12.26.2008

Where in the World is Seattle, Wa?

Upon opening Christmas gifts at an undisclosed location* (near West Virginia, on the Ohio river, where the townspeople rarely leave their zip code), I happened upon a cute three-piece lounge suit for baby Preston.




The pants were dark green. The shirt was tan with a helicopter decal. The vest, dark green to match the pants, sported an embroidered U.S.A.

"This is so he [Preston] knows where he came from!" exclaimed a family member.*

"Ummm, Seattle is in the U.S.A." I replied.

Silence.


*Names and locations have been omitted to protect the feelings of those involved in this rather embarrassing, yet wildly amusing incident.

12.24.2008

Holiday Travel Tips from Ma Kat

After receiving nearly 16 inches of snow (which I hear is practically unheard of in the Seattle area), Jeremy, Preston and I finally flew out of SeaTac – a mere 27 hours later than originally scheduled.

Nearly five hours pass before we land in Hotlanta, with a less-than-5-minute layover. No shit folks, we had to RUN to our connection. No time to visit the family bathroom, get a drink, or say bah humbug to the asshole in front of me who stopped abruptly in pedestrian traffic.

As our plane taxied into CHM I couldn't have been more relieved, or starved for that matter. While woofing down a 10-pack of nuggets, and as my Mom misses our exit, I think about little P'Dub sleeping in his scum-ridden Delta carseat rental (did I fail to mention our luggage was lost) and how happy and accommodating he was the entire trip.

Preston is by far, the best travel baby I've ever had. (Yes, he's the only baby I've ever had. Details. Why are you readers so picky?) After all, by the end of this holiday trip, P'Dub will have flown 14 times...and he's not even a year old.

You see, flying with an infant is tricky. You must avoid the crying. There is only so much crying the flight attendants and the other passengers are willing to take before an emergency landing is imminent. You must be prepared.

Tip #1: Load your kid up on milk/formula/cheerios. Whatever the kid wants to eat, give it to him. If he pukes, he isn't crying, right?

Tip #2: Bring a variety of illuminating and musical toys. Be sure to bring the really obnoxious ones. Especially during a night flight. Your fellow seat-mate will thank you. Hey, it's either Elmo singing or my baby crying. You decide.

Tip #3: If your baby wants to stand up, sit down, and twist consecutively – lets say for 45 minutes straight - you've got to let him. We called it the baby death roll. It's similar to what the crocs do, but I don't think Preston was trying to kill us.

Tip #4: Let your baby kick the seat back, peek at the people sitting behind you, and pound the window.

Tip #5: If your baby discovers your husband has hair on his belly and wants to rub it, pull it, play peek-a-boo with it...let him. The only people who will think it's weird is EVERYONE else on the plane. Screw them. The baby isn't crying, right?

Tip #6: Allow your baby to rip up the SkyMall magazine. Heck yes it's dirty. Just as dirty as the window he's been pounding on. But he's not crying, is he?

Tip #7: Let your baby play the touch screen in-air trivia game located on the back of the head rest in front of you. No, your baby won't be as smart as the guy sitting in 32A who has affectionately named himself 'POOP', but he'll be a contender.

Tip #8: If you can avoid flying during the holidays, do so. I suggest having Christmas in early December or January. Skip the chaos. Save yourself.

12.22.2008

I'm Back...But not in Full Effect

Yes, I'm back...in Seattle, that is. And online as well.

We've been visiting family in Ohio since mid-December and have finally returned to our Pacific Northwest home. It's been quite a journey and I have a few key stories and pictures that I'm anxiously awaiting to share.

However, I must first unpack and do laundry- since our luggage finally arrived yesterday...a day later than our arrival. But that's neither here nor there.

So I'm technically back, but not in full effect. Be expecting numerous posts in the next few days!

Happy 2009!

(Authors note: I'm back-dating this, although it originally posted Jan. 5, 2009. In the essence of portraying real-time entries, the posts following, dated up until Jan. 4 will also be back-dated.)

12.21.2008

Santa Done Good

Before traveling to Ohio (which should have been today, but due to the Seattle blizzard is now tomorrow), Jeremy and I decided to host our first Christmas as a family of three.

Preston was speechless when he woke from his afternoon nap and found Santa had came! He'd look at me, then the presents. He'd look at Jeremy, then the presents. All he mustered up was a little grunt.

At first leery of our sad excuse for a tree and presents, Preston's curiosity soon got the best of him. Touch. Pick up. Smile. Throw down. Shake. Lick. Giggle. Toss.

What puzzled Preston the most is that Jeremy and I encouraged him to rip the paper. After all, if there is one thing my kid likes to do, it's rip and eat paper. As human nature would have it, once you are allowed to do something, it often takes the fun out of it. (Similar to Jeremy at the topless beaches in Mexico...What? I can look at 'them'? Hmmm. That's just boring.)

Slowly, yet steadily, Preston opened the majority of his gifts. He scored new bibs...complete with crumb-catcher pockets, a book, dump truck, cell phone, remote, and a couple other goodies. But I think you'll be able to tell from the video which gift was his favorite!


12.16.2008

Tub Toy Sends Father on Comical Rampage

Last evening, while cruising the Toys'R'Us website for suitable in-air-for-five-hours-this-will-help-keep-the-little-one-occupied gadgets, Daddy ran across Tub Time Curious George.

Daddy: What the hell is this? A bath toy with his finger up like that? Creepy.

Daddy: Seriously, what's he so damn curious about? That's what I want to know.

Daddy: This toy is sick. Just look at his expression. Creepy.

We go on to read the description, which notes "But there is a cool surprise in store-"

Daddy: I bet there is a surprise in store. Sickening.

It's no wonder the toy has a one-star rating.

12.15.2008

Holla for the Million Dolla' Idea

Just wondering out loud here...are sock suspenders, a.k.a. sock garters made in infant sizes? If they are, please share the website. If they aren't, I might become rich off the idea.

Preston either pulls his socks off or they fall off constantly. It's highly irritating and I'd willingly pay $5-$10 for a cute, yet trendy, pair of these things for him.

I imagine it would be fairly easy to market. New parents would especially go for it. Hell, new parents buy wipes warmers and baby washcloths. But even a seasoned mother might be delighted to find both socks on her child's feet after returning home from the grocery store.

So, let me know folks. Or, steal my idea. Whatever.

12.05.2008

I'm a Proud Sponsor of Photo Cards

It's a no-brainer that once a couple starts a family (which includes pets), Holiday cards become Holiday photo cards. True to the trend, we are following suit. After all, my life revolves around this little man named Preston. And rightly so, you should be as interested in what he looks like during his first holiday season as I.

So until otherwise noted, those of you receiving Christmas cards from our family can indefinitely expect a photo card. At which time you will ooooh and awwwover Preston. You'll comment on his dimple and how adorable it is that his hair flips out over his left ear. Then you'll go to set it on your tabletop with the other cards, only to be frustratingly irritated that it doesn't stand up on its own. It doesn't 'fit' in with the other cards because it's awkwardly designed and impractical.

When the Holidays are over, you'll find yourself not being able to throw the photo card away. Because it's a card with a photo on it. And there is something morally wrong about throwing pictures away.

When you are opening your Holiday decor boxes in 2023, you can expect to find a stack of 15 photo cards from our family. Happy Holidays folks!

12.04.2008

SPOILER: First Christmas Baby Pics

I debated on not posting Preston's first Christmas pictures until after the photo cards had been sent out. But I cannot wait. All I want to do is SHARE my son with everyone. I must push his pictures on all of you.

And please don't ask me what a ladder has to do with Christmas. I have no idea.





11.30.2008

I Currently Suck at Blogging

Hey all! It's been a busy couple weeks. In fact, the month of November flew by...with hardly any posts.

First we were all sick, then we got better. Thankgiving was a blur (and not just because we indulged in spirits). We moved out of our basement apartment into our new rental home two days ago. Preston is sick again. And tomorrow the movers come with ALL OUR STUFF from our house in Ohio! Yay!

I'm soo excited to sleep in my own bed. Have my own couch, dishes, and clothes! And our pictures! I miss all our pictures.

Anyhow, don't expect much from me in the next week, as moving in may take some time and my internet access will be limited.

Happy belated Thanksgiving to all!

11.15.2008

Sir Snots-A-Lot




















We're six days in to what I've dubbed Family Sick Fest. First Jeremy, then Preston, and now I, am sick. We're all snotting, hacking, and most recently puking (Jeremy only...but I think it's due to some bad Mexican I brought him home last evening).

Preston's worst days were Monday - Wednesday. I actually resorted to driving him around aimlessly in the car, just to get him to stop crying and fall asleep. And although this worked, it was temporary. No sleeping arrangement could hold a candle to lying on my chest.

This is the first time Preston has ever been ill. I must add that I've never seen a human, and at such a small size mind you, conjure up the amount of snot this kid has dripped. Where does it come from? And when will it stop? Even grosser is when P'Dub spits up. Jeremy calls it 'pukus', as it's a mixture of puke and mucus.

As a whole I'd say we're on the upswing. The snot bubbles are getting smaller. The crankiness is subsiding. And Preston is back to his mischievous ways...

I counted 36 wipes. He managed to pull 36 wipes out of the container in just under 30 seconds. That's got to be a baby record somewhere, right?

11.10.2008

AUNTARA: The Seattle Tour '08


This past week Uncle James and Aunt Tara flew out from Ohio to visit us in the rainy land of Seattle. It was their first trip to Washington and our first basement (as opposed to house) guests. We ate, drank and were merry. We visited a brewery, sampled vino at a number of wineries, did a little sight seeing, and stayed up way later (like A LOT later) than Jeremy and I have since Preston was born.

Uncle James and Preston were instant buddies. Aunt Tara, on the other hand, had her work cut out for her. (Probably because no woman could ever measure up to Mommy.) Fortunately Tara had her AUNTARA 2008 shirt on hand, which won over the little man instantly. I had the shirt made as a thank-you for co-hosting my baby shower last November.

The highlight of our short-lived visit was when I dropped Preston off at a friend's house. Heidi (my new friend) offered to watch P'Dub for six hours so that Jeremy and I could enjoy some adult-time with our guests. I had everything ready for Heidi - a printed page that detailed everything anyone would ever need to know about P'Dub, which included shot records, his eat and sleep schedule, and various contact information. I felt really good about leaving him.

What I did not feel good about is that I left my cell phone in the apartment. On top of that, I failed to give Heidi's phone number to Jeremy. This means when I decided to make my first check-in call, about an hour into our day, I had no way of contacting Heidi. My first time leaving Preston since end of June, and I can't check on him!!!

Basically I freak out. Beat myself up about being a horrible mother. All I could do was cry. So I did. Five hours later, as I arrived on Heidi's doorstep, I cried again. This time I was crying out of joy. My little man was safe and sound. Poor Heidi, alarmed by my emotional outburst, thought something bad had happened and asked if we were in a car wreck. After all, I didn't call all day and show up a mess.

Good times. Great story...now, that is.

So thanks Uncle James and Aunt Tara for visiting! We miss you already.

11.05.2008

Me Loves Me Some Boppy

With the rapidly approaching cold/flu season, accompanied by my phobia of germs, I proudly purchased a Boppy Protect Me shopping cart/high chair cover. It boasts a whopping 360 degrees of germ-free protection...providing you can keep your child from pulling back the fabric to 'see what's underneath'. The cover also has loops for Preston's favorite toys and pockets for Mommy's cell phone, grocery list, and wallet. It's cute, easy to roll up and machine washable. Every mother's dream - for the bargain price of $25.

The Boppy Protect Me cover paid for itself within the first week of ownership, while on a much-needed Costco run. Skeptical the Boppy cover could expand to fit such an over-sized grocery cart basket, I was pleasantly surprised! It went on smoothly and Preston went in it smoothly. And as perfect timing would have it , Preston's dinner bell rang just as we entered the automatic sliding doors.

I first attempted to carry Preston cradle style as he held and drank from his bottle. But I'm a wimp, and he got heavy. The Boppy Me cover beckoned. I wondered...is it safe to lay your child down in the cart basket? He couldn't possibly fall out through the leg holes. And the cover is quite cushiony, so it would be comfortable. I ran the idea by Jeremy and within seconds Preston was lying down drinking his bottle in the grocery cart, cuddled by the comfort of the Boppy germ protector.

I thought fellow shoppers might give us strange looks, but the depth of the basket concealed his presence. For the most part he was unnoticed. After his bottle was finished he was content to stay in the horizontal position. After all, he had great access to his feet and a direct view of all ceiling lights.

This was awesome! Preston didn't need entertained. He wasn't reaching out to grab anything and everything he could touch. And he was happy. And he was sleepy. Soo sleepy in fact that he actually fell asleep! The remainder of our shopping trip was a breeze. The little man didn't even wake up until we were unloading groceries in the car.

I heart the Boppy Protect Me shopping cart/high chair cover. In fact, I heart all Boppy products. And you should too.


10.31.2008

10.28.2008

The Little Man's First Wheels

Once again, thanks to Craigslist, we scored Preston his first set of wheels. Weather permitting, family bike rides will soon become the norm.










Twice now we've trolled around the neighborhood. P'Dub isn't so sure what to think about his chariot, or his helmet. But as long as were moving and the sun isn't in his eyes, he's content.

10.25.2008

Nine-Month Stats

It's hard to believe Preston is nine-months old. Daily, the little man is growing into his personality. Unfortunately he's not growing into his pants.

Weight: 18 lbs. 15 oz. (25%)

Length: 27 in. (10 - 25%)

Head Circumference: 46 cm. (50 - 75%)
...This explains why pulling a shirt over his head is nearly impossible.

In other news:
• A fifth tooth has now popped through the gums!
• Preston waves with a closed fist. (Adorable.)
• 'En Gaa, EnGa, EnGa, EnGa' is the newest sound to exit P'Dubs mouth.
• Boxes, shoes and plastic cups are more interesting than any of the $10 - $50 toys scattered around the living room floor.
• P'Dub initiates peek-a-boo by pulling blankets over his face, waiting a couple seconds, then pulling the blanket away and laughing. (Again, adorable.)
• The little boy in our Baby Fun class at the library is not nearly as scary as the stereo that sits on the mantle.

10.24.2008

Judgement Day

Who knew that on Preston's nine month birthday, his lincoln log would have come under such scrutiny...

While visiting our future landlords, their four year old daughter accompanied me to the bedroom for the changing of Preston's diaper. As soon as his diaper was off, lying there in innocence and vulnerability, these little words were muttered...

Puzzled four-year-old: "His pee pee isn't very good?"

Me: "Why?"

The four-year-old points at 'it' and says: "It's kinda small."

And here I thought P'Dub didn't have to worry about his size until he was like 17. Kids these days...they grow up so fast.

10.21.2008

Answer: 8.25

Question:
How many times did Preston undo his diaper tab while I was getting him ready for bed tonight?

10.17.2008

Boo Baby Boo

On Oct. 25, Jeremy, Preston and I will be headed out to Seattle's Baby Loves Disco Halloween event!

For children ages 6 months to 6 years, club Heaven will be transformed into a kid-friendly disco – complete with bubbles, a disco ball, catered food, a d.j, prizes and dancing!

Preston will be all dressed up in his Halloween costume. I can't wait!

10.16.2008

Mother of The Year

You know what happens when you don't keep complete, 110% attention on your child?

I do!

You find him hiding behind the chair with the diaper bag open... ripping a $20 spot, gnawing on a nail file and tampon.

10.14.2008

Hairy Situations

NOT FUNNY:
Preston pulls my hair and laughs.

COMPLETELY FUNNY:
Preston pulls his own hair and cries.
Pull. Cry. Repeat.
(and I should stop him, right...but I want video!)

10.13.2008

Captain Sneaky Pants

The little man of the house has quickly morphed into a sly little fox. He's swift and he's savvy and now laughs in the face of containment.

Our living room keeps P'Dub contained with barriers of the homemade variety – no fancy gates or dog crates here. Stacked pillows...no problem. A heavy box...child's play. The play yard...challenging, but doable. As soon as Preston detects the slightest lack in undivided attention from Jeremy or me, he's on the move. His goal...break on through to the 'other' side (of the living room).

Once I spy the tiny prisoner he's quickly granted a stern, "PRESTON. NO." This is followed by a turn of the head, sneaky grin, panting, and then hauling his crawling rear-end across the floor at speeds nearing 2mph. He's speedy when he wants to be!

And this is how he gets nicknames like Captain Sneaky Pants. Jeremy and I are also fond of 'you little shit' and 'little beast'.

10.12.2008

Thank You, Dear Husband

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you for purchasing the jog stroller so that I'd get off my lazy bum and walk with Preston during the week. Thank you for making me hike on the weekends so that I can get a good ol' fashioned outdoor workout. Thank you for walking me when you get home from work early enough. And thank you for the Ab Lounger, which although you cannot see my ever-tightening abs, they are there and getting firmer every day.

Thank you for all this, because today I fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans.

10.05.2008

Hubby's Fantastic One-Liner

While getting geared up to go downtown Seattle to watch OSU beat Wisconsin, Jeremy and I discussed how different football season is now that we have a baby.

• No pre-drinking – wouldn't be responsible!

• No getting out our car flags and magnets and pimping our ride.

• No shaving Jeremy's chest hair and painting an OSU jersey upon his torso – okay, we've never actually did this. But still, we could have.

• No getting psyched up by listening to music from TBDBITL – no time for such a luxury, we have a baby and he needs stuff. Lots of stuff.

You have to pack with every possible 'what-if' scenario in mind. Like 'what if' Preston's teeth start hurting and he needs Tylenol. Or, 'what-if' Preston gets a nose bleed after someone accidentally hits him in the face during a drunken O-H-I-O chant? What would he need then?

So I pack an extra outfit, extra diapers, wipes, bibs, toys, solid foods, a bottle, a jacket, his hat, his medicine, Tylenol, a thermometer, snacks, a blanket and on and on and on. And let's not forget that we, the parents, need to get ready too. Hellish.

Finally ready, walking out the door, smiling with a half-sigh, Jeremy candidly said...
"Preston hijacked our coolness".

...and he did. But it's okay. 'Cause he's cool enough for the both of us!

10.04.2008

Ol' Gap Tooth

Yes, another boring picture of my son. But he's got his top teeth now, and a fifth one on the way! This is a big deal for a Mama. Couldn't help but post...

10.03.2008

Arm Shmarm

We were all created with multiple body parts necessary for complete basic human functionality, right? Eyes. Kidneys. Legs. Ears. Fingers. Toes. But of the body parts where there are two, do we really need both? Or is the second one a mere back-up?

That's kind of my take on arms and hands these days. Yes, having two working upper limbs for thirty-two years has made life simple. But now I basically use only one arm. I use my left arm. Because my right arm is holding 18.5 pounds of blabbering, smiling, screaming, stretching, curious, must-be-held spawn.

With only one arm/hand I can load/unload the dishwasher, clean up the kitchen, take out the trash, pick out what clothes I'm going to wear, put away laundry, put away toys, get a drink and/or food out of the fridge, heat up leftovers in the microwave, and of course, check my email. And that's just for starters.

It's obvious now that women were made with two arms so that once they did give life, they would have one arm available to carry that life and with the other arm, could continue maintaining a life. Men have two arms so that they don't have to put down their beer to change the t.v. remote.

9.24.2008

Baby Model

A couple weeks ago Preston got his pics taken by a fellow mom who is starting up an in-home photography studio (to be named later once her website is up and running). She offered to take Preston's pics for free and in exchange she'd hook me up with some free prints.

Here are a couple shots...as always, click to enlarge.
























9.19.2008

The Highlight Reel

From Aug. 30 - Sept. 13, Preston and I were in Ohio hanging out with our peeps. My computer access was limited, hence only one post. But I've been back in Washington now for nearly a week and have yet to get back on the blog track.

I've recently found myself in a bit of a funk. But more than that, so many blog-worthy little incidents have occurred that I'm not sure how to sort them all out, nor can I remember them all. But it's worth a try, right?

So, without a further ado, I present the highlight reel from 08.30 - 09.18.

JUST PLANE FUNNY
You know that anxiety you get before getting on an airplane? Not the is-the-plane-going-to-go-down anxiety, but the 'seat buddy' anxiety. You sit there looking around at all the people waiting for the flight and wonder who you will be sitting next to. Is it the greasy patchouli-scented hippy? Maybe it's the seven foot freak show with a bad cough? Or maybe it's the elder lady with her two cats in tow. Ahhh, the possibilities are endless.

Now that I have a kid, the anxiety is even worse. Because now I know everyone is checking me out and hoping they are not sitting next to the curly-headed chick with the baby.

Luckily Preston and I ended up sitting next to baby-friendly travelers every leg of our flights. But nobody could be more of a baby lover than Cheryl from New O'leans.

Cheryl hadn't even sat down and had already asked to hold Preston. She went on and on about him and how much she LOVED babies. While sitting on the tarmac, Cheryl even called a co-worker to share the joy of baby Preston. (This was short-lived as the lady on speaker phone kept dropping the f-bomb.)

Yep, Cheryl was quite an interesting cat. Like me, she was on her way home after visiting family. She grew up and lived in Louisiana most of her life, only relocating to Washington after her husband put a hit out on her. She spoke of her own children, the youngest 15 and handicapped. She showed me every picture in her cell phone and even thumbed through a New Orleans church cookbook, sharing memories of towns and landmarks as she recalled them. And when Preston couldn't get comfortable on her large bosoms, she moved him to the side, pulled out a pack of methol cigs from her bra, and moved him back onto her chest. No shit.

Cheryl is one of the kindest travelers I've ever met. Thanks to her, I was able to actually have a drink on the plane, go the bathroom, AND warm up Preston's bottle. I'd like to have this gal travel with me everywhere. And as a farewell gesture, she gave me $20 to buy something special for Preston. Like I said, Cheryl LOVES babies. She'll be a wonderful grandmother some day, and hopefully soon.






NOT SO PEACHY
Munchkin makes these little contraptions called fresh feeders. You put fresh fruits or veggies in them and let your baby gnaw on the bag. Only little pieces get worked through the holes so your baby won't choke. Genius. I bought a two-pack for Preston.

I thought I was being a super-nice mom by sharing a Harry & David peach with him, but as you can see he wasn't impressed. It's as though everything in his body puckered.

FROM 0 TO 60 IN 5 DAYS

Five days is about all it took before Preston became kind-of mobile to completely come-and-get-me-catch-me-if-you-can-I'm-going-to-get-into-anything-eye-level-and-open-all-cabinets-watch-out-I'm-only-going-to-get-even-crazier-now-I'm-pulling-myself-up-on-couches-and-ottomans-next-is-walking wild. I'm in big trouble folks. This is what I've been dreading. Of course I want Preston to excel and be the smartest, most-advanced kid he can be. But what about last month? What about when he wasn't mobile? Why did that period of time seems so damn short!?

9.09.2008

Who's a Big Boy?

You know that voice people use when talking to their dogs...that deep and dumb tone often used when they converse with their four-legged friend. Well I used that voice today on my son, shortly after finding him standing up on his own in his crib. This is just about as bad as my brother trying to play 'tuggie' with him this past weekend.

(And yes, I've been MIA...in Ohio visiting family. I have much to report, but Preston's current sleeping quarters and the home office are one in the same. My free time (i.e. when P'Dub naps) is usually when I hop online and blog. So you can see where the conflict lies. We leave this Saturday for Seattle and can't wait to see Daddy!)

8.28.2008

My Potty Mouth

I've officially fallen off the coolness wagon. I'm over the deep end. I've lost my way. Yes, 'potty' has officially entered my vocabulary.

I wish I could have seen my face as the word effortlessly fell off my tongue. My mind wondered if it could actually betray itself in such a manner. After all, I've despised this word for years. And every time I'd hear another mother say 'potty' I'd nearly break out in hives.

This morning as Preston was playing in his Exersaucer, I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Mommy will be right back. She has to go POTTY." What the hell is wrong with me?

Any good parent knows that it would be inappropriate to teach their child to call the toilet 'the shitter' or 'the can'. But we aren't even at that stage. Preston doesn't know what I'm saying, so why would I ever utter the word? That hideous word.

The only logical thing to do is reprogram my brain and replace 'potty' with 'the throne'. I can picture it now...Preston in preschool...raising his tiny hand and asking..."May I go to the throne?"

8.27.2008

Just a Swingin'

Who doesn't love to swing? The feeling of freedom...the challenge of seeing how high you can go...and pumping your legs so furiously that the wind speed forces you to shut your eyes.


(I apologize for the poor quality - this was taken with my camera.)

Pending Recall: PRESTON, Model #012308

If my son were a bona fide consumer product, I'm sure there would be some sort of recall on him. Since turning 7 months old, he's a totally different boy.

• Diapering Preston is a five minute wrestling match. He twists and turns, screams, rolls over, wiggles, wails his arms around, pulls my hair, scratches my face, and holds his legs tightly together making it nearly impossible to put the dang thing on!

• Naps were once as easy as lying Preston in his crib, turning on his lullaby cd, and walking out of the room. Now he screams.

• Giving Preston a bottle is truly eventful. I use Playtex Drop-Ins™, and during the 30 seconds it takes me to force the air out of the bag, Preston cries as though he hasn't eaten in days. Tears will run down his face and he sometimes loses his breath. I try getting the bottle ready without him knowing, but am not always successful.

• I dread bedtime as Preston acts as though he's being tortured. He will scream (not cry) in terror, continuously kicks his legs into the mattress, and bangs his feet off the crib rails until I cave and pick him up. His tantrums have went on for as long as an hour. But once in my arms he falls asleep within ten minutes. This is NOT a habit I'm trying to get into, but we're sharing a house...and I'd prefer to not have children's services knocking on my door.

• I'm thinking of purchasing earplugs for the two times a day I feed Preston solid foods. He usually whines or lets out short, crisp sounds of irritability between each bite. Apparently I'm not shoveling the food in quickly enough? And if P'Dub gets truly frustrated, he will clench his fists and shake.

So what's with this sudden malfunction? Perhaps an alien invaded his body causing him to be extremely irritable, whiny, short-fused and stubborn. Or maybe he's turning into me!

8.25.2008

He's Mobile...and it's Already Making me Nuts

Preston officially went 'live' last evening, although his crawling was similar to that of a drunk teenager at his first party. P'Dub would take off wobbly, smiling and laughing, fall down or face plant, and pop back up smiling and laughing. Which was initially cute, but now I've realized this is the start of a never-ending chase.

This chase is going to cause me to be an entirely new type of uptight. Now I'll constantly worry if he's going to knock his teeth out or eat a carpet tack. I mean, can a house really be 100% baby proof? I think not.

Today was spent tearing Preston away from electrical cords, pulling him out from under the bar stools, and yanking him out from under his Jumparoo.

I can't even go to the bathroom without containing the child. Clearly he needs a cage!

8.19.2008

8.18.2008

First Playdate

We've been in Seattle for nearly two months now, and Preston is quite the unsocialized nearly 7-month old. I recently joined a Mom's group (as I'm unsocialized as well) and our first infant playdate consisted of nine other mothers and their little ones.

I was all proud getting my little guy dressed up for making friends. He looked 'just like a little man'...which is what everyone tells me and I should change the name of this blog to www.helooksjustlikealittleman.blogspot.com... but it's probably already taken. (Whoa....total mind detour!)

Preston was a bit overwhelmed at first – only feeling truly secure nestled in my lap. But eventually he ventured out and sat about one foot away from me. He played with a drum, felt the bald head of a fellow playmate, and then focused on a couple of the other moms. Preston, like Daddy, is totally into older chicks. Go P'Dub.

8.05.2008

Mysteries Solved

After weeks of attempting to gather evidence proving Preston has teeth I finally have a picture!




















I was also able to capture a glimpse of Preston's neck. It's a rare occasion that anyone gets to see this body part – let alone obtain visual documentation that he actually has one! (Off subject...check out those lashes! Cover Girl promises lashes like these in a tube. And every morning I try to 'make' these lashes. Cover Girl lies.)

8.01.2008

Cloth Diaper Trial: 2 Weeks in Review

Thanks to the fine people at Diaperdaisy.com and Wildflowerdiapers.com, I've been able to 'try-out' six types/brands of cloth diapers. For the past two weeks I've kept a performance log on each diaper. I've noted the duration the diaper was worn, if Preston pee'd or poo'd, if it leaked or not, the fit of the diaper, and ease of use.

The cloth diaper results, from best to worst, are as follows:

BUMGENIUS 3.0 POCKET (one-size)
• There is a reason websites and people alike rant and rave about this diaper! After easily figuring out which size I needed to adjust the snaps to, the fit was very trim. It did add a little junk in the trunk, but fit most like a disposable in the front and between the legs. Surprisingly it didn't leak one time, and held up through a bottle, nap, pee AND poo. This diaper was also the easiest to stuff- the pocket was wide enough for my hand to fit. I wish the diaper would come in some cute patterns, and maybe even cover the velcro tabs...but that's neither here nor there.

DRYBEES HYBRID (AIO/pocket, size M)
• This is a great diaper, but might fit best on a baby with long legs. It didn't leak one time, which is a definite plus. I also liked is the covered velcro tabs (it just looked nicer). The diaper wasn't overly bulky by any means, but the crotch of the diaper hung down to Preston's knees (his legs aren't long). What I disliked most about this diaper was stuffing it...the rubbery lining was almost 'sticky'. Note: I did not use the diaper as an AIO; I stuffed it every time as Preston is a big wetter and I didn't think the pad in the diaper alone would work well.

BABY KANGA POCKET (one-size)
• I was very frustrated with the difficulty of use on the first go-round. There are two snaps that need aligned on both sides of the diaper to get a good fit. With Preston wiggling around aimlessly and me not knowing what row of snaps would fit him tight enough, but not too tight, it took around five minutes to diaper him. But after that it was much easier. The diaper leaked once in six uses, and was subject to the most poo's. But I'm not even sure a disposable could have held up to Preston's body digesting prunes! I also liked how you inserted the stuffer from the outside of the diaper. When you have to take out the insert once it's dirty, this keeps your hands much cleaner! What I didn't like about this diaper was how overly bulky it was in the front. But this is because you have to size the diaper horizontally and vertically. Naturally, the fabric just bunches up in the front.

KNICKERNAPPIES POCKET (size M)
• I actually had a lot to say about this diaper. It didn't leak, but the fit was odd. It pulled away from Preston's belly and was unnatural, in a sense, to put on him. I recently (as in five minutes ago) realized I had been putting the diaper on backwards. I just thought the logo went in front? My bad. So no review.




THIRSTIES AIO (size M)
• I had no luck with this diaper, and basically I think it is because Preston needed the Small size, and not the Medium. I used it both with and without a stuffer, and both times the diaper leaked out the legs. So from my short experience, I'd say these diapers run a bit big.



THIRSTIES FAB FITTED with COVER (size M)
• If anyone out there is paranoid about diaper leaks and is indifferent to bulkiness, then this diaper is perfect for you. (Myself, I'm big on fit.) This diaper seems to be in a different class than the others in my trial, as it's a different type of diaper. It's basically a thick, fitted cloth diaper that has a cute must-use waterproof cover. I only used this diaper once because it is soo bulky it wouldn't fit over any of Preston's pants or shorts.

OVERALL..
The upkeep of the diapers was a no-brainer...if you can operate a washer and dryer then you are set. There was a bit of poo smell in the bathroom (where I kept the used dipes), but this shouldn't be a problem once I have the proper storage, i.e. wet bags. And all the diapers left Preston's skin a little clammy- perhaps I left them on too long.

As I sit here at the end of my trial, I'm very glad I was able to sample different types and brands of cloth diapers. Otherwise I wouldn't have known where to start OR if the family was up for the commitment.

So are we switching to cloth???? YES! We are. First recycling, then cloth diapers...who knows how green we'll get!

7.28.2008

Happy Birthday Daddy, Love Preston

Last week Jeremy turned the big 3-0. I thought it would be cute to make Daddy's card extra special, by outlining Preston's hand on the inside.

It's not realistic to think a six month old is going to sit still, keep his hand open and flat, and let me move a pen around his chubby fingers.

Preston couldn't have been less thrilled, and his message was quite clear.

7.25.2008

Shits and Giggles

What you are about to read is a prime example of how a routine exercise can go bad. It's an example of how quickly a controlled environment can go awry within SECONDS. It's an example of how the smallest error can lead to the biggest mess.

It's 9:30 and time for Preston's morning nap. I smell-check his diaper and determine it's safe to change him on the bed. So I lay him down, make a couple silly sounds to get him to laugh, and open up his diaper.

HOLY SCENT-FREE GERBER BANANA POO! This kid was loaded. It was the consistency of marshmallow fluff and it was everywhere...up his crack, in all his thigh creases and covering his lincoln log. Sick.

I lift him up one-handed by his ankles, and with my free hand reach for a wipe. Preston decides to twist and reach for the wipe, too. He's squirming and I'm telling him 'no' (as if he understands). He just laughs and wiggles and frees his right ankle. His foot lands directly in the poo diaper.

So I drop the wipe and try to pick up his ankle. At which time he reaches for his foot, getting poo on his hand.

Panic sets in. I just know this is going to get worse. I'm worried about poo on the bedspread. But why? Why am I not worried about the poo he is now smearing on his face?

Both ankles are now securely restrained in my one hand. I pull the dirty diaper out from under Preston and put a prefold underneath him in case he gets free and his bottom touches down. I pick the wipe back up and Preston grabs his lincoln log. Nice.

I drop his dirty butt onto the new diaper, and wipe his foot clean so that I could let go of his legs. I then start to clean his hands. At this point he pulls his legs up and both feet are dangling in the thick marshmallow-banana poo. Then Preston starts laughing and kicks me relentlessly. Now I have poo all over my shirt. Sick.

I reach for another wipe. But there aren't any more wipes. At least not in the bedroom. They are in the pantry in the kitchen. Because that is where I keep them. I keep them there because I am a dumbass.

At this point my only feasible option is to put Preston's poo-smothered body in the tub. I take a deep breath and pick him up. Walking into the bathroom the thick poo squishes out from between my forearm and his bottom, and I have to hold back the vomit.

I sit down on the side of the tub and move Preston onto my lap...which just spreads the poo onto my legs. And I don't even care. The poo beat me and I accept it.
I fidget with the tap until the water is warm and fill up his baby tub.

To make matters even worse (for me), Preston is happy in his tub. He's smiling and making sweet baby noises. All while sitting in floating poo flakes and chunks. This is all too third-world for me so his bath was quickly cut short. After all, he wasn't taking a bath for fun.

Ya know nobody ever shares these kind of parenting stories. It's all trips to the zoo, catching butterflies and flying kites. It's sitting on the porch swing at grandmas and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the crusts cut off.

But this is the real deal folks. Poo is real. Poo is the behind-the-scenes meat and bones of parenting. Now I know.

7.23.2008

Happy Half-Way to Preston's B-Day






















Six months have went by and Jeremy and I can hardly believe it! Preston is three times his physical newborn size, and has three times the personality to go along with it! Consequently our hearts have tripled in size, as every day we find more things we love about our little man.

I can hear the 'aaawwwws' now.

7.21.2008

Magnificent Mt. Rainier

Yesterday Jeremy, Preston, and I took a two-hour road trip to Mt. Rainier National Park. Usually it's not difficult for me to conjure up clever ways to describe the unique day-to-day mini-events our family experiences, but today I can't seem to find any words that will give justice to the beauty and magnificence of this park. The sight of the mountain, never-ending valley views, and crisp Evergreen-scented air was an experience for senses!

We hiked about 4 miles through sand, rock and snow...and I loved every minute of it. We even bought a yearly pass as we plan to spend a lot of time at the park. It's very large and we haven't explored but a tiny part of it! I think I might become a fan of this hiking gig after all!










Not even a half mile into the hike, Baby Preston was already worn out!













Lunch at 7000ft.


















Daddy and Preston in matching bucket hats.

7.18.2008

My New Favorite Sound

Technically I don't have an 'old' favorite sound. But if I had, this would definitely override it.

7.15.2008

Going Green: Going Cloth

Did you know that disposable diapers make up the third largest source of solid waste in landfills (after newspapers, and food and beverage containers)? And that it takes over 500 years for disposable diapers to decompose in those landfills?

Did you know that one baby, from birth through potty training, uses an average of 8,000 diapers. This is roughly $2,500!

So recently I've been asking myself, "Why the hell am I using disposable diapers? Especially when I work from home."

So I've been researching cloth diapers and they seem WAY easier than back in the old days. No soaking - just wash every couple days/3x a week. No pins - they have velcro or snap closures. Just wear, wash, repeat. (At least it seems that easy.)

But I ran into a little trouble figuring out what 'type' of disposable diaper is right for me. There are soo many options...fitted diapers, all-in-one diapers, one-size diapers, pocket diapers, hybrids. It started to get complicated.

Luckily there are websites to aid the cloth diaper dummies out there, as myself. I found a great site called DiaperDaisy.com that has a trial package of six types of diapers. Yes, a TRIAL package. I 'borrow' the set for $20.00, and after two weeks I can send them back. All I pay is shipping. I also have the option of keeping what I like and returning what I don't like. How awesome is this!

I also ordered a one-sizer from WildflowerDiapers.com that wasn't in the trial package. They have the 14 day guarantee as well.

I'm super psyched for all my diapers to arrive. I'm expecting a learning curve, but am up for the challenge. After all, if this cloth diaper thing works out we'll be saving a fair amount of money. Depending on whether I go for the fitted (which is sized) or the one-sizers (which grow with your baby), a complete cloth diaper system starting at Preston's age will run us around $450.00. A 'system' includes about 20-25 diapers, washable inserts/pads, and wet bags (which is where you store the dirties).

And from what I've read, the benefits of cloth diapers go beyond helping the environment and saving money. Apparently Preston will also benefit. Since the diapers are made of cloth (or hemp) and have a microfleece or microfiber inner lining, they will naturally pull wetness away from his body. Apparently cloth diapers are the cure for diaper rash! And if they aren't the cure, cloth diapers still seem better than sitting in an unbreathable, chemical-gel filled paper diaper.

Alright. I've convinced myself cloth is the way to go. Have I persuaded you?

7.13.2008

I Spy a Pearly White

It's hard to believe, but Baby Preston is sprouting his first tooth!

Call me a bad mother, but I didn't even realize it. This past Wednesday our realtor even asked me if he was teething, and I said, "I don't think so, but I don't know. He always sucks on things and drools." And then that was the end of it. You would have thought that right then and there I would have stuck my finger in his mouth and checked. But, I didn't.

The next day I actually bought Baby Orajel thinking I should be prepared for when Preston actually does start to get teeth. That same afternoon and into the evening Preston just wasn't himself. He was cranky, wouldn't go to sleep, and kept sucking his bottom lip into his mouth, over his gums. (It was kind of funny.)

Jeremy suggested that maybe Preston was cutting teeth. So I pried open Preston's mouth and there it was, a little tooth bud trying to make its way into the outside world! Another great suggestion from Dad was to give Preston a pacifier (of which we have ONE because he's never used them) to see if that would help him get to sleep. And, it did. Go Dad!

I've been excited about his tooth for days now! And I've been trying to get a picture of it. But he's soo squirmy and every time I try to pull his lip down he sticks his tongue out. So all I have to show of his tooth is this slightly-blurred pic of Preston smiling. The camera flash is reflecting off his tooth.

It's funny how I'm proud of Preston...like he got an A on his report card or won first place in a race. I've even teared up about it.

My little man...getting teeth. Why it seems like only yesterday he was crapping in his pants and eating smashed up sweet potatoes. Oh wait, that was yesterday? Never mind.

7.12.2008

I Am Milk Toast

You know the old saying, "When in Washington, do as the Washington's do". Well today we did just that. After a quick stop at Target to pick up a backpack and bottled water we headed out to Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. Located in the "Issaquah Alps," Cougar Mountain Park is famous for having more than 36 miles of hiking trails.

The particular trail we were in search of wasn't 20 minutes from our apartment, and the transition from urban to rural seemed to happen instantaneously. What was once fast food restaurants and four lanes of traffic was now winding roads and steep mountains full of vegetation.

Upon seeing the grandeur of what I feared was the mountain I was about to climb, I became a little nervous. After all, my fat ass is still carrying 20lbs. of baby weight. I haven't exercised since before I became pregnant. And I'm from Columbus people...where we unhealthy fat people stay fat, we don't exercise, and we order pizza and watch our reality tv shows! We are lazy!

So we drive UP (after all, this is a mountain) into the parking lot and find one space left. I figure the trail must not be too grueling considering how popular this place is. I don't suppose families come out here if it's an 'expert' trail, right?

Jeremy puts on the Snugli and we strap Preston in. I'm wearing the backpack. And we're off! As we pass the park signage, I can't help but notice a flyer for RUNNING this trail at 7a.m. Sunday. At that point I was confident this was going to be fun and leisurely and headed onward with a smile.

...Fast forward to a quarter mile up this mountain and I'm already complaining. My chest is hurting, my knees are cracking, and I can barely catch my breath. OMG, I'm going to die! But I blaze on and before I know it we hit the .5 mile mark.

We're heading back, right Jeremy?
Wrong, Kate.

My dear husband, who is breathing the same as he would if sitting on the couch, assures me the lookout point (which is our goal) is only another 1.5 miles. So I whine and complain some more, but inside I really do want to make it to the lookout point. I keep telling myself, "This mountain isn't going to beat me. I may be on the verge of hyperventilating, but there is no way I'm going to quit and look like one gigantic vagina in front of my husband."

We continue to slowly (as I stop for a break every 15 yards) move upward. I'm running out of steam. I'm bending over trying to catch my breath. A waterfall of sweat is streaming down my back, between my butt cheeks and onto my legs. My heart is beating out of my chest. I'm in bad shape people. Jeremy isn't even sweating.

About this time we encounter a young couple coming down the trail. So I ask them, "How much longer to the top?" (Jeremy finds this particularly hilarious. As if I could make it to the top. But I didn't mean 'the top' I meant the lookout.) Anyhow, the girl kind of laughs at me and says, "It's brutal. About 4 miles." I could have possibly turned white at that point, but my face was bright red from overheating. She then went on to say that the lookout point was about another quarter mile, and that we could see Mt. Rainier through the trees.

Another quarter mile. I can do this! I've made it this far. I MUST KEEP GOING.

As we continued up the trail my state of exhaustion caused my mind to start playing tricks on me. I started second-guessing the couple we met. Was the lookout point really a quarter mile? What if it was a half mile? How far have we went? What if we pass it? And as all these thoughts were rushing through my brain, I started to get the urge to throw up. So I stopped, once again, and fought back the puke.

At this point Jeremy said we should just turn around and go back. I think he realized I was seriously out of shape, and despite the drama, really wasn't fairing all that well. But I insisted we continue, because for all we knew the lookout point was right over the next bend...and it was!

As Jeremy stood there in awe of Mt. Rainier, I was propped up against two trees trying regain composure. Within a couple minutes I was well enough to take in the view, snap a few pictures, and even partake in a family portrait. This was definitely worth it!

The total hike was 4 miles, with a 1,200ft climb. It took us an hour and fifteen minutes to make it up the trail, and only 45 minutes to climb down (at which point my legs were shaking and wobbly).

Jeremy loved it. I liked it. And Preston seemed indifferent. He didn't make one peep the entire hike. But it must have wore him out, because he was asleep in the car before we got out of the parking lot!

On the way home Jeremy patted me on the back and said, "You did good milk toast. I'm proud of you." Stupidly, I asked what milk toast was. To which he replied, "What happens when you dip toast in milk? It gets soggy. Just like you. Soggy."

Ahhh, marital bliss.

Jeremy and Preston deep in vegetation. (Click on any pic to make larger.)








Pic from lookout point. Jeremy is holding the camera. I'm pushing the button. And Preston is reaching for the lens. (Notice my sweaty pits.)








View of Mt. Rainier from the lookout point.

7.03.2008

To Be Blunt...

Sesame Street can really ruin a good song. Preston and I watched this episode this morning. In my mind, Triangle will forever replace Beautiful.

On the flip side, it would be awesome to hear someone at a Karaoke bar twist it up like this!

7.01.2008

Slimy, Green, Gerber Goodness



This evening marked an important milestone in baby Preston's life – he dined on Gerber green beans. This is the first food (and I'll use this term loosely) his virgin palette has ever encountered.

At first he seemed to struggle with the transition from rice cereal to beans, temporarily forgetting how to eat off a spoon. He also had difficulty figuring out whether or not the green, runny stuff was tasty or not. And rightly so. I tasted it and am still on the fence.

Being the good little man Preston is, he toughed it out and finished all his green beans...a 'happy plate' as my in-laws would say.

Check out the video.
Bon Appetit!

My Baby Bum

This post is a plea for help. My baby stinks. His pits emit an odor that I've only smelled on bums and an occasional teen going through puberty. I know it's hard to believe a cute little dude like Preston could be stinky, but he is. The odor is so strong, that his funk transfers onto my hands from where I've picked him up.

I've been using cornstarch, which works great at first, but then loses its power. So if anyone has any suggestions on how to turn my baby bum back into the sweet-smelling infant he once was, I'd greatly appreciate it.

(And before anyone implies I don't bathe him, I do. Sometimes daily.)

6.30.2008

Preston in Preston?

Yes, we finally made it to Washington! And it looks as though we brought the hot Ohio weather with us – we've been here since Thursday, not a drop of rain, and we're having record-breaking heat. Apparently the Seattle area only has weather this sunny and clear about three days a year. So instead of chilling out and taking a much-needed break, we've been getting out and exploring our new surroundings.

And our way home from Snoqualmie Falls, we happened upon a small town called PRESTON. Who would have thunk it? Our little guy was beat and half asleep, but we woke him and propped him up against this dirty roadside rock for a photo op.

I wonder if we could find a town called "Kate" or "Jeremy"? Hmmmmm.

6.17.2008

Belated HFD Post

On Father's Day Jeremy asked that he not have to change a single diaper, just as I requested on my day last month. I obliged and told him I'd do whatever I could to make his first FD a good one.

Not long after my promise was made, I told him I thought I'd heard Preston waking up from his nap and asked him if he'd go check on him. If memory serves correct, I got the ol' eye roll from my husband, but he did it anyhow.

Seconds later I hear Jeremy chuckling. I had dressed Preston is a special FD onesie. One that Jeremy would remember forever.








And yes, those little illustrations are sperm. If you don't 'get it' I can't help you.

6.16.2008

And We Have 'Roll Over', Folks

This past Thursday, Preston rolled over from his back to his tummy – although we weren't sure if it was by accident or intentional. He's been sleeping on his side for the past couple weeks, but never made it 'all the way' due to his chubby arm serving as quite a speed bump.

But today he proved that this rolling over thing is no joke. In fact, as soon as you lie him down on the floor or in his crib on his back, the first thing he does is roll over onto his tummy.

But for some reason, he seems to have forgotten how to roll back over, from his tummy to his back. Which is kind of funny considering he's been doing it since he was 4 weeks old.

Now we just have to wait for him to put the two 'rolls' together, and he'll be tumbling all over the place! My days of leaving him unattended on the floor while I put a load of laundry in, take a quick shower, or run to the post office are nearly over. As soon as he figures out he's got mobility, I'm in for it!

6.10.2008

Blood, Sweat, Tears and More Sweat

That's what involves getting professional baby pics taken. And I've known this, which is why I've been putting it off, just dreading the headache. Plus we've taken hundreds of pictures of Preston and even set up a couple photo-shoots at home. But, it wasn't the "real deal".

So yesterday morning I made an appointment at Kiddie Kandids (which they are lucky to get my business with that cutsie "K" instead of "C" crap. Pet peeve!). And this is where the saga begins.

Minutes later I look over at Preston and he has a blood smudge on his cheek. This is the blood part. And why wouldn't he scrape himself before picture day? After all, it's not his fault his nails are daggers, it's mine. He can't trim them himself!

So off to Kroger I went, asking the pharmacist what I could and could not put on an infants face. I can't get his first pics taken looking like a feral cat got a hold of him!

I spent last evening and all this morning on scratch-patrol, along with slapping dollop after dollop of Neosporin over his wound. Which somehow he ended up having 2 more tiny nicks. This is the sweat part.

Finally 11:30am rolls around and we're all set in the waiting area. The girl signs us in and doesn't even ask to look at all the paperwork I was told to fill out and bring in for my appointment. I spent time on that sheet people. That sheet held the key to my perfect experience at Kiddie Kandids. It told the photographer what kind of poses I liked, backgrounds, props, and even traditional or contemporary imagery styles. Hello...waste of time!

So I speak briefly with the photographer who spends a couple minutes gooing and gaaing with Preston. He didn't even smile once, so I knew we were in for a treat. I change him into his first outfit and found a frog on the prop wall I thought would look cute in the picture.

The photographer sets Preston down, she makes some funny faces, tickles his cheeks...and whala...the eyebrows turn red, the bottom lip comes out, and then tears. This is the tears part. And for me, the sweat part, again.

The lady asks me to calm him down and to "get some of that red out of his skin tone". But, of course, I stupidly left my magic get-the-red-out-of-his-skin potion at home and we had to wait it out.

Luckily I had Preston's non-magical stuffed monkey to help with the situation. And thanks to the monkey, managed to get through a couple more frog poses, a wardrobe change, and even more pics.

All in all, the photo shoot went fairly well. We weren't able to squeeze any gigantic, gum-showing smiles out of Preston, but I know the little guy did the best he could do. He was passed out in his car seat before we got to the car.

And not to ruin it for our family members, but here are a couple pics...