Archive | August, 2012

MORE recent Asher videos

29 Aug

Though I had not posted videos in a few weeks, I’m still recording all the time. Here are some more fun ones from lately:

 

Asher’s bear, “Bear” is his favorite of all favorites. No matter what Asher is doing, as soon as he sees Bear lying around somewhere, Asher stops what he is doing so he can go give Bear a big ol’ hug:

 

Here he is doing some of the things he does best — Playing and being adorable:

 

Asher likes for either Phil or me to hide from him so he can find us (we hide in painfully obvious spots, of course, haha), or he likes to wave his arms to taunt us so that we will chase him down the hall, as he is doing here:

 

Asher loves music! Certain songs and styles of music get cute and fun reactions from him. This song “All I want is you” by Barry Louis Polisar seems to be one of his current favorites. I love watching his face as he listens, and then I like his awesome bounce-dance:

 

Hahahahaha This one makes me so happy! (Sorry I am standing in the way of the light while recording, which is why this one is so dark):

 

Asher videos

26 Aug

 

I have so many videos I’ve been wanting to post! Vacation, birthdays, switching computers, and just being randomly busy has set me back with the things I’ve wanted to share. I’ve got a billion more, but here are a few from the past few weeks:

 

 

 

 

German Class, Shmerman Shmlass

21 Aug

Here is the scoop on my new German class:

-I am the only native English-speaker! I am learning just how narcissistic Americans are (read: “I am”) because every time I go somewhere for non-Swiss people, I automatically assume everyone will be American. Wrong-o. I’ve met a lot of Canadians here, actually, which is weird to me since I always forget Canada exists. I am losing my point — I was the only native English-speaker. I am not sure if my teacher is Swiss or German. The other ladies in my class (it’s all dames) speak: Italian, Spanish, French, and Arabic. I’m not sure where everyone was from (well, I assume the Italian lady was from Italy), but I know that those are their languages. Crazy! Lucky for me our teacher’s go-to ‘second language’ seemed to be English, since she spoke it most frequently and first when not speaking German… but then she would speak French to the French-speaker, who would then translate for the Arabic-speaker, then our teacher would speak a broken Italian/Spanish mishmash during which I couldn’t tell exactly who was teaching whom and what language we were supposed to be learning. Hopefully we will be able to speak only German soon. (…or English. Naughty, Bre!)

-I already have a basic German vocabulary, but I know basically nothing of the grammar. After just one day I feel hopeful and excited about my mind opening to this language. Today we learned: I, you (singular), he/she/it, we, you (plural), they, and you (formal) and the verb endings to go with each of these persons. That’s pretty good for the first day, I’d say.

-I have homework! It’s not a lot. I just have to write out 8 verbs with the correct person or something like that. And I have to cut a bunch of words out of some sheets of paper my teacher gave me so that I can play a person-verb matching game. Sounds fun!

-I am in the lowest level German course, which you may have guessed when I said that I learned words like “I” and “you” today. But there are a few other levels and lots of other students in this program that I am in. Our classes will be every Tuesday for the next several months, and since meeting once a week is not the greatest set up for learning a language, the students all meet together at Memory also on Fridays to socialize and practice German. I plan to go to these meetings each week also. I will be able to keep Asher with me, which will be nice.

-Asher was a CHAMP! I have been so incredibly nervous about leaving him without me or Phil while I attend this class, but, oh! That little boy is amazing! Since it was the first day, everyone from all the levels of German classes met in Memory (the town’s child center where Asher stayed) to get acquainted. It was crowded and loud and hot and Asher did not seem to be too keen on the idea of being there at all. But Phil and I put him down (oh, Phil came with me to meet the ladies who would be watching Asher too) and let him do his thing… and he did! He found a bin of toy cars and was excited at all of the glorious wheels he had found to point at. He whined a little bit here and there, but overall seemed okay… so we left. I was so nervous when I came back. I was actually a little bit afraid he was going to be sad or mad at me, but when I walked in I saw him smiling and pushing around a walking-toy with one of the older ladies playing with him. I said his name a few times until he heard me, and when he saw me he just smiled and crawled over to me — no tears! No heartache! What a relief! The lady who had been playing with him doesn’t speak English very well, but she said that he did really well. She said that he was happy and she kept saying he was just ‘beautiful.’ She seems like a very kind woman and I noticed lots of the little kids hugging on her. I am so relieved.

-Phillip was working from home today. When Asher and I got home from class, Asher gave his Dada some big hugs, then took a nap, then was a happy little precious boy for the rest of the evening. He sat and looked at his books, he pushed around his trucks, and he laughed loudly at random things all afternoon/evening. I think he enjoyed his bit of social time and I think he was happy to be home after a big day.

-It’s hotter than it’s ever been this week. We have hit the 90s, which is not cool (figuratively or literally) when you live in a community that does not have air conditioners. Luckily it is still cool in the shade and the air cools off significantly in the evenings. But it’s still too hot for my comfort. Sweaty sweaty.

That’s about it for now. I guess this is not the most exciting post, but I wanted to share a little bit about my class and about how well Asher did in his class while it is fresh in my head. I’m really excited to be getting involved in this really active community and to finally have a chance to learn German formally.

Top 10 list after year 1 of having a baby

15 Aug

*ahem* Now that I’ve been a parent for a year, I consider myself an expert. The past year of having my precious Asher has helped me:

10. Get a better idea about the size of a gigabyte. Seriously, these things must be huge. I have two nice cameras that are both set on high quality. Asher is approximately 31,543,200 seconds old today, and all but about 20 seconds of his life have been either photographed or filmed (or both!) and uploaded digitally to my computer’s hard drive (I back it up too, just in case you are wondering). Nearly all of the photos I have of him could literally be blown up to poster size without looking pixelated — these are huge files. And to all the haters on Facebook (“why do people have to post so many pictures of their babies… blah blah blah I hate my life…”) I’ve still got tons of room for the cuteness and new tricks that just keep on coming.

9. Appreciate every chance I get to perform everyday tasks. By ‘everyday tasks’ I of course mean things like: sleep, shower, potty, prepare/eat food, wash dishes, shop for groceries, clip my toenails, brush my teeth, check email, etc.. When you have a baby, your time is not your own. Asher plays well by himself (for his age), but that doesn’t mean I can just leave him to his own devices and go take a shower or even do a 20-second tinkle safely. I work our day around naps and food and outlets for energy (Phil does too, it’s not just me). I’m certainly not complaining at all, I’m merely noting the importance of various things that I may not have appreciated fully before having a baby.

8. Understand the phrase “you don’t care when they’re yours.” It’s true! Now this does not at all mean that I like having poop under my fingernails or that I like feeling warm liquidy spit up or urine soak through my clothes or that I like scraping dried snot and ABC food off of the carpet. What it does mean is that there is something slightly less gross about your own kid’s bodily fluids (and solids). Perhaps it is the realization that ____ will only get more disgusting if not cleaned, and no one else is going to deal with it. Or perhaps it is because I think that Asher is so unbelievably cute that it makes his nastiness less, well… nasty. I guess I still don’t understand exactly why “you don’t care when they’re yours,” I simply understand that you really don’t.

7. Strengthen my planning and organization skills. This kind of goes with number 10, since I have learned to organize my day around someone else’s unpredictable mood, bowel movements, and sleeping/eating schedule. I cook and clean while Asher is sleeping. Or I plan to do especially fun things with him so we spend some good time together (and so I do not feel bad when I glue him to the television with Baby Einstein so that I can make something other than bananas for dinner). My ability to plan well (er… better, at least) is also demonstrated in my timeliness. Busses and trains don’t wait for us, and you can never predict when the baby is going to drop a deuce in his drawers or try to eat a spider. Because of this, I have learned to make sure everything is ready long before it is time to go. Everything. The diaper bag is fully stocked, my make up is on and my clothes (sort of) match, shoes are by the door, cell phone is in the pocket, and the baby is either fully dressed or has clothes packed so that he can be dressed as soon as we get onto the train. This does backfire sometimes, since Asher is smart enough to realize when I’m getting ready to go. If things are ready too early, then we both start getting antsy. I’ve got more room to grow in this area, but anyone who knows the perpetually-15-minutes-late-Bre would (hopefully) affirm, I’ve come a long way.

6. Prioritize! Not everything is a big deal. As long as the baby is comfortable and happy in his little world, who cares if he does or does not take a nap every single day at the same time? And as long as he is healthy and safe, who cares if he sticks his hand in yogurt and flings it around and then keeps me busy until it dries like glue in every crevice of our textured walls? I have learned that some nights I’m not going to sleep, some days I’m not going to shower and some messes will have to be cleaned up later (hours, days, weeks)… and it’s okay. For now I just want to enjoy my incredible husband, precious baby, good life, and even the cute slimy fingerprints that cover the bottom two feet of our home.

5. Realize how big and interesting the world really is. Animals ARE fun to watch. Cars ARE cool. Strangers ARE scary. Wind IS surprising. Wow! The world really is amazing! So many things I stopped noticing are brought to my attention when Asher reacts with interest, confusion, and surprise. I never really lost my excitement over eating, but it is nice to have another person with whom I can share that joy.

4. Enjoy life on a whole new level. This kind of goes with number 5, but it has a different twist to it. I constantly find myself watching Asher do and see simple things. I know I get that goofy enamored-parent grin that I think looks so cheesy on everyone else. And most of the time that I realize I’m doing this, I look up to see Phillip doing the same thing. This may be a sign that we need to get out more and have a bit of grown-up time, but it also could simply show that we are proud of and in love with our precious little boy. Watching Asher enjoy life brings us to a whole new level of enjoying our lives. What a blessing.

3. Experience a new sense of fear. Ugh. It’s always the head, isn’t it? Asher is clumsy and somehow always manages to smack that giant dome of his on some sharp or hard object. It freaks me out. Falling and bashing heads aside, the world is just a crazy place for a tiny person. Before Asher came along I gallivanted through life floating on a ridiculous high that made the world seem so friendly and easy (or maybe I was already a bit high-strung, paranoid, and afraid of things like germs, bugs, cliffs, airplanes, cars, water, clowns, bugs, thorns, manholes, bugs, etc… but who really remembers for sure?). Since having had Asher, though, I see dangers all around — Germs! Bugs! Cliffs! Airplanes! Cars! Water! Clowns! Seriously, these things ARE dangerous. I keep a deathgrip on Asher’s stroller at the train station. I never turn my back on him in a grocery cart or in the bathtub. I clean the floors religiously and throw rocks on our patio as far away as I can. Granted, these things are necessary to keep him safe, but everything just freaks me out with him. Feeding and nurturing him is a big enough job, but I have to keep this oblivious daredevil safe too?! Jeesh!

3. Appreciate my parents. This one should go without saying. My parents have always been good to me. Though I was deathly afraid of them at times (times like when I lied or cheated on schoolwork or whatever), they were always lots of fun and a great source of comfort and acceptance for me. I used to feel guilty when they would spend so much money on my clothes or food or whatever else they bought me. And I would feel guilty when they would put me and my sibs wants before their own. Though Asher is still just tiny, I feel like I have a better understanding of why they did the things that they did for me. They did it because they wanted what was best for me, Doug, and Kacy. They did it because they love us and would probably do anything for us. I knew that as a kid, but I ‘get’ it a little more now. I would do just about anything to keep Asher safe and healthy and on his way to being a strong, moral man who loves God. I find myself remembering random things that happened during my childhood and gaining new perspective on them. I assume that this will continue to happen as Asher grows if we ever have to start disciplining him, though I am sure he will be just as angelic as Phillip and I were. (Eh?)

1. See Love’s infinite ability to grow. I am amazed at how much deeper my love for Phillip has grown over the past year. I honestly didn’t think I could love him any more than I already did, yet I do. I am so proud of Asher. I am so interested and amazed by him. I think it’s awesome that he is a part of me. I love him so much for reasons I cannot even begin to explain. I love sharing this pride, interest, amazement and love with Phillip. Settling into our new roles and adjusting to a third person in our life while maintaining our own relationship has taken and does take effort, but having a baby is such a wonderful thing to share with my favorite person. I love Phillip the same, but somehow differently and even more since having Asher. Phil is a great Dad to Asher. I love watching them together and I cannot wait to watch their relationship continue to grow over the 30 years, and then even more once Asher is allowed to move out and maybe start dating nice, wholesome girls that I select for him. Having Asher has also made me love the rest of my family more. I have memories from random points in my life thinking “this [life] is good. I do not want anything to change.” As a kid, Doug was my best friend, Kacy was my little experiment/project. My parents were great. I often thought to myself that I didn’t want my family to change because I honestly didn’t think I could love anyone the way that I loved my family. Meeting and growing to love Phillip shattered this idea for me. Phillip showed me in a new way how deeply I could love and feel loved. Though I had always assumed I would some day have kids, I honestly wondered if I had any love left to offer another person. I even felt this way through pregnancy. I wondered if I could and would love “this baby” as much as I knew I was supposed to love him. Not to worry, folks! The ol’ heart grew a billion sizes on August 10, 2011 because having Asher has shown me not only that I can love a new person, but he has also deepened my love for my Phillip, my parents, Phil’s parents, my siblings and siblings-in-law, nieces, and nephew. My world, no… this huge everyone’s world, is truly a better place because of Asher Michael Lasater.

 

 

Birthday week: Thinking of how it all began

7 Aug

This Friday (three days from now) my precious, precious boy will turn 1. Because of this, the past year and 9 (well, 10) months are heavy on my mind right now. The past few weeks, as I anticipate the monumentous “1st birthday,” I have found myself reliving every second of Asher’s life. I feel compelled to share some of my thoughts.

Let me preface by saying that Phillip is at work, Asher is sleeping, I have windows open and am thus listening to a mixture of falling rain, gusty winds, and one of my favorite Iron and Wine albums, so I cannot be held responsible if I at any point become emotional.

*ahem*

I found out I was pregnant Sunday, November 28th, 2010. I know for sure it was that day because at the time I was taking a pregnancy test every Sunday. We lost our first little One September 23rd, 2010, and I took a preg test every week after that. I got positive tests for several weeks, which is why I kept taking them. I felt like I needed a negative response as a way to have a bit of closure after losing the first Baby. I kept taking them every Sunday even after finally getting negative responses partly out of habit, I guess. I didn’t really expect to conceive again so quickly, and I didn’t really ‘feel’ like anything was different the morning I took that one test. When it came back positive I remember my heart rate staying exactly the same. Phillip was asleep. Our apartment was quiet. I set the test down and got in the shower. I don’t even think I really smiled at first. I just kind of stared at the wall as I scrubbed up all my parts. When I was done, I hid the test, woke up Phil, and as soon as I heard him get into the shower my heartbeat quickened and I lost my breath. It was as if I suddenly felt the full effect of shock! I tore apart my “wrapping stuff” drawer until I found a long skinny red box that was once given to me with a bracelet inside. I put the test inside, wrote a name tag that said “Phillip,” stuck it under our Christmas tree, and then waited with shakey hands for Phillip to find it. It didn’t take him long to notice it — we had JUST put our tree up the night before and, being November, there weren’t any other presents to block the tiny red one. I told him to open it, he opened it, and looked at me and half-smiled. The bfp (“big fat positive”) was extremely anti-climactic, but we were very comfortably happy and excited. Whenever I think about this time I can hear our dear friend Mrs. Fortner nostalgically saying: good things always come on a Sunday mornin’…

So that was that. (And yes, it was a pee pregnancy test that I put into the box as a sentimental gift for my husband. So what? Like you’ve never peed on a $6 piece of plastic before? You think you’re better than me?)

Pregnancy was, thankfully, uneventful. We saw “Kid A’s” heartbeat for the first time December 21(?). I kept thinking I felt Kid A moving starting around 15-16 weeks gestation. Then, right at the beginning of 18 weeks, as I was sitting in the driver’s seat of Carey O’Brien’s car, waiting to go into the preschool to pick up DJ and I felt something kick my seatbelt. It was so surreal. I put my hand down on my lower belly and felt it again and again, plain as day! It felt like someone was poking the inside of my stomach with a straw. I called Phil to tell him, then jumped out and told my friend Cathy, who was super excited for me. Later that night I was telling Phillip about it, I put his hand where I had felt the pokes earlier and, like the good little boy that he is, Asher straw-poked his Daddy’s hand! It was awesome to both feel the teeny kicks for the first time on the same day.

Then I got super fat, ate like a cow, had to pee all the time, sweated uncontrollably, and felt Asher moving all day and all night.

Okay, fast forward. I was due August 7, but was just positive I’d have that baby in July. That didn’t happen. I was not planning to induce, but I agreed to do it August 10 if the baby had not come by then. I was curious about delivery, but I was not really nervous. The miscarriage hurt like crap, but as soon as it was over, it was… well, over. It was a total calm after a storm. Between that and my friend telling me that she had delivered her first son without drugs while being maxed out on pitocin, I knew I’d be fine.  I had made my decision to go natural (other than the induction, at least) and that’s what I was going to do. They started giving me pitocin at 6-something in the morning. I progressed fairly quickly and by 7 or 8 that evening it was go-time. So we (I say “we” because it sounds less awkward than “I” — misery loves company) started pushing at that point. It hurt so badly. I never thought about asking for drugs, but the two things I very distinctly remember: 1. being sad because I was sure that this one would be an only child, and 2. an overwhelming worry for my baby sister who I knew would be in this same situation in a matter of hours. Weird thoughts to have at that time, but whatever. As most of you know, most babies don’t come out with boy parts on the top of their head, so when Asher crowned they realized something was wrong. He was coming out butt-first… juuuust as I suspected. The dimly-lit, calm room suddenly became tense and everyone started moving really quickly. A bunch of people came in, jammed their arms up my hoo-ha and said very scary things to me. For whatever reason there were no doctors around, so we had to wait for a super long time. It was agonizing. At that point you can’t really stop labor, though I was fighting it the best I could, my body was trying to get the baby out — I was so afraid that Asher would come halfway and get stuck. Ugh. I can’t even think about it. The doctor finally came. He told me that he thought a normal c-section would be fine (originally they had told me that they thought I would have to get the kind where they knock you out and open your entire stomach super fast – scary!). He said he needed consent, and asked very bluntly “do you want us to perform a c-section?” I wanted to pull off his stupid plastic glove and slap him across the face with it like they do on movies, but I just said “yes.” Or maybe it was “YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSYESYESYESINTHENAMEOFALLTHATISHOLYYES!” As soon as I said it, they all went ballistic throwing things and doing things to my bed and suddenly I saw the bright lights of the hall and felt wind as they ran me down to the operating room. My memories are all like flashes at this point. I remember looking up at my nurse, Amber, whose long hair was whipping against her face as she ran. She was running, but calmly saying to me “everything is going to be okay Sweetie. We are going to take care of you. You will be just fine.” Which, as most comforting words often do, only made me more nervous, though I very much appreciated the effort. My contractions were so unbelievably strong I could not hold still, but the anesthesiologist told me it was very important that I was still for him to do the spinal tap thing correctly. I cried and said I couldn’t. He told me I had to. And so I did. I took a breath and made myself be calm. I used some of my old Yoga breathing techniques to ‘let the worries of the day leave through my fingertips…” It worked… Namaste. He jammed a hose-sized needle into my back and then yelled at me to lay down (so much for being calm). The next thing I knew I was strapped to a table like I was being crucified and I had a big sheet in my face. The doctor had a very nice voice. He sounded like that actor who plays Tina Fey’s ex-boyfriend Scott on Baby Mama (I later realized that even looked like that actor!). Something about the familiarity of his voice made me feel like he knew what he was doing. I felt nothing, then I felt some pressure and what felt like a basketball being moved around in my body and then the doctor said “here he is! Hey big guy!” That’s honestly all I remember for a bit. I vaguely remember asking Phil, who was sitting next to my face, to go check on Asher. I just laid there, with my arms and shoulders shaking vigorously (from the medicine they gave me) and stared at the ceiling. What a strange thing, to see my husband walk around that giant curtain holding a baby. I just kind of looked at Asher. He was a very pale pink and wore his hospital hat like a yarmulke. He sucked his bottom lip up under his top lip and slow-blinked his tiny eyes like a sleepy lizard. What a completely surreal experience to see my child for the first time. I just wanted to stare at him — this tiny thing that was so foreign and seemed like just a concept to me only 5 minutes before. Suddenly, he was visible in my world, trying to make sense of things with his own eyes and breathing with his own mouth and lungs. He was, and is, completely perfect. And just like that, we were a family of three.

Well, I hadn’t necessarily planned on sharing the birth story (I feel like a tool calling it a “birth story,” since so many people are whack-jobs about telling their birth stories), but I guess that is where the rain and the music took me. I’m sure I will share more as the birthday madness sets in…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hrrrs did

5 Aug

Hair cuts, all around!

My before: 

After:



Unfortunately for me, I feel like the ‘before’ pics make my hair look much better than it actually did look, while the ‘after’ pic doesn’t quite do the positive change justice. I didn’t take a lot of length off, but I put in a lot of layers in an attempt to lighten up the bottom and jazz up my doo. I think the Duggar-sister-to-Herbal-Essences-hair-model transformation was a success!  I was nervous and went slowly at first, but after a few minutes I was completely comfortable and machete-ing through my messed up hair like a ninja in the jungle. It looks and feels so much better. I did it!

I was not the only one who needed a trim — Asher had a mullet!




Phillip, the Baby Einstein Puppets and I teamed up in an attempt to save the back of Asher’s hair from the early 90s. Here is Dadadadada working on the side:

And here I am with the finished product:
(Don’t judge me. This was on a Thursday, my laundry and cleaning day, and Asher had not really napped. I barely had time to eat and pee, much less shower before this pic was taken [I showered at 12:42 in the morning… long after Asher was asleep and after I had finally finished all of our laundry and cleaning]).

… I digress. Here are some more ‘after’ shots of our handsome little boy:



hahahaha This (above) picture makes me laugh 



It’s hard to get him to be still for a picture, but you get the idea. He looks great!

 

I never think to take before and after shots of Phillip’s hair when I cut it, but perhaps I will try next time. Since he also trims his beard whenever he gets a hair cut, he goes through a pretty major transition and shaves weeks off of his appearance! 😉

 

Pulling…er, “pushing” his own weight

4 Aug

Now that he is almost a year old, Asher likes to help out. This video was taken in store earlier this week, but yesterday Asher pushed the stroller and thus “walked” about THREE BLOCKS (excluding crossing streets, of course)! He got a lot of looks and chuckles and points, since he is basically the cutest thing that has ever existed. He even threw a fit when it was time to get back into the stroller… which was less precious but still evidence of his little growing self.  🙂

Swiss National Day

2 Aug

We celebrated our first Swiss National Day (that’s a link!)  yesterday, August 1. Swiss National Day is to Switzerland something very similar as the 4th of July is to the US, except the history here is way older (Middle Ages!) and entirely different (The Declaration of Whodawhatty?). But modern day “Yay for our country!” celebrations seem to be somewhat similar. Our neighbors the Gassmann family invited us over for a barbecue to celebrate the day. Our neighbors are great, if we have not told you about them. They are a married couple with three cute little girls (5, 2, 2 months). Their littlest one was born a few days after we moved in, which was fun. Anyway, back to SND — We ate grilled meat and corn, drank water out of Swiss-flag glasses, and wiped our mouths on Swiss-flag napkins on the Gassmann’s 3rd floor balcony. Since they live in our building, we were able to put Asher to bed and listen for him on a baby monitor while still hanging out with Simon and Martina, who had also put their girls to bed. The four of us sat for a few hours on the balcony enjoying cool evening-air, local beer and wine, and an endless display of fireworks. Though some towns/cities put on official fireworks ‘shows,’ it seems like the bigger deal here is just to shoot off your own fireworks. From their balcony, we could see lots of fireworks being set off here in Uetikon and tons being set off on and across lake Zurich. The longest break between hearing and/or seeing an explosion could not have been more than 1 minute — it was kind of incredible. We had a lot of fun! I’d say our first Swiss National Day felt holiday-ey, which was like a breath of fresh air to me. Though we have enjoyed basically every day since being here, things have been so different that the cozy traditionally-familiar holiday feelings have been a bit thrown off.

Aaaaaaand my precious boy is singing to signal that he is ready to get up from his nap. That’s my cue…