Saturday, May 31, 2008

Landon removed the sod from the third of what will eventually be five street-side beds on the south side of our house this morning. Tomorrow I plan to work on gardening this new bed for most of the day. Since one of my beds is overcrowded, I have most of the plants I need. I do want to pick up some rocks before I get started to elevate a portion of the bed in the center for what I hope will be a place for a small Juniper tree. I still have Juniper's placenta in the freezer, and I've been saving it to plant a Juniper shrub or tree for her. Juniper and I went to Portland Nursery this afternoon looking for just the right Juniperus specimen, but no such luck. Portland Nursery will have more varieties available in November, so in the meantime, I'm looking through my gardening books to figure out which species I want. Once I decide, it's possible another nursery in the area will carry it. If not, I might look into ordering one online.

Last Thursday on Alberta Street

Friday, May 30, 2008
Last night, we all went down to Alberta Street for some of the best pizza in Portland at Bella Faccia Pizzeria and the Last Thursday art walk. I think this is officially my new favorite pizza joint in Portland. So good! Here is Samuel on his way out the door as we were leaving.

On the patio of Bella Faccia's, having just finished our pizza. We're ready for the art walk now!

Looking at art along the sidewalk wasn't too interesting for Samuel, so we stopped along the way for face painting. Samuel wanted blue and asked for his face to be painted all over.

Later that night, Juniper and Landon shared some laughs on the floor.

Juniper and Landon look a lot alike, don't you think?


Landon sent me this video clip today in an e-mail that read, "Let's go here for our next hike. We can bring the kids!" My husband has an interesting sense of humor.

Juniper's First Tooth

Thursday, May 29, 2008
Little Juniper Octavia has cut her first tooth! This came as quite a surprise to me as she has been sleeping well and has been in relatively good spirits, other than her recent cold, which has brought on a little extra fussiness due to her congestion. When Samuel's first tooth was working its way up, he was fussy for weeks before it finally popped through. I didn't think I could take another day when it finally made its appearance. Samuel was always sensitive to teething. With each one, there were double and triple the night wakings and fussiness all day long. And the drool! Samuel had a continuous fountain of drool when he was teething. Juniper is a different story. No additional night wakings (even with her cold), only a small amount of extra fussiness, and voilà! her first tooth (lower left central incisor) has arrived, nearly a full month earlier than her older brother's first tooth emerged.

Juniper loves sitting up now. It's her preferred position during playtime. Today she launched forward for the first time, so I expect she'll be crawling in the next week or two. It took her a little longer to roll over than it did for Samuel, but as of now, she's following the same rate of development. I predict she'll be walking before her first birthday!

Juniper is a happy girl--all you have to do is smile at her to get a smile in return.

She's my happy, smiley girl . . . and now with the arrival of her first tooth, putting away the Brest Friend pillow and crib yesterday, and bringing up the high-chair from the basement, I'll be the first to admit that Juniper isn't a little baby anymore. She's a big girl, and we're all proud of her! She'll be six months old on June 10th, then it's onto rice cereal!


Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Landon and I spent a nice chunk of change on Samuel's crib nearly four years ago, because at the time, having never had a baby of my own, I assumed he'd use a crib. It's an American tradition after all, right? The first night home from the hospital with him, I knew I'd cosleep. The thought of putting him in another room was inconceivable to me. It took me awhile to figure out how to sideline nurse in the early days, but by the time he was a month old, I didn't even have to sit up at night when he woke, and both of us would go right back to sleep while he nursed. So, as it turned out, a top-end crib, mattress, and bedding set sat unused in the nursery until it was finally packed up and put into storage with the hopes we'd use it someday for baby #2 (Juniper).

When Juniper was on the way, I made Landon set it up when I was about 28 weeks pregnant in hopes that I'd maybe get some use out of it this time around. No such luck. Cosleeping has worked out so well once again that the crib has only taken up valuable space in Samuel's room and Juniper actually cries when I place her in it, even if it's only for a few minutes while I get Samuel dressed in the morning. I don't think she likes the boxy feeling of it, and the fancy mobile only entertains her for maybe thirty seconds. Plus, cosleeping is what I want to do. It's my parenting style. It's what works for us. It took me awhile to come to terms with the fact that I was never going to use the crib, mostly because of all the time and effort I spent at picking everything out (it's a first-time pregnant mom thing), but eventually I knew what I needed to do.

So, I stood by the crib this afternoon, looking at it and thinking hard about whether or not taking it down was really what I wanted to do. It was. Juniper was never going to sleep in it. When she gets too big to be in our bed in another nine months or so, she'll transition to a twin bed like Samuel did, so we have the ability to lay beside her while she falls asleep. Where we'll put that twin bed in nine months is anyone's guess. We're going to need to finish our basement to free up some more space in this little house unless Landon gives up his office. Even then, we're going to need more space.

I felt sad as I disassembled the crib, folded the bedding, and carried it all down to the basement. At first I thought I was sad because the crib was being packed away for the last time, but then I thought about it some more and realized that I wasn't sad that I wouldn't go through the experience of having a baby again, but sad that this time in my life of being pregnant and having babies is now over. There's a difference (I think). It's funny how we look ahead to these moments during the course of our lives, and before we know it, we are no longer looking ahead, but behind. So, it was with a little sadness that the crib was packed away this afternoon, but I'm glad to have Samuel's room back to the way it was before the crib was set up. He has more room now, and I was even able to set up the small tent he received from Landon's parents for Christmas from IKEA.

After reorganizing Samuel's room all afternoon, I needed some time to myself this evening. This wasn't even something I realized I needed until Landon insisted I was long overdue for some time to myself. I had to admit, it sounded pretty good. I thought about what I wanted to do as it was already nearly six o'clock. One thing that has been stressing me out lately is the weeds that are overtaking the garden in places, so even though it was raining, I headed outside for some quiet time in the garden in the rain. It was actually quite pleasant. It wasn't cold, and the ground was nice and soft; root systems gave way easily. The rain felt good on my skin, face, and hair. Before I knew it, I had a huge pile of weeds, and had formulated a plan to get the garden back to where I want it this weekend. This is going to require digging up another streetside bed, but what better time to do it than after a few days of hard rain. Plus, I don't have to dig the bed up myself. That's where my husband comes in. He's already agreed to get the bed ready for me on Saturday, and then on Sunday, I can transplant some bushes that are overcrowded to get the garden back into a balanced state.

I took a few minutes this morning when it was only sprinkling to snap a few photos in the garden. This columbine variety is in full bloom now. My other columbine has already lost all its petals.

Side profile.

Allium, from the onion genus.


Quiet Day at Home

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Samuel slept in until 10:30AM this morning! That never happens. He regularly gets up at 7AM daily, and if it weren't for Landon, who usually gets up with him, I don't know how I'd make it through the day if I were to get up that early. When he finally called out to me, I found out he was actually feeling sick. He's been laying on the couch watching Planet Earth all morning, and he can hardly hold down fluids. Here he is, resting with his treasured squid, which brings him comfort.

Juniper can be found rolling around beneath the ironing board, trying to make the most of the day, despite her big brother's illness. He is a constant source of entertainment for her, but today he rests on the couch while she plays alone.

Drifting Along in a Fog

Monday, May 26, 2008

We didn't get back from Seattle last night until 1AM. I had to stop and buy energy drinks in order to stay awake on the way home. I don't think I'll do that again. Next time, we'll stay the extra night and come back in the morning. The kids slept the whole way home, and Landon did a good job of engaging me conversationally to keep me awake.

This morning when I got up with Juniper, I went downstairs to find Samuel watching the History channel. He'd been up for awhile, and instead of waking us up, had gone downstairs on his own, turned on the TV, and had been quietly watching it by himself. I think I like that plan just fine. Landon and I were actually able to sleep in for an extra hour.

I felt like a fog descended on me today. I think I was just tired from our trip to Seattle. It was a slow day. We went to Powell's downtown and picked up a book on squids for Sam, then headed back home. I had my friend Miriam over for awhile, and we drank Recharge and ate crackers and cheese. Her daughter Sylvia played with Sam, and what fun they had. Miriam brought me these beautiful flowers from her mother's garden. Thanks, Miriam! They certainly brightened my day.

Folklife and Seattle, Day 2

Sunday, May 25, 2008

First thing this morning, we checked out of our hotel, as we decided to head home late Sunday night to have a full day at home on Monday. Here is Landon and Sam, taking our bags down to our car.

We were in no hurry to fight the crowds at Folklife again, so we decided to spend the morning at Pike Place Market and find the original Starbucks. Here we are, beneath the twin-tailed, bare-breasted sirens at the number one Starbucks, opened in 1971 at 2000 Western Avenue and moved to this location at 1912 Pike Place in 1976.

We spent the morning walking through Pike Place Market. Sam loved the Pike Place Fish Market, and we stopped there for awhile so he could inspect the fish for sale.

One of the friendly fishmongers stopped and chatted with me about Juniper's soft carrier. Then he went behind the counter and pulled the tail of a monkfish, causing its mouth to open as it was lifted up, which made Samuel laugh and laugh.

The tail of the monkfish is lying beneath the ice, so when it was pulled, there was no way for Sam to know how the fish was moving. Good times for a three year old at Pike Place Fish Market.

After enjoying the morning at Pike Place Market, Landon headed up to Folklife, and I took the kids to the Seattle Aquarium. Landon's gig at Folklife wasn't until 8PM, so there would still be plenty of time to hang out at Folklife. Here's Samuel touching sea stars inside the aquarium.

Sam loves sharks. About six months ago, he moved from a strong interest in trains and machines to sharks and all other marine life. In fact, when we stopped by the seal and otter exhibit, he wanted to know why there wasn't a great white shark in the tank eating the seals. Maybe he's been watching a little too much Planet Earth? As you can see in the photo above, Sam would be no match for this sixgill shark!

Looking up at baby salmon in the Seattle Aquarium.

Sam loved watching the seals, and we were just in time to watch them being fed!

Samuel enjoyed watching fish in the underwater dome at Seattle Aquarium.

We finally made it to Folklife after spending the morning at Pike Place Market, the afternoon at Seattle Aquarium, and more of the afternoon waiting for a tow truck to jump my car after the lights were left on all day (not by me!). When we arrived at Folklife, it was very crowded. On our way to the Northwest Court Stage, where Landon was playing, we stopped for a balloon. Sam requested a sword. Here he is in the above photo, patiently waiting with money in hand.

The balloon-tying guy made Sam a sword, sheath, and hat. He was one happy guy!

Landon finally found us amongst the crowds. We had dinner, and split a strawberry shortcake. Sam is holding his squid, which he hasn't put down since we bought it at the Seattle Aquarium. The squid even took precedence over his sword and sheath, which had by now been placed in the stroller, never to be played with again.

Finally, it was 8pm, and it was time for Landon's gig. I have uploaded a short clip below:

Saturday: First Day at Folklife

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Last night, we stayed about ten minutes outside Seattle, so after packing up the car and checking out of our motel, we drove to Seattle Center in search of coffee and breakfast. Landon suggested we go to the first established Starbucks down at Pike Place Market, but to make things easier, we ended up driving down to the water and went to a Starbucks on Alaskan Way. As you can see, there were many choices:

View Larger Map

After enjoying bagels and hot coffee, we drove to our hotel to check in before heading to Folklife. Here was where we stayed, within walking distance of Seattle Center, where Folklife is held.

We arrived at Folklife right when it opened (around 11AM), and you can still see green space. An hour later, the crowds were so dense, there was no green space to be found. This picture was taken at the Mural Amphitheatre, where we heard the Clumsy Lovers later that evening.

Samuel running towards the fountain. Despite the forecast for rain, it was hot and sunny both days we were there. This fountain provided welcome relief from the heat. Samuel actually ended up stripping down to a t-shirt and underwear. Then we lost him. He disappeared in the crowds, and we spent about fifteen minutes looking for him, during which I thought I was having a panic attack. He finally found our stroller, and everything was okay again until a few minutes later, when he slipped and fell, slicing his knee and toe pretty good on some metal that was part of the fountain structure. At this point, it was 2PM, so I took the kids back to the motel room, Samuel crying all the way, and we rested, cooled off, and had snacks.

By the time I got back to Folklife with the kids, it was nearly dusk. We ate dinner, then went over to the Mural Amphitheatre to hear the Clumsy Lovers. I took this picture of the Space Needle from where we sat on the grass. The band sounded great, and it was good to see Chris and Trevor again. Before we knew it, the day was over, and it was time to head back to our room. It was already nearly 11PM! Where did the day go?

Folklife in Seattle

Friday, May 23, 2008

I've known for awhile now that Landon would be attending Folklife, because he had two gigs up there, but not wanting to fight the crowds with two little kids, I had decided long ago to stay home . . . until today. This afternoon, I spontaneously decided to join Landon, and if the festival got to be too much, I'd see some of the other sights of Seattle. Either way, we'd find something fun to do. Landon wasn't going to head up until Saturday afternoon, but I convinced him to drive up tonight so we could get a good start on our day tomorrow. After eating dinner at Tony Bento in SE, we hit the freeway. I originally thought we'd probably stay in Olympia, but we made good time, and drove all the way to Seattle, spending the night at a Motel 6 on Military Road, just outside city limits. Landon and I stayed there once before long before we had kids, so it brought back memories. Both the kids fell asleep on the way up. The picture above is of Sam outside our motel room.

Juniper and Sam are dressed and ready to find a Starbucks before checking into our downtown Seattle hotel room and walking to Folklife.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

I'm having a hard time remembering to call this little guy 'Sam,' but he's been reminding me, and I'll try to do better. He had a good time with Landon the other night exploring Marshall Park and traversing Tryon Creek. They hiked up and down along the creek. Landon was quite impressed with how capably Sam maneuvered himself around the creek's obstacles. There is a little stone bridge (shown in picture above) that spans the creek, which is a special feature about the park. I also learned from Portland Parks that the playground was built on the foundation of F.C. and Addie Marshall's summer home, the couple who donated the property to the city in the early 1950's. Next time you're visiting SW Portland, check out Marshall Park--it's a beautiful place!

Juniper is almost 5 1/2 months now. In the picture above, she is wearing a t-shirt sent to her from her great-grandparents on Landon's side in CO. It says, "I love rainbows." She sits up for longer stretches now (first long stretch, about one minute, was on her 5 month birthday (Sam also sat up for the first time on his 5 month birthday)), and she rolls around the living room to explore new areas. Yesterday, she began pulling CD's and VHS tapes out of the TV table, and so the fun officially begins. As I'm typing this, she's trying to pull books out of my office bookcase. If she follows her brother's rate of development, she'll be walking in four months. Then the fun will really begin!

Did I mention I love her chubby thighs?


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The sun is setting; the last of the rays are hitting the treetops along Taylor's Ferry, which I can see facing South from my dining room windows. Spring birds are chirping with delight at the numerous plump worms wriggling around on the garden topsoil from a shower that passed through minutes ago. Juniper is fast asleep on the sofa, and I wonder if 8:15PM is her bedtime tonight, or if there will be one last breastfeeding. The house is quiet, and Landon is away practicing for a Folk Life gig this weekend. The fresh snowballs on my dining table came from my neighbor's garden, a Viburnum opulus that is many years old, and is the species which cramp bark tincture is derived, a homeopathic remedy I used to relieve after-pains following Juniper's homebirth. Snowball trees are beautiful in mid-May. My Mom always told me about her Grandmother's snowball tree she had in front of her old Portland home. The other day I drove by our old house, and when I noticed no one was home, I pulled into the driveway to have a closer view of the front-yard garden, hoping to catch a glimpse of some old favorite plants. I didn't get out of the car, but from what I could see, they are all thriving, which made me happy. The two snowball trees I planted have doubled in size, and the columbine has spread. The ferns I transplanted with Landon have new fronds unfurling, and the new owners have added many more plants and flowers to the garden. It's a pleasant thought that my old garden is now in good hands. I've heard stories of people selling houses to find a beloved cherry tree chopped or a tender backyard garden bulldozed for an obnoxious addition built in poor taste on a century old classic bungalow. These people can't bear to drive by their old homes. I can understand how they must feel. The laundry buzzer just sounded its alarm. Time to start folding. Plan to watch The Savages. Glass of Northeastern Australian Cab has been poured, leftovers from book-club on Monday. The day is nearing its end. Those sun rays have disappeared and dusk has fallen. Time to relax and look forward to muffins and coffee with a friend tomorrow morning.

"To Market, to Market, to Buy a Plum Bun . . . "

Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The day before we left for Long Beach last week, Landon was still out of town, and there was only a few morsels of food in the house. Something had to be done, so I reluctantly took the kids shopping by myself, which is never an easy task for me--in fact, it zaps my energy at an astonishing rate, and takes a lot of caffeine to make it happen.

Somehow, I forgot my ERGO baby carrier, and since Juniper recently upgraded from her Snugride to a Britax Marathon, I had little choice but to buckle her into the shopping cart. She can't quite sit up yet, but with the help of the safety belt on the shopping cart seat, and blankets stuffed all around (there must be an actual product to help with this), she lit up, enjoying her new view. Samuel insisted on riding in the shopping cart as well, but despite this, I somehow managed to cram $166.16 worth of groceries around his body without smashing the bread or bruising the pears. In the picture above, we are waiting in line to get aforementioned caffeine.

Still waiting for a quad latte, Juniper found a way to wriggle free from the blankets; the safety belt kept her from completely falling over. I was to adjust and readjust those blankets dozens of times as we made our way through the aisles. All the while she was happy as could be. Oh, and yes, she is wearing pajamas. At some point, getting out the door starts to go from complicated to never going to happen, so I just leave, and sometimes, some of us are still in our pajamas.

An hour later, we had only made it through the organic section of the produce department at Fred Meyer. I'm still not quite sure why I decided to shop at Freddy's today. Many of the products I wanted for recipes I'm making this week could not be found, so I was forced to go with a less healthy choice. Next time, I'll stick with New Seasons. In this picture, my smile is fake (we're still on aisle 1 and it's been an hour), and my nursing bra was in the laundry pile at home. Nursing tank tops just don't do a woman justice. Enough said.

Another hour later, we'd been to the bathroom twice for Samuel, which meant leaving the shopping cart, taking valuables (and Juniper), and simultaneously holding all valuables (and Juniper) while assisting Samuel. It's so unfair that moms don't get to include these skills on their resumes. I can imagine the looks I'd get during a job interview if I talked about all the skills I learned as a stay-at-home mom. "I feel I am qualified to waitress at your 4-star restaurant, because as a mom, I mastered the skill of holding a five-month old baby, camera, purse, and diaper bag, while helping a three-year old to go pee and wash hands in a public restroom." Somehow, I don't think mentioning these skills would land me the job.

Grocery shopping solo with two small kids is an adventure in motherhood that I don't recommend unless absolutely necessary--especially if one of those two small kids is breastfeeding and the other is no longer wearing a diaper. Be prepared for an accident (e.g. three year old with wet pants and standing in a puddle), bathroom breaks (takes time, but will hopefully prevent the wet pants and puddles), breastfeeding breaks (this can be done while simultaneously pushing a shopping cart, but it takes skill, and again, probably won't land you a job if you mention this skill during an interview), tantrums, a broken jar of pickles on aisle four, and all the stop-and-chats (see youtube clip below) with various strangers who feel the need to tell you to "enjoy it now, they grow up so fast." Well, strangers in the supermarket, there's only so much enjoyment to be found at the grocery store with two small kids, so try to accept the fact that I'm not basking in the joy of motherhood on a continual basis. I'll enjoy my kids some other time.

" . . . home again, home again, market is done."

I credit Larry David for the expression "the stop-and-chat." Here is a clip from Curb Your Enthusiasm, Season 2, Episode 20, "The Massage," where Larry passes an acquaintance on the street, and refuses to do a "stop-and-chat."

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