Friday, March 6, 2009

Watch us grow!

We are growing!

I am now 35 weeks pregnant, with only a few more weeks to wait for the arrival of Shireling #2.  I am having a pretty good pregnancy as long as I pace myself.  When I try to do my usual 16 hour days, I end up feeling pretty much miserable by the time I go to bed.

My blood pressure is still really good - 108/68 yesterday.  But I am getting pretty puffy.  My fingers are a couple ring sizes larger than they were two weeks ago, so my wedding ring is in a dish on the counter and a much larger Celtic band is in it's place on my ring finger when I'm out and about.  And since this baby has dropped already, I am facing less heartburn - but much more hip discomfort.

I am content to live with all these discomforts for then next few weeks, knowing that life won't be easier then than they are now.  I am trying to enjoy every moment of Donny being the only in the family.  He keeps us smiling all day long!

So, lots of requests have been sent to me to see preggo pics from friends from far away. Unfortunately, most of the pictures that are taken around here are of our Donny, so you won't get to see much of me - but here are a couple which prove that I am, indeed, great with child.

Here you can see the pictures were about Donny, but I happened to be close by :) - and I look more fat than preggo... proof that though sweatshirts are the most comfortable thing to wear, a nice, tight maternity shirt is much more flattering!
Okay... enough whining about no one taking pictures of me (if I'm not careful, I'll end up with cameras flashing all over the place).  On to what Donny's up to these days.

One of his favorite pastimes at 20 months is playing with laundry.  If we don't get it put away right away, he piles it on top of himself, tries to put it on by wrapping it around his neck, drags it around the house...  very cute, and a bit annoying!  Last time I was pregnant, I could leave my clean clothes piled up if I didn't have the energy to fold and put away.  As we speak he is flinging my clean socks onto the floor next to the underwear he tried on and discarded a few minutes ago.
The picture above, where he is wearing my "I heart Mom" shirt and the one below with Auntie Jo's sock are both examples of his love of wearing other people's laundry.  Both of these were his idea.  He even got my shirt on (minus arms in armholes) all by himself!

Climbing in, on, and around is one of Donny's other favorite things to do.  I carefully put the dining room chairs in their places each day, and each day, Donny lines them up into an L shape near the table so he can climb onto one and then go back and forth on all of them... kind of his own personal boardwalk above the kitchen floor.  He still likes to climb onto his Incrediblock, the couches, into the car and his highchair.  And, if he can find pillows nearby, he loves to dive off head first - he doesn't seem to be bothered by bumps too much.  I've gotten used to it, but my co-workers get really nervous when he climbs on the chairs at the office.

Here, he is in his dresser.  I've tried to store shoes and hanging clothes in this compartment, but that doesn't last long, so I gave up.  It's a good playhouse!

The third activity of this toddler is following us around and talking to us.  Here, his Daddy caught him talking to me while I was taking a shower.  He didn't get up the nerve to go into the bathroom for quite a while, but he stood in the doorway and talked/shouted to me for at least 20 minutes.  I encouraged him a bit by playing peek a boo around the shower curtain.

We have been working with him on, and he has learned to recognize sounds and letters from that.  He is about 60% accurate. Not bad for 20 months!  He loves to look at books and point out the letters and numbers, and points out the letters on our shirts, appliances, and cereal boxes.

Some of his cutest current words:
"Monkeys!" (for any stuffed animal)
"Babe-we!" (for people's tummies and babies he sees)
"Dubba!" (for W)
"Simus!" (serves a dual purpose for PBJs and the Simpsons)
"Pone!" (for phone)
"One, two, one, two, seven, eight, ten!" (counting)
"Emm-Oh!" (Elmo or any red stuffed animal)

There is much more, but you get the idea.  He's just the cutest kid ever :)

Don't you agree?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Precious Moments

Ever try to cuddle with an 18 month old?  The one that lives in my house is pretty stingy with his cuddles.  Ten seconds here and there is about all I can get.  Tonight he did something inexplicable.  He hauled his thirty pound frame up onto the vintage green couch and nuzzled up next to me while I held a phone conversation with a friend.  He sat there for at least 45 minutes - as close to me as he could get.  No toys.  No TV.  Just cuddle time.  Once in a while he pretended he was talking on the phone too.  

Then when I said goodbye to my friend he crawled over my lap and sat on the other side of me jabbering about the Christmas tree.  Again, he sat as close as he could get, his hand resting on my arm.  So we sang "Here's a ball for baby" and "Pat a Cake" and several versions of "Jingle Bells" ala Elmo's World.  Then we worked on the alphabet song (he likes the lmnop and w portions the best, but always chimes in on the "Now I know" part too) and counting.

It was precious, and I find myself more attached to him after such a great bonding moment.  When Andy got home he reminded Donny to do that lots since the days of Mama-Donny time will soon be over.  I vowed that we would still make time for us even with younger sibling vying for attention.  These moments are the ones that make me so glad to be alive - and not at all anxious for time to pass.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve 2008

Christmas Eve dawned like all other days have dawned for nearly a week.  With more snow than the night before. Accumulated snow depths in our back yard were just over a foot. I love to look out the back sliding glass door at the yard filling up with more and more snow.  It's funny how people in our area have always wished for a white Christmas, and now that we are bound to get it, they are complaining about too much snow.

I, on the other hand, am more and more convinced that I love the snow!  Being stuck in my house for days on end has increased my domestic bliss.  I have cooked dinner several nights in a row, cleaned my kitchen, organized the linen closet, done laundry, and wrapped presents... all while looking out on the world and marveling at the beauty of snow, and it's power to bring reclusive neighbors out into the common spaces of our culdesacs.  

When the weather man talks about conditions "improving" over the next few days, what he means, in his weatherist way, is that the snow will melt and go away... leaving the status quo intact.  I'm not a fan of his "improving" conditions.  I love the snow!

Temperatures remained below freezing until mid-afternoon, but before they started warming up we had to go out to get groceries.  It has been five days since Donny and I have been in a car. We've been hunkering down in our house with only occasional excursions out into the snow for recreational purposes.  He was beside himself with anticipation when he saw Auntie Jo go out the door with his carseat.  Several layers of clothing later, we were off on our grocery adventure.  Donny likes Auntie Jo's car because it has a Beaker finger puppet in it.

The roads were a mixture of compacted snow and ice in some places.  Not too bad for travel.  In other spots they were slush and ice moguls that made driving bumpy and a little frightening.  Fortunately, Joann has snow driving experience and we got to Fred Meyer unscathed.

Donny went with Auntie Jo to Starbucks while I started the shopping. He made friends with people there by standing beside them and saying "Hi!" in his excited, breathy way while the lattes were being made.  Then they came to the grocery store and Donny got his first ride in the race car cart.  He grabbed the wheel immediately and started shouting "Weeeeee!"  But being strapped down while Mama chooses $132 worth of groceries is not his idea of a fun time, even with the steering wheels in front of him.  He was glad to be done when we headed for the car - but unexplicably began shouting "Damnness!"  repeatedly as we rolled over the ice.  A passerby looked at me and said "They turn 14 before you know it!"  I nodded knowingly.  I'll try to proudly enjoy the accidentally and publicly shouted variations on swear words now, knowing that these moments are fleeting. 


Once Home, preparations began for the big Christmas Eve feast.  Because of the snow and road conditions, we were unable to travel to Eugene for our traditional extended family Christmas Eve.  So, we brought a little of our celebration traditions to our house.  Dinner consisted of rice pudding, potato soup, lefse, cheese, salami, sliced apples, rolls and sparkling apple/pear and apple/pomegranate juice.  In attendance were my parents, Joann, and the Shire family of 3.5. With recordings of old family favorite Christmas music in the background.  It managed to feel a lot like Christmas - even without the goat cheese.  
Donny even liked the lefse. Must be his Norwegian roots.  We'll have to get some goat cheese when the roads are clear again and try him on that.

After the meal, Andy broke out his new Wii system and got the whole family into the action.
See!  Being snowed in isn't the worst thing in the world!  You can even go bowling!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snowy Photo Shoot

Thanks Joann for the photo shoot!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Victoria Vacation, Eh?

We just got back from a delicious vacation to Canada.  In preparation this summer Donny and I got passports.  Donny's is really funny.  Such a grown up document to have a little Hawaiian shirt wearing baby's picture in it!

Our vacation started on Saturday, September 6th at 5 am.  Yes.  5.  It was way too early to get up, but we did it so we could save money and not pay for an early reservation on the ferry.  Donny was groggy and incredulous when we got him up at 5:45 (his usual get up time is about 8:30), but became excited when we took him outside to get into the car.  He loves to be outside, so this was a special treat from his crazy parents.  He babbled and watched the road happily for two and a half hours before I had to start entertaining him with toys and snacks.

We arrived in Port Angeles and drove right into the queue with only a handful of cars in front of us.  We then wandered around the terminal area, changed our money to Canadian, bought maple bacon bars, went for a walk, made our last phone calls for a week, and let Donny crawl around on the playground and get really dirty.

At 12:30 we boarded the ferry and started our voyage.  Donny was happy to experience the ride from his stroller.  Andy enjoyed it thoroughly...  I was a bit queasy and had a hard time keeping my balance through the swells at the middle of the 90 minute ride.  Andy walked Donny around the deck while I clung to the bow and tried to keep my stomach in place.  Donny fell asleep for a good portion of the trip - and a good thing because he had not slept all morning.


We made it to the WorldMark Time Share Resort in the afternoon and settled in for our week.  Andy's folks weren't able to make the last ferry of the day, so we three (four) were on our own for the night.  We went down to Fisherman's Wharf for fish and chips at Barb's. It was really good!  Donny ate at least a quarter of my coleslaw, fries and fish.  Donny also got to sleep that night in the master suite after exhausting himself with exploration of the space.  He had a really good time crawling in and out of the living room onto the deck.  It had a high threshhold - maybe eight inches high?  So he was basically diving in and out, trying not to hit his head on the concrete.  He loved it out on the deck which was an enclosed slab of concrete with plexiglass panels that kept him safe... but made us a bit nervous.  The heights did not bug him at all.  And he discovered that he could press his face to the glass for big reactions from the adults inside! He did this trick a lot on Sunday and Monday during football which Don doesn't usually have time to watch, so he took advantage of being able to see the Packers, Bears AND Farve play on the same weekend.  Donny mostly kept Kathy busy on the deck, and made faces at us.

Here is a view from our deck.  We could see the Johnson street bridge, a Marina, the Waterfront walk, the ferries coming in and out, the float planes taxiing out for take off, and other fun boats going by.

Because we were on a fixed budget, we did a lot of walking this week instead of going to attractions.  Donny loved to go out.  Any time the door opened, someone put on shoes, picked up a purse, or moved the stoller, he was shouting "Bye?" and headed for the door.  He went out with whoever would take him!  His favorite places were on the street in front of the Empress where there is a ton of street musicians, cars, motorcycles, buses, horse drawn carriages, people walking by, etc...  He just loved the bustle.

Once we stopped by a playground to try to let him get some energy out.  He spent the whole time crawling up and down the wheelchair access ramp.  Silly boy!

On Tuesday we went for a drive on the island and ended up in Sidney.  It was a great little town that smelled of lavender (a nice change for a nauseated pregnant woman!) and had the best fish and chips at Boon Dock's.  Donny spent the entire time we were eating turned around in his seat watching the guys at the bar.  He yelled "Bye!" repeatedly to them when we left.  While we were there we let him walk with Grammy and Grandpa for a while, visited the dock, looked at a great statue sitting on a bench, had ice cream, and walked around a lot.  It was probably my favorite destination of the vacation.

On Wednesday, Donny had a day with Grammy and Grandpa who took him for walks, introduced him to a street guitarist who sang him a lullaby, and took a four hour nap.  While they were busy with all that, Andy and I went for a date on Victoria.  We went to Miniature World, a place I've wanted to go to since I was ten and saw pictures of it.  We spent a long time in there looking at the exibits.  I loved the sci fi diaramas at the beginning, and then was less than thrilled with the war scenes.  We played with the miniature trains, looked at the doll houses and Dickens scenes.  Our favorites though were the London scenes and the circus diarama.  Well, Andy liked the model car one a lot.  Here are a couple of samples of what we saw.

After our miniature experience, we went to Old Vics for Fish and Chips #3 of the week. I liked the Halibut best, Andy liked the Cod.  It was supposed to be the best on the island, but we liked Barb's and Boon Dock's better.  After lunch, we went for a very long walk.  Those of you familiar with Victoria know that there is so much to see!  We walked from the mall area across the Johnson Street Bridge, then down about a half mile or so on the river walk to watch the ferry come in from the other side of the bay.  We also saw lots of float planes take off and land, mini ferries scuttle from port to port, and other boats powering by. Our resort is the building just behind the float plane.  We were on the 7th of 9 floors on the side you can see. 

Next we retraced our steps to the Parliament building and up into
Beacon Hill Park.  We sat by a lagoon for a while.  Then we trekked up
to the top of Beacon Hill.  I made Andy lay on the ground to take this picture of me under the huge Canadian flag at the top of the hill.

My pregnant body was done by this point, but we had a long way to go yet.  Andy let me stop and rest a lot, thankfully!  We walked down the hill and walked a mile or so to near Ogden Point, and then turned into a neighborhood for shade to walk in.  I only got a little sunburnt.  Unfortunately, the neighborhood way was longer than if we had stayed in the sun... we had to stop again at a community park to sit on a bench.  Wow!  I felt so out of energy!  When we got home I was ready to stay in for the rest of the night!

Kathy and I also went to tea at the Gatsby mansion. It was four courses of deliciousness! What a good time for girls to be together.

Later in the week, we all went out to Ogden Point.  Donny fussed the whole time - maybe because he was afraid? or didn't like the sun?  We couldn't figure it out, but the only time he fussed was when we were out on the concrete dock that takes you out to a little lighthouse.  As soon as we hit land, he was fine.  I enjoyed the walk back, singing to him kept him quiet.  So I sang all his favorites and mine to him while Andy and his parents stayed back and watched a cruise ship come in to harbor.

On our last day in Victoria, we decided to take a family trip.  We decided on the Undersea Gardens.  It was a poor choice (and I can say so because it was my suggestion).  It smelled very musty, the windows were small, the fish were unimpressive, and the tide pool display was really small with only a couple of starfish.  Donny just kept trying to get loose to climb the stairs.  I was able to keep him quiet for most of the best part which was a "live scuba show" where a diver brought various creatures to the window for us to see by feeding him pretzels.   There was an Octopus that was brought up that was pretty interesting to see up close.  You can see from this picture that Donny was not interested in the fish, but thought that Grandpa was pretty funny.

After that was done, we walked along the waterfront in front of the Empress and looked at the crafts and caricatures for sale.  And we posed by this statue of an Orca done in all sparkly mirrored tiles.  Afterwards we went to Marble Slab and Roger's chocolates for more ice wine truffles.  Yum!

To finish off our last night in Victoria, Andy and I went for a walk to the Moka House to get a hot chocolate like my friend Anne suggested.  It was very good, and nice to walk along the waterfront one last time to see the lights on the buildings.  Such a pretty city!

Somehow, we didn't take any pictures of our long trek home yesterday.  We took the scenic route home after barely making it onto the ferry (all the regulars knew to put their cars in queue the night before for the early ferry.  We waited until 2 1/2 hours prior to the departure, assuming that would be enough.  Only four cars got on after us!  The ride back to Port Angeles was much more challenging to my stomach this time... and Donny was wide awake the whole trip, so I had to pop the Cinnamon Altoids and keep stumbling around the deck to try and keep Donny and Peanut happy.  Andy took a turn around the deck when I decided that walking might be making it worse.  It wasn't.  Was I ever glad to get back to the car and off that ship!

We took the 101 all the way from Port Angeles, through Forks (which we think should have a CYT so it can have the website, Aberdeen and lots of other little towns.  Donny slept for an hour of the first leg, then got really restless.  We kept him happy by singing endless rounds of "Old MacDonald" who apparently had cows, chickens, puppies, pigs, kittens, barns, pickles, and snakes.  He would also smile when we counted - his new favorite pastime.  He was just "counting" things in a book a minute ago using his baby babble.  So cute!

We stopped at a school playground about 45 minutes out of Kelso.  He needed to get out and work off some energy!  He didn't like the ramp on this one because the decking was mesh.  I don't know if the heights scared him or if he just didn't like the feel of it.  So we tried the slides - which he LOVED!  He started climbing the slide, the saying "Weeeeeeee" as he slid back down on his tummy.  We got a video of that.  I'll have to try to figure out how to get that online.

After the playground he was a gem.  Quiet and watchful, then as the sun went down, his eyes got heavier and then closed for the last 30 minutes of the drive home.  Once there though, he ran around the house like a maniac for an hour before he calmed down enough for his bottle and bed.

Vacations are a different thing now, with a baby along.  I feel like a good portion of the joy of the experience is watching Donny's fun.  I am so excited for the rest of my life to watch him gain new experiences and learn new things!