Friday, March 27, 2015

Amanda's Perspective

When Amanda came to visit, she spent some time observing me and Ian. I mean it's inevitable when you're living in someone's house for a few days, right? But she's a real observer and I knew she was taking some thoughtful mental notes during her visit. A few days later I received this in an email:

"I love seeing you as a Mother. I can see your personality as a mom - you make decisions that are careful and calculated, but not controlling. And how you explained the parenting style, 'as "I trust him and he trusts me' makes so much sense. It's such a great foundation for not only a relationship, but for a person to grow."

It made me tear up. Thank you for the sweet words, Amanda! These words mean a lot to me.

She also sent all of the pictures in this post. All photo credits go to her! Thanks for capturing so many great moments and sharing them with us.

MacAfee's Knob
The Cascades

Another one of my favorite pictures ever. Such joy and enthusiasm captured.

Thanks, sweet friend.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wine, Chicks, and Cows

Ian's been enjoying meeting the chicks at the local Tractor Supply and Southern States. 

 My parents came for a visit and we tried to take advantage of the mild and beautiful weather by showing them some new places.

They'd never been to Chatteau Morrisette, so we went on a beautiful drive through Floyd and then onto the Blue Ridge Parkway to the winery. We planned it so that Ian would fall asleep on the 45 minute drive there. He was still sleeping, obviously, when we arrived, so Dad went in to purchase a bottle of wine for us while we waited.

This picture of him walking back to us makes me smile because he snuck jokingly, but also seriously, down the hill so as not to trigger the small yapping dog in the car near the sleeping Ian into another full episode of noise. It was funny watching Dad creep behind bushes with a wine bottle in hand. Ha!

So here they are, drinking wine and waiting for the sleeping toddler.

Then we did the wine tasting and Mom & Dad really enjoyed the wine selection. We followed it up with a tour, which I had never done myself. What a beautiful space!! All of these beams were reclaimed from somewhere underwater in Wisconsin. Sorry for the fuzzy phone photos.

 Dad tried to lie down on the ground for a good angle and took the picture. Each one had his toes :)

Since Mom had never been to Floyd, we stopped and walked around a bit. Unfortunately, everything was closed since it was a Monday. Everything except the hardware store. Ian got such joy from getting to try this tractor and the trikes in front of the store.

We'll have to go back next time they come to see the Jamboree and also the artsy stores around town.

On the way home we picked up barbecue from Due South, a really good barbecue place right down the street. YUM!

DAY TWO: Day two started the same as day one for Ian and my parents; they spent the morning at the playground and outside in our yard. Here are "the guys" in their meeting, just chatting.
Then we hit the road and stopped to visit the chicks again.
 And then went for a walk on The Huckleberry to stretching our legs, but mainly to see the cows!!

Then they treated us again to a pizza dinner and beer at Mellow Mushroom!! So good. Fortunately Jim was able to join us because he got off at a reasonable time! It was trivia night, so we decided to join in. Unfortunately, we missed one key question that we should have gotten, then tied for second and lost in the tie-breaker. But it was still really fun!

At one point Jim was changing Ian's diaper at the car, up the hill and fairly far away from the restaurant. They asked a question that none of us knew and Jim was the most likely candidate. I ran up the hill and shouted the question across the road and two college kids shouted back the answer as "Peter's Dad," but couldn't remember the name. That answer wasn't good enough when I got back to the restaurant. After it was too late, Jim texted the name because they came up with it while he stood and talked about it with the newfound friends. Ah well. Valiant effort on all parts.

Mom & Dad are seriously good at trivia. There's no way we would have been in the running without a few of their key answers. It was fun!

Today they played with Ian while I fell back asleep. Then we had breakfast and played with Ian before they had to hit the road back home. Thanks for great visit! We love you.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Mom Brain

It's a real thing.

Sometimes my brain just does not function correctly. I've heard many people call it "Mom Brain" and I think it's aptly named. I didn't suffer from it quiet as much before I got pregnant, but it certainly started when I did.

One time, while pregnant, I was trying to steam vegetables and I never added the water. Yup. So, I melted the steamer to the pot. That smelled grand and was a joy to clean up ;)

Another time I left the grocery store, put the cart away in a cart lot, and got all of the way home before I realized the diaper bag, purse included, was still in the cart. Fortunately, it was still there and untouched.

Yesterday I had a similar moment.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we went on a hike to The Cascades. I was feverishly trying to pack and get everything ready that we needed, while simultaneously getting Ian ready and making sure we had different outfits for different weather possibilities.

Jim asked that we drop his car off at the hospital, since he'd biked that morning and was on call that evening. So, we had to drive two separate cars at the start of our journey. I hopped into the Focus and was partway out of our driveway before realizing that I didn't have my cell phone. I thought it must be in either the Passat (our other car) or in the house. And left it at that.

It wasn't in the Passat when I switched into it at the hospital and I planned to search the house upon returning home. When we got home it wasn't there either. I searched everywhere and was completely baffled. All day I racked my brain.

That evening while nursing Ian to sleep I realized and could picture exactly where it was. I had put it on the roof of the Passat with my keys. Oh no. Gulp. I was trapped while Ian was nursing, watching the light start to fade as evening settled in.

As soon as his head hit the mattress I grabbed my stuff, left Ian home with our friend Amanda, and hopped in the car. It was going to be a fruitless endeavor, of this I was sure. Either I was going to find the phone crushed on or beside the road or I would just never find it.

I drove fairly slowly, scanning as much of the road as I could. I got all of the way to the intersection where you get on the local highway and thought, "Why not?" I turned and started heading up the ramp and fortunately no one was behind me. I scanned the road and the shoulder the whole way. Then, just as I had to merge onto the highway I saw it. My smartphone was on the shoulder and lying face up.

I pulled off and found it working, showing the missed calls and texts of the day when I pressed the button. No scratches or cracks other than one little one on the camera glass, but it doesn't affect the use of the camera. YESSS!! It's unbelievable and insane.

We would have been out $200+ because our phone company has us buy the phone outright, without any insurance, making the monthly fees really, really reasonable. But I was fearing the gouge that would have to come out of our pocket. Whew.

Mom Brain has put me in a few pickles or made things inconvenient before, but this was not one of those times! What a relief. So, Mom Brain, it's a real thing.

It's a blessing often, allowing us to forget some hard things and remember moments like this.
That evening we played in the yard before Ian went to bed and his giggles were just contagious. This may be one of my favorite photos of us ever. Thanks, Amanda, for taking this and the videos of that night! What a great memory.

Somehow 18 months have passed by and my mush mom brain just cannot fathom it. The days can be long but I seriously feel like my head will forever be in September of 2013, when Ian was born. I lived through this past winter, but I still cannot believe that it's March. It should be almost Christmas. That's Mom Brain.

I promise it's real.

If you call and I don't answer one day, hopefully my phone won't be on the side of the road. But now you know it might be a possibility. Sheesh.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Anything You Can Do

...I want to do too.

Whether in fast motion or sitting and relaxing, Ian wants to do what his papa is doing. If it's tools, he pulls out his own little tool box. Last week we were blessed with many extra afternoons and early evenings. We don't take them for granted and fully recognize how fortunate we are. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Changing Times

Weeks ago now it was Valentine's Day. Gramee & Grandpa (Jim's parents) came for the long weekend and spent lots of time with Ian. Jim had board review for the entire weekend, which ended up giving him more time with his parents, since he was guaranteed to be home around 4:30 or 5 each day (much earlier than a normal day on an internal medicine rotation).
We were very grateful for taking care of Ian while we went on our Valentine's Day date, then during an afternoon so I could have a girls' day of coffee and shopping, and then while I grabbed some groceries before one of the snow storms hit. In this season of our lives, I don't get many moments of my own, so I am extremely grateful whenever it happens. I love being with my little man, but every once in a while I do need some time. Thanks for making that happen. I know he enjoyed himself and his grandparents were also grateful for the time.
We had a problem with the tub drain, so Jim was researching how to fix it on the iPad. It turned into the "guy" thing to do. Here are three generations of men working & researching together :)

And then another of them eating breakfast together.
Ian is full of exuberance and joy, these days. He loves to make you smile or laugh by doing something he thinks is funny. He's interacting SO, SO much. We almost always know what he wants by his communication through sign, words, or motions.
He loves to be outside, no matter what the weather condition. We went on many a walk in the BOB during freezing temperatures, but he was always happy to be along and stayed toasty warm. We often got comments about how people would like to switch places with him. This hat was a great choice on windy days. His cheeks stayed warm and toasty.
He's a very precise kid. He knows where things go and will often want them in his spots. BUT, he can also make some HUGE messes. As a mom friend said earlier this week; "There's no mess that can't be cleaned up."

During bath time one night Jim called from the bathroom saying I needed to see something. I came to find this tower on Jim's head!!! I'm still not quite sure how he pulled it off! Ian handed him every item from the bathtub and Jim made it happen. (P.S. The tub has been fixed, but Ian took baths in the green bin for about two weeks. We just keep rolling...)

It happens almost every time one of us is playing with Ian while the other one is out of the room. The one who's away is normally called over to see something clever, cute, or sweet. When Jim's worked all day and comes home after Ian's asleep, we normally take a few minutes to laugh and coo over a video or pictures I took of him on my phone that day. It's precious bonding time for us, but it also makes him feel connected to Ian on days when he's been apart.

It's a blessing to have a partner in this parenting journey who loves it so much, desperate to share in the joys, growth, and challenges. I feel so fortunate to have a partner who shares similar parenting goals as me. I normally have to make parenting decisions on my own as they arise, but then we talk about them together in the evening or the next opportunity. Jim's always supportive and keeps the rules consistent. I'm really grateful.

Ian's enjoying helping in the kitchen or around the house. Tasks always take longer, but there's normally not a time limit anyway!! Here he is moving the roasted pumpkin seeds from the bowl into the mason jar. It looks tidy here, but we did have a few spills. There was a series of videos. He started by carefully moving a few at a time, then attempting fist-fulls, and then removing the funnel (which was fairly successful!), and then attempting to dump the bowl straight in. It's faster that way, but not necessarily productive! It was neat to watch his though process unfold.

Since then he's helped me with making sweet potato chips, ripping kale for salads and soups, throwing vegetables into soups or the crock pot, putting laundry away, loading the washer or dryer, and making green bean chips (which was a big fail, but not because of his help).

He's become so much more independent, which is helpful much of the time. He can climb into his carseat, walk to the playground, get his shoes and put them away, etc.

We had a fair amount of snow in the last few weeks, as you've seen in previous posts. We had some fun snowy play times inside and outside.

We had a great visit with Aunt Christine, too! She came and spent much of her spring break with us. We're grateful she feels comfortable with us and chooses to come here for her vacation! That's saying something when she chooses to come to a place where the days and noise start before 7 AM!!

We tried to fill our days with relaxation and fun. She loves our local farmer's market and natural foods store, Eats, so we definitely had to swing by those places!! We also brought her with us to a friend's birthday party and showed her one of our new favorite restaurants, Gillies. And, of course, we had to take her with us to Heritage Park to run Leif a couple of times!! 

Most of all, she read book after book with Ian and played and played. We cannot wait until your next visit!!

When Aunt Christine came, she brought us a few items from IKEA! One of them was a chair that allows Ian to sit at table height and eat off of a plate directly on the table. Until now he'd sat in his high chair with a tray and plate and utensils. He obviously loves the opportunity to sit with us at the table and takes it pretty seriously. It's really nice because he can choose to get up into the chair or down on his own. This is a welcomed change for all of us.

Sorry Ian, but I had to try putting your hair in a pony tail. And then I had to post this picture. Haha!! I mean, his papa did have a pony tail when I met him, and he plans to have one again soon.... it kind of runs in the family. Isn't he cute?

Ian really enjoys signing and having that form of communication! "Help please" has been a huge help and blessing for all of us.

The time change was a good and a bad change for us. It was bad because he was so scheduled (for the first time ever) with going down around 6:45 PM. This gave us a lot of the evening to just chill (which was nice), but then he'd get up very early before 6 AM (which was not so nice). After the change it stays light so much longer, which means that he is not ready for bed until 8ish (or 9ish during the first few days) but then he does sleep in until the 7 o'clock hour or almost until 8 AM.

Ian's a ham! He loves to be goofy and keep us in stitches. There's really nothing better than a baby/toddler's giggle. It's impossible not to smile, laugh, and have your own mood lifted when you hear them!!!

Months ago I made homemade play dough. For months now I keep getting it out to see if he's ready or interested in it. The reaction used to always be to just eat it or throw it on the floor, but now he's interested in poking it or putting it into different places. Soon, I'm sure, there will be no end to the things he will do with play dough!!

Jim finished two really tough rotations, for which we are all grateful. He won't have the toughest one again until after June sometime. Woo!! Fortunately, Ian didn't mind just cuddling with Jim on the couch (below) when he was really exhausted. This normally came after an active play session, though.

Jim has started bike commuting to work!! He has to navigate a few local neighborhoods and intersections before he can hop on the Huckleberry Trail (our rails to trails path). He's really, really enjoying going into "battle" every morning and evening. He has had a few good stories so far.

Oh, little one. You are such a joy. You make us happy and we know it :)
This post will have to serve as his 17 month post, of sorts. Today he turns 18 months! How do we already have a child who's one and a half?! Closer to toddler than baby, for sure.