Kira: 2 years

I know so much of my blog has been centered around Zach. But I am due to give you an update on our dog Kira. Kira celebrated her 2nd birthday in July with us, it’s hard to believe because we feel like we have had her so much longer.

Having a dog door at this new house has been life changing, although sometimes she still looks at the door and waits for our permission to go out. Two huge fenced in yards to play in is a blessing too. Kira spent a good deal of her summer running around the trees in the front yard or laying on her back sunning herself in the grass.

Kira loves that we have property to explore. Every couple of days she goes to Luke begging for a WALK, not just to play in the yards. She knows the route through the trees well and we can trust her off leash. If  her nose leads her down a different trail, Luke can whistle and she will come back to the house within a few minutes.

She is learning some new tricks living in the Northwest.  When we go to a coffee kiosks she thinks “if I poke my head out , they will see my cute face and give me a treat.”

Kira loves her cousin Pepper, the two of them wear each other out playing, which is great for us. We have to not say Pepper’s name for a few days after a visit or Kira looks for her and gets excited. Kira loved going to the beach and Lakehouse this summer. She seemed less scared of the dock then last Christmas and wanted to stick her whole head in the lake on a canoe ride.

She did great when the niece and nephews were here; she loved playing with the smaller humans.

On that note, it has taken Kira a few months to warm up to Zach. At first she didn’t know what he was and was shy. She was a little upset that I wasn’t playing  with her during the day and asked for attention often when I was breastfeeding, I guess she thought I was just sitting and relaxing.

All of a sudden Kira has realized Zach is part of the pack, a young fur-less puppy. She gets excited every morning, or when we come home to greet him. Now we have to keep her from licking his face constantly. A few days ago I filled a water bottle with dried rice as a rattle for Zach. Well, Kira loves water bottles and was unsure why this wasn’t her toy. I gave her one of her own and that seemed to concrete something in Kira’s mind. Now she is protective of Zach too and is shaping up to be a good furry big-sister.

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Zachary: 4 Months

This past month Zach has gone through a large growth spurt! The end of August it seemed he was constantly hungry and wanted to cuddle with Mom frequently:  he was changing day to day.

For labor day weekend he went on a long roadtrip (well long for an infant anyway) to visit the grandparents at their Lakehouse . There he saw the lake, deer, and had a beach picnic lunch in the sand. It was windy at the beach so he cuddled up with grandpa and grandma with his hood up.

As summer came to a close, he enjoyed time out on a blanket in the front yard, staring at the trees and watching Kira play. Speaking of Kira, he is showing more of an interest in her and has figured out she is furry, barks, and growls. They also both like toys that squeak and rattle. (More of an update on Kira to come).

Beginning of the month

End of the month

Zach will roll both directions now from his back to stomach, and sometimes from stomach onto his back. He can hold a rattle well and likes sitting up in our laps or the couch. He is learning to use his body to communicate what he wants.

He’s not always happy after a nap

He lifts up his arms to say he wants to be picked up, tightens his core if he wants to sit up, and arches his back if he wants out of a lap or  or even his car seat.

He’ll take all the attention he can get, talk up a storm, and even sit still for a book and try to turn the pages.

 

Zachary has learned the baby signs symbol for “milk”. He does this symbol not only when he is hungry but also when he wants mom or when he sees us eating. On that note,Zach will mimic our mouth movements while we eat, start drooling, and try to grab our plates or bowls. By the next month update he will probably have tried some rice cereal.

He likes being able to face out in our carriers while we explore Costco and on his property walks with dad.  Now that the sun is going down sooner; he’s been going to bed earlier, and is wearing 3-6 month PJ’s at night.

In 3-6 Month PJs

 

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Day in the 1800s

When Luke’s brother and family came to town (for more see Zachary:2 months) we took the opportunity to ride the Centralia-Chehalis railroad.  We had the option of sitting in a covered outdoor car or indoors both with bench seating. With two little ones we went for the indoor option.

Once the steam train started we finished our lunch while farms and houses went by.  There was no narration across the speakers just talking among passengers. As we traveled along the Chehalis River, the friendly staff offered the children a few pieces of candy. We took the shorter of the rides so about a half hour in, the train stopped, drove by us, and hooked up on the other end. Our older nephew Matthew really enjoyed watching this.

On our way back to the train station we saw a civil war re-enactment taking place on a farm not far away; we decided to check it out. We drove out to the farm payed to enter and got our wristbands. Ruth and I stayed at the car to feed the babies while Luke and Nathan took the kids to watch the reenactment. It was loud, even from the car, and we were surprised how many times they used the cannon. The reenactment was just ending as we came into the grounds.  Both sides had period accurate costumes, flags, weapons, and infantry. We saw quite a few women soldiers too.

Afterward we walked around the camps: everyone was in period clothing, some napping in their canvas tents, others making lunch in cast irons and pots. For all of the tents and period displays there were very few historical interactive opportunities for the children and little shade.

We saw on the schedule that a string group was preforming period pieces. Ready to get out of the heat, we found seats on hay barrels under the canvas tent and listened to familiar tunes. Afterward to cool off we enjoyed 50 cent frostys at wendy’s.

And that was our warm summer day set in the 1800’s.

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Rainbow Falls State Park

I know I am playing catch-up from summer activities but that is what happens when you have an infant. Last month when my brother and sister-in-law met Zach (see:Zachary: 2 Months for more) we decided to go on a family hike. Rainbow Falls State Park is about thirty to forty five minutes from where we live.

When we got through the main gate and parked we started sunscreen, bug spray, leashed both dogs and put Zach in the carrier. We walked towards the falls ready for a hike. But there was no hiking along the river or by the five foot fall. Instead Matt and Stina followed a short path to the river bank and across a few rocks to get a closer view. We saw several families swimming and eating lunch at the waterfront.

Confused by the lack of trails, we went back to the gate and were told to drive to the other side of the river. So, we packed everyone back in the car and found parallel parking across the highway from a small trail-head entrance.

The hiking paths were all different distance loops connecting to each other. We took one and figured we would on the way decide if we wanted to keep going or not. The trail was quiet and beautiful with speckled sunlight coming through the pines and the ground was covered in ferns and moss. Even in early July the it was muddy in a few places requiring a planks.

We climbed a slight elevation and down as well as hit a few turns along the way. It was not a high exertion trip which was probably good as this was my first real exercise since having Zach. To sum up it was a nice walk but we have similar views from our flat property at home. I would not probably visit this park again, but find a closer hiking trail with longer straighter routes and maybe a waterfall worth exploring.

Still it was great to get outside and spend time with family.

 

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Zachary: 3 Months

This month our goal was to introduce Zach to more time with other people and less time with mom and dad. So all of us get a break once in a while.

We started the month with Zach’s first time away from family. The gym hosts a parent’s night out once a month for members. We dropped Zach off with diaper bag and bottle and had time for dinner and to play a board game before picking him up. Zach did great and loved the attention, Mom only looked at her phone about 5 times.

The following weekend, Zach spent a full day with his grandparent’s while mom and dad went to a renaissance faire (for more on this see Renaissance Faire). The next day he spent all of church in the nursery where he took a bottle then promptly fell asleep in the crib.

That next week Zach and I went to the gym so I could attend a Zumba class, it was great to get back to exercise and to take a live class again. Zach did great and only became fussy because he got hiccups near the end of the hour.

We are excited that he is doing so well at interacting and spending time with other people.

Zachary is talking up a storm and adding new sounds all the time. He has learned he doesn’t have to cry to get what he wants, just make the right noise. According to his two-month appointment (more like 10 week) he is ahead in many developmental markers.

Some of those markers include rolling from his back to his stomach, holding up his head on his stomach, reaching out and intentionally grabbing objects, and laughing and smiling spontaneously. He is also quick to get frustrated because his body cannot do what his mind wants it to such as crawl or hold onto objects. He drools like crazy because he’s already teething! And as you can tell enjoys chewing on his hands.

The biggest blessing of the month is that Zach no longer rages against sleep. He can self-sooth, suck on his thumb, to sleep at least for one nap during the day and if he’s almost asleep then he can be transferred to his cradle without many problems. In addition to this, he is now feeding only once in the middle of the night! So Mom is getting four to five hours of sleep in a row! I forgot what it felt like to function with a few REM cycles each night.

Zach is as full of curiosity, determination, and energy as ever.

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Renaissance Faire

A few weeks ago Luke came home with a surprise: two free tickets to the Midsummer Renaissance Faire, valid any of the three weekends of the festival. Luke’s parents gladly volunteered to watch Zach for half-a day.

The faire was about an hour from home near Bonney Lake, based on reviews and our free promo tickets, we were under the impression this was an up-and-coming event. So you can imagine our shock to see hundreds of cars in a field off the main highway and police directing traffic.

After entering the main gate, we hung left at the may-pole and began to explore. A renaissance faire often brings about images of turkey legs, beer, and showing off a little too much skin. Although yes, there was some of all three it was limited.

The faire had two out-door pubs requiring ID; this way the alcohol and the more suggestive entertainment was contained in a 21-and-older environment.  For example, we enjoyed a rowdy performance by a Pirate-themed troop of actors and singers in the smaller of the pubs with plenty of suggestive word play.

At the other pub we enjoyed beer and sampled mead as the main jousting events took place. Half the seating was around the bar, the other was a kid-friendly zone on the other side of the arena. Performers were split into teams, represented in coordinating colors and countries such as Spain, France, England etc.. Events included horse racing, long sword fights, jousting, fencing and more. The performers interacted frequently with the crowd and it was a popular event. If we knew we would have gotten food and ate at seats waiting in advanced.

We were surprised to see many families with little fairies, dragons, robin hoods, peter pans, and princesses just as much as we saw costumes on groups of adults. There were many children specific firms of entertainment including puppet shows, a robin-hood play, and musicians. In addition to this, for a small fee, children could shoot a water balloon out of a wood catapult at a play castle  and fight with Styrofoam swords and shields.

There were also interactive opportunities for adults including lessons in archery, long sword, and throwing axes. Beyond this payed entertainment there were interactive displays including a Latin mass service, a gypsy camp, and the may-pole dance.

We enjoyed wandering the booths of art vendors selling maps, leatherworks, metalworks, wooden goods, costumes, and more. It was nice to see different art and products that cater to a specific crowd.

We left with filthy feet and a little sun-burnt but we had a great time.  Luke and I decided we would come again when we have children old enough to appreciate and enjoy the family-friendly activities.

Zachary: 2 Months

Well month two has been a whirlwind of new experiences and meeting new people.

We started with a visit from Zach’s Aunt and Uncle, my brother and sister-in-law. During their stay with we explored Rainbow Falls State Park and Zachary when on his first hike!

Then it was Zachary’s first holiday: 4th of July. For more on what we did see Fourth of July 2017.

The next weekend, Zach experienced his first road trip to Nainai and Papa’s house. Zach met a lot of new people at a family BBQ and spent time with his other Aunt and Uncle, Luke’s brother and wife, and his three cousins. He did pretty well through his first professional photo shoot then enjoyed spending his first evening with his grandparents and cousins while Mom and Dad went to Luke’s High School Reunion. It was a busy weekend.

The weekend after this, Luke’s brother and family came to stay with us. Zachary went on his first train ride and to a Civil War re-enactment put on by the veterans museum.  That Sunday he met our birth coach and the little girl and her family who went through the class with us.

Last weekend, Zach met his great-grandparents. He hung out in the stroller as we walked around the Centralia Antique Fest and loved all of the attention from strangers. Later that week he went to Luke’s work’s annual family BBQ and again got plenty of attention.

During this very busy month Zach has learned to take a nightly bottle from Dad or a Grandparent.

Zach has grown by leaps and bounds this past month. He is talking even more and now smiles and sometimes laughs. Zachary has better ability to control his hands: gripping and pulling toys, shirts, and of course mom’s hair. He still very much enjoys music and attention from anybody and everybody he can.

More on some of these July events to come!

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