Friday, January 30, 2009

Thank God for Starbucks!


Since we are going to be gone so much this month (and because of Lindey's new diet), my parents generously offered to "babysit" our dogs. Saving us, not only large sums of money that would be spent to board all the animals, but peace of mind that our pets would not be traumatized while we were gone. The only hitch - we had to get them to Boise. An easy five hour drive in the summer but treacherous in the winter (at least for me - a true California driver!)

This past Tuesday morning, I packed up the 'Burban with Lindey, Lucky, Kiwi, and of course, Grace and headed off to Boise. The weather here was beautiful - clear, blue skies - so I thought our drive would be uneventful. But as soon as I started to climb the grade outside of Pendleton and entered the Blue Mountains, the roads turned icy. Snow piles lined the roads and, just my luck, it started snowing.

No problem I thought to myself. I am driving the Burban. I will just "park it" in the slow lane and cautiously make my way. Slowly but surely, right? I kept telling sleeping Baby Grace that we had to "arrive alive" or Grandma would be REALLY disappointed. Soon, I was behind a 16 wheeler in the right lane who apparently enjoyed driving in the snow and ice as much as me. The truck was going between 35 and 40 mph. I thought about going around the truck but that meant traversing across that icy/slushy "median" that naturally develops during bad weather. You know, that section of road that with one false move, the slush will grab your tires and send you flying in the opposite direction you intended to go? No, I wasn’t willing to risk it. It was better to drive slow and be safe. So my plan was just to ride behind the truck - at 35 mph - all the way to Boise. Anyone who didn’t like it, could kiss my....was welcome to pass.

No sooner had I finished having this dialogue with myself in my head, a minivan crept up behind me and decided to sit about two feet off my rear bumper. He seemed like he was in a big hurry and that “trucky” and I were causing him a bunch of heartache because we were slowing him down. Well, my friend, that is what the left lane is for….be my guest to go around me. I am not going anywhere.

For about 20 minutes, trucky, minivan and I kept our pace at 35 mph in the right lane. We were continuously passed on the left by other 16 wheelers who obviously weren’t bothered by the ice and snow. During one particular pass, my car slipped. I don’t know what happened but the car started sliding. I was able to straighten it out but no sooner had I gotten the car back…it started sliding again. Once the car was back under my control, (mind you I was visibly shaking) I checked my rear view mirror thinking that minivan would have backed off my tail seeing that my car had almost spun out of control. But there he was. Two feet off my bumper. At this point, the shaking had taken over my body and was working its way up to my brain, so I threw on the hazards and pulled over. I was scared to death. Driving with Grace in the car on icy roads was just plain frightening…nerve wracking. I felt like I had aged about 10 years in about 10 minutes. What if my car had slid over in the left lane right when once of those big trucks was speeding by and plowed into me? What if my car spun out only to be clipped by minivan and left stranded in the Blue Mountains because my cell phone had no service? I was overwhelmed with fear but obviously couldn’t stop on the side of the road…in a white car…in a snow storm. The next city, La Grande, was about 20 miles away. My plan was to pull over in La Grande for a break. It would be horrible to get in an accident while driving along the highway, but even worse to be hit while parked on the side of the road. So I carefully pulled back onto the highway and S-L-O-W-L-Y made my way. It took me about an hour to get to La Grande. Grace, sensing my stress, began crying about 15 minutes before we reached the exit. She was due to be fed and definitely took it upon herself to “remind” me that she was starving.

Thank God for Starbucks! I pulled over in the parking lot where I nursed Grace and quickly let the dogs out for some fresh air. The snow was REALLY coming down now and a call to Court and my mom helped me to decide to turn around and head home. The stretch between La Grande, OR and Nampa, ID is the worst part – especially in blizzard conditions. Raising my white flag and tucking my tail in between my legs, I got back in the car and headed home.

Arriving home, exhausted and defeated, we still weren’t out of the woods. I had to get the dogs to Boise as we leave for Boston this Thursday. Luckily, Court offered to drive with me over the weekend. On Saturday morning, we packed up the car (again) and headed to Boise (again). It was a sunny day here (again) and I held my breath as we approached the grade outside of Pendleton. Much to my surprise, the ice was gone. The snow was gone. The road was clear. OF COURSE IT WAS!! Make me look like a crazy person. The snow was there. I swear it was. Just a few days ago…huge…snow…sto…UGH!

Well, the long and the short of it is, we got to Boise. The dogs and Kiwi are with my parents and we are still alive to share our story. (See how lucky you are?)

Sleep



Think we are tired?

Monday, January 26, 2009

The 'Burban

I am officially a soccer mom. Don't fear. I didn't chop my hair and I haven't started wearing tapered jeans (but jeans post-pregnancy are a whole 'nother story to be continued later). I don't even have the requisite soccer player to haul around...at least not yet. What I do have, as of this past Tuesday, is the vehicle of choice of many-a-soccer-mom.

We bought a Suburban. (You thought I was going to say mini-van didn't you??) Yep. A Suburban. (Or a 'Burban as I like to call it - we've even discussed a Maker's Mark bumper sticker). Doing our part to minimize our carbon footprint. *sigh*
Now before you get all "environmental" and guilt trip me with President Obama's inspirational words of us all doing "our part", hear me out. We needed this car. First, we do a lot of driving. 60,000 miles in the last two years! Second, while doing all this driving, we are hauling dogs, parrots, stuff...you know, the usual...and now kids - or in our case - a kid, over several mountain passes each winter. With children comes all the "stuff" children require like strollers, diaper bags, lots of empty suitcases for the stuff you buy for the baby while visiting said location, etc. It is amazing how much stuff you have to drag around with you once you have a baby. We obviously need more space - see exhibit A below.


Molly, Lindey, Lucky & Chance in the backseat of our old car

Not to mention the fact that we needed something safe. So I agreed to a Suburban and I must say, the thing rocks! I am lovin' my bourban....uhhhh, I mean 'Burban.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Where Does the Time Go?

I remember people telling me before my wedding to cherish that day because it goes by sooo fast. To absorb all the details because soon it would be only a distant memory and just a picture on the wall. (Speaking of wedding pictures, we just got our first wedding picture framed three years later! Hopefully, we'll be better with pictures of Grace!) I took that advice to heart and really tried to be in the moment at my wedding. I tried to take photographs with my mind so I would never forget the day. I love "flipping" through the photos in my mind from time to time. (However, I am still REALLY glad we hired a videographer because seeing my 16 year old brother drunk on the dance floor is priceless!)

Then, I had Grace and EVERYONE told me that "she would grow up so fast" and to "enjoy each day...each moment." They were right. She is already six weeks old and I can't believe it. Time is flying by and because I can't hire a videographer, I've got to do something to ensure that these "little" memories aren't lost forever.

So, without further ado, a brief update about Grace at six weeks.

For the most part, Grace is a very happy baby. She rarely cries and when she does there is a purpose behind it - hungry, tired, burpies, etc. She smiles ALL the time - even in her sleep! I can't help but wonder what she is dreaming about. Binkys? Mommy? Chocolate Cake?

Grace has already grown out of all of her newborn clothes. (We were out of those at 4 weeks but I just started washing and putting them away today.) So sad! So many tiny, adorable outfits that she will never wear again. (It literally just hit me as I was typing.) She will NEVER be this small again. I will NEVER have time with her again at this age...at this size. I feel like I had to hold a memorial service over each little outfit because a phase of her life has already come and gone. It will only be too soon that she heads off for college. *tear* (Here I go again with the cliches...)

When she does cry, most often it is more like a fuss. Her "big" cry is saved for those few times when Mommy or Daddy don't respond to her demands fast enough. During these rare fits, her cry sounds like a donkey "hee-hawing." It is heartbreaking to see her so upset but you can't help but giggle because it is so darn cute! (Still trying to capture this on video...)

To answer the number one question I am asked whenever out in public - no she is not sleeping through the night. In fact, she is up about 3-4 times a night but usually just to get a quick bite to eat and then it is right back to sleep. That is most nights, but we have had a few all nighters. In fact, just last week she was up from 11:30 pm to 4 am just wide awake. Not fussy. Not hungry. No wet diaper. Just wide awake. I watched the movie Fear starring Reese Witherspoon and Mark Wahlburg. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures. (Probably not the best movie to watch from any stand point but it definitely caused some trepidations when it comes time for Grace to start dating!! UGH!)

Only six weeks old and she is already one savvy little traveler! At two weeks old, we surprised my parents with a visit! We packed up Grace and made the five hour drive without any problems. Last week, we were in Portland for a few days to do some tax-free shopping. Grace now has the Northwest covered! (At least, the important parts!) Next week, we are heading to Boston. Her first airplane ride and her first trip to the east coast! I am excited to get her accustomed to the airplane sooner rather than later as I am REALLY not looking forward to meltdowns at 30,000 feet.

Other memorable moments that I want to write down so I don't forget:

-Grace has gone out to dinner with us on several occasions and is a total trooper! She usually sleeps the whole time. On one particular evening, we were getting ready to leave the restaurant after we were finished eating and a woman, eating with a baby of her own, asked me how old Grace was? When I responded three weeks she said..."Ohhhh..." in a very wistful voice. Then her entire demeanor changed and she sat straight up. "Give it two months and then you will REALLY HATE motherhood!" Uhhhhhhhhh thanks for the tip crazy lady! How do you respond to that?
-Grace loves riding in the car and her stroller. Almost as soon as she is strapped into her seat, she is asleep! It's too bad her cradle doesn't work the same magic.
-Lots of babies have a hard time taking a bottle but not our Gracie! She chomped right on - no problemos!

Probably a boring entry for most, but because my time is so limited, the blog, in some ways has become a virtual baby book. I haven't started the "brick and mortar" baby book yet (I really hate my handwriting and I am scared to ruin the beautiful pages with my chicken scratch. Type is so much more legible!) but I will get that underway soon. Living in the moment makes it a bit difficult to capture the memories of yesterday. (Like that?! I just had to end this entry riddled with cliches with...yes, you guessed it, another cliche!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chickens vs. Elephants

I admit - I "stole" this video from another blog that I religiously follow. I just thought that it was so touching (I shed a tear or two) it needed to be shared.



Think I can convince Court that we need elephants instead of chickens? I mean we've already got the dogs and we do live on a farm.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Sneeze


I don't think there is anything cuter on the planet. I literally watch this 100 times a day.

video

Now for the most embarrassing moment on the planet. Taken the day before I gave birth, maybe this is what caused my water to break the following morning.

video

Note: I tucked my shirt in for "effect." I didn't run around trying to look like a bowling ball. Unfortunately, that was just one of the natural "perks" of my pregnancy.

Friday, January 16, 2009

"Professional" Pictures

Believe it or not, Grace is a month old. To commemorate the day, I took pictures as well as the "professionals" at Wal-Mart. Still searching for a photographer who takes indoor, studio pictures. Suggestions are welcome.

Photos a la Mom. (I admit, not my best work.)



Photos by Wal-Mart.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Precious Moments

This short video was taken when Grace was six days old. I feel like a lifetime has passed since this day. Thank God I am able to capture her on video so easily. I didn't realize how much she has already changed and grown until I took a moment to look back at the videos. It is exciting and heartbreaking all at the same time.

video

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My New Diet Partner

If you don't know, we have two dogs, Lindey and Lucky. Both are Havanese.








Lindey has always been our "sickly" dog. When I say sickly, I don't mean rabies or kennel cough or anything like that. I merely mean that there always seems to be something wrong with her. She has visited the emergency vet every year of her life for a variety of reasons. Once, she got a hold of a bottle of Tylenol PM, chewed off the lid and ate, or so we thought, some of the pills. She ended up having her stomach pumped and the vet concluded that she hadn't eaten any of the pills. (Money well spent!) On another occasion, she and I were playing in the park on a VERY hot day (105 degrees) and she started violently vomiting. After a trip to the emergency vet, it was determined that she had suffered from heat stroke. (Again, money well spent.) Her third trip to the emergency vet was for a bit of broken tooth literally growing through her cheek. Disgusting, I know. Her fourth trip to the emergency vet happened this past summer when her hind leg basically stopped working. It seemed like it was just hanging from her hip socket. Ended up being a slipped knee cap. Now in her fifth year of life, my goal is to keep her out of the emergency vet and to try to keep Lindey as happy and healthy as possible. To be proactive if you will.

Just before Grace was born, Lindey came down with an ear infection. We'd been to the vet A LOT this past year for an ear infection in the same ear. The vet told me that the hair growing in her ear canal that was trapping "organisms" which would turn into an ear infection. I was to apply some drops for a week and continually keep the hair removed from the ear. Well, after several unsuccessful treatments, I decided to try a new vet in the Tri-Cities. Problem was, I was due to have Grace any day and didn't want to be two hours away from the hospital - with my dog in the car - if I happened to go into labor. What I am getting at is, Lindey has had a really sore ear for well over a month and I finally took her to the vet this past Monday. So much for being proactive!

So we go to the vet, expecting to receive some form of ear drop and be sent on our way. Yes, we did receive ear drops but after the most thorough and shocking examination Lindey has ever received.

My poor dog is in bad shape and it is all my fault. For starters, her teeth are a bit "dirty." Apparently, I am failing as a dog owner because I don't brush her teeth. (If you brush your dog's teeth, I'd like to hear from you because I am convinced NO ONE does this.) If I can't brush her teeth, I am supposed to be giving her special bones to help keep her teeth clean. BUT I can't give her any bones at the moment because the ear infection (and the neurotic chewing of her paws) is being caused by a food allergy. According to the vet, the food I have been giving my dogs is the WORST on the market and is basically killing my dogs from the inside out! I was TOTALLY shocked and horrified! Not to mention riddled with guilt. In order to discover exactly what she is allergic to, I could either have her undergo a pricey allergy test or try introducing foods, one at a time, and watching the effects. I chose the cheaper option. So Lindey (and Lucky by default) are on a new eating regimen so as to uncover Lindey's food allergy. Part of diagnosing Lindey's allergy also requires a stool and URINE sample. I repeat - urine sample. Think about that for a moment. I am supposed to collect a uuuurine sample from a doooogggg. Unable to fathom how on earth I was supposed to do this, the vet tech told me to follow Lindey out in the yard first thing in the morning armed with an old Tupperware. When it looked like Lindey was ready to go, I was to slip the Tupperware under her urine stream and VOILA! uhhhhhhhhh YEAH RIGHT! I have yet to attempt the "collection." I am in denial I even have to do this. (See this is why people get dogs BEFORE kids. It prepares you for things you can't even imagine!)

The vet had more good news for me. Lindey is considered obese. Weighing in at 17.6 pounds, the vet believes she should be in the ball park of 12 pounds. For a dog to lose 5 pounds is the equivalent of a human losing a 100 lbs. Needless to say, Lindey and I are tackling weight loss together. I still have a pregnant looking belly and every time I reach for a "treat" I think of Lindey being cut off cold turkey from all her favorites - Pepperoni Pups, Dingo Bones, scraps after dinner - and think, if she can do it, so can I! (It is only day 1, so we'll see how long her sad, puppy dog eyes keep me out of the candy cabinet!)

*************************************************

Well, not long I am afraid to report. I am doing better at steering clear of the sweet stuff but I just got back from the store where I bought Valentine's Day message hearts and all the fixins for brownies. Not to mention I am hooked on Sun Chips. HOOKED I tell you! It is like the chips are crack and I am Whitney Houston. I can't stop.

Also, (I know you are on the edge of your seats) I successfully collected Lindey's samples and took them to the vet. It was quite embarrassing following Lindey around the yard with a Tupperware - especially when the garbage collector came driving up to find me squatting alongside my dog shoving a plastic dish under her butt. I think I made his week, if not his month! Hey, I do what I can!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thank God for Binkys

Some new parents are opposed to using pacifiers but I say PHOOEY! The pacifier is the SINGLE greatest invention (after the epidural, of course!). The person/people who invented the "binky," as we call it, truly earned their millions with this one. We couldn't live without it. Wellll, we could, but we wouldn't be very happy and we definitely would be extremely tired. Viva la binky!!



Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cashmere in the Street!

Molly, Grace and I were walking down a street in Seattle on our way to a store where I was going to exchange a darling cashmere outfit we received from Grandma for Christmas. Unfortunately, Grace did not fit into the original outfit so I planned on exchanging it for an outfit in a bigger size. On our way to the store, the wind REALLY kicked up. The outfit was in a box in the stroller bag underneath the carrier. Well, the blustery wind grabbed hold of the box and carried it up, up and away - down the street! I started screaming "Cashmere in the street! Cashmere in the street!" Strangers walking by looked at me like I was a crazy person, but none made any attempt to help save the cashmere. (Uhhh, hello. It's cashmere...why was no one jumping on this - literally?) I obviously couldn't abandon Grace in the stroller along the side of the street to chase it down. Auntie M was our only hope!

Molly went tearing down the sidewalk after the box. Sweater, leggings, tissue papers and box lids started flying into the street. Molly's "auntie instincts" were clearly being put to the test. Does she risk life and limb by running into the street to save the cashmere or does she safely salvage any remains after traffic has passed over the outfit?

I must say it was a proud moment. Molly chose what any good aunt would do! She darted into the street, dodged oncoming traffic and managed to collect the cashmere outfit - unharmed. That is, both Molly AND the cashmere were unharmed.

Needless to say, seeing cashmere almost destroyed in front of our eyes was a traumatic moment and it sent our hearts racing. Luckily, it all worked out. Grace will be sporting her new outfit in 3- 6 months and we have Auntie M to thank! Thanks Auntie M!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Observations Regarding Motherhood #1

I think babies must have a sixth sense. Every time I am juuussst about to fall asleep, Grace wakes up and is hungry or needs a diaper change. Juuussst as I am about to sit down to eat, Grace cries and needs to be held or burped. It is like clockwork. Every time. Because her timing is so impeccable, I am still trying to figure out a routine or rhythm that will allow me to mother her but also have some sort of life. (And when I say life, I mean just trying to get dinner on the table! Thank God for Court. He has prepared every meal since we've come home from the hospital!)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Weigh-In

Today, Grace and I headed up to Yakima for a weigh-in. (Not mine - thank God!!) At her two week appointment, she had gained back the weight that she lost after birth and even gained a few ounces. (When she was born she weighed 9.3 lbs and at her two week check-up she weighed 9 lbs. 5 1/2 oz.) They thought that a baby of her size could have gained more weight in that time even though they thought she looked healthy and she was eating well. As of today, she weighs 9 lbs. 13 oz. so she is eating and gaining at an appropriate rate. It still blows my mind that she is already 3 weeks old. Some days it feels like she was born yesterday but most nights it feels like I have been a mother for a lifetime!

Hopefully, I will be able to get a few more postings and pictures of her/us over the last few weeks! We'll see how it goes!

Here are a few pictures of Grace resting peacefully last Friday (1/2/09).
Today, after the weigh-in.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy (Belated) New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Better late than never right? I am still trying to get a handle on motherhood while fitting in a few blogging sessions every now and then. Motherhood is obviously a bit higher on my priority list these days.

We just got back from a week long stint in Seattle. Grace's first visit to the big city! She was a total trooper and did great. Every day, we would pack Grace up in her stroller, bundle her up in an adorable, pink outfit and blankie and off we went!

As I have been cooped up in the Yakima Valley and my house for months, I was like a kid in a candy shop...only difference - I was armed with a credit card! heheh I wanted to visit all my old shopping...uhhh I mean...stomping grounds and catch up with friends. It was an action packed week - not a lot of relaxing or sleeping - but we had a great time!

We visited with Auntie M for her birthday! Grace's first girl's night!! Grace was great! People would stop us and ask us how old she was and when we said two weeks, they would gasp and say how brave we were! I wasn't sure if they meant this as a compliment or a slam - like we were crazy for having our baby outside of the house at this age. Maybe we are but I think it is going to be easier to drag her around at this age than say 6 months to a year from now. Plus, the sooner she can get used to eating at grown up restaurants the better!

To celebrate the New Year, Court, Grace and I watched the fireworks with our good friends, Shane and Alison, and their new bundle of joy, William! William weighed as much as Grace did when he was born and now, two months later, weighs in at 15 lbs! It was eye opening to see how quickly Grace will likely grow in just a few short weeks!

Anyway, we hope you all had a fun, safe and happy new year. All the best in 2009!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

First Visit with Great Grandma Margaret

Grace is a lucky girl. I mean, she couldn't have lucked out with cooler parents than me and Court! Obvi!! But she also has an amazing extended family. She has two uncles, two aunts and two full sets of Grandparents. What is even more amazing is that she has four great grandmothers and one great grandfather! Her first visit with Great Grandma Margaret happened on January 2, 2008. It was very special!

Yes, tears were shed. Happy tears, of course.

Three generations.

I'm sorry. I know I am biased but I think she seriously looks like an angel in this picture!