Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sweet Morning

While Wednesday's are a "home" day for me, I normally have a conference call at 11:30 that ends up dictating the schedule for our morning. It just adds a bit of stress knowing that I need to be home, focused, and have Owen well occupied (Sesame Street!) right at the time that he's getting hungry for lunch. But today... meeting cancelled - hooray!

I've been trying to use our Wednesday mornings as a time for Owen and I to spend doing crafts and games at home. Hoping to get him accustomed to spending more time at home instead of out at the park, pool, playgroup, market, etc when baby shows up and we dive into winter. Today, we did the opposite and set out on a morning of little errands. It ended up being such a sweet time for the two of us to just putter around town. We didn't have any time deadlines, so we took our time and I got to really listen and engage Owen's questions along the way.

Sure, by naptime, I was reaching my "toddler threshold" and felt the aggitated voice take over trying to get Owen up the stairs, but Owen kept me in check. "Mommy, we are angry." "I'm sorry bud, I'm not mad, I'm just need a little cooperation." "Okay, mommy you are not mad." And then I got some sweet snuggle time before nap.

I've been lucky to have quite a few of these sweet moments lately and I'm trying to slow down and absorb as much of Owen as I can. Trying to embrace and cherish these last few weeks when I CAN give him my full attention and learn more and more about him along the way. It's as though I'm getting enhanced chances to see the joys of parenting and loving a little person, so that I have some "reserves" to get me through the challenge of another newborn.

Six weeks and counting.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Seattle Funnies

Owen pulled Scott up onto this bench outside Grandma's house and declared, "I want sit and watch world go by." And he did, for a good 15 minutes, just watching the activity on the street. Where does he get this stuff.

After most meals, Owen has a strange habit of wanting to physically run from one end of the house to the other. Maybe it's the need to burn the energy built up after sitting for a whole 8 minutes? At my parent's house, he ran laps, but at Jeff & Ethel's he had Tika as a partner for the wind sprints between the kitchen and TV room. "Run Tika! Run Tika! Chase Me! Tika Run!"

Owen quickly developed a great affinity for Amy's son, Sam - probably because he's such a big kid (6 months older). Sam loved showing off his favorite park, but also had some classic toddler reactions when playing with this new kid and found himself sitting in time out a couple times early in the morning. Amy was wonderfully consistent in her reactions, and we moved on with our morning - Owen following Sam's lead at every step of the way. And since that morning, Owen has told me at least once/day, "I want have a time out." Hmm...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Classic Toys

While in Seattle, Owen had an endless supply of classic toys to play with. His favorites were the Playmobile figures (aka 1980's chocking hazard toys) that both grandmas has pulled out of the closets. Owen is starting to role play with his toys – love it! – and we got a kick out of the Playmobile accessories: gas masks and sickles along side the cowboy hats and police cars. Seriously, sickles?

Owen also got to experience the more progressive toys that now inhabit places like the Woodland Park Zoo -look what's hatching!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Seattle Summary

We had a wonderful week in Seattle. Owen had really hyped this trip up in his mind, and we were thrilled that our home city didn't disappoint. Constant attention from friends and family was thrilling for Owen and allowed us to get some quality time with people we have been away from for far too long.

Owen also traveled and slept wonderfully (on sleeping bags and mattresses on the floor), so we are really glad we took advantage of this time to travel before baby #2 makes his arrival in 8 weeks. Here are some of our favorite pics from our visit.

Tailgating at the UW
Owen loved playing corn hole, watching the band, and generally being showered with attention as the only "little guy" in the parking lot. We loved spending time with the guys, wearing our purple, and cheering the Huskies to their first win in way too long. (...and that second win over USC last weekend had all 3 of us jumping up and down in our living room. Whoohoo!)

Impromptu Family Reunion
I have no photos, but we had probably 30+ members of my dad's family gathered on Memorial Day. Wonderful hang out and catch-up time, plus a chance to meet all my cousins' kids that I've only seen in pictures for the last few years. Quite the bunch.

Hanging with Ryan, Sara, and Calla
Owen and Calla already have a special bond and watching them together was a clear highlight of our trip.

We also got to spend a full day as "city people" again - complete with morning coffee, a tour of the zoo, and wandering Phinney Ridge to reach the nearby park. Oh, to be walking distance to... well... anything. And walking distance to Ryan and Sara would be a dream come true. How can we get them to move to Bend?

Scott's Mom joined us for a morning at the aquarium and then took Owen for the afternoon so we could meet friends for lunch. Just one of many babysitting favors throughout the week. She also watched Owen that evening, so Scott and I could go out for dinner downtown and see Wicked at the Paramount (with tickets provided by Jeff & Ethel). A wonderfully exhausting day.

Amy Time!
Owen and I had a morning playdate with Amy and Sam a girls' night catching up with Liz. Amy has pics of the two of us in our "about to give birth" bellies. I can't believe we will soon have 4 little boys between the two of us. Not surprising that Sam and Owen have similar temperments and interests. Edmonds Beach Park was a hit - boats, forklifts, sandbox, playground, beach, water, dog park - toddler bliss! and a nice walk/chat time for best friend mommies that live too far apart.

Drums, Drums, Drums
Owen showed off his rhythm over and over again at Nana and Papa's. The best part about him playing drums with the "Rusted Rock" band, is that the drums don't come home with us!
Time with the Guys
We got to see all Scott's old friends on numerous occasions - tailgates, dinners, hang out, and Devin's Wedding in Gig Harbor. It was some quality guy time that Scott has missed in the last year and these are the guys that surrounded us back in college when we are dating, so it's just so comfortable to be spending time together. Devin's wedding was a great end to our visit and the point where our camera batteries totally bit the dust.
Our trip, of course, produced a zillion other pics and funny moments that I'll try to add soon... We love Seattle. And we love being home again. =)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Yea Seattle!

We are in the midst of a true Seattle Vacation. (Photos to come later.) We haven't been "home" for this long since we moved to Bend and we are making the most of it. We are seeing friends and family, but setting our own schedule and playing tourist along the way.

Highlights so far:
- A surprise visit to the Husky tailgate on Saturday.
- Watching our Dawgs play tough against LSU (on TV), seeing the new coaches getting fired up on the sideline, and feeling the Husky pride returning to Seattle.
- Enjoying a quiet (rainy!) day up at Lake Ki and catching up with Carole and Jason.
- An mini reunion with my Dad's family that ended up not so mini; getting to see all my cousins' kids (many for the first time) run around.
- An impromptu dinner with Jeff, Ethel, Conrad & Glenna.
- Today's trip to the zoo with Sara and Cousin Calla.
- Owen and Calla playing together and giggling, giggling, giggling.
- Time to drive, walk, and wander through Phinney/Greenwood - our old neighborhood.
- A much smoother than expected drive up and Owen literally clapping and yelling with joy as we drove across the bridge and into the City... "Yea Seattle! Tunnel! 'nother Tunnel! Yea Bridge! I see lots Space Needles. Bus! 'nother Bus! 'nother Bus! That man wearing purple! Yea Seattle!" Our sentiments exactly.

We have more fun plans to visit the waterfront, see Wicked at the Paramount, compare pregnant bellies with Amy, watch a live game in Husky Stadium (Go Dawgs!), and attend a baby shower and wedding. Not bad for 10 days, huh?

Friday, September 04, 2009

Family Music Night

Every parenting book should be required to post a notice on the first page (and at the start of every chapter thereafter) that states:
"What matters most is that you find the system that you can believe in as a parent, works for your child, and is in the best interest of your family. These are just our ideas and suggestions to help you get there."

It's so obvious when you read it, but as a new parent, I think we all wish that someone would just tell us the magic formula. The truth is, there IS a magic formula, it's just a different recipe for every family, every parent, and every child. Remind me of that in 6 months when I'm pulling my hair out with a newborn, a toddler, and the thought of returning to work...

When Owen was in his worst newborn days, spewing during the day, and crying most of the evenings, we developed a little routine that quickly became habit, and eventually lingers as one of my strongest memories from those early months. Each night, I'd put Owen in my sling, Scott would pull out the guitar, and we would have a little family music night to kill the 30 minutes before bedtime. It was pure desperation - rhythm and dancing to calm a cranky baby, music to distract his frazzled parents, and motion (playing or dancing) to make Scott and I feel like we were doing SOMETHING to make things better. Guess which book gave us that idea? NONE OF THEM. But it's what worked for us...

On Thursday night, Owen was having one of THOSE evenings. A long week at school, an extra day with a babysitter, a birthday party playgroup where he only got one cupcake, and he was DONE. The distraction of picking tomatoes didn't do the trick, so we fed him cereal for dinner and then Scott pulled out the guitar. It wasn't some planned strategy - nobody said, "Hey, try the guitar!" - it's just what we gravitated toward in those moments between dinner and bedtime. Owen used the couch (and me) as a jungle gym, while Scott provided the much needed music and rhythm to round out a long week.

And as I rubbed Owen's back in bed that night, I shook my head in wonder that the little strategy we started out of shear desperation two years ago still has a place... for all of us. That's what works for our family.