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Monday, September 22, 2008

Fay turns 11 months

Well, the big birthday is one month from today. However, I thought I'd mark this minor eleven month milestone with a little video. I think this video will embarrass Fay for many years to come. We'd like to thank Grandpa Lowe for the dancing music...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

beck turns one (the photos have it)

Just a few things to say about Beck's first birthday and his party we attended yesterday.

Beck was adorable and walking around the party like a big boy. He also showed off his talking ability. I heard "mama!" several times.

beck turns one!

Fay reminised about the musical table her grammy had in Nebraska, and tried out her new smile. She's been doing this thing now with her face when she smiles. She scrunches up her nose and forehead and opens her mouth to bear her teeth. Its pretty cute. I was wondering where she got it from when I caught her dad doing the same type of expression TO fay yesterday. Hmmm.

Fay's new smile

Lastly, take a look at this picture of Ryan attending Beck's birthday party. There were tons of kids running around from ages 1-4. Ryan was standing in the kitchen at one point, beer in hand, looking out across the kid filled room. A mom came over to him and said somewhat in jest "we've decided you look too creepy to be at a child's birthday party." Judge for yourself....

would you believe he's at a child's party?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

new kicks

Fay's kicks

Fay seems like she is on the cusp of walking. Of course I've been saying that for a month so it could be days or it could be weeks before she really walks. She continues to use my fingers to stabilize herself as she "walks" around the living room, the playground, just about anywhere. My favorite is when she is seated on the floor and decides to crawl over to me, pull up on my jeans, take my fingers for balance and then "walk" back to where she was originally seated and continue to play. I'm not sure if she has had a change of mind, or if she is getting me to come over and play with her. Either way, its precious.

Last Wednesday Ryan came home from work and was playing in the living room with Fay when he witnessed her stand up by herself from a seated position. I was in the kitchen so I did not see the act, though I saw her standing there afterward.

So, due to her progress and the weather turning cooler, I decided to go to a neighborhood kiddie shoe store to look for some good first steps shoes. I ended up spending way too much on a pair of little pink sneakers for Fay. I guess I'm a sucker for baby shoes. Luckily I was able to escape without purchasing any tights because I LOOOOVE the way tights highlight a babies chubby little thighs.

Fay tried the sneakers out on the playground and she handles herself well in them. They are a tad big (to grow into) but she "walks" in them fine.

When I got them home and photographed them for this blog entry, it dawned on me that they look an awful lot like another pair of sneakers in the house.

mom and baby kicks

Jeez. Does this mean we are going to have to start wearing matching outfits? Kinda scary considering the length of Fay's dresses.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nebraska Vacation (part 4 of 4)


After spending 4 days away from our baby girl. Ryan and I were finally reunited with her at Dismal River Golf Course back in Nebraska. We had planned to meet up with Fay's OTHER grandparents and cousins(!!) for a weekend at Dismal Golf Resort. And the Janssens planned to drive Fay from Kearney to Dismal for our little reunion.

Dismal River is in the middle of the Sandhills so it is quite a hike to get to from Avon Colorado ( 7 hour drive). And there is not much around it except for prairies and cows.

We arrived about 15 minutes before Fay. I could barely wait to see her car coming up the long dirt road. When she finally arrived she was having quite a miserable car ride (not in love with the car seat) and she emerged, crying, from the car. Of course I thought being in mommy's arms would immediately calm her. But she was a little confused at first to see me and daddy, so it probably only added to the emotional outburst she was having. But she calmed down quickly enough, and clung to me, which made me pretty happy to have her in my arms at last.

Ryan and I spend 2 days at Dismal, visiting with my family, golfing and touring a ranch. On Saturday, all the non-golfers (re: women ) toured a nearby ranch. We rode horses, met some cows, visited with the chickens and learned a little about what goes on on a ranch. At one point we were on a truck surrounded by mooing cows and Fay's eyes looked like the might pop out of her head in awe.

Fay rides a horse!

The other highlight of course was getting Fay up on a horse. I was a little wary, but the ranch owner said she used to put her baby on her back when she had to do some work on the ranch while riding a horse. I guess I'm a little citified!

It was really great to see Fay interact with her cousins. They all wanted to play with her and she loves seeing what the big girls do. We spend a lot of time with a little toy table that makes music when you press the buttons. Fay would dance a little while holding onto the table and her cousins would sing a long with the alphabet song.

And that just about ends the vacation. Ryan and I drove back to the Janssens on Sunday afternoon before flying out on Monday. Fay got to see Sparky one last time, which she loved. And I swear Fay was an entirely different baby on the plane ride home. She seemed more energetic, even more curious and simply could not sit still. Needless to say she received a lot of stimulation on the Nebraska vacation and I think she definitely matured a bit (if you can use the term mature for a baby!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Nebraska Vacation (part 3 of 4)

Now its getting a bit late to be writing about our vacation, so I'll have to whip out a few posts. After our hiking/camping trip we drove a couple hours west to the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch resort at Avon Colorado. Boy did we deserve that spa-hotel after the torturous hiking trip. We had reserved a room on the club level of the hotel which means we essentially had an extended living room outside of our hotel room. The floor provides you with open access to liquor and wine as well as 5 food "presentations" per day. So they don't offer you a full meal, per say, but really you could probably eat enough to get by. We certainly were able to satisfy our breakfast needs with the fresh fruit, oatmeal and coffee that was set out. This is truely the way to go. Its so nice to feel like you are not just trapped in your hotel room. There were few enough people at any given time that it was always comfortable to lounge out in the club floor living room.

Upon arrival, I booked a pedicure and Ryan got a massage. Good way to start the luxury portion of our vacation! Then we had dinner at the hotel at their beautiful restaurant.

The next day we lounged by the pool/hot tub, played some tennis and finished the day by watching Obama's acceptance speech in the hotel bar/cafe. All in all it was a wonderful way to relax after hiking. Not to mention, relaxing without a baby. It was the first time since Fay's birth that I was allowed to sleep as late as I wished. Of course I slept until the late hour of 8am or so. My body couldn't really adjust to non-baby time that easily.

I would definitely return to this hotel though. In the winter it would probably be packed to the gills -- because it even has a ski lift right out the back door.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

sleep habits

Boy did I pick the right time to stay home for a while with Fay. Not only is she SUPER fun at this age, she is sleeping really well and consistently.

Its so nice to plan a day around a known sleep schedule. Fay wakes up around 6am. We usually play indoors and eat breakfast for the morning period. Although, I have started running in the morning with Fay too. So after a bit of boob (still doing the boob in mornings and evenings!), we head out, 3x a week for a jog along the east river. Fay seems to enjoy it except for a brief stint on the return trip where the sun is right in her eyes. The stroller shade can't block it out!

Then Fay naps between 8am and 10am fairly consistently.

Then we have the long period of the day. I usually put Fay down for a nap around 2:30. So we have around 4 hours to go out and do something fun. So far I've done some playdates with the neighborhoods moms I met during maternity leave. But I've also been doing some research on available resources in the city. Today we are going to check out a place in brooklyn that is offering a free sing-a-long: The Moxie Spot. I hope the trek isn't too long and that its worth it for the music. Fay loves a little music.

The afternoon nap lasts from 2:30 to approximately 4:30. After that nap I either take her to Seward Park to see some friends and relax on the lawn. Or we'll go to the park to swing or chase pigeons (Fay's FAVORITE activity). Or we might stay home and eat/bathe and relax before bed at 7pm.

I'm on week two of project stay-at-home-mom. And I'm really enjoying the time with Fay.

(Don't worry, I still have to finish the posts on the Nebraska vacation. But I wanted to write this post as I was thinking about it.)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Nebraska Vacation (part 2 of 4)

[Insert photo here as soon as our mac is fixed which has our iPhone hiking photos]

After spending 3 days with Ryan's folks, Ryan and I headed off to Colorado for some hiking and camping. It was a 5 hour drive to our campsite 45 minutes outside of Denver. Ryan had prepared us well for our hike. We were to be doing a bit of wilderness hiking and camping so we needed to be pretty self-sufficient. We wouldn't even have potable water available necessarily, so we needed to account for everything. Ryan bought a camping stove and water filter in preparation for the trip, but we had to hold off on buying the gas until we were in NE because obviously we couldn't bring that on the plane. When we finally made it to Denver we thought we would stop at a town to buy some gas and groceries before hitting our initial campsite. Turns out, every town west of Denver on the highway is tiny. We kept thinking we would hit "the" big town near our campsite but we never did. Finally we arrived in Grant, our campsite town, which literally consists of a General Store and a Motel. I asked if there was a restaurant in town and the woman at the General Store said she would really like it if they did have one. It would be better for the Motel business.

Turn out the General Store did not have the gas we needed, nor did several neighboring towns so we had to do without. We bought a couple candle like "emergency" fuel thingies and loaded up on the minimal amount of food necessary.

We attempted to start a fire at our initial campsite but that was a no go because it started to rain and apparently the wood was already previously soaked. So to begin our big hiking/camping trip, we ate at a nearby bar.

The next day we set out on our hike to Abyss Lake: Abyss Lake Trail

The hike is described as a "strenuous one day hike". Ryan and I, being seasoned Patagonia hikers thought this would be no problem for us. We planned to hike it in one day and camp at Lake Abyss. We were wrong. So very wrong. The trail kicked my ass about 1/2 way in. I started getting really exhausted after brief stretches. It was basically all uphill on the 2nd half and I completely forgot that I am pretty sensitive to elevation sickness. In the past I've gotten uncomfortably "sick" at Breckenridge which is around 9000 feet. For the Abyss hike, we started around 9400 feet and went to 12,600 feet. Ryan started getting affected about the last hour of the hike. He was short on breath and said that normally trivial tasks seems exhausting -- like moving around rocks to secure the tent.

The hike was 7 hours in length. We originally thought we'd do it in 5 max. By the time we got the the lake I was so miserable all I could do was climb into the tent. I had a headache and my fingers were numbing at the tips. I was also nauseated. Ryan didn't feel terrific either but he took care of me. He went on ahead to put up the tent -- fearful of nightfall. And he cooked our little Chunky Soup cans over the gas candles. (Thanks for those!). Neither of us really felt like eating, but we chowed down in the tent, in our sleeping bags. After dinner we both crashed. It was probably 7 o'clock. I think I slept a little out of pure exhaustion. But not long into the night I was tossing and turning and could not sleep. My muscles ached. Its hard to describe what I was feeling -- every time I tried to bend my knees and turn on my side, I got this extremely uncomfortable feeling. So I had lie on my back and keep my arms and legs straight out. Finally after hours of torture, I whispered to Ryan, "Are you awake?". He was experiencing his own version of torture -- he felt like he was suffocating. He said it felt like someone had a pillow over his head.

Ryan got the idea to open up the tent rain tarp completely, so more air could circulate. That did something good. We were both able to sleep after that. But when we woke up at dawn, my first words were. "Forget breakfast, lets get the hell out of here." All I could think about is the further we got from that campsite, the more oxygen there would be in the air. Unfortunately, I had a headache most of the hike down. But fortunately, the hike was DOWN the entire way! :)

On a positive note, the trail was BEAUTIFUL. As the difficulty of the hike surpassed our expectations, so did the beauty. I've never hiked in Colorado before and I really didn't know how breathtaking it could be. We saw natural waterfalls, several beaver dams, beaver gnawed trees (cute!) and tons of mountain-scapes and babbling brooks. I don't think I would do that particular trail again for the altitude problems, but I will return to Colorado.

Next up....a much deserved Ritz Carlton Spa mini-vacation.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Nebraska Vacation (part 1 of 4)

Grandma and Grandpa

We have just returned from a family vacation in Nebraska and Colorado. We had so much fun, I don't think I can condense the story into one post, so I'll split it into 4 parts. This suits the vacation which was also divided into four parts. Unfortunately I don't have photos from the trip because Ryan and I forgot to bring our camera. So I'll have to beg and borrow photos from my family to post here.

We started our vacation with a trip to Kearney Nebraska to visit Ryan's parents. Kearney is a little difficult to get to, making our travel day a FULL travel day. We left our apt at 5:30 in the morning and arrived at the Janssen's at around 4pm after two flights and a 3 hour car ride. Fay was wonderful on the flights, sleeping and flirting with all the passengers the entire time.

I should mention that I was dreading the trip a little because this would be the first time I was to leave Fay and go off with Ryan for our own mini-vacation. But upon arriving at the Janssens some of my fears subsided; there were soooo many toys and curiosities for Fay to investigate that she barely needed mom anymore.

AND I can't forget to mention Sparky: Fay's new BFF. Sparky is Sandy's little Yorkie. He was super excited to meet Fay. He licked her face about a million times and Fay was super excited to meet Sparky. We thought they would be fast friends. And they were for the most part. Although after a few hair tugs by Fay, Sparky was a little careful on how close he let the little child monster get. Mostly they played "tease-the-baby" where Sparky would run around from the kitchen to the living room to the kitchen and Fay would attempt to chase him while crawling or (assisted) walking.

We spent 3 days at the Janssens where Ryan golfed with his dad and Fay, Sandy and I played. We visited the petting zoo where Fay was in AWE of the chickens and geese. We played on the endless lawn and with all the new toys. The best toy was the little "pull-up" table where Fay could press buttons to make music. We found out Fay has a little rhythm in her -- she would bounce up and down to dance when the music started playing.

Next up, Ryan and Jess desert Fay to go hiking in Colorado....