Friday, April 30, 2010

If summer won't come, we'll make it ourselves

My family has a tradition of throwing a midwinter beach party indoors.  I grew up in snowy Logan, Utah, where winter starts to seem interminable by February, so we would get out our towels, put on our swimming suits, make a bright yellow sun out of construction paper, listen to beach music, and eat picnic food.   I always loved snow, so I didn't really understand why we would pretend we were getting sunburned and bit by sand mites, but with a little guy to entertain, I'm starting to see the logic.  When the weather is rainy and dismal for days on end, the walls start closing in on us if we don't find a way to brighten up the weather indoors.  This week, with the end of the rainy season still out of reach of the forecast, we decided to have a late spring beach party. 
A bathtub can look like a swimming pool to a little guy, right?  Jared has never been swimming in a pool before.  We both have new swimming suits that we have never tried out, so on Tuesday when it was rainy and horrible outside, we decided to break up the monotony by going swimming in the tub. 
Jared loved it!  We think he might be part fish on his dad's side.  He especially loved putting his hands under the faucet.  He takes his baths in the kitchen sink, so playing in the bathtub was a huge treat.  He didn't want to get out until he was turning blue.
On Wednesday we accepted the reality of 60 degrees outside and stayed in and dry.  While I was making Jared into the bed, a daily activity that almost always makes him laugh, I got this great picture of his teeth.
Jared started crawling forward this week! Now he is really into everything.  If he can see it, he can get it.   Video of his funny little crawl is coming soon. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

All the sand you can eat

We continued our invented holiday celebration on Friday with a trip to the beach.  We weren't crazy enough to plan on swimming.  It was in the 70s in San Mateo, but at the beach it was a balmy 62 degrees.  We just wanted Jared to have a miniature beach experience.  After our recent experience with state parks, we decided to avoid state beaches.  We went to a public beach off of the Pacific Coast Highway north of Half Moon Bay. 

Jared was a happy boy in the sand.  He wasn't too sure about the whole ocean thing, though.

I don't blame him.  That water is COLD!  I don't think the cold bothered him as much as his feet sinking into the sand when the water came in, though.
Jared's favorite thing to do was shove sand in his mouth as fast as he could without us stopping him.  If sand eating were an Olympic sport, Jared would go for the gold.

I don't remember the beach ever being this sandy before we brought a baby here! Todd says it's a psycho mom thing, but I think these sandy feet are unbelievably cute.

Jared's latest trick is giving high fives.  He takes it almost as seriously as sand eating. 

We weren't at the beach very long before the wind started to blow and fog started to roll in.  We didn't mind our outing being cut short.  Trying to keep Jared from eating the whole beach had me worn out. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Create your own holiday

Todd had a couple of floating holidays that he had to use up or lose in the next few weeks, so he took them this week.  We decided to take them for a great camping adventure in Yosemite National Park, but a well timed winter storm dumped a foot of snow on our camp site.  We like roughing it, but we draw the line at mucky muddy snowy freezing cold camping with our eight month old baby.  We had to resort to Plan B.

Plan B was the Portola Redwoods State Park.  We decided not to camp because most places require reservations, many campgrounds haven't opened for the summer yet, and we didn't want to run into the tail of the snow storm that hit Yosemite.  Portola Redwoods SP was recommended to me last summer when Annika and Ryan came to visit, but we got sidetracked (translation: lost) on our way there and never made it.  We decided that this would be a great opportunity to check it out.

It was a really beautiful day.  The park was green and damp and sunny, with the sound of a small river audible everywhere.  We were the only people in the park on a Thursday.  We were excited to explore.  After a picnic lunch, we picked a trail and started hiking.   We hiked for a few minutes, only to find the trail blocked by fallen branches.  We turned back and started on a second trail that branched from the same trail head.  We hiked up some steep switchbacks only to find that this trail was also blocked, this time by a fallen tree.  By this time, Jared was fast asleep.

We decided to try to walk the short nature walk trail around the park office, which connected to a longer trail.  We followed the path until it came to the edge of the river, only to find the bridge pulled up next to the water.

We started on a fourth trail which also came to the edge of the river where yet another bridge was pulled uselessly to the side of the trail.  By the time we returned to the trail head, Jared was awake and ready to eat.

There were a bunch of blue jays hopping from tree to tree around the picnic grounds.  Jared, who is generally very confident and happy, turned out to be terrified of blue jays.  It took a lot of soothing to get him to sit on the table and eat, and he kept glancing warily around every time a bird called.  We rested for a while, and then headed out to try the last two trails.  We were just starting to think that the next trail would actually go somewhere when we found it blocked by a whole grove of fallen trees.  We tried the last trail, which crossed into a bordering county park.  We crossed the border, rounded a turn, and this is what we found.

That is a fallen sequoia tree five feet across.  We tried every trail in the park and found them all blocked. We wanted our day use fee back!  A park ranger told us that the sad state of the park is due to budget cuts.  The trail situation was pretty dismal, but that didn't stop us from having a good day.  We made a fire to roast hot dogs and marshmallows, relaxed in the shade, read together, threw rocks at blue jays, and enjoyed our beautiful spring holiday.  

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Knights Went Over the Mountain

On Saturday morning we went on a hike on the Sweeney Ridge Trail.  This trail goes to the site where the first Spanish overland expedition rediscovered the San Francisco Bay.  We didn't know that before we got there.  We were just excited to see the views from the top of the ridge.  We heard that we could see the ocean and the bay at the same time.
This is what we found at the trail head.  Can you imagine a more spectacular view? And we hadn't even hiked yet!  The hills were decked out in beautiful springtime green, the clouds were low, and we had a great view of the misty Crystal Springs Reservoir.  
Todd was a little bit disappointed that the whole trail was paved.  It made him feel less like an adventurer.  He was also expecting the hike to be more shaded, but the open hills were covered in this beautiful green and all sorts of flowering plants, and it was a gorgeous 70 degrees outside, so you aren't hearing any complaints from us.  When we got to the top, we could, indeed, see both the bay and the open ocean.  We could also see the reservoir, and away to the north we could just make out the Golden Gate Bridge.    
This is Todd with the bay.
And me with the ocean.  Jared was fast asleep by the time we reached the top.
Jared woke up on the way down the mountain and surprised us with a new word, "Boo!"  When I gave him a bottle on the way home, he said "bottle" as clear as can be.  We're still awaiting a repeat performance of that one, but he hasn't stopped saying "boo" since he started.
We have some lost time to make up in our adventuring since the boys have been sick, so stay tuned for our adventures in Yosemite National Park this week.

Friday, April 16, 2010

You know your baby is sick if. . .

Yes.  He believes that the nasal aspirator is a toy.  It's gross, but I find this infinitely preferable to his attitude at the beginning of this never ending week of sickness.  Every time the nasal aspirator came into view he would scream until his face turned purple.  This just goes to show that, given time, anyone can not only accept, but embrace an enemy as a friend.
On that note. . .
Todd was sick last weekend, so our planned hike went up in smoke.  On Monday, Jared caught the cold with a vengeance.  His poor little head was so sore that he didn't even want to roll on the floor and play like he usually does.  Every time he rolled over he would start to cry.  We have had to spend a lot of time reading.
  There are only so many times a person can read "That's Not My Truck" and "Moo, Baa, Lalala" before going completely crazy, so we have had to get creative.  We had an outing to the library, carefully planned so that no other moms would be around to give me evil looks for taking my sick child out to contaminate their kids.  Don't worry, other moms, I will clean these books before we return them. 
Jared's new favorite activity is riding around in the laundry basket.
It isn't easy keeping a sick little guy comfortable and happy all day, especially after being up with him sixteen times during the night.  We have resorted, at times, to ripping up old magazines and junk mail together, turning over empty garbage cans to hammer on them, and playing pat-a-cake twenty times in a row.  Thankfully, there has been a lot of unscheduled dozing on Jared's part.
After a lot of extra naps, doses of baby tylenol, bottles of warm water, a night of resorting to swaddling, and a few moments of motherhood insanity, Jared slept for almost twelve hours last night and seems to be feeling much better today.  With a little luck, we will be able to be social again soon.  It can't be soon enough for me.  I am already having dreams about pigs that say, "Lalala!"

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Grandma Jill

Grandma Jill came to visit us this week.  She came just in time for General Conference and Easter.  We celebrated at home with an Easter feast.  No eggs this year, since Jared is too young to appreciate the holiday.  He enjoyed conference from the most natural place for a little boy: inside his toy box.
 Last time my mom came to visit, Jared was too little for us to get out very much.  This time we had lost time to make up.
 The weather prediction for Monday was rain, rain, rain, so we decided to go to San Jose and visit the Winchester Mystery House.  A crazy house built a hundred years ago in consultation with spirits to save a wealthy lady from ghosts seemed like the perfect spooky place to spend a gloomy Monday afternoon.  Of course California, true to form, couldn't even deliver on promised rain.  The sun shone brilliantly all day.  The house was really fascinating.  The tour took us to 110 rooms of 160 in the house.  There was something interesting to learn in almost every room.  The house has stairways that stop at ceilings, doorways that lead to nowhere, closets that open to be hallways, and a fixation on the number 13 evident everywhere.  
Tuesday was the first Tuesday of the month, which is free admission day at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.  The park was beautiful with trees in bloom.  I had never been to the museum before. It is huge! We are going to have to take advantage of all of the free first Tuesdays for a while to be able to see it all.  My mom was especially excited about the exhibit of antique Amish quilts.  Jared, it turns out, is not an art enthusiast, but he'll learn to appreciate it.  
Tuesday evening we went to San Francisco to see Wicked.  We left Todd and Jared home for some male bonding and had a girl's night.  The show was amazing.  I had never seen it before, and I didn't know the story, but it was done really well.  
Grandma believes that no trip to the San Francisco area is complete without a stop at fisherman's wharf.  Here she is rocking out at the Hard Rock Cafe.  I was surprised to find out that the Hard Rock Cafe has valet stroller parking.  Who knew they were so family friendly?  
Later we spent some time in downtown San Mateo.  We wandered the beautiful Japanese Tea Garden in Central Park, and then Jared showed Grandma the swings and taught her how to pick and eat only the most delicious pieces of grass.  
We wandered downtown for a little while, finally stopping for frozen yogurt at Yogurtouille before picking up Todd to go home.  
On Thursday we went to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach to look at the tide pools.  I read that this is prime tide pool season, but the weather was too cold and blustery for Jared to last very long.  A lot of the beach was closed off for seal pupping.  
We didn't see any starfish, but Jared enjoyed getting dirty.  
When we got too cold in the sand, we hiked up the bluff above the beach. Looking down we could see dozens of seals and seal pups sunning on the rocks and swimming in pairs out of sight from the beach below.  It was an amazing sight.
We had a really great time with Grandma, even if it was exhausting.  Come visit us again soon, Grandma!  We miss you! 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool!

April Fool's Day has always been a big deal in my family.  For years my mom made muffins or pancakes with jokes inside on April first.  Eventually, April Fool's Day evolved into a one on one contest between me and my older sister, Cheyenne.  She is still laughing about the year that she woke me up at 3 a.m. telling me the house was on fire and the first thing I did  was grab my teddy bear.  I maintain that it is PERFECTLY NORMAL for a fourteen year old girl to sleep with a teddy bear.  From booby trapping piles of newspapers when we each had a paper route to replacing a bedroom light with a black light, we could always count on our April Fool's Days to be full of surprises.
Fast forward to today.  I woke up this morning at the crack of 6:00 (I would say dawn, but the sun was smart enough not to think about being up yet) to cute little baby sounds that are really hard to appreciate that early.  I had been up for less than ten minutes and my brain was still halfway between my dreams and Jared's breakfast when Cheyenne sent me a text telling me that my house was on fire.  Her timing is incredible.  I have to admit that my first thought was sincerely, "How does she know?"  She didn't even have to get up early to catch me groggy.  Curse those three time zones between us!  I had totally forgotten April Fool's Day.  I have been bested once again, but be warned, Cheyenne, next year will be mine.
Jared also seems to know that today is April first.  I am completely unprepared for him to be so mobile.  How does he know to go straight for the one thing in the room that is most dangerous to him?  I tied up all of our electrical cords after he got himself terrifyingly wrapped up in one yesterday at the speed of light, but he is still rolling and scooting his way through the house identifying all of the hazards.  I didn't think we would have to baby-proof the house until he could crawl.  I stand corrected.  His new trick today: opening drawers.
You Jared fans will just have to remember how his face looks.  I think his days of staying still for anything are history.
Can you guess what is happening here?
This is our kitchen's joke on Jared.  It's a baby trap.  He rolled himself in, but the only way out is forward.  Forward is the only direction he doesn't go.
My admiration for my mother grows with Jared.  I already have to have two eyes on him at all times when he is awake.  How do mothers do anything with a baby that can crawl or walk?