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!