Friday, May 30, 2014

Look Who's Talking: 7 months!

Happy 7 months to Mr. Forest Alexander! He'll be guest blogging today to give you his usual spiel, but first I wanted to review his monthly photos so you can wrap your head around how much he has grown up in the past 7 months. 

Wow. I just can't get over how much he's changed and how much his little personality has developed recently. Alright, that's enough from Momma Laine. Grab a cup of tea. It's Forest's turn to entertain you.

Hey guys. So this pretty cool thing happened right after I talked to y’all last. I discovered a little thing called crawling. Have you heard of it? It’s fantastic. 
Now I don’t need my mom to bring me toys and I can stop telepathically willing the dogs to come within arms reach of me. Now if I want something (like a dog’s tail) I just go get it. 
This development has led to a whole new realm of life experiences. 
So now that I’m 7 months old and mobile, here are a few of my likes and dislikes. 

1) Crawling. 
Duh. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me. Next? 

2) Finding the one thing in a room that can kill me. 
My mom and dad are seriously lolly-gagging on the baby proofing thing and I am quickly exposing their parental deficiencies. For instance, computer cables make great teething toys and electrical outlets are just a hoot. Too bad my mom watches me like a hawk because how much fun would it be to get electrocuted??? I’m betting lots. Parents are seriously zero fun sometimes. 

3) Door stoppers. They have completely changed my life. Mom, you can stop pushing those lame educational toys on me, I have found the perfect form of entertainment. 
4) The Monkey song. You know the one I’m talking about?  ‘Five little monkey’s jumping on the bed, one fell off and bumped his head, yadda yadda yadda….’. My mom sings it to me every day complete with motions and funny voices. So. Much. Fun. 

5) The swings at the park.  
They were fun when I was 6 months old and they are still fun today. Some things never get old.

6) Playdates. I get to size up the competition, hang out with my bros, and check out all the pretty ladies. 

7) Hiking. I wish I could walk, but piggybacking on my dad during a long trek has got to be the next best thing. 

1)Teething. Here’s a list of the things I’d rather be doing than teething: taking a nap in my car seat, eating avocados, being taken out of a perfectly good bath, and being picked up by my mom the instant I make it to the dogs' water bowl. 
I dislike all of those things and yet combined they are still much more preferable than having a bone wedging its way through my gums. I’ve got 4 teeth at this point and you’re telling me I have 16 left to go? That’s just SO. NOT. FAIR. 

2) Staying still. Now that I know how to move, I simply cannot stand to be stationary. This includes things like: being in my highchair, being in my jumperoo, being in my car seat, being in my stroller, being in my mom’s lap, etc. Those sorts of things are for babies, and I am a big boy with big places to go. 
Speaking of which, I’ve spent way too much time narrating this blog post, and I need to get to scooting. See y’all in a month!

Getting hair! It's dirty blonde.

Trying to eat the camera lens.

And just to prove that he isn't always a happy guy....

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Anniversary Date Night

Wow, it’s been a busy couple of days! How was your Memorial Day weekend? We really relished being back in the States for this patriotic holiday this year. Memorial Day is made extra special by the fact that we got married over Memorial Day weekend *6 years* ago. 
Yep, we celebrated 6 years of marriage on Saturday. I  guess that means we are officially out of the newlywed stage (as if the baby didn’t usher us out of that phase 7 months ago). Jonathan and I love to travel and have spent most of our anniversaries out exploring. 

This year was understandably low key, but we did mark the occasion by hiring a babysitter so that we could go out to dinner. Our first date since moving to San Ramon! Jonathan asked what kind of food I wanted so that he could make a reservation and my response was ‘wine!’. A friend recommended a place in nearby Danville called Esin and it was superb. 
We started with a cheese plate and a Pinot Noir wine flight (3 glass sampler). We each choose our favorite Pinot from the taster to go with our meals. 
Jon got yummy salmon and I got Phyllo wrapped chicken stuffed with spinach and goat cheese. 
It was D-licious. Esin is known for its freshly baked desserts and the chocolate brownie we got was surely made in heaven. 
It was definitely a great night out with the hubs and felt so nice to get dolled up and leave the baby behind for a change. Forest was asleep by the time the babysitter got to our house and she swears he remained silent the whole time we were gone, so hopefully she’ll agree to babysit for us again sometime. When your baby has a 6:40 bedtime, it’s a bit hard to go out to dinner, so sitters are a must, especially when you don’t have grandparents nearby! 

I haven’t had much time to reflect on our 6th year of marriage because it’s been sort of overshadowed by our first 7 months of parenthood. Oh, and an international move. Yep, year 6 was quite an epic one for us. It started with feeling my baby kick for the first time on our 5th anniversary and ended with hiring a sitter to watch that little tummy kicker so that mommy and daddy could go out for a nice meal. Yep, this year we went from simply being husband and wife to being daddy and mommy, and what a huge, gigantic, tumultuous transformation that was! 
It feels a bit like crossing the wake while water skiing. You get bored with the comfy ride behind the boat and anxiously point your skis for the wave. You head over full force, almost losing your balance in the process. You wobble and panic about the impending fall. You worry you might never recover. But then slowly, you start to find your balance again. Of course, the water outside the wake will never be as smooth as that comfortable space behind the boat and as soon as we get cozy and secure in our new roles, parenthood throws us a few obstacles to keep up fumbling to stay afloat (teething is THE DEVIL).   

But I feel like we are starting to adjust to the new normal and are able to put energy back into our relationship again rather than just trudging like zombies through life:) Hopefully year 7 will be a little less exciting than year 6, but I’m sure we’ll have our share of adventures before our next anniversary rolls around. 

Here is a post I wrote on our 4th anniversary, and it’s still relevant. Basically: I’m still pretty glad I married the guy.
Happy anniversary JonJon (aka Dada). Thanks for being an amazing husband as well as an amazing father! Forest and I really won the lottery when we got stuck with you;)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Testing out the Deuter Kid Comfort Air while Hiking Lake Chabot

Derentwater Lake in England
Hiking has always been a favorite hobby of Jonathan and I’s. We’ve been so fortunate that the past 2 assignments we’ve had have been prime hiking destinations. 
Loch Muick in Scotland
Scotland was a walking paradise and Northern California is turning out to be the same (except with better weather!). Since moving to San Ramon, we’ve been out hiking nearly every weekend. 
We’ve been getting by with our Ergo carrier and our BOB stroller but now that Forest is sitting upright, we figured it was time to invest in a sturdier carrier that would be more comfortable for long treks. Meet the Deuter Kid Comfort Air: 
Buy on Amazon

We purchased this carrier last weekend and decided to test it  out on an hour and a half hike around Lake Chabot, a reservoir lake about 30 minutes west of us. 
The Lake is not used for swimming, but mostly for recreational fishing, hiking, and picnicking. There were plenty of paved, mostly-flat trails that we could have easily taken the BOB on, but our Deuter carrier did just fine and allowed us to veer of the main path and up some hills for better views of the lake. 
Plus, while Forest simply tolerates the stroller, he LOVES this carrier. He’s one nosy little guy so he was totally digging being up high enough to see over Jonathan’s shoulders. He was seriously all smiles the whole time, despite skipping his last nap of the day. 
Just as important, Jonathan was all smiles too. I haven’t tried toting Forest around in the Deuter yet, but Jonathan promised it was mega-comfy and felt just like a hard-core hiking backpack (with 18 lbs of pack weight). Personally, I just can’t get over how cute Forest looks riding in that thing. I mean, seriously. Is there anything cuter in the whole wide world? 

We plan on taking it on some walks for Memorial Day weekend and will definitely get some use out of it on our upcoming trip to the Central coast. I’ll keep you posted. Until then, here are some more pictures from our Lake Chabot hike:

So sad that this one came out blurry. Forest was smiling so sweetly:(
Have a great Memorial Day weekend!