Saturday, April 26, 2014

Outdoor School

Aeryn had the most exciting week of school in her young life. This past week was the 5th grade field trip. I remember going on an overnight trip in either 5th or 6th grade, though I remember little about it. Aeryn's school has typically stayed overnight at OMSI, but this year they decided to do an outdoor school instead. 

The 4th/5th grades spent two nights at a camp not far away. Each cabin had three sets of bunk beds for kids and a bed for a chaperone, there was a mess hall, and the kids each had chores. They did a number of hands on science based lessons outside coupled with some adventures. Rain was in the forecast (It is Oregon in the spring after all) so the kids were supposed to pack their stuff in garbage bags. I dropped her off at the school and hoped to stay and take a bunch of pictures; her with friends, loading the buses, driving off - reminiscent of pretty much everything she did in kindergarten. Once we got to the school however, she was ready to be rid of me and let me snap one pic before letting me know it was OK if I left then. 

She was very excited that this girl, J, was going to be in her cabin and educational group - The Forest Bunnies. They have been really good friends this year and fortunately will be at the same middle school in the fall. 

When I picked her up a couple days later she was beaming. Her favorite activity was canoeing, though she made sure to tell me the canoe was green, not yellow like Grandpa's. 

She insisted that she didn't need any help carrying her stuff, so I let her struggle through it. 

The kids made these tree cookie necklaces in class before camp to wear while they were there. I'm not sure that when she decided to be a giraffe she thought about how they would most likely not live in the forest. Who knows though, I'm sure stranger things have happened. 

They succeeded in wearing her out. This girl who normally wakes each day at 6:00 a.m. without an alarm slept in today until 8:00. It seems as though she loved everything about it. What a great end to elementary school.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tate's Blessing Day

It seems all I talk about anymore is that cute little man-cub who has come into our world. He is pretty awesome, and sort of consumes my days. I've been meaning to write about his blessing weekend but since it was a little bit stressful for me it has taken a while to regain my grounding enough to talk about it. That makes it sound like it was terrible - it most definitely was not; in fact it was delightful. I just tend to stress myself out at every possible opportunity and this was no exception.

I knew the weekend was going to be nuts. Both of our families were coming and they are very, very different. Plus our house is small and there is not a ton to do in Eugene, not to mention that the star of the show has his own schedule and needs. In order to make it more manageable, I made sure to pump extra milk so we could give him a bottle when needed. I didn't know where we would be or who would be holding him so I thought this was a smart plan. 

Things seemed to work very well for Friday evening and Saturday. We found great places to eat, all hung out at a park, and somehow crammed into our tiny apartment when need be. Then sometime on Saturday night after everyone went back to their hotel rooms I became a crazy person. We had taken great care in planning the menu for a luncheon afterward on Sunday and Jim and I each had our plans worked out. Out of necessity and sanity I had already abandoned half my plans (i.e. photobooth) and was determined to make the rest go off without a hitch.

I stayed up until 1:30 a.m. getting cupcakes made, ironing tablecloths, setting up a basket for serve ware and dishes, getting condiments into attractive serving dishes so that we wouldn't have plastic containers all over the place, and setting out all the attractive serving bowls and platters that food would need to be transferred to the following day. In my mind it was all ready to go and would be uber simple to get set up. I had rambled on all night long about what needed to be done and felt I'd made it as easy as possible. Besides, I'd be there to do it all myself...

But then Tate didn't sleep through church like normal. He was awake and starving after church was out so instead of being the one to set things up, I was holed up in my bedroom trying to keep my baby somewhat content. Naively I assumed other people would be able to read my mind and know what was already done and what things just needed to be relocated. I had rambled about everything for hours the night before... however I have told Jim that sometimes I just need to talk and he's ok tuning me out. This was one of those instances that had I been listening I would have tuned myself out. As petty as it sounds now, I was really irritated on Sunday when everything I stayed up making sure was done didn't actually help. 

When I walked into the community room and saw plastic containers and plastic utensils where I'd already set things up to be served in nice dishes I pretty much lost my mind. This was such a special day to me that I did not want a single thing about it to resemble a tailgate party. When I frantically started trying to redo it all, Jim's dad just said to me "it's only friends and family, nobody cares." He was right of course, but I cared. I still do. Part of me is still irritated that I couldn't plan it all perfectly. Therein lies the key lesson learned from being a parent: you really have no control at all, only the illusion of it.

It stressed me out so much that I have declared I'm not throwing another party at all until we have our own house. Except Ellie's baptism. And probably Aeryn's next birthday. And Jim's graduation. Oh, who am I kidding? I'll probably throw a party next month, just because.

At some point during the whole crazy post sacrament time I realized that we didn't get a picture at the church. Not one. No picture of Tate in his little dress shirt and tie, no picture of our family all together, no pictures of the kids. Basically, no pictures. None. Zip. That was what really made me lose it and I tried desperately to not cry all afternoon from the disappointment.

The reality is that none of it matters. The blessing itself was beautiful. Jim was choked up at the beginning which brought me to tears. Our family was all together and we were surrounded by loved ones. Tate is healthy and happy, and truly, no one would have cared if it did look like a tailgate party. The cousins were all together and running around outside. Some friends and family we haven't seen in a while came by. Everyone doted on our little man. It was a good day.

The next morning, we dressed him up again in his dapper digs and Jim's dad snapped a few pics of our family. Both families headed home and we returned to life as normal. It was a whirlwind, but the things that really mattered were there. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Me & T

It's not a secret that I tend to hide from the camera, I always have. Today I decided that I needed a picture with baby Tate. He wont always be this little, and I want proof that I was here. I'm not going to wait until my pre-pregnant clothes fit or my hair is longer, I want to remember our life just as it is today.

I'd never been to the rhododendron gardens at Hendricks Park, but stopped in quite accidentally with a tripod in hand and fifteen minutes to kill. Things are starting to bloom and the magnolia trees are losing petals. It was truly mesmerizing. I may just end up going back tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tate and The Rally Monkey

In our home, we like baseball. It's basically the only sport I have liked for most of my life, and if I had to guess it's one of Jim's favorites, at least it is now that baseball season is getting going. Most of the time I think his favorite sport is whatever is going on at the moment, just like his favorite food is whatever he's currently eating (unless it's chocolate pasta).

It looks as though his eyes are going to be brown. There was a lighter blue ring around his pupil that is now becoming a golden tan color. I am very happy about this - I love brown eyes and my family is filled with light eyes so they feel uncommon to me, even though that isn't the case in the worldwide genetic pool.

He really wasn't sure what was going on here.

He has the most expressive eyebrows. It's not uncommon for extreme ranges of emotion to be conveyed purely through the squishing of his eyebrows.

Check out that eyebrow dimple! It's pretty much my favorite. His little scowling face is pretty awesome too. I actually get this look from him quite often, as though he knows how ridiculous I'm acting to try and entertain him.

And... the winner. I wasn't sure I was going to get any smiles from him this time around. He was happy enough, but that monkey was just weird enough that he didn't quite know what to make of it. At one point he tried to smoosh the whole thing into his mouth and ended up with his face covered in loose white fur. Just you wait, little buddy, the rally monkey will make baseball unlike anything you've seen before.