Monday, May 30, 2011

Ryan - 8 Months

Dear Ryan,

You turned 8 months old!! You are such a delightful little baby and you've really been making your presence known more than before. It was fun to watch you starting to clap, and we started doing Pat a Cake with you. You also learned how to raise both your arms up at us to indicate you wanted to be picked up, which has been so helpful! This has also enabled you to raise your own arms above your head in response to the 'how big is the baby?' game. Too cute! Your ability to move around on your own has increased -- over the past month you've worked on going from a sitting position to being able to twist around 180 on the floor, to go from sitting to your belly by 'diving,' then from being on your belly to also twisting around 180, and now you are doing 'push-ups' and pushing yourself backwards. I can see that you are getting ready to crawl all too quickly.

You and Jake have a great time together. I couldn't have asked for 2 sweeter boys. Jake gives you LOTS of hugs and kisses, and you take it in stride. Jake doesn't pick you up and carry you as much as he used to; you've gotten heavier and taller!

You have a bit more hair all over your head than Jake did at that age, but as you can see from this picture, that hasn't turned out to be a problem!
You love sitting in your red chair on the island with all of us, especially when we are all together for dinnertime. You frequently have avocado, apples, pickles, carrots, and other fruits and veggies, and occasionally salmon or beans, but at the very end of the 7th month we introduced you to O's (organic Cherrios) and you LOVE them and cannot get enough. You are actually a really good eater in that you are careful to slowly enjoy and mush up whatever is in your mouth before swallowing it.

I'm amazed at the amount of new growth I've seen from you this month! You really found your voice; I hear and see you babbling a lot, and have heard ba-ba-ba. You still think blowing bubbles is hilarious but what I think is funny is that your idea of kissing me is to bite me on the nose. With no teeth yet, that's fine right now but won't be for long. Besides, your jaw is getting stronger! For months now my nickname for you has been 'Little Love' because you are the littlest boy in my family whom I love.
Although I've enjoyed you so much this month, you have actually been in a 'Daddy phase' for the past month (and continuing). You want to be with Daddy every time you see him, which makes my heart melt. The only time you really want Mommy is when you're hungry or need snuggles, which is fine with me.
We've been having a very cold, wet spring (again) so you have been wearing the same pants and long-sleeved shirts for awhile now. Hoping that changes soon so you can start to get your first real experience of summer!
We love you, Ryan, so very much.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

CA/OR Road Trip - Redding and beyond

Wednesday morning we left Amy and Tyler's neighborhood after the time at the playground. We drove north while both boys slept. Stopped in Williams for some gas and snacks and pretty much did a snacky lunch thing in the car on the way to Redding.

Once to Redding we stopped and went to the Turtle Bay Museum. This was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip! (Turtle Bay Museum is free if you have OMSI membership!)

Jake likes to collect those flat penny souvenirs.
We went to the outdoor animal/native wildlife area. I thought this gray fox was beautiful.
This bat has a longer wingspan than Jake has an arm span!
This was the path from the Admissions entrance to the museum, though beautiful cottonwood trees.

Petrified cottonwood tree. You can see the roots through the glass floor.
This elderly salmon gave me a big yawn when I first walked up to him. The native PNW aquarium was wonderful.

The museum's current exhibit was Grossology. Totally cool!
When Mike and Jake went to use the restroom, this was the picture inside their stall door. I should have taken a picture of mine -- mine said "In a survey of non-English speakers, the word 'diarrhea' was most often picked as the most beautiful-sounding word among a list of choices."
There was a 'playstructure' of the digestive tract.

We left the museum at closing time. Right outside the museum is the Sundial Bridge. It accurately tells the time on June 21st.

One of my new favorite family photos!! Thanks to the random guy who was walking over the bridge.

Then we went to a restaurant close by in Redding called Gorilla Bites. Their food was awesome -- a mixture of yummy vegan/vegetarian food but also naturally-raised meats. Mike had a buffalo burger and I loved my vegan meatloaf so much that I took a picture of it.
After dinner it was back in the car. Ryan slept most of the way but Jake enjoyed the scenery with us.

Driving through the Mt. Shasta area was so beautiful! This is a picture of Black Butte. I thought it was so cool since we have our own Black Butte in Oregon.
Mt. Shasta, obscured by clouds (darn).
I just liked the light from the setting sun here.
We made it to Ashland at about 8:30pm. Jake was kind of wired and Ryan woke up from a 2.5 hour "nap" so it was perfect that the Stratford Inn had a lovely indoor pool and hot tub which all 4 of us thoroughly enjoyed. Then it was bedtime (but not before Jake vomited on the floor of our hotel room, he was still sick during the trip). Oddly enough, we had our best sleep of the trip here, perhaps because we were back in Oregon? :)

The next day after a relaxing morning we enjoyed breakfast at the hotel (they actually had a very decent breakfast spread!) Then we hopped in the car. The boys were both still tired and immediately went to sleep! I drove all the way to Roseburg. On the way, the BMW, which has a nice computer, informed me that the coolant was low. Huh.

We got to Roseburg and stopped at the Visitor's Information Center because we couldn't find a park that we were looking for. We stretched our legs and went for a short jaunt along the river where there were beautiful flowers.
Returning to the car, we looked through the manual to try and figure out what was going on with the coolant, i.e. how serious it was. When we turned the car back on, the message was more serious: "Coolant extremely low!" Uh oh. So we stopped at a little natural foods grocery store and got crackers, goat's milk cheese, and pears for lunch. We spotted an "import specialists" auto repair shop across the street, and asked for help with the coolant issue. Turns out that there was NO coolant left and they could see that there was a leak somewhere. Bad. After waiting for the engine to cool down, they filled the tank with more coolant. We had no idea how fast the coolant leak was, so we pointed the car toward home and drove. Our planned Eugene stop got thrown out the window, but we did stop for a short time at a rest area since Ryan was yowling to get out of his car seat. He'd had enough of this road trip, although he did very, very well for most of it!! I found that new toys/activities for both boys and their favorite Raffi album 'Bananaphone' was perfect for the trip.

All in all we had a fantastic time and would love to do another road trip at some point!

(The BMW was taken to the shop the next day and it turns out that the radiator was cracked... it was a slow leak that probably started before the car even left Portland... so glad it wasn't a problem until the very end!)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

CA/OR Road Trip -- Berkeley

Tuesday late afternoon we arrived at Amy and Tyler's cute little house. (And for those of who who don't know the big news, they got engaged March 25!) We enjoyed talking and playing and Amy made a fantastic stir-fry dinner. Then it was soon bedtime and the Vees rested while the 2 MBA students, who had just finished their finals that day, went out to a bar gathering.

The next morning there was fruit and oatmeal and cereal. A nice change from pancakes. We hung out a bit before walking to a park.

Ryan with Aunt Amy.
And with Tyler.
Overlooking the rose garden and beyond to ... SF or the Golden Gate Bridge, I can't remember -- I saw several amazing views!
We went to a wonderful playground and had a fun time for a while!

This slide was so cool!

Ryan loves swinging so much.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

CA/OR Road Trip -- Solvang, Picnic

Monday night we left Disneyland around 6:30 and drove a very short distance to California Pizza Kitchen. The Vees shared a yummy dinner. David, Jackie, and Max were to join us but Max fell asleep in the short distance from the parking lot to the restaurant so they opted to head home. After our dinner we piled into the car and headed north on I-5 for the start of our road trip. The boys quickly fell asleep. I have to say I really enjoy the car pool lanes down there! The strangest thing was that it started to rain about 30 minutes into our trip north and rained on and off for 1.5 hours. After a quick stop for gas and switching drivers, we soon made it to Solvang, a cute little Danish town 3 hours north. We found our hotel and easily transferred the boys from car seats to beds. It was pitch black when we arrived, but the next morning was clear and sunny and I had fun taking pictures!

The Kronberg Inn, which we really enjoyed. A bit too cold to use the outdoor pool.
We walked a short distance into the town and had breakfast. I especially liked the fresh-squeezed orange juice -- you can see the big juicer full of oranges behind Mike.
Danish pancakes with a side of eggs. The pancakes were SO good (way better than IHOP)! I was still not able to eat it all.
Our waitress was nice enough to take a picture.
Around the cute little town...

A random picture I caught of Jake. Poor boy was sick the whole trip, with a bad cough and a fever that spiked occasionally. He still had fun when fun things were happening :)
After our short morning in Solvang, we got on the road and headed up the 101. The drive was stunningly beautiful. We stopped in San Luis Obispio and found a natural grocery store and brought picnic supplies. Needing a good picnic spot, I studied the map and we took a detour off the 101 to highway G14 and headed down a 2-lane, 35-45mph highway to Lake Nacimiento. Once there, we found a day-use area with a view of the lake. We had the place to ourselves, except for a few RVs, the owners of whom were either boating or hiking.

We had peanut butter and jam sandwiches, apple, and oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.
Our view of the lake.
Mike climbed the tree and came face-to-face with a gecko, who promptly ran up the tree.
After our lunch, we then headed up G19 (including over a 1-lane bridge!), reconnected with the 101, and drove through farmland to the 880 through Oakland, to my sister's house in Berkeley. The boys slept most of the way!

Monday, May 9, 2011


Sunday afternoon we left downtown LA and headed to Torrance to hang out with my cousin David and Jackie and Max for the afternoon/evening. Jake and Max had a great time playing. My Aunt Dotty and Uncle Ronnie joined all of us for dinner.

The boys having popsicles after dinner.

Then we left and stayed in the Super 8 near Disneyland. The Super 8 wasn't super great but it was fine for one night. The next morning we all woke up excited for Disneyland! But before that, there was the problem of breakfast. The Super 8 breakfast was a no-go. Muffins and donuts and fruit loops do not make for a good energy breakfast before a busy day, that is just asking for a mid-morning sugar-crash temper-tantrum. So off we went... to IHOP. (The nearby choices were VERY limited.)

The experience at IHOP was... interesting. In the car to IHOP, Jake informed me that Ryan was pooping in his diaper. Great. So as soon as I arrived at IHOP I took Ryan to the ladies restroom. The baby changing table was inside the largest stall, which was locked. So I stood there and waited. And waited. Then I started talking to Ryan, "Yes, baby, your diaper needs to be changed and we're waiting for the changing table" hoping that the person inside would get the hint. More waiting. Finally I looked under the stall door and discovered it was empty. Locked, but empty. Argh! So I had to get one of the waitstaff to crawl under the door and unlock it from the inside. I then changed Ryan and went back to the table where we proceeded to order very cautiously but still managed to receive enough food to feed 2 more people.

With a protein-filled meal in our bellies, we started the day's much-anticipated adventures! We met David, Jackie, and Max just outside the entrance and started down Main Street. I went to Disneyland quite a bit growing up, having cousins who lived just an hour away, but the last time I went was in high school. Walking down Main Street again after all those years, I was struck by how small everything seemed. Ha.

The first ride Jake wanted to do was the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride. Luckily, it was right off Main Street and didn't have much of a line.
Buzz greeted us inside.
So excited!

Jake and Max were too excited to look at the camera.

On to It's a Small World, which I love. Jake loved it, too and his eyes were as big as saucers throughout the ride. It was great that Ryan was able to come with us on a number of rides, including Astro Blasters, It's a Small World, Peter Pan, Pirates of the Carribean, and Winnie the Pooh.

To Mickey's Toon Town which is new (to me).

Hanging out in Toon Town. They waved at Pluto and some of the other characters.
Jake loved being with David.
The adults took turns going on the new Indiana Jones ride -- first Mike and David went, then we swapped the children and Jackie and I went. A bumpy, fun ride! After that everyone went on the Autopia car ride except for Ryan and me. Then it was the Disneyland train to get from one side of the park to another.
The line for the Winnie-the-Pooh characters was pretty short, and the boys were happy to meet them!

My cousin David and me with our sons -- we have a picture of us when Jake was 4 months old and Max was 3 weeks old. This picture was taken in line to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I was so excited that the boys were tall enough for it and to take Jake on it since it is my most favorite ride in all of Disneyland. And Jake LOVED it! He was so excited during and after! Max was just okay with it, but Jake immediately wanted to go ride the Matterhorn, so he went with Mike and David and loved that one, too! I have to say I'm not surprised -- both Mike and I love roller coasters.