Friday, October 31, 2008


We celebrated Halloween for the first time with Eli, since last year we were moving to Portland at this time and didn't have the energy for anything else. Like most toddler-aged people, Eli is totally into animals, and we were so excited when we found the perfect koala bear costume for our little bear. Even though he hated wearing the head and feet of the costume, we got him in it using candy bribes and old fashioned muscle, and headed out to beg candy from strangers in our neighborhood (known in some circles as "neighbors"). It didn't take long for Eli to figure out the system: ride in the stroller, find a house with a porch light on, hop out of the stroller, climb the stairs, knock on the door, and say "chirt teet," get candy and clap and squeal with delight, say "day-doo," and move on. (For those of you not up on your toddler lingo, that's "trick or treat" and "thank you.") He was the most adorable koala on the block and charmed every kind person who dropped crack - I mean candy - into his bucket. He even invited himself right into some of their homes to see what else they had to offer. Ben and I got into the act - Ben as a super smooth 70s dude and me as a Disney princess, complete with the woodland creatures who dress me every morning. We had a great "first" Halloween, and I can't wait to settle in for an awesome sugar fest and prepare for the gluttony of the upcoming holiday season. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

camping trip (this is long, but worth the read)

Ben had a couple of days off and had the wonderful idea to go camping at Silver Falls State Park, which is about an hour and a half from us. Being October, we opted to rent one of their little cabins rather than freeze to death in a tent. Although we both grew up camping every summer, for a number of reasons we've never gone together. We were excited and a little apprehensive about camping with a toddler. Turns out we had good reason to be nervous.

We arrived at the campground at around 1:30 on Monday. Since we couldn't check in until 4:00, we decided to go ahead on a hike to one of the park's ten waterfalls. We'd borrowed a baby backpack carrier from a friend (thank you, Jill, you are a lifesaver!). We spent what felt like an hour trying to get Eli into the carrier and adjust all of the straps so that Ben felt somewhat comfortable, which we accomplished with only a small amount of snapping and snarking at each other. Finally, we headed off on the trail to see the foot South Falls. We were blessed with perfect weather - clear blue sky and bright sunshine as the backdrop for the breathtaking fall colors of the trees. The trail took us behind the waterfall, which was a new and awesome experience for us. Ben was trooping along quite nicely with 40 extra pounds on his back, until we got to the back half of the trail and had to hike uphill for a good twenty minutes. I was winded, but I blamed it on being pregnant (when really, I'm just in terrible shape), so I couldn't imagine how Ben was feeling by the time we reached the top.

Our cabin was adorable and had a great porch off the front. We unloaded the car and I set up inside while Ben very adeptly started a campfire. Who knew he was such a boy scout? We enjoyed our dinner of roasted hot dogs (pretty disgusting), while we worked hard to keep Eli from becoming part of the fire. Everything was going well until I had the audacity to suggest that Eli try his first S'more. For some reason, it set him off and he refused to try even a smidge of marshmallow. We have some very funny (and slightly incriminating) video of me practically pinning him down and forcing marshmallow into his mouth. We finally gave up and decided to put him to bed. This was the beginning of the longest and loudest fit our son has thrown to date. He cried, screeched, and wailed for what felt like hours, while I prayed that we wouldn't get kicked out of the campground and cursed my unborn child that I couldn't at least put back five or six drinks to help relieve the tension.

After a loooong battle, Eli finally fell asleep, and Ben and I settled in to enjoy our campfire. And then, the raccoons came. Oh, the raccoons. So cute in Cinderella, so very annoying in our campground. At first it was just one raccoon, sneaking up on us from underneath our porch. We chased him away, only to have him reappear moments later to begin scavenging our dinner leftovers from a rock just a few feet away. We quickly moved the rest of our food inside (so long, S'mores), and tried to enjoy the rest of our evening around the campfire. The raccoon continued to sneak back into our camp, each time getting a little closer and a little more stubborn. Eventually, he brought a buddy with him. Isn't that nice? Having his pal along made him even bolder, and the two of them proceeded to terrorize us for the rest of the night. After several attempts to scare them away (vigorous waving of broom while shouting, "Go away, you racoons!"), we finally decided to call it a night.

Now, as any pregnant woman knows, a pregnant woman has to pee approximately sixty-five times during one night. Knowing that those little critters were waiting for us, I opted against going several campsites down to the restroom, and instead sucked it up and peed off the edge of the deck, while Ben peed a territorial perimeter around the deck and kept me alert of potential raccoon nibbles on my bare backside. We headed inside, and Ben quickly drifted off to sleep while I laid awake for the next hour or so trying to think about anything but how much I had to go again. Around 1:30 in the morning, I gave in and told Ben that I really, really couldn't hold it all night. Ben kindly got out of bed and stuck his head outside to make sure the raccoons were gone. But oh no, the little darlings were actually on our porch! Ben scared them off with threat of a marshmallow skewer to the head, and I hurried over to my little potty corner. But I was sleepy this time, and even more nervous, and I managed to not only pee on the deck instead of off of it, but also to step in my own pee. I let out an impressively loud swear and stripped off my pee pants, leaving me standing on the porch in the middle of the campground, in the middle of the night, in my lime green underpants and on the verge of tears.

I was finally able to fall asleep after that and held out until daybreak, when I felt safe to venture to the restroom by myself. The rest of our campout was wonderful, including a morning campfire, a hike behind an even more impressive waterfall, and a stop at the breathtaking Silverton Reservoir. We can't wait to start camping next summer and we will definitely go back to Silver Falls, but we'll do our wildlife aversion homework next time.

Friday, October 3, 2008

rainy day

I am enjoying a few minutes of quiet on a blustery Friday afternoon. My son is taking a blessedly long nap, and I'm ignoring my messy house in favor of a quick blog update. Oh, and eating peanut butter straight out of the jar.

I am eleven weeks into my pregnancy. How wonderful to know that the end of the first trimester is in sight. As with my last pregnancy, I lost my nausea one day and picked up an endless string of migraines the next. I'm not sure which is less welcome, but the migraines definitely pose a bigger problem - namely, how much can I drug my unborn child and still come out with the right number of arms and legs and the ability to read past a first-grade level? I take some comfort in knowing that Eli was exposed to a number of medications in utero, and he seems to be pretty normal. Bright-ish, at least.

I had my first appointment with my new OB a couple of weeks ago. I'm seeing a wonderful doctor at Good Sam hospital in the Pearl. (I know, don't I sound so hip and Portlandian?) I still question whether or not I should be giving birth in a hospital downtown, but judging from my previous labor experience, I think I'll have plenty of time to spare. I had my first moment of true excitement when I saw my little pea's heart beating away on the monitor. Now that I'm getting past the yucky sick time, I'm starting to remember how amazing it is to feel a baby come alive inside me. I can't wait until "she" starts moving and kicking. Yes, this baby is going to be a girl. Or, at least, it's going to be raised as a girl. :)

Elijah will be 18 months old soon. He has some new favorite activities: making animal noises (he has a pretty impressive repretoire already, including a duck that whispers, "tack, tack"), climbing on and off the couch repeatedly, and laying down on the floor and crying anytime he doesn't get what he wants when he wants it. I prefer the first one. Occasional fits aside, Eli is a pretty awesome kid and I am so blessed to call him mine.

That's all for now, friends. Back to the peanut butter.