Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween in Pictures

Here are the Halloween pics! This was the first year Owen understood the concept well enough to get excited. He's been trying on his costume since we got back from Mexico. For Josh, we were lucky enough to borrow our favorite fish costume again.

With Halloween on a Sunday, we had a whole weekend to celebrate. Scott's family was in town for a birthday/Halloween combo weekend. Saturday, we celebrated Josh and Kate's birthdays and then hit up the "Trunk or Treat" carnival at Church. On Sunday, we joined our playgroup friends for a potluck followed by got to join our playgroup friends for the massive preschooler party followed by trick-or-treating IN MASS (as in 12 preschoolers + siblings!) through the NWX neighborhood. We came home, and Owen toured the cul-de-sac and then helped hand out candy to the big kids. I think his favorite part was trying to scare the kids that came to our door.

The Mexican Wrestler - "Nacho Libre" - or maybe "El Gringo Flaco" (The skinny gringo) would be a better title.

Fish JoshSwimming upstream?

Owen's favorite part of being a Mexican Wrestler was getting to shed his shirt. Thankfully, we convinced him that wrestlers wear sweats when they go outside!
Josh only hit the door of a few houses - can't wait until next year when the boys can go to the doors together!
Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

365 Days of Baby J

365 days ago, we were snuggling an unnamed baby in the hospital and on Monday, that little baby turned ONE!

True to form, Josh celebrated his birthday with a sick day. That's 4 months in a row that he's been sick enough to call the doctor on the 24th or 25th of the month - strange! Our chats with the doctor deserve their own post, but for now, we'd like to celebrate 365 days with this tiny bundle of happiness.

Josh is a joyous little guy. He's such a blessing to our family. Josh is quick to laugh and is starting to exhibit his own little forms of humor. He thinks it's hilarious to give you a coy smile and then take off crawling in the other direction. He has a "happy dance" involving vigorous shakes of the head and hands and an inhaling squeal/honk that sends us all into giggles.

Josh is cruising furniture and starting to climb into boxes, up the stairs, over obstacles. He also likes to roll and chase balls down the hallway. But his true love continues to be stick shaped objects - spatulas, spoons, maracas, drumsticks.

Eating is still a challenge - I'm hard pressed to select some favorite foods, but Josh will eat repeated bites of crackers, canned peaches, and yogurt. He is still nursing pretty regularly, including once or twice at night and early morning, but if he has a full belly, he'll sleep in until 7AM, which seems like a treat (you know you're a parent when...)

Josh has fully entered "destructor mode" - tearing apart anything he can get his hands on... and there's not much he can't get his hands on these days. The pantry, the toilet paper, Owen's toys, folded clothes, our shoe/jacket bins, bookshelves, the dog food, and the cat litter box (ew, ew, ew) have all been targets of his joyful wrath in the last two weeks.

It has not been an easy year, but one in which every challenge and milestone has been 100% worth it to get us to this point. It is sooooo true that when parenting, the days are long, but the years are short. I can't really remember what our family FELT like without Josh - how did we fill those spaces that are so obviously intended for him? How will his personality evolve, enrich, challenge, and entertain our family? Only time will tell. Our old pastor in Seattle used to remind parents that our children are not ours to posses - God is just loaning them to us and entrusting us to raise them. It's an awesome responsibility, and we are privileged to have been selected to shepherd Josh and have a front row seat in watching the person he is growing into.

Here's the past year in monthly photos. Happy FIRST Birthday Joshua Todd!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Always Learning

I am constantly amazed at how kids are just sponges for learning. Not only do they soak up information, but they are constantly learning new skills and navigating new sights and situations. It's understandable that Josh was wide-eyed in observation during a recent trip to Costco, but even Owen tried new foods, asked questions about uncommon products, and learned about the awesomeness of the "sample ladies." It's not surprising kids need so much sleep - all that new is exhausting.

So what have we been learning lately?

Owen - We can safely say that Owen has mastered the physical and mental skills required for potty training. Yes! Solving puzzles with this awesome Castle Logix set. Counting down - 3-2-1 Blast off! My friend Jen has started monthly "Environmental Ed" sessions for our Friday morning group. Last week the kids loved learning all about birds - what makes a bird a bird, which birds can fly, bird hunt walk complete with craft binoculars, etc. We're also trying to hit church more regularly, and Owen's a sponge for Miss Michelle's stories.

Josh - my friend Shannon says that child development works in a spiral - rotating between gross motor, fine motor, cognitive, and verbal, all the while advancing upward. Well, Josh is clearly in the gross motor quadrant these days! He's learning how to tear apart the house - unrolling toilet paper, emptying the pantry, pulling books off shelves, throwing my phone in the toilet. He's constantly trying to climb our stairs and can now get all the way up... but not down. Yikes! He's also rolling and chasing balls down the hallway. Tonight, Josh "learned" to eat fish sticks and tater tots (no, not the most healthy, but we were thrilled that he actually ate something besides crackers and yogurt).

Scott - Scott's finishing up three days of work training in Portland. Last weekend, he learned just how tough it is to participate in Bend's Big Fat Tour - nearly 80 miles on a mountain bike, 5,000 feet of climbing, 7,000 descending, over 9 hours on the bike... in one day!

Myself - Still "learning" my way toward a 1/2 marathon at the end of November. I've also been attempting to learn something more about raising boys - good idea, huh!? I was just getting ready to dive into Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys. The, almost simultaneously, Sarah loaned me Boys Adrift, we received an advance copy of Brain Rules for Baby (thanks Peg!), and our daycare asked all parents to read The Power of Play. Yikes! I'm so excited to dive into all of them. Where to start?

Coming up: swim lessons for both boys start on Friday.

What are you learning these days?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Seattle Pics

My mom sent us a few pics from the boys' week in Seattle. It was a fun way to get a glimpse of their activities while we were away.
Making cheesecake in preparation for a tea party.
Enjoying the tea party with Nancy and Deanna - the boys were spoiled with two "bonus Nanas" for the afternoon.
Hey look - Uncle Todd is holding a baby!
I guess when you're focusing hard on building legos, you can't be bothered to put on clothes.
Pretty obvious that Josh was starting to do downhill. It's been a lot of years since Nana and Papa have had to deal with a sicky baby...
...but Nana still had some tricks up her sleeve to get a smile on his face!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Unexpected Goodbye

We lost our first pet last week. Scott got up for work on Friday and heard Pippin whining outside. He was stuck at the bottom of the stairs, paralyzed from the waist down. Scott took him to the Emergency Vet and had to hear the sad news that Pippin had suffered a blood clot (apparently not that uncommon) and there was no alternative than to say goodbye. It's horrible to lose a pet, but it's easier knowing that it was just Pippin's time. We didn't have any decisions to make.

Pippin was 8 1/2 years old. We got him from one of my co-workers when he was just a kitten. He was an energetic, active kitten - climbing all over our basement, chasing toys, exploring the neighborhood, and the like. Sometime after we got Hudson, he decided to exchange his active lifestyle for one of sloth and laziness. There wasn't a soft spot that Pippin wouldn't sleep in and he could endure all levels of pestering without moving from his perch. He was a fixture at the foot of our bed and never missed a meal.

I would imagine that Pippin's heaven includes lots of comfortable pillows, warm laps, and no children. I don't think he ever forgave us for bringing home a baby. He pretty much made himself scarce whenever we had kids around, and he started peeing on our walls after Owen was born. Gross! We won't miss the extra cleaning, but I do miss the soft, floppy heater at the foot of our bed.

We don't have any recent pictures of Pippin (on account of him generally avoiding the kids), but here are a few from when he first joined our family.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Kids on Vacation

Being away from the boys for a whole week is a long time. Even more, it was a long time for the boys to be without mom and dad. Thankfully, both sets of grandparents know our children intimately well. No worries about their care. Early in our planning, Scott also figured out that the kids would probably do better having their own vacation while we were gone - so they spent the week in Seattle with some of their favorite people and a whole host activities planned to keep them occupied.

During their stay, Ethel started a little journal for Owen to keep track of all the excitement. It gave us a great cheat sheet into their days and a list of things to ask Owen about when we got home. (We also noted that we should have written "Josh was here, too" down the side of the page - that pretty much sums up the life of a second child!) Some of the highlights:

Saturday - Husky Tailgate and then Mom & Dad left for Mexico

Sunday - Mariners' Game with Grandpa (nice work Jeff!) and ate Dippin' Dots

Monday - Visited the beach with Cousin Calla and Auntie Sara; Rode bikes with Aunt Kate

Tuesday - Made a blanket with Grandma, Went up in the Space Needle!

Wednesday - Made scones with Aunt Kate; Transition to Nana/Papa's; played Nana's drums

Thursday - Playing at Nana and Papa's

Friday - Went to the park; Visit from Nancy & Deanna; made mousse with Nana; found Uncle Todd's old legos

Saturday - Met Uncle Todd for lunch, watched soccer, and then lots of lego building (This was also the day that Josh started getting really sick - Nana had a horribly sleepless night fighting his fever. Two calls to the doctor got him on the right medicines, but it was not a great way to end the week.)

Sunday - Lots of playing at Nana's house while Nana and Papa fought Josh's fever - pool, boxing, foosball, gymnastics, and a "swimsuit shower"

Monday - Mom and Dad home from Mexico; Drove back to Bend - nothing like a 7 hour drive fighting a 102 degree fever to bring you back to parenting reality!

Overall, the kids CLEARLY had a much more busy week than we did. What a treat!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Walks out; Hikes in

After 3 years of weekly walks with kids in packs or strollers, our Friday moms group has reached a significant milestone... the mom walks are over. Oh, don't worry, our group is still meeting, but we've come to the point that the kids won't sit in the strollers any more, so we have a new strategy. Our Friday walks are now "hikes" at a 3-year old pace.
We had our first hike last Friday. Only 3 of us moms made it, but the 3 kiddos Owen's age hiked 2.5 miles with not a complaint to be heard. What we did hear was lots of laughter, joy, and excitement over all the wonderous beauty we found around Todd Lake - sunlight through the trees, mountain views, serene water, thousands of baby frogs, and dozens of little bridges to carry us across the mucky areas.

It was also Josh's first time in the hiking backpack - kind of a tragedy that he got all the way to 11 months and through a whole summer without riding through the woods, but we have lots of autumn left to make up for lost time. Bring on the hikes!

Monday, October 04, 2010

More Baby J

Oh yes, Peg's comment on my last post reminded me of a few other things that I want to remember about Josh at 11 months.

Josh is GENERALLY a very happy baby. People comment about it all the time. He has ZERO stranger anxiety and will usually rally to be super happy when we're in new settings. When we're out and about, he gets to hang out in his favorite place (on a hip!), observe the world, and charm people with his sweet smile. At home, he's quick to express his displeasure - probably because I'm quick to set him down and turn my attention to something else!

Scott says Josh definitely has a "mommy-preference," but I see the way Josh's eyes light up when he hears dad's voice after work and the way he giggles like crazy when they wrestle or play guitar after dinner.

Josh slept through the night for the first time over the weekend. And he did it twice! Not a pattern, but certainly a hope for the future.

I made a (possibly half hearted) attempt to wean Josh before our vacation, but failed miserably. Josh has never taken kindly to the bottle (they just use a sippy cup at school), but he did fine with formula while we were gone. Now Josh nurses about 4 times a day, and we also give him a sippy cup with formula (extra calories!) at meals. I'm thankful that we perservered through MANY nursing issues last winter and that my pump got me through a week in Mexico, so that Josh can nurse through the first year and then wean when he and I are ready.*

We don't know what Josh weighs... and I don't care. He's somewhere between 16 and 18 pounds. He still wears 6 month sizes. He probably won't be on the growth chart at his 1 year check up. But he's happy and he's meeting other developmental milestones, so we're not concerned. Yes, we still try to feed him high calorie foods, but our strategy wouldn't be any different if we knew he was in the 5th, 3rd, or -5th percentile, so what's the point in watching the scale?

*A news report last week showed that Oregon has the highest breastfeeding rates of any state in the nation. 60% of a babies nursing at 6 months and 40% still breastfeeding at 1 year. Both are higher than the CDC goals of 50% at 6 months and 25% at a year. Whoohoo!

11 Months and counting

While we we enjoying our week away, Josh passed the 11 month mark. The last month has (AGAIN) been a month of change for Baby J. And for the 3rd month in a row, Josh's month milestone coincided with a nasty illness. (Not a fun way to finish his days with Nana and Papa.) Thankfully, he's healthy and happy now. Here's a quick look at the last month.

In September, Josh went from angry, frustrated army crawler... confident crawler and sneaky wall walker...

This new movement has opened a new world for Josh. He has started finding all sorts of new nooks and crannies in our house. He seems to really be embracing his new independence... unless mom is in the room. If I'm in eyesight, Josh wants to be on my hip or is using my legs to pull himself into the action. I'm now cooking while wiggling my legs away from his gripping hands and if Josh isn't on my hip, this is the view at my feet...

Josh still loves balls, watching the animals, giggling with Owen, testing new sounds with his voice

He's also found a new love this month... mallets! Anything hammer or stick shaped quickly becomes a prized possession. He spent a whole week carrying around a kitchen spatula and loves holding spoons, banging drumsticks, etc. Josh has even mastered the art of crawling while carrying a tubular object, as he's demonstrating with his new Mexican maraca shakers.

It looks like we are still a ways away from some of the other milestones like walking, forming real words, signing, and, of course, a haircut. But Josh does have four teeth and has transitioned fully to table foods.

The 11 month milestone also means we are just weeks away from a first birthday. We can't wait to celebrate our first year with Baby J!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Oh-oh Mexico!

We celebrated our TENTH anniversary with a kidfree week in Zihuatenejo Mexico. The blog has certainly suffered during the lead-up and aftermath of our trip, but I wanted to get our pictures our pictures posted.

Open air resort.
Ropes course and zip line tour.
Watching the fishing boats each morning.
Swim-up bar.
Ordering lunch from the beach.
Sleeping all.night.long.
Sleeping in every single morning.
Walking around the bay to Playa Las Gatas and enjoying drinks and lunch in an idyllic setting.
Seeing baby sea turtles right prior to their release into the ocean (Scott even held one!).
Walking barefoot down the beach to find breakfast and dinner.
Meeting some new and entertaining friends.
Time to talk, reflect, read, and dream.
Sleeping to the rhythm of the ocean.

Absolutely no schedule, no decisions, and no demands. We got up when we wanted to, had coffee on the patio, walked down the beach for breakfast when the mood struck us, and then made the excruciating decision: sit on the beach or sit by the pool? We also had to decide where to eat dinner each night, but even that got taken care of a few times, as we made friends with some other vacationers and just tagged along with their dinner plans. =)

Our luggage arriving in Mexico 48 hours after we did.
Offseason vacation in the rainy season = 2 days of downpour!
Dozens and dozens of mosquito bites.
MAJOR construction in the resort next to ours (but we were able to move to a quieter room with an AMAZING view on day 3).
Another highlight is that traveling with just the two of use meant that none of the lowlights put even one smidgen of a damper on our trip. No luggage, loud noise, and mosquitoes just aren't that big of a deal without the kids around.

Overall, it was EXACTLY the vacation we needed. We are so grateful to both sets of grandparents for watching the boys, including dealing with Josh's sleepless nights, reluctance to take a bottle, and a nasty fever. Both grandmas also graciously accepted my barrage of emails with information and last minute instructions in the weeks before we left. We didn't feel sad missing the boys until we touched back down at Seatac, and that's a wonderful gift to be able to confidently get away and find some rejuvenating joy, strength, and rest for what lies ahead in the next ten years!

First room with view of the construction:View from our second room and our morning coffee spot:
The private beach for the resort:
Lunch delivered to our chairs on the beach:


The walk into town:
Breakfast on the beach:

Zip line/ropes course tour:

Baby Sea Turtles that hatch at the resort: