Friday, March 29, 2013

Stove S'mores

Once we've finished up a nice 6 mile hike around G.P. and gotten all of our mundane errands done for the day/week/month/forever, a mother and child can be hard pressed on things to do. Park? Done. Movies? Seen 'em. Books? Read 'em. Candy Land? Played it. Chores? Yawn.

 Fire up the ol' gas stove and make some single mama s'mores. I am bummed that I just now thought of this little late night snack. I could have been a lot heavier this whole time! Darn it. Now I'll have to shove all of the fun into the last few days of living with a gas range. Better get to work.

 This was seconds before Alden claimed that I was his best friend. Marshmallows will do that to a kid.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Swimming Lessons

There is always so much comfort in familiarity. Living in Grants Pass and raising your child to do the same things that you did is so fun and made easier because you already know the ropes. Alden took swim lessons this February, two times a week for the month, at the YMCA. The same one that I learned at about 30 years ago. Crazy. Most of the facilities have been updated excluding the changing room and shower bay. Same cold concrete and echo-y sound as you pee in the most unhygienic latrine ever. 

 The swim instructor is a saint and her name is Tomorrow. Adorable and patient. Still not sure how she managed to keep three wiggly, slippery boys ages 3-5 from drowning. Not only that but she got them to dive in and under the water and kick and blow bubbles. That is an art: being a swim instructor. 
Alden really likes swimming and I am happy that he responds well to water. Getting him to put his face IN water has been a small challenge made easier because of this type of exposure. Next, surf lessons, right?\

Monday, March 25, 2013

Touring Grants Pass on Foot

With Dustin AND OUR CAR in San Diego, Alden and I have been Forest Gump-ing it around town for the month. We've gotten a ride here and there but mostly when we had plans with the folks driving. I wished that I had a app that tracked mileage or, better yet, a car.

I'm mostly kidding. It's not been that bad. We have a great deal of "free" time (what is that exactly?) so walking our errands has been a great time soaker. We walked from our home to The Kid Zone at the top of town. We've walked from Westholm Park and then over to Famous Footwear. We've walked up to the Dutch Coffee House and library and Riverside Park and Video World and over 6th street bridge to Walgreens... and... and we are exhausted. Alden is a truckin', troopin' fool with a great deal of zest for observance. We stop and look at every interesting (and some not so interesting) artifacts along the way. We've scaled every fence and teetered on every yard perimeter that offers a ledge. We've met many folks who love a cute kid and a smiling mom. We've popped into stores we have NEVER been in during all of my tours through this town. While getting groceries hasn't been ideal,  I certainly appreciate looking at our town for the last time in such a slow and methodical way. There are homes on Washington Boulevard that I have never noticed before and people's yards can be so inspiring. Our town is rather clean and quirky and full of friendly faces.

As is typically the case with me, I sign up for taking less and doing things the hard way but I always end up with more gratitude and a stronger character. I like thinking that Alden may be picking up on that. Thanks for the long good bye, Grants Pass.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Good bye. Again.

Typically I don't like to advertise that I am at the house by myself but this blog is pretty safe, right? Don't tell anyone, ok, Grandma Betty? (She's my number one blog fan.)
The night before departure, February 28th, Dustin read to Alden and spent some quality time putting him to sleep for the last time for a month or so.
The next morning, Dustin was packed and one his way. Alden was a little sleepy. A little sad.
Does this pose look familiar? It's the second time we've moved out of Grants Pass but we are lucky to have such a wonderful house to rent out and come back to.
Booo-hooooo. Yeah, right. See the surf board? Dustin is pretty excited to get back to the beach.

He is securing our new home somewhere near San Diego while Alden and I tie up loose ends, pack up the house, pack a P.O.D. with the help of several friends, file taxes, get a new renter, etc. It's been a busy month for sure!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

To Lick You is to Like You

Alden is going through a licking stage. I blame myself. I tend to tease him a little much and ended up licking him one day when he wouldn't do what I asked him to. It got a laugh. So now he does it to anyone within a tongues distance. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Vacation in Sun Diego

At the top of the new year, we flew down from southern Oregon to southern California to visit family and meet one of the newest members, Ellie. As we had lived in San Diego before, it made for a very relaxing vacation because we knew the lay of the land, had a great grasp on where to take Alden, and were with family that have children, too. We had a wonderful time visiting our old haunts and seeing things through the eyes of a three and a half year old.
Pretty blue eyes and brown hair. Great disposition. We like Ellie!

Alden seemed to enjoy being the older cousin in this scenario. He helped me feed "the baaaaaby" cheese squares and grapes as we rode with the WINDOWS DOWN IN JANUARY. Beautiful, sunny, windy days!
He'll tan up real nice. Though we'd been to the beach before, this time he really dug the sand if ya know what I mean. He was all about building and digging and running it this stuff.
Sea World was my favorite experience. Dustin and I had year long passes when we lived here earlier (fall of 2006 through spring 2008) and we were delirious with joy every time we visited. I'd tear up over the dolphin show thinking of what it might be like to have a child with us sometime. Well. Here we were and I started BAWLING as we entered the World of Sea. Dustin and I created a family. And we were all here for the day. A little too much connection and emotion? I agree. Moving on.
We'd watched a Curious George episode where George uses a map to navigate his way to the baby panda exhibit at the zoo. Alden was all too excited to do the same at Sea World.
Sunshine-y Christmas tree. So bright that you could hardly look directly at it. Ridiculous but impressive.
Going through the shark exhibit now. We both like how Alden doesn't necessarily assign typical sinister characteristics with well-known aggressive animals and fish. As the worlds creepiest shirt swam over us in the tunnel, Alden said, "Awwww. I want to hug him."
Miami Vice.
Moustache glasses. We panicked about 20 minutes in noticing that Alden was covering his eyes from the sun. But he'll miss everything! Ok, let's get him these obnoxious, too-big sun glasses that he'll break.
Took them back. Got this hat. Equally obnoxious but CUTE on him. Done.
Face painting happens at every children's event but it was a MUST here. This snake made Alden's day.
Manatees are also huggable. Alden nearly dove in trying to touch all of them.
The three of us at the final Shamu show for the night. It was chilly but worth the wait in line. It was the Christmas version so there was a choir and a saxophonist. Very high class. 

Snuggle-up reading time with Aunt Chelsea and Spiderman.
Tide pools are an excellent way to spend an afternoon. We dug and explored for an eternity here.

I'm glad we spaced the theme parks out by a few days because Alden was in stimulus overload. While he enjoyed the zoo, he is 3.5 and seemed more interested in acting like an animal than looking at them. He climbed on every surface possible and imitated the inmates accordingly. It was a great day spent with the Ryan, Chelsea, and Ellie as we put in some serious mileage walking around.

This terrifying tiger hybrid is TO SCALE.

Alden started to wither near the elephant zone. He was very tired, red-eyed and hot. Turns out he had the beginnings of hand, foot, and mouth disease. Didn't find that out until a week later but it made for a quiet few days of our vacation.
Dudes doing dishes. Rarely seen in the wild. This is a theme park exhibit, for sure.
You know your child is sick when this is his reaction to whipped cream and fried ice cream from Nati's.

Don't get me wrong. He ate it. But it was slow and anti-climatic. And then he turned away.
He later fell asleep in my arms while touring around Ocean Beach. Alden, that is. Not Dustin.

We had a great time in San Diego and loved visiting our family from afar. So much that we are moving there. Like, right now. Dustin interviewed for a job during our vacation and we are now on our way to sunny days. All of the time. I already bought my flip-flops. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Snow Day 2013

There are many pluses to waking up on New Year's Day sober. The main one is so you can go sledding with your son and his cousins and your in-law's. Just a little over 90 minutes away, we sledded our hearts out at Union Creek amongst the rest of the valley. It was FUN! 
Batman joined me as we trekked through the icy snow.
I have loved sledding since I was little. I love the thrill of going fast and tumbling off the slip of flimsy plastic. I love laughing so hard that I pee a little. I love it even more now that I know Alden loves it, too. He is on my lap here, totally getting sprayed in the face with sharp, biting cold snow crystals. Didn't even faze him.
Waist deep in a snow dug out made by another family. They were so generous to share that and their man made snow track with us. It was a bit off the other very busy and very fast slope that the others were dominating.
Little break for nourishment and to realize just how cold we all were. It was a bit unnerving to go back out to the snow after this. We did it only to come back about 20 minutes later. Alden's hand was frozen in a claw shape... scared him so badly. I hid my laughter as I carried him back to the car for the second time. 
Playing it safe...