Category Archives: Calvin

All about Calvin

Interesting Times

When this year started we expected that our major event of the year would be Julian’s birth. That did indeed happen. However, a bit more has also happened.

Towards the end of July Jaeger’s employer announced they were going to layoff about 15% of its workforce. Unfortunately, while they announced they were going to do layoffs, they didn’t actually decide who was going to get laid off until September. Thus, we had several months of uncertainty. I do not do well with uncertainty and dealt with the situation by trying to avoid thinking about it. This mostly worked but did leave a little gear in my head spinning without giving it the ability to do anything useful.

A Google recruited contacted Jaeger on the same day layoffs were announced. We’re not sure if it was coincidence or not (they have been contacting him a couple of times a year for a while now). However, possibly mostly to kill time, Jaeger decided to start the Google interview process. The job he was being recruited for was in San Francisco.

September came and Jaeger was told he was getting laid off. While we always knew it was a possibility it was still a bit of a shock. However, his last day wasn’t going to be till January and the severance package was pretty decent. So while it wasn’t the best news it wasn’t a big problem either.

By October Jaeger had progressed to an on-site interview with Google. He survived the interview only to hear they wanted another follow-up interview but could do this one in Boulder.

In November Google offered Jaeger a job. Of course this was exciting but it also meant this stopped being playing and meant we had to actually seriously think about moving our household. There were a number of drawbacks to the proposal. First, our original plan was to move to Asia at the end of the school year. If Jaeger accepted the Google offer this would put that plan on hold for at least two years. Second, San Francisco is fun but also really, really expensive. The Google salary would be extremely generous for most locations in the country but once you adjust for cost of living and taxes, our family will be earning less in San Francisco than we do in Colorado1. However, I did get permission from my employer to telecommute from California so at least I wouldn’t have to go hunting for another job.

Eventually, Jaeger decided to accept the Google offer. He got his current employer to pull in his last day so he’ll finish working at his current employer in December, take a break, and start work at Google in February. The rest of us will move to San Francisco at the end of the school year. I’ve started mapping out plans in my head for how to handle being the sole parent in Colorado. I’m also looking at our house and making a list of everything that needs to be done before it’s ready to go on the market to be sold.

Well, that’s pretty much all the facts. As to how I feel, the answer is complicated.

I’ve always enjoyed moving. I had a great deal of fun moving to different colleges and kept a fantastic spreadsheet that allowed me to graduate on time even though I changed majors and colleges many times. I’ve now been in Colorado for 13 years and am ready to move on. At this point we’ve accumulated a lot of stuff and it makes moving harder. One of the downsides of San Francisco is we’ll probably be living in a much smaller house. However, I’m hoping to use this opportunity to really reduce the amount of useless stuff we have floating around. My biggest fear centers around never living in a big city before. While I do ok with people, I much prefer being surrounded by trees. Even so, I’m relieved that my brain finally has a problem that has been refined enough I can start working on solutions.


In other news, Julian continues to develop. He can now crawl rapidly, stand, and looks like he might be getting ready to walk any day now. He has taken one or two very shaky steps but still has a way to go before he’s actually walking. Of course, Julian is still only 8 months old so he has a lot of time left before we would expect him to walk. Julian has also recently starting playing with solid food. Given Calvin’s extreme slowness in learning how to eat solid foods, I still had to puree foods when Calvin was 1-year-old, I was also expecting Julian to be slow. However, just this week he has started enjoying soft potato, sweet potato, Cheerios, and Asian pear. He hasn’t got the chewing/swallowing thing down completely but is shoveling food enthusiastically into his month.

Unfortunately, Julian still wakes up during the night. Calvin was sleeping through the night by 3 months but Julian still requires at least one bottle, and sometimes two. However, just within this last week he’s finally started eating better during the day so I’m hoping his nighttime eating might taper off soon.

Calvin excels at being a great big brother and is doing well at school. He finally seems to have gotten over the reading hump problem we were having last year and now reads for fun when we find the right (i.e. interesting) books for him.

Overall, it’s been a very exciting year so far and next year will also be full of new experiences for our family.

  1. At least for the first year. Their bonuses and stock do look generous but our family has always preferred to live on the guaranteed base salary and use bonuses for fun stuff but we’re going to need to adjust that somewhat for Google.

Tantra Park, Boulder, CO

Tantra Park was the first park we visited last Sunday. Based on the map I knew the park was tucked away behind the houses but the park sprawls in an odd shape and I wasn’t sure where the playground structure was located. I looked at the satellite image and misidentified a catch basin as the likely spot.

catchbasin

We parked by the tennis courts on W Moorhead Cir and crossed the street to enter via a path. The path curves behind the subdivision houses and marks the beginning of a dramatic elevation increase. As we walked along the path in search of the playground I saw a sign strongly advising against sledding down the hill because it was steep with no flat area to slow down before you hit hard objects. Of course, now that I’m back with internet, I see that Tantra is a very popular sledding hill in winter. Who knew?1 According to Boulder Families the hill can get quite packed. This site gives you a feel for how it looks in winter. While I can see how some parts of the hill may be too steep I think there are probably other sections that are fine.

After meandering along the path we found the playground structure backing up to the east curve of Tantra Park Circle. However, I’m not sure there is a way from the street to get behind the houses. Possibly the tennis courts are as good a place to park as any.

view2

The playground structures are pretty good for such a hidden park. They have equipment for ages 5-122.

TantraPark

Overlooking the 5-12 play area is another area designed for younger kids that includes a play house and bucket swings.

littleplay

I decided it was time to see what Julian thinks of swings: he approves.

JulianSwing

Calvin was excited that Julian is finally doing something he can relate to and joined us on the swings.

brothersswinging

If you look really (really) closely you can see Julian’s two brand-new teeth, discovered the prior day.

teeth

Beside the younger kid play area there is a covered structure with a picnic table. The picture shows steps from the 5-12 age play area but there is a path curved around the back that allows access to strollers and other wheeled contraptions.

Shelter

Calvin played briefly with some kids but didn’t spend a lot of time on the larger structure.

spiralladder

Instead, he wanted to show off for Julian.

tireswing

The playground equipment was mostly fairly traditional with the exception of . . . something I can’t find the name for. Basically it’s a raised flexible tube, with springs in the middle, that kids can jump on while hanging on to poles. It looks pedestrian when only one kid is on it but if you get multiple kids it can get quite bouncy.

bouncing

Both Calvin and Julian had lots of fun at this playground and if we’re around for winter we’ll need to come back and see if we can do some safe tobogganing.

Summary:

Features 5-12 playground equipment, curved slide, bridge, ladder, corkscrew climber, driving wheels panel, spiral slide, money bars, tube bouncer, tire swing, bucket swings, moving maze panel, 2-5 year old play structure (mainly house but also a sand tube oddly positioned no where near sand)
Surface Material Small gravel for the larger play area and poured rubber for the younger area
Restrooms No
Water fountain No
Shade Small shelter plus trees to the side of the playground
Picnic area Yes, one in covered shelter.
Parking Street parking – Parking across from the tennis courts on W Moorhead Cir about as good a chance as any.
Pros
  • Apparently a fairly popular sledding hill
Cons
  • Very long hike if you need a restroom in a hurry. Not for those being potty trained.


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  1. Actually, given my husband grew up here, I expected him to know but possibly it’s too far south for him to think it worth mentioning.
  2. Whenever I say “5-12” you realize I’m just quoting the official ages, right? My son was ready for the 5-12 equipment by 3 at the latest.

North Boulder Park, Boulder, Colorado

North Boulder Park

Several years ago we visited North Boulder Park. There was a lot of construction fencing around the park and I kept meaning to go back and see what had been done. Finally, last Saturday, we visited the park again. It turns out they added an adult exercise area.

CalvinExercise3

The exercise equipment was very popular with the kids. It is intended for ages 14+ and younger kids could get hurt if not watched carefully. No adults used it while we were there. However, that probably was because it was quite hot. The adult exercise equipment provides a pretty good view of the children’s playground equipment so, depending on the age and needs of your child, it might be possible to exercise while your kids play.

CalvinElip

Naturally, since this is suppose to be adult equipment it was over-sized for all the kids.

CalvinExercise1

CalvinExercies2

The children’s equipment was traditional but in good repair.

CalvinBigEquip

It had an area for older kids and younger kids.

LittleEqipment

Calvin spent a lot of time in a lovely tree.

CalvinTree

Aside from the playground, the park has a wide variety of activities. There’s a very large field next to the playground which is very popular as a cross country skiing venue in the winter. There’s also a fairly large shelter. It’s right next to the playground equipment but you can’t be under the shelter and see the playground at the same time. However, there are various benches shaded by trees scattered around the equipment area. There’s also a half-court basketball court and table tennis.

Summary:

Features 5-12 playground equipment, spiral slide, spiral climber, fireman pole, monkey bars, climbing tree, basketball court, table tennis, 2 spring riders, digger, 2-5 playground equipment, small double slide, small covered slide, small curved slide, swings, bucket swings
Exercise Equipment Leg Extension, 2-Level Horizontal Bars, 2-Person Full Bar Exercise, 2-Person Incline Sit-Up Benches, Single Leg Curl, Single Elliptical, 2-Person Chest Press (Accessible), 2-Person Lat Pull-down (Accessible), 4-Person Lower Body Combo
Surface Material Pea gravel (concrete for exercise equipment)
Restrooms Yes (May through September)
Water fountain Yes (very lower water pressure though)
Shade Shade trees and large shelter. A lot of shaded benches but very little shade on the actual playground.
Picnic area Yes, covered shelter with several picnic tables. Also have a couple of picnic tables that aren’t covered as well as 2 grills.
Parking Parking Lot
Pros
  • Adult Exercise Equipment
Cons
  • Very traditional playground equipment, not very challenging for older kids.


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Summer Update

I was looking at my recent blog entries and noticed that, other than our feeding drama, I haven’t talked about life with a second child.

I don’t have postpartum depression this time. This makes a huge difference in all aspects of my life and how I relate to my children. I can’t even begin to describe the difference. I spent the first month after Julian was born thinking he was an easy baby. We had feeding issues but I wasn’t as obsessed with feeding Julian The One True Way and so was able to focus on nutrition over dogma. Having lived with Julian for four months I now believe that Julian isn’t what most people would consider an easy baby. However, he’s less intense than Calvin was, and we’re more experienced, so he’s easier for us.

The first couple of months after Julian was born I put myself on a very strict schedule. My order of priority was:

  1. eat
  2. sleep
  3. shower
  4. everything else

Julian would wake up for the day between 7:00-9:00am. I’d feed him when he woke up and then start down my to-do list until Julian was ready to nap. Usually I had time to eat before Julian had his first nap. Sometimes I showered. However, as soon as Julian napped, I religiously rested. I didn’t always sleep but I always laid down1. Then Julian would wake up, I would feed him, and we’d repeat until night time. Initially, it looked like Julian was going to sleep through the night2 quickly. However, Julian learned to wake up every 2-5 hours because the pediatricians told me I had to wake Julian up every 4-5 hours until he regained his birth weight.

I planned on twelve weeks of maternity leave. I was very fortunate to have enough sick/vacation combo that I could cover it all at 100% of my normal pay3. At four weeks postpartum everything seemed incredibly easy and I was getting bored. I took the opportunity to catch up on all my work email and started wondering if I could go back to work early. Then, all of a sudden, Julian started screaming unconsolably most evenings for an hour or so. Other things must have changed also, though I can’t put my finger on anything in particular, and all of a sudden I did not have the time or energy to go back to work early. The screaming tapered down a bit around six weeks but Julian was still on the fussy side.

At Julian’s two-month appointment I learned that he had a milk protein allergy. This meant we got to switch from regular formula to expensive formula. I’m not sure if Julian’s fussiness was related to the milk protein allergy or not. I didn’t see an instant improvement when we switched formulas. However, Julian hated the formula and possibly wasn’t drinking as much as he really needed. At around 3 1/2 months we switched to a different hypoallergenic formula which Julian obviously preferred and his intake doubled overnight.

At the beginning of June Calvin, Julian, and I flew to Washington state to visit my parents. Jaeger and I believe that one reason Calvin is such a good flier is because we started him early. So, of course, it was important to start Julian early also. I create all our packing lists on our personal wiki and so I was able to pull up my packing list from when Calvin was the same age. I was astonished to see that at the same age Calvin had been drinking six ounces of formula while Julian was only drinking two. This wasn’t because I was making more breastmilk this time, Julian was just eating less food.

We left for the airport with plenty of time and breezed through security only to learn that our flight was delayed. One of the flight attendants gave Julian a first flight certificate. The flight went well other than our plane being delayed and Calvin and I having a disagreement over whether our supper had been lunch. Julian slept most of it and I don’t think he cried at all once we were on the plane.

We got to my parents’ house a bit after midnight and I was horrified to discover that the first couple clothing layers in our luggage were soaking wet. This included Julian’s sleep sack. I’ve had planes delayed by weather before and sometimes the outside of the luggage has been damp but never the inside. Fortunately, the baby monitor survived unscathed4. A couple of days after we arrived my parents took us to the beach for several days. Calvin had a lot of fun but I mostly stayed inside the rented house because Julian did not approve of the wind. Still, I find coasts on the northwest very invigorating.

The following Monday I started work. We were going to have an au pair come from China to watch Julian but she wasn’t scheduled to arrived till late July so Jaeger’s mom watched Julian. I was really excited to get back to work but also nervous. I was worried because I had a hard time after Calvin was born being productive at work. I think it was different this time because 1) I was getting more sleep 2) I didn’t have to rush Julian to daycare before I could work and 3) I worked in the morning instead of the afternoon.

At about 3 1/2 months my mom came out to watch Julian. Julian continued to reject the first hypoallergenic formula. In fact, it had gotten worse since I started working because he started getting some breastmilk in a bottle. Easy delivery plus better taste must have made him decide he had no need for the icky formula. I was at my wits end because I wasn’t producing nearly enough to exclusively feed him breastmilk and Julian was getting crankier. I called the doctor’s office and they suggested I try a different hypoallergenic formula. I was dubious because it seemed, on the internet, that everyone preferred his first formula. However, Julian definitely preferred the second formula over the first. In fact, all the adults also agreed the second formula tasted better (yes, I tasted it, I wanted to know what I was giving him). Immediately Julian doubled his formula intake. I hadn’t realized until that point how much his feeding had been stressing me out. I was emotionally so much better than I had been with Calvin that I hadn’t really noticed the stress points that still existed.

Breastfeeding had been getting progressively harder. It had gotten to the point where Julian would only eat well at night when he wasn’t very awake. Since I now felt Julian was getting enough food from formula, I decided it was time to start cutting down on the breastfeeding. I did it very slowly as when I stopped pumping for Calvin I got mastitis. This time I was much more careful. Eventually I was down to only a couple of times a night, mainly as an enhanced pacifier, while we waited for the formula to warm up5.

Also at about 3 1/2 mounths Julian’s sleep deterioted noticably. He was having a very hard time napping during the day and also started waking up every 2-3 hours to feed. I was hoping that getting adequate amounts of food would allow him to start sleeping through the night. Calvin was sleeping through the night, a solid 8+ hours, by 3 months. However, more food didn’t seem to increase Julian’s night-time sleeping. Julian is now back to sleeping every 3-4 hours, which is a great improvement, but not where I’d like him to be yet.

Typcial schedule at almost five months:

  • 6:00-7:00pm – Julian goes to sleep
  • 9:30-10:30pm – Julian wakes up for first feeding
  • 12:30-3:30pm – Julian wakes up for second feeding (if I’m very unlucky he’ll stay awake an hour or two before sleeping again but this only happens a couple of times a week)
  • 4:30am – Julian wakes up again. I transfer him to the rocking chair and feed him, if needed, then both of us doze for the rest of the night
  • 6:30-7:30am – Julian wakes up (next week, when school starts, I’m going to have to start getting up at 6:30 so Julian will probably also)
  • Upon waking up, feed Julian his first morning bottle
  • Julian usually eats every 3-4 hours during the day and sleeps every 2-3 hours (though anywhere from 1/2 hour to 2 hours, usually on the shorter side).
  • Rinse and repeat

As long as I fall asleep by 9pm every night I usually get enough sleep. Naturally, Julian’s worst night are usually correlated with me cheating and going to bed late.

Our Chinese au pair was suppose to arrive at the end of July but two days before she was suppose to leave China we got a message that she had fainted and was having major surgery at the hospital. She wasn’t going to be able to come on time. Jaeger and I discussed it and decided that a recovery for that major of a situation probably meant that we needed to go ahead and find another au pair immediately. Jaeger’s mother was having surgery on her hand and would be unable to take care of Julian past the original dates we had agreed upon. Some frantic searching passed and we found an au pair that needed to transition from her initial host family due to personality and lifestyle differences (she’s vegan). We looked at her profile and thought she looked like she’d work out. She’s now been with us for about a month and so far it has worked out very well. She’s very good with Julian, which was my number one requirement, and being vegan her diet is also compatible with ours.

Next week Calvin will start 1st grade which will add different complications to our schedule. I think he’s also going to be joining cub scouts because one of his good friends will be in it so that too will be a new experience for us.

Speaking of Calvin . . . Calvin is doing incredibly well with Julian. Sometimes when Julian is screaming, and I’m not immediately available, Calvin will try to put the pacifier in or hand him a toy to play with. I decided not to put Calvin in any summer camp or daycare. I had some idea of making him read to me every day as well as doing a bit of math. That fell through once I went back to work. Calvin has spent most of the summer listening to audiobooks while playing with Legos. Right now he’s listening to The Odyssey6. I’m sure this books is too mature for him. However, I was so tired of loading multiple books every single day. At least The Odyssey is long enough he’s been listening to it for multiple days7. I do try to push him outside at least once a day and he does enjoy playing in the sandbox and watering everything but the plants. Summer hasn’t been a particularly stimulating experience for him. However, I think this may actually be a good thing because he’s looking forward to starting school. This would be a major advantage over last year when he went from a play-based preschool to a more classical oriented and traditionally structured kindergarten.

My biggest aggravation at the moment is my lack of reading time. I’ve listened to a ton of books but have read less than five since Julian was born. I love listening to audiobooks but it’s a different experience than reading them8. I have finished two books in the last week so maybe I’m slowly ramping up again.

All things considered, I don’t find the second infant experience nearly as demoralizing as the first. It helps that I can look at Calvin and know that some day Julian will sleep through the night and I won’t have to choose between reading and sleeping.

  1. Unless I needed to eat and then I stuffed some trail mix in my mouth before lying down.
  2. For the record, I consider this 8 hours. Possibly medically inaccurate but Calvin slept 8+ hours very quickly so I naively assumed Julian would also.
  3. My work also offers short-term disability for maternity leave but I think you only get 2/3 your regular paycheck. Definitely better than nothing but 100% is best 🙂
  4. For the return trip I zip-locked everything and of course nothing got wet.
  5. The second hypoallergenic formula is edible, which is a big plus. However, it’s also very lumpy when made with room temperature water.
  6. Translated by Robert Fagles and narrated by Sir Ian McKellan.
  7. This is also deepening my suspician that he’ll listen to just about anything.
  8. Though, for the record, I think listening to audiobooks is just as legit as reading the book. It’s just one can multi-task with an audiobook and reading a book requires some time when things are relatively calm

Melody Park, Boulder, CO

Recently the Boulder Rock’n Moms group was discussing parks and one of the other members mentioned that she thought Calvin and I would enjoy Melody Park. Melody Park is a neighborhood park in Boulder. The Boulder neighborhood parks vary wildly in how good the playground equipment is. Some are pretty small but others can be very nice. Melody Park is one of the latter.

2-5 Playground Equipment

2-5 Playground Equipment

The park has playground equipment for both ages 2-5 and 5-12.

5-12 Playground Equipment

5-12 Playground Equipment

In addition to basic playground equipment they also had a “tire” swing which was a huge hit with Calvin. It’s not a real tire, I’m not sure they do that anymore, and the plastic is a bit light which does make it a little tricky to balance unless you have two kids.

07TireSwing

I suggested Calvin try the regular swings or the spinner but he wasn’t interested.

10Swings

He did, however, greatly enjoy the spinner attached to the 5-12 playground set.

05Spinner

The 5-12 playground equipment blends traditional equipment with more modern options. There are several slides and rope ladders but also features like large plastic rings stacked on top of each other that can be climbed.

06Slide

03Ropeladder

02RopeBridge

08Ladder

09Climbing

Overall it was a very nice park to visit. Calvin obviously enjoyed it as he’s already asked if we can go back to this park.

Summary:

Features 2-5 playground equipment, 5-12 playground equipment, spinners, slides, bucket swings, regular swings, “tire” swing, a variety of types of ladders, hanging pod link, balancing steps, rope ladders, rope bridge
Surface Material Poured Rubber
Restrooms No
Water fountain No
Shade At this time of year (March) there isn’t much. There might be more when mature trees on surrounding yards leaf out. There’s also smaller trees that are planted in the park that will eventually provide more shade. In addition, there’s a covered picnic area and there is some shading on the playground equipment itself.
Picnic area Yes, one covered picnic area with a picnic table. There’s at least one more picnic table in the field next to the playground.
Parking Convenient street parking
Pros
  • Really nice mix of equipment for older and younger children
  • Fairly large playground that can keep kids interested for quite a while
Cons
  • No restrooms or drinking fountain


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The case of the disappearing kindergartener

This evening began like most our evenings. We ate supper around 6. Calvin did a good job of eating everything he was given and got a piece of candy. After supper he listened to an audio book for a little while until 7 when it was time for bedtime stories. We finished reading an ARC of Nick and Tesla’s Special Effects Spectacular. This continues to be one of Calvin’s favorite series. Then he went off to bed around 7:30.

Yesterday I got a new phone so I spent some of this evening figuring out the best way to transfer info to and from the phone. Around 9 I decided it was time to go to bed. As is my custom, I stopped by Calvin’s room to make sure he was still breathing. This is a habit I haven’t been able to kick ever since he was born.

It was pretty warm today so I had opened Calvin’s window. I didn’t want him to get too cold during the night so I closed the window then turned to the bed to double check the breathing. He wasn’t in bed. I didn’t panic. He has a low loft bed that has kind of a hideaway area underneath. I look in there, he isn’t there either. I look in the closet. I look in the office. I look in our bedroom. I can’t find him.

I call down to Jaeger and he starts looking. I call for Calvin and my calls get progressively louder. We’re fairly certain he must be on the 2nd floor as he hasn’t come down the stairs. I open Calvin’s window again to make sure the screen was intact still (it was). We start looking in other areas of the house. My mom, who is here for Julian’s birth, starts looking. We look in the basement. We look in the garage. Jaeger goes and starts looking on the 2nd floor again. I go outside and start looking. I look in the cars. I look in the linen closet. I look in the washer. I look in the dryer (stacked about the washer). I can’t find him.

I’m starting to panic. How could we possibly lose our son between the living room and his bedroom? Could someone have gotten into our house and taken him away? How would anyone have gotten past three adults on the main level of the house?

We look again on the 2nd floor opening up anything that could potentially hold a kid, however unlikely. I go and look under our bed again. The space under our bed is crowded because we’re storing a lot of stuff for Julian under it. However, I think I might see a toe. I move around to the foot of the bed and look under the bed skirt again. There I find Calvin. He just barely fits under the bed and appears to have had a great adventure playing hide and seek from mommy and daddy.

We tell him not to do it again and send him back to bed.

Pregnancy Update and False Labor

I went to see my Dr last Tuesday at 37 weeks. She examined me and said it looks like Julian is once again head down! So, it sounds like a VBAC is back on the table. She also said I was 4 cm dilated and 60-70% effaced. Based on that, she thought there was a good chance I would go into labor in the next week or two. Of course, I was 5 cm with Calvin at this point and he was induced1. So, who knows. That being said, we decided it was probably best to prepared on the off-chance he showed up this week.

Last time we had decided to hire a doula and and found her to be quite useful supporting Jaeger and I. This time I was on the fence because it was so up-in-the air whether a) I’d make it to full term and b) whether I’d be in a position to attempt a VBAC. However, given things look good, I decided to see if there were any doulas with last-minute openings. The instructor for the Thursday night prenatal yoga class I attend is a doula and seems pretty pragmatic so I first contacted her. She already had a full client base for the month (not surprising) but suggested someone else. We contacted her and she came over and we talked and Jaeger and I signed her up on the spot. Normally, we would have interviewed several doulas but given the possible time constraints, it didn’t seem like a good idea to linger.

Around 12:45pm on Friday afternoon I started feeling a little weird. This is not particularly abnormal because Julian gets very active around 1ish each day. However, before stopping work for the day I made sure everything was in a spot where it would be easy to walk away from for a couple of months.

After work I got my eyebrows waxed and the stylist told me of a show called pregnant in heels which allegedly employs armies of fashion people so woman can look perfect in their right-after-birth photos. Personally, I think you need the exhausted/haggard photo so your child can never claim they were adopted.

I took Calvin to the dentist and learned he’s about to lose his first two baby teeth! As Jaeger notes, this means we’re going to need to develop a tooth fairy policy2.

I got home and noticed that my contractions seemed to have become more pronounced. I told Jaeger that I didn’t want to be paranoid but it wouldn’t hurt for him to come home a bit early to eat just to make sure he got supper. I also didn’t feel like cooking so he brought home takeout from our local Indian restaurant. While I was waiting, I kind of paid more attention to my contractions and decided they might be about 5 min apart.

Jaeger arrived home and we ate. I had the Vegetable Thukpa which was fantastic. Things were still feeling weird so I called Jaeger’s mom and asked if Calvin could spend the night. Things hadn’t quite gotten to the point where I was sure I was in labor but I figured it was better Calvin start out the night at Nana’s house rather than potentially get moved part-way through. She had guests over but said we could drop him off if we ended up at the hospital or she could come pick him up afterwards.

After supper I laid back on the couch and continued to contract. The problem is I can usually tell when they start but have a hard time figuring out when they end so I couldn’t figure out exactly what was happening. I decided to take a shower. Jaeger decided I was sounding serious enough he was going to stage the go bags by the door. Possibly due to excitement, he managed to fall down the stairs and hit the back of his head. I was still in the bathroom and heard a big clunk. I leaned out and asked “what was that?” But big clunks are fairly common in our house with Calvin and he wasn’t crying and Jaeger was around so I decided everything was probably ok3 and went back to drying myself off. Minutes later Jaeger appears and asks where our therapy ice pack was. I told him it in the scary freezer in the garage. He did not approve of this because he has an unnatural fear of our outside freezer (ok, probably not unnatural, it is hard to find things when packed).

Jaeger and I both ended up on the couch. Me with weird pains and him with a huge bump on the back of his head and a ice pack. Jaeger put his arm around me and emulated a contraction monitor. While I have trouble figuring out when they end, he apparently can feel it and doesn’t get as distracted by Julian’s random movements. He determined they were still coming fairly consistently 5 minutes apart and were lasting about a minute. I had a lot of dull aching from my lower back down interspersed with the occasional sharp stab but the contractions themselves didn’t hurt. I didn’t feel any sense of urgency so decided it wasn’t worth calling the doctor’s office until/unless we noticed an increase in contraction frequency/intensity.

It was getting late so Jaeger ferried Calvin over to Nana’s house for the night, just in case. He got back and we stared at each other for a bit not sure what to do next. Eventually I lay down on the couch and dozed off. When I woke up a little bit later, the contractions were gone.

Jaeger and I both stumbled off to bed around 10pm not sure if we were going to get woken up in the middle of the night or not. We didn’t and I had about as restful a night as I usually do these days.

This morning I’m back to only the occasional contraction so it seems like whatever was happening last night is over.

  1. Though I finally found documentation that says I was 50% effaced on his due date/induction day so from a certain perspective, I might currently be ahead.
  2. One of the tenets of our tooth fairy policy is that the tooth fairy doesn’t exist. We’re not entirely sure what the rest will involve yet. And yes, we’ve never pretended Santa Claus is real either. I’m sorry.
  3. Jaeger said he did yell that he’d fallen down the stairs but I missed that

Horizons K-8 School Playground adjacent to Admiral Arleigh A. Burke Park, Boulder, CO

In 2013 the City of Boulder Parks and Planning and Horizons K-8 School partnered with other organization to update the Horizons K-8 school playground which is adjacent to Boulder’s Admiral Arleigh A. Burke Park. The project was completed in September and I was curious to see what had been done. The playground is accessible to the community during non-school hours.

Based on the website it was unclear to me whether the park itself had a playground or only the school grounds. Driving up, it became apparently the park did not have a playground. However, it did have a shelter with a picnic table and some benches.

01Shelter

Thunderbird Lake is within the park and there are walking paths all around it.

02Lake

The park also contains a wood deck which was designed by a University of Colorado class for outdoor classes and meetings. The deck was suppose to be bigger but a pared down design was required in order to finish it by the end of the semester. There were big signs about not allowing skateboarding which the structure really looks ideal for.

03MysteriousStructure

The playground itself is on school property. It has swings, a tire swing, and a tether ball. It also has new playground equipment which appears to use both the PlayBooster and Evos equipment from Landscape Structures. Calvin immediately gravitated to the roller slide. He slide down it once in the traditional style and spent the rest of the time pretending it was a treadmill.

04RollerSlide

I think the Dakota Ridge Park was the first place I’d seen the Evos equipment. It’s very different from the equipment I had growing up with but Calvin loves playing on it and it provides him quite a bit of climbing and strength exercise. I’m now a fan.

05Climbing

06SwiggleBridge

It's hard to tell from a still picture but these circles rotate.

It’s hard to tell from a still picture but these circles rotate.

08OZone

After spending time on the Evos equipment, Calvin transitioned to the more traditional style equipment. He started with the fish net climber.

09NetClimber

The spring bridge was also fun.

10SpringBridge

I’d seen a lot of double slides before but this was the first triple slide I’d seen.

11CloudburstSlide

And finally, he had to climb up the Corkscrew Climber.

12CorkscrewClimber

Also on the playground was a sand area. However, there wasn’t any built-in equipment for it and I hadn’t brought any of our toys so Calvin ignored it.

All-in-all, it was a very nice school playground.

Summary:

Features Swings (no bucket swings), tire swing, tether ball, roller slide, climber, O-Zone climber, Swiggle Stix Bridge, Gyro Twister, Fish Net Climber, Spring Bridge, Triple Slide, Corkscrew Climber, Loop Arch Climber, Covered Slide, Rush Slide
Surface Material Bark Chips
Restrooms No
Water fountain No
Shade No.
Picnic area There’s a covered picnic table but it’s not very close to the playground.
Parking Fairly convenient street parking
Pros
  • Nice new equipment
  • Lots of climbing options
Cons
  • Playground not available during school hours
  • No restrooms


View Random Parks and Playgrounds in a larger map

Playground at Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland

The absolute best playground we visited in Scotland was on day two at the Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh. The playground is located on the far western side of the park. The park map we saw neglected to mention there was a playground and we trudged the entire length of the park, Calvin complaining the entire time, on faith having heard a rumor there was suppose to be a playground somewhere.

I was very relieved when we found the park to see it was worth the trek. The park is spectacular. The main playground equipment is setup like a play castle.

04CastlePlayground

It has all the normal playground features such as slides, monkey rings, rope bridges, etc.

03CastleSlide

06MonkeyBars

08RopeBridge

There’s also a climbing wall so you can storm the castle.

07ClimbingWall

The playground also had a wide variety of spinners ranging from single-person spinners to a giant rope climbing apparatus that also spun.

12Spinnerwithoutsun

09IndividualSpinner

02spinner

There’s also a little kids area and the obligatory themed spring rider.

11LittleKidArea

05SpringRider

And, of course, a log swing that looks like it could be used to ram open (fragile) castle gates.

01logswing

If you’re looking at the park facing south, you can see the play castle overshadowed by the real Edinburgh Castle. (The sun was not kind to my pictures.)

10SpinnerAndCastle

Summary:

Features
Surface Material Mostly poured rubber
Restrooms Yes, relatively close, it appears you usually have to pay but we didn’t the day we were there
Water fountain Can’t remember
Shade Reasonable amount of shade
Picnic area Can’t remember but the park itself has a ton of benches.
Parking No
Pros
  • Nice playground equipment
  • Very scenic backdrops
Cons
  • A bit tricky to find if you don’t know where it is.

Playground at Highland Folk Museum, Scotland

I’ve been meaning to post pictures of the Scottish playgrounds we visited but kept procrastinating. While Scotland isn’t quite as overflowing with playgrounds as Hong Kong is, we visit several nice ones. On our seventh day in Scotland we visited the Highland Folk Museum. We arrived toward the end of the day so didn’t have nearly enough time to wander around. However, right within the entrance is a pretty nice playground area for kids.

Among other things, they have the best tire swing I have ever seen. It’s huge.

01TireSwing

The main playground area had a rustic feel to it.

05springrider

However, they had several more modern pieces of playground equipment also. I’m pretty sure one of our Boulder parks has this one:

03modernplay

They also had a fantastic spinner. I think it would have been even better with more people on it.

02spinner

There was also a single-person spinner and a wobbly balance beam to walk on.

04singlespinner

Away from the main playground area there’s also a digger, fairly close to their sawmill building.

06Digger

Summary:

Features Modern age 5-12 playground equipment, log-house style playground equipment, wooder spring rider, amazing tire swing, large spinner, individual spinner, wobbly balance beam
Surface Material Mostly bark chips
Restrooms Yes, relatively close
Water fountain Can’t remember
Shade The more modern playground is shaded by the trees but the wood-based playground elements don’t appear to get shade.
Picnic area Can’t remember.
Parking Parking for the museum
Pros
  • Best Tire Swing Ever
  • Nice variety of equipment
Cons
  • N/A