Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Is Coming!

Christmas is coming, and the excitement is ramping up! A few times Zane has said, "Christmas is coming!" with excitement, but I think he's really just parroting someone at daycare since he doesn't really know what's coming.

We borrowed a neighbor's wagon a few weeks ago and walked to the produce stand to buy some garlands and wreaths. I put those up outside with some lights. About a week later Zane helped me put lights up in the living room and we hung our stockings. Zane was excited to find a little box filled with extra lights, so I let him replace a burned out twinkle bulb. I have white lights, but Zane found a blue one for the replacement. Now we can look at the lights and know exactly which one Zane put in! We also experimented with the flashing lights mode, but I told Zane that Daddy and I wouldn't like it. Zane said he did, and he also told me that JoJo liked them flashing. Zane and JoJo got out-voted.

We've been reading Christmas books, so Zane has an idea about of Christmas trees, Santa, and stockings. When we put the stockings up I explained that Santa would put presents and snacks in them. Zane got concerned and declared that he did not want snacks in his stocking. Before we hung them up he had tried to wear his stocking and JoJo's, so I think the idea of putting food in his socks was off-putting. He has now come to the agreement that chocolate is allowed in his stocking.

This past Tuesday we again borrowed the neighbor's wagon and trucked to the produce store to get our tree. We picked out a nice little 4 foot tree and got it wrapped up skinny for the ride home. The tree man gave Zane a candy cane to eat. I had brought a pillow and a blanket, and Zane was quite comfy all tucked into the wagon with the little tree. I tried to get a Christmas-card-worthy picture, but it just didn't happen. Wednesday morning we had a very fun time putting ornaments on the tree. JoJo got very excited by the tree and ran circles around it and jumped for joy. I'm not sure if she just loves the tree or perhaps there is lingering Bijou smell on the skirt. JoJo has been having afternoon naps under the tree. There's lots of space there as there is no way we can put any presents out before Christmas this year.

Zane has doing a great job of being a big boy. There have been absolutely no requests for the crib, and I really need to get rid of the thing somehow (drop-sided cribs are banned, so I may have to toss it). I'm looking forward to moving my computer out of Zane's room and into the "master" bedroom so that I can have nap-time access again. Zane loves that the room is now mostly his, and he asks to go downstairs a lot. We had just one week of Zane sleeping until 7 or 7:30, and now he's back to his regular 6:30. Must have been a growth spurt, probably in his brain. There has been a marked increase in whining as well as questions. "What is that?" "Where is it?" "Why did you say Whew?" I love the questions, but I could do without the whining. I try not to let him get by with it, but I can't always take the time. He also has accepted that he is ready to part with his highchair. The highchair is convenient, but Zane only wants to sit in a booster chair these days and so the highchair just takes up space. I have a very deserving taker for it, so it is going to a good home.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Cooking Show

My Mom has been here for almost 3 weeks and left early this morning to return to Maine. We sure miss her already! Zane was very lucky to have a lot of time with her during the visit. They did several baking and cooking projects, and Zane started to enjoy looking through the cookbook. One day when he and I were looking through a Natural History magazine article about bugs people eat, Zane said he wanted to try some. I said I didn't know how to cook them. Zane said I needed the cookbook and came back with the Joy of Cooking! There were no bug recipes in there, though, unless you count lobsters and the like.

I enjoyed the luxury of having someone else make food and clean up! It was also nice to have someone else share our meals, as Michael is usually on a different schedule. I am very uninspired when it comes to food, so I am particularly anxious about this aspect of parenting. Zane generally ate better for Grandma than for me, and I think this is partly due to better food and partly due to knowing he can yank my chain a bit.

We worked a lot on booster seat and table skills (i.e., sitting still and actually eating) and saw a lot of improvement. Most amazingly, one night we had out chop sticks and Zane wanted to try them. I showed him how, and within one minute he had twice successfully maneuvered eggs into his mouth! His grip was all wrong, but he did it with one hand! Later on Grandma showed him how to use a fork to help with cutting, and he caught right on to that, too. Earlier in the same week he suddenly began to use scissors with one hand when before he had been using two. Some major new coordination synapses are firing now! I know some other developmental stuff happened, too, that I can't remember ...

Back to baking. For Thanksgiving we went to my father-in-law's house, and Michael's sister and niece did most of the cooking. Super delicious! We were in charge of pies as usual, and this year Zane helped Grandma make an apple pie. On another day they made pretzels and he really got into the kneading and did a great job of painting them all with eggs. The final project was oatmeal cookies, and I think those were my favorites.

Now that Christmas is coming, I hope to do some cooking projects with Zane. At the very least, sugar cookies with colored sugar sprinkles. Maybe also some gingerbread people, and maybe some sort of bundt cake for Christmas Day. We also need to do pancakes one of these days just because those are so easy. Maybe those for Christmas, too!

Christmas should be really fun for us this year. Tomorrow Zane and I are borrowing a neighbor's wagon and going to the local produce stand to buy some wreaths and garland. We'll go back in another week or so to buy a little tree. I think I need to go through all of the decorations sometime during naptime so that I only show Zane the ones he can put on the tree. No use showing him the pretty, sparkly glass ones and then saying "no."

We've had a number of fun adventures lately. Zane and my Mom and I took a bus to Seattle Center, hopped on the monorail to Westlake, looked around there for a while, rode the carousel, monorail back, then looked at the mini-train exhibit in the Centerhouse, and then back home for lunch. I had hoped to also throw in a carriage ride, but the horses turned out to not be around until the afternoon. All of this cost us about $10 for all of us! Zane and Grandma went on their own on the bus to the aquarium and Pike Place Market one day, all for just a few dollars including lunch. Today Michael and Zane and I went to the Greenwood firehouse's grand opening. The line to sit in the truck was too long, but we still got to see it up close, and we got cookies and a hat!

Zane had a checkup at the end of November, and while he is still on the small size, he continues to be healthy, so we don't have to go back until he is 3. His head is in the 90th percentile, though! Past visits have been very stressful, so this time I prepared with reading about doctors and getting Zane a doctor kit. Zane claimed he was no longer scared, but on the actual day, sigh, it seemed to have no effect. Oh well.

I can think of nothing more! Enjoy a video of pretzel making. When I get photos from Mom's camera, I may post some more.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Domesticity and a Little Crunch

For some reason I have a whole bunch of pictures of Zane being domestic this week. I think it is the gloomy weather keeping us inside. Above we have Zane hosting a tea party using parts from Grandma Gibson's golden samovar; guests include two monsters and the Rabbit of Caerbannog (partially hidden).

He likes to use the "blue soap" in the kitchen. I figure it's a great way to keep things like the floor clean (although his tray gets washed after).

We've also been getting domestic with some garden chores. The leaves are coming down and Zane has actually been a help with raking and sweeping. He needs to come to grips with the untidiness of nature, though. One windy day he ran a far distance up the sidewalk shouting "No! No!" while chasing individual leaves that were blowing away. We planted a bunch of crocus and snowdrop bulbs in a part of the lawn that stays pretty short late in the spring. Even though we read a book on bulbs, I'm sure Zane has no idea what we were doing. The digging was fun, though! I hope he remembers in the spring so I can remind him that he helped with the flowers.

Since Halloween Zane has asked to go Trick-or-Treating several times. That sure was a big hit of a holiday! We're still working our way through his chocolate bag, so that helps keep it in mind. I'm really looking forward to how much he'll enjoy Christmas this year.

I finally caught sight of Zane's first two-year molar. He says it doesn't hurt, and in fact informed me that he doesn't want new molars. I let him know they come anyway, and then he can eat more stuff! I am finally sure that he really has been doing some growing lately. I've had to put away some pants and un-hem others. I recently raided a stash of donated clothes and was able to pull out more pants that now fit him, although that means a new round of hemming. Zane has a checkup on Monday, and we've been reading books on doctor visits to try to make this one go better than the last several. For some reason Zane is scared of being measured, although I'm not sure why. Maybe if Grandma comes, too, it will help.

My Mom will be here tomorrow night! Yay! I can't wait for Zane and her to re-meet, and I can't wait to visit with her myself.

Today on the way to swimming Zane and I were rear-ended at a stop light. It was quite a jolt, but the damage to the car is extremely minimal. Zane and I seem to be fine. Mostly it's a pain in the butt for me in terms of documentation and claims and getting my car checked out. Just this morning I was telling Zane about car crashes because of an article in the newspaper. And then about 20 seconds before our accident he asked to stand up to see something and I was explaining to him why we need to sit tight in our seats with our seat belts. And then BAM! Very startling. Zane was not scared, but did seem a little bit wide-eyed about it all. We talked about it and how the man was not bad, it was just an accident, and when you make a mistake what is most important is what you do afterwards. He said he wanted to go home instead of swimming, but we went ahead anyway and had a wonderful time. Hopefully I don't wake up sore tomorrow.

I will leave you all with the wonders of modern science. A vacuum cleaner a toddler can use! Now Zane can start earning an allowance.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


This year was our first trick-or-treating Halloween, and it was a blast! Zane loves his bumble bee costume and had already worn it to daycare and to the library for a special story time. We've been looking at the neighborhood's decorations for weeks now, and I had been promising Zane that on Halloween night we could go and look at them all up close. I was so afraid he would refuse to go at the last minute and I would be disappointed, but he took to it like a duck to water! We went from house to house all around the block at a trot. Zane loved all of the decorations and was not freaked out by any scary things. He especially like the mechanical things and spent a long time looking at them from all angles and checking out the backs to see how they worked. He took only gentle prompting to say Trick or Treat and then Thank You at each house. I'm so proud of him! After each door he said, "Next house!," and pulled me along. The houses on one side of the street have pretty steep stairs, but he chugged up and down them all doggedly. When we finally got back home he said he wanted to go around again! It was really fun, and because there are so many kids in the neighborhood the sidewalks and doorways were full of people we know. It was like a nice small town holiday.

When we got home we did the traditional evaluation of the loot. I let Zane have one lollipop and some candy corn. He had been going like gangbusters outside, but suddenly crashed and just lay on the kitchen floor eating his candy corn. He didn't actually fall asleep, but I've never seen him lie on the floor like that without a fever. I think climbing all those stairs took their toll! He rallied, though, and didn't fall asleep until later than usual. The candy bag is hanging from a plant hook near the ceiling for doling out one piece per evening. Michael said it looks like I hung it high to protect it from bears. It's the only place I could put it where Zane could still see it but not get into it.

For some reason this evening Zane kept saying he was scared and needed a hug, but he couldn't say what he was scared of. I think he was figuring out what the word meant. He probably heard it a lot in the last week. We had also been talking this morning about getting measured at the doctor, and he said he was scared of that, which is true. We have another weight check at the end of the month, so I think it's time to start practicing being weighed and measured and time for some books from the library on doctors, too.

Tonight, though, he was very brave in saying he wanted to sleep in his own little bed for night time! He's been having naps there for a couple of months now, but I haven't tried nights yet. My plan is to wait until after my Mom's visit over Thanksgiving, since she will be staying in the room which will be Zane's. He almost managed to fall asleep in his little bed in his own room, but in the end asked to go back upstairs to his crib where he fell asleep in just a few minutes. It was totally his idea to try it, so I'm very pleased with him. After Thanksgiving I'll try to make the room more his, and then work on getting him to sleep there for good.

We finished our series of art classes, and in the end we got some nice stuff to keep. I didn't sign up for the next series as Zane just wasn't that into it. So we've got some extra time. This morning we went swimming, and tomorrow we'll head over to the zoo.

Last week we cat sat for some neighbors. They invited us to play with all the toys they have for their grandchildren. While we were there I came across a jump rope and showed Zane what it was for. He thought it was great and tried to do it. It was pretty funny, so I got him his own and he did a nice repeat performance for the camera.

I believe that's it! Next up will be my Mom's visit in the middle of the month, then Thanksgiving! I think I'll try to get in some baking with Zane.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall Fun

Now that Fall has really begun, I'm having some fun doing traditional Fall things with Zane. I picked up a small pumpkin at the store and showed him the joy of scooping out a pumpkin. I let him help me hold the knife, which was super exciting. We had a mini-meltdown about the variety of candle to put inside, but now all is well. We'll do another one soon which will last until Halloween.

I got all excited about enjoying simple Halloween crafts with him, and one night right before dinner I thought we'd have fun making ghosts out of tissues. In the past Zane loved a game where we wadded up a sock, so with much fanfare I got out the first tissue and said brightly, "First we wad it up!" And Zane started wailing "No wadding it up! No wadding it up!" He got so freaked out he had the open-mouthed silent scream sob going on for awhile. I was dumbfounded; my super fun derailed! I have no idea why. We finally got over that, started again, and everything was fine. We made three and Zane proudly presented one to Michael. Zane has been really sensitive lately. He'll be completely fine and then have a mini-tantrum about seemingly nothing. Luckily, they're mild and over quickly, but I'm always surprised! I have to admit I have a very hard time not laughing at him. Later we made three really big ghosts out of styrofoam balls and cloth, and those are hanging from our tree in the front yard.

We've continued to go to art class, and last week I actually managed to sustain Zane's attention for awhile. We were supposed to be making beads, but Zane just cut the dough with a plastic knife for 20 minutes while I made beads. At least he sat with me! Then we used paint and paper to make a print from a collage we had made in earlier classes. For some reason that was a hit, too. Zane is really into Thomas the Tank Engine these days, and Michael got him a little model of Toby, his favorite. Zane and I had fun making a train shed for him out of a box (after the weird freak out when I wanted to cut a door ...), and he slapped on gobs and gobs of paint while I drew train tracks and trees around the outside. I'm always happy with a good and useful art experience!

A random note: Zane has been really into puzzles lately. Whenever I get a new one he figures it out on his own in a few tries and does it over and over for a few days. We have a few that are too difficult, but he just gets frustrated with those. I wish there was a puzzle library! I guess since they are only a few dollars used, I'll just have to keep him occupied that way.

This weekend Zane started coming down with a cold. The weather was beautiful, and he didn't seem too bad, so Saturday afternoon we drove 45 minutes out to a farm. I had been feeling a bit guilty because Zane didn't want to go, but as I knew he would, he had a fantastic time. We saw ducks, ponies, sheep, chickens, and turkeys. We got to pet goats, chicks, ducklings, a young bull, and a rabbit that looked just like JoJo. There were fish, mice, and a lizard in cages. A hay tunnel, pit of loose hay to play in, a teepee, and a field of pumpkins rounded out the fun. There was more stuff, but we couldn't get it all in before closing, and we had to visit all of the baby animals twice. Zane was very gentle and calm with the baby animals, I think because of his training with JoJo. We came home with a pumpkin and probably a lot of poop on our shoes.

Today (Sunday) Zane's cold is really much worse. He's got a wet cough, a croaky voice, and not much appetite. He had a really long nap and woke up with a fever. I let him watch a lot of TV, and here he is watching Sesame Street and learning about bubbles and the letter B. He blew bubbles on his own for the first time! I also saw him trying to count along with the show, and that made me proud. What looks like a little mustache in the picture is just his latest set of scabs from doing another face plant on the sidewalk. He loooves to run!

I, too, am getting the cold and really need to get to bed. Enjoy this montage from the last fortnight!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Same Ol' Same 'Ol

Life has lately been moving along sedately with no new amazements or terrible tragedies. Pretty comfy, really! We've made some more trips out to the aquarium, science center, zoo, and local parks. I'm trying to get us outside a lot before the rain starts.

We started art classes at the local community center. I had visions of sitting with Zane in a delightfully chaotic craft room while we gleefully slapped around paint or clay together. Instead we are in a room where we really can't make much of a mess, and Zane gets antsy the minute he sees that we are in the classroom (where we took "dance" last year). All he wants to do is leave to go to the playroom he knows is next door. The class is an hour of difficulty with some fleeting art pleasures. I don't want to force him to sit and do art, but I don't want to allow him to just play with Legos while he's there, either. I have to do a lot of re-direction to get him back on task. It's pretty tiring, but I'm going to stick out the series and hope it gets easier.

Fall has really begun now, and we are back to long sleeve shirts, footie PJs, and fuzzy socks. Soon the flannel sheets come out. I always enjoy the beginning of Fall since a change is always nice, but I know I'll be sick of it in a couple of months. This year Zane is more interested in the world, though, so it may all be interesting. We've been reading books on planting tulips, Halloween, and pumpkins. We put up a few decorations and bought one small pumpkin. I'm hoping to get us out to a farm before those close up for the season.

Enjoy your Fall, and may you have a few more warm, sunny days!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Zane and I have had a really lovely fortnight; perfect for the end of summer! It started out a little rough in that Zane had several days of a high fever (up to 105), most likely from a booster shot. He didn't seem too miserable, but we stayed home from work and daycare a bit. I went back to work for one day, and then it was time for our staycation! Daycare was closed through Monday the 12th, and I actually was away from work from Saturday the 3rd until today when I went back (to a ton of e-mail). After the fever was finally out of Zane's system we went on many adventures. Swimming twice, to the zoo twice (once just with Michael), to the zip line park several times (where we finally did the zip line from the top), bicycling, on the bus to the Pacific Science Center, and on the bus to the Seattle Children's Museum. Taking the bus itself is a wonderful adventure; our neighbor Gavin has snagged us several times with his camera, and we lucked out to have him on our bus for our second adventure. And for this whole week and a half of adventures, we had beautiful temperatures in the 80s!

I got to have a taste of the stay at home parent life. Because I was home each day, I was able to finally make some progress on projects during Zane's naps. I got the back porch pressure washed, sanded, and re-stained and painted. I put up some blackout curtains in Zane's future room downstairs so that he could start using his big boy bed. For 5 days in a row he easily had really long naps down there in the "new bed." My plan is to let him have naps there for about a month and then try to get him to sleep there at night. Once he successfully transitions, I can move my computer and desk out of there and make it more his room. I think I'll get him a Zane sized table and chairs for art projects and the like.

Zane and is working on new skills, such as sitting at the table in a booster chair instead of in a high chair. We've started using one at restaurants, so I thought I'd try it at home, too. He's still a bit messy with food like yogurt, so a full transition is a ways a way. He has also taken a few steps down stairs without holding on to anything. I think he needs to actually get a little longer in his legs before that becomes much easier. Language continues to really get more fluid. It's fun to have him explain complex things to us now, and tell us stories about things that have happened. I can now ask about his day at daycare and get an answer!

One thing that was hard about being home all day was not relying too much on videos when I needed to cook dinner or some such thing. I was able to get him interested in a few new things to stave off too many videos. He really loved the button box, and he experimented a lot with running different buttons through his ball tower maze thingy and then poking at the buttons with a moai swizzle stick.

I think all of these skills are taking some brain power, because his naps and nighttime sleeping have been really good lately. I keep expecting him to grow, but so far I'm not seeing it. I think Zane's body believes in punctuated equilibrium rather than slow change.

I'll leave you with a few more great pictures from our neighbor Gavin. Enjoy the last days of summer and the crisp descent into fall!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer Fun!

Well, we've finally had a bit of summer here! Zane's actually been wearing shorts and sleeping without footie PJs every night. Michael and I have finally pushed back the comforter for a few nights. One hot day Zane had fun cooling us off with the hose.

We also had the pool out one day, but I'm not sure if we'll manage that again. I hope so! It's sad to think of Fall coming after such a mean Spring and Summer.

Zane and I have been trying to get in our outside fun while the weather lasts. On one zoo outing we made a special stop to feed the giraffes; I loved it so much I wanted to get right back in line and do it again! We definitely need to go back for more another day. It's too bad the elephant feeding time is right during nap time; I guess we need to save that fun for another year. We went to Carkeek Park one day and spent an hour on the beach and an hour in the playground. We played with other kids, held crabs, stomped in the creek outflow, fed a scruffy crow, made sandcastles, watched trains go by, and slid through the belly of an enormous salmon over and over again. Zane's water shoes got pretty gross in the creek, and since they were really too small anyway, I tossed them. His new blue water shoes are his current favorite shoes to wear anywhere.

We just went to Zane's two year check up, and he is still a pipsqueak at 23 pounds and just under 34 inches. But still, I think Zane has been growing lately, and I need to replace more of his shoes. I've been looking at the consignment store with no luck, and I just need to grit my teeth and pay for new ones. I noticed some of his pants are starting to get a bit short, so I'll need to let the hems down; still plenty of life left in them! We think Zane may also be working on his two year molars as he's got his hands in his mouth a lot and is drooling more than usual. I can't feel any teeth yet, but they could be on the move. I've been explaining tooth growth to Zane, showing him mine, and asking if his mouth hurts, but he doesn't seem to understand what I'm talking about.

Another exciting new development for me is Zane's new bed! He hasn't actually slept in it yet, but he really likes it and we pretend to sleep in it. The bed is in a downstairs room, so my goal is to get him used to it and eventually in his own room. Maybe we'd all sleep better then! We'll work on having naps there first. I guess I need to get some heavy drapes to make it nice and dark.

Zane is starting to understand stories now. I've actually been able to have him sit still for me while I read a book instead of just talking about the pictures. This morning he sat all the way through Miss Rumphius! I soooo love to sit snuggled up with Zane reading books in the morning. I can't wait for more real stories. He has also started to tell stories, so I guess his brain is figuring out event sequences. One day he and I went to see a fire truck and ambulance up the street, and when we got back he excitedly (sorta) told Michael all about it. A boy in his daycare moved away, and one evening he told me that Allen moved away -- in a rocket ship (complete with sound effects)!

Zane's latest physical project is learning to jump. I'm kind of excited about that one, although I'm not sure why! He hasn't actually caught air yet (except when he "jumps" off something high), but he's working on it and will get there soon!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Zane 2.0

Happy Birthday, Zane!

Just like last year, I've spent a lot of time thinking about the days leading up to Zane's birth and what I was doing at the time. In looking back over the last year of posts it's fun to see what Zane has accomplished. This is what I predicted on his first birthday: "This next year will bring walking and talking and tantrums." Well that was accurate! Here are some accomplishments throughout the year: He started his second year at 18 lbs 12 oz, 29.5", began trips to the zoo, first non-name word "up", mid-Sept walking on own and "no", moved to one nap, second trip to Maine in December, started watching videos, in February began imaginative play, learned sense of self, learned colors, in April got his SCAR, began yelling in his sleep, in May terrible twos begin, fine motor control, lots of climbing, understanding pronouns, first pair of underwear, and beginning to learn shapes and counting.

And what do I look forward to next year? Well, I image he'll get pretty fluent with language and easier to understand, learn shapes and counting, jump, walk up and down stairs without hands, and generally get stronger and more nimble. What do I dream of? Potty training and sleeping in his own room!

Sunday we celebrated Zane's birthday a day early since we needed to go to daycare and work on Monday. One of our 3 year old neighbors, Josie, came over with her Mom. We had cake, but Zane wouldn't really eat any (he had it at dinner). Then we did presents, and that was a big success! Zane got an enormous cement mixer, a ball and hammer toy, little fire trucks, a yellow balance bike, and a new cup. There are some more presents from relatives that we saved for Monday. We started the day off with a bike ride to the Ballard Farmers' Market where we ate blueberries and pizza and listened to music. We finished the day off with a trip to the zoo! All in all a great day.

Monday we opened presents from G'amma and Aunt Vicki and got an amazing selection of books! We went to our last monthly baby support group, too! And then cupcakes to daycare for everyone to help Zane celebrate.

On a different note, Zane's latest obsession has been construction and building. Michael has been working on fixing our fence and Zane was inspired. He's always been interested in construction trucks, but now he loves to hammer, measure, mark up the fence with chalk, and carry a level around. I found a book with cardboard tool shapes that you can take out and use, and Zane immediately fell in love with the saw. He now has his own mini measuring tape and gets to use a tack hammer under supervision.

Here's to another great year of fun with Zane!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fun With Grandma

What a wonderful July we've had with Grandma visiting! After the hubbub of camping and being sick died down, I went back to work for the weekend. Zane and Mom and Michael had a great time at the Aquarium where the octopus was actually out moving around with all of her suckers on display against the window! Sunday before I went to work we went out to breakfast and the Farmer's Market, which is always a good time. Zane and I dropped Mom off in Mukilteo for a Kayak trip. Then we were back to our regular routine at home. We had a wonderful morning at the beach one day, and super fun time swimming at the Mountlake Terrace pool on another afternoon. Zane got in some quality time with JoJo; he quietly played with cards while she relaxed nearby (a rarity).

The next weekend we had a surprise visitor: Brady down from Alaska with a broken arm! He was on his way home to get it fixed up. He joined Mom and I with Sabina to go see the last Harry Potter movie; it was a great finale! Then an afternoon BBQ at Sabina's house which is always a lot of fun. Sunday afternoon Michael and Zane went to the zoo while I dropped Mom off in Everett for a sleepover with a friend.

Tuesday we played hooky from Story Time and instead took Zane for his first mall adventure! Mom was getting a make-up consultation, and Zane was completely entranced by all of the colorful stuff on display. He's really interested in my own eye shadow, and seeing thousands of different colors of make-up just about blew his little mind. He wanted it all. Zane and I headed off into Nordstrom's and Macy's up and down many exciting escalators, and Zane picked out his very first underwear! He was pretty excited. I tried to steer him to Thomas the Tank Engine, but he insisted on Spider Man, which is interesting since he doesn't know anything about either! I thought he'd like the trains. But no, he insisted "I buy that". When we were done he said thank you to the cashier and I think made her day. We went back and forth between the escalators and the cosmetics department (watching the lady put make up on Mom) until Mom was done, and all and all it was a great outing.

Our trip made an impression on Zane. A few days later Zane had a soft thing in his hands and asked me to take off my glasses. He said he had eye shadow and very carefully rubbed it on my eyelids and cheeks. I said "How do I look?" and he said "Pretty!" He also has loved his wonderwear and has been wearing it with nothing or on top of his diapers. We're nowhere near potty training, but it's fun to start making baby steps!

Wednesday we tried swimming again and it was fun, but not as awesome as last time. Zane always loves his bath, though!

Saturday was a nice relaxing day of going to the gym, out for walks, and gardening. Zane got a little too relaxed while watching the Jungle Book. Michael says he's practicing for his teenaged slacker years.

This weekend Michael and I thought we ought to get a date night in before my Mom leaves on Tuesday. Saturday night we went out for dinner and had a hotel room reserved downtown in Seattle. We didn't realize that the big Seafair Torchlight parade was happening that night! We actually had a great view from our hotel room, and while it was kind of interesting for a bit, it just reinforced our opinion that it's not worth the big deal most people make of it. It was so nice to have some adult time. Zane and Mom did great at home for their overnight, although Zane was a little confused when he woke up. We were home in time for me to put Zane down for his nap.

While I always think our life is pretty interesting, there really isn't that much to write about every week. From now on I'm going to try to get a blog post in twice a month. Hopefully it will work!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cold, Cold, Cold

We're here! We're alive! I've just been busy with camping, working, and recovering from one sickness after another. With Mom's help I think I am finally emerging back to life.

On July 3rd Zane, Mom, and I packed up and headed to Fort Worden to camp for a week during the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes. I've always had beautiful trips over, but this day turned cloudy and rainy as we headed onto the ferry. Even though we couldn't see very far across the water, Zane was really happy with all of the cars on the boat, watching the water and birds, and (for some reason) the staircases. My cunning plan was to have him fall asleep for the rest of the trip, but for some reason he didn't. He ended up with only a 25 minute nap early in the day, and for a boy who usually sleeps 2-3 hours in the middle of the day, that is not much.

The weather cleared by the time we arrived and we had an easy time unpacking and setting up the tent in a nice dry site. I had been telling Zane that camping was like being in a Big Backyard for a week, and he immediately took to it. Gravel! Dirt! Hammers! Tent spikes! People with dogs! Bicycles everywhere! Sleeping bags! All sorts of wonderful things here and there in the campsite that he could touch and play with! Music wafting around! Kids playing! After a really exciting day he had no trouble at all going to sleep in a tent for the first time.

I know it can be cold at night and sometimes in the day, so we brought long layers and hats and blankets as well as summer clothes. Summer clothes! Hah! No summer in the Northwest this year. Although most of the days had sunshine in them, we spent almost the entire time being cold, cold, cold. Cold at night, cold in the morning, cold in the day. Even when the sun was shining it was cold! We lived in our fleeces and luxuriated in sun beams. Zane and I also started out the trip with colds (and a sore throat for me), but I thought we'd had them long enough that they would fade soon. Oh no. We were sick the entire time, and even shared the cold with Mom. Runny noses and hacking coughs.

But you know what? We had a great time anyway! Mom and I love being outside, and it seems Zane does, too. When you're camping, who cares if you wear the same warm clothes every day? Who cares if your outer jacket gets disgustingly filthy?

The first morning I took Zane for a bike ride to check out the camp, and take care of some business at the camp office. When we were done Zane saw the ocean sparkling at us not far away and said "Water! I see it." So we made an impromptu visit to the beautiful sand beach by the Fort Worden Marine Science Center. Zane loved exploring the dunes and the driftwood, and I found a lost library card glittering at me from the sand (treasure!). We went to the water's edge and Zane experimented with poking it with a stick, and then got his shoes a little wet. I figured that was OK, but he didn't seem to like it and backed away. OK, I thought, he'll stay away from the water. Ha. The next thing I know he ran straight into the water! He was wearing "work" boots, thick cords, and a fleece since it was cold. He was now soaked up to his knees. And then he tripped. And fell face down into the water. He came up sputtering fast and I ran straight in and lifted him out by his armpits and put him on the sand. He started crying and held his arms up to me "Mama, hug!" I hate to say it but I actually hesitated since he was completely soaked and covered in sand! Oh well ... I got him comforted and then we had to get back on the bike all cold and wet and get ourselves to the campsite. It only took about 5 minutes to get back, and then Mom helped gather our shower things and clean clothes. I cleaned him off and warmed him up in the shower and then handed him off to her while I took care of myself. When I was done they were warming up in a spot of sun. Our first adventure all before 9am on the first day!

Zane found a bunch of things he loved doing. There was a wide gravel driveway and he spent a lot of his time digging and dumping gravel with his dump truck and bulldozer. We salvaged a couple of boards from the woodpile and made ramps with them on a picnic table. He would drive his trucks up and down them, draw on them with chalk, and practice walking on them holding our hands (and sometimes without!). Drawing with crayons and pens on the various paper he found was always a hit. There were a lot of other kids in the campground and he loved to watch them and sometimes play near them with chalk or balls or other toys. We would walk around and watch musicians play. Go for bike rides and walks. Meet dogs. The highlight was several visits by garbage trucks on two different days; he kept wanting to look at the pictures we took!

On Tuesday we headed up the hill behind the fort to try to find the tunnels we had heard so much about. We had a great walk and saw some old gun batteries and potential tunnels. Zane monopolized the flashlight so it was kind of hard to see in the dark places! We had a fire that night for cooking. Zane had seen pictures of fires but had never experienced one. His first comment was "It makes sound!" I had never thought of that! Another toddler staying with us said pretty much the same thing when he saw it, too. Having kids around really opens your eyes (and ears) to stuff you've learned to ignore or just take for granted.

On Wednesday we went on a hike through the woods and ended up at a big freshly mown meadow. On the trail we taught Zane what roots were, although at first he was convinced they were poop. We saw many wonderful bugs and plants. I taught Zane how to kick back in the grass and chew a grass stem while we watched a horse graze in the distance. He asked me to sit down and went off to sit by himself for a while, and as he looked around he said "Big Backyard. Big Backyard." I had a hard time convincing him that we needed to get back to the campsite for lunch and a nap. Mom went off to hear an awesome concert during the nap and I stayed behind to wait for ...

After the nap was a big surprise: Daddy! Michael came to visit us for a while and they enjoyed the sunshine on the only warm day of the week. We headed down to the beach where Zane previously got soaked. We got some great views of sea-life in the marine museum and had a nice time hanging out in the sand. When we were trying to leave Zane became enamored of a group of young teenaged girls lounging in the sun. He kept edging closer and staring at them until I finally whisked him away.

That evening our campsite held the annual Silly Hat Cocktail party. Zane wouldn't wear a hat, but I gave him a choice of outfits and he was pretty excited to wear an Indian wraparound shirt handed down from his Maine cousins. He had a wonderful time imperiously directing me through the crowd so he could examine all of the hats; I think his favorite was a flying pig hat which had flapping wings. Zane got to run around in a street with kids and he got to take a whack at a birthday piƱata. He got to eat cheese puffs and chips and brownies, so I think he would call the evening a success.

After another cold night freezing in our tent we woke to a rainy Thursday. I was tired of oatmeal. We were tired of being sick. We were kind of tired of the campsite. We took a trip into the big city of Port Townsend and had ourselves a nice warm and dry breakfast at the Bayview restaurant. We had a great view of the ferry and the drizzly water, and Zane liked the fish decorations inside. After an afternoon in the tent thoroughly reading all 5 of Zane's books, we headed back to Port Townsend to spend some quality time in the library. I always try to visit one on vacation! Zane spent most of his time playing with some great trucks: "I making concrete!", but we did get a little bit of book and puppet time in, plus some computer time for me and Mom.

Friday was pretty nice, but we were getting ready to go home. I took Zane on a long bike ride back up the hill behind the fort and we rode in and out of lanes of gun batteries and beautiful roads and lawns. We met up with Mom who had walked up earlier. We finished up the morning with a free kids' concert, but Zane pooped out of that pretty early and we went to a nap. Finally, Friday evening was the concert I was waiting for! An outdoor Cajun dance at 6pm, so it was early enough for Zane to enjoy. He loved the opening honky tonk band. We stood right at the front of the stage and he goggled at all of the instruments and men playing them. Unfortunately, he pooped out before the Cajun band started, but he still had a wonderful time. A really good end to a week of being out side and listening to music! I haven't really mentioned the music much, but at Fiddle Tunes it is everywhere outside just about all of the time.

Saturday morning we gratefully struck camp and headed home. Just like on the trip over Zane managed only a 20 minute nap or so in the car and was mighty tired all day. We were very happy to get home and be warm and clean. Zane's jacket was so dirty I had to wash it twice even though we'd washed it halfway through the week. His legs were covered in bruises and scratches and he had some shallow splinters in his hands. All-in-all the badges of a good time!

As with other trips we've taken in the past, the change of pace seemed to really boost his brain. His language got more fluent and I think he is physically a bit more agile.

Sunday there was no time to rest, we had to head out to the Ballard Seafood Fest! Michael loves the salmon they cook there every year. We had a pretty nice walk down and enjoyed being in WARM sunshine! Zane ate some pirogi, spit out a samosa, and helped me eat a chocolate ice cream. He got an awesome bubble gun which is sadly (but not surprisingly) already broken. We saw big trucks, a big fish, and lots and lots of kids.

Zane then got to spend some quality time with his Grandma as Michael and I were struck down with an energy sapping stomach flu. As I write this I realize that maybe we got it at the Seafood fest! By some miracle Zane and Mom didn't get it. I also had various versions of a cold, sore throat, and a burbly cough along with the nausea and headache. Yay! I think I've been sick continuously for about 5 weeks. Having Mom around has really given me a break, though, and (fingers crossed) I am finally getting well.

Monday we dropped Mom off in Mukilteo for a 4 day kayaking trip, so we will be missing her for a while. Here are a couple of videos of fun with Grandma!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Boys and Girls of Summer

We've had a pretty nice week with a number of really nice days. The first day of summer was actually a super beautiful day. We all went down to the beach for the morning and had a great time. As we walked towards the water we noticed several people with Styrofoam coolers; they were taking big crabs out of them and tossing them into the water. We walked up and watched and from what they were saying gathered that they were Buddhists doing an act of kindness on a day that was considered extra powerful for such acts. The kindness would come back to them manyfold. Zane was fascinated and even touched the back of one that a lady held for him. Later when Michael and I held out tiny crabs we found, he refused to touch them and kept telling us to put them back. It always seems like we have to leave the beach too soon. One of these days I need to get my act together and get down there early enough to stay for several hours before nap time.

Later in the week, on the way to daycare, Zane had a bunny in his lap (not Bob), and he pointed out its tail. We had a conversation like this:

J: Does JoJo have a tail?
Z: Yeah!
J: Daddy doesn't have a tail, and Mommy doesn't have a tail, and Zane doesn't have a tail. No tails!
Z: Pesis!
J: Yes, you have a penis! But that's not a tail, it's different. Daddy has a penis. Zane and Daddy have a penis, but Mommy doesn't have a penis.
Z: Glasses!
J: Yes, Mommy doesn't have a penis, but she does have glasses!
Z: Boobs.
J: Zane and Daddy have a penis, and Mommy has glasses and boobs. That's right!

We seem to have come to another big leap in language. It's not so much that he has a bunch more words, but that his sentences have become a little longer and more complex. One really noticeable thing that he's been working on this week is his/hers he/she him/her. He's been experimenting with them, so I've been using them a lot more, too.

I also was super impressed with him this week on fine motor control. We got a theme kit from the library that had big beads to string, and after I showed him how once he managed to do it himself after just a minute or two!

A had to work this weekend, and on Saturday morning Zane and Michael went to the zoo. They got the super bonus of seeing an elephant pee and poop an enormous quantity of stuff. You just can't beat that. Sunday I put Zane on my bike and we went to a small park overlooking the sound. Zane loves to look at the boats from there. Afterwards we got Michael and went out to brunch and to the Farmers' Market. We saw our neighbor Gavin who took this really nice photo:I don't have a lot of photos of Zane and me, so I'm especially pleased with it.

Mom/Grandma is coming! Only a few more days -- I can't wait. She'll be here for all of July, and we will almost immediately take off for a week of car-camping at Fiddle Tunes. We're leaving on Sunday, so I may not be able to get another blog post in for a while.