Great Google-y news!

Back in August of last year, I wrote an entry about Google and the company’s awesome benefits. At the time, my husband had been idly day-dreaming about working for Google, and we both oooh’d and aaah’d over the company’s larger than life perks.

Seven months later, I’m ecstatic to report that his day-dream wasn’t as far off as we thought it might be. The company Jody works for was officially acquired by Google this week! :)

The office is staying in the same location here in Colorado so we don’t have to worry about packing up and moving across the country (yay!).

While Jody won’t be getting quite the lengthy list of benefits and perks that Google’s California employees receive, he/we will still be making out very well. Some of the perks we’re excited about are better health, dental and vision insurance coverage for less money; free catered lunches to all employees Monday through Friday (no more worrying about packing leftovers!); more vacation time (nice!); tuition reimbursement (Jody wants to go back to school at some point); paid paternity leave (we plan to have at least one more child); a $500 take-out meal allowance after the birth of a new baby (woot!); low-cost massages for employees (Jody’s excited about that – wonder if they’d do it for spouses as well); and more. :-)

This looks like it will be a great change for both Jody’s company and for our family. We’re excited about what lies ahead. :)

Fresh, yummy (organic) fruits and veggies

After hearing great things about Door to Door Organics, I finally took the plunge and signed up for the service a few days ago.

We got our first box of organic fruits and veggies today and everything looked (and so far has tasted) delicious. :)

I decided to try out the “small” box (which is $30) on a bi-weekly basis (at first) to see how we like it. If we end up going through all of the food in one week, then I will probably change it to a weekly subscription.

Here is a pic of our loot. (We were missing 4 oranges, however, which will be delivered in our next box.)

Ava enjoyed going through all of it with me and I think it could be helpful to teach her colors and about various fruits and veggies since the menu varies with the growing seasons.

Trying an apple:

Inspecting the strawberries (which she ate w/ her breakfast):

One nice thing about Door to Door is that the produce comes locally from farmers within the surrounding states.

Another nice thing about it is that they allow you to make up to three substitutions on the menu per week. So if you don’t like butternut squash, you can substitute something else in it’s place.

It might be a little more expensive (than going to the grocery store and buying them yourself) since they are delivering it right to your door, but the convenience is, admittedly, very nice. I am assured of having a variety of fresh fruits and veggies at my door every other week (or every week) if I so choose. Plus once I factor in the time and gas spent to get me to the grocery store, I think it nearly evens out.

Other than the missing 4 oranges (which we will get eventually), so far so good. I’m really happy with it and I think it will be a great thing for us. :)

A slew of baby disco pictures

We went to the “Baby Loves Disco” party this afternoon and had a good time. Ava wasn’t as enthused about dancing among the masses as we thought she would be (it was a little overwhelming), but she still enjoyed herself.

Her favorite activity (only barely beating out playing with balloons) was going up and down the couple sets of stairs between levels. At one point during her stair stepping escapades, she got out of Jody’s view. He chased after her, but got stuck behind some slow-moving toddlers and parents and she disappeared around a corner. Neither of us could find her for about three minutes. That might not seem like a long time, but that’s the first time she’s ever been “lost” like that and those three minutes felt like an eternity. What a scary feeling! I was glad she was wearing that bright green dress (which was my sister’s when she was little), because I was able to spot her without too much trouble on the dance floor. She was unharmed and had even managed to find a ball to play with in those three minutes. It took me a minute to recover from losing her – my eyes welled up with tears as I hugged her tightly afterwards. That was more than enough excitement for me.

We took several pictures (there are even some with me in them if you can believe it! I asked Jody to take the camera and have at it). I tried to do several without the flash and the ISO bumped way up, but, as dark as it was, there was no way I could get a fast enough shutter speed to avoid motion blur. So I had to settle for using my flash. My new outlook on using my flash is – better to preserve the memory and use the flash (and settle for the unnatural lighting, horrible shadows and dots in eyes, red eyes, etc.), than not to use the flash and have a picture that sucks.

Without further ado, here are more disco pictures than you could ever want. ;) (Click on them to see them larger.)

The dance party as seen from the balcony (the only pic I’m posting where I didn’t use the flash):

Dancing with daddy:

On the dancefloor, taking it all in:

Starting to get into it:

Looking out over the balcony:

Climbing on the chairs in the balcony:

Doing a little dancing:

Cheesing it up with mommy. (Jody says I look manic in this pic…nice.):

Watching all the dancers:

Being escorted down the stairs by daddy:

Oooh, a balloon:

Watching daddy get another balloon:

So pretty:

Oooh, and there it goes!:

Positive discipline to the rescue!

On Wednesday, our local Attachment Parenting group had its monthly meeting. This month’s topic was “Child Development and Discipline from Birth to Age Five,” with speaker Patience Bleskan, the founder of Parents and Children Empowered.

Patience’s talk was wonderful. She hit on several points that I’ve heard before, but it was a great reminder for me to hear them again, especially since Ava’s at an age now where she is testing her boundaries, etc.

Here’s a bit from Patience’s autobiography which helps explain her view on discipline:

“Through her past and continued work with families including her own, she continues to see the negative results of parents misunderstanding their child’s behavior. In general parents focus on the behaviors they see their children doing, with no attempt to understand why the child is acting a certain why. Patience firmly believes children have a legitimate reason for everything they do. But because they have few skills to express their thinking, their actions often leave us wondering. As a parent it is our job to find out the reasons behind what our children do so we can help them find better ways to be in the world.

If a child is misbehaving, and you only see the bad behavior, all you can do is punish. But if your child is misbehaving and you see the thinking and motivation behind the behavior, you have found an opportunity to teach.”

Her talk began with explaining child development at different ages. That was really interesting to learn when they can comprehend different things.

She explained the importance of first validating why your child is doing a specific behaviour. Say, for example, Ava is standing on her rocking chair (something she really likes to do). I could say to her, “I know you like to stand on your rocking chair. It’s really fun for you and you get to be tall!” Then go on to explain why this behaviour is something you don’t approve of. “Mommy gets scared when you stand on your rocking chair because you could fall down and get hurt.” I could then demonstrate a doll standing on the chair, rocking, and falling off, emphasizing that the doll gets hurt when she falls. And then explain what the proper behaviour is. “Rocking chairs are for sitting.” Etc.

My first reaction was, wow, that sounds like a lot of work. But Jody (who was able to sneak out of work to attend the meeting as well) and I have already started implementing these changes in how we address her, and once you start doing it, it’s really easy to get into the habit. And Ava really seems to be responding to what we say.

This doesn’t mean she’s going to be a perfectly behaved child, but hopefully we can use things like standing on a rocking chair or throwing a block, as opportunities to teach rather than just getting upset and frustrated that she’s not behaving the way that we want (which I know is so easy to do).

Patience also talked about giving your child choices (a la Love and Logic style), so they feel like they have some control over their lives.

She also mentioned that you don’t have to make your words simple for your child. Words are words are words are words. If you use larger words with them, they will quickly learn what they mean. I thought that was really cool because we don’t really use smaller words with Ava and it’s good to know that she can still learn and understand what we mean.

She talked a lot about positive reinforcement and how it’s been proven to be much more effective than punishment. Here are a couple articles on the subject: Why Positive Reinforcement Works and Positive Reinforcement vs. Punishment.

I know there are other things she mentioned (like effective ways to get your child to take turns and how to wean your toddler), but that’s all the time I have to write right now.

All-in-all, it was a very productive and beneficial meeting and I’m glad Patience was able to come. I know I had been feeling a bit frustrated lately about how to respond when Ava does this, that or the other thing, and I feel like I came away from the meeting with several useful tools to help me in my parenting journey. I am actually thinking about making myself some notecards to put up around the house with various reminders about how I want to respond in certain situations, because I know how easy it is to just react without thinking. I think that would be handy for both me and Jody.

Just came across this tidbit (on what looks to be a really good site on the topic of positive discipline), which I think sums it all up perfectly.:

Remember: the goal of discipline is not to control children and make them obey but to give them skills for making decisions, gradually gaining self-control, and being responsible for their own behavior.

There’s no time like the present

I’ve been a horrible blogger this week. Not because I haven’t wanted to blog, but I just haven’t had the time. I have a feeling my entries are going to be more sparse as I continue on with my photography business. So, it’s a good thing for me, but I do enjoy blogging and plan to continue it, perhaps just not every day. (And I’m sorry that I haven’t been commenting on my fave blogs lately either. Forgive me?)

Anyway, I’m tired (*yawn*) and wouldn’t mind sleeping in, but I’m awake so I figured I might as well get on here for a little update before the lil miss wakes up.

Maybe I’ll just go start another entry since I have a specific topic I’d like to write about.

Disco baby :)

We’ve decided to join some friends on Saturday for Baby Loves Disco – “an afternoon dance party featuring real music spun and mixed by real djs blending classic disco tunes From the 70s, & 80s guaranteed to get those little booties moving and grooving.”

I admit that this seems a little out there (i.e. too gimmicky) to be something of interest to me. In fact, when I first heard about it, I had no intentions of going. But then our AP group decided to make an event out of it, and, the more I learned, the more fun it sounded.

I think Ava is going to love it. She loves music, kids and dancing so it should be a hit. :) I just wonder how to dress her for a disco party. ;) LOL

Here’s a bit more about it:
“The fun spills out from all corners of the club: bubble machines, baskets of instruments, a chill-out room (with tents, books and puzzles), diaper changing stations, a full spread of healthy snacks (provided by Whole Foods) and dancing, LOTS of dancing. But at it’s core, Baby loves disco is a community event that brings kids together with kids and parents together with parents.”

I’ll be sure to take some groovy pictures of my dancing queen for sharing. :)