Monday, May 31, 2010

Just a taste . . .

I've been trying to upload pictures, sort the ones that my mom emailed, and then weed through them.  Soon I'll do a big birthday post . . . but in the meantime, Maya really wants to do a mini-update . . . so I'm turning the computer over to her . . .

Ok, everybody, are you ready???

Well, I got to have the best 2nd birthday ever!  I played in a Maya-sized house:

Of course,  I got to bring my doggie, because he's my best friend!

Oh yeah, and Mom & Dad came too :)

Wait, what?!  Bedtime?!  But now I can't finish telling everyone about my birthday!  Mommy, this is the worst update ever!

Sorry, folks :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Park, Dog Park, and Parker the dog

Mommy & Maya wear hats:                                       This is MY DOGGIE!!!

Sometimes I get to ride Parker . . . *

But he's so slippery!

And he's learning tricks, too:

*Disclaimer: We do not actually let Maya ride Parker.  Her entire body weight was being supported by me at all times :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I've got big plans

I'm going to win the lottery.

So too bad for the rest of you suckers.  And don't start asking me for money once I win, either.  I don't know what I'm going to do with it yet, but it will probably be something amazing.  Here's the plan:

I've started rabidly hunting for change---on the sidewalk, in the gutter, at the park, everywhere.  I'm really good at it because I'm genetically programmed to be a treasure hunter (I imagine loud laughter coming from any blog readers who know my dad, king of the treasure . . . or should I say "treasure" . . . hunters.). 

I started earlier this week and since then I've found 5 pennies!  5! That's 1/20 of my way to a $1 lottery ticket.  And since the universe is bringing me this change, that must mean that the change will bring me the lottery. 

I think it's a done deal. 

I'll keep you updated on my growing loot.

PS-Only 3 days left til Maya's birthday!

PPS-I added some pics of the critters in the "About Us" tab

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Blog in progress

Did you notice the new tabs at the top of the page?  Right at the top of this page, below the title, they say: Home, About Us, Contact Us.  I'm working on the blog slowly, trying to add new things to it.  Soon the "About Us" will have pictures.

Also, Maya thinks that you should bookmark this page (or "Add to Favorites") . . . that way you remember to check back on her antics frequently.  I promise to try to stay semi-entertaining.
Only 5 days until Miss Maya turns 2!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Weekend update

Dave wins husband-of-the-year when he shows up from work bearing flowers, and a new Starbucks cup!  My old one (which was my 2nd) had a small crack somewhere, and coffee was trapped between the plastic layers and starting to get gross.  I have 2 big iced coffees per day, so it's hard to live without, and stupid Starbucks does not make enough of these cups to go around (the smaller ones are less tough to find---but I need venti).  He put the flowers in the cup (like a vase) and I was so psyched about the flowers that I didn't even realize I was holding a new cup.  Hee hee.  Well done, Dave :)


I had a great time reuniting with a bunch of girls from high school (I'm an all-girls Catholic high school survivor) back at the school for a cocktail party honoring an old friend of mine who passed away in 2008.  It was nice to actually catch up with people (vs. Facebook catching up with people) and see everyone again.  Also, it was lovely to get together and remember a wonderful friend.  I would share pictures of the event, except I didn't bring my camera.  (Actually, that's a lie, but it sounds more normal than "I brought my camera but was so busy yapping that I never took it out of the bag".)

Maya & I went into the city with Dave, who had a show.  We got to meet up with our friend Liz and her daughter, Leah, who we haven't seen in a while.  Leah was so cute, saying "Maya.  Maya, hi." :)  Maya was her usual self---shy and silent for 3/4 of the visit, then suddenly coming alive and wanting to play right at departure time. 

And then there was LOST. 


I'm suffering from a LOST hangover.  I got way too excited (and confused) this morning when I saw an email from LOST in my inbox . . .  which I then realized was from LOFT (as in, Ann Taylor LOFT).  Talk about being deflated.  And I thought I pretty much wrapped my head around everything until a conversation with a friend left me wondering if I had misunderstood the whole deal.  Sigh.

In an effort to distract ourselves, Maya & I did some art projects after this morning's busy-ness (PT, walk, dog park, OT).

She thinks finger paint is fun (and tasty, if you noticed the spots on her lip) . . .

I'm not sure, but I think she may have rubbed her eye while I wasn't looking . . .

After finger painting, we tried walking with the stroller, which worked out pretty well!  Maya, walking solo, for the first time ever on tape:   (At the end I ask her to say "Hi, Daddy!" and she actually does sign it---a quick wave for "hi" and then the sign for "Dad".)

And Parker is growing like a weed.  Here is the picture from the day after we got him, and one from 1 month later.  Ignore the fact that Maya looks drunk in the second picture, it was the end of a long day :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Adventures of Maya and Daddy

Today we went swimming, and Maya loves it so much that I could upload a trillion pictures of her smiling like a loon . . . but here are a few . . .

Oh Daddy, I love the pool . . .

Hi Mom!
Throw me higher!


 And, in other super cute news, Maya learned how to give kisses :)  Can I get a collective "Awwwww!"

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Talking (well, kind of) & talking (well, kind of)

Two talking stories:

1.  The other night I went to check on Maya on my way to bed, and could quickly smell that she needed a diaper change.  Ugh.  I didn't want to wake her up, so I tried to carefully lift her, lay her on the changing pad, and change her.  I was gingerly moving her around and her eyes were closed, but she kept shaking her head from side to side.  Then I saw her hands moving, and when I looked to see what she was doing, she was signing "More, more, more!"   I could barely suppress my laughing as I went to tell Dave:  "She was just talking in her sleep!!!"  Priceless :)

2.  As far as actual babbling goes, if you ignore Maya long enough she may start talking.  I know that a lot of folks have never actually heard her, since she's kind of a quiet watcher around a lot of activity, so here's a video from dinner today: (By the way, no need to adjust your volume---it takes her a while to warm up, be patient.  And I have no idea what she was trying to tell me, but it may have been about the crumbs on her tray.)

Also, to prepare Maya's dinner I had to leave her unattended for about 2 minutes.  When I peeked into the living room this is what I saw:

(I can almost hear Parker thinking "Oh, she's coming!  You're going to be in troub-ble!")

(Dave pointed out that this whole episode is very "Calvin & Hobbes")

Sunday, May 16, 2010

More hair drama, and Scrabble Pt. 2

Today was round 17 (ok, really, round 5) of attempting to cut Parker's hair.  The electric clippers that we bought aren't strong enough (we got "medium" and apparently we need "heavy duty") so I reverted back to using scissors, and did as much trimming as I could while outside at the park. 

Clipping away:

It might be hard to see the difference in pics, but there's a big one.  The fluff is gone, replaced by the softest little curls.  It's like having a sheep.
                 Before:                                                                               After:

If you look closely, you can see little white splotches in the grass.  That's Parker's fur (I bagged as much as I could scrape up, and figure the rest will be gathered by birds to pad their nests.).

Parker!  Get off my lap!  (Maya is eating a sticker in these pictures.  And, what's the deal with perspective?  Why does Parker look gigantic in one picture and tiny in the other?)

You may remember that back in the day, Dave made a scrabble board shadowbox with the Nieder family names.  After we got Parker, Dave realized that his name would fit across the bottom of the board . . . but, alas, we had thrown away our extra tiles.  I mentioned this on a message board, and one of the lovely ladies  (thank you!!!) there offered to mail us the letters . . . and here's the finished product!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Well, this doesn't seem fair

I'm losing my hair.

Have you ever heard someone say something like "These kids are going to make me lose my hair"?  I always thought that it was just a crazy thing that old people say.  Like when someone says that if you sneeze with your eyes open your eyeballs will pop out (that's not true, right?  Anyone willing to test it out?).  But, in reality, it seems like Maya is making my hair fall out.

 In clumps. 

And now I have bald patches. 

And pictures to prove it.

Before we get to the pictures, let's take a moment to dwell on how much this sucks.  I don't want to lose my hair.  I don't want to have giant bald patches.  I had a full on panic attack (with tears and a hysterical can't-catch-your-breath-hiccupy-kind-of-conversation with my mom) yesterday afternoon about it.  This morning I went it to the dermatologist, who said that I have alopecia areata (fancy latin name for bald patches, caused by an autoimmune response in which my body is attacking the hair).  She injected me like a million times (ok, somewhere between 35-60---I lost count because she kept talking to me) with cortisone, which will make my body stop attacking the hair follicles so that new hair can grow in.

My googling tells me that this type of hair loss is often caused by a major stressor a few months prior, which totally makes sense to me.  A few months ago I was cycling through the stages of grief, coming to terms with the fact that Maya's disabilities may not be as short lived as I had hoped.  I was depressed, I was finding a support group, I was changing her therapists.  I was kind of a mess for a few hours everyday.

But how unfair is that----that you go through a traumatic time, and then a while later lose your hair?!  What the hell.  Seriously.

So hopefully I'm going through a big shed, and the hair will come back rapidly.  Dave asked me yesterday (mid-panic attack) if I'm stressed about things now, and through my tears I laughed and pointed at my head and said "Yes!  My hair!"

But I've got to at least put it out here.  I often things of the Indigo Girls saying "You have to laugh at yourself, because you'd cry your eyes out if you didn't."  And so, expect balding jokes, people.  And, if things get any worse, expect some unique fashion statements (would it be weird to glue a flower to the top of my head?  or color my patches with magic marker?).

And now, pictures:

A bald patch in the front, along the part:  (try to ignore the frames without pictures that adorn our bathroom)

The biggest and scariest patch.  I hate to even look at this.  Thank goodness I'm fairly tall and have enough hair to change my part around and cover it.

Luckily, I still have a lot of hair.  And with some part maneuvering, I can minimize damage. 

If this is the worst that it gets, it's not really a big deal and somewhat funny.  But I'm kind of stressed out about it getting worse.  Oh crap, I'm not supposed to get stressed, it makes my hair fall out. 

Oh, irony.

Speaking of irony, I used the new clippers to shave (or attempt to shave) Parker today.  35 minutes in, I'm sweating, he's panting, there's so much fur in my bathtub that it looks like I killed a sheep, and he still looks like this:

I think he's taunting me.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Parker's first haircut

Disclaimer: I do not know how to cut a poodle's hair (yet).  I will learn (because it's good to learn new things, because grooming provides an opportunity to bond with your dog, and because we can't afford to shell out the big bucks every few weeks for a stylish new doggie do).  I'm going to buy a clipper kit and video. 

However, in the meantime, poor Parker was so shaggy I began to wonder if he could see. 

So I bought some round-tips scissors at the drugstore, and gave him a bone to chew on.  Then I contorted myself around his chewing head and did my best job trimming what I could.

The results definitely need some cleaning up, but my goal was just to shorten the fur without making it an unpleasant experience for him, since it was my first trimming attempt.  Poodle owners everywhere may be shuddering at my butcher job, but he doesn't seem embarrassed (and I couldn't care less!):

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Maya & Parker, the beginning

For people wondering what sort of stuff I'm working on with Parker, the best way to explain it is just basic manners right now.  He knows to wait at a distance when I'm filling his food or water dishes.  He's polite when I take away his dishes or toys, which I do often (since Maya likely will try it at some point).  He's learning that if he has a toy in his mouth and one of us touches it, he has to let go---no tug of war, no pouncing, he can't take anything that isn't given to him, and he's not allowed to touch a toy that we're touching.  He doesn't run through open doors, try to jump on furniture, etc etc.  

Parker's leash manners are great-he knows to walk next to the stroller, in the back.  He sits whenever we stop walking, sits before we get in the elevator, then sits in the elevator, then before we enter the apartment, etc. 

I'm trying to teach him "Go to Maya", and every time that they are near each other he gets lots of treats :)   They are both still cautious around each other---Maya loves to watch him move around, but sometimes closes her eyes when he gets super close.  Parker's interested in her, and seems curious about why I keep telling him to follow her around, but nervous because she's unsteady and likes to touch his nose.

When I get the two of them together, I can't resist taking a million pictures :)

Parker, this is how you stack the blocks.

Parker thinking: "Why does she clap so much?" (For the record, she claps so much because it's the easiest way to get her to pay attention and smile---I just say "Maya, clap clap!")

Oh, and for the record, I finally finished making the tabouli---no thanks to the pseudo Slap-Chop, which sucks big time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Thanks for the supportive notes that some folks sent after my last post :) I'm feeling better, due in no small part to:

-Dave coming home and helping me to cheer up

-The purchase of a SlapChop knock-off (seriously, there's a knock off version of the SlapChop) which may or may not help with tabouli making, but will certainly provide entertainment either way. (I'll provide a product review after I try it :) )


1.  Parker frolics (he hops like a bunny when he runs), which cracks Maya up. Here you can't see her amusement, but you can see her MacGyver-like shoe/sock removal and applause for Parker's efforts:

2. An older video, which shows Maya's reaction when she is reminded that she has a dog (0:13) , and sees him (0:33---what a screen shot!) after a nap.

PS: Did you notice the beautiful frames hanging in the hallway at 0:22 (and again around 0:30)?  We bought them ages ago, and I ambitiously decided to hang them up before they had the opportunity to get broken.  Unfortunately, we still haven't gotten around to ordering pictures to fill them, so those black and white photos are all the ones that came with the frames.  Sometimes Dave likes to show them to Maya and say "And there's Aunt Betty, helping cousin Sally tie her shoe . . ."

PPS: Huge shout-out to Dave for letting me upload this---he had just gotten home from a long day and was kind of shaggy and unkempt, but is man enough to not care if the world sees him at less-than-his-best :)

PPPS: If you're trying to decipher her shirt, it says "I'll walk when I'm good and ready"

Nap time

So I tried to start writing an update, maybe something that would evolve into wittiness, just jotting down thoughts to clean up later.  But then I decided to stop pushing for a creative update (which was just another thing on my to-do list) and just be real.  In italics, my intial drafting . . . following by my current state of frazzled-ness in bold, because I feel boldly frazzled.

Soon to come---a new video! (just waiting to be uploaded tonight)

Here we are, mid-nap time, and I'm trying to catch up on 53 things to do.   I finally have a chance to sit and write, and all of my interesting thoughts have flown out of my head.  So now I'm thinking about Writing 101---Who, What, Where, Why, When and How . . . let me give it a shot:

What kind of dog is that?  We get asked that nearly every time we take Parker out.  He's the magical mystery dog---absolutely adorable and I think that secretly everyone wants one just like him.  Many people just start a conversation by venturing a guess "Goldendoodle?" "Labradoodle?"  . . . but we've only had 2 correct guesses (and weirdly, one of them was from a 6 year old girl----future Dog Whisperer, perhaps).  Once we explain that he's a standard poodle, and just a puppy, we get "Whoa . . .he's big for 3.5 months!"  (Yikes! Tell me about it) The first week at obedience class, Parker was the same size as two other puppies.  This past week he was the biggest by far!

When  are we ever going to have free time again?  I just got off the phone (literally, the call interrupted my writing) with our new Early Intervention speech/feeding therapist.  And with that call, I had to fit 4 new therapy appointments per week into our already bursting schedule.  I feel stretched to the max.

Well, that writing experiment was a massive fail.  My phone keeps ringing, I'm not feeling entertaining, and I'm just stressed.  Here's what's really on my mind:

-a dear old friend going through a tough situation, and I feel like a little piece of my heart is with him.

-another friend's baby in surgery today, and a little pit in my stomach for them as they deal with the first time he's put under (I remember that so well with Maya's adenoids)

-a jumbled, messy apartment that I just can't seem to conquer---I'm stitching up one end as the other is unraveling.  The floors have to be cleaned constantly now, we leave the terrace door open a lot for the dog and all kind of dirt blows in.  There is laundry to do, laundry to fold, stuff to bring down to storage, I need to clean out the fridge, etc. 

-cooking that takes too long.  I can make a mean vat of tabouli that lasts all week, but the chopping and dicing and herb washing and more chopping, etc, etc takes forever.  I did an hour of prep on it earlier, but there's probably another hour left.  And I'm loving grilled veggie and goat cheese sandwiches (drizzled with olive oil), but the grill pan is so impossible to clean that I'm dreading grilling the marinated zucchini.

-how can I make sure I'm working enough with Maya . . . what new things should we be learning, etc.

-how can I make sure I'm working enough with Parker . . . what new things should we be learning, etc.

-how can I balance Maya and Parker?  Sometimes life would be a lot easier if I just took her to the playground . . . but then I feel like he should be there too, to get used to the smells and sounds and running kids, etc.  And then I take him everywhere, but get frustrated because we can't run in to the post office, grocery store, etc, because he's with me.  So it's a juggle .  . . I love having the two of them, and wouldn't trade it, but I'm a novice juggler right now.  I'm sure it will get easier.

-and now more appointments.  Sigh.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to everyone out there :)

We had a fun morning in NJ, where my mom took a nice family picture:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Seriously, folks

I wish I could find the time to write out all of my brilliant musings . . . but when you're surrounded by this much cuteness, it's hard to tear yourself away :) 

Wait, is that a dog, or a muppet?

Maya shows me Parker's ear: