SF Zoo

Grandma Smith came to visit for two weeks (one week before the birth, and one week after), primarily to entertain and care for Ashton. Hallelujah! While here, she took Ashton on a number of outings including park visits, the Seymour Marine Center, and the San Franciso Zoo (Daniel went with them to the zoo as well). Ashton apparently had a great time, although not as interested in animals in real life as he is with TV, toys, and books. Still, Ashton is happy any time he gets to run around and explore some place new. Plus, they had a playground.

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halloween party

Ashton was invited to a party hosted by three of the mom’s who I met through the Sutter support group. Julie, Mary, and Estrella really outdid themselves with setting up a great party for our toddlers and their families – fantastic food, fun games and crafts. Doubt that the little tikes appreciated the work that went into it!

Ashton had a blast in his little farmer outfit that also turned out to be the easiest of the costumes to play in. He loved driving the little car, climbing on the play structure, coloring at the crafts table, and just exploring a fun new environment. And of course our kid was the only one who wouldn’t stay still for the group photos. Why am I not surprised? 🙂

BTW – This was the day before my cesarean. Everyone was amazed that I was up and about.


Last year, Ashton absolutely loved pumpkins. He wasn’t yet crawling or walking at the time, but we just sat him next to one and he happily pounded on them. So I was a little surprised that they weren’t nearly as interesting this time around. Still, Ashton had a blast running around, and pulling one of the wagons that the patch provided for carrying your loot. Also to my surprise, Ashton showed some fear near the big blow up tent with a gargoyle out front. The only other signs of fear I’d seen in him to this point was loud noises (doesn’t like the car wash for example). Kind of shoots down my theory that the fear of things that society deems as “spooky” is learned through media and books, rather than a natural response. Ashton hasn’t  been exposed to any media or books that have people or animals reacting to so-called spooky things.

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haircut again

This kid’s hair grows fast! While many of Ashton’s little friends are on their 1st or 2nd haircuts, Ashton is up to the 4th or 5th one (lost count).. and long overdue. We should have taken him to the lady who specializes in kids cuts in Soquel. She is lightning fast – but we don’t really like her. Still, she wouldn’t have given Ashton a mullet like Daddy did. Daniel and I both worked to correct that issue while Ashton squirmed in our lap and watched Blues Clues. In the end, the haircut was passable and I was left with the knowledge that at least it will grow back fast.

The missing months

Mommy has been remiss in keeping this blog updated! I’ll get around to posting pictures from specific events very soon, but in the meantime, here’s some of what’s been happening with Ashton since I last wrote:

  • Climbing furniture – easily accesses couches and dining room chairs. Daddy had to secure the lamps on the end tables and we can’t leave any dishes or electronics there. Dining chairs have to be pushed in to keep him off the table. Fortunately he is not strong enough to move the chairs which are solid wood.
  • Stopped eating books – hurray! Still likes to pull ours off the shelves though and leaf through the pages which are likely to get very wrinkled or torn.
  • Has adopted “Blues Clues” as favorite TV show. He loves ALL TV, but this is the only show that he’ll reliably sit or stand and watch – so it gets used as babysitter when mommy needs to take a shower and nobody else is around to watch him.
  • Got a whole mess of new teeth. I don’t even know how many now, but there’s only a couple empty spots remaining in his mouth. Guess they’re still coming too, cause the drooling and excessive chewing continues.
  • Ended the ban on green foods. He’ll now eat zucchini sticks or peas, though still in such small quantities that it barely counts… but still it’s progress.
  • Started sleeping in his own bed – a queen size air mattress on the floor of his room. Now he doesn’t cry much when he wakes up – he just runs into our bedroom and stands by the bed waiting to be picked up. But often he just rolls over and goes back to sleep, since now he doesn’t have to get mad or scared about being confined in the crib.
  • Adopted strawberries as a favorite food – but will only eat them if given whole (without stem) rather than cut up.
  • Can open all our doors, so external doors must be kept locked so that he doesn’t escape.
  • Cries anytime someone closes a door if he is on the other side.
  • Understands lots of words and instructions, but still not speaking any intelligibly.

new playgroup

Ashton developed a preferred nap schedule starting back when he was around 9 months old. This schedule includes a morning nap. The time has varied somewhat before settling into its current pattern of being 3 hours after wake-up (usually around 10/10:30. Unfortunately, this is when 95% of the playgroups, library laptimes, mommy and me classes, etc. meet. This is generally a long nap, and not to be skipped. As a result, we have been rather reclusive. And clearly Ashton needs a little more variety/stimulation. For several weeks I tried moving the morning nap later and later so that he’d have a single midday nap. This greatly backfired, as it made him super cranky in the late morning and harder to get down for his nap (over-tired). Same thing happened in the evenings as he was skipping the afternoon nap too.

So we went back to the previous nap schedule and decided to form a playgroup of our own. Using Meetup.com and advertising on a number of mommy lists I’m on, I set up a group for 1-2 year olds for moms preferring afternoon events. We got about 22 signups, though turnout for actual playdates has been low. Still, we’ve had a couple good ones and met some nice people.

bye-bye downstairs, hello upstairs

Daniel and Grandpa Anderson completed an afternoon of re-arranging furniture with the goal of moving Ashton into our upstairs office space, and moving the office into Ashton’s current room. Why you ask?

  1. Ashton still waking up during the night and needing our assistance. Because he refused to sleep in his crib and the fact that sleepy parents did not want to trek downstairs in the middle of the night, Ashton slept in a home-made bed in our room – and often in bed with us.  We were growing weary of this arrangement.
  2. The new baby will sleep upstairs with us for a while in the small crib, so why not have both kids in close proximity.
  3. Having the boys share a room for a while will prolong the number of years we can keep the guest room (giving up the office is not an option).
  4. The upstairs space is large enough to house a regular bed for Ashton (instead of a crib) and still allow for play space. This would have been a tight squeeze downstairs.

The new room has been a success! We put a queen-size air mattress on the floor for Ashton to sleep on and he loves it. Night awakenings have been reduced, and instead of waking up crying, he often just pitter-patters over to our room (usually to mom’s side of the bed) and waits to be picked up.

These are pictures of Ashton’s room before the move. Still need to take pictures of the new upstairs room.

future engineer?

I took Ashton to Neary Lagoon Park but could not get him to go the playground. He was more interested in watching the cars driving by the park, as they would trigger an automatic gate. I eventually had to pick him and carry him to the playground through his loud protests, but then he happily played in the sand with another little boy.

First fireworks

We had originally planned to go to the Scotts Valley fireworks celebration at Skypark, but were warned that the crowds/parking would be horrendous. So instead, we tailgated in the nearby Wallgreens parking lot (many others had the same idea). Ashton played in his wagon until the show started, then watched from Daddy’s shoulders. He seemed intrigued and mildly concerned about the activity in the sky. In retrospect, I’m glad we weren’t sitting right underneath them because I think the volume would have scared him. Ashton didn’t sleep well that night, and acted very oddly the following day – still don’t know whether this was in any way a reaction to the fireworks or something independent of the affair.


For months we had decided that Ashton was just lazy. He had the muscle strength to be on his feet, and easily cruised around furniture and walls – but wanted nothing to do with walking. For a while he would walk with us while we held both of his hands, but it had gotten to the point where he’d curl up his legs in a sit position and refuse to even stand (usually accompanied by a tantrum).

Well, finally around late May, he started taking a few steps. Tentative at first; mainly between his play table and the couch. Over the past few weeks, he has gotten more and more daring. Now he can do an entire lap around the living and dining room or make it half-way accross the yard before falling on his behind. Arms out in front of him Frankenstein style, he charges off with great enthusiasm and no fear. He still can’t pull himself up to a stand without the assistance of walls, people, or furniture, but we see progress each day. Today, he even stepped up a 5-inch step without falling.

Early Walking Video Clip