Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The River's a Rising

I had Michael at the library awhile ago and overheard a dad saying how much fun it was to park by the bridge and take the new pedestrian bridge across with his kids. I thought it sounded like a good idea and so Michael and I did it. And I'm glad that we did because I discovered a whole bunch of new activities in doing so.

So one thing I like to do is park on the north side of the river (the side I live on) and take the stroller across to the south... then maybe down town... down to the ice cream parlor... around the historic buildings... whatever, so much more interesting than my neighborhood and good exercise.

But you may have heard about this lil 'ol Missouri River flooding, which is a bit of a problem around here. Granted, not a problem like up in the South Dakota and Nebraska, but still a problem. Particularly if it floods out where Michael and I walk (which is very possible).

So we headed down there today to take it in again in case it gets flooded (or closed for safety even). The water is definitely getting higher.


We took the new stroller.


Because we had the new stroller we were finally able to go down the nature trail. It's right next to the river and was only about 1.5 feet above the river, so I thought that we'd better go down it today because it might not be there tomorrow.


You need a tough stroller for a trail like this. No fallen trees, tree stumps, or bushes could stop us. And Michael loved it. He was chattering the whole way.


Although this did stop us. Oh well, I'm pretty sure this was about the end of the trail anyhow.


We came back and went past the community gardens, the demonstration gardens, the athletic fields, the pavilion, the play ground, and towards the Katy Trail. Here are some old rail tracks left in the ground from when it was a rail road.


But I wanted to go across the bridge so we turned around and headed back. Then we went up the walk way.


To the bridge.


Across the river. Here is the river from 2 weeks ago.


And today. It's definitely up and muddy and flowing faster, but nothing too dramatic.


If you live by a big river you get used to the bickering between land owners and the Corps of Engineers about flooding and river rising and natural occurrences too. I tend to take the position of "the river was here first so it gets to do what it wants" but I will be sad if all recreation area floods again and it's unusable for months.

Then I decided to brave downtown with the stroller. I wanted to see how well a double would work on the narrow sidewalks. Then we went to the ice cream parlor and I was worried it wouldn't fit in there, but it did fine. I definitely have a lot more confidence in it now that I know it's not going to be too big to take in more crowded areas. (Sorry, I didn't take any pics.)

We finished and went home. That was 8.5 miles.

Note to self: buy new socks.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Best Week Ever

I haven't posted in a while because I think I just had the best week ever! Or at least the best week I've had since having a baby.

It was a good week for a lot of reasons. Me and Michael did a lot of fun stuff together. We are getting out and doing more active stuff lately which has been great for my mood. And it wears Michael out nicely and he's been going down for his naps well all week. But even better than that, he napped for at least 3 hours every day this week except for Thursday (2.5 hours, I think he was having some teething issues that day).

He has never napped like that. I start wondering if I took the wrong kid home from the grocery store if he naps for 2 hours 2 days in a row. This kid has never been a consistent (or good) napper. It was so great having all that free time this week. I should have got more done. Oh well.

And even cooler than that, our bedtime routine grew up a ton in the last couple of weeks. I had always nursed him to sleep. Nursing to sleep worked GREAT for us but it was finally time to end it because he just wasn't getting to sleep in a reasonable amount of time and was beating me up squirming around in the process. I started signing 'nap' (just like we do for nap time) and put him to bed in the crib after he's finished nursing and leave and he goes to sleep on his own very well. After a couple of nights of this, as soon as I sing nap he gets up and tries to go to his crib on his own. It used to take me an hour to put him down and now it only takes 15-20 minutes. I feel like I'm getting away with something every night when I leave. Nothing makes a tired parent happy like a baby that sleeps like a baby.

And he's just been so much more fun to interact with. He's is just dazzling me with his new skills and creativity everyday. He's dancing. He's speaking more. He's signing a ton. He's trying to figure things out. And he's freaking adorable. This stage is great!

We are giving him time outs in the 'naughty chair' when he misbehaves and that's going really well. I can threaten to put him in the naughty chair and he'll stop doing what ever he's doing. I hope the naughty chair never looses it's power.

And to have a little more fun, I told my husband that I'd like to have a jogging stroller. Not to jog with, but to push on gravel trails. We live very close to some wonderful trails that have always fantized about being able to share with my child. I didn't want to spend a ton of money and we don't live near stores where we can see things in person so I was relying heavily on the internet. After some research I saw the Chariot brand pop up a couple of times and when I investigated I was really pleased with what I saw. They are a ton more versatile than just a jogging stroller. We ended up with a Chariot Cougar 2 that we found on Craigslist. These strollers are extremely well made and loaded with features. And they have a bunch of conversion kits for lots of different activities. The guy that sold us ours already had the stroller kit and a bike hitch. I bought a jogging kit. It has a strap to put on your wrist in case your stroller gets away from you and it rolls like a dream, so it's definitely good that it has that strap. It's so much easier to push than my old lightweight stroller. We are pretty happy. And the Cougar 2 is a double stroller (although you can arrange it for single child to sit in the middle). When DH and I were debating whether to email the seller we had to finally discuss a second child because we didn't want to get a double if we weren't interested in having another kid. We decided that we do want another kid eventually, so that was nice, at least we on the same page.

So it was just a really great week here. I'm hoping that it wasn't a fluke. I need a lot more weeks like this one.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Namesakes

We visited with some of DH's family over the weekend and MIL mentioned that DH's Aunt L wanted to get a picture of the boys together since they are both named for her late husband, Mike. We tried while we were there, but Michael's cousin was tired and didn't want Grandma to put him down and cried when we tried to set him next to Michael, so we gave up.




(Every.single.time we try to get a picture of the boys together the Cousin cries. A lot of it has to do with the fact that he is a Grandma's boy and if he thinks he'll have to share Grandma he freaks. SIL is pregnant and due in November, I predict some sibling jealously when Grandma comes to visit. I mean the poor kid continued to sniffle dramatically for a half hour after we tried to take the picture.)

So I emailed SIL and to ask her about getting a photo done but she hasn't emailed me back yet, so we will see.

But a day or two later Michael was eating in his chair and started signing tractor*. It took us a while to figure it out, but he had finally noticed the pictures of Uncle Mike on our wine tower**. So I told DH this would be a nice moment to take down the picture and show them to Michael. You'd thought I was trying to make him eat tofu or something. He didn't seem interested in showing his son pictures of the beloved uncle for which he named his son. There is a post for another day here, but if it wasn't obvious, I'm a bit annoyed with my husbands half-assing it sometimes.

But today Michael was shrieking to look at the picture again. He just loves looking at pictures of tractors. If it has wheels he can't get enough of it. He is such a typical boy (and I love it!). So I recorded it cause I think it's sweet. He was being kinda silly. If I can get him to be a little more involved with the picture and catch it again I'm sure Aunt L would love to have a copy of it.



*I had trouble finding the BSL sign for Tractor, but one website said it was just like Car but 'bigger' (cause tractors are bigger than cars, I guess). I love when he does it, it looks like he's doing the 'mashed potato'. You can see he's doing it while laying on his side too.

**Not that we actually ever get to consume any wine anymore.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Beat the Heat

It's been pretty hot around here lately. I've been hearing the term "heat wave" quite a bit, but really, this is my expectation of what 'summer' feels like. Hot, humid, muggy. It's rather unpleasant here in Misery. But what can you do?

We have been trying to get out early to avoid some of the heat. Stroller walks around 8 am. It helps but it's already 87 and still so muggy that my jeans were sticking to my legs and I had to break my solemn vow to never wear shorts unless I'm on vacation or exercising. I guess you could count pushing a stroller as exercise. My legs are so white.

Mid-day we have been doing our usual shopping and library visits for an activity. But otherwise we stay indoors. Thankfully he naps from about 12:30-2:30, so that a good chunk of the hottest potion of the day.

I was trying to entertain him the other day and pulled a big pillow out of this basket I keep stacked high with pillows. It was a hit, I knew it would be, he LOVES pillows (squeezing soft things in general). It became useless to try to put the pillows away so we threw them in front of the bay window in our bedroom and they make a nice little out of the way spot to play and cuddle in now.



So I mentioned that he like to squeeze soft things... well, his favorite soft things to squeeze are the cats. The are remarkably good natured about this, and he is relentless. It's kinda mean, but so cute and I probably let him torture them longer than I should. They are too dumb to realize that they just need to walk away when they get tired of it, so that's their fault.



Our town is really small and there isn't much to do here indoors so we have to go to the next town over for almost everything which adds up with the price of gas these days. Hence I try to limit our trips but I've found a local way to treat myself once a week. We do have a McDonald's in town and they have 'happy hour' now from 2-4 and you get a $1 off their McCafe drinks. So we go after he gets up from his nap once a week. I get a sugary coffee treat (it has been soooo long since I let myself enjoy coffee) and he gets to play in the play land. He's not really old enough to go in the tube maze but there are usually other kids there and he has fun with them. It's a nice way to get out in the afternoon when it's too hot to be outside.

And then later in the day we go on the deck and play in the kiddy pool. We have a covered deck so we can really go out anytime and not have to worry about the sun, which is nice. Somedays we go out twice a day. I use unstuffed FuzziBunz as swim diapers and they work just fine.


Splish, splash.


Stay Hydrated.


Just because you're wet doesn't mean that you can't hug a kitty.


Enjoy nature! See the tiny praying mantis?

Speaking of bugs, if you don't live in certain parts of the south or midwest, you may not be aware that the 13 year cicadas are back. I'm not a fan. They are creepy and (very) loud. And until the other day, I hadn't seen any on the deck since it's a small distance from the trees. But that didn't last. The cats were afraid to go on the deck for a week after they started making noise. Now they think they are bad ass cause they killed some incredibly dumb bugs. Here they are showing off their prey. They are typical cats and trying to bring their prey inside. Yeah, no thanks kitties, you can keep those.


Bliss. Yuck.


Ambrosia. Yuck.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Finished

I feel like I might have built too much suspense. It's nothing spectacular, but I finally made myself a diaper bag.


I have been thinking, planning, daydreaming about making myself a diaper bag for along time. I started out with a Fleurville Sling Tote. I love the shape of it, but it's just not big enough for us. Then I got a Sugar Booger Day Tripper because I liked how big the main pocket was. There are several things I don't love about this bag and it was not doing it for us. Then I really, REALLY wanted this Baby Kaed Jacey Bag but I would prefer it in brown and I can't spend that much on a bag without seeing it in person first. So I have been planning my own bag for awhile.

There are a lot of make-your-own diaper bag tutorials out there and I really like this one. I love the front pockets and she picked some really cute fabric. But I like something that looks a little more tailored... and bigger.

So I drafted myself a pattern and got fabric and started sewing. I got the outside finished and realized I had made a bag so large it could double as a pack and play (I kid, but only a little). So I ripped it apart and cut it down. Then I realized that I needed to taper the sides more, so I did it again. I was finally happy with the shape and size and made the lining. It came together pretty easily. (I constructed it much like my Flea Market Bag). I wanted a divider down the middle and planned to just sew it in by hand after I was finished (I know, it would be better to build it into the bag, but I didn't want to). So I ended up putting velcro tabs on the divider so that I could take it in and out if needed. I'd do that part slightly differently if I did it again, but I'm not planning on doing it again (at least not anytime soon).

I also made a trifold changing pad with Peltex interfacing (this is what I used to give the bag it's shape too). Peltex is stiff and I wanted to make a stiff changing mat because when you are changing a baby in public you usually only have one free hand and I wanted it to be easy to fold and shove back in the bag (and large enough too... it amazes me how small most changing pads are). I also made a sling to replace my ring sling. I liked my ring sling while Michael was still growing so fast and changing size, but now that things have slowed I think a pouch style sling is fine and folds up very small and neatly. (I always carry a sling with me in case a sudden fussy spell.)

So the bag...


It's made of green duck cloth and some outdoor fabric called "Button Blooms" by Waverly and tons of interfacing. It's about 19" wide, 6.5" deep, and 14" tall. The exterior has two front pockets and one large back pocket for the changing pad.



The interior has two zippered pockets on the back, two cavernous elastic pockets on the front, two smaller elastic pockets on the sides, and a removable divider.



It holds A LOT and there is room to spare in it.



And you might be wondering about the strap. Yes, I made it very short on purpose. I like a bag that can tuck under my arm and that I can clutch 'under my armpit' while bending over so that it doesn't flop all over the place. This is especially nice while strapping a kid into a carseat. I also think it's more comfortable to carry a bag like this. I miss my small purses that tucked neatly under the arm like this.


It would have been a fairly easy bag to make had I not have gotten the size wrong initially. I'm toying with making a smaller bag to complement it for quick trips, but for now I should probably focus on some higher priority projects.

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I hit publish and I just realized that the bag matches my blog. Figures. I wasn't going for that. It was originally supposed to be gray and orange but I couldn't find a fabric to pull it together.