Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday run part II

It was a year ago that I was finally getting my running mojo back and taking a long run to celebrate my birthday and a gorgeous Sunday. And, it came to a quick end with a birthday fail. Not being able to run with a big splint, and then the rainy season, well it sort of put an end to my running until this summer. So, today was momentous. Not only did I successfully run that Sunday course that I haven’t run in a LONG time without breaking any bones, I also ran it without needing to stop every block to catch my breath. It’s good to have some semblance of pre-baby fitness back!.

Little S now walks about 95% of the time when she needs to get somewhere. As part of her independence, the other morning she decided she wasn’t going to wear what I had picked out for her. Instead, she picked out her own outfit


Pajama pants and a fleece sweatshirt-no shirt underneath.

We’ve also been wrestling with a couple of new teeth coming in on the bottom. Poor baby. They are so swollen it’s about half as tall as the tooth will be, but all swollen gums. Once we finally figure out that’s why she wasn’t sleeping and started loading her up with tylenol before bed, that’s helped immensely. However, some days she’s still a bit of a witch


I mean, she is riding her broomstick around, she must be a witch.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

enjoying the last days of summer

September is one of the best kept secrets about the Northwest. The weather is usually beautiful. Sunny days, cool night, little to no precipitation. While it’s been a little warmer then I would like, knowing the end of the sunshine is just around the corner, I’m keeping my comments to myself.

Grammie and Grampie are still visiting, so Little S has gotten outside a LOT for some exciting adventures.  Starting with a visit to the playground at Washington Park


It’s a dragon… no, maybe it’s a seahorse, or …?

She figured this little playground trick out too. Maybe it’s time for gymnastics lessons.

We also pushed our luck by keeping an already tired and overstimulated baby up to go to Chapman School to watch the Vaux’s Swifts nesting.  For the month of September, these birds take up residence in the chimney of a school. They number in the tens of thousands, and it’s the largest known roost of migrating swifts in the world. Once they started nesting there, years ago, the school kids took up a donation so the school could use alternate forms of heat so that nothing would happen to the birds.

This has become quite an event with hundreds and hundreds of people gathering on the lawn of the school on any given evening in September to watch the phenomenon. The closer it gets to sunset, more and more of these small birds start filling the sky IMG_1079

(all of those little specks are birds).  There’s high drama when a bird of prey swoops in to catch it’s dinner and the crowd collectively gasps in horror. Sometimes the swift wins, and the crowd cheers. Nature being what it is, sometimes the predator wins and the crowd is clearly crestfallen at the outcome.

As the thousands of birds start congregating, and it inches closer to sunset, the birds start forming this great, swirling vortex, sort of a bird tornado. At the bottom, swifts are diving into the chimney to nest for the evening.  We weren’t in the best location for photos, nor can any photo truly do this wondrous site justice. But, here are a couple of shots of the birds and if you look at the chimney, all of those black specks are birds flying into it.



Well, sunset is at about 7:15, and this all culminates around sunset and 10-20 minutes after. So, the fact that Little S wasn’t in complete meltdown was amazing. We paid at bedtime though, but this too shall pass.

Capping off her days of fun with Grammie and Grampie was a visit to yet another new playground-one at a shuttered elementary school nearby that is BIG and seemed like it had lots of features she would like. It didn’t disappoint. She showed off her climbing skills, scaling the grid as if it were nothing


Sliding down the big slides, and showing off her walking, which is slowly starting to become her primary method of transportation. Which allows her to discover other new tricks like this-which went on for quite some time as I fumbled for the camera

She’s really having a great time making new discoveries now that she can get herself from one point to another and remain upright. I’m sure flat out running is just a few days away.

We capped off this late summer day with a great dinner with Grammie and Grampie on their last night in town. Or what I’m sure was a great dinner, but Little S wanted NO part of being a civilized child in a restaurant. So, we went to the toy store and got some ice cream instead. That’s what to-go boxes are for, right?

She sure had a great time with her grandparents. It will be hard to top this outdoor fun when summer finally bids us adieu.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Racin’ for the Cure and other Sunday stories

I was very excited for Little S to be participating in her first 5K. Of course, I was the only one doing the running, but being a part of this event with 45,000 other participants all joining together for the same cause, it was an extra special first race.

The pictures aren’t that great, because after getting on the wrong train with about 3 million other people and arriving with only a few minutes to feed her and start, there just wasn’t the picture time I had hoped for. And afterwards? Well, keeping her in her stroller for almost two hours without a complete and utter meltdown was no small feat. I just didn’t have what it took to try for a photo op too.

Yes, that’s her very own race bib she’s wearing as she plans her race strategy.


As if that weren’t enough excitement, when we got home, Grammy and Grampy were here! The afternoon included a trip to the park for some walking


and balance drills on the teeter-totter.


With a beautiful, sunny, even HOT week ahead, we’ll be enjoying the best that September has to offer.

Friday, September 18, 2009

One Week

When you’re staring down the face of a Monday, and knowing the week is going to suck, it really sets the tone for the rest of the week.

I figured it was just having to work a couple of 12 hour days and all day Saturday. But that was okay because Sunday is going to be an exciting day and Little S’ Grampy and Grampy come to town for a few days visit, so I’ll take some time off next week to recover.

However, working a lot of hours was nothing compared to how the end of the week unfolded.

Thursday starts with a bang. Big S has to be to work early and I have to leave early to get to my office by bike. Make that all happen, and get into work to hear the awful news that my friend and co-worker had been hit on her bike on the ride home from work the night before and is in ICU. She’s talking, but pretty banged up. Feeling horribly responsible as the captain of our team for bike to work month at the office, and having gotten her to bike in a few times. Another friend/co-worker and I did go and see her, and despite everything, it definitely could have been worse. Her husband had passed her on the way home, and offered her a ride. When she didn’t get home and he heard the sirens, he immediately loaded their daughter into the car and came upon the scene to see his wife’s mangled bike being loaded into the cop car. I can’t imagine how horrific the drive to the hospital must have been for him, in addition to waiting to see if she was going to be okay. And now, how hard it must be for her to not really get to see her daughter (who is about to turn 2). Her family’s in town to help with everything, so all we can do is hope for a speedy recovery for her. Once she’s home, there are so many people lined up to do anything we can for her that she will be able to focus on her recovery.

In the mean time, we got word earlier this week that our pastor’s wife had taken a turn for the worse. She’s battled ovarian cancer, and had great results with some experimental treatment about a year ago. But several months back, they discovered it had come back aggressively and with not a good prognosis. Her turn for the worse coincided with her husband (the Pastor) being in Turkey for a long planned trip. He was able to fly back early to be at her side on Thursday evening, and she passed away Friday afternoon.

And, because it has to come in three’s, our friends’ dog who ALSO has cancer seems to have taken a turn for the worse too. They’re taking what may be a last trip to the beach with her this weekend.

So, if you see me drinking a lot, or crying uncontrollably at the Race for the Cure on Sunday, you’ll understand.

The one thing that always manages to bring a smile to my face, even if it’s through tears is this, some of the bright spots of the week.

The start of regular season football and the Patriots playing a Monday night football game. Little S wanted to go to the game and wouldn’t take no for an answer



“Fine. I’ll just drive myself. I’ll need a little help with the pedals though. How far is Massachusetts?”




Instead of driving to the game, there was a compromise of going to the park instead. 



Her cheerleading eventually led them to victory. So big and little S celebrated at the Children’s Museum with career choices:


Ambulance dispatcher




Building inspector

And, lately, the only way to get her to eat is if she feeds herself. Which means sometimes almost an entire chicken nugget gets stuffed in her mouth


At least it wasn’t thrown across the room or fed to the dog.

The week ahead is full of exciting things. Little S’ first 5K, grandparents, apples and who knows what else? Because nothing makes you appreciate what you’ve been blessed with so much as a reason to take stock of how lucky you really are.

Monday, September 07, 2009

a pickin’ we will go

Pretty much since the start of blueberry season, we’ve talked about going and picking huckleberries with Little S. We finally set a date of Labor Day weekend, thinking we would go camping in the vicinity of the prime pickin’ spot, wake up rested, pick and eat to our hearts content and make a wonderful forever memory.

And, after a gorgeous, frequently HOT summer, how are we repaid? With rain and cold weather for Labor Day weekend. Natch. We’re talking a HIGH of 39 degrees in the tallest mountains. Snow above that. Yep! I said SNOW. (Don’t remind me of the time we backpacked in snow in September. Or the 4th of July weekend. The glories of the Northwest)

ANYWAY… so, camping was scrapped. Which is fine. With the weather outside being all fall-like, it was a great time to bake and clean and stuff. But, the weather forecasters gleefully told us that Monday would be different. And like fools, we believed them.

The morning started gloriously. The sun was out, I was too warm in my long running clothes, the birds were singing (I mean, they probably were singing, but I have no actual proof or anything), Little S ate well, the dog was smiling (probably, why wouldn’t she be?) a perfect morning.

The first sign should have been when I felt a compulsion to get everyone into something not made out of cotton “in case it’s still wet up there”. And, my need to make a thermos of hot chocolate-which went by the wayside because that seemed crazy.

Well, a few miles out of town, the view changed dramatically IMG_1014

and by changed, I mean you could no longer see ANY views because of the downpour.

I convinced us that the weather forecasters were right this time, and it would all clear up any minute now. Surely by the time we got where we were going.

AND…. Nope. So, out came the rain cover for the backpack. Someone was showing us how much she liked it IMG_1016

I didn’t even know babies COULD roll their eyes!

Fortunately, the very prepared Big S has an extra pair of rainpants for me, so I’m not wandering the 50 degree woods in the rain in shorts.  And, little S insisted on seeing what was going on outside of the pack IMG_1017

She quickly realized we were in for 6 more weeks of winter and pulled her head back in to stay mostly dry as it rained. And then poured. And then rained some more. And then sprinkled. And then stopped. Not that we noticed because we were soaked and wandering through waist high wet bushes to pick as many huckleberries as our frozen fingers would let us.

We lasted a couple of hours and managed to get maybe three quarts of huckleberries.


And as we got in the car for our lunch and to dry off and warm up, the sun came out. So we decided Little S could drive us home to celebrate. IMG_1019

hmmm…can’t quite reach the pedals yet.

And within 30 minutes of leaving and dropping back down in elevation, the temperature climbed 15 degrees, the clouds parted, and little S slept peacefully, dreaming of huckleberries.

Now that I have three quarts of huckleberries to cook with, what’s the weather forecast? 90 degrees later this week. Ah..Mother Nature, you have a diabolical streak.