Thursday, October 28, 2010

Monkey Feet

The other night, I was trying to put Delphinium to bed.  She has trouble going to sleep on her own (surprise, surprise) so I usually nurse her and rock her at bedtime.  This evening she was wearing a little sleeper printed with monkeys and the feet were monkey faces.  She looked so cute as I put her in her crib.  As I put her down, she started to shuffle and wake up a bit.  I covered her with blankets and then sat down in the rocker to see if she would sooth herself back to sleep.  For a while all was quiet, and I thought she might have have gone down on her own, but then I saw two monkey faces bobbing around above the level of the bumper.  She was wide awake and amusing herself by waving both feet in the air.  One of those sweet pictures I won't soon forget.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bird Battle

A few days ago we ate lunch at a restaurant with a deck that looked out over the ocean.  It was an amazing spot due to the views, but it did have one small problem.  The local birds viewed this outdoor dining area as a wonderful snack bar.  Having been fed by hundreds of stupid tourists, they were bold as brass about coming on to your table, getting right up next to you, and stealing things off your very plate (if you let them).  Some might find this amusing, but I do not think we should feed wild birds or encourage them to be so familiar.  Therefore, armed with a drinking straw I whacked any bird that can within arms reach.  Okay, so maybe "whack" is too strong a word.  I wasn't trying to hurt them, but I did want to encourage them to head elsewhere.  Unfortunately, the striped mice were too fast for me.  It was a most memorable meal.

Monday, October 25, 2010

South Africa Part 2

This computer sucks, so I'm keeping this short (soorry for the errors)

Yesterday and the day before were our outings from the valley where M's mom lives and into the city of Capetown.  Our first stop was Kerstenbosch gardens where we met up with an old school friend of M's and his family.  We had a wonderful time doing lunch and wandering the acres upon acres of flower s, trees, and artwork.  Delphinium was especially happy due to her passionate love of trees.  I could visit the gardens weekly and never be bored.

The next stop was the suburb of Simon's Town.  We stayed in a sun-washed guest house with the most impressive view of the bay and the navy yards.   At one point we heard the boom of a ships horn, and the battleship glided out to sea.  We kept trying to drink up the sun and the setting as much as possible.  After one night there, we set off for more sights.

Still in Simon's Town we headed down to one special beach where we could view the penguins.  Yes, yes, there are penguins in South Africa.  Jack Ass Penguins enjoy the warm water, and many of them come to the sunny beach to molt and breed.  They are very sweet in their black and white suits, but the smell is a bit like a hen house. 

Lastly, we drove the winding road to the Cape Point Reserve.  This is the point where the Indian and Atlantic ocean currents meet.  The point itself is a startling piece of rock jutting up out of the surrounding water.  A classic lighthouse perches on the edge, and visitors can take the "Funicular" tram up to the highest point.  The views were quite startling.  It certainly didn't hurt that the sky was brilliant blue, and the cormerants were screaming over head.  A good time was had by all.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

News from South Africa

Please pardon the mistakes.  I'm typing this on a trying computer.
What a long strange trip it's been.  However, it's really been a very good one.  We left Seattle on Sunday afternoon, flew for nine hours to Amsterdam, and then took a twelve hour flight to Cape Town.  During the entire trip, Delphinium barely cried at all.  When getting on each of the planes, you could see the people around us staring and glaring at being seated near a baby.  By the end, we were getting compliments about what a good passenger she was.  I was completely floored.  The air part of this trip has been worrying me for months, and it was no problem at all.  She ate, slept, played, and charmed others and did not really cry at all.  May it please continue on our flight home.
We've been at M's mom's house for several days now, and the time change is what is really effecting us.  The first "night" the baby did not want to go to sleep at all, and then when she did, she was up again four hours later.  From 4am on, we drank tea and played with her.  Now, a few more days in, she is still struggling to adjust.  We're a bit tired, but otherwise doing just fine.As far as activities, we've been taking it pretty easy.  We've had some very nice meals out, and we got the chance to visit a vineyard and goat dairy the other day.  We tried about ten different kinds of cheese as well as olives, candied fruit, salads, and crusty bread.  Mmmmm.  Aside from the beautiful formal garden, they also had an impressive veggie patch including a scarecrow dressed in world cup finery.  In many ways it doesn't feel very different here, but then you notice the springbok in among the goats.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Travel Prep

I am officially beginning to freak out.  Our trip is just a few days away, and that means we have to face the realities of flying with an infant for TWENTY hours!  Usually I make a deal with myself that if I can't do anything to change a situation I might as well skip getting upset about it.  Somehow the zen approach just isn't working this time.  I feel like there is something I ought to be doing to prepare.  What can it be?  Then I go around and around trying to imagine the possibilities. 

Packing is another challenge.  I've accepted that we will not be going lightly now that we have the baby, but I'm still trying not to let it get too ridiculous.  M bought us two new hard-sided suitcases, so we have plenty of space, but the trick is not to exceed the weight limit.  Fortunately, we have access to a washer once we get there, so we don't have to pack too crazy much.  The part that's most confusing me is packing for the baby.

What does a baby really need for a long trip?  We use so many different toys, swings, bouncers, strollers, rockers, cribs, etc. during the course of our day that I can't quite imagine not having them.  However, we can't take it all, so we'll just have to make do.  I'm also trying to figure out which things need to come in our carry-on for the actual plane flight.  The only thing I'm sure of right now is the need for lots of diapers and changes of clothes.  If you've flown with an infant before, feel free to leave me your advice. 

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Five Months of Baby

Better late than never!

At five months old, Delphinium is working on many of the same skills she started on last month:

-she can really control and coordinate her movements now, so reaching and grabbing is far more successful

-she shows preferences for certain toys such as Green Bunny, raspberry binkies, Gerald the Giraffe, and Miss Mousey

-she can now actively throw away toys she no longer wants

-she can roll over but mostly chooses not too

-she loves to do situps which consists of pulling her head and shoulder and feet and legs off the ground in an attempt to sit up

-she loves to put her feet up in the air and sometimes grab them with her hands, and shoes quickly become chew toys

-she's still drooling waterfalls, but no teeth in sight

-she turns to the sound of her name, and will happily chat with you through long conversations

-she loves to read stories such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, I am a Bunny, and Great Day for Up

-she sleeps through the night very well, but does not like to nap during the day

-she NO LONGER hates the stroller!  Woot!

-she NO LONGER hates the carseat!  (unless she's really tired)

she is about to become a world traveler, so wish us luck!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Basic Vaccines Done!

I took my poor little miss to the doctor again today.  She's not due for her six month check-up for another couple of weeks, but the doctor wanted to make sure she got her full course of regular shots before we head off to the third world.  Therefore, we made a special "jabs only" visit today.  It makes my heart turn over to see her smiling and giggling while we wait.  Little does she know.  Luckily this was not such a tramatic visit.  I was playing with her and tickling her while the nurse gave the shots and she didn't even cry until the second one went in.  Even then, it was only a moment or two.  Now she's sleeping off the effects (was there ever a sweeter picture than a sleeping baby?), and hopefully by tomorrow she'll be all better.   

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Banned Books Week 2010

Banned books week is here once again, and I almost missed it!  It seems that requests to remove literature from American libraries and schools are once again on the rise.  The American Library Association keeps track of official challenges and tabulates the most frequently challenged titles for each year.  This year's list includes Twilight, The Color Purple, and The Chocolate War.  Interestingly, many of these titles were challenged on the grounds of "religious perspective" which must mean that of the challenger because Twilight does not include a religious perspective as far as I can tell.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Tomato Funeral

The blight has come to our tomato patch.  It seems that the large amount of summer rain encouraged the growth of a fungus, and all the tomato plants are paying the price.  The vines died from the ground up, and all the fruit that was still green has now turned black.  We salvaged about one more pound from the wreckage.  That makes maybe five pounds of tomatoes in all this year.  We spent $36 for plants plus perhaps $6 for soil  this year, so we put in $42 in total.  $42/5 pounds is $8.40 per pound for organic home-grown tomatoes.  That's even more expensive than the farmers' market!  Still when you factor in the hundred times the baby and I went out to watch them grow it comes out all right.