Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Spirit

Merry Christmas to our little boy! And all the world along with him. What will he remember from this December, his first recollections of Christmas for a lifetime to come? The responsibility of building Christmas memories rests on our parental shoulders.

Christmas is a time of year with a mystery and a magic all its own. From the birth of Jesus to the arrival of Santa Claus, there are many twists and turns along the way. Presents? Christmas trees? Bright lights? Christmas sweaters? Giant family parties? What does it all mean? Does it have to mean something? Do we want it to?

Through it all, our boy is the same as ever. He is in constant motion or fast asleep. He is wearing our shoes and playing guitar. He dances and rocks out over the slightest hint of Christmas music. And yes, he has discovered Santa Claus and can identify him through pointing at any time it seems necessary.

I am sure that Christmas is a bewildering set of wonders to a little boy. But then, his life has been fairly short, so he hasn't much to compare it to. There are moments when I want to give my little boy piles of presents under our spindly tree, but I am holding myself back. You have a lifetime to appreciate the mysteries! We will appreciate your mysteries, in the meantime.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Tree

The magic of the season may still elude us at Jude's young age, but you are never to young to appreciate a tree in the living room.

We drove to the woods to cut one down deliberately. Danel accompanied and gave lessons in proper handsaw safety.

After an hour in the car, pretty much any tree seemed good to me. We picked out the first short one we saw. It was a Western Hemlock.
It doesn't hold ornaments very well and the top of the tree sags over. We love it just the same. It is a great thing to be home for Christmas.
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gel in my baby's hair

Jude's hair was getting out of control this week, so Daddy took him to the "cheap" haircut place while they were out and about. Jude had his first encounter with the #2 clippers. Instead of painstakingly trimming with scissors, the stylist quickly and efficiently got rid of 90% of Jude's hair via the buzz cut method. He got some spiky bangs for attitude.

We may be purchasing some #2 clippers in the near future. It came out much better than I expected, and it's a lot easier (and cheaper) than getting a $17 haircut every month...

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

We stayed home this year for Thanksgiving and it was really nice. Duncan and Natalee visited for the long weekend and we had a great time.

Natalee did a lot of dishes with "help" from Jude.

Jude took a nap during Thanksgiving dinner, which was perfect. He was there in spirit, and also on his place mat. He also ate lots of leftovers during the next few days.

We tried to limit the number of dishes since there were only four of us. Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, and asparagus. It was more than enough!

We got a good self-portrait right before dinner started.

It was so relaxing to be at home for Turkey Day. It's going to be hard to muster the motivation to travel in the future. Plus E Ben loves to do the cooking - and I have to say that I prefer my stuffing recipe to anyone else's (and to me the stuffing is the most important component of the meal). Sorry, New York family!

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dog Heaven

Jude LOVES dogs. So when my brother Duncan and his girlfriend Natalee drove up to spend Thanksgiving with us and brought their dog, Jude was ecstatic. Cinnamon is 3/4 pug and 1/4 chihuahua, and it's a really cute mix. She also has a great personality. Jude was a little taken aback by her energy for the first few hours, but after that he spent most of his waking hours chasing Cinnamon around the house and trying to either pet her or feed her treats.

Cinnamon spent most of Jude's sleeping hours curled up in his Spiderman chair. That didn't work quite as well when he was awake because he would try to sit in the chair with her and she didn't like it much.

Jude retaliated by claiming the dog bed.

Jude spent a lot of time trying to kiss the dog. He would approach with a wide open mouth and she would sometimes lick his face, but usually just run away.

It was really fun having a dog around for a few days. I was happy that Jude seemed to understand she was a living thing, and didn't hit her or try to pull her tail. Mostly he just wanted to kiss her and give her treats. I'm sure we will get a dog one of these days. Not until the kids are begging and think it is their idea, though!

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Purple Haze

It's a girl! Here's a cute picture of her profile. You can see her leg up at the top. She spent the whole time folded in a forward bend position which did not look very comfortable...

Everything looked perfect and the baby is measuring right on track for a May 1 due date. It turns out that the placenta is anterior (towards the back of my uterus), which is probably why I was able to feel movement so early. The "girl parts" were very clear and we were able to get many good shots of the entire anatomy. Baby was much less active this time - maybe because she has less room to maneuver!

We are really happy to be expecting a daughter. It does help to be able to focus on one set of names instead of two, but knowing us we won't make a decision until after she is born. The list is still growing. At some point, we'll have to start paring it down - but there's no real hurry. There are just so many good girl names...:)

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lots of Pokies

Jude had his 15-month appointment with Dr. Jack on Monday. Here are his stats:
  • Weight: 27 pounds, 10 ounces (86th percentile)
  • Height: 34 1/4 inches (99th percentile)
From a height perspective, Jude is about the size of a typical 2-year-old. His weight is creeping up a little bit percentile-wise compared with last time, probably because Jude eats like a maniac.

Everything is looking good. Dr. Jack said that Jude's language development is right on track for a boy of his age (a girl would probably be saying more words at this point) and he's already passing most of the tests for the 18M autism screen. Specifically, he plays well with other kids, points at objects that interest him, mimics words that we say, and is really good with eye contact. That's good news, not that I was worried about autism with our outgoing toddler!

The only things we need to change are to reduce Jude's daily milk consumption (he's been drinking 25-30 oz a day, and it should be closer to 18-20) and to brush his teeth for him (we usually hand him the toothbrush and let him do it himself). He got a lot of shots today - both flu vaccines and some other 15M vaccinations and cried more than he ever has before. He was over it a couple of minutes later and very interested in the band-aids decorating his legs.

The doctor said he was doing really well with his books and reading and was impressed that he was able to point out some of the things on the pages (the keys and the gorilla in Good Night, Gorilla). He couldn't find the little mouse, but that one is always touch and go.

Here are a couple of photos of Jude from the weekend. We had a fun visit with Duncan and Natalee (and Cinnamon, the dog). I'll post more about the weekend in the next few days. I'm finally feeling better (although my cough still sounds terrible) and have some extra energy at the end of the day to do something other than sleep, read, or watch TV.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Any Guesses?

We're having our 18W ultrasound on Thursday and we will hopefully find out then whether we're having a boy or a girl (unless Baby does not cooperate, which is entirely possible considering what happened at our last ultrasound).

If you'd like to make an "official" guess, please leave it in the comments before Thursday at 11am.

Here's a little rundown of the differences between this pregnancy and the last one, in case that helps anyone with their guess...
  • I had much less morning sickness this time - less than a month compared with almost four months with Jude.
  • I have gained a little more weight this time - 5 lbs at 18W compared with 2 lbs at 18W with Jude - but both are low for this stage in pregnancy.
  • I felt this baby move for the first time at around 15W - compared with first movement at 17W with Jude. But most people say that it's common to feel the second baby move earlier. maybe because it's easier to distinguish fetal movement from random bubbles and so on.
  • I have been really sick during most of this pregnancy. I had something like the flu in September, a sinus infection in October, and a really bad cold for the second half of November. I don't remember being this sick (other than morning sickness) with Jude.
  • Belly-wise, I'm definitely showing more at this point than I was with Jude - but again I think that's common with the second baby.
  • Heart rate at the first ultrasound was higher (170s vs. 150s) but heart rate since then has been the same.
  • With Jude I had pretty bad back pain in the first trimester. With this baby, I've had shoulder pain (I think from lifting Jude with my right arm).
  • With Jude I had round ligament pain (sharp pains in the abdominal area) in the fourth month. Nothing this time - the ligaments are probably still stretched from last time!
  • Cravings this time: root beer, Doritos, baked potatoes. Last time: none until pretty late. Both times I have had aversions to chicken.
  • In general, I would say that other than getting sick so much, this pregnancy is easier than my last one. Sometimes almost a whole day goes by and I forget that I'm pregnant. I barely even notice the changes - maybe because I know that although I've gotten a little bigger, I'm going to get so much bigger that this is nothing.
I would have included some photos, but we didn't get it together in time and I wanted to post this today to give people a few days to make their guesses. I'd love to hear what you think!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Number One in Our Hearts

Jude is 15 months old today! It has been an amazing run.

Trip report: our first baby has successfully crossed the line to small person. Tonight his mom asked out loud - "Jude, how can you be so short, but still be such a regular person in every other way?" He was banging all the pots in the kitchen with a carboard wrapping paper tube. It turns out that they all make slightly different sounds. Jude did not reply to this, but I could see some sarcasm in his gaze as he glanced back at her. What are you thinking, you little monster? Maybe something like, "You ain't seen nothin' yet."

Jude has successfully completed the race distance of 15 months of life. There was a close call at the Children's Museum treehouse last week, but we've put that behind us. Tonight he was awarded this medal for bravery in combat and courage under fire. Actually, he just found it in the toy bin and wouldn't put it down. But it looks good on him.

What will the next months bring? Our boy is healthy and happy in every way. You had better live it up, little Jude. There is a little sister or brother on the way that will change your life forever. In the meantime, you get all our cheers, all our attention, and all our love. Go for the gold, baby! Sprint it to win it!
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Friday, November 20, 2009


Jude has a new obsession. He LOVES helping Daddy do the dishes. It is basically impossible to do dishes when he's within earshot unless you're willing to pull over the little desk and let him participate.

Although Jude's not actually doing much cleaning, Daddy reports that it is not actually MORE difficult to do dishes with Jude's help. At least he's occupied, and happy, and he does bring some enthusiasm to the job.

My grandmother would say that Jude's Virgo is showing.

Or could it be a Piscean love of water? Jude also loves baths... And washing his hands. And drinking from the water fountain. He also said "water" the other day.

You can't really argue when the kid is so darn happy.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009


Sometimes Jude starts laughing and doesn't stop for hours... Well, minutes at least.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Quick Update

I don't have any photos to share tonight, so words will have to suffice.

I saw my doctor last week, and the baby's heartbeat sounded strong at about 150 beats per minute. We scheduled our next ultrasound for December 3 and this is when we'll (hopefully) find out if we're having a boy or girl. I also got my H1N1 vaccine, and I was pretty happy about that until...

I got sick the next day, and I've been sick ever since. It started out as a slight cold, then I started having flu symptoms. The literature that I got with the vaccine said that minor flu symptoms were not uncommon in the day or two following the shot. Those did go away by late Sunday, but then my cough got a lot worse and I was having trouble breathing. I called my doctor on Monday and got an inhaler and some stronger cough medicine and thought I was getting better... And then last night I couldn't breathe again and I'm having a lot of sinus pain. One thing after another! I'm just hoping this goes away soon because I've now been sick for almost a week.

Jude and E Ben have been doing pretty well without me (and luckily they are not sick). Tonight they're in Eugene visiting a friend in the hospital and also Uncle Fred and Aunt Alison. We shall see what tomorrow brings...

I should also mention that I've been feeling the baby move for a couple of weeks now. Not every day, but most days, and the movements are getting stronger. Yesterday I felt a big pushing kick up into my ribs. Must have been a big stretch for the little one!

Friday, November 6, 2009


Jude's language skills are exploding. It seems like every day he says a new word. Here are a few of his most consistently-used words:

Uh-oh - this was his first "word", and is still the one he uses the most. Sometimes it comes out more like uh-ooo, or ai-ooo, but we still know what he means. When he drops something, he'll repeat uh-ooo over and over until someone picks it up for him (if he's not able to get it himself).

Hi - this one is a real crowd pleaser, especially among the grandma set. It comes with a huge smile.

Da-da - an obvious favorite

Moo - Jude, what does the cow say?

Hoo - Jude, what does the owl say?

Dog-dog - anytime he sees a dog or a picture of a dog

Hug - although the untrained ear might not be able to figure this one out

Bobo - the name of the monkey in his HUG book

Ball - anytime he sees a ball

Du-t - this is how he says "duck"

There are a couple of others he's said a few times, like "house" and "mouse", and sometimes he'll deign to call me "Mama". I can't wait to see what he has to say in a month from now!

I love this photo of Jude and the leaves. He ran and played and fell in leaf piles all afternoon on Wednesday. Wish I could have been there!

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Last Fall Day

The sun shone bright and warm on that last sunny day of our fall. Jude, Gregor, and E Ben jumped in the car and headed out the Gorge, to great-grandmother's house in Hood River.

We raked leaves, went for a hike, and breathed in the changing season.

Jude is finally getting the hang of raking.
On our way back to Portland, we stopped at the Charburger Restaurant, a family favorite that sits on the banks of the Columbia River in the town of Cascade Locks. I introduced Jude to an old friend of mine - Injun Joe, the wooden Indian. Jude was pretty scared, but he still managed to touch Joe on the knee. Joe didn't say a word.
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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Baby in the Belly

We've been playing "Baby in the Belly" lately around our house. Sometimes we ask Jude "Where's the baby?". He might point to my belly, or to his belly. Sometimes he just wants to stick his finger in my belly button. The other night we used the doll baby, sticking it into a pouch in my zip-up jacket. I don't think he really gets it, but he does love his baby doll...

So, in case anyone hasn't figured it out yet, we are expecting Baby #2. Official due date is May 1, and so we have just completed the first trimester. People have been telling me that mothers always seem much more relaxed when pregnant with their not-first baby. I definitely feel relaxed about some things. I have a funny example. With Jude, we saved every fragment of paper, ultrasound picture, and piece of literature related to pregnancy. For this baby, I haven't even started a folder. We did get a photo from the first ultrasound (which I can't find), but I've had two more ultrasounds since then and completely forgot to ask for a printout. So, I basically have no physical evidence at all of this baby (other than my changes, which are not inconsiderable).

In general, this pregnancy has been easier (so far) than Jude's. I had morning sickness for a few weeks, but not the 20 weeks of sickness with Jude. I've also been really tired and spending a lot of time on the couch. See photo evidence below - luckily Jude is really into reading books these days. I don't remember being this tired last time, but then again I didn't have to spend my non-working time chasing around a toddler. I probably spent just as much time on the couch, but since I had nothing better to do nobody noticed. Pregnancy has been good for my book-reading count. Nine books in September, and ten in October! A new record. I'm taking a little break for the first few days of November.

I'd better save the rest of the details for a later post, since we need enough material for a post a day for the month of November. Luckily the pregnancy is no longer a secret, so I can write about what's really on my mind.

And for those of you trying to do the math, Jude and the new baby will be about 20 months apart if he/she goes full term. Jude's had a real good life so far. I hope he's enjoyed it. Once May hits, it'll never be the same.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chores at The Ranch

Jude has been spending a lot of time with his Grammie this month. He gets to sleep over her house, but he does have to work for his keep. Here are some photos of Jude doing his chores up at The Ranch.


Blowing leaves...

Potting some plants for the winter...

And last but not least, sorting nuts...

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