Friday, December 25, 2009

Worst traveling day EVER!

You know the expression "when it rains it pours"?  Yeah. . .

We left Logan to catch our plane in Salt Lake City at 8:30 a.m. on December 22.  Our flight was at 12:15, but we wanted to leave plenty of time to get caught in the predicted snow storm.  We got to the airport without incident, but when we got to the airport, our troubles started.  It started snowing slightly as we walked into the airport.  We checked our car seat and bag, then started through security.  Todd had Jared in the front carrier, but an over-zealous security guard informed us that if we didn't take off our baby's jacket, he would have to be patted down.  Apparently our four month old is very intimidating because security flying out of San Francisco made us remove his booties (pictured here).
When we got on our plane, the snow was falling pretty heavily, but visibility was still good, so we were just delayed by the de-icing process and then 35 minutes of taxiing on the runway.  Surprisingly, although we left in a snow storm, we encountered much worse weather on landing in Phoenix.  Arizona was having a devastating windstorm, which had caused a dust storm, and, for us, horrible turbulence.  One of the men in our family got motion sick and threw up.  We also landed in one of those Arizona cloudbursts that is a few minutes of pouring, torrential rain followed by blue skies.  We were supposed to catch a connecting flight from Phoenix to Tucson which was leaving from the terminal immediately next to the terminal where we landed.

We were originally supposed to have a 40 minute layover, but because of our delay in taking off, we could see our connecting flight seating passengers as we landed.  For some unexplained reason, after landing we were kept in our seats for an additional 15 minutes, which means that from our seats, we could see our connecting flight leave without us.  We got off the plane onto the tarmac, where we were immediately drenched, as was all of the gate-checked luggage, which our lazy airline left in the pouring rain, ten feet from the door.  This included a large number of car seats, since our flight was full of babies.  Ours, as you will remember, had been checked before security.  When we inquired about catching the next flight, we were informed that the following three flights were oversold, so we couldn't get a confirmed seat until 9:00 p.m.  It was then 2:30.  They put us on standby for the next flight, but since it was already oversold, and a large number of people from our flight had been trying to catch the plane that left already, we were pretty sure we wouldn't get a seat.  The stupid airline has a policy that they won't put people on standby for more than one flight, so if we didn't get a seat, we were stuck.  It was infuriating to be a two hour drive away from our destination and completely stranded for seven hours.

We finally decided to rent a car instead of waiting all day.  Since we had checked our car seat, we had to have it rerouted.  What the individual rerouting our car seat failed to tell us was that it would take a minimum of 45 minutes for our car seat to become available to us.  We got lunch, fed Jared, and then went to collect our car seat from the luggage carousel. We then waited an hour and a half, and then Jared, who had been a really good all day, had to have a complete clothes change.  There was a line behind us for the changing counter because it took so long to get him cleaned up.   After about three hours, we finally insisted that the attendant actually look up the status of our car seat instead of just trying to reroute it again.  After all of the waiting (which is no picnic with a squirmy little baby), our car seat had gotten on the next flight to Tucson and was there already.  Todd was livid.

The airline loaned us a car seat for our drive.  Unfortunately, just to top off a really rotten traveling day, the dust storms earlier in the day had caused zero visibility conditions on the interstate. This led to a 20 car pileup, which burst into flames.  The accident had happened at noon, and by now it was about 6:30, but, of course, when we were heading down, the interstate was still closed.  Jared had been holding up very well, but the stop and go traffic while we were being diverted off the freeway did not delight him.  I was tired, Todd was still feeling sick, and last time we were diverted off of I-10 for a closure, Todd and I got lost and added an hour and a half to our trip.  We have the GPS on our phone, but after a whole day of calling family, seeing about shuttle costs, and reserving rental cars, the phone battery was dead.  We thought about stopping to plug in and get dinner somewhere, but we were anxious to reach our destination.  We stopped once to ask directions.  When we finally started moving again, Jared and I fell asleep.  We finally got to Tucson at 8:45 p.m., seven hours later than we had planned.

It was a long, eventful day, but we were glad to make it all in one piece, even without some pieces of our luggage, which we had to recover the next day.  We found out later that two people died in the dust storm on the interstate, so we are happy to be here safe and sound.  We are happy to be here with our family!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Santa Baby

Jared has had a busy week of doing new things.  He has met lots of aunts, uncles, great grandparents, and cousins.  He has had lots of firsts.  He flew in a plane, saw snow, and sat on the lap of someone who will become very important to him.

This time Jared didn't seem to care very much.  Santa was later than we expected him to be, so Jared was approaching his nap time.  He started to doze on Santa's lap.  

More tales of adventures in Utah, Arizona, and in between are coming soon.  For now, though, we just want to say,
Merry Christmas from your favorite blue eyed baby boy!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Goodbye California!

I know you are all tired of me gushing about what a great dad Todd is, but honestly, are these two not extraordinarily cute together?

Today was our last full day in California before our Great Christmas Adventure, so Jared and I met Todd downtown for some last minute shopping at my new favorite toy store, Talbot's.  They have every amazing toy you could think of.  I want to stay there and play all day, and then I want to bring home the crazy cool doll houses to play some more.  It doesn't hurt that Talbot's is two store fronts away from Yogurtouille, the place that made Todd like frozen yogurt, even though it's low fat.  I felt very urbane and cool browsing in a trendy toy store a week before Christmas, being on a lunch date, and pushing my very hip stroller.  It almost made me like shopping.

This is Todd's "I'm so embarrassed to be seen with this woman" face.  Now that Todd isn't being publicly humiliated by me, he claims that it's his "Holy crap! There's a giant bear in the store!" face, and he's looking down because you aren't supposed to look a bear in the eye.  But we know better.

As much as we are learning to love our new California home, we are REALLY excited to start our trip tomorrow!  One week until Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I'm so glad when Daddy comes home!

Jared sits around all day waiting for his Daddy to come home because that's when the fun begins.

First they take care of some serious business.

Then the party starts!  They like to play together until bedtime has come and gone.

Thanks for working so hard, Daddy!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sometimes being a baby isn't so bad

 Last summer, while I was pregnant, I took a water aerobics class.  It was a great opportunity to make a lot of friends, stay fit, and beat the summer heat in our new home.  My class even threw me a baby shower in August.  When Jared was born I stopped swimming, but I decided a few weeks ago that I needed to reconnect with the class.  When I called Rita, she invited me to the swim class Christmas party, which was going to be held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, which is just a few blocks from our apartment.  This morning I bundled Jared into the baby carrier, packed some diapers and a bottle, and we marched off through the rain to meet Jared's San Francisco grandmas.  Of course he was the star of the party.  You'll notice that Diane is holding him, but all of the other ladies are looking on longingly.

Jared was at his charming best.  He smiled and talked and went from one grandma to another without complaint.  Rita even got an ever elusive giggle out of him. 

Although there is really no substitute for a genuine grandma, I'm glad Jared finally got to meet most of his other grandmas who were so generous with good advice, gifts, and home grown produce while I was expecting.
Having so many adoring grannies can be exhausting for a little guy!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Spirit of Christmas Past, Present, and Future

In the spirit of the Christmas season, we took some time on Saturday to go to the Oakland temple.  Jared was enthralled by the lights.  Despite the cold weather, his eyes got as big as saucers when we walked around the temple grounds.  A volunteer in the visitor's center gave us a copy of The Living Christ to remind us that Christmas is about the life and atonement of Jesus Christ.

The lights on the grounds are beautiful, but I love that the temple still shines brighter than anything else.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Jared Discourses on the Facts of Life

Jared has been getting more and more talkative as he realizes that he has a captive audience.  For those of you not fluent in baby, we have included subtitles to facilitate comprehension.

Friday, November 27, 2009

I bet the pilgrims never had a Thanksgiving like this

This year was our first Thanksgiving ever on our own. For the past three years we have spent our Thanksgivings sleeping late, going to Mom and Dad Knight's house just in time to eat, and then napping on their couches all afternoon with breaks only for seconds and thirds on pie. Before that, all of the Thanksgivings I can remember were at my grandparents' house. There were always so many aunts, uncles, and parents around that everyone in my generation was kept out of the kitchen until the meal was ready.
Todd gets really excited about Thanksgiving. His relationship with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy is almost romantic.
I decided that since he works so hard, he should not be deprived of everything he loves about Thanksgiving just because we can't drive 15 minutes to his parents' house in the middle of the day. Having never even seen a Thanksgiving dinner prepared, I knew this meal was going to be a project. When I was preparing the turkey, I got it all dressed and ready to go in the oven, only to discover that my roasting pan was too big for my smaller than average oven. I had to make a quick switch, but the turkey made it. The only other mishap, not counting the pumpkin pie filling spilled all over the inside of my oven, was with gravy. I worked on it for half an hour and could not get it to thicken. I was on the verge of giving up and making the instant gravy that I bought just in case, when the gravy miraculously thickened to the perfect consistency! Too bad I have no idea how I made it work. Two burns and two finger slices later, we had a beautiful turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, croissants, and pumpkin pie. Todd had his Thanksgiving!It wasn't perfect, though. We missed the festive atmosphere our extended family brings to the holiday. Todd spent Thanksgiving day coughing, sneezing, and pretending not to be miserable so that I would let him help watch Jared while I cooked. He would make any sacrifice necessary to get his turkey! After a sleepless Thanksgiving night, we took him to the doctor's office where he was diagnosed with a mild case of pneumonia. While it hasn't managed to ruin our holiday, being sick does take a lot of the fun out of it.
Jared enjoyed his Thanksgiving feast like any other meal. He is happy to coo and babble until his daddy sneezes or blows his nose, which makes him jump about a foot every time.
The great news for us is that on this side of Thanksgiving we can start to get really excited for our Christmas holiday. We will see all of you missed family and friends in less than a month! That is something to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Jared the Mountain Man

As soon as Jared turned three months old, we decided that it was high time for him to be introduced to more of his parents' favorite pastimes. He has been picnicking with us since he was only a few days old, and he is on the computer with Daddy every time Mommy looks away (no screen time until he is two!), so we decided to take him hiking. We were on our way to Portola Redwoods State Park (which we discovered with Annika and Ryan last July) when we discovered Purisima Creek Redwoods Regional Open Space. The open space preserve didn't have as many redwoods, but it is much closer to home, has gorgeous views, great trails, picnic tables, and, one of our favorite features of anything we can find in the expensive bay area, it's free! Parking was a hassle, but we're getting pretty used to that anywhere we go around here. On the drive there we found several places where we could see the ocean and the bay at the same time. What a cool place to live!
Jared loved hiking. He is a very curious boy, so the new environment gave him a lot of stimulation. It was a cold November day in the mountains, but he didn't seem to notice that at all. He couldn't get enough of the trees arching over the trail. We hiked for over an hour, and he spent most of the time looking up at the little patches of sky above our heads. It's too bad that the weather is getting colder. Now that Jared is a hiker, we are excited to go again as soon as we can. Jared's next new activity will have to be camping. Todd can't wait to show the little mountain man how to play with fire.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Three months already?!

I wish I could capture everything wonderful about being a mommy in one picture. I want to always be able to remember the excitement I feel at each of his new accomplishments, the gratification of having calmed him, the way his little bit of hair fluffs up like a downy chick after his bath, and even the perfect little frown he makes to warn us that he is about to cry. Jared turns three months old today, and already I can feel those precious moments spent cuddling my tiny newborn boy slipping away. Every day he is a little more independent. I can't imagine any experience that could challenge and gratify me as much as being a parent. I hope, as Jared gets older, I never forget those sweet faces he makes while he eats, or that he once struggled to get his little fist into his mouth or to pick up his head. I am content to sit back and watch him all day because I can't imagine anything I could love more than every expression of his face. This is the hardest thing I've ever done, but I couldn't be happier.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hiking in our Sunday clothes

Yesterday we went to Oakland for a picnic and a trip to the temple. Just up the road from the temple is Joaquin Miller Park, which we discovered a couple of months ago at the recommendation of one of the senior missionaries in the temple visitor's center. In the past we have just thrown down our picnic blanket to eat and run, but this time we decided to explore the park a bit.

Here is Todd with Jared next to one of many fountains in the park. It was a chilly day, so Todd wore this blanket (made by our friend Dru) as an apron to keep Jared's feet warm. Jared blows bubbles when he is hungry. You can see the Oakland temple behind him, and the bay in the distance.

We didn't get to see much of the park because Jared was starting to get hungry, and we ended up leaving the park in a hurry for one of those very unglamorous parenting events that culminates in washing out your child's clothes in the sink of a public restroom. However, our temple trip/picnic is a monthly event, so we will have many chances to see more of the park. It has great views of the San Francisco Bay.
We have exciting news. Jared has started to sleep through the night! Since he is three months old, the experts say that he is old enough to go 8-9 hours without needing to eat. When he woke up for his 2:30 a.m. feeding on Thursday night, I rocked him back to sleep without feeding him. Since then he has slept from 8:30 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. without a single waking! This is big news for us since we haven't slept through the night in three months. What a good baby.
We are starting to get excited for the holidays. We just bought our plane tickets for our trip to Utah and Arizona to see our families and friends who we have missed since we moved. We can't wait to see you!

Monday, November 9, 2009

It's tough to be a baby

As Jared gets close to his three month mark, he's reaching some important milestones. Last Wednesday (Todd's birthday) I put him on his tummy on a blanket while I cleaned the bathroom. When I came to check on him, he was picking up his head! He had picked up his head before, but never very far or for very long. Now he is picking it waaaay up, and doing it all the time! This means that he has entered what the other mommies in our play group call "the turtle phase" because he looks like a turtle peeking out from his shell. Here is a picture from last week. . .. . . and one from today.
Jared has also entered the difficult world of toys. We've been putting toys on his blanket for him for a while, but he just looked at them, or watched us play with them. Yesterday he started reaching for them. His coordination is really bad, so far. He will reach for a toy, and when he can't grab it, he gets frustrated. When he does manage to grab it, he tries to put it in his mouth (because what good is a toy that you can't taste?). When he can't get it in his mouth, he gets frustrated. If he does manage to get the toy into his mouth, he will immediately yank his hand away without realizing that he is still holding the toy, which makes him mad. It's hard to take a picture of him with his toys because, of course, this effort requires that he wiggle his whole body from the moment he spots the toy to the moment he drops it. You can see from the look on his face how hard he is concentrating. Both arms are flailing and both legs are kicking through the whole process. It's hard to watch him struggle so much without intervening, but it pays off. After an hour of this at a time he is napping better than he has in weeks. Who knew playing could be so hard?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

More from your favorite li'l punkin

I know this is a little late, but this is our Halloween post. I thought it would be cute to put Jared in a pumpkin. He did not think it would be cute. Most of our pictures did not turn out due to his squirming, but it's hard for Jared not to be cute, even when he's mad.

Look how huge his cheeks have gotten!
We decided to try something new and roast our pumpkin seeds. It was super easy and they were really delicious. We especially liked the ones we roasted with garlic and salt. We aren't normally big fans of Halloween, but Todd wishes that pumpkin carving happened more often so we could roast more seeds. I wish I could get Todd so excited about cooking more often. And here we are: The proud mama and papa of one very handsome jack o'lantern; our first together. It was named, very creatively, Jack.
Also the proud parents of one very handsome li'l punkin.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

More fun with family and friends

On October 11, Jared was blessed. Grandma and Grandpa Knight came to visit for the weekend. Of course they never wanted to put Jared down.

We decided to entrust Jared to the attentive care of his grandparents and go out on our first real date since Jared's birth. We went out for middle eastern food and frozen yogurt in downtown San Mateo. It was really nice to finally get out for a little while, even if it was only few blocks from home.
They say that babies this age can't be spoiled with attention, but I don't know. After Grandma and Grandpa left, Jared wanted to play at all hours of the day and night. One time waking up at night became three for a few days. We are spoiled with such a good sleeper, though, so we don't mind a little sleeplessness when we know it won't last.
Todd's cousin Stacy also came to Jared's blessing with her husband, Jon, and their two little girls. Unfortunately we didn't get any pictures of their visit, but since they live only 3 hours away, we will be seeing them again soon.
This is the photo Jared will be sending to Abercrombie and Fitch along with his modeling application. The beautiful baby blanket was crocheted by Cheyenne.

This weekend we had a visit from Jordanne, my best friend from childhood. Jared liked her instantly. He would stop eating or fussing and look for her whenever he heard her laugh.

 We had a good time walking along the bay, discovering baby shops on Burlingame Ave, eating sushi, carving a pumpkin, and playing at the beach in Pacifica on a very hot Friday afternoon. We wish Jordanne didn't live so far away. She is the only person besides us and Jared's grandparents who will never get tired of watching Jared's sweet baby face. I think she likes him almost as much as I do.

We weighed Jared on Friday and he came in at a whopping 11.5 lbs. What a fat kid! We'll get the rest of his stats at his doctor's appointment on Thursday.
Stay tuned: pumpkin carving pictures are coming soon!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Warning! This post may contain irresistable baby cuteness!

This weekend, Jared got to meet his Grandma Jill for the first time. She drove out from Utah with Jared's Uncle Seth to spend general conference weekend getting to know her only grandchild. All his grandma wanted to do was cuddle him, of course.

 Uncle Seth wasn't quite sure what to do with such a tiny little person at first, but in the end they bonded over a shared manly love of . . . manly things. Thanks to the influence of some homework he was assigned for the weekend, Seth's sleep-talking was in French. This is relatively tame compared to many of his sleep adventures. I was just happy to have avoided his repeating past sleep walking experiences.

 Grandma Jill celebrated a birthday while she was here. I'm afraid it wasn't the most exciting birthday ever, since we're still in newborn baby mode, but happy birthday Mom! We'll do better next year.
Jared also hit a milestone during their visit. He is now six weeks old! Some friends with a baby several months older than Jared loaned us this baby seat designed to support babies that can't sit up alone, but still want to see what is going on around them. Jared isn't old enough to care, yet, but we think he looks really cute in the seat. He's lounging in his tiny chair like he doesn't have a care in the world. Oh, to be a baby! I bet he could get away with anything with that face.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Beach!

The one really redeeming thing about living in California is our proximity to the ocean. Last Tuesday was supposed to be hot, so some friends invited me and Jared to check out tidepools at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve with them. Tuesday turned out not to be hot, so we didn't go. When Todd heard about it, he got really excited to look for starfish, so Saturday afternoon when it was hot we decided to drive the hour to the beach.
It was a really beautiful day for Jared's first trip to the beach; nice and cool. Even though we are at the end of summer, the water was like ice. We didn't find any starfish because low tide at this time of year happens in the dead of night, but we did see seals playing in the surf. A true California baby, Jared loved the beach. He stayed awake for record time in the baby carrier, allowing us to capture this picture. I love his little hat.We're excited that we discovered this place so close to home (and free). We can't wait to go back when tide is out and Jared isn't so sleepily oblivious to his surroundings.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Little did we know. . .

Jared turned one month old yesterday. I can't believe how the first month flew by. He now weighs 9 lbs. 1 oz., can hold up his own head, smiles, mimics facial expressions, and loves car rides, stroller rides, and baths. On Sunday we put him on his tummy on the floor and he picked up his head for the first time. Yesterday, during family home evening, he surprised us by laughing! He opened his mouth into a big smile and laughed out loud. Of course he wouldn't do it again for the camera no matter what faces Todd made. I'm just relieved to know that, with all of the mistakes we make as first time parents, we have a child with a sense of humor.
A few days ago, I was trying to remember life before Jared was born, and I decided that if our life was a story, 32 days ago the narrator would have been saying, "Little did they know. . ." followed by a whole list of things about being parents that there is just no way to foresee. Little did we know how very little sleep we are capable of living on, or how we could fall so in love with such a tiny, needy little face so that we wouldn't want to miss a single blink of his eyes. Little did we know how much planning would have to go into a simple trip to the store with a baby- or even trying to take a shower while we're home alone together. Little did we know just how many diaper changes 8-10 a day turns out to be, or how many clothes changes that translates to (for baby and us). The story of the rest of our life as parents could probably be told in terms of all of the changes that are waiting to surprise and stretch us, but the last month has really been a crash course in parenting in every sense imaginable. We're learning to love it.We are starting to get some foreshadowing of what lies ahead. As you can probably tell by this glamor shot I took of my two boys, Jared is going to be a heartbreaker.He recently had his first kiss by a girl under the age of two. Little Sophia Sebra seems to have developed a baby crush on Jared. Today she pushed another toddler out of the way for the privilege of rocking Jared's carseat. Of course, being a boy, he's oblivious to the attention. We hope he doesn't start to notice for another 20-25 years.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We love visitors!

Being parents is so much fun, when we're not too tired to enjoy it. Everything Jared does is a milestone in his short life. First trip to the park, first ride in the stroller, first bath, first time peeing on mommy, etc. I could go on and on about how Jared is changing our lives, but I know what you really want is more pictures of the cute little guy.

Here he is enjoying a bath. . .

During a visit from Aunt Cheyenne.

Jared loves Grandma Knight.

Family portrait after Jared's first time at the temple.

I keep reading on friends' blogs about how tough it is to get their babies to sleep. So far (knock on wood) Jared is sleeping at least one 4+ hour stretch at night.