Travel

relaxing (at the time)

The best part of a holiday weekend away with the Grandparents? Actually relaxing because you're not at home and there isn't really anything you should be working on (like cleaning the garage or scrubbing floors). Hiking with Grandpa

The worst part of a holiday weekend away with the Grandparents? Getting home on the last evening of the holiday and remember that not only did you relax and not do anything extra, you also didn't do any of the normal weekend activities. Like, grocery shop or do laundry. And now you will spend the rest of the week trying to catch up.

It was worth it.

a four-hour tour

From the way-back department, a couple of video clips I took on a jet boat tour we went on out in Oregon. The weekend we were in Grants Pass, the “Boatnik Festival” was going on. It’s a carnival in the city park and boat racing on the river. While we loaded the boats, there happened to be drag boats racing just upriver. Rhiannon, Tricia, and I ended up on the one jet boat that took the drag course. It was slow and gentle compared to the drag boats that had to be towed around using wave runners, but I believe that our boat with around 60 people on board high 50mph heading upriver.

The boats can operate with a full passenger load at full speed in the just a few feet of water, and since they are flat bottomed vessels, they can spin around pretty well. No promises were ever made about staying dry, and yes, my camera survived the trip.

Jet Boat Tour from Chris&Rhiannon on Vimeo.

sit down you're rocking the boat

Not really. When the boat is a large pontoon, it isn't quite as easy to rock. And it's very easy to walk around on. So stand up. Let the kids drive. Who's driving anyway?

Really, what the worst that can happen? It's not like any babies who don't know how to swim, can barely walk, and don't grasp the concept of what a lake really is where on board.

What am I wearing?

Besides, three person tubes are pretty stable.

No Hands!

The worst that could happen to anyone was a little sunburn, and that was mostly just me and my legs that haven't seen the light of day in a few years. I just have to figure out how to get one of those boats for myself. Relaxing is an excellent description of the two days we spend on the water. Thanks to Joe for taking all of us out.

stop looking up

Whenever I visit a new city, I'm constantly amazed that I do not run in to more things. Of course, it helps when the things one might run in to are really big and obvious. Space N eedle

Yeah, the Space Needle is probably the epitome of tourist destination, but then, doesn't that mean that it is something to see if you're just visiting? I've never understood the negative connotation associated with being a tourist and doing tourist type things.

Why does it feel like it was two years ago that we were on vacation on the west coast instead of two months ago? I think we hit the ground running when we got back and I'm not sure if we've stopped yet.

she's a biter

We made it safely back to Colorado a few days ago. The night before we were going to leave, we briefly discussed setting an alarm. But really, who needs to set an alarm when you have a baby that doesn't know the definition of sleeping in, even when on vacation. She slept in almost 90 minutes later than any other day.

We hit night road construction on the interstate what should have been less than 45 minutes from home. 25 minutes to go one mile later, Brooklynn was going a little stir crazy in the back seat. I wasn't sure if it was a human child or a hyper-active monkey on the brink of a meltdown.

As soon as we cleared the construction, we stopped for some ice cream.

Ice cream makes everything better. She learned this from her Grandpa in North Dakota.

It seems like the lesson stuck.

She's a Biter

just breathe and relax

We're on vacation this week. No scheduled work, no overtime, no firm commitments. Unfortunately, being parents also means no sleeping in, but I guess I shouldn't be picky. Happy 4th

Especially when it means that Rhiannon gets to have coordinating holiday outfits for the baby (thanks to some generous friends).

Hopefully your week is as relaxing as ours. Rumor has it that if the weather holds, we're going to get out for a pontoon ride on a lake at some point over the next few days. I could get used to this life in a hurry.

(I'm guessing the in-laws would kick me out at some point after realizing that I was just freeloading.)

the travel had to end sometime

As much fun as it was to get out and see some new places in the world for a while, it was good to get back home and see our baby again. After 6 nights, 1300 miles on the road, 4 hotels, one walk on the beach, 2 ferry boat rides, and a couple months worth of clams and fish, I'm happy to say that we all made it back home in one piece. Needle at Night

This was the view out our hotel window in Seattle. Yeah, we were really roughing it.

putting things into perspective

There are things in this world a whole lot bigger than us. Big Trees, Little People

Note the three of us standing at the base of the tree. I'm pretty confident we could construct several homes from the lumber made from one of these trees if they ever fell down were chopped up. Now I know how Brooklynn feels with us walking around and over her all the time.

(And the four "trunks" directly behind us are all the same tree.)

leavin on a jet plane (sans baby)

Tomorrow morning and evening, Rhiannon and I take off for Oregon. Brooklynn is staying here with my parents. While we're both looking forward to having a vacation and a childless couple, we also just realized how much we will actually miss the tiny person. As for Brooklynn, I don't think that she's really figured out what's going to happen. I'm sure that at some point she will realize that we're gone. Then she'll probably realize that her grandparents ignore her much less than we do. I just hope her long term memory is better than it used to be.

Before Bed

That, and that she pops those two or three teeth through by the time we get back.

somehow, this seems like trouble

We have a saying in our house that is used somewhat often: "It's not a party until someone loses their pants." If that's the case, bath night last weekend must have been a rager.

Party Time

Grace and Jacoby's baby brother, Bennett, isn't really old enough to play with yet, but Brooklynn is. Brooklynn was a little worried that there were people in her bath at first, but they all had a pretty good time.

And, from the looks of it, Brooklynn is trying to give Jacoby a run for the roly-poliest grandkid.

pathogenic, part 2

I'd like to offer a little advice to myself for the future: when both your wife and daughter (and niece and nephew) have thrown up recently with a case of the stomach flu, maybe it isn't a good idea to be excessive in your eating. On Monday, when Rhiannon was sick, I had a bowl of Reese's Puffs, a granola bar, two small blueberry muffins, a lemon poppyseed muffin, two bowls of kneophla soup, two summer sausage sandwiches, a cheese quesadilla from Perkins, and a couple glasses of wine. Most of this was consumed after I knew that the flu might be spreading around me.

This is basically an invitation to be sick, and the flu went ahead and RSVP'ed on me three times last night, all about an hour apart. Much like Rhiannon, I don't throw up very often, so when I woke up at 1:30 in the morning feeling a little off, I couldn't immediately place what was wrong.

And then I sat up and figured it out pretty quickly.

Orginally, Rhiannon thought that if she would have been lying down or sitting on a cool tile bathroom floor, she might have never vomited, and, for a moment, when I made it to the bathroom floor without any regurgitation, I thought I might make it through.

This lasted somewhere in the neighborhood of two seconds until there was very little uncertainty where the food in my stomach was going.

And it went. And went some more. And an hour later, it happened again, only there wasn't so much in the way of food left. And the third time, nothing came up.

My abs and entire core area were sore the next day from dry heaving, so imagine that somehow I could market the stomach flu as the next diet sensation: Lose inches off your waist while toning your midsection!

Except the whole part about actually throwing up and generally feeling like crap.

I wasn't the only one that got hit: included in the final tally were Rhiannon's sister Tricia and her dad. He tried to claim food poisoning since he doesn't think all of the food he ate came back up - apparently his body only rejects the bad stuff.

I'm feeling better now and really just glad that I made it through the plane flight without bring up the piece of toast and couple glasses of water I had managed to consume at that point.  All told, it was about 36 hours until I fully felt recovered.

I hope that's the last time I feel like again for a very long time. Maybe next time, I'll just start drinking heavily enough to get it over with right away...

pathogenic

Last week Wednesday, Jamie, our day care provider, let us know that she had been throwing up one night but that she was feeling better and would take Brooklynn if we wanted - it was our call. (For those scoring at home, this is about the only drawback to an in-home daycare we have found: the fact that you do rely on one person to provide care every day vs. someone filling in for a sick employee of a corporate daycare center.)

Since both Rhiannon and I have already burned through a substantial amount of time off this year with a weeklong hospital stay already under our belts, we decided to send her.

Turns out that may have been the wrong call.

Friday morning, before we flew out to North Dakota, Brooklynn drank half of her bottle, stopped, and threw it all back up on the carpet. The amazing part was she didn't get me or herself, so no clothing change was required. She didn't eat much the rest of the day and had a fever that night, but she seemed to snap out of it on Saturday.

I figured we were in the clear, because if an eight month old was only mildly affected, everyone else should fight this off.

Saturday night, her cousins Grace and Jacoby were both up puking.

Sunday night, her aunt Sarah didn't feel so hot.

This morning, Rhiannon threw up and now both her and aunt Tricia are running fevers. Rhiannon is almost positive that the last time she threw up due to illness was something around the seventh grade, and, not to call her old, but that implies that being physically ill is not something she does. Like, ever.

Sometimes you hear people say they think they would feel better if they threw up and then they try to do it. Rhiannon never thinks she would feel better, because throwing up is never the better option.

Brooklynn is back to her normal self and I'm still feeling ok. I'm just hoping that it stays that way since I don't think anyone here is feeling up the task of taking care of me and Brooklynn.

not the baby anymore

Brooklynn is no longer the youngest of her cousins. Dalon and Lynn had a baby boy yesterday, Bennett Thomas (I haven't seen it written, so I could be wrong on the spelling). Update: This is the right spelling. From what we've heard, everyone is doing well. We're planning on visiting them next week so I'll have a little more (and most likely pictures) then.

Brooklynn's run as the baby came to an end at just a little under eight months, or not really long enough for to be excited to see a new kid at all. She does seem to like babies though, so hopefully she enjoys the upcoming travel.

santa baby

Do you ever hit one of those stretches when your job obligations and trying to pack for a week long trip at home create very little time to actually, oh, I don't know, write complete sentences on the interwebs?  Yeah, it's one of those patches. Hey, look, here's a picture of a baby in a Santa hat to distract you!

Baby Claus

she has an opinion

We should be sitting down right about now to hear a college jazz concert. Should being the operative word. Instead, we're at home due to a canceled concert andsome uncooperative weather. Brooklynn is not impressed, not one bit. In fact, she'd like to share her opinion of how things went down today. Take That!

I can only imagine what this will be like when she's 16. Help us all.

once more into the breach, dear friends

This winter has been decidedly unlike last year in the fact that we have had cold, snow, and an actual winter season by anyone's standards. So, also unlike last year, we actually got into decorating our tree. O Christmas Tree

Tomorrow we head out once more across the country side. Here's hoping that the snow and cold can cooperate for a couple more interstate drives this year.

Plastic Doesn't Shatter

We're only driving into a winter storm warning. I'm counting on luck and four-wheel drive to be on our side.

month 5 – a little late

Dear Brooklynn, Last weekend, you turned five months old. Fittingly enough, it occurred while we were in transit, which is why this letter is a little delayed, but more on that later.

This past month of your life has covered two of the larger celebratory holidays in our country, Halloween and Thanksgiving. While I don’t think that either of the days held any great significance to you personally, we participated just the same.

Scary!

Halloween was an opportunity for us to dress you up however we wanted, because I don’t think you really had any idea of what was going on. Luckily, it was a nice afternoon so we could take you out a little and show you off to the world. I would say that you tolerated your costume more than anything, but you sure did like to chew on the candy you grabbed with your little hands.

Grabbing and chewing were two of the larger parts of your life over the past several weeks. We have transitioned into putting a bib on you almost all the time when you are awake because the chewing on various objects (including your own hands) tends to allow copious amounts of slobber to escape your gums.

You chew on towels, clothes, toys, the floor, your hands, other people’s hands, and pretty much anything else you can get your mouth on. And you are getting better at grabbing anything that you can see, which makes it all that much easier to get objects to your mouth. I have a feeling that our house will be undergoing some baby-proofing steps in the not too distant future.

Concentration

Although I think that you would be content to lay on your back and gum up objects for the majority of your time, your mom and I are still working on getting you some time on your stomach. This task has been made a little more difficult by the fact that you have recently learned how to roll over from your front to your back. The first few times you did it, you would get halfway around then flop on to your rear, but lately, you have been getting much more smooth and graceful about it. I’m pretty sure you get that part from your mom.

Not everything was all smiles and hand chewing. For the last two weeks, you developed a pretty nasty head cold, and a cough, and a stuffy nose. Funny thing about kids your age – you have no idea how to expel mucus build up from your nose on you own. Luckily, there is a solution to the problem: saline drops and a nasal aspirator.

Don’t worry, you love having your nose sucked out. In fact, on a scale of 1 to vaccination shots, having your nose cleaned with drops ranks just below the shots. I don’t think it hurts you nearly as much, but it lasts quite a bit longer and can happen several times each day.

We cleaned you out for a few days every time before we fed you a bottle, and we have a fear that you will either grow up to associate food with the trauma and not like to eat or you will find food as a great comfort and overeat. Sorry about setting you up for lifelong food struggles so early on.

Worried Look

As much as we do things to you that you don’t care for, your own behavior leaves something to be desired as of late as well. When you were about two months old, you suddenly started sleeping through the night every night. It wasn’t anything we did intentionally, but we got to tell everyone how wonderful you were and we were sleeping wonderfully, thank you for asking.

Well, early in November, you woke up in the middle of the night. And we were very unprepared for it, but we fed you, put you back down, and moved on with our lives just slightly more sleep deprived. And the next night, you did it again. And again.

At first, we thought growth spurt. Growth spurts do not last for three weeks. Then we thought the sickness might have something to do with it. Now, we are beginning to think it’s just a habit. Whatever it is, please stop. I think karma has been paid, and we would just like a full night of sleep.

360 Entertainment

I’ve read that babies really like routine, and since waking up in the middle of the night started to feel like a routine, we thought that maybe some shake-up would help you reboot, kind of like a mini human computer. So we traveled. We went to North Dakota to see your Aunt Sarah play in the State High School Volleyball Tournament.

Two plane flights, 600 miles on the road, and several hours in a loud indoor stadium. Aside from the several hours after the flight there when your ears didn’t pop and you cried the entire time, you did great. And you still woke up each night.

Checking Her Out

We came home for three nights. We left again – another flight, this time to Minneapolis and then a 240 mile drive to your Grandparents for Thanksgiving. You were awake and happy for the first time on a flight, and you managed to poop for the second straight airplane ride. And then you blissfully slept in the rental car for the majority of the drive.

And, even thought you were sick and we were giving you small amounts of Benadryl to help your cough, you still woke up every night. Your first Thanksgiving dinner was spent on the floor while we ate, which will probably be the last Thanksgiving dinner that you will be content to spend on the floor.

On the Bench

Before we left, my parents gave you a few early Christmas presents. The best present of all? The wrapping paper. Tough, foil-like, glittery wrapping paper. It didn’t get soggy, but it did help you get glitter everywhere. The presents… eh, you would look at those briefly before demanding the paper.

Even though you are not sleeping consistently, you’ve been sick, and we don’t always know exactly how to make you feel better, we still sit back and marvel at the new things you do and wonder how we will even keep up with you in the future.

Can I Have Some?

Love, Dad