for where he is a bit ahead of the game.  I couldn't be happier, but I'm also starting to really notice just how fast he is growing up.  So there is some definite melancholy from mom.  Still, I am so happy and grateful to have such a happy, healthy child.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Besame Workshop Recap

I'm only a few days late on this, but as I saw a tweet today from What Katie Did LA requesting photos from this event, I figure it's best if I include them all in one write-up.  Thus this post.

Several weeks ago, I received word that the founder and owner of Besame Cosmetics, Gabriela Hernandez, was going to be doing an in-shop workshop at the new Los Angeles What Katie Did store.  I had gone to the store grand opening celebration, in part to meet Gabriela, but due to unforeseen circumstances, she was unable to attend.  I was so excited to attend the workshop until I realized that I was already booked for the day on which the workshop was scheduled.  Drat.

Long story short, a few days before the event, I realized that I was, in fact, free that morning, but I was still hemming and hawing about whether or not I should go.  Six month-old sons are not exactly cheap, so I've been trying to be more frugal.  Plus, I was also scheduled to attend a wedding later that day.  I just was not sure if I wanted to be out and about so much that day.  My friend Tricia, however, convinced me to go.  And boy, was I glad that she did!

Gabriela began the talk by asking the assembled group if there were any specific topics that she should cover.  I love that she wanted to make sure to address all burning questions and touch upon all desired topics.  I had none, I honestly just wanted to hear what she'd have to say.  As someone who has done make-up professionally, I did not need any tips or pointers on application.  (But I'd be lying if I said that I didn't learn any--Gabriela was even able to teach this old dog some new tricks!)

The lecture itself was focused on the 1940s, specifically on glamour and grooming.  Gabriela has recently authored a book on make-up that covers the subject from pretty much the dawn of recorded history to the year 2000!  So she picked a decade that really ushered in the use of make-up by the average woman.  Prior to that, make-up was used almost exclusively by the theatrical industry and by women of ... ahem, looser moral standards.

She talked at length about not only how women wore their hair and make-up, but also about the products themselves.  As her business seeks to replicate the best aspects of vintage make-up, it was fascinating to hear more about the composition of vintage cosmetics.  It was also very refreshing to learn that Gabriela's interest is in truly recreating the good stuff--not just making knock-offs of colors used back in the day.  

She discussed how products of the 1940s were often manufactured to be multi-use and to last and last.  Most modern women have experienced the frustration of pay big bucks for a product, only to have it spoil or end up contaminated before the product is close to empty.  I know that I've shelled out thousands of dollars on product that only later is thrown away half full.  (Granted, a lot of that is par for the course when it comes to maintaining my professional kit, but still!)  The lecture even included two period film clips that showcased beauty tips and application methods.  I was quite impressed!

After the lecture, Gabriela held a question and answer session where multiple topics were discussed.  Attendees were also able to review her new book, and she was happy to sign copies for purchasers.  (Oh, how I wished I could have afforded a copy!)

Finally, she was on hand to help answer questions about her products and even helped a few of us pick out a new lipstick.  

I should point out that What Katie Did were gracious hostesses.  I received a lovely goodie bag which included a Besame lip balm and generous samples of all of Besame's red lipsticks.  I am very much looking forward to trying them all!

Note the gorgeous lingerie in the background

The lovely Ms. Gabriela Hernandez

OH!  I do know that Gabriela will be doing another book signing on 19 November at ReVamp Vintage in LA.  I highly recommend attending!  ReVamp's salon is filled with gorgeous reproduction clothing and, if you're a fashion and make-up geek like me, getting the change to hear Gabriela speak is not something to be missed.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

ADSLA Volunteer Appreciation Night

5209 Wilshire Blvd.
It's nice being appreciated.  Tonight, the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles did just that for its regular volunteers.  They held a cocktail party and shindig at the Deco Building on Miracle Mile in LA.

Brian and I got a sitter and headed out for a night of fun.  As usual, the crowd was divine.  We were able to socialize with many of our good friends from the ADSLA.  Like-minded folks who hold the years between the World Wars with great esteem, and so many of them looked amazing.  There really is no other word for it.

This is the front reception desk--cool, eh?
The event itself was wonderfully intimate.  At its most crowded, there were probably only about fifty people.  There was never a long wait for either the bar or for the food, it was perfect.

The building itself is wonderfully Deco.  The current owners have put a lot of work into restoring it.

Check out the deco details!
Even the lighting features the zigzag

Brian and I closed the night at the table
Oh, and the party also had a blackjack table!  How great is that!  We were playing for Tootsie Pops.  I managed to come home with two, Brian outdid me--he won three or four.

To reward the volunteers, there was an opportunity drawing.  We received a ticket for each event we volunteered for.  I put most of my tickets in the pot for the free Household Membership (2 people)--and we won!  Sure, we would have renewed anyway, but this way it's free!

The table just beyond this grate is made from an airplane wing--it was gorgeous!

As the building was a former bank, it came with the old bank doors

Hit me!

Overall, we had a terrific time and were definitely looking forward to volunteering more so as to be able to attend the next one.
Yours truly, en route

Oh!  And as we were leaving, the DJ for the night (there was period perfect tunes playing in the background) approached us with a CD of the evening's music!  Drinks, treats, gambling, and music!?  Who could ask for more!?

Brian is ready to go

Six months, three weeks

Life with a six month-old is in full swing.  We are three weeks into his tenure as such and he's proving be quite the handful.  He has hit all the typical six month milestones.  He rolls.  He chitters.  He grabs.  (He is especially grabby when breastfeeding--OUCH!)  He is learning cause and effect, i.e. he loves picking up his toys and dropping them.  But he still has the occasional GERD flare-up.

A few weeks ago, frustrated that he was still insisting on using the Supplemental Nursing System from time to time, I scheduled an appointment with our lactation consultant to see if there was anything else we could do to encourage weaning from the SNS.  I had started weaning him, but was beginning to notice a decrease in diaper output (polite way of saying he wasn't peeing as much).  This concerned me, so I was continuing to supplement him.

The lactation professional told us that, because of the decrease in diaper output, we would have to continue the SNS.  I was disappointed, to be sure, to be in a situation where we needed to continue the one thing that causes his GERD flare-ups.  But Declan's health comes before my comfort--so continue it we have.  (The good news is that Declan will likely need the SNS for only a month or so more while his need for solid foods increases.)

About a month ago, Declan's interest in solid food was at an all-time high.  He had even gotten to the point where he was pulling food off of our plates if we happened to be holding him while eating.  Because of his delicate system, I wasn't too keen on introducing him to food right at six months, but he was obviously very keen on eating.  We decided to wait a little while, but that wait only ended up lasting about another week.  He was obviously ready, so we started him on food by introducing him to avocado. (Try as I might, I could not find our video of that first experience, so here is one of his third time eating banana.)

Since that first avocado, Declan has experienced banana, carrots--a favorite, sweet potato, and teething biscuits.  We also picked up one of those net/popsicle things and offered it to him with mango in it.  He is still unsure how he feels about frozen/cold food.  

Lunch at Zephyr
All in all, he is a good eater and still breastfeeds quite a bit.  Though I confess to being so proud of him yesterday as he sat with us at one of our favorite restaurants and happily ate fresh banana.

Oh, for anyone keeping count--still no teeth.  Copious amounts of drool.  Lots of chewing.  Just no teeth yet.  Frankly, I'm somewhat relieved.  I am not at all looking forward to him biting me while he breastfeeds.  


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