Thursday, May 29, 2008

Family picture

One more picture from the wedding last weekend (that's me with the man-hair):

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Three friends and a wedding

We had a low-key weekend. A friend of mine was in town visiting from New Mexico, so I took her on my current favorite hike on Saturday morning. We followed that up with lunch & a margarita. Yummy. She's buena gente and I wish she hadn't moved so far away!

On Sunday evening, we went to the wedding reception of another friend of mine. We skipped the wedding -- she's my friend, not my worst enemy! I would only attend a wedding with our two monkeys if I wanted to wreck the whole thing. We all cleaned up pretty well, if I don't say so myself. Most of the pictures taken of us were on someone else's camera and I haven't gotten them yet, so here's the only one from my camera that came out at all nice:

Our little Z is always pretty in pictures. She's photogenic, plus she's learned to ham it up for the camera already.

Since I don't have a picture of B from this weekend, here's one of him when he was about the same age Z is now:

I can't decide which is funnier -- the expression, or the hair. And to show you that he is every bit as adorable as Miss Z:

B made a new friend this weekend. We saw him out riding his bike in front of our house, and B rode out on his bike to say hi. He's almost a year older than B, but they seemed to get along pretty well. B wasn't half as excited as we were though. There aren't very many families with young kids in our neighborhood, so we were thrilled to meet a couple that seemed fun and had a kid that could play with ours. We had them all over on Monday and everyone had a great time. At least I hope they did -- B will be crushed if he doesn't get to play with his new buddy again soon.

So Z is on her fourth week in child care now, and it's going pretty well. Last week she started crying when I dropped her off in the morning. It's sad, but it actually makes me happy because it means she'd rather be with me than at school. That's a sign of attachment. She also started running to me when I arrived in the afternoons, a huge grin on her face and her arms held up to be lifted. Now THAT'S a good way to end a long work day! B is fairly indifferent when I pick him up from preschool these days, and sometimes even wants to stay longer to play more. I like it when he wants me to carry him down the hall to Z's room. The days that I'll be able and allowed to carry him are definitely numbered, and I try to enjoy it while I can because I know I'll miss it when I can't. That poor kid will be coming home to visit when he's 30, and I'll still be asking him if he wants to sit in my lap and cuddle!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The results are in

And Kenai is...

A big black dog!

You may remember a few months ago, when I held a "What is Kenai?" contest. Most people thought some sort of lab mix -- seven votes were for that. All guesses were for various breed mixes, and among those, great dane was the second most common guess (4 votes), followed by a tie between greyhound and some sort of herder -- specifically, border collie and australian shepherd were both mentioned (3 votes for each of these). Single votes were cast for german shepherd, collie, and wolfhound. My sister jokingly guessed sharpei.

And the winner is...

My sister!

Wuhhhh??? you say? Sharpei? Yep. The way this test works, they tell you your dog's primary and secondary breeds, and other breeds that are in the mix. If there's a primary breed listed, that means your dog is at least 50% that breed. Secondary breeds make up less than a majority of your dog's DNA, but are significant nonetheless. Kenai had no primary or secondary breeds detected. That means that either (a) he is some breed other than the 38 this test detects; or (b) he is such a Heinz 57 mutt that only low levels of many breeds can be detected.

So the official word on Kenai is:





English Setter

I can definitely see the Akita. I've wondered if that's in the mix before. Rottweiler surprises me, but would account for his giant size. Chow? I guess he could've gotten his solid black coat from a chow. English setter? That would explain the long legs and the spotted tongue. Shar-Pei??? You've GOT to be kidding me.

The most surprising thing about these results is that they include some dogs that are generally thought to be rather aggressive -- chow, akita and rottweiler. Kenai doesn't have an aggressive bone in his very large body. He is the sweetest, gentlest, friendliest mutt on earth.

I dunno...I might ignore these results and stick with my lab mix theory.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Three months

Three months & two days since we first met Z. She's gotten chubbier and infinitely sillier, both of which you can see below. Posting the pictures like this every month really helps me see the changes.

February 17, 2008

March 18, 2008

April 19, 2008

May 19, 2008

My Monday morning hikes

Today I got to do my first regular Monday morning hike of the spring. Back before we turned our lives upside-down, I worked three days a week. Friday was always B-Mommy Super-Fun Day, and Monday was always my home-work day. But before I got down to my gardening, housecleaning, grocery shopping, etc., I often took a hike with Kenai. We are lucky to have an open space mountain park practically in our backyard (there's a trailhead 2 blocks from the house), so it's easy to head out on foot from home and within minutes, be away from it all.

Well, my maternity leave has come to an end, and I went back to work last week. I'm still doing the three-day-a-week thing, but didn't get "my" Monday last week because Z was home sick with me (she's all better now). So today was the first normal Monday I've had in months. We took my current favorite hike. It's a trail I discovered about halfway through last summer. I have to walk about half an hour to get to it, with this view of Table Mountain to keep me company as I go:

Then I take a hard left onto a trail that cuts up a deep ravine, cool and shady, with a stream running along the bottom. This is a rare thing on this mountain. It's a very hot and dry place most of the time, with very little in the way of trees to shade you on a hike. I was amazed when I first came across this ravine, and I call it my "secret trail." Looking up the ravine:

Looking back down the ravine at where we came from:

Kenai paused for a nice roll in the grass:

And a drink of water followed by a little rest in the shade.

This is a lonely part of the mountain. I've never seen another person on this trail. That's saying a lot, since the trail across the top of the mountain is practically a super highway on the weekend, wall-to-wall mountain bikers and hikers. Our only company today was the birds, the butterflies, a bunny that was not very happy to see big black Kenai come around a curve in the trail, and a few airplanes way overhead. I couldn't even hear the traffic on I-70 most of the time.

At the top of the ravine, the trail turns west and enters the bottom of a lovely meadow with steep, grassy sides. The hillside near the top of this meadow will be carpeted with wildflowers in another few weeks.

The wildflowers are really just getting started, and won't peak for another two or three weeks. Among the early few we saw today:

At the top of this meadow, you reach a trail that skirts the summit of the mountain. We walked along that a ways, then crossed over to the fire road that runs across the top. Here's a view to the southwest, where I could see the snow-covered top of Pikes Peak in the distance (the haze and my crummy camera won't let you see it though):

And turning back to look west, here's the top of our backyard mountain:

And snow-covered Mt. Evans not too far behind it:

A quick walk across the top takes you to the east side of the mountain, where you can look down and see the roof of our house below (I can't even begin to tell you which one it is, but trust me, it's in here):

Slide and stumble down the steep, rocky east face, walk a couple blocks through the neighborhood, and it's home sweet home.

Now if you'll excuse me, my gardens are calling my name, and then I really should at least make a quick pass through the house with the feather duster so I can say I did some cleaning. I hope your Monday is as peaceful and pleasant as mine.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

How did a whole week go by?

This past week just flew by. It was supposed to be "my" week, since I was going to have kid-free time on my hands for the first time in three months. Z started child care, but instead of lounging around on the couch reading trashy novels and eating bonbons, I spent most of my time working in the garden. [OK, I did spend half a day at a spa, and I got all my hair cut off one day -- so short that I have to wear makeup now, so people know I'm a girl.] We had a huge load of compost delivered on Monday:

We ordered the same stuff last year when we re-landscaped the backyard, and the gardens back there went absolutely berserk. They're like little jungles. I'm hoping my front gardens do the same this year. They're nice, but have always been a little anemic. There was rock in this garden when we bought the house, which the previous owners had put down when they removed 30 year-old juniper. I hate juniper. It's scratchy, stinky, dirty, and full of spiders in late summer. Not to mention ugly. It's the lazy man's answer to landscaping. And it leaves the soil very acidic for several years after you remove it. That's my excuse for why this garden hasn't thrived. I'm hoping that four years' worth of gardening plus this infusion of lovely, dark, rich compost will help. If I don't have the happiest gardens in the neighborhood this summer, I think I'll give up on gardening entirely. Here's how the front garden looks now:

I'm going to photograph it again in a month, just so I can compare and see if the compost made everyone happy.

We had some friends over for dinner last weekend. They have a son who is one month older than Ben, and another who is about three months younger than Z. We get together with this family every now & then -- they're fun -- but hadn't since we'd both had two kids. It was CHAOS. Crazy! Kids everywhere. Constant screaming. We adults shoved our dinner into our mouths in under five minutes so as to continue supervising the monsters, making sure the big ones didn't injure the little ones. We wound up the evening by roasting marshmallows on our backyard fire. Here's B and his friend, whom he calls Bashi:

M is getting a new bike, and it's arriving at our house in bits and pieces. One of the bits came in a very nice plastic box. I saw it in the trash and pulled it out for B, thinking it would make a nice place to store markers or action figures or something small like that. What did he decide to put in it? His snuggle animals:

That's Underdog (actually a fire-safety dog given to him by my brother, with his fire department's name on the t-shirt, renamed by B arter he saw the movie), Pink Panther, and Beak. These are the three animals he sleeps with every night. It's a bit of a problem sometimes, because they are so small that they are easily lost. About once a week, he wakes us up in the middle of the night because he can't find one of them.

The first night he had this box, I went in to check on him before I went to bed, to make sure he had his blankets on. He was sound asleep, clutching this:

Not very snuggly, in my opinion, but I guess it's not mine that counts.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A hodge-podge

First, here's Z in her other pair of new glasses:

She's already scratched the lens on one pair -- she took a header on the driveway this morning and landed smack on her face. There wasn't much crying, but she did scratch the glasses and got a big raspberry on her forehead. I guess it's a good thing we didn't spend a whole bunch of $$ on the glasses.

Today I went shopping with Flynn's mom here. If you live anywhere near Denver and haven't been there yet, you should really go. It's the best kids' consignment shop EVER. But I want you to know that I exercised some pretty remarkable restraint today. There were at least half a dozen things I desperately wanted to buy (oh, the dresses! the floral print pants with the sequins! the skirt with the hot pink tulle ruffle around the bottom!), but all I walked away with was something we actually needed -- a pair of shorty pajamas for Z. Hanna Anderssen PJs, in perfect, like-new condition, for $12! You can't beat that with a stick, as my Grammy used to say.

Bonding & attachment blah blah blah

This stuff all sounds like a breeze when you're taking those classes and reading the books, even a little hokey sometimes, but I have to tell you: the real thing is so much harder than I thought it would be. However, Z and I have reached a nice attachment milestone in the past week or so that's really sweet: she's been holding on to me when I hold her. She's always been happy to be carried, and in the last month has come to me with her arms out, wanting to be held. But she hasn't held me back until recently. This is a big step for her!

B has also been doing better. I alluded to his struggles a couple weeks ago, but never really went into it. It's sometimes hard for me to decide if writing about that kind of stuff is valuable enough to my handful of prospective adoptive parent readers to risk violating his privacy, and I've been on the fence about this particular case. I'll just keep it brief. He's had the usual difficulties of a new sibling -- acting out, abusing the younger kid on occasion, jealousy over sharing toys, etc. The hardest part has been bedtime though. He's been a champion sleeper ever since I read and implemented the "No Cry Sleep Solution" when he was about six months old. If you have a baby who doesn't sleep well, buy this book!! It saved our lives, I swear. Anyway, starting about a month ago, he began to seriously freak out at bedtime. Crying that he was afraid of his room, getting out of bed and coming into our room a bazillion times before going to sleep, even screaming hissy fits on a nightly basis for a couple of weeks. We did everything we could think of. We checked every nook & cranny of his room with him before putting him to bed to make sure it was safe. We left his door wide open. We spent extra time snuggling after books -- and I'm talking a LOT of extra time, not just a few minutes. We even let him stay up late and read books in bed a few times. All to no avail. Then all of a sudden, three nights ago, he was done with all that. Now he still gets some extra time at bedtime (nice for him and for us), but goes to sleep quietly without all the drama. Oh boy, I hope I didn't just jinx us by typing that. If we have a bad night, I may have to come back in the morning and delete what I just wrote.

Why no photos of the handsome B?

There haven't been a lot of photos of B in the past few posts because he's been a little camera-shy. I'll try to sneak some tomorrow. He's also been behind the camera again. Behold his latests masterpieces:

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Oh, come ON!

It's May, for crying out loud! And these snowflakes are more like snowballs, they're so big. I'm actually going to have to shovel the driveway at the rate it's snowing. At least my gardens will be happy with the moisture.