Friday, August 27, 2010

Hair Days

The last two weeks have been fraught with transitions, home remodeling, sickness, more sickness, and oh, did I mention sickness?  So far (I'm completely playing with fire here) I have been the only one in the family to avoid the evil little norovirus.  Tiny little stomach growls currently bring about a certain paranoia in me making me wonder if I should run for the hills, and I've been thinking about what I'm eating lately in the context of if it is something I could be ok with seeing again later.  Gross.  I know.  But true.

Despite all our tummy bugs, including one for the dog, we have managed to have some fun around here.  Last weekend we went to the pool with some friends and Cora wore herself out wading around in the large baby pool.  It was a new experience to walk with so much resistance.  We were there with another kiddo her age and they took turns kerplooshing their sweet baby booties in the shallow water.  It took them a bit to get the staying upright with gentle waves down and they were so cute.  Of course I didn't have my camera!

When we got home, we fed Cora a snack and put her down for a nap around 4 p.m.  At 5, we started to get dinner ready and still no stirring from Cora.  At 6 we made dinner and made a little noise to try and wake her but still nothing.  At 7, after we had finished our dinner we wondered if she was going to wake up at all or just sleep right through until morning.  We finally woke her up to give her some dinner and the combination of sunscreen from our previous swim and a deep sleep nap led to some awesome hipster baby hair.

I figured that she wouldn't go to bed until about 10 or later because of such a long evening nap, but the kiddo was ready to return to slumberland just a bit after dinner.  There is nothing like the the tired you feel after a day at the pool when you are a kid.

Speaking of hair, our dog has had quite the 'dos these days.

See those specks on top of his head?  No, those little specks aren't lice or any other kind of sick parasite.  They are grains.  His favorite place to park it for dinner time is right under Cora's high chair, which we usually don't mind, except when we are having any type of grain.  Both of these pictures were snapped in the same week but not on the same night.  The first is curried cous cous and the second is just plain rice.  He looks like a Brillo pad after a hard core pot scrubbing session, and believe me, the grains are just as difficult to get out of his hair as they are to get out of a sponge.  Sometimes we find little pieces of hardened rice in various parts of his coat days later.  Gross.  I know.  But true.

I can't tell you how many times it has been gross, I know, but true around our house last week.  Keeping my fingers crossed for a better weekend.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A New Oasis

After discovering that the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser no longer works in removing the ick from our aged bathtub, we caved and decided it was time for a few updates.  After first moving into our house we gave our bathroom a mini-makeover and stymied up a "work with whatcha' got" attitude that has lasted approximately four years.  The "charming" grey and maroon wall tile coupled with a pepto pink floor was murder on the eyes at times, but moreover, the wear and tear of 60 years was starting to get to my "I like things to be at least decently clean" spirit. 

On Monday our contractors came over and got to work so incredibly fast that I didn't even get to take proper before pictures and I can't really think of any that we already have (except one that Rob might have snuck which involved me using the laptop during a time I'd rather not share with the internet).  By Monday evening the demo was complete which is no small feat considering the amount of tile that had to be removed.  There is something to be said about old construction, they knew how to firmly secure things for the ages!

Since our little 1950's gem only came with one and half baths we were left with the dilemma of where we would wash up each day.  In the future we would love to convert the powder room in the master bedroom to a 3/4 bath, but for now those are just dreams.  Let me introduce you to our new outdoor oasis compliments of Rob's parents.  It has all the amentities one could ever need.  We wonder why we didn't go to this sooner and why we even need a nice indoor bathroom?

I do want to throw out a shout out to all our wonderful neighborhood homies that offered up their washroom digs, but hey, this outdoor thing is fun. 

You see, this one has natural stone floors.

Awesome views with tons of natural light.

And one of those fancy-schmancy rain shower heads!

Maybe we're a little brazen for showering in the backyard (or crazy) but it is pretty refreshing.  Just like an Irish Spring commercial!  The other morning the whole family went out back (don't worry, we didn't all shower together) and Rob played with Cora on the swings while I freshened up and then we swapped.  Not only was it refreshing but it was definitely a good laugh.

The downside to not having a bathtub occured on Wednesday night.  Rob and I were indoctrinated into the world of "projectile" and it wasn't pretty.  Cora didn't really have an appetite (which is rare) and when Rob picked her up to hold her she just let loose.  It was a total shock to all and poor Rob got creamed!  Just as she had settled down and I was about to take her from him she let loose with another which hit me.  Poor baby girl.  This was truly some real life exorcist stuff. 

We were running around trying to figure out just what to do and keep the dog out of it.  All the dinner dishes were stacked up in the sink and we had no bathtub to plunk her down in.  I quickly cleared the sink and was ready for action.  We bathed Cora there the night before so we had all the accoutrements at hand. 

So far she seems to be OK and I am praying for no other incidents in the night.  It was just terrible, not because of the mess or the smell, though that was pretty awful, but because of the scared look on her face and knowing that she must not feel well.  We're moving into a new era parenthood.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Baby Blues

For the last several months (more like 13 months) Rob and I have played the harmonica for Cora.  She's always gotten a big kick out of it, and secretly, it is a lot of fun for us, if only we really knew what we were doing.

When we play she usually responds with a combination of giggling, clapping, knee-bending wobbly dancing movement.  The harmonica is usually in her toy baskets in the living room and she occasionally checks it out and will mouth (slobber) on it.  Well, she's figured out what to do with it.  We're still trying to get her to move it from side to side so it isn't just the same two notes with every breath.  Note the big 'ole baby belly that's sucking in and out.  I love it that she cracks herself up with this. 

Baby Blues from Courtney Green on Vimeo.

We've had so much fun with the harmonica that I am seriously considering buying a couple more in different keys.  I picture our house with instruments all over the place that we can all explore.  Anyone know where I can score an African drum?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesday Night Fun

After an early dinner tonight we slipped into swim suits, packed up the bike trailer, and pedaled over to the community splash pad at Andrews Park for the first time.  We love playing outside in the evenings and the recent triple digits have just made things unberable.  The sidewalk is even too hot to play on with chalk (although Cora did have some fun drawing chalk on some tile samples the other night).

Being a weeknight, it wasn't too crowded with big kids but there were some other littles there for Cora to interact with.  One thing that I adore about Cora these days is that she doesn't seem to have any shyness about her yet.  She smiles and waves and flirts with everyone and she is fascinated by other kids.  She thinks everyone is her friend and I love this age of innocence; no judgements, no awkward social moments, just fun for now.  Sigh. 

She loved the water and we loved watching her explore.  Her courage for checking out new things is admirable.  We did leave with a slightly skinned big toe, but it didn't seem to bother her.  The evening was filled with giggles and smiles for both Cora and us.  Now she is off in dreamland snuggled up to her sock monkey.  Double Sigh. 


Friday, August 6, 2010

Independence is Fun!

And MESSY!  Sheesh. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

When Daddy...

I'm back with a new post in the "When Daddy" series.  Those of you that watch the Tour de France know that the hill climbs are scrawled with graffiti urging riders to "venga", "allez", "go"!  For those of you that don't watch, this will give you an idea.  This is from the famed Alpe d'Huez; note all the colorful messages on the climb to the riders. 

So, the other day I came home from the grocery store and when I walked up the front steps, this is what I saw.

Looks like Daddy and Cora were playing a little "Tour de Porch".  One of her current obessions is scrambling up any stairs she sees.

Also, it looks like Daddy is already starting to get the hang of dress up.

Cora, you are so lucky to have such a fun and creative Daddy.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Good Tidings of Mountains

First, I would like to recognize the visionary John Muir for the inspiration for the title of this post.  He once said "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings."  These good tidings come not without sweat, grit and effort, but are worth every ounce of energy poured into their seeking.

Rob and I snuck away last week for a fast and furious backpacking trip to bag Blanca Peak in the Sangre de Cristo range.  For a while now we've been longing for some time in the backcountry away from typical social constraints.  We needed to feel small and lost, to truly get away.  Our adventure started northeast of Alamosa, CO on a dusty, rocky road that slowly meandered through scrubby grassland, coniferous forest, alpine tundra, and above the tree line to 14,345 feet.

At 8,000 feet we threw on our packs and set off for Lake Como via Lake Como Road, one of the worst rated four wheel drive roads in the country.  The hike up to our high camp was beautiful but arduous as our feet were constantly looking for stable ground among baby head sized rocks.  We were a bit dismayed when someone coming down the trail told us we still had 3.2 miles until the lake, but step by step we worked our way up the unbearably rocky "road".             

The relief we felt upon our arrival at Lake Como was immense.  Lake Como sits at almost 12,000 feet and as flatlanders, we were certainly feeling the thinner air.  The view from our campsite was extraordinary.  We weren't alone at the lake and met some very nice and interesting people. 

After setting up camp and resting for a bit, I filtered some of the pristine lake water for cooking and drinking and Rob got a fire going.  It was cooler at the lake and the mosquitoes were quite aggressive.  During dinner, this Big Horn Sheep entertained us near our camp for almost half an hour. 

Soon after we dinner we called it a night.  We were both a little wobbly from our hike up and knew that the next day would be tougher.  I think that is the earliest I've ever seen Rob voluntarily go to bed.  It was still light outside!  The next morning we rose at 5 a.m. feeling rested and excited.  We were ready to summit! 

The hike to the top revealed treasure after treasure in the form of crisp lakes, Big Horn Sheep, Marmots, wildflowers, waterfalls, succulents, and the most refreshing, albeit thin, air.  Each step brought us closer to the pending summit and Blanca Peak was looming large in our sights.  Looking up, I began to experience some nervous flutters.  I took more pictures on the way down than on the way up because we wanted to make sure we were off the top before afternoon storms rolled in.   

Once we passed the last lake it was all up and all rocks to the top.  The trail was marked by deliberate rock cairns on top of naturally strewn rocks.  For the most part, we easily found our way, but delineated a few times.  You can see the tip of Blanca Peak in the picture below.

As we approached the ridge where we would complete the last bit of the ascent, I started to doubt my ability to make it to the top.  We drew closer with every step, but mentally it still felt so far.  At one point, I handed the camera to Rob and told him to hit the summit without me.  I just wanted to sit on the ridge and have a snack.  He gently urged me on and assured me that I could do it, and am I glad he did.  The view from the very top was magnificent as was the feeling of accomplishment.  
We were so happy to be at the top together; we helped each other each step of the way.  We spent a little time looking around and refueled our bodies for the descent, which would prove to be just as difficult as the ascent.  We weren't alone up there though, we shared the views with this little guy. 
There were no traces of modernity at the top.  The 360 panorama was free from power lines, roads and buildings.  Instead there were lakes, snow, trees, rocks, clouds...pure, natural beauty.  A true feeling of detachment from human invention.  Our time at the top was too short before we felt we needed to come down.  Some gauzy puffs of clouds began to taunt us over the ridges and we didn't want to chance an afternoon thunderstorm above the tree line.

We started the trek back down to camp; our feet crossed familiar ground yet things looked different traveling this direction.
The sky darkened as we descended Blanca.  When we were about thirty minutes away from Lake Como, we were startled by a huge thunderclap.  Grateful to be near camp, we pepped up our step a bit.  It was starting to rain and we were eager to slip into our sleeping bags.  We drifted in and out of sleep for about two hours while the storm worked its way through the Sangre's.  Strangely, we were able to relax in the deafening thunder.  A certain someone was VERY relaxed!

After the storm passed through we had to decide if we would head back to the car or spend another night at Lake Como.  This was our first time away from Cora and we found ourselves pining to breathe in her sweetness.  We decided to pack it all up and hit the trail towards the car. 
We walked down, down, down, down and down some more.  All the while, navigating the rocks and the off camber slope of the road.  It had already been a long day and we still had a LONG way to go.  Together, we trudged down the road.  Side by side at times and taking turns setting the pace at others.  In the distance, we could see that we were getting closer to the dusty road we came in on, but again, it felt SO FAR.
Sometimes it seems like we are constantly in a state of "almost there".  Not just in hiking, but in life.  We are always trying to get somewhere.  Always trying to reach a new goal.  Let me tell you, we were ELATED when we reached the goal of our car.
We had a tremendous time and are so happy that we climbed our first fourteener.  The reward was definitely worth the hard work.