Summertime in the PDX

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Just a little bike ride

Just a little bike ride

As usual these days, it’s been awhile since my last entry. A lot has happened since Peanut’s passing this spring…vacations, camping, work and, well, summer.

Summer in Portland is frenetic. I’ve come to learn, and not necessarily accept, that summer does not truly begin until the 4th of July. Up until then, the weather still remains partly cloudy, with the occasional sun break and temperatures ranging from the 60-70s. Definitely not splash park or outdoor pool weather, and even camping is risky. A couple years ago, Curt, Laird and I went camping the last week in June and were more than annoyed when it rained the entire night and morning. And so when summer does finally arrive in early July, we (and the rest of Portland it seems) put it into overdrive and cram every activity that can be done in warm weather into two months before the thermostat goes down yet again in September.

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Potato sack races at the campground

At the beginning of June, we headed to Orlando, where we met up with my family who flew from Hawaii. While there, we soaked up the shockingly not-too-humid 80-deg weather and exhausted ourselves on roller coasters, water rides and theme park food. Laird seemed to have a blast at the hotel alone and almost overwhelmed at the sight of Dr. Suessland at Universal Studios. We jumped aboard an airboat to spot gators and headed to the coast to meet up with friends and beach comb for shells. Poor Leini was immediately hit with a stomach bug on arriving in Florida and really only enjoyed the last half of the trip.

Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center

Hawaii cousins

Hawaii cousins

Crashed on the couch the day after coming home from Florida

Crashed on the couch the day after coming home from Florida

For the 4th of July we finally made it back to Nebraska and Iowa to visit Curt’s family. The day we left for Omaha, little Leini decided she was giving up crawling and began to walk 100%. She hadn’t shown much interest in walking prior, so I thought for sure she would be crawling her way to preschool. Within just a few days, she had the toddling-thing down. No doubt trying to keep up with her brother and tag along with all her cousins. Our 10 days there went quick visiting family and friends and relaxing on the Iowa farm with sweet Grandma Rose (who almost outdrank Curt till the early morning hours!)

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Senibar serves nightcaps until 1 am

Laird enjoying a little treat from Grandpa Paul

Laird enjoying a little treat from Grandpa Paul at the Omaha Zoo

I can walk, no problem

I can walk, no problem

Hangin' with cousins :)

Hangin’ with cousins 🙂

The rest of our summer agenda will likely include a couple more camping trips, bbq-ing and swinging in the hammock. Portland really is the most perfect place to be during the summer.  Please visit us sometime!

Cooling off by the Missouri River

Cooling off by the Missouri River

Just another day in an Iowa cornfield

Just another day in an Iowa cornfield

Blueberry picking

Blueberry picking

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Leini turns 1!

One already

One already

I look back 2.5 years ago, when Laird turned a year old and laugh at all the time and effort we put into throwing him a 1st birthday party.  I say “we,” as if the idea to throw a completely unaware 1-year old an actual birthday party was also Curt’s, but of course it wasn’t.  He would’ve been fine with our little family celebrating over a home-cooked meal and a simple birthday cake.  It’s not that Laird’s party was anything extravagant.  We invited other 1-year old friends of his that he, of course, didn’t know, laboriously prepared a bunch of food for adults and kids and the pressure I put on myself to decorate a visually appealing cake made me realize that when Leini turned one, we weren’t doing it again.  Not for a one year old.  As a first-time parent, the first birthday party is an especially meaningful celebration and I think all parents should throw one for the experience and to also learn a lesson.  The lesson that it is not necessary.  The kid is too young to understand and they don’t remember any of it.  So, with our second child, by not discussing it at all, we decided to celebrate Leini’s birthday with just our family, plus Grandmoo and Grandpoo who flew in as our guests of honor from Hawaii.  Low key, low stress, but perfect and memorable.

Spending time with Grandmoo

Spending time with Grandmoo

For Leini’s Valentine’s Birthday, I decorated with some colorful flowering plants, made a tissue paper pom pom thingy I saw on Pinterest, and cooked up pink heart pancakes with homemade whipped cream and strawberries for breakfast.  During Leini’s nap, Laird helped me bake some cheesecake raspberry cupcakes for our birthday girl.  And, boy, did she love them.

Valentine's Day breakfast with Grandpoo and Grandmoo

Valentine’s Day breakfast with Grandpoo and Grandmoo.  I think someone thinks it’s his birthday.

My two bakers helping me make Leini's cheesecake cupcakes

My two bakers helping me make Leini’s cheesecake cupcakes

OMG, my first cupcake!!

OMG, my first cupcake!!

Hmmm, not sure I like this.

Hmmm, not sure I like this.

Oh wait, I do like it.

Oh wait, I do like it.

If it could be guaranteed that our next baby would have the temperament of Leini, I might have a few more.  Not that Laird was difficult to deal with, but most people that meet her comment on how mellow and easy going she is.  And truly, she has been a really easy baby.  She sleeps like a hibernating bear sometimes, she never really fusses unless absolutely tired and she is just, well, sweet.  As long as she has her Blankie nearby, she is generally in good spirits.

Who came to visit me today?

Who came to visit me today?

Currently, she has just learned how to cruise, mainly along our coffee table.  And after a recent visit from Grandpoo, who specializes in teaching babies how to climb stairs, she is fearless when it comes to ascending our long staircase.  Coming down is a different story however.  She continues to use her potty and has saved us from cleaning up many poopy cloth diapers.  Although she hasn’t said any identifiable words, she loves to babble, point and gesture.  “Hi,” “bye bye,” “clap clap,” “night night,” “Blankie,” “potty,” “blow kiss” and “banana” are all words she knows and responds to.  Just like her brother when he was a baby, she hates being held down to have her teeth brushed and would prefer to brush her own teeth with the wrong end of the toothbrush.  As far as eating goes, she loves, loves, loves bananas.  Especially with peanut butter.  Other favorites include quesadillas, peas, bread, cheese, Mac and Cheese and oatmeal.  Just like every other kid I know (and adult, for that matter), she’s a carb-lover.

Sweet Leini

Loves those bananas

So far, sibling interactions between Laird and Leina have been generally pleasant.  Occasionally, Laird will snatch a toy from her and, in the past, she hadn’t really cared and he was able to get away with it.  Until recently, when she actually got upset at him and fussed enough that he gave her toy back on his own.  Most of the time though, the two have fun with each other, Laird fetches Blankie and toys to keep her happy, while she adores him and can’t wait to see him in the morning.  If only this could last forever.

Where did everybody go?

Where did everybody go?

Although I was a little reluctant to start working again recently, I feel that the timing was perfect.  I was able to spend almost every minute of every day with my two babies this past year.  There were definitely those days that I wished I could run away and hide and I felt anxious that I was forgetting everything I had learned about ortho.  But most days were filled with spontaneity and play, doing whatever we felt like doing that day, be it going to the zoo or meeting friends for playdates.  And now that I am working again part-time, Laird is in preschool and Leini has gotten used to being in the care of others, I feel that we are all in a perfectly balanced place.

I still can’t believe that a year has passed since our little Leina entered our world.  So much has happened since then.  The only thing that keeps me from lingering in the past, is anticipating what the future has in store for her.

Our forever valentine

Happy Birthday, Valentine

Stage fright!

Laird is really not the quietest kid around.  In fact, somedays I wish I were deaf (ok, not really).  But, he talks a lot and generally isn’t afraid to approach new people.  So, it came as a shock to us when he suddenly developed stage fright while trick-or-treating this Halloween.  As we walked to the first house, we prepped him: Ring the doorbell and when the person opens the door, you say “trick-or-treat.”  Yet, house after house, he would say (or yell) “trick-or-treat” while ringing the doorbell and instantly become mute when the door suddenly opened.  Just like a deer in headlights.  In his defense, I can only imagine how, as a kid or someone who has never experienced trick-or-treating before, ringing on a stranger’s doorbell for candy might seem a little odd…actually, really odd.  Who came up with this tradition anyway?–and can we make it a weekend only holiday?

Nevertheless, I think he had fun picking out his candy, marveling at all the Halloween decorations and playing with his newly-acquired glow stick.  We didn’t make it very far as Laird was pretty tired and preoccupied with wanting to eat all of his candy.

Baby L, our skunk, seemed to enjoy her stinky little self too.

Trying to interpret and carve out a face from Laird’s drawing

The shy lion pre-trick or treating

Laird: Mommy, I can color the whiskers on Leini’s face!
Leini (thinking): I’ve seen his coloring books, keep him away from me.

Lion & Lil’ Stinker

Someone’s getting tired…

Me: Laird what do you want to be for Halloween?
Laird: A lion.
Me: Why?
Laird: Because I want to say ROOOAAARR!

An interview with Laird

I’ve seen a couple blogs where parents interview their children every year at their birthday and thought this was a fantastic idea.  I wish I had done this when Laird turned 2 and I could compare the change in a year.  That was my pre-pinterest era.  Anyway, the other night I asked Laird, “Would you like to read a book before bed or have an interview?”  “Have an interview,” was his response.  I’m 100% sure he had no idea what that was.  So I got my computer, we hopped on his bed and snuggled up while I fired away questions at him.  I wish I had videotaped it actually.  His facial expressions were priceless.
  1. How old are you? 3
  2. When is your birthday? September.  September what?  I don’t know
  3. Who is your best friend? Elsie
  4. What is your favorite thing to do?  Go potty.  Really?  Sitting down or standing up?  Standing up.
  5. What do you not like to do?  Markers – sometimes they get on my hands
  6. What is your favorite color?  Pink
  7. What is your favorite food?  Oatmeal
  8. What food do you not like?  Bugs.  Bugs?  You don’t like to eat bugs?  No.
  9. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?  Chocolate
  10. What is your favorite animal?  Elephant
  11. What is your favorite toy?  I don’t know
  12. What is your favorite treat?  Chocolate
  13. What do you like to do with your family?  Hug them
  14. What do you want to be when you grow up?  I think I want to be a monkey.  A monkey?  Why?  Because I like them.
  15. What makes you happy?  When you smile (and here the tears started flowing)
  16. What makes you sad?  I don’t know
  17. Where do you feel safe?  In our house
  18. What makes you scared?  A gorilla
  19. What is your favorite book?  The princess book
  20. What is your favorite show to watch?  Um, tigers. Curly does too (curly is his fav stuffed animal).
  21. What do you love to learn about?  Preschool
  22. What is the best part of your birthday?  Eating my cupcakes
  23. Where do you like to go?  To the zoo
  24. What do you think about before you fall asleep?  Something scared, like a gorilla
  25. What do you pretend to be?  A jellyfish
  26. What is your favorite song?  Jesus died for all the children
  27. Who do you like playing with?  Elsie, Alyssa, Henry, Curly (turtle)
  28. Where is your favorite place to eat?  I think the zoo.  What do you like to eat there?  Oranges.
  29. What do mommy and daddy do after you go to bed?  Close the door
  30. Who is your daddy?  Curt.  What does he do?  I don’t know
  31. What does daddy say?  Gooo tooo bed.
  32. Who is your mommy?  You’re the mommy.  What does she do?  Um, make rainbows
  33. What does mommy say?  Um, please don’t touch the computer (smiling)
  34. Who is your sister?  Baby Leina
  35. What do you like about her?  Giving hugs
  36. Who is your favorite person?  Um, mommy.

Anything else you want to say?  Um, jellyfish.

Spoiled rotten: A visit from Grandmoo and Grandpoo

Grandmoo & Grandpoo with L&L

I’m not sure how Laird came up with those names, but those were his nicknames for my parents when they recently came to visit us.  If you’re lucky enough to know L, at some point you will be called a name that is not your own.  Sometimes it’s cute, sometimes it’s simply annoying.

The title is a little misleading, for although they desperately wanted to spoil L&L (mainly with sweets), being the mean mommy that I am (and a dentist), I had to set some restrictions.  Left to their own (and grandpa and grandmoo’s) devices, those two would be stuffed full of m&m’s and sugar.  Trust me, Laird still got his fair share of frozen yogurt buffets and Leini even got a few licks of ice cream at a ridiculously young 7-months, so don’t write me off as being completely cruel.  Who knows what else they got when I wasn’t around. 🙂

Hot chocolate for a chilly morning at the Zoo.  Not to brag, but I also gave both of them haircuts.  So much you can learn from youtube.

Anyway, back to the point.  My parents visited us for a couple weeks and still managed to come in time to enjoy some of the country’s most beautiful weather.  Anyone who has visited Oregon during the summer knows that there is no better place in the world to be.  Warm, dry days and crisp cool nights.

Look at me!  Biking in Eagle Crest, OR.

So for two weeks we strolled the farmer’s market, visited a few jungle gyms, watched L ride his bike in Eagle Crest, celebrated two birthdays, went to the zoo and even managed to sneak in a Timbers game.  Whew.  I think the rule of “nap when your kids are napping” still applies though, and we had ample time to lay in the hammock and watch football.  Sadly, all good things must come to an end and they headed back to Hawaii.  But hopefully they’ll return soon and, more than likely, Laird will have made up new names for them.

Here’s just a glimpse of our quick time together.

Funny faces. Not sure what L is doing here. Being funny, I guess.

Cuddle time. Someone was running a fever and feeling lethargic. Thank goodness for Grandmoo.

Teaching L to climb at Smith Rock. He’s a natural.

Our view of Smith Rock that day.  I confess, the slab of rock we were climbing in the prior pic is actually that rock just above the trail where the river runs off the right side of this pic.  Camera tricks.  🙂

I know this looks a little frightening. It was just a split second and she is still alive. 🙂 I thought it was a pretty cool picture and kind of a lucky shot, as I had my camera settings all off.

See, she’s fine 🙂

Meeting a horse, of course.

Typical Laird = Ridiculously silly

At the Oregon Zoo for his 3rd birthday. I seeeeeee you….

I have to give props to the Oregon Zoo, Laird is about a foot and a half away from this cheetah. I’m not sure of many zoos where this is possible.  If only I had remembered his zebra backpack.

Stopping to sniff the roses at the Rose Garden

Laird and Grandpa going to get some snacks at the Timbers game

My family (minus Curt). Thanks for visiting us!  Come again soon!!

7 months of Leini

Happy Girl

It’s hard to believe that our little Leini has been with us 7 months already!  How time has flown!!  Hmmm, words to describe her: smiley, silly, hungry, intelligent and snuggly.  She currently wakes up at around 8:00 am cooing.  Ah, I love cooing.  I could listen to a baby coo all day.  The rest of the day is a mix of smiling, eating, giggling, eating, fussing, eating, napping and eating.  Did I mention eating?

Just a little messy

The anticipation….

Although she is still toothless, the biggest change since her last update is she has begun to eat solids.  She is a great eater with a willingness to try anything.  Currently she eats everything that we eat, which includes oatmeal, lots of fruit, pasta, beans and fresh veggies.  Eggplant, zucchini, onion, tomato and guacamole are all on her menu.  Her favorite snack to munch on, hands down, are perfectly ripe peaches, which she fights her brother for.

Why bother with utensils?

Our little gal is much happier now that she can sit up (since 6 months) and reach for things around her.  It’s getting much more difficult to keep her grabby little fingers away from our plates when she’s on our laps.  She loves more than anything to catch the lip of a cup or dish and watch things go flying.  Wheeee!

I have recently begun a campaign to potty train Leini early (dare I say a year).  Some may know this as “elimination communication.”  After about two weeks, I can honestly say that L is learning to potty on the toilet.  It is a little bit of a guessing game, as she can’t vocalize when she needs to go and I have no idea what cues she gives us (if any), but every time we set her on the potty, she goes.  My hope is that once she’s mobile, she’ll be able to at least head in the direction of the potty or somehow signal to us that she needs to go.  For now, I’m just enjoying not cleaning a bunch of poopy diapers and feeling gratified that my 7-month old is peeing and pooping in a toilet.

Nobody left me a magazine to read. Boo.

As far as communication goes, the growling that she used to do has now turned into *talking.”  A favorite phrase of hers is “muhmuhmuhmuh,” which I often hear coming from the backseat.  Hopefully this will transition into “mama.” 🙂  “Dahdahdah,” has also recently been added to her dictionary.  Sadly it probably won’t seem very long before she says, “Can I have the keys to the car?”

What else can I say about Leini?  Her smile is a like a ray of light that shines through the clouds on dark days.  Even Laird misses her when she is not around.

An impromptu *picnic* on the driveway. Actually, just watching Daddy clean the moss off the roof.

She will probably be our last baby, so we are relishing every, single little phase of her incredibly rapidly changing life.  Some days I wish I could pull the reigns on time and just be with her in this moment, unchanging, forever.

Leini Bug

Connect 4, anyone?