Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hiiiiiiiii, Marmot!!!

Yosemite May 2009, originally uploaded by allthingssara.

Ahhhhh..... we just got back from Yosemite. It was so incredibly lovely, just bursting with water and growth, flowers everywhere, grasses as tall as we stand. It was impossible for me to come home without dwelling some on what I can do in my daily life to make each day, in some small way at least, revolve around something beautiful.

Don't get me wrong, my family is beautiful, and my life very much revolves around them. I'm thinking more along the lines of beauty in my career. That's where it is lacking. This is not a new train of thought for me, just one that I seem to be hopping on more and more lately, hoping that eventually I will reach a sensible destination, one where it all becomes a bit more clear, and my professional skills and my personal drives finally, once and for all, coincide in to a career alternative that is not only lucrative, but deeply, personally satisfying.

I tend to always find myself thinking about these things on my way home from places like Yosemite, from weekends like we just spent -- a weekend with family and friends so close they should be family. I wonder about my personal priorities and struggle with how out-of-line I feel they are with the professional choices I've made thus far. I wonder if it is too much for me to ask. I hope it is not too much for me to ask.


Anyway, marmots... yes, marmots. This weekend we headed up to Yosemite to meet up with my dear friend Bran and her husband Stephen who are visiting from England. Bran's sister and her husband came, too, and we had a really fun couple of days, adventuring through the beautiful scenery that is Yosemite in the Springtime.

We spent one day making our way up to Toulumne Meadows, making a stop at Olmstead Point, a spot that overlooks the entire valley, set atop sheer, glaciated granite. Every time we've ever passed by Olmstead Point I've commented to Henry, "If I were a marmot, I would totally hang out here."

Well, yesterday up at Olmstead Point there were several marmots. I hadn't seen a marmot since I was in high school, traipsing through the Eastern Sierras on the Athenian Wilderness Experience. I remember always being impressed with the way marmots would just hang out on their sunny rocks, and sort of wave us along as we headed down the John Muir Trail. These marmots were no different. It didn't even faze them when Hank, in his extreme excitement, squealed with joy and tried desperately to get close enough to them to hug them.

I told Hank that the animals were marmots and he started pointing and exclaiming, "Hiiiiiiii, marmot!!! Hiiiiiii marmot!!!" And when we left, it was, "Bye Bye, marmot!!!! Bye Bye, marmot!!!!" And the rest of the afternoon and evening, it was "Marmot, marmot, marmot." etc. Cute! Our little junior ranger...

Anyway, this weekend was really special for me. I was so happy for Hank to finally get to meet Branwyn. We tried all weekend to et Hank to say "Hiiii, Branwyn!", but he would get all shy. Of course, now that we are home and Branwyn is not here, he keeps saying, "Branwyn, Branwyn, Branwyn!". Hank LOOOOVES Branwyn. And the little London bus she brought him. He pushed it all over the apartment tonight, saying "buh -- choo choo -- buh". I just warmed my heart when Hank chose to hold Bran's hand on a walk today instead of mine -- it was so cute! And the way he hugged Bran and Al both goodbye today. It was like he knew they are basically family to me, and that they are his aunties.

The reason we went all the way up to Touolumne was so that we could hike a ways up the Lyell River Canyon, a part of the John Muir Trail I hiked on AWE. I hadn't been back there since then -- so almost 20 years now. (holy cow). I was so glad to find the trail head and hike part of the way again. Every time I am in Yosemite I think about that trip and things I saw and experienced that I can't imagine ever experiencing again. There are so many memories from that trip that I still hold dear. I'll have to write them down one of these days, but it isn't going to be tonight. Maybe one evening, soon, I'll be able to do it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Huge Weekend for Hank

Hank started things up with a bang on Saturday morning by climbing out of his crib. I came in to get him up, and he was sitting on the floor, happily reading his books! As you can imagine, I was completely floored... We weren't sure what to do -- try to teach him to climb out safely and climb back in, try to teach him to just stay in and not climb out at all, or convert the crib to a big boy bed and kiss those beautiful baby days goodbye.*

So, we decided to convert the crib into a toddler bed and see what happened. I took Hank to Babies R Us where we bought an exorbitantly priced bed rail, and came home and set it up. This also meant that we had to re-install the gate that Hank had managed to knock out of the wall a couple of weeks before, because if Hank gets out of bed, he'd be able to roam freely in the apartment and while we are pretty Hank proof, I wouldn't say the entire apartment in infallible, so up went the gate.

He's done really well with his bed. At first he wasn't really sure what to make of the whole thing. He came in, took one look at what was once his crib, and actually started crying! But he took to it really quickly and now were getting started on Hank's third night in his bed.

If that wasn't enough on Sunday, Mother's Day, Hank said "I Love You!" for the first time, complete with throwing himself into my lap/arms for a huge hug and snuggle fest. It was so incredibly sweet.

And now today, we see that he's popped at least two more teeth -- both on the bottom -- one next to the front teeth and one molar.

*I know he's still a baby in so many ways, but when you do something like put your boy to sleep in a bed instead of a crib, those snuggly wuggly days just seem to get smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror -- they really feel like they are slipping away. I've been really teary over the whole thing -- so proud of him, so nostalgic for the little tiny guy he once was, so excited for what's to come.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I love photos!

I'm finally uploading all of April's photos and videos to flickr. Seeing them reminds me of how much Hank changes, and how quickly! There are pictures taken of him on Easter saturday when we went on a wee egg hunt organized by my friend Betsey. We were having the hunt in a regional park out in some open space and it was a short hike to get to the spot. We decided not to bother with the stroller because we weren't sure how far we were going to have to go or what the surface would be like. Hank ended up walking/running the entire way -- I'm sure he covered at least a mile on his tiny little feet. He was so tired at the end of it all, but hated to be torn away. The boy just loves to mooooove.

Another nice memory of the last few weeks is reading "Where The Wild Things Are" to Hank for the first time. He pulled it out of a pile of books I've been keeping aside (read: so that he won't destroy them) and brought it to me. He loved the artwork and I keep finding it mew places around the house now that he's been introduced. Time to get a copy of "In the Night Kitchen" and let the Maurice Sendak love begin.

Hank actually really loves books and reading. He has me read to him often during the day, and I also catch him lounging on a big comfy pillow I made for him with a book. Sometimes it is one of his books, but more often than not he's pulled a novel off the shelf, or a phrase book (because the travel shelf is right near his pillow). My favorite when when I caught him reading Chairman Mao's little red book. Ha!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bringing home the bacon...

I've been back at work for a few weeks now, and I won't lie, there have been some really hard days, days when I find myself really questioning if it is all worth it -- building/having/starting a career, trying to have it "all" and not really even knowing what "all" is... Today was one of those days. I spent all day running to catch up and feeling like nothing I do is ever good enough, that work suffers, home suffers, nothing thrives the way it should or could. I put Hank to bed this evening and rested my hand on his tummy and he laid there looking up at me with his sweet, sleepy face and I just felt myself begging -- 'let me do right by you, little mister. I hope I do right by you.' Motherhood is a terribly challenging job. and sometimes I worry I'm not good at it.


April was a really fun month. We took a vacation! We've been places together before, but this was our first real family vacation. We roadtripped down the coast to San Diego, saw my sweet friend Jessica get married, and went east to the desert. Hank did great -- he was a real trooper. Considering how much time we spent in the car, he was remarkably pleasant and happy the whole time. Some favorite moments that I'm afraid I'll forget:

-- running on the beach in Cambria. Hank's first really trip to the beach. He flirted with the waves, dug in the sand, explored the seaweed, and ran and ran and ran. It was lovely.

-- hotels. Hank LOVES hotels! LOVES them. Loves jumping on the beds, playing with the fans, opening and closing the doors, fiddling with the corded phones.

-- Henry all dressed up. He wore a tuxedo to the wedding and looked dashing. It was nice to have a grown up, dressed up evening, leaving Hank with a sitter.

-- ice cream bar. In Borrego Springs, temperature 104 degrees, I left Hank and Henry in the car for a moment while I ran into a five and dime to buy a couple of postcards. It was soooo hot, and we had just completed a four mile hike to an oasis. we'd made one quick stop for popsicles already, and when I got back to the car, Henry had given Hank his ice cream bar. Needless to say, Hank and the carseat were both drenched in melted ice cream and Hank could not have been happier. Henry had even asked him at one point if he could have a bite, and Hank said "NO!"

-- driving to Big Sur through Fort Hunter-Ligget. This has got to be one of the most beautiful pieces of California, if not the entire United States and it is right in our back yard. You cut over to Hwy 1 from 101 right over the Los Padres mountains. We wound our way through these wonderful roads -- flowers and trees and streams and meadows, climbing all the while, when suddenly the earth just opened up and we were on top of the world -- all we could see in front of us and below was the Pacific Ocean and all we could think was "how in the world are we going to get down there from way up here??" It was amazing.

-- stopping in Julian, CA for lunch. This is a really cute, quaint little western town with lots of shops and restaurants on a main drag, very popular with bikers. we had lunch and then walked up the road a bit to meet a huge horse. I bent down to help Hank meet the horse and next thing I knew the horse had decided that my hair was lunch. Just a little scary. A moment later, it had decided that HANK'S hair was lunch!

-- Scripps Aquarium in San Diego. You have not experienced joy until you have visited an aquarium with a toddler. Sardines!! Sardines!!! Tide pool!!! TIDE POOL!! SARDIIIINES!! Oh he had so much fun he hardly knew what hit him.

There were so many other nice things that happened this April -- a lovely Easter Egg hunt out in Briones Regional Park with friends, a potluck dinner at Katie's, lots of lovely time with family, Henry's birthday, but a lot details have already slipped away. I wish I had more time to keep the blog up to date, but I guess this will have to do. I've taken tons of pictures, too. I just need to liberate them from my camera. Once I do, I'm sure they will bring back some of the memories that have already faded.