Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Up the Shore (and a couple new quotes)

Saturday was fantastic. We went up the shore. I love going up the shore, and we had not been yet this year. I wanted to go before I got any fatter (or more swollen, more sore, more out of breath)
We met at my parents house to consolidate into one care, and then headed north. Participants were myself, DH, Benjamin, and my parents. It was a full car! We stopped in Two Harbors at the grocery store to stock up for a picnic (and get some donuts!). Benjamin picked a donut called a Honeymooner. Never heard of it. It was amazing. It was like an apple turnover, very buttery, but it also had some sort of honey glaze and honey/caremal frosting on it. Good choice Ben, good choice.
I was sort of in charge of the planning and knew what I wanted to do, so we headed all the way up to Tettegouche with the plans of working our way back. For those of you who are not familiar with "a trip up the shore", "the shore" is the Northern Shore of Lake Superior. You can drive around Route 61, near the water, all the way up to Canada if you want. Its about 150 miles from Duluth to Canada (At an angle up the shore). There are countless stops along the way - multiple state parks, overlooks, public beaches, piers, harbors, cute little towns, restaurants, etc etc etc. Many I have done, more I haven't. So, anytime you go up the shore you have to decide which exact attracts to attend. Today was my choice.

Up to Tettegouche! It is the biggest state park along the North Shore (though not the most visited, that goes to Gooseberry Falls, which is closer to Duluth, extraordinarily accessible, and has beautiful water falls). Tettegouche is known for good hiking, and the Baptism River. I wanted to go to Tettegouche in order to walk the Shovel Point trail. A loop trail that goes about a half mile to the end of a unique rock peninsula that juts out into Lake Superior. I am not sure how long it has been since I hiked out to the end of Shovel's Point. I can tell you that last time I was at Tettegouche, DH was visiting me over a summer home from College (think 2003 or 2004), and I don't think I did the trail that day. The trail has been changed DRASTICALLY. It is no longer just a dirt path that takes you on a relatively gentle elevation change to the point. It is now a series of boardwalks and staircases that routes you down and then back up up and up. The weather was sunny and warm (getting hotter every second). Some parts of the trail had a great breeze, most of it was shaded, but still it was HOT and us, being geniuses, did not bring water with us (we had it in the car, but not on the trail). But we all made it. Benjamin did GREAT. He walked nearly the entire way himself, maybe was carried 100-200 feet the whole way for quick breaks. The view from the top and the end was wonderful, and I had forgotten how unique and interesting the coast line north of shovel point is (lots of small cliffs, caves and inlets). I really would be interested in kayaking along there someday. Meanwhile, the whole point in my head for walking to the end of Shovel Point is to look back on Palisade Head. We took in the scenery and then headed back to the visitors center.

Back at the visitors center, we found a nice shady picnic table and indulged in a wonderful picnic. Ben was hilarious, he was obsessed with his bottle of juice. We don't give him juice often and he doesn't get to drink out of bottles with screw off tops often, so it was a novelty. He did eat some other things but the main thing he wanted to do was open the bottle, take a drink, but the lid on the bottle. It was adorable.

After Tettegouche we headed south to Palisade Head. Its only about a five minute drive. I am SURE I have blogged about Palisade Head before, seeing as its probably my favorite place in the world. We get to the top of Palisade Head (you can drive up), and the small parking lot is FULL of motorcycles, some sort of club cruised their together. DS loved it! The bikes started to leave right after we got there and everytime another one turned its engine on he would spin around to watch it leave. Palisade Head is almost always a mandatory stop on our trips 'up the shore'. This time I wanted to go there to look back on Shovel Point, where we had just been. I have no idea why this amuses me so much, but it does. Well away from the cliff, there are plenty of rocks for climbing which Ben thoroughly enjoyed.

Our final stop of the day was Iona's Beach. If you google it, you will find it on lists of "hidden gems". Its a great place that very few people seem to know about (though more every year I think). It is a beach covered in pinkish colored rocks. Very peaceful. If the wind is strong enough, the rocks washing up on the beach can take on a musical quality. The weather was quite hot, perfect weather to sit on the beach with your feet in the cold water (or, in rocks cooled by the cold water). We spent quite a long time just sitting their enjoying the lake and weather. We threw some rocks in, DS "swam" in the rocks, kicked the rocks around, climbed on his dad, and in general a good time was had by all.

By this time it was past 3pm. DS fell asleep within minutes of being put in the car and we made the drive back down to Two Harbors (another stop at the store for dinner supplies), and back to my parents house. Because it was so late already, we decided to just stay for dinner. Most of us (Gpa, Gma, myself, Ben and my little sis) went swimming in the pool there. DS loves swimming. We have had many swim lessons, but this is different. We got him a Puddle Jumper, which is a type of life vest. He is learning quickly. He learned today how to float on his back, that he doesn't need to flail to stay afloat when he is wearing the vest, and about the consequences of jumping in without help (dunking). He did NOT want to get out. There was a storm moving in and we all got cold, but he claimed he was not cold. He was shivering so hard. This situation is how we got the following gem of a quote:

ME: Ben! We need to get out. You are cold. You are shivering.
ME: You are shaking!
BEN: I am shaking my head because that means NO. I said NO.

He repeated this last part several times while we all laughed our heads off about it. He wanted to stay in that pool SO BAD. We eventually got him out, inside and warmed up though!

It was a really fantastic day. Before I sign off, one other recent quote/development. As of last night, Benjamin started talking about the baby in a new way. He has said several times now "I am going to put my ear on your belly and say to Felicity I am waiting for you to come out!" (the exact words vary slightly but the phrase "I am waiting for you to come out" is recurrent). It is adorable. And he did it this morning (said to my belly, "I am waiting for you to come out". So cute.

Friday, July 18, 2014

32 Weeks Pregnant

32 weeks pregnant today... 8 weeks left.
Wow. Time flies. I can't even began to describe how fast time is passing for me these days. I know, it does for everyone.

People keep asking me if I am getting excited, they think I "cant wait"... I hate the question for two reasons. First, because I have been excited for months, so no I am not just now getting excited. Second, because if anything, I want time to slow down. I don't want to rush these months. Even if everything works out perfect with my life, I will get to spend precious little of it pregnant, and I enjoy being pregnant. I enjoy the anticipation. I enjoy the excitement. Of course I want to meet my little girl, but I want to enjoy every day until I do meet her as well. Not to mention, I just have a lot I want to do still before the chaos of a newborn.

I know, part of my ability to nonchalantly want pregnancy to slow down is how good I have been feeling. I mean, of course I am tired and have aches and pain, but nothing major. I am in a facebook group with about 50 other moms who are due in September, half of them seem to be falling apart- SPD (google it... sounds horrid), swelling, back pain.... thats not me so far. (Knock on wood). I had one week about a month ago where I felt crappy (sore back, hips, etc). I thought that was the beginning being miserable, but it miraculously went away. (knock on wood again..). So what symptoms do I have? ... Lets see. I need to pee a lot (and need to work on my Kegels if you know what I mean). I get tired easily, and its difficult to lift things up from floor level. I can't carry Ben too far. Some headaches. Occasional heartburn. Occasional morning gagging still, but I haven't thrown up in weeks. Just in the past three days, possible VERY mild swelling in my feet. I am hormonal and tear up at just about ANYTHING. Thats about it.

I am not sure how it compares to last pregnancy... I didn't blog about my last pregnancy. I may have had a physical journal where I wrote down symptoms, but I haven't bothered to look for it. BUT I feel like its easier. I feel like this pregnancy is a bit easier than last time. I don't know if that is accurate though. Last pregnancy I remember being INCREDIBLY UNCOMFORTABLE for sleeping.. I am not sure when that started. I had a whole pile of pillows I slept on and still ended up sleeping sitting up half the time. So far this pregnancy, no issues sleeping to speak of, besides the cat Nox not accepting that my belly took her spot. I use one extra pillow, and am comfortable. Last pregancy, I started swimming to alleviate back pain around 28 weeks (and could tell if I hadn't been in too long, I had to go at least every 3-4 days). This pregnancy, I have not had significant back pain (knock on wood).

On the other side... Last pregnancy I followed the doctor-prescribed "don't lift more than 20 lbs", this pregnancy I lift and carry a 30lb boy on a daily basis. This pregnancy, I walk up 6 flights of stairs a few times a day because I hate our building's elevator. I don't know if these things are the difference... but I feel like they might be helping. We will see how I do in the days to come.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Long time, no type. I think I need to do a Benjamin update.

Height: Tall enough to reach light switches from the floor.. I have been meaning to measure him and haven't.
Weight: Around 30 lbs. He loved playing on the bathroom scale

Speech: He is a talker, what can I say. He has a large vocabulary and is constantly telling stories and asking questions. One of the things that prompted this post is that last night he sang the entire ABCs all on his own. They have been working on it at daycare the last two weeks. His favorite question to ask recently is "Whats in ____?" Mostly with food, but if he runs out of food, he gets creative. What's in chicken nuggets? What's in blueberries? What's in Chocolate Milk? What's in french fries? I he is in the right mood he will ask about everything on his plate, then switch to "What's in a mouth?" "What's in a car?". He also has been very into making classifications/clarifications lately. Things like "Some dinosaurs are nice, some dinosaurs are scary". A recent one was "Some big ore boats are load, some big ore boats are quiet. Some little boats are quiet. Some little boats are a little loud". He doesn't like to admit he is doesn't know something, or that he is wrong. For example, the following conversation from this morning:

ME: Your shirt has a dinosaur on it! Do you know a song about dinosaurs?
BEN: Yes
ME: What song? Can you sing it?
BEn: Talk about a song about dinosaurs.

He uses that phrase - "talk about ___" instead of saying he doesn't know. Its cute, he wants you to tell him new things so he can learn. I love it. 

He forecasts the weather. I know I put this on facebook, but for prosperity, it needs in the blog:

BEN (Looking off into the sky): What is that?
DH: a seagull
ME: Unless you are looking farther away. What are you looking at?
BEN: I am looking at what is going to happen.
ME: You are looking at the future??
BEN: Yes I am looking at the future.
(DH and I crack up... this is funny, right?? then he blows our minds).
Ben: I am looking at the dark clouds. It's going to rain, it's time to go home.

He immediately started to walk to the car. LOL. It was pretty hilarious. The only bad thing with his speech is that he is pretty hard to understand. His vocabular is amazing, but his articulation is poor. He drops certain letters and pronounces others incorrectly (Grim is Dim for example, Yes is Wes etc). We were told if this is still an issue when he is 3 we should seek speech therapy. We shall see. For now, I translate a lot for him.

MOTOR SKILLS: Ben is learning to climb ladders at the playground. He is a pretty cautious child and DH has been trying to refrain from saying "be careful" to telling Ben to "go for it". He is learning to hang now as well. We are going to "Wednesday Night at the Races" next week. I am hoping he has a good time!

Besides being cautious, Benjamin is just not a physically curious child, if that makes sense. He doesn't seek out physical adventures, he doesn't get into things, he doesn't explore new areas by seeing what is there and what he can reach and what he can do with it. He doesn't have any interest in potty training, in taking off (or putting on) his own clothes. He isn't a kid that is going to put a magazine in the toilet to see what happens, or stuff cheese in an outlet. Stuff like that wouldn't even occur to him. He explores the world with words, not actions and experiments.

INTERESTS: His toy of choice is for sure cars. He has about a gajillion matchbox cars, they are everywhere. In the cars, in the living room, in the bathroom. He often takes one (and only one) into daycare to leave in his cubby for the day. He makes a variety of engine, brake, and siren noises, and if questioned will demonstrate them for you "this is a loud siren.. this is a quiet siren" etc. If asked to use his indoor engine/siren, he will usually, very very seriously say "I know its loud but I got to make the loud siren noise". It is a very serious matter to him. He drives the cars, he parks the cars. Lots of cars parked in rows, then in rows in other places, then back in the first place.

He recently discovered his Elmo Matching game (Memory cards). He likes to flip one over and hold it, then look under each of the others until he finds the match, then put all the matches in a line.
He likes music. We listen to classical music in the car, and recently he has gotten into "playing" on the piano or on a special night, getting my violin out to play around with. When we listen to classical music, he wants to know what instruments are playing. He can sort of identify violin, guitar, and drums, though he often gets them confused with other things (piano for example could be labelled as any of these things). He likes to sing songs too.

He likes doing puzzles. He likes books. His favorite book at this exact moment is "B for Bulldozer", but it changes frequently. We have one from the library called "Go Go Go STOP" that he likes a lot. He likes going to the library and reading new books there, and picking some to bring home.

He loves playing outside, pushing dumptrucks around in dirt piles, pulling wagons, riding his big-wheel style bike or scooters or pedal go karts or whatever is available. He loves sidewalk chalk.

Another milestone of the last few days, besides the ABCs -- On Monday night, out of no where, he told DH at bedtime that his pacifier was bad. We are not sure if he meant it tasted bad or it just was bad, either way he didn't want it. Totally voluntarily he has slept the last two nights with no pacifier, and done pretty darn well. Its one battle I was expecting to fight that now I don't have to.

We have introducted Benjamin to the world of computers. He plays on a couple apps on my Kindle. The main app we use right now is Thomas the Train. He can Color, do puzzles (that play a reward video), or a matching game. I think its time to find him a new app because he spends most of his time on this one now just enjoying navigating through the menus and seeing if he can find a "new" place in the app.

He also likes movies, a bit too much perhaps. I can't be sure, but I would say his favorite movie is Wreck-It Ralph, which is good because I like that movie too. He also really likes "lightning mcqueen" (Cars 2). We recently did Tarzan and Pocohantas. He loved Meeko in Pocohantas and laughs SO HARD at this. We watched Land Before Time once ("Cera ran away"), and he liked that, and he occasionally requests my We Sing tape ("the one with the band"). We occasionally watch the Fox and Hound, Kung Fu Panda (1-2), and other random netflix stuff, like Mighty Machines television series. We have tried to cut back on TV time with the beautiful weather, but he watches it in the morning while we are getting ready for work, and if he is sick its all bets off movie palooza.

I am out of time! I am sure there are other things I wanted to say.. we will see if I add them later or not.