Wednesday, August 27, 2008

a visit and a miracle

our friends kaedra and jasper (but sadly no jesse) came to visit again this week for a few days. kaedra just did a bradley childbirth training session in seattle and figured if they were so close they couldn't not drive a few more hours to bellingham. which was great, though i do not know how she is handling all that driving on her own (10 hours today back to boise!). the visit was great, and made me, kaedra and maryka all feel reconnected to our common east coast community despite our west coast existence.

the miracle occurred yesterday afternoon, when two pregnant ladies and two two-year-old boys all took a lengthy nap at the same time!! it was astounding. and wonderful.

we had a pretty uneventful few days, mostly just managing two little boys who have a love/hate relationship. we also ate lots of good food, which seems to be what we do together mostly.

and some of that eating happened at a real dining room table!

the boys at their italian restaurant

maryka doing dishes (which is the awesome-est thing for friends of very pregnant people to do)

and kaedra with her german chocolate cake with two frostings, which she made as a birthday cake for the new baby. we sang, "have a birthday, baby!" (also a very awesome thing for friends of very pregnant people to do!)

jasper and his mama riding noah's little bike

noah and jasper on the bike (double decker style, as noah says), in a moment of love

and bike riding in the yard, in a moment of needing more space!

the boys doing yoga

aaron constructing a dangerous and exciting balance beam contraption in the yard

two mamas and their bellies! (me at 41 weeks, kaedra at 30ish?)

Monday, August 25, 2008

40 weeks (plus)

okay, here's the last in this slew of blog posts, for now. (can you tell i'm madly trying to use the quiet time i have before i don't have it anymore?)

here's me and my belly at 40 weeks (and a few days). hopefully this will represent my belly at its biggest!

and here's me at 37 weeks with noah. i couldn't find a 40-week picture of that, so it's little hard to compare. i forget what it's like not to have a baby in my belly!

visions and reminiscences

this weekend aaron and i went on a date!

...which may not sound like a big deal, but it's been a very long time since we had a chance to relax and really talk, just the two of us. it was very timely to be able to debrief after this busy summer and to set down some ideas about life with a new little one and what we want our family to feel like this fall. (answers: calm! relaxed! close! fun!)

we're really intending to put house projects on hold, to lessen our commitments (or at least not make new ones), and re-aquaint our family members with one another. noah and aaron haven't spent much time together this summer, and already they're having lots of fun hanging out, being crazy and having adventures. i'm suspecting this father/son bonding will increase as my time will be focused more on nursing and caring for the new little one. aaron and noah have already planned out trips to the railroad museum and the pool, bike rides and pizza dates, treat hunts and secret projects. it's really wonderful to see how similar these two boys are (like how much they enjoy taking things apart and putting them back together), and how much fun they have together.

aaron and i also set down some ideas for reconnecting with one another, after having barely seen one another this summer. we're hoping to figure out a regular way to have time for just the two of us, and to have quiet chances to talk about ideas, vision and feelings. it's crazy how fast that time slips away, if you let it. autumn seems like a good time to reign it in.

and also to reminisce! last autumn we were living in new england, enjoying community life with our friends and tromping around on crunchy leaves through very old farms. it was a wonderful few months of reconnection, adventure and ideas. noah was such a little guy, learning so much from all the other great little guys he got to hang out with. and at the end of the season, this teeny tiny one came into being! pretty crazy how much things can change in a year.

here are some of my favorite photos from last autumn:

hooray for new seasons and new adventures!

eating with ladies to celebrate babies

last week my friend sarah hosted for me a girls' night/baby shower/eat lots of yummy food evening out on the town. it was so nice to get out and hang with my lady friends. we had delicious appetizers at the temple bar and then moved on to delicious pasta at d'annas. i even had several sips of wine!

irene brought yarn for the yarn/belly game, wherein everyone cuts a piece of yarn into the length they think will fit around my belly. i'm happy to say that most everyone's piece was way too big! although, what that means about how big i look, i'm not sure...

here's maryka very excited about her yarn piece.

maryka made these gorgeous paper flowers for everyone to take home.

and here's irene (newly married! note the rings!) carefully choosing her flower.

and here's the best part of the whole night: blueberry cheesecake with a shortbread crust!

thanks, ladies, for a lovely evening. and thanks to this little lady inside me for helping me warrant such a celebration!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

a warmed house

before the baby came we hoped to have a chance to host an open house and thank-you party for all the many people who helped and supported us in this crazy project. so we worked hard last week to get things in semi-order around here and opened the doors on sunday to our friends, family and neighbors. it was great to be able to really thank people for the work they did, and also for folks to be able to witness the great transformation this house has undergone. it was especially fun to welcome our realtor jeff, and to tease him that at the outset he didn't even want to show us this house because of how far gone it was. we're sure glad he decided to show it to us anyway!

here are some pictures of our semi-settled state now. there's still so much to be done, but we basically feel ready to welcome a little one into this house. and this house basically feels like a home, which is really amazing. it feels so spacious and cozy and ours. such a blessing!

here's the living room (with still bright white primer-ed walls!)

here's the entryway and office/craft area

here's the dining room (very spare, but it's a dining room!)

looking into the kitchen (with temporary plywood cabinetry, which will work fine until we settle on a floor plan and until aaron has time to make fancy cabinets)

a blurry picture of our bedroom

the bright bathroom

and noah's room, which has changed a bit to make room for a changing table and a few other baby things

thank you thank you thank you to all those who wielded a hammer or paintbrush, who have brought us flowers, veggies or soup, who have cared for noah, and who have shared your support and kind words. we could never have done this without you!!

the fair

last weekend we went to the northwest washington fair, our first time since we've lived here. i thoroughly enjoyed the fair food and noah thoroughly enjoyed the tractors. he also thoroughly (and i mean thoroughly) enjoyed his first corndog, which he called a "hot dog on a stick" and devoured like a crazy boy. he was lucky enough to cap off his healthy meal with some "ice pream," which melted on his face and clothes maybe more than in his mouth. but he loved it.

what he didn't love, on the other hand, was the carousel. he seemed really intrigued by the rides and we thought maybe his initial anxiety about actually riding on one would go away once the ride began. we were wrong. even though he was with daddy and grandpa, and even though he was sitting on an immobile bench on a slow-moving kiddy ride, he bawled the whole way through the carousel ride. poor little guy. every time they came around he would hold out his arms to me and cry "mama!" i felt so sorry that i couldn't save him (but also it was a little bit funny). afterward, however, he talked it up like he loved the thing. now he tells everyone, "noah went on a carousel ride," full of pride. such a funny boy.

slowing down and catching up

since moving in to the new house, we've been able to slow down a bit and enjoy some time with family and friends. the first week we were here, in fact, we got to see both alan and cara and mike and jessie, good friends on east/west and north/south travels of different sorts.

alan, cara, noah and an awesome car lineup in the living room.

alan and cara spent the night with us on their way back east to lexington, massachusetts, at the conclusion of a cross-country adventure. it was great to catch up with but also very handy to have them around right after moving in. alan rewired the dryer and cara scrubbed our kitchen sink, and together they made us a delicious home-cooked meal. alan and aaron also had a friendly race to build some new chairs from ikea, which can be witnessed below.

Video thumbnail. Click to play
Click to Play

the next night we got to catch up with mike and jessie, who left seattle in may for a summer of travels and are now headed south to teach and work at the oregon extension in ashland, oregon for the fall. we are very excited for them (and jealous!) and are hoping to make it south sometime this fall to visit.

here's jessie attempting to read a tintin book to noah. (i don't even bother. when noah asks me to read one, i just tell him that daddy will read it when he gets home!)

Monday, August 18, 2008

my big boy

lately i've started thinking about how different life is going to be around here very soon. honestly, this has only just hit me in the past few days. i should have been preparing mentally and emotionally for the greeting of this new baby for months now, but i think i've been so distracted with other things that it really hadn't even occurred to me until now.

just last night noah was in bed with me, wiggling and chatting it up, while i tried to fall asleep and aaron read in the living room. at first i felt annoyed; i was SO tired after a busy day and just wanted to sleep. but then i really listened to his little voice and eventually ended up in tears. he is so funny and sweet! and it is crazy how his mind works. i was mostly quiet and he was talking to himself, reminiscing about the day and reviewing things that he's learned recently. he talked about our housewarming party (i.e. the cupcakes we had, all the friends who came, playing with jessa in the yard), he talked about the new baby who will come soon (how she will nurse from mama, how mama will hold her in the sling and noah will kiss her), he talked about the fair we just went to, and ice cream, and grandpa and his new room. and he practiced his consonants! he said "c-c-c-c-corn!" just like grandma has been teaching him. he cracked me up, so that i wasn't tired anymore and just wanted to enjoy my little boy, while i still can single-mindedly.

suddenly my very first teeny tiny baby has turned into a big boy! he is so competent and hilarious verbally and physically, and every day he learns new things and makes me laugh. he is incredibly independent but still cuddly and loving. he loves to climb, has figured out how to open the fence gates on his own, is very interested in boo-boos and broken bones, has opinions on all the choices we make, loves to play crazily with aaron, and knows a ton about the world.

one of the funnest things about noah right now is his sense of humor. he has a handful of "jokes" that he loves to share with people, and which only make sense if you know their background stories.

joke #1: "tow truck at a coffee shop"
a while back while driving noah and i saw a tow truck parked at a drive-thru coffee kiosk. he thought it was hilarious.

joke #2: "tractor in the watermelons"
recently we saw a little skid steer loader as part of a display in front of a grocery store, its bucket full of watermelons. this was also hilarious.

joke #3: "not barbara the mailman--mike the mailman!"
one day not long ago at our old house, our landlady barbara came to the front porch to pick up her mail. noah assumed, i think, that it was mike the mailman there to deliver our mail. but he saw barbara instead and joked, "barbara the mailman!" then he told the truth and said, "not barbara the mailman, mike the mailman!"

joke #4: "not a poo, a rock!"
a while back aaron was changing noah's diaper in the grass outside a vineyard near here. aaron was shocked at what he thought was a very large and solid piece of poo. upon further inspection, he discovered that it was in fact a rock that had somehow snuck its way into noah's diaper. and astute noah pointed out that it was, "not a poo, a rock!"

i'm sure there are more jokes, though i can't think of them right now. i really think this little boy understands irony. it's awesome.

i know it's a little silly to mourn the growing up of my little boy, when he's still only two. it just seems like it's gone so fast! i want him always small and sweet and innocent and able to fit on my lap. but i also love to watch him change and grow and discover the world... so i guess i need to take joy in his growth and discoveries, and help provide an environment of joy for him too. (maybe it's just these crazy hormones coursing through my body that make me cry on an hourly basis!) but it must be true that there is something very special about a mother's relationship to her firstborn. we have made so many discoveries together. now we will have to gently let go of one another a bit, and share that joy and those discoveries with our new little baby.

noah is going to teach her so much!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

a new cousin for noah

aaron's brother john and his wife jess had a new baby last week--little john spencer bandstra. what a busy week for bandstras! we got to meet john spencer via video-chat on aaron's parents' computer, and noah was intrigued. he's been talking about kate's new little brother a lot. i keep asking him what john spencer eats, and noah says, "only his mama's milk." not too much longer till noah will see this in action with his own little sibling!

teeny tiny john spencer

kate gazing at her new brother (what a lovely picture!)

Monday, August 11, 2008

aunt i's wedding

this weekend, aaron's sister irene got married, to noah's newest "uncle kevan." it was a lovely weekend and a beautiful wedding. and especially fun for us to relax and hang out with family--and not think about house projects for a few days. congratulations to irene and kevan!

i went with irene and her bridesmaids to get a pedicure the day before the wedding. since i can't really reach my feet right now, it was so great to have this special treatment!

a lovely irene on her cell phone during the wedding rehearsal (at st. mark's anglican church in white rock)

noah with church pews

noah in his suit jacket marching into the church on wedding day

aaron, irene, kevan and colin after the wedding

irene and kevan at the reception, in a bit of rain

noah enjoying the rain at the reception

and enjoying his cousin jacob