Saturday, April 29, 2006

Rock on!

We went to some friend's acreage for their dual 50th birthday parties. Danny and Vera are very unique. They are artistic and fun. They're into music, riding motorbikes, photography and ponds! Danny plays auxiliary percussion instruments, but used to play the drum set at the honkey tonks in their younger days. They have a photography company they run together, love to host people for parties, design ponds and are making a little haven out in the wilderness for people to go get recharged at. It was a great party, lots of beauty, music and good food. I met a couple of Canucks there from Edmonton. Ivan loved the space, the sounds, the sights, the trails through the woods, the brisket (some beef cut they cook down here), the balloons and especially the mismash band. He wanted to be right there in the middle of the action. He would rotate from grooving on the stage, to playing the bongos, to tapping on his daddy's amp, to trying to adjust the nobs on his daddy's amp, to playing with a balloon.

Here's our little drummer boy in action.

Ivan is very observant about sounds. He imitates the screams of other kids (Brian says with the same pitch and tone- I wouldn't have a clue!). He claps at the end of a song that we had as background music (I barely noticed it was on!) So maybe he'll turn musician on us. Interestingly, of Danny and Vera's three grown kids, the girl is a dancer and both the boys play drums- and play well! Kinda like the Vontrapp family with attitude!!

Haven't asked any questions in a while... have you ever played an instrument? Do you play now? What do you wish you could play?

Friday, April 28, 2006

Still in awe

I had another one of those "I'm amazed at life, unearthly, can you believe it?" moments the other day. You're probably not supposed to write this on a blog, but I was on what we now endearingly call the "potty" and Ivan was there, because he can always find me and now knows how to open the door, plus since we are hoping he'll learn to use the potty correctly (no sucess yet), we try not to keep him out in the hopes he'll see it as a grown up thing to do. Too graphic? Have kids! ha!

So anyways, that's where I was, which I mention because I find it funny to have these profound moments in the least profound of circumstances; I was looking at Ivan open and close and open and close the door, over and over, when it hit me. "I can't believe I have a kid!" I would like to know when and if this ever goes away or if I will get to the point when I see this life as normal or something. But it is still so surreal; especially when I think of how fast it is whizzing by, which only multiplied exponentially since having Ivan. People have told us repeatedly, until we almost tire of it, to take in all the moments, because it goes SO fast. Well, now I'm saying it. It really does seem like yesterday when we had him, and here we are about to have another precious bundle of love, laughter, joy and growth. And yet it is still so mystical and unbelievable to me.

I really can't explain it. His hugs, laughter, needs, tantrums, victories, sounds, smells, noises... are all real. I know I'm not dreaming it all, but this amazing experience of having a child (and even children- plural) is so far beyond me, my mind has trouble grasping hold of it. I live parenting everyday, if I'm ready to or not, and yet, being a kid, or high school memories, even college hold more of a ring of actuality to me than this totally otherworldly experience of watching a little being grow from this little image of a being with paddles for arms and feet waving and moving around, to holding this amazing composition of DNA, flesh, bone, hair, a living little baby, then watching him grow and learn and walk, eat, talk! It totally blows my mind.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Under construction

Our home looks like a construction zone. When Brian told a friend he has a big project to do, his friend asked what it was. Brian's reply was: nesting. I did notice that he had no qualms about moving all the stuff out of the front room and thus getting creative in our organizing all the stuff we've somehow accumulated since getting a house. In a way it's good not to have too much storage space, because you have to keep posessions to a minimum. On the other hand, when you need to make room, it can get frustrating. But Brian's totally in the groove now. When I told him we had to make room and empty both closets for the nursery, a couple of years ago, he wanted to know why a baby needed both the closet spaces in the small room!!! Now, Ivan seems to have more stuff than us, certainly more clothes, but then we don't grow out of ours every few months! The good news is that not only has everything found a new place, we are more organized and my least favorite room is now more homey and pleasant. I'm hoping it will be a place of much enjoyment.

We had been storing lawn and garden stuff, pet stuff, stuff that needed to be thrown away and tools in the laundry area, now it's an art studio! OK, maybe studio is a bit too fancy a word for it! The best part is that we redid a cabinet where I now have all our art supplies as well as Brian's power tools- not a likely combination, but maybe we'll call it the creative building cabinet. Before, I had the supplies in crates under the table, so when I needed something, I had to crawl and dig, not to mention the added challenge since Ivan has gotten bigger of keeping him out of the supplies that were all too enticing at ground level.

Meanwhile, Brian moved and rearranged, scraped the accoustic tile off the ceiling, cleaned the walls as best as possible and has it all taped off and ready to paint. I'm not supposed to paint, so I'm letting him do all but the decorative stuff which I'll do wearing a mask and trying to vent the room well.

Ivan of course wanted to be in the middle of it all. We had a good laugh when we noticed how he had put back all the tools in the toolbox after playing with it. He had the tray empty and upside down over a heap of tools. Brian is very methodogical and there is only enough room in the box if everything is placed just so. Ivan didn't get that down quite right. For this picture, he did at least put the top tray the right side up, so I guess he'll get the hang of it too eventually.

I had an audio post up, but the recording was so poor, I deleted it. I have to figure out a system to do that. To post them, I have to do it over the phone, but Ivan won't babble into the phone, at best, he will say "hi... uh... oh... hum" imitating what we do when actually having a two way conversation. The camera records well, but when I pull it out, he won't talk, he wants to take pictures with it or look at the pictures on it. He is babbling away all the time though and I'd love to share it with you, so we'll keep trying to find a workable system. Some day, I'm sure he'll talk into the phone and tell the world all about his day. That could get interesting!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ivan's loves and #2

We had another doctor visit monday. We are on the every other week schedule now and I hate to say it, but they seem like a waste at this point. With Ivan's pregnancy, everything was new, so we even looked forward to each doctor visit. Now, it's cool to hear the heartbeat, but really, I can see her move all over my belly, I know she's ok and know that holding her will be the real excitement, so a drive to the doctor, wait with cranky, needing to nap #1, so that she can do some routine things we do EVERY time... let's just say I would have rather stayed home and hung out or gotten more done on preparing for baby. The plus was that today was really fast (30 min. total) and Ivan did wonderful even though he was 2 hours late for a nap. Next appointment, we scheduled in the morning. Don't get me wrong, I'm very pleased that the visits aren't more eventful, like that something would be a concern, that would be awful. We appreciate that everything is SOOOOOOOOO smooth that we even feel like we could just skip the rest or at least half the visits and show up on B day! Thus said... it's time for another preggy pic. and since Jen was here, we had one done together. This may be the only time that happens, that we'd be together pregnant!

On to Ivan... He has several things he is passionate about. One is his Baby Einstein video from my cousin Lin. I had to put it in an unreacheable place because he would bring it to us about 5 times a day making the squeek noises of the puppet characters and wanting to watch. Yesterday, I made a once a day rule. It is educational and well done though and it's helped him learn to say "flower" and "chaise" his first French word! Do you know what it means? Ivan does!!

He also knows what a broom is for and wants to sweep and sweep and sweep, carpet, floor... I say we're starting him young! He pushed his own laundry basket to the laundry room by crawling on his hands and knees, and likes to practice taking out and putting in dishes in the dishwasher. Of course he also likes to empty the kleenex box, flush the toilet repeatedly, touch the toilet water after the flush and wash his hands, but not USE the potty as in it's regular use. I don't want to push the issue, although he really enjoyed sitting there and eating a treat- but I don't want to do that where he'll expect it! I take it that we are all learning through this phase! And for those of you already lamenting the fact that our daughter will get hand-me-downs, Ivan's clothes are hand-me-downs too, and all those used to be new books and furniture are lovingly marked for her future enjoyment. Also, he really is teaching us a lot, by the time she goes through these stages, we'll be pros. (We will be right? Please say "yes")

Monday, April 24, 2006

Of growing and laughter

I forgot to post this some time ago and found it in the saved files! Call me pregnant or forgetful or both! Maybe it's 'cause I have too much to say! My friends in high school always wondered how I could possibly have a new story to share every morning when we saw each other. Funny things happen to me is all, or at least I found them interesting!

A couple of weeks ago, I cleaned out Ivan's pool and he wanted to take a dip. It was about 7 pm, the sun was setting and it was already getting cooler, but I put in bubble bath and he couldn't resist. He laughed, splashed, learned to use the slide, slipped all over and laughed at himself then ended up getting to skinny dip, when I realized his diaper weighed about 7 lbs and I didn't want to leave him to get him a swim suit.

Due to the ubsurd weather and my blossoming belly, I regretfully informed Brian that I could not assist with the garden planting this year. What a trooper. He spent an entire day doing it himself. Normally, he tills it. I get cardboard and lay that down while he's hauling wood chips. Then I make the rows and hills and plant the seeds and plants. (We've gotten smart and buy tomato and pepper plants- still have never gotten tomatoes very good, but we keep trying, maybe this year!) Brian helped last year with some of the seeds and some years Shanna has sort of helped, mostly she likes to water it and me! But with Ivan and the pregnancy, I had to sit out this year. Brian did wonderful. The rows are actually straight for once and he's got soaker hoses over the rows. It takes a lot to get the garden in the way we do it, but now that that is done, all we (ahum- HE) has to do is water and pick veggies (no weeding for us). He planted sunflowers on the south and west sides to provide some shade because it just gets too hot for the garden come July and we actually have to fabricate some plant relief. Then he put in okra (does awesome), yellow squash, butternut squash (new for us), radishes, spinach, carrots, bell pepper and tomatoe. I think that's it. Of course, while at the store, we were lurred into buying some flower plants. We used to buy 2 hanging baskets already bloomed out for about $8 each. But they had a sale, and we have leftover baskets, so we got 2 sets of 6 plants, planted them ourselves and saved about $12. We were excited about it. Maybe we'll have birds nest in them, as we did two other years. It was fun to see eggs and know we had birthed wild birds!

In the Ivan files... He's learning to laugh at himself. I put his ballcap on him the other day after realizing it has an adjustable strap (duh), so it won't fall off. He wore it quite a while, maybe 20 minutes. He walked outside with it on, laughing and ran into a table! He couldn't figure out how to see with it on! I guess it takes a special skill. Twice now, I've found him hung up. The first time, he was leaning into the tub to hide something he was not supposed to have. I heard him screaming and caught him with the evidence hanging on the side unable to get back up and not willing to fall in head first. The second time, he was trying to reach something on a desk (again where he shouldn't have been). After crawling up from a chair, he pushed on it to get more leverage and it rolled away from him. When I reached the screaming child, he was hanging about 3 feet from the floor, trying to hold on to the desk by his forward weight alone, since there was nothing to hold on to. Both times when I saw him, I started laughing, then he did, which was even funnier to see him hanging there laughing at his situation. It was purely delightful. I don't think there is anything better than to hear him laugh.

Here Ivan is "hiding" behind part of the fence, which we have rigged as a cheap gate to the alley way.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

last day together

As I write, Jenn and John should be driving home from Calgary. They had a flight at 11am from Dallas, (where we left them yesterday). So this morning, they should have flown to Calgary and would drive to Saskatoon from there. We so much appreciated them coming down and had a total blast with them. It's hard to see them leave, especially knowing that we hadn't seen them in a year, but hopefully we'll be able to make it up this xmas.

Our last day was a blast. We went to the Dallas World Aquarium, where we experienced a simulated rainforest with wild birds, monkeys, waterfall and pool of water. We saw all sorts of sea life from all over the world, including: Sri lanka, British Columbia, Japan, the Bahamas... Brian was glad to see a poison dart frog, which was very little, but I liked one of the biggest animals best: the antilliean manatees, which we saw underwater. They gave us a great show by swimming right up to the glass and displaying all their grandeur as they turned around. It looked like they were trying to kiss the viewers.

The colors of the animals also astounded me. It looked like most the animals and birds had been dipped in flurescent paint! It was just amazing. Ivan loved all of it, from the displays, to the water, to the fish and turtles, mayan dancers, monkeys, birds, penguins and even the trash on the floor and music in the bathroom, where he did a little head-bob dance in his excitedment. He kept saying: ohhh, ohh, the entire day!

I wish we were closer to each other, but that is my fault! It easy to get sad when I see other families who are all together or who have their sister's over for lunch or hang-out together, but we try to make our times together meaningful and connect in other ways, by phone, the net or blogs. Thank the Lover for technology that allows that much at least!!!

Friday, April 21, 2006

I'm not ready yet!!!

Time has flown by way too fast. Tomorow we are going to Dallas to visit an aquarium and (sniff, sniff) drop off our beloveds at their hotel where they will stay the night to make the flight tomorow morning easier. Today we pretty much relaxed. It was a gorgeous day, so we went to a park for a bit where I took photos like crazy! Poor Ivan. I promise that I do (sometimes) let him just play, but I think all too often we are taking pictures. Then there are days when I don't bring the camera, something cute happens and I wish I'd had it. I do know that dad took our pictures a lot, but I can't imagine growing up like Ivan where the second he was born we took a picture and pretty much haven't quit since. Should we slow it down? Are we annoying him? It's so easy to just snap away until we get a nice shot, then we end up with tons of shots, all because it's so convenient and free! But I know you like to see him growing up, as do I, so feast your eyes out!

Parting is such sweet sorrow... until we meet again. xoxo to auntie and uncle

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Loving his auntie and uncle's visit

Ivan is totally loving having his auntie and uncle here and so are we. Time is going way too fast, but we are enjoying it immensely. I can't even remember all we've done since I last posted. My favorite things though are being able to visit and connect and re-connect and the way Ivan just thrives on the attention of his extended family. He's constantly bringing auntie Jenn books for her to read him and laughs with hysterical delight when uncle surprises him with a "boo" around a corner. He's been dancing and showing them all he can do and taking in all the fun and sights.

Yesterday we made a day trip to Albany, Texas. Ivan litterally loved all the art he saw. We had a lovely picnic in perfect weather. It was unbearably hot when J&J got here, yesterday was beautiful, last night it rained and it's now cold. Good thing they packed some of everything to wear! We visited a totally cool museum where John placed a pin on the wall map of the world showing that someone from Saskatoon visited. They re-do the map every year and it's amazing to see how people from all around the world have come to this little Texas town. We saw the court house, an old pioneer home, various touristy shops, historic buildings, a gorgeous redone dance hall that makes you feel like a southern bell (minus the debutant gown) and a coffee joint called "Our daily grind". It was so fun. Then we ate out.

Today, Ivan did his best performance at the library to impress his auntie. Usually he just stares at all the kids, but today he swung his arms, touched his toes, clapped, stomped, spinned and ran up for his arm stamps and said "ohhhhhhhhh" when he got them. We toured some great museums where Ivan ooed at everything again. He can make anyone feel like a hero. When I walk into a room, he will often cheer, clap and yell "mommy, mommy". There is nothing like it! He has official named himself Iya and Brian "da-eeeee". He impressed John and I by letting out a string of English. It sounded like "I don't know what I want to eat..." It shocked us. At other times he just muddles around with sounds, but it's all music to our ears.

Here's our gift for mom and dad: their grandkids.
Trick question: How many people are in this photo?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Snaps: cute and quirky vol.3

We are having a blast with John and Jenn. They are a super duper auntie and uncle. I think Ivan knows instinctively that Jenn is my sister, because he goes to her almost as good as he does with me. She is the only person I've seen him go to immediately when he hasn't seen her in a year! Of course, she crouched down to his level and made crazy fun faces. She's such a natural and will make a wonderful mom. We were trying to get ready to go for a walk, but I wasn't ready yet. Jenn said she'll take Ivan and he just waved at me and the guys and went off with her down the street! I wish she was close enough for babysitting!!!

Yesterday we colored eggs and went to a friend's for a party. There was lots of bbq meat and some was deer, so they felt right at home. This morning Ivan hunted eggs and had a very awesome time of it. He kept saying "oh, oooooooh!" Now if the dog goes nuts where he had previously found an egg, he makes the sign for more, thinking they may still be lurking somewhere!

Ivan was loaded up with gifts from Canada and chocolate, so he had a couple of meltdowns near nap and bed times. Likewise, I didn't sleep much the first night they were here, since I was so excited. Like mother, like son? In fact, it's midnight now, I should go to bed, but had to post these pics.

See our little party animal?

Friday, April 14, 2006

this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Chewy nuggets, vol.4

Like all the chewy nuggets I find along the way, this one will take a lifetime to learn, but I find it especially poignant at this stage of my life as we are expecting the arrival of our first daughter in July and my sister and brother-in-law's visit this week. This wisdom is not new, I'm sure you've heard it before, but we have to be reminded often to: SEIZE THE DAY.

I've mentioned before that I'm not one who likes process, I enjoy the finished product, the arrival, the completion. I look forward to the projects I have not as much for the fun of making them as much as for the fun of having them done! I count down the arrival of our daughter, even the arrival of our sister and when the time does come, it goes so quick. It seems I will look forward to a visit home for months on end, then we are there so short of a time and poof, it's gone, time to leave! Same with children, everyone says they grow up so fast! I can only believe and know as I look at Ivan's quick year and a half. Here he is wearing his daddy's watch. I think it makes him look 10 years older. In fact, a few times, when I just saw his arm with the watch, I was warped to the past, as it looked like Andrew's arm as a pre-teen.

We planted flower seeds several days ago in the front and when we were done, I was strangely disappointed. It looked better and held the hope of beauty for the future, but other years we ALSO planted already flowering plants. You just plop those in or hang them up and instant beauty! I missed that and was disappointed that I'd have to wait. 4-6 weeks seemed like an eternity, when spring has so obviously come! I'm so silly though, I looked today and there were little plants popping up. How exciting! Would I even have noticed if we had pre-fab spring planted?

I'm ashamed to say that sometimes I look forward to Ivan's naps, so that I can have ME time and do what I want. Is this not absurd? I longed to know him for 9 months, then he's hear and I can't wait for him to sleep. What is this, the ME generation, INSTANT satisfaction guaranteed. Where is the adventure of growing, learning, loving? Forgive me for my selfishness, so ugly! It's hard to live in the moment. It seems we (personally and as a culture) are always looking to the next step... when will he say words, make sentences, swim... then, before we realize it, we're missing the babbling, the toddling and cooing! We waver between the past and the future, what about the present? Why is this time that is the most concrete so ellusive? What ways do you make yourself live in the now, seize the day and make the most of every moment?