Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Baby's slacking...

Or maybe just balancing out a bit...

We just returned home a little bit ago from Alida's 8 month appointment. I wasn't too surprised to learn that her growth has slowed a bit - the girl is burning calories these days! She is ready to go, go, go most of the time! She shrieks, babbles, wants to face out if she is facing in and get down if she is facing out, kicks her little legs, rolls and ooches all over the living room floor, and is becoming better at pulling herself up onto her knees. Watch out plants!

She weighed 22lb 2oz, measured 30 inches long and her head was 17 3/4 inches around. She has "fallen" to the 97th percentile in weight, still above the 100th in height and her head is catching up now at the 90th percentile. It's nice to see her continuing to thrive in the height and weight categories - that means something to us. But we are much happier even to report that she is an active, vibrant, creative, fun little gal. And she is a bit too smart to be tricked at the doctor's. She got fussy the second the nurse tried to measure her and as soon as the nurse left the room she started talking up a storm to us and the butterfly hanging from the ceiling. She is not impressed at all by a measuring tape being put around her head, being stretched out on the table to be measured and sitting on a hard cold scales naked. Can't blame her!

She endured two shots and is now sacked out in the front pack catching a late evening nap - which is enabling me to put up this update but may not bode well for the night sleep ahead!

To end I'll share the picture Jason took of me after Alida was "done with me" last evening. While she may look innocent, she is not!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Family picture

Prior to our exciting afternoon, officially beginning our stint as the adoptees of Happy Valley Road, we attended church together and then had a family date eating lunch at the EMU cafeteria. While I did have my camera along, for the purpose of getting a family picture taken (we finally felt ready to have a new family picture taken - sadly without Nora, happily with Alida), I did not take a video of Alida during church (mostly because I was occupied with her until she sacked out nursing). The clip below, however, is a little taste of what she did during most of the service. I'm glad our gal is finding her voice and ready to use it in church, but she was rather loud this morning. It is especially cute when she "sings along."

Conspicuous Altruism at Home

Our family's highway adoption has been...I'm searching for the best word...consummated?

That is to say we just picked up trash from our road's margins for two and half hours this afternoon, which is something we've done sporadically ever since Janelle and I married in May of '99. The difference is that this time we got to use fancy orange trash bags and wear the glowingest reflective vests I have ever squinted at.

It was every bit as fun as we thought it would be. Kali was veritably leaping down the road at first; her enthusiasm was so intense as to cause her to overlook nearly every piece of trash she passed! This could be because she was spending more time gazing at her snazzy vest than scanning for foreign materials. After she developed her eye for it, and as her exuberance mellowed into mere eagerness for the task, she became quite good at spotting beer bottles, aluminum cans, fast food detritus, and matted paper.

Now, I will admonish you not to confuse eagerness with a drive towards efficiency. For once any particular object was discovered, it then needed to be submitted to a proper inspection and perhaps processing before being relinquished into the yawn of plastic film at the bag's mouth. Certainly no aluminum can could escape its due flattening, which when performed by an eight-year-old's foot is not an especially quick and merciful kind of demise. Even wadded-up paper napkins or faded candy wrappers could not be submitted briskly, but merited a curious few moments of gazing as they teetered on the edge of a tender, gloved hand...then toppled in.

Janelle and I called it "meditative trash pick up." At first it was actually kind of relaxing. I mean, how many times in adult life do we really slow down and appreciate the moment we're in like that? But then again, I was spending quite a bit of time standing at the side of the road in a goofy vest holding a giant orange trash bag in each hand and trying to be patient as my daughter picked away at some unit or other of waste matter, gingerly freeing it from the built-up soil and tangled vegetation. It got a bit old, but in a good-natured sort of way.

By the time we made it back to our driveway we were all pretty worn out, but none the worse for the wear! In the end we had a bag each of trash and recycling redirected to their proper end, and could enjoy the satisfaction of having contributed to the well-being of our neighborhood...officially!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Today was a fun day!

I'm writing with Alida sound asleep in the front pack, Kali playing with a friend in her bedroom and lots of happy sounds coming in from the fire ring outside where Jason is, along with lots of the youth and mentors from our church community.

I know that what I'm about to write won't be near as interesting to anyone else as it will be to me, but I feel like writing and I have the time and two hands to do so! If you would like to get the scoop on the details of today, read on. I gushed to Jason on the phone as I was heading back to Keezletown about what a fun day I was having. While it is not unusual for my days off to be fun it felt like this one contained a bunch of mini-miracles that made a very "normal" day extra special and fun. So here is the run down.

What made it so different than most Fridays of late is that it was not a Friday at home. I love being at home but the list had been growing of "in town" things to do, some of which involved Kali being along. And with Alida being just shy of 8 months, it seemed high time we try doing one of our "put all our errands together" days. We did. We had loads of fun!

Alida must have known it was going to be a big day. She sacked out on our chilly morning walk together around 8am and slept until after Kali was awake and chomping at the bit to leave (around 10am). That allowed me to get all the laundry on the line and get the car packed and ready to leave. After a milk snack for her we headed to our first destination.

Kali redeemed her Mr. J's gift certificate from her birthday and enjoyed a toasted sesame seed bagel with cream cheese for breakfast (and even bought two bagel bites so she could share one with me). Alida only got to gnaw on the wax paper that came with our bagel bites but she seemed pleased enough with that. We left the restaurant with a baker's dozen of bagels to enjoy in the coming days. A great bday present, even if it took us over 3 months to cash it in.

I was feeling optimistic about the day and about the moods of both gals and so, with Kali's enthusiastic support, we headed next to Gift and Thrift. Here is where a mini-miracle took place, or several. Kali loves to help me shop for clothes, but we haven't done it since I was pregnant. Most of my shirts are getting thoroughly stretched out from nursing a very energetic little gal who likes to tug on them from all angles. And it seems with each baby my body gets back to its pre-baby weight but everything feels like it has been positioned differently and so clothes just tend to not fit like they once did. So I've been eager to find a few things for work and Kali loves to pick which color rack I look at - today it was the purple rack (surprise, surprise). And when we had a handful of things from that one she wondered if we couldn't look at the brown rack too - which we glanced at briefly before taking our armload of items to the dressing room. Alida was quite interested in what was going on and she sat in the corner of the dressing room and accepted my offerings of hangers to play with while I attempted to rapidly try on the armload of things that Kali and I had picked out for me to try on. Here's the mini-miracle - I did not return a single pair of pants to the rack. Okay, it won't seem like a big deal to anyone who doesn't know 1. how much I hate to shop for clothing and 2. how often I try on many things and leave with one or none and 3. how pants seem to be the hardest of all. It was a 10-15 minute trip in and out and I left about $30 poorer and with 5 pairs of pants and 3 shirts to wear to work. Huge thanks goes out to Kali, who I have told I always want to have with me when I need to look for clothes. At the end of the day, she noted that that was her favorite stop right up there with Mr. J's and Dairy Queen.

We had heard back from Kali and Alida's aunt K who was excited to have us stop by her work. We enjoyed a short visit, allowing her co-workers to meet Alida and see Kali again, who had probably grown a foot or more since we last stopped by. It was also a good pit stop for a diaper change and a milk snack for Alida. Thus far (and for the rest of the day) there was little to no fussing in the car, despite many ins and outs. Kali provided great entertainment!

From there we went to Finders Keepers in search of organic food at discounted prices, particularly organic cheerios (Alida is at the cusp of being ready to do that cute pincher grab at a cheerio!). No luck on that but we found a bunch of other things for co-op day lunches for Kali, and managed to come out of there with two bags of stuff. The best find of the day was 66 good quality quart bags for $1.45. Jason had added that to my list last evening when he found we were nearly out and there was venison ready to grind and freeze. Kali wondered if I really needed four boxes.

After another milk snack for Alida and some organic gummy fruits for Kali we were on our way to Sharp Shopper. I was proud of myself for hoisting a 50lb bag of prairie gold flour into the cart with a baby in the front pack (as well as then hoisting it into the car and then from the car into our pantry). You do what you have to do! Alida was starting to bang her head against me and "talk" loudly in Sharp Shopper. She didn't get upset, just vocal about the fact that she was part of the shopping crew and had some opinions to offer. We left Sharp Shopper with more than two bags and definitely more than $30 poorer. But we are well stocked with quick lunch items and while neither place had organic cheerios we found plenty of other things that made the drive feel worth it. And even if we hadn't found much of anything, we were thoroughly enjoying each other's company. I had almost forgotten how absolutely fun Kali is to do errands with. I marvel being in a store with her and how pleasant she is and how much she likes to help me look for things and how she really never asks me to buy things. She was so happy when I tossed a bag of marshmallows into the cart - shocked, probably, that I was going to buy them (she had been talking so much about roasting marshmallows over the fire and I was not envisioning getting into making homemade ones anytime soon!).

We stopped at the store next door to see if they had paints and markers that Kali wanted to purchase with her money. They didn't have the brand she was looking for - she wanted good quality ones, I think - and so we headed out; this time after Alida nursed, fell soundly asleep, transferred into her carseat and settled in for a snooze. It was just going about as smoothly as I could have imagined.

Kali had one more free ice cream cone from the library's summer reading program so I made my last trip through the Dairy Queen drive thru (until next year's reading program most likely). Kali enjoyed her chocolate vanilla twist cone while we made our way to our final stop. Michael's Arts and Crafts had the markers and watercolor paints Kali was looking for. She excitedly took her purchase to the check out, only to find that while we thought she was short a few cents she was actually going to get change since they were buy one get the second half off (which wasn't advertised anywhere that I could see, so we were both surprised). That was the icing on the cake for Kali, as she had turned in all her change to me that morning for a $10 bill in hopes that that might mean she would be given change when she made her purchases.

Alida was awake again and with both girls buckled in one last time, we headed home. I had to chuckle as I drove along with Kali happily loudly humming Deck the Halls. It wasn't long before Alida joined in with her own variation. While I don't often feel giddy with happiness when I head home with a trunk load of things that I just spent money on (in "no buy november" of all months), I admit that it had been one very fun outing with my gals!

And the day continued pleasantly, with Kali drawing a beautiful tree picture with her new markers and then settling in to watch one of her new movies from the library. Meanwhile Alida and I got the laundry in off the line and put away, mixed up some green kale rolls and started baked lentils with cheese for dinner. Alida was so pleasant as I was unloading the car that it wasn't until the baby bjorn started to feel a bit damp that I figured it was time to check her diaper. She got an unplanned bath, which she was quite pleased about, since she was soaked through and through!

After enjoying dinner all together, Jason headed out to get the fire started for the evening gathering and to make the day even more special, Kali got to roast a few marshmallows before the guests arrived.

So that was my day in a nutshell (okay, so a rambly account of it - while I have time to write, I don't have time to do much editing since I'm currently one-handed again...) I even managed to have time to play a little ball with Alida this afternoon. Enjoy the clip below!

Friday, November 11, 2011


Jason and I were initially suspicious that Alida's fever this week was teething. But when it hit 103.6 we figured that was impossible since our main source for answers to our "baby questions" noted that normally a baby doesn't have a fever over about 101.5 with teething. So we nixed that hypothesis and (her mommy at least) worried about other possibilities. But it seemed like an odd illness, with fever being the predominant symptom other than one morning of diarrhea. I finally got a good look in her mouth this morning when she swiped an envelope from me (which she was quite happy about) and set to eating it. She does not have one new tooth on top, or two new teeth on top. The little gal has cut three new teeth on top this week.

Glad to be on the road to health again!

It's been a bit of a long week on the home front. I'm not sure I'm ready for the winter months and the germs that seem to come along with the cold, long, dark days! One day after church this week (when Alida was getting her mouth on all the shared toys) she spiked a fever. She had a fever for about 2 days with no other symptoms (other than the general crabbiness that comes with having a fever over 103). We suspected teething initially as she had a new tooth cutting through on the top. But as of yesterday morning her fever was down but she had diarrhea and so we now are concluding it was a tummy bug of some kind. I was so happy to see smiles and hear her giggles last evening. She really handled the whole thing amazingly well, but I come to the end of this week tired. I deemed one of the nights a "Nora night" in that I didn't clock in more than an hour straight of sleep. I'm still not sure how we did that night after night.

In other news we are "tucking in" the garden for the winter. I've enjoyed raking leaves with Alida in the pack and helping to clean old vines off the trellises. Below you will see Alida enjoying the last watermelon that Jason found in the garden and which we finished consuming just a few days ago (yes, watermelon in November!). Kali is finishing off last year's popcorn!