Saturday, April 28, 2012

It Worked!

Don't you just love it when you think long and hard on something and actually come up with a solution that works?


About 3 weeks or so ago, we walked up to Starbucks on a nice and sunny Saturday. By now every time Clementine sees us eat or drink something, she needs to eat or drink something too. I was trying to think what in the world would be suitable for her at Starbucks. I semi-remembered seeing a little pouch of organic applesauce there for kids once, but the last time Cleme ate applesauce it wasn't a hit with her. We ordered it for her anyways. We twisted off the little cap and handed her the pouch. Cleme tried it and loved it! Being a breastfed baby has led Cleme to being unable to work a bottle really. She tries to hold bottles up near the top like it was a boob and the bottle ends up slipping out of her hands. The pouch was nice and light enough for her to hold in her clumsy little way and slurp from out of the package. It was also impressive to see her eat this because recently Cleme decided that she didn't want to eat anything that was the consistency of a puree. Apparently, at 8 months old she is beyond purees now. Even though she has NO teeth.

I wondered out loud to Jeremy if there was anything like these pouches that were reusable. When I got home I Googled "reusable baby food pouch" and saw the two most common options the Babypote and the  Sili Squeeze.  I thought they were kinda spendy for one and the reviews seemed to be a little mixed on them. I put off the idea of buying one. A couple of weeks later we were at a friends house for a play date. At the play date, Clementine was served some herbal tea in a baby bottle that had a Green Sprout sippy cup nipple replacing the previous baby bottle nipple. Seeing that put the idea in my brain to Frankenstein my own pouch feeder somehow.

I had remembered seeing a foldable water bottle a year or so ago, but couldn't remember where. I thought that the foldable water bottle could work as one of these pouches somehow if  I could get a straw lid or something for it. I came home to research it on the internet. I quickly found the name of the water bottles I had seen- Vapur. Then I Googled Vapur + baby puree. Nothing came up. I was really hoping someone had already done the work for me and would say what kind of bottle lid converter would work on the Vapur bottle. No luck. After more research I found these Gerber Spill Proof Water Bottle Spouts. Long story short, as you can see from the photos above, these two work great together! I poured in a jar of Earth's Best Mango Peach and Cleme slurped it up and because the lid has a control valve there is no leaking! The Vapur bottles are dishwasher safe and you can freeze them too! Just thought I would share in case anyone else has the same idea and wonders if it would work!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Plus Minus, 4-22-12

Another decent week getting rid of stuff. I've been going through some of the comics I've been hoarding and ditching the inessential.

MINUS

1.      KEEP OUR SECRETS BOARD BOOK
2.      VERTICAL COMIC
3.      ONE PAIR CHECKERED PANTS
4.      ONE PAIR SWEAT PANTS

PLUS

1.      AL JARDINE: A POSTCARD FROM CALIFORNIA CD
2.      XIU XIU: ALWAYS CD
3.      BOB DYLAN: OH MERCY CD

I don't always buy so much music (though I wish I did!) but I hit the record stores for Record Store Day on 4-21-12. Everything I wanted was sold out, but I did finally get the two new CDs I've been pining over - Xiu Xiu and Al Jardine - both of which are excellent. I got these from Music Milennum my favorite shop in town. I picked up the Dylan album at a garage sale by Reed College for two bucks. Oh Mercy is the late '80s masterpiece produced by Daniel Lanois. I've been obsessing over Dylan (in a way) and even started a Dylan book called On the Road with Bob Dylan about his return to touring in the mid 1970s.

Kasabian Live

My friend Nick P. took me to see Kasabian on April 11. Nick is one of only two high school friends I still keep in touch with (not counting Allie of course!). Nick lives in the Eugene area and drove up to Portland. The show was at the Wonder Ballroom, a nice intimate venue, and Kasabian were great. Their synth-laced brand of rock music sound was powerful and enveloping live. I really admire Nick's concert fortitude--he comes up so often too see shows, and often, as on this night, drives right back home after the show.

Here's a photo Nick took--there was a lot of intense lighting throughout the show.


I don't always give Kasabian the credit they're due. They're always slightly off my radar but I remember listening extensively to their first album. This may still be my favorite jam of theirs--an obvious choice that deserves to be on of their biggest hits.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Plus Minus, 4-15-12

I'm starting a new "column" on this blog called Plus Minus, in which I track my efforts to get rid of junk. I'm a collector by nature and have no reservations about this. However, I'm also trying to fight nostalgia for nostalgia's sake, and trying to get our house organized.

The goal is to keep my net amount of possessions from exponentially growing. Therefore, each week I am pushing to increase the minus column. I succeeded for the week ending 4/15/12.

MINUS
1.      SIMPSONS COVER ROLLING STONE
2.      BAZ LUHRMAN DVD
3.      GARDENING BOOK
4.      SMASHING PUMPKINS BOOK
5.      COMIC ANTHOLOGY

PLUS
1.      LL COOL J: BIGGER AND DEFFER CD
2.      ROD STEWART: A NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN CD
3.      THE BIG RED ONE DVD
4.      EASTER EGG PEZ DISPENSER

I was super-stoked to pick up LL Cool J's second album at Walmart for five bucks. I used to watch the video for "I Need Love" when I was a kid. We didn't have MTV but it played on the local pay-to-play video channel in Sacramento.



Everything about this song rules. What's bad (cheesy 80s synths, LL's sometimes graphics love rhymes) is good. What's good (the beats, LL's earnestness and convincing delivery) is great.

Clementine has one favorite TV show which we let her watch now and then - Yo Gabba Gabba. Allie rightly spotted an homage to LL's song, "I Love Bugs." We've checked out all the YGG CDs from the library which are really quite good--especially for kids music.




Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Our Ever Changing Clementine

Man, Clementine is like a new person every time I come home from work. She's eight and a half months old. We've been signing with her since 6 months. Around a month ago she started using her first sign - "more." This last week she's unveiled her latest-- a combination of "milk" and "eat", the same gesture done either away from her body or at her mouth. It's so trippy to have her communicating back at us. It's a little eerie too. Allie was out for her weekly girls' night last night. Cleme and I were having a good time just hanging on the bed, reading and playing after dinner.  Suddenly, she idly starts signing "milk/eat" to herself. It was a little window into her thoughts. A lot of her new communication skills still have a small ambiguity. "Milk" also seems to equal mom right now. Cleme may be using her first spoken word too. She mastered the "ma" sound weeks ago and likes to bust it out randomly. Sometimes, however, she'll say it when she's really sad or when Allie leaves, or when Allie comes back. When I put her to bed last night, she saw the dark room, heard the white noise machine and was convinced she wasn't ready to sleep. She cried out "mamuh" repeatedly and started bawling. I think it's more than coincidence. I think it does mean Mama, but sometimes it also means "I'm sad," "I'm tired," "I'm hungry," and "I'm lonely." Mama of course, is the cure for all of these ailments.

Clementine is now a crawl master, though she does it flat on her stomach with her arms doing most of the work. She's obsessed with standing. It's hard to take baths lately, cause all she wants to do is pull herself up using the tub ledge. The combination of slippery wetness and hard enamel means this is not the best practice area. Here she is in her crib on April 8 after pulling herself up to a standing position.




Last night Cleme and I read Touch and Feel Farm Babies, an Easter gift from Grandma Pat. I encouraged her to touch the various furry spots on each page. I've been trying to teach her how to "use" these books without me having to place her hand on the spots each time. We finished the book and I let Cleme take it to chew on, as she loves to do. She did chew on it, but for the next TEN minutes she mainly picked the book up, opened it, closed it, put it down, opened it, closed, it and touched all the furry spots on all the animals. It was obvious, she understood the book now.

She's started initiating games as well. Allie plays a binky game where she puts the pacifier in her mouth. Clementine grabs it out of Allie's mouth and puts it in her own. Last weekend, as we all waited at a bus stop Clementine waived her clip-on binky at me. She pushed it towards my face. I leaned in to bite and take the binky and she gleefully pulled it away, laughing out loud. We did this game for several minutes and it was all her idea.

She still doesn't have any teeth but I swear I can see two on the bottom middle, lurking just beneath the surface of her gums. Meanwhile, she's moved past most baby foods and purees, considering them beneath her. She likes little chunks of food and eating like a grown up. Last night, she had potato, applesauce, Spanish rice, red bell pepper,  and zucchini--which she loved.

Anyhow, that's the latest on our little wonder. We hope to post more soon.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Support a good cause- the future of Sparkplug Comic Books

We spent the last two weekends busting our butts finishing up our taxes. And for the first time ever, they are ready in time. This was just the culmination of months of Guapo reorganization and bookkeeping we've been catching up on this year. Now I expect to have a lot more free time to work on our other chores, hobbies, and goals; including updating this blog a little more often.

For a quick entry, I'd like to shine a light on a good cause. As I mentioned in a blog post last fall, our good friend Dylan Williams, cartoonist and Sparkplug Comic Book publisher, passed away last year. His widow and friends are carrying on with his company and planning to publish their first three Sparkplug books. They have launched an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign which ends in a couple of weeks. Click here to see the campaign listing and watch a very touching video about Dylan and his work. Look closely and you'll see a photo of Allie and me in there with Dylan and friends. I was stoked to see this because we only have a couple photos of us with Dylan and I wasn't aware of this one until I watched the video. If you have any interest in art comics, independent art, supporting small business, or supporting DIY culture, please consider contributing to the Sparkplug campaign.

I hope to be in touch soon with more news and updates.
JT