Thursday, May 28, 2009

How Much Is Too Much?

As a Dad, I am very proud of my little boy. Last week we completed a taxing road trip through the empty rangelands of Oregon. This trip was an experiment to determine how we can really do in a day. I'm not a stay-at-home kind of guy, but of course I want what is best for my child. How much can I really ask of him? How much does he get out of our days spent travelling?

Jude wasn't always happy on our trip. He spent hours in the carseat, but when we stopped he always found something interesting to climb around on. Maybe it wasn't always very clean, but definitely interesting. He also didn't sleep very well. Some of it was the bright desert sun, but also the evening heat and different surroundings, lack of mom, etc.

Then I think that maybe it is good to build a healthy sense of flexibility, adventure, and exploration. Where else could he encounter wild birds, chipmunks, and sagebrush? I love introducing Jude to the world around him. How could this be a bad thing?

This is a self-portrait of the weary travellers upon their return home. Which one of us looks the worse for wear?

Yesterday I took Jude for a long walk in the stroller through downtown Portland. By the end of it, he was wiped out, crying, and overstimulated - maybe from the people, or the sites and sounds, or the cars? I can honestly say that he was never that upset through the entire trip to SE Oregon.

I have to pronounce our road trip a success. We also received A LOT of support and positive reinforcement from Linden upon our return. So I guess its official. We're staying home this week to recover, and then off again next week to visit grandpa in Wallowa County. Woo hoo!
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More Hare than Tortoise

We had a lovely Memorial Day Weekend here in Portland. We didn't do a whole lot, but that was a nice change for the weary travelers.  Jude has finally figured out that he doesn't need to stay on his back when we put him there.  This makes diaper changes and putting on clothes quite challanging, but it's nice to see that he's no longer turtle-like in his helplessness when on his back...  See below video for a demonstration of his new-found skills.  Oh, and his crawling speed has increased by about 10x in the last week. 

Monday, May 25, 2009

Boy Adventures

Note: This post is by E Ben, in case that wasn't immediately obvious...

The spring rains have passed, and the summer sun dawns brighter every morning. My new career as father and mentor and fellow adventurer is pushing me in new directions. Jude is 9 months old, and that is a number I can hardly get my head around. He grows up bigger and stronger and more curious every day. How long will I be able to keep up with him?

My experience of fatherhood is blooming with the warmer weather. I have begun to look at the summer as a series of adventures, coming trips, and new challenges. As with any career, it is important to take measured risks to reap big rewards. The planning and scheming has led me to venture further afield, to make some steps toward independence, and to broaden my boy's horizons.

This month we bought a family tent (see above photo) and set it up in the yard at Salmon Creek. In my opinion, this is the grand-daddy of all family tents: able to survive a three day storm, but big enough to fit two parents, gear, and the crib. This is a nod to my childhood memories of camping trips in an old White Stag tent. (Portlanders, think of the Made in Oregon Rudolph Sign on the building in Old Town.) We beat the living crap out of that tent for my entire childhood, and then my dad and I left it in a thrift store in Homer, Alaska when I was 26 years old. So it was with a mix of nostalgia and hope that I bought the Base Camp 6 from REI. I think this might be the guy equivalent of a nesting instinct.

With this frame of mind, I boldly set forth to plan adventures to carry us through the months of Jude's first summer. Casting about for some direction, my close friend Gregor expressed a desire to see some of the sights of Southeastern Oregon. Jude and I conferred, and decided a 4-night tour of the Beaver State was still inside the confines of sanity.

We travelled south and east last week to visit Harney County, a little known corner of the state known best for cattle ranches and Steens Mountain. Our destination was the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, where we stayed for 3 nights in a beat up 50's era trailer and played at amateur birdwatching. Jude wasn't much for the birds, but he enjoyed the hiking and general scenery. We made plenty of stops to explore the grass and sagebrush and (his new favorite) rocks.

We visited a historic site that Jude has always wanted to see - the Pete French Round Barn. It was designed in the last century to exercise horses in the harsh winters. In the dry shrub-steppe of SE Oregon, the juniper posts have held up remarkably well.  
On our way through Central Oregon, we stopped to visit the history museum in Prineville. This is a significant stop for Jude, who is of course the great-great-grandson of John W. Cornett and his uncle "Mac" Cornett, early settlers. The Cornetts ran the stagecoach lines throughout the central part of the state, and also ran a local general mercantile. 
As it turns out, my friend Gregor's family also settled part of the area. John Faulkner was postmaster in the town of Paulina, where Mac Cornett owned some property. Our forebears were definitely acquainted, probably friends, and possibly even drinking buddies. We drove out the Crooked River Valley to see what was left of Paulina and our progenitors.   
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Friday, May 22, 2009

Laundry, Lids, and Logs

Jude is nine months old today and I haven't seen him in three days!  I usually like to post a photo from the actual day, but since I can't do that, here are a few of my favorites from the last month.

Jude loves to crawl around and pull up on just about anything, so I often have him with me playing on the floor while I'm doing laundry.  One day he pulled up on the dryer and was fascinated with the shiny metal inside.  He was begging so hard that I finally put him in the dryer (first checking that it wasn't too hot, since clothes had just come out).  He was ok for a little while, then got agitated and went stiff as a board which meant that I couldn't get him out very easily.  After bumping his head a few times on the inside, we finally got him out.  He hasn't asked to go back in there since.  Probably a good thing.

Jude started playing with a lot of new toys this month.  He especially loves his blocks from his Oma.  I love this photo because it captures a sense of the constant movement of Jude playing.  He never sits still for a moment, except when he's drinking his bottle.

E Ben got an annual clam-digging license this month, so he took Jude for an early-morning trip to Gearhart to catch two limits (if he has Jude he can take home twice as many, since kids don't need a license).  Jude loved playing with the clam, especially when it squirted him with salt water.  Guess who got to clean him up when he got home...

We went for a lovely hike one Saturday afternoon.  Jude does pretty well with hikes.  He cycles between sleeping in the Ergo and observing the Nature.  But his favorite part is when we pull him out for a break and he gets to eat leaves and sticks.

Let's see, what else?  I'm still nursing a little (morning and night), but Jude seems mostly uninterested.  I'm guessing that we're going to finish weaning to formula in the next few weeks.  He loves his bottle, and has little patience for nursing these days.  There is just so much to see! And do!  And touch!  And grab!  He's eating three substantial meals a day, with more and more finger foods every day.  He loves all fruits, grains, and meats.  Not so fond of the green veggies, but we'll give it time.  We're all looking forward to a fun summer in sunny Portland!
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Monday, May 18, 2009

Caring For Your Introvert

Jude had his nine-month appointment with Dr. Jack today. Here are his stats:
  • Weight: 21 pounds, 11 ounces (72nd percentile)
  • Height: 31 inches (99th percentile)
We also had to fill out a developmental quiz targeted at 10-month-old babies.  Jude was off the charts on gross motor skills, problem solving, and fine motor skills, but a little below average on communication skills (he is not saying any words or following simple commands yet).  We're supposed to reassess in five weeks when he is actually 10 months old to see if he has caught up.

Jude and his dad are about to leave on a multi-day road trip to Southeastern Oregon (I get to stay home and go to work).  I'm actually really looking forward to some time alone and some uninterrupted sleep.  I read an interesting article this week called "Caring For Your Introvert" which I felt really described me well.  Hopefully the boys will enjoy their travels, because E Ben is planning several more trips like this in the next few months.  I'll leave you with a cute photo from this afternoon.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Baby Corn

Jude had another tooth come in this week, and he's had a little cold too.  He has grown to hate it when we wipe his nose, but otherwise he ends up with boogers all over his face.  Every day his crawling improves.  Today he crawled from the living room to the kitchen when he was ready for breakfast.

Here's a video from a couple nights ago.  Good thing we have baby gates, or Jude would be down those stairs several times a day!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jude on the Move

I took a few videos of Jude crawling tonight.  I'll post one a day for the next few days...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Beach Babies

Last weekend we planned a vacation to the beach with Brother and his family. Activities included golf, crab racing, clam digging, shopping, coffee drinking, Monopoly, and dodging rainstorms.

Cousin Brady is a few months younger than Jude, but he makes up for it with his brutal aggression and nose grabbing.

Jude never slows down for a minute. He has been pulling up, hanging on, dragging himself around tables (counterclockwise), eating everything he can scavenge from the floor, and shrieking with delight.

The dog (Riley) was a big hit with our boy. He learned to close his eyes and squint to endure the face-licking~~!

Coming soon >>>> Jude goes mobile!
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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

This is the way the baby rides...

Jude has had a developmental explosion in the past week.  All of a sudden, he can sit, crawl, pull up to standing, and cruise around the furniture.  We keep expecting him to let go and take off running.  Tonight, during family music hour, we pulled out the wooden rocking horse for the first time.  This is one of the toys I used to play with when I was little.  Jude seemed to enjoy it.