Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Let Summer Begin!

What a gorgeous week ahead of us! We'll be in the high 70's to mid 80's through the holiday weekend, which is gorgeous for us. We're gearing up this week for Shawn's departure for Honduras on Friday. For those concerned about his safety there, he is not going to the main part of the country which is in political unrest. He is going to the outlying island of Roatan, which is safe. I'm not exactly sure how he'll get from the airport, but the State Department has assured him that travel to Roatan is safe.

While Shawn and I scramble to get everything done before he leaves, Ian has a fairly normal week ahead. Shawn hopes to take him out of school early tomorrow to take him to REI for a sleeping bag. We've promised he can have one for his big boy bed, which will be assembled on Saturday. He is most excited about pillows in the shapes of a truck and bus, which he picked out at Pottery Barn last week. He asks daily when he gets his pillows and sleeping bag. I can't wait to report how he does in his first nights.

We're hoping he'll have a chance to see his cousins Cade and Taylor again, from Fairbanks, before they head home next week. We're thinking of meeting for a picnic at a local park on Friday morning. If not, I plan to take him to the zoo, which would be fun. It's been a year since his last zoo trip!

I've been doing a lot of hiking this month, finishing June with 52 miles hiked! I joined a Women's 30's & 40's hiking group a month ago and was asked to be an organizer within days. I've organized 6 hikes so far and have several scheduled for July and August. The organizing is as much or more work than the actual hike. I always have a ton of fun once we get hiking, but the job of corralling a dozen or more women is pretty tiring. I am undecided whether I'll continue organizing long term or will just develop a group of friends from it and pair up from that smaller group. We'll see.

Shawn has been doing as much diving as possible in prep for his week in Roatan with his brother, Matt. I hope they have a great time. It will be Shawn's first tropical dive eventhough he has become fanatical about diving and underwater photography here in the Northwest. He is convinced that learning in our cold waters will prepare him to be a better warm water diver. All I care about is that he comes home safe and gets a lot of great pictures!

Below are some pics from the past weekend, mostly from Ian's stayover at Grandma Trish & Grandpa Tom's house. He had a blast with Cade and Taylor. There are also a couple of "around the house" pics. Shawn saw a Cat In The Hat hat and had to buy it. Ian was not a fan, but allowed us a few pictures before flinging it across the room. I also put him back in the bathroom sink so I could get a "then/now" picture. Amazing how much he's grown! I don't even remember him being that small.

Hopefully we'll get some good sunshine pictures this week. Ian's strawberry plant has fruit and we're just waiting for them to turn red.

Hanging out with cousins Cade and Taylor

Is it just me or does Ian look a lot like the alien? Nice socks, Taylor!

So when Ian is playing and says "Let's drink wine Glug Glug Glug"... I know where that comes from! Good going Grandma!

Ian & Cade

Not really what I was hoping for when I dropped him off! No wonder Grandma asked for a medical card.

Learning to ride a scooter. This one has training wheels. Cool.

I think I know now why he was so over stimulated when I picked him up on Saturday! Whee!

Reading bedtime stories

Wearing his new Cat In The Hat

Sitting in Shawn's bathroom sink in December 07 (20 months) and now (3 years+) It's hard to believe how much he's changed!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Little Tree Hugger

Again with the radio silence! It has become apparent to me that time just goes... and the longer Ian is home, the harder it is to find time to post frequently about things that are not just our day to day living. How much of that I want the general public to read, I haven't decided. As many of my bloggy friends have done recently, I am considering moving our blog to a private status and opening it up to family, friends, and acquaintances...both virtual and IRL (in real life). I haven't completely made up my mind, as I still average about 300 hits a week, but since 200 of those might be from my mother, I can't really tell if Ian and Polli still have a genuine following.

Once I make up my mind, I will give ample warning and opportunity to send my info to stay "on the list".

As for Ian and Polli adventures, we had another plain ol vanilla week...which I consider successful. Not a ton of fanfare, but not much drama either, which I am happy about. I am super busy with a growing workload, becoming more and more involved in hiking groups, and preparing for Shawn's departure to Roatan, Honduras to scuba dive with his brother, Matt. They leave on the 4th and come home on the 12th. That prep is more mental than anything. I will essentially be a single mom for that week and wonder how we'll handle it. I am considering a "soup/salad/breadsticks" type menu for the entire week to make life easier. A couple of big salads and a crockpot of soup and I should be left with only a couple of days that will require cooking. Lord knows Ian would eat soup, noodles, and rice 3 meals a day indefinitely, so this should only be a test for me.

I will also be without workout or hiking capabilities, which might be the hardest adjustment for me. I am strategically planning to take a day off work to give myself a reprieve, but work schedules requiring training might foil that plan. We shall see. I've also secretly eyed my sick time stockpile in case I decide to have a "sick attitude" day, but I would like that to be my last resort...as in, if I need to talk myself off a cliff, or something.

This week, Polli went on her first hike, a relatively flat and easy 3 miles, with only 900 feet of elevation gain. She did great but was visibly tired by the end. She had a fellow 4 legged hiker, a Chihuahua named Muscles, which helped keep her moving at a good pace the entire time. She was less than enthusiastic to jump on and off the bed the next day, so I think she was sore. I need to search to see if dogs can have ibuprofen in case that's helpful in her recovery next time. I don't have any of her pics on this post; they're on a different computer. I'll post those another day.

Yesterday, I decided to take Ian on his first hike! We did the "Tradition Lake Loop" at Tiger Mountain, which is technically 1.5 miles, but we stopped halfway. We still hiked almost a mile total, and he only asked to be carried once. He pretended that he was scared of stumps suddenly, but I know he was just zeroing in on what would make me pick him up. Genuine fears or pain are the two biggies. Just being tired isn't high up on my list. I told him that I would carry him this time, but if he wants to go on hikes with mommy, he must walk all the way. He reiterated that "babies don't go hiking, only big kids", to which I asked "which are you, a baby or a big kid?" and he very seriously answered "I'm NOT a baby, I'm only a big kid. Big kids walk, huh?". "Yep". "OK. I'll walk now".

As we reached the parking lot (and refusing to hold my hand) he darted out into the driveway without looking, barely missed by a car entering from the other side. I reached out and grabbed him by the top of his arm and yanked him back. It scared him more than anything, but he lost it. Owie Owie Owie! We got to the car and I got down to his level and very sternly (if not a little too loudly) told him that he almost got hit by a car and must always look both ways first. Never do that again!". All business, I placed him in his car seat, not realizing the crotch buckle was bent upward. Another round of Owies. He said, "Mommy, you smashed my junk in the seat. You need to settle down right now!". So, I did need to settle down. I also heard in his voice what I must sound like sometimes. Uggh. I didn't like it. My emotions were obviously running high, too. We had good cuddles and kisses... I was sorry/he was sorry... We agreed to go to Panera for soup to make us happy again.

He reminded me over and over that he was "sad at hiking", but I reminded him about all the fun we had before the parking lot, and within a few hours (and a big bowl of broccoli cheddar) he had forgotten about the parking lot and was again remembering the bugs, moss, and overall hiking good times. When I asked if he wanted to go again, he was very excited about "hiking another place, too!".

Probably more than anything, he liked drinking from my Camelbak. They make them for toddlers and small children now, so I might just break down and buy him one.

I actually have a handful of things to scan and post, plus some before/after stuff to do, so I'm not completely bored with blogging. There might just be a little left in me.

Checking out the trail signs. 1.5 miles? No way!

Taking it all in. There was a lot of looking up on the trail.

Trying out my backpack and water reservoir. He loved drinking from it... and I have no idea how much 3 year old backwash I ended up drinking. Yuck!

Pretty proud of himself after he got to pee in the bushes. No outhouse needed out here!

Enjoying the scenery

Posing with a big mature fir. He proclaimed that "trees are our friends!"

My little Tree Hugger!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Long Time No See!

Im back...well sort of. As you can see, I have some built in grammatical issues stemming from my laptop drama. I reinstalled the OS twice, updated drivers, waited for parts from Dell, and still I have issues with my keyboard. My apostrophe/quote key sticks (i.e. doesnt work except to spontaneously type apostrophes any time it wants). I am waiting for a replacement keyboard to fix that issue, but I can at least function now and finally get an update posted!

Ironically, there isnt a ton to say. We had a fairly normal work/school week last week with Friday being the highlight. Grandma Trish was in Minnesota visiting family, so Shawn and I split the day with Ian. Shawn took him in the AM, then dropped him off at my office and we made the rounds, then enjoyed my companys first of several employee Summer BBQs. We were able to visit some of my coworkers who havent seen him for a year or more and had a few snacks to boot. It was a lot of fun.

On Saturday, I took Ian and Polli to the dog park, ran a ton of errands, and hung around the neighborhood parks. We have had no measurable rain in the Seattle area for 26 days. If it stays dry through tomorrow, we will break an all time record for dry May/June weather.

Sunday, I was leading a hike in the morning while Shawn and Ian slept in and did lazy things in the yard. Overall, the weekend went fast but was the perfect mix of busy and lazy. Just like I like it.

Yesterday (Monday), I led another hike and missed Ians bedtime. When I came home, I found a big box in the living room decorated like a boat. As it turns out, this was the one and only toy Shawn and Ian played with all evening. If only my Ian shifts were so easy!

Were about 2 weeks until Shawn leaves for his dive trip to Rotan, Honduras. During that time, I should also have some of my busiest work schedule all year. Great timing! Hopefully, we all come out unscathed...especially since this is also the week I plan to move Ian to a big boy bed. We have promised him a sleeping bag in his bed when we switch and he is very excited about camping in his bed.

Below are just some of the many pictures that have been backing up since my last picture post. Enjoy!

Enjoying diner food one day last week. How nutritious...Fries and Mac/Cheese!

I love these sleeping in the car pics. They never get old.

Playing with a new puzzle game. He has to take the different shapes and match them to the cards. I love these kinds of toys.

This kid is so limber. I cant waint to get him into a gymnastics class.

Chatting with daddy

Big thumbs up from Ian. He actually left his hat on for 30 minutes. Shocking. I told him he had to wear a hat outside in Maui. I think he can do it.

Playing with a boy at the park. He only spoke Chinese and it only took Ian a few minutes before he was babbling Chinese gibberish to the kid. I was shocked. I dont think he was saying anything, but he was making the right tones. Amazing.

Ian getting in a good workout in the garage.

Moving on to the weights

Getting unauthorized candy from my friend Oscar. He picked the Nerds.

Hanging out with my friend Brandon. They both look so trendy.

Posing with my manager, Jeff. Amazing to see how much he has grown since their last photo op together.

Getting to work in a managers office.

On the walkpath outside my office. We walked to the park and back (OK, I carried him most of the way).

Hard to see, but our groundcover was full of bumblebees.

So glad we got great blooms this year. It looks pretty cool against all the green.

At the dog park

Watering the bamboo

Splashing in a puddle. Whee!

Row row row your boat! Way to be creative, daddy!

Ians Boat
...That dad made at Dads Shipyard
He ate and played in this thing for hours.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Technical Difficulties

I have to apologize for radio silence. I've had major laptop problems for the past several days. That normally just means composing from a different computer, but my pictures are ALL conveniently located on this laptop, and my backups don't have the newest pics yet. Ah, got to love technology. We depend on it way too much, but it pays the bills so I can't do too much complaining.

As a synopsis before I can post pictures, I'll just say that the weekend was somewhat uneventful and eventful at the same time. Our heat wave snapped on Friday, giving us some much needed relieve from the very hot weather we had been having. For some of the country, 90's is no big deal, but here, it's a bit of a shock and houses aren't built with A/C, so you can begin to understand our ranting & raving. It was almost too drastic of a transition though, dropping almost 30 degrees in one day (actually in just a couple of hours), and now the colds and allergies are kicking in around here. I am already missing the heat...don't know when it will be back.

Saturday, Ian and I went to get Shawn's Father's Day present... as long as no one tells him (and he doesn't venture here for the next 2 weeks), I can leak that we went to a "paint yourself pottery" place....and when I say "paint yourself" I mean it both ways. These places are an absolute practical joke. $20 for a coffee cup...granted, I know it will be a priceless piece of art to cherish forever and ever... but Oh My God. What a fiasco. All Ian wanted to do was go around and touch every blank piece of pottery. He was also just not that into the painting process. If this were a "build your own train track" store, we would have been there all day. This was just not his thing. The family at the table next to us had 2 girls, about 6 and 9... well, those girls were sitting quietly painting unicorns and picture frames while Ian ran the store, threatening to wipe $1k+ of blanks with one sweep of his arm. I was in a sweat the entire time.

In the end, I think they will turn out great. The brushes they had didn't really allow for writing well, so the word Daddy probably really will look like a 3 year old painted it. In the end, I know the sentiment will be what matters.

OK, so put your secret keeping hats on. No telling.

Sunday, we spent the morning sleeping in...yes! I told Ian the night before that when he wakes up the next day, it's OK to play quietly in his crib as long as he wants, but to stay quiet for a while so Mommy & Daddy can have extra sleep. It worked! He slept until 9am, at which time we went in and he was sitting with his toys. He looked up and said "Mommy, did you sleep extras?". It was really cute. Maybe this big boy bed thing will go OK. My days are numbered. I plan to do that while Shawn is in Honduras...he leaves on the 4th!

Later that morning, I left to go on a hike and Shawn/Ian had the day together. I arrived home about 4 hours later and he was still down for his nap, so I had a little extra time to clean up and rest before dinner.

In all, it was a good weekend. Just enough activity to keep from getting bored, but enough rest to keep from feeling like we were cheated out of our weekend.

As soon as my laptop stops throwing fits, I'll post pics.

Oh, and as an FYI, Ian's attitude did improve when the weather cooled down... although he still freaks out when Polli runs ahead of him on the stairs or outside. Grandma Trish had the right idea: She told him that it's OK because Polli has 4 legs and he has 2, so she's faster. He wasn't buying it... We still have a little work to do on that issue.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Theatrical Threes

I'm not sure how we thought we'd be so lucky, but we actually thought we skipped right past the terrible twos. We're so naive!

We are smack dab in the middle of the "theatrical threes". It's a real joy at our house...either genuinely or sarcastically. One minute he's my priceless child that I adore and want to be with more than any other living thing on the planet. The next minute (and I really do mean the next minute) I want as far away from him as possible. The kind of far away where it would be paradise to be dropped in the middle of the desert with no food or water.

It's not just me. I received a call from his teacher on Thursday saying Ian had been great all week and then suddenly hit a wave of aggression and started hitting and throwing things without the ability to calm him. By the time I reached the school to address the issue, he was once again smiling and happy, playing peacefully with his friends.

In my heart (and somewhere up there in my brain, as useless as it feels in these situations) I know this is all normal. At least he's still an excellent sleeper (I probably just jinxed myself!!). I also know it will pass or no one would have kids that live past the age of 3 or 4 (this will pass won't it? Lie if you have to!).

I'm allowing myself to blame it all in part by the heat we've had recently. We've had 20 days of no rain (rare for May/June in Seattle) and over a week of 80's, with it hitting the high 90's for 3 days straight. That's highly unusual and has everyone in love with summer and hating it already, all at the same time. Also unusual. He is eating less, not getting nearly enough liquids (says the stubborn potty trainer). Our house is a tad too warm and it's not as much fun to be outside without something cool nearby. Today was about 20 degrees cooler and he was noticeably easier to deal with. Part of that could be that it was Grandma Trish Friday, but I'll give the cooler weather a little of the credit, too.

On the bright side of things, I've joined a mom's group for our community and although almost every child centered event happens at 10am on a weekday (uggh to you SAHM's who can't compromise!), they actually do a pretty good job of planning parent specific events, such as a monthly poker night alternating mom's only, dad's only, and couples only with babysitting teams available at certain homes on the couples night. Nice. I've RSVP'd already for the mom's poker night and can't wait. I know none of these ladies, but I figure if I can make almost best friends with complete strangers in other states, I can adapt to a house full of poker playing, martini drinking women that live in my very neighborhood. We've been here for over 6 years and I've probably passed every one in the store or at Starbucks... time to get to know some people, I think.

I don't have a ton of pics now, but Ian and I are planning a special outing tomorrow while daddy is out scuba diving. I'll talk about it more once I have all confidentiality waivers signed and returned.

For now, please take note of how quickly the moods of my child change these days. The first is just a cute shot to make you say "AWWW", kind of a palate cleanser before the other side of him slaps you in the face.

Awww... He looks so peaceful! Sometimes he still looks so tiny, like we're still in China. If only I could freeze time.

Having a good laugh about something. (This was on haircut day...way shorter than I wanted her to go! What part of "just above the eyebrows is hard to understand??).

Literally the next camera shot. Might have been 10 seconds after the previous picture. I have no idea what changed the mood. I might have touched him with my foot or refused to make up an impromptu song about cameras.

Happy again. Looking out at his newly planted strawberry plants. He likes to visit them while he eats dinner.

Maybe the strawberries looked at him funny...or maybe it's gas. Don't know.

Giggling again, and a mouth full of something.

Moments later...Fun's over

Monday, June 1, 2009

Outdoor Adventures

I’ve been warned that my lack of blogging is becoming a major problem that might require severe action. I’m sorry! We’ve had such gorgeous weather these past 2 weeks that it’s hard to sit still long enough to write an entry. Oddly enough, we’ve fallen into a sunshiny routine that doesn’t really include much to write about. For the most part, our week days are: walk to pick up Ian from school, come home to see Polli, leave for another walk, come home for dinner, go for another walk, come home for bath & bedtime. As boring as that sounds, it’s really great. Ian is happiest when “on the trail”, being the sidewalk, and it burns his unending supply of energy.

I do feel like we’re going through the Terrible Twos right now. I guess that makes it the Terrible Threes…but he is just getting on my last nerve constantly with some of his absolutely normal behavior. It's not horrible, just really exhausting.
“Why?” is the question of the minute. He also wants me to make up songs for everything “mommy, sing the ‘car’ song”. “Sing the ‘leaf’ song”….etc., etc. He wants me to “talk to yourself”, in which I break into a full dialogue with myself about what we’re doing at that moment or where we’re going. Mind numbing, to say the least.

Beyond all that cuteness, he is getting some habits that I don’t like. He started calling himself a “dirtball”, which I do not like at all. I know he doesn't know what it means, but still. Next is "poopyhead" or worse. He must have picked it up at school, but he also could have gotten it from a game he and Shawn play where he says “I’m a dingaling”. Fabulous. He also throws gigantic MAJOR over the top tantrums for the tiniest reasons lately… Polli cannot go down or up the stairs in front of him. He has to have snacks or prizes on demand. He wants my attention 100% and IMMEDIATELY regardless of what I’m doing… Yes, I know. Still very normal.

As bad as I make it sound, it’s not so bad. He is still an easy breezy kid. He is generally happy “most” of the time, and since starting his new school, has gotten extremely creative and playful. He enjoys other kids more than ever, and even just yesterday, said in the backyard “I hear Joey’s mommy” (Joey is a 5 year old 3 houses down) “Maybe we can go see if they can play with toys right now”. So, before I know it, he will be asking to go to his friend’s houses….riding bikes up and down the street. Getting scrapes and big owies. Mystery gunk on his clothes. It’s all just around the corner. I guess for now, I should appreciate that he wants me by his side 24/7 and won’t let me leave the room for 2 seconds without asking “where’d mommy go?”. I should love it and cherish it, because it will be fleeting. All this I know.

While Shawn went diving on Thursday, I took Ian to Home Depot to get some “special plants”, and we went to REI and Panera as well. He loves REI and Panera more than anywhere. Panera is “the soup store” and REI is where the bikes are (and gummy bears). If we by chance need something at Target, it’s in the same lot and makes for the perfect trifecta of shopping… Ian’s 3 favorite places. While out, we picked up some strawberry plants to put in a pot in our backyard. At school, they planted strawberries and will watch them grow, bloom, then bud fruit. He came home talking about it and asked if he could have a “special plant”. I love that it interests him, so we picked up our own strawberry plants and he did a great job of helping me plant them. Of course, he wanted to know immediately where the strawberries were…and I had to explain that the plant is the mommy and she will grow babies that are the strawberries. He knows now that when the grow “big” and turn red, we can “eat’em, mmm” (complete with the belly rub). I sure hope they bear fruit or I’m in big trouble!

He finally figured out that he can stand up and walk around the back of my car. Now, he requires that I let him out of his car seat so he can get out through the back. It took a little convincing that he couldn’t go back there while I’m driving, but it sure gave me flashbacks of riding in our station wagon growing up!

Also keeping me busy is my own new obsession, hiking. My big crazy goal is to actually do a hike/climb up Mt. Rainier by the time I turn 40 (4 years), but most people look at me like I’ve totally lost it. I know it sounds crazy, as a relative beginner hiker, but I think it is absolutely doable. Who knows how it will all turn out, especially since it directly coincides with my other goal of going back to school…but we shall see. My first real hike of the season was yesterday to Mt. Si, here in North Bend, WA. I’ve put a couple of pics down below, but to read the whole story and/or follow along as I attempt this crazy mission, your best bet is to RSS or bookmark my other blog, dedicated to me, rather than The Boy & The Bulldog. My other blog address: http://trailmixmom.blogspot.com/

Enjoy the pics below. I’ll try to post more often this month. Next month will get interesting as Shawn leaves for Rotan, Honduras on 7/4 with his brother for a scuba diving trip, then goes out of town again mid-July to Atlanta. I’m furious that I’m not going with him on that trip. I love Atlanta and have friends I want to see in that area. Maybe next time.

About to dart off in some unknown direction at Home Depot...all he wants to do is run in this place.

Watching for me as I went to get our food at Panera

Playing on "big kid bikes" at REI. Just a little more leg and he'll be ready. His tricycle is perfect training for this right now.

My future outdoorsman. He loves the tents and sleeping bags. In fact, I might get him a sleeping bag for his "big boy bed" as an incentive to stay in his room at night.
Thrilled with his purchases

Hanging out in the back of my car with his strawberry and tomato plants

Gardening is serious business

Getting into the dig of it

Mt. Rainier from the summit of Mt. Si yesterday

Me (with Rainier in the background) on Si yesterday. 8 miles round trip.