Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ian Goes to Arizona (The 2008 Edition)

A week has passed since my last post! If there is anyone out there still checking in on our crazy life's story, I apologize to the both of you. Ian and I are back from our whirlwind trip to Arizona and ready to get back to the old routine.

We had a great time in VERY hot Phoenix. It was over 100 every day and in the 70's at night all but one night. It was a "brisk" 68 when I met my mom on the patio for coffee at 6:30 this morning.

I'll save pieces of the trip story for future posts, but in a nutshell, here was our itinerary: Friday, we landed and arrived back to the house to relax for the rest of the evening. Saturday, we headed out to a Ghost Town near them and rode an old fashioned train. We also swam in the swimming pool and played in Ian's tunnel and tent from Christmas time last year. Sunday was our "down day". We ventured out only for a quick errand, otherwise it was a day beside the pool and other Hot Wheel/Thomas Train related shenanigans. Monday, we headed back to the Phoenix Zoo for a reprise of our visit last December. It was about 40 degrees warmer and Ian was much more interested (although he insisted on being held the entire time...by me!).

We said our sad goodbyes and took off this morning. Ian did really REALLY great on both flights without a single fuss or struggle. If only getting through security by myself with a toddler were as easy! Who said carry on only was the way to go? Next time, I'm checking everything but my purse and Ian, for my sanity's sake!

I'll break down the adventures of each day in upcoming posts. For now, here are a few of my now famous "then and now" pictures. I'm always shocked when I see the drastic differences.

I realized that I never took a single picture of the plane trip the last time we went to Arizona, so I had to use the China flight comparison... still pretty amazing. What a difference a little hair makes!

I tried to stage identical pictures of some of the shots from December. Here are a few...

...Here are a few more

He did NOT love the tunnel and tent in December, but as I suspected, he loved it this time. He was in the tunnel laughing his head off before we'd finished putting it together. In the end, it got windy and we took it inside, where it became a common place to find Ian and his choo choo's.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Weekend Hodgepodge

As Ian and I wind down the week toward our departure to Arizona, I thought I would post a hodgepodge of pictures from the weekend. It may or may not be my last post before leaving. Work will be extremely crazy this week, more than 50 old work friends are flying into town for an annual sales meeting and I will be doing some training with some staff in from Hong Kong for a few days. Whew.

This past weekend, we broke down and turned the heat on. It went from 75 to 55 in less than a week's time. I'm so depressed. We've got to start getting creative about how and when Ian plays...or resolve to 6 months indoors. Bummer.

On Saturday, Ian picked up the fleece jacket in his crib, which serves as a blanket. It's the jacket he came to us in... and doesn't pay much attention to it, but it still has his orphanage smell on it, so it's not going anywhere. Well, he wanted to put it on, so I helped him into it and he jumped around his crib for a while, then asked for "off", and hurled it across the crib without a second glance. In another month or so, I'll attempt to redress him in his "gotcha" outfit for a little trip down memory lane. Until then, the jacket stays tucked in the corner of his crib...for a secret midnight sniff that he'll probably never admit to.

Ian and Shawn brought his cozy coupe in the house and it's been a living room staple since Saturday. It's not as though we have a big house, but he loves scooting around in it or pushing it around our kitchen island.

Also below are a few pictures of Ian playing... feeding the ducks... going for a wagon ride.

Wish us a speedy week as we get ready for Arizona. It's a short trip, but I'll be glad to escape this cold!

The Jacket.... then and now. I should add that he was wearing 3 other layers under it in November, and only jammies now.

He has recently shown great interest in letters... Without help, he happened to accidentally spell EDGAR all by himself. Yeah Ian, I miss Edgar Martinez, too.

This was all Ian. I didn't touch a single block. He's getting much better about his form and function.

Hangin' in the Cozy Coupe

He's pretty much inseparable from his choo choos.

Feeding the ducks

He pulled his heavy wagon halfway home

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ian's New Wagon

Another fabulous day with Grandma Trish. Today, she brought with her a shiny new Radio Flyer wagon! I've wanted one for Ian since day 1, and it's the kind of thing he'll be able to use his entire childhood and then pass on to his own child someday. It's his first heirloom.

While I was at work today, apparently Grandma introduced Ian to the wonders of Slinky. The old fashioned sharp metal edged kind that should have been banned a long time ago. Yeah, that one.

It'll be two whole weeks before he sees her again since next Friday will be a day of adventure for Ian. I bought him a book about the airport and have started talking about going on a trip to Grama & Paga's house and going for a ride in an airplane. I'm not sure he gets any of it or maybe it will all come rushing back when we get into the airport. We'll see. I'm so excited for my parents to see how much he has changed since his birthday. He was hardly talking then and has grown a ton.

Cute anecdote from today: I turned on the TV and The Goodnight Show was on Sprout. The host was talking about snuggling and signed hug/snuggle, and Ian spent the rest of the evening signing Snuggle and asking for snuggles, giggling uncontrollably when we would launch forward for a snuggle. It's how we got him to eat his dinner. One bite, snuggle, chew/chew/chew/swallow, snuggle, bite, etc. It was so cute.

Another cute anecdote: This morning, Trish slapped her leg and said "Oh shoot!". Ian immediately launched into a leg-slapping "oh shoot!" fest, jumping around the room slapping his leg and yelling Oh Shoot! Good thing she only said shoot!

Checking out his new wagon. Polli seems interested, but...

...wasn't having any part of our attempts to take her for a ride

Prepping for his first ride. Gotta bundle up first! We went from 80 to 60 in less than a week's time. It was freezing today!

...and she made me think I could leave my son in her care and have a worry free work day. Can you say justification for stay at home parenting?! Yikes, grandma!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Photo Shoot Results

We received some of the pictures from the photo shoot for our agency that we were asked to participate in last month. They only sent us the photos they plan to use for marketing purposes. They took probably 100 or more pictures, but ultimately sent us 7. I'm a blinker. It's probably my fault that they picked so few to work with. I hope he makes their calendar. If just one family looks at his shining face and thinks "We can do this", well then it was worth it...all of it.

I won't post them all here since I think it would be nice for our family to have some just for "us", but below are two of my favorites. It motivates me to get family photos every year! Moms, please don't print these off and try to frame them. I'll order you nicer copies AFTER you've seen them all. I like th bubbles in the last picture. At first I thought it was a flaw in the file, but enlarged, you can see several bubbles against the white background.

The final picture is in honor of our birthday girl. Polli turned 3 today! This was one of our first pictures of her...Her "referral photo", if you will. This evening, she celebrated with a new toy, which she destroyed in a matter of minutes, and a carrot cake cupcake (she ate the frosting and left the cupcake...so like a 3 year old).

Today also marks 10 months since we arrived home from China. I can't believe so much time has passed since walking through customs with our son, at long last a US Citizen!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Woodland Park Zoo

Shawn came home from his trip to Las Vegas with a neat new mini video camera and some great stories of how hard he worked while there. His extensive collection of video footage from the B-52's concert hosted just for them proves it. I can't say I feel that sorry for him and his week of HARD WORK! I do have to thank to guy (whoever he is) who called Shawn to one of the hotel's bars for a beer, thus diverting his attention from the high end watch shop he was browsing at the time. All he needed was a slick salesman's "no interest/12 months" deal and Shawn would have come home with a shiny new addition to his collection.

Ian had another great day with Grandma Trish on Friday… as the picture below shows. He and Polli both get so excited when I mention "grandma's coming". He gladly waved bye to me when she showed up. I should feel sad about that, but it's really good news. We're finally getting to a comfortable place and he sure loves his Grandma Trish. There's no hiding it.

We took him to the Woodland Park Zoo on Saturday, which was a million times better than our last zoo visit to our other area zoo, Pt. Defiance. He "gets" animals more now and we're starting to see where his interests lie. He liked the snakes a lot and got super silly and over stimulated in the reptile house. He saw giraffes, elephants, gorillas, and so many more animals, I can't count. Unfortunately, my photo-ops were few, mostly because I was behind a loose 2 year old and a husband who didn't want his picture taken, but trust me... It was a great zoo. We even liked the food court, and I never thought that could be possible.

We stayed at the zoo until it closed at 6 and had Ian home and eating dinner by 7pm. It was a good day.

Ian also tried on his backpack and wore it for a whole 2 minutes before asking for "off". I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that I'll be carrying it through the airport. OK. Just this once.

Ian and Grandma Trish getting ready for a fun Friday. He stayed in his jammies long enough to show her his "motuh-bike". Diggin' grandma's new hairdo!

Walking into the zoo.

Wow. Proof that I do exist! Ian and me check out the petting zoo, which apparently now consists only of goats. When I was little, there was all kinds of animals to pet. Bummer!

He really liked the snakes

In the aviary... looks more like a tropical plant exhibit, but there were some cool birds, too.

Shawn was finally willing to pose for a picture. I was so sick of nothing but pics of the back of Ian's head with an animal way off in the distance.

The back of Ian's head...with an animal way off in the distance. The gorillas were very cool (and closer than they look).

He was not happy about the dark...and didn't connect with the turtles.

Talking to dad about hipppp-oooooos (thanks to Susan Boynton books).

Waiting at the giraffe crossing.

He liked the elephants. Sadly, we lost a baby elephant to a rare virus at this zoo not long ago.

Finally wearing his back pack! We'll see how long this lasts when it comes time to head for Arizona.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Just Me and My Kids

I have been solo all week with Ian and Polli. Just me and my kiddos. I was surprised and glad that Ian did not show any adverse affects to Shawn's absence this week. He didn't meltdown about me taking him to school and didn't lose it when Shawn wasn't there for night night kisses. I don't know much about a 2-year old's perception of time and if it just seems like yesterday that he saw him, or if the thought just hasn't crossed his mind. Regardless, he has been just great this week. Not a tear, no grumpiness, nothing. Just plain ol Ian.

Several people at his daycare commented to me this week that he is talking twice as much as last week or the week before. It's true. Every time I post that he has had a language surge, he has one that makes the one before it look like nothing. A week ago, he was just starting to put 2 word combos together, but that's almost all he's doing now... often 3 or 4 words with a verb in there for good measure.

For the most part, we've had a blah week from an adventure standpoint. It has been our same weekday routine each day, ending with me reading into the night with Polli snoring by my side. Shawn texted me twice to let me know that the B-52's performed for their company party. I was only a little bitter. Today, I worked from home and spent a good portion of my time cleaning (not sure if that counts as working). I even washed our comforter, cleaned out my old Real Simple magazines, organized all of our gadget chargers, and cleaned out under my bathroom sink. Yeah, I don't think that counted as work.

Today, I decided to surprise Ian and brought Polli along to pick him up from school. It was pajama day today, so I changed out his PJ bottoms with shorts and we headed out for an area off-leash dog park. We have one of the largest off-leash parks in the country 20 minutes from our house and we've only been twice since Ian came home. I should be locked up for that kind of doggie abuse. Polli loves to be off leash and is extremely well behaved when at the park. She normally gets annoyed at the other dogs after about 30 minutes, as if they have no right to be there, but today she was visibly thrilled the entire time. Ian also loved it (he was barely walking the last time he went) and the two of them ran through the fields with smiles on their faces the entire time. Ian was knocked over by a huge Basset Hound, which cooled his jets a little, but otherwise loved his trip to the P-A-R-K. We ended the afternoon with a trip through the Starbucks drive-thru for a shortbread cookie and ice water. We're having the nicest stretch of weather all summer, a pleasant 80 today.

We snuggled and tickled through bath/bed routine and as I left his room, he stood up and leaned over his crib waving "bye bye", then turned to find his "bed toys", not to be heard from again.

Shawn comes home tomorrow afternoon... and being Friday, it's GTD (Grandma Trish Day). If it hadn't been cancelled, I think I could have easily done the second week of Shawn's trip with my eyes closed... which is a good thing, since they probably would have been at the pace I've been keeping. I don't know why I thought it would be so tough to do everything.

Below are just a few of the 200+ pics I took today at the dog park. Also shown is Ian's new Diego backpack, which I am hoping he will roll with ease through the airport. However, without some serious boot camp for it, I think I'll be carrying it. He rolls it for a few seconds and then loses interest. I'm not sure what I was expecting of a 2 year old!

Arriving at the dog park. I underestimated the difficulty of getting them both out of the car in a controlled and safe manner. Polli was quick to show Ian the ropes.

He wasn't sure that he was allowed in the tall grass. I encouraged him the entire time until I saw the "Beware of Bees" signs posted around the fields as we left the park. Oops!

He saw how much Polli loved the tall grass and decided it was OK, too.

He wasn't sure about touching the grass...and there's that ledge to maneuver. Help!

I'm not sure why this didn't scare me at the time, but looking at the picture now, I'm not sure why I trusted this dog so much. He's awfully close to my baby's face! He was laughing hysterically, in case you're worried that's a look of fear.

I'm pretty sure he thinks dogs are just big stuffed animals. He loves their tails, probably because Polli doesn't have one.

Checking out something in the grass. Let's hope it doesn't bite or sting...or stink.

Polli was lying in the grass; Ian was saying "Night Night" here, thinking she was taking a nap.

One happy little girl

One happy little boy

This is the high traffic area: The water dog section, and we definitely don't have one of those... Too much to see all at once, so we moved through here fast.

Just liked this shot. Pure joy (and probably a hornets nest at his feet)

Starting the long walk back to the car

Still walking. Motivated by the promise of John Deere "tractor" fruit snacks waiting in the car.

My kids on the ride home.

Showing off his Diego backpack. He pushes it like a walker, which works for me. Whatever gets him pulling (pushing) his own weight around here!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Run of Good Days

Ian had a great week after the incident with leg cramps, ick, and so many other developments from the last post.

He met his new speech therapist, Mona, who took over for his last therapist, who was moving on to other job duties. I'm so sad to lose her, but Mona is really nice and will be good for Ian, too. She's not much of a dog person (and was wearing black pants...in the house of yellow dog hair!), so Polli had to stay outside for a whole hour. It was brutal. Ian did a great job with her and was very talkative and silly.

Friday, Ian had a great day with Grandma Trish, redeeming himself after a couple of cranky weeks with difficult naptimes. Thank goodness she still wants the job after a rough August. I guess her "probation" is over and the fun can begin.

Shawn had an all day dive on Saturday, so Ian and I spent the day together relaxing and playing. Nothing out of control. I did take him to the mall WITHOUT a stroller, which was interesting. He refused to try on baseball caps, only fell twice, and hit his cheek on a display shelf at GapKids. Uneventful by my grading.

Today, I left to go workout before Ian was awake and then went to do some grocery shopping. It was some much needed "me" time after a full day yesterday and a week without Shawn this week. When I arrived home, Ian was just getting up from his nap and eating lunch. We then took off for Red Robin, where Shawn and I ate burgers and Ian had ranch dressing....and one fry that was nothing more than a vehicle to get the ranch in his system. Hey, my kid eats really healthy and takes his vitamins, so I let this one slide.

Shawn leaves bright and early for Las Vegas (boo hoo) but his trip the following week to Orlando has been cancelled, so my marathon single mom fest has been cut in half. What a relief, although part of me was looking forward to the challenge... A few days into this week will reinforce the good news this brings, though, I'm sure!

Ian loves to wash his hands now that he has this (questionably safe) stool. If I can get him to quit hanging from the edge of the sink, it will be an accomplishment. He doesn't care that I did that as a child and broke the sink (and my head).

A rare fussy moment from his time with Grandma. She takes a cue from me here and runs for the camera instead of doling out kisses.

Shawn's Lego creation. Nice, but...

Ian likes mine better... complete with two car garage.

Ian made it clear to me that his "rig" wouldn't fit, so we built on a shop to fit it. Shawn was quick to point out that the rig doesn't actually fit (sour grapes).

And then Ian came up with his version. I think he wins the competition hands down.

Storytime... It's the Maisey book from US Airways that his Grama & Paga gave him on his birthday. It's about transportation, so he loves it... Polli does, too, as her smile shows.