Friday, December 26, 2008

Here Comes Santa (and more snow)

We went to Grandma Trish & Grandpa Tom's house on Christmas Eve so Ian could wake up Christmas morning to a delivery of presents from Santa.
When we left for their house at 1pm on Wednesday, it had been snowing all day and we'd picked up another 5 inches on top of what we had dug out from 3 times. By the time we were 5 miles from home, it was a slushy rain mix and it felt warm... a balmy 35 degrees.

Ian opened one of his Christmas Eve presents, two Christmas books, but we lost his second Christmas Eve gift (meant to be his Christmas morning jammies). We looked at every gift at least 5 times, and I realized we'd either left it at home or I forgot to label the tag. It meant Ian had to wear non-Christmas jammies to bed. Gasp.

We set out milk and cookies for Santa, and carrots for the reindeer. Ian didn't completely get the point, but he did a good job of playing along.
We watched Bee Movie, then Mama Mia after Ian went to bed...and broke out the chocolate martinis, yum!

The next morning, Ian woke with a horrible rash on his cheek. He's had a cold, but this was a bad raised rash...worse than any eczema flair up he's ever had. We decided it must be the blanket in his crib there. It got worse as the day went on and eventually spread to his other cheek, so we quarantined all of his bedding and washed it all. He had a good day despite it, and we even got him to open a couple of presents. When he opened his stocking, and he found 3 Hot Wheels cars and some gummy snacks, then couldn't have cared less about anything else. Next year, Christmas budget for Ian: $2.50.

We did get him to actually tear paper on a couple of presents, but for the most part, it was me opening presents and showing him what he received. We took 2 breaks in the morning and then again at naptime. At the end of the day, Ian still had about 6 presents still unopened.

We had made an earlier decision to let Ian spend the night and although he had this mystery rash and a lingering cold, he wasn't running a fever, was in good spirits, and eating normally. So, we left him fast asleep, and headed home at about 10pm.

Little did we realize that it had been snowing non stop at our house since we left the day before. There was possibly another 10 inches on the ground and my car was buried yet again. Poor Polli couldn't even walk from the garage to the house, it was so deep.

Today, Shawn and I slept in... I got up at 9am and set up my new XBOX. He slept until 11. It was pretty awesome. We were worried about Ian's rash, but the phone didn't ring, so we knew he must be doing OK. I was fully prepared to call the doctor if it wasn't better when we picked him up.

I met Trish and Tom halfway for Ian later in the day, and thankfully, he looked much better. Within a few hours of being home, we have seen a gigantic difference.

We set up 3 of the 32 pieces of Ian's tunnel system in his room and between that and his "Rocket" from Little Einsteins, he was in heaven.

Once the snow is gone, we'll be able to break out his new tricycle, and he has about 20 new books to read. Ian will be a busy guy for a while!

Below are a few pictures of the holiday and some of our snow. I didn't take nearly as many as I should have, but Ian's rash was pretty bad and I didn't want to focus on that.

Happy Holidays to everyone! I hope Santa was good to you! Wishing you all a wonderful 2009!

Checking out an angel on Grandma's table

Wishing he could touch the ornaments...but after his last experience with them, they're off limits
Opening his Christmas Eve present... even if the jammies were missing in action

Setting out cookies, carrots, and milk for Santa and the reindeer. By next year, we'll have to be a bit more accurate about where we put the reindeer food, but he didn't ask questions this time.

Opening his stocking... you can see the start of his rash here.

Opening a present. This only happened a few times before it was just me opening his presents for him.

Checking out his new tunnel

I mixed civilized martinis for the teenagers...who promptly drank them with tuna fish sandwiches.

Ian's Aunt Shannon had a few "less civilized" martinis. I think they were worth it... She may or may not agree.

When we arrived home, it was apparent that we'd gotten a lot more snow.

I'm so glad Shawn had already carved us parking spots. Look how tall the snow is compared to me and the garage door. We've never had anything quite like this happen before.

This is one of the deeper spots of our yard... and this isn't a snow drift! I took this picture on Friday morning... We'll see how long it takes this to melt.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Digging Out

We're still digging out from our storms and got more snow last night, adding to the snow drifts and laying a fresh layer of snow on what we already had. We have about 10 inches on the ground and 3-4 foot drifts throughout the yard and driveway. Without that wind the other night, who knows how much we would have on the ground.

I braved the roads and went to work today, mostly to get out from under a toddler for a little while...but ironically, I was the only person who showed up (eventually a few others filed in). I had even come armed with cookies for the road warriors, but wound up eating my own cookies with my morning coffee... and running around the office for people out of the office who needed this or that.

Ian went to school too, although they opened late and closed early. So few kids showed up today that they had everyone in one big room. Ian loved it and Shawn said he was off and playing before he even had his coat off. He did have another bloody nose today, this time in the other nostril, but again, it didn't slow him down and hasn't progressed into anything worse than the bleeding. Once we warm up later this week, I'll be interested to see how he does.

We're forecasted to have cold temps through Christmas and another round of snow for Christmas Eve, so no matter what, Ian will have a White Christmas this year, even if there are no flakes on Thursday.

He has taken to the snow great over the past few days, but I can't keep those mittens on for the life of me. He thinks it's absolutely hilarious to throw them off and stomp them into the snow. I plan to sew a cord so I can keep them from falling in the snow, but the keeping them on part or getting his thumbs to go in the right place... Well, I imagine it's as hard as potty training or transitioning to a big boy bed. Ugg.

Below are some pictures of our time out in the snow today. Ian would have stayed outside, but again, his hands were cold and his nose was still having issues. We tried to make a snowman, but the snow was too dry, so we stuck to bricks and snowballs, which turned out to be just fine with Ian.

Having a good time throwing his mittens in the snow

Helping dad dig out the driveway... for the 3rd time in 2 days!

Making snow bricks

Brick and snowball makers... Ian's early Christmas gifts.

Checking out his first snowball

He liked the snowballs...but was quick to point out that they were cold. Just like a boy, these didn't last long...He was doing "Hi Yah" kicks and smashing them as quickly as I could make them.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Day After

As expected the storm we had yesterday was a doozie... but we didn't get the winds they predicted. We stayed at a fairly constant 50MPH from about 8pm to 6am or so, with gusts in the 60's and 70's. We didn't get the 90MPH expected. Beside one or two gusts that made me wonder about the strength of our windows, it was the normal house shaking earthquake like tremors we're used to.

We looked out the window at one point around 10pm and couldn't see the sidewalk a few feet away. It was a total whiteout. We lost power at about 9:30, it came on at about 11, and then went out a few minutes later. Thankfully, it came on for good at about 6am. When I went down to reset the thermostat, it read 41 degrees...In the house. Thankfully, Ian's room stays the warmest and he was wearing his thickest blanket sleeper. Polli was with us and was acting as a portable heater under the covers at the bottom of the bed.

Shawn went out to assess the damage once things had died down and it was apparent we'd had a wild night (outside, that is). While we didn't have any structural or property damage, the wind gusts caused major snow drifts. We get them anytime we have a snow and wind mix, but not to this extent. There were some parts of the yard under 3 or 4 feet of snow, while some areas were blown clean. Shawn spent 2 hours digging a path to our gate and clearing out the several feet of snow around our vehicles in the driveway. I've attached a couple of pics of the drifts.

If Ian were not socked in with a bad cold, we would have been out making a snowman, but he's pretty stuffy, so I didn't want to take any chances. I did bundle him up for a few minutes, but because he refuses to wear his mittens, and the wind chill had us in single digit temps, we only stayed out for maybe 5 minutes.

Upon coming back in, I ran warm water in the bathroom sink and let him splash around with his tractors. It helped warm his hands and we didn't have the attitude issues of the other day... I think my mom was right. His hands probably burned from the drastic temperature change and it made him cranky.

Having a bad case of mom overload, I left at naptime for the gym. The roads weren't great and I hit blizzard conditions as I got closer to my gym... but I was determined to have a couple of hours alone. I'd been cooped up with a 2 year old for 4 days and I was starting to get pretty irritable.

Shortly after I arrived home, Ian was coloring and I was doing some work... I looked up to see a steady stream of blood coming from his nose onto the carpet and coloring book. I'd never seen a nose run so long and so red. We got it under control with a couple of recurrences, so I'm hoping he is OK for the night. He had woken this morning with tons of dried blood in his crib and on his hands & face, so I think the temp extremes and dry air inside are getting to him. I called the pediatrician and talked to "the real thing". He gave us a few tips, but otherwise said not to be too alarmed. He isn't running a fever, has full energy, and is otherwise unaffected by the bloody noses. I do worry a little for his already low iron levels, but I'll address that with his doc next week unless things get worse.

Below are a handful of pics from today, the day after... and possibly the first of many "days after" the way things are going. Someone must have wished for a White Christmas... and the wrath came down on us for such a crazy suggestion.

The spot Shawn is standing in is normally 2 steps down to the walkway.

It's probably close to 4 feet at it's highest point... without the BBQ, it would have been right up to the house.

Another good drift. Almost up to the windows.

To give perspective, our fence is 8 feet tall... I haven't checked, but now that I look at it I think this is covering our dryer vent.

Shawn tried out one of Ian's Christmas presents, a snow brick maker, to establish a marker for the edge of the porch...since we couldn't tell otherwise.

When he couldn't feel the ground, he got a little scared...But at least he wore his mittens for a few minutes.

Throwing his mittens was hysterical... until we got inside and his hands started stinging. Mine hurt like heck, so I can't imagine how his felt.

Digging out the walkway with Daddy & Polli. You can tell he was about ready to go inside.

Talking to Grama on the phone. He told her all about the snow outside.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Calm Before the Storm

This may be my last post for a few days as we are forecasted to have another, BIGGER storm come in tomorrow. Where some places might receive a few inches to a few FEET of snow, we probably won't get much additional accumulation. Why? Because we sit at the foothills of the Cascade mountains and we're forecasted to have sustained winds of 50-65 Miles Per Hour with gusts between 75-90 MPH and higher. YIKES!

We are so used to wind here that the 50 MPH estimate doesn't bother us. That's what we normally get for gusts on a regular basis from October to March. Gusts coming every minute or so and howl through the downspouts, shake the windows...and in effect make you feel like the roof might come off at anytime. At that speed, we can hear the wind shoot through the mountain pass and right at us like a freight train. It actually sounds like a train. I could give you a whole lesson on the air pressure in the Easterly wind combined with warmer air this side of the mountains, as it shoots through the pass...but I want to hang onto my few viewers, so I'll spare you the science.

Anyway, the strongest we've had since building our house was in 2003, our first winter here, when we hit 75MPH. That windstorm downed countless trees, knocked out power, and caused general mayhem in our still under construction community. There was roofing and construction materials rolling down the street, lawn chairs,fence panels, bbq covers, garbage cans, etc., basically travelling at freeway speeds down the residential streets. That was 70ish wind. What will 90 do? Thank goodness we don't have levees to worry about. We're at 1000 feet elevation.If only we could build a wind farm up here. We'd solve all of Obama's energy problems.

The next question is "why don't we have a generator?". Well, after several major outages in our almost 6 years here, we've decided we don't need one yet. Truthfully, most people who buy $300 generators at Home Depot expect it to allow them life-as-usual, which it will not. The model we would want is way out of our price range right now (a trip to Maui in September is more important). Not sure what it will take to convince us...Maybe a major outage with a 2 year old? Probably.

So today, after 2 days cooped up with a toddler, Ian and I ventured out to go see Santa. Surprisingly, we were only 3rd in line, but I was a little disillusioned at the matter of fact way they got us in and out of there. It was a great looking Santa, but he didn't interact with the kids at all. They basically put him on Santa's lap, snapped the picture, then put him down. No asking what he wanted for Christmas, no Merry Christmas...Nothing. Not even any kid to Santa eye contact. I was P.O.'d. I was even more perturbed when I went to pay and it was $50 for the smallest picture package and we won't receive the pictures in the mail for at least another week...That would be after Christmas. I didn't even get a chance to preview the pictures before deciding if they were good enough to pay $50 for. Apparently, they use regular film and they claim it generates a higher quality picture. I so don't believe that. Last year, Ian got his Santa picture in Arizona, and although the Santa looked like he just finished doing pull tabs at the local tavern before starting his Santa shift, it cost $20 and we had our pictures in 5 minutes...and it served it's purpose. These things better be damn good. Can you tell I'm ticked? Especially since we drove on frozen roads to get there. Ugg. OK. I feel better now.

We didn't play in the snow today because Ian is really congested after his outings yesterday. Probably the most congested I've heard him since we picked him up in China. I definitely don't want it to form into an ear or respiratory infection, so we're staying inside for now. Especially with the expected winds, I'm not willing to play around.

Needless to say, I didn't get any pictures today, and I wanted badly to post a couple of video clips from yesterday's snow play...but Blogger is just not cooperating and 3 hours later, I still can't get them to upload. I'll post them as soon as I can figure out what's going on. Wish us luck as we brave our hurricane tomorrow. Hopefully it's a big false alarm and we'll be laughing at our liar liar weathermen on Monday.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow Day!

For Seattle, it has been super cold here... In the teens and 20's at night... for over a week now. The threat of a large snowstorm has been looming and we've had 2 false alarms, but today was a big day. It snowed all night with a break in the morning and then from about noon to 6. Most major roads were impassable or a complete nightmare, so I worked from home and kept Ian home from school to avoid getting on the road with complete idiots.

Last year, we had a couple of small snow events and neither went well. I've posted a couple of pics below of Ian's first exposure to the elements.

We went out right after he woke up this morning. Two clothing layers, a snow suit, a puffy jacket, boots, hat... and NO mittens. He refused in a big way. I decided to let it go to prevent associating snow with a big traumatic fit. He did great! He wasn't ready to roll around in it or anything, but he wasn't scared either, which is stark contrast from last year. He didn't like getting his hands wet and cold, but I don't blame him.

He was a bit of a pill after we came in the house and got out of all the snow gear. I think he was overstimulated from the new experience. We hung out in the house the rest of the morning, and since his speech therapy session was cancelled due to the weather, we did some exercises to make up for it. We have these Brain Quest flash cards geared toward expanding vocabulary and speech expression and he really likes them. We also read 3 full I Spy books, which he also loves.
With the weather worsening, Shawn headed home from work and after naptime, we geared up again and all headed over to the park across the street with Ian's early Christmas present, a sled. I'm so glad we bought it well in advance of the forecasts. I'm sure the stores are sold out now. The park across the street from us has a huge hill that is the highlight for the kids in our community. I imagine they dream all year about one opportunity to conquer that hill. The pictures just don't do justice to the grade of the hill. I went down a small section and it was a blast. There were kids going from top to bottom and catching air halfway down. I can't wait until Ian is old enough to really enjoy it.

Again, he refused to wear mittens, but he likes his hat, so we decided to let him go without something on his hands. I can't imagine how cold he was by the time we got home. It snowed hard the entire time we were out so we were only out in it for about 20 minutes. Again, we had a major attitude when we got in the house. He wasn't upset that we came in. He was just crabby...Throwing things, not listening, etc. I'm pretty sure it was just overload from processing a new experience. Practice makes perfect!

It has stopped snowing, but it's down in the high teens and low 20's tonight and highs expected in the 20's tomorrow...then snow again Saturday night into Sunday. Grandma Trish will not be risking her hide to drive out to stay with Ian tomorrow, so I will be taking the day off to hang with the little guy. Shawn will be working from home and is then off for the next 2 weeks.

I don't know how I'll do it, but I need to get Ian to see Santa in the next few days. Like everything else lately, I'm really pushing the envelope in terms of time. At some point I'll change...unless I decide to put that off, too!

Enjoy some pics of our fun snow day...and some early Christmas presents!

Such a different little guy from last year's snow. Same jacket and snowpants, though!

His hands got cold and we went inside pretty quickly...But he had a great time kicking the snow and following Polli around the yard.

This was what I dealt with when we came back inside. A big time tantrum for some unknown reason. Gladly, it didn't last long.

Heading out in his new ride.
The park was hoppin'. One day he'll be one of those kids sailing down the hill and screaming the whole way.
Mittens or no mittens, he was having fun.
Heading home. It was snowing hard and his hands were cold. We'll give it another go tomorrow.
He's finally taller than Polli!
He loves to balance on things...and really likes to touch the ceiling for some reason. Could his ancestors be famous Chinese acrobats?
A neighbor recycled an old toy to us... we really should have put it under the tree, but it was fun to see him interested in something other than his train set for once.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Another Hodgepodge Weekend

We had a pretty blah week last week with just a routine day in and day out. Things picked up over the weekend though, and we had a lot of fun. Considering we were socked in a bit because of the cold, snow, and ice, we actually accomplished a lot (It's been in the 20's and super cold...yes, we're wimps. That's actually really cold for us). I even managed to log about 5 hours wrapping presents off Ian's radar (and I'm not quite done yet).

Yesterday, Shawn had an early hockey game and we decided it was a perfect opportunity to show him hockey in real life. He loves to watch on TV with Shawn, so we were looking forward to letting him see daddy play. Shawn fell once (only once) and Ian said "Daddy fall down. Daddy's crying, huh?". I told him "no, daddy's not crying. Hockey players don't cry when they fall down because it doesn't hurt. Daddy's happy he gets to play with the hockey puck". He understood and was riveted to the game from then on.

Another cute anecdote from the weekend: We were standing in the TV room window watching the wind "play" in the bamboo. A group of crows flew by and Ian asked sadly, "where crows go?". I told him the crows were going home for breakfast, and then asked him "what do you think crows eat for breakfast?" He answered quickly and matter of factly: "Chicken".

Tomorrow, I have an appointment with the school district to prepare for Ian's transition from state funded "birth to 3" speech services to the public school system. I personally think 3 is a little young to be a ward of the public school district's decisions, but it is what it is. I'm interested to see if they will be advocates for him as much as his current therapist has been.

I'm hoping to get him to see Santa this week. We'll see if I can squeeze it in. I'm not looking forward to doing it on the weekend. Anyone who has stood in line with a 2 year old for any length of time understands.

See below for some great pictures of our weekend:

Check out that hair... Definitely not the baby with the receding hairline in our first pictures of him.

Yesterday, Ian asked over and over again to "go lay down". I took his temperature, gave him Ibuprofen, and worried like crazy. In the end, he just wanted to lay down.

He told us twice "change diaper!", and "poopy!". We looked and nothing was happening, but a few minutes later, it was clear that he was actually trying to tell us that something was ABOUT to happen!

Sitting on the potty is a real headache!

It's not what you think... This is actually the face we get when we ask him to smile.

I love this picture. He looks so grown up.

I'm gutsy enough to post a picture of myself with no makeup on... Yikes!

OK.. Now I have my face on. Ian actually took this picture. Not bad!

Ian's new hat. He did a great job of keeping it on, but he looks like he's ready to jump in a low rider. Show some respect, hommes!

Watching his first hockey game! He watched the whole time but especially liked the "hockey rink tractor"... the zamboni.

Having fun at the hockey rink. He was right at home.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ian Gets Published!

A couple of months ago, I received a call from someone at our agency asking if they could feature Ian (and Shawn & I) in their quarterly magazine. I gave an interview answering about a million questions, and received a rough draft last month.

The issue arrived today! Click on the image below for a better look at the article, or go to our agency's PDF version of the entire magazine. Ian is on page 7.

This will be cool to have in his memory box for future reminiscing.

From The Boy and the Bulldog

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ian Gets Domesticated

This weekend, Ian wasn't quite the wild animal he usually is. He's been fighting a bit of a cold the past week and slowed down ever so slightly.

In addition to his gingerbread house adventures of Thursday, this weekend, Ian helped me make ice cream, did laundry, made playdoh creations, and organized his markers...among other things.

We went to the mall on Saturday and even with both Shawn and I, we quickly realized that shopping cannot be done with a 2 year old and no stroller (which gathers cobwebs in the garage). Five minutes in William Sonoma proved that the mall at Christmas time is no place for a toddler. We quickly escaped to the "kid's cove" play area and let him loose. I take back all the nasty things I said last year about the Bellevue Square engineers. They are slowly redeeming themselves. They added a parking lot elevator exactly where I needed them to and have done a better job of configuring ramps inside the mall....all conveniently in time for Ian to graduate from his stroller. I guess I shouldn't be so picky.

Once we arrived at the play area, Shawn sent me down to the coffee shop for a couple of mochas and I promptly put his wallet in my front pocket. I checked several times in the next hour and it was there...very secure. Another hour and several stops later, I checked again and turned to Shawn saying "I gave you back your wallet, right?". No, I hadn't. We retraced our steps, including the bathroom stall and kid play area (not an easy task). Our final desperate stop was at the mall's customer services desk...where Shawn's wallet waited, completely untouched. Who is that lucky this time of year?

Slightly deflated from our holiday cheer, we left the mall and headed to Red Robin for dinner. Ian was great through dinner and ate every bite of his food (with the help of some ranch dressing...a boy after his aunt Kristen's heart). It was a great day, despite the wallet incident. Good things do happen occasionally!

Ian's tunnel system was delivered to the wrong address, so I am desperately trying to track it down and get it back. Thanks to aerial map software, I know the exact house in our neighborhood and plan to knock on their door tomorrow asking for the gigantic 35 pound box that they accepted from FedEx in error. I will do anything and everything to have that sucker under the tree on Christmas morning (if not for Ian, for us grown up kids!).

Below are a few pictures of Ian doing things around the house this weekend. If all goes well, we plan to take him to one of Shawn's hockey games next Sunday! I can't wait to see what he thinks of a real hockey game. Otherwise, it's a super plain week ahead. I hope to plan so Christmas-y crafts for him this week... so continues the force feeding of Christmas! One day he'll get it (and will be asking for much more than a wooden car from the Target dollar bin, so I should count my lucky stars).

Ian knows it's important to scrape the sides

Trying another batch of peppermint ice cream... both batches turned out bad. Ian thought it was fun, though!

Playdough mayhem...all before dad was out of bed! Sundays are so much fun!

I guess anything can be a pretend telephone

He loves to move clothes from the washer to the dryer (except for undies...he always says YUCK! and moves them with one finger)

Helping fold... so very helpful

Organizing his markers. Before he was done, he had them strung all the way across the living room...all by himself!

Helping me with paper crafts. Who lets their kids play with a paper cutter? Me! Good thing our last social worker visit was Friday!

Rubber stamps are fun!

He was sad because he couldn't get the cars off the page of a magazine, so I had him go through and point to things he would want to play with and we cut out the pictures to give to Santa.