Saturday, December 26, 2009

A few Christmas pictures...







Doughnuts and fried chicken on Christmas- needless to say, it was a great day!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve!


We've been busy (in the best kind of way!) this past week preparing for Christmas and going to lots of Holiday parties. Last night Amanda and Torun hosted a Norwegian Christmas party and Torun made some traditional Norwegian Christmas food- rice porridge and lots of salty meats, potatoes and butter! We also got to see some friends of ours, Yogi and Liz, who are due with their second baby TODAY! Her first baby, Maya, was three weeks early and her labor was only three hours so she's pretty anxious to see how different this delivery will be.

We'll be headed to the LeVett's (Amanda's family) tonight for Christmas Eve dinner. We all decided we are still turkeyed-out from Thanksgiving so Karen (Amanda's mom) is making Mexican food. Yum! We'll be spending Christmas day at our house with my mom and sister.

Here are some pictures from the past few days...

Our newest ornament!

Riley really knows how to nap.


Some of the sugar cookies we took to Amanda and Torun's party.


I felt crafty the other day and spruced up some of Grayson's plain white onesies- all it took was some fabric paint and stamps!





The shelves we ordered for his room arrived last week and are finally up- they look great! I'll post some more pictures after Christmas.

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas with family and friends- and to all of you out there in Oklahoma, I hope you get to spend some good time by the fireplace and don't have to venture out in the snow!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Sunny December Day!

Over the past few days it seems like every time we turn on the TV all we hear about is the heavy snow hitting the East coast. Well, we seem to be making up for the lack of sunshine on the East coast over here! We've had our fair share of rain over the past two months and are waiting to see how the El Nino winter will treat us but for now we're just going to enjoy the sunshine! Of course, as I write this, the sun has started to disapear behind the clouds but at close to 70 degrees we have no reason to complain!

If dogs could tan, we would have the tannest dogs on the block!

Our spinach and broccoli, soaking up the winter sun. Our climate (cold, sometimes frosty at night, but sunny during the day) is perfect for these two crops. Our olive tree is in a pot behind the planters- olive trees produce fruit every other year and this is our trees dormant year.

Another reason I love California, our year round lemon tree! When we were living in San Diego we also had a year round orange tree.

Even though it doesn't look too Christmas-y outside, it smells like it inside! I love making my favorite Spice Nut Toffee this time of year. I make the batches two pounds at a time and it makes a nice, easy gift that lasts a long time.


Waiting for the chocolate chips to melt...mmmmmmm

Spreading the melted chocolate. You get a nice chocolate-y spoon to clean at the end!
It takes a while to harden, but it's worth the wait!

Once the sun goes down I'm going to take some pictures of the Christmas lights on the house. We've accumulated quite a collection of lights over the years and Matt decided to use all of them this year. We are definitely the brightest house on the block!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Growth Update and Birthing Class

We had our most recent appointment with Dr. Keith on Tuesday. We're going every two weeks now!!!! Everything is going well and my belly is measuring spot on at 30 cm at 30 weeks. We're very fortunate and grateful to have had such a happy, healthy pregnancy so far. Only 10 more weeks!

Here is a litte update about Grayson's growth (I copied this from the Babycenter.com website):

Your baby's about 15.7 inches long now, and she weighs almost 3 pounds (like a head of cabbage.) A pint and a half of amniotic fluid surrounds her, but that volume will decrease as she gets bigger and takes up more room in your uterus. Her eyesight continues to develop, though it's not very keen; even after she's born, she'll keep her eyes closed for a good part of the day. When she does open them, she'll respond to changes in light but will have 20/400 vision — which means she can only make out objects a few inches from her face. (Normal adult vision is 20/20.)

Our little cabbage

These weekly updates from Babycenter.com sure make walking down the produce aisle a bit more interesting!

I forgot to mention in the previous post that last Saturday Matt and I had our final 'Childbirth Education' class. They were offered through our hospital and all in all, I'm glad we went. They had us doing some pretty weird stuff like standing and whispering things to our baby. Sure, it's great to talk to your baby but try doing it standing in a room with 30 other people and keeping a straight face!

We took a two session class that went from 9-4 for two Saturdays. It was very nice to meet and talk to some other pregnant couples, especially since we are the first and only of our friends around here to have a baby. I learned a lot of different breathing techniques and exercises that should help during labor but most importantly, Matt got some pointers on how to deal with me during labor! My goal is to labor at home for as long as possible and to head to the hospital once my contractions are about 3-4 minutes apart so the pointers should be helpful for the both of us.

Our instructors covered the different pain relief options that will be available and I was certainly surprised to see that I was only one of TWO women in the class who said they plan on getting an epidural! Given the statistics about women who choose to get an epidural, I'm sure those numbers will change but I was shocked to see how many women were planning for a completely drug free birth. Power to the women that can do it without an epidural but I honestly don't think I could stand being in pain, in a hospital, when I know there is a doctor down the hall who could make it all go away. But, as I always say- to each their own!

At the end of the second class we got a tour of the new Family Birthing Center at CHOMP (Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula). It's a great new facility that is one of only 58 World Health Organization certified 'Baby Friendly' facilities in the U.S.. The "Baby-FriendlyTM USA" Hospital Initiative is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Based on those groups' Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, the Baby-FriendlyTM designation is awarded to birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers help and information for gaining the skills and confidence needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding. I feel very strongly about breastfeeding and I'm really glad that CHOMP does too! Overall, we were very impressed with the Birthing Center- we even saw a therapy dog on the floor! I don't remember much of anything from my time in the hospital after my jaw surgery but I vividly remember the two therapy dogs that came in. I hope we get a visit from one when we're there waiting for Grayson to arrive!

That's all for now. I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

30 weeks

It's been about a month since we took a belly shot so here it is at 30 weeks. Well, to be totally precise it's 29 weeks and 6 days but we'll just go ahead and call that 30 ;)


And since they're just so darn cute, here are some pictures of Riley and Tate with their Christmas toys.

Riley with Rudolph and Tate with Santa.
That last picture wasn't so cute of Tate so here he is again.


Update: Grayson's Room... and, of course, some more clothes!

Here are a few pictures of the progress we've made getting Grayson's room ready.

Here is the view from the doorway.
Bookshelf. Some white shelves will be arriving this week that we're going to put up on the wall above the bookcase.
The sign will be hung soon!
Lucky Grayson will get his diapers changed in the closet! We had an old bookcase that didn't look nice in the room but fit perfectly in the closet. Conveniently, the changing pad fits quite nicely! We took down the big sliding mirrored closet doors and put up a curtain. I never liked those doors in the first place so it was nice to have an excuse to take them down!

I found these adorable prints on Etsy.com. They say 'I Love My Mom' (elephant) and 'I Love My Dad' (giraffe) in French. I'm still looking for some distressed wooden, 'shabby chic' frames. I'm going to hang them on the wall to the right of the closet (see above picture).

For all of you out there who seem to thing we're insane for using cloth diapers, here is a better explanation of the system we're using. They're called 'gDiapers' and they are great (or at least everything I've read tells me they are!). Here is a picture of a put together gDiaper with the cloth insert.
Here is a de-constructed version of the diaper. The platic liner (top) snaps into the gPant (orange and cream- they come in some other VERY cute designs). You then put the insert, either disposable (left of the gPants) or cloth (right of the gPants) in the plastic liner and boom- you have a diaper! We've found this to be the most cost effective and sustainable alternative to disposable diapers. It's a nice 'hybrid' diaper that's a perfect medium to traditional cloth diapers with pins and disposables. We're excited to start using them! And honestly, they all have a little 'g' on the butt- how perfect is that!
Of course I'm going to update you on the newest additions to Grayson's wardrobe! As you can tell, he'll feel no pressure at all to go to Vandy... yeah right! I can't wait to dress him up in those little seersucker overalls!
We certainly won't lose track of Grayson in this sweater!
Last, but certainly not least, my new favorite outfit for Grayson! It's his new Norwegian outfit for his playdates with Torun (in case you don't know, she is from Norway). My mom picked this up for him during her travels. Now we just need to find Matt a matching sweater!!


Our Anniversary and 'BabyMoon' Roadtrip

During the second week of November we embarked on what we thought would be around a ten day road trip to various National Parks in the West. So, off we went in our wagon loaded up with camping gear and food. Our first stop was Joshua Tree National Park, a few hours east of Los Angeles. We got to the Park around 2:30 on a Friday afternoon after searching for an open site for over an hour we finally gave up- every single campsite was taken! After an interesting time trying to find a hotel, we finally found a room for the night and headed to a local Mexican restaurant for dinner.
The next morning we drove in through the South entrance to the park and found a nice hiking trail so we could stretch our legs before getting back in the car to head to the Grand Canyon. Here are some pictures from our little excursion.


We even saw a wild tarantula! He was a pretty cool little guy and posed for some photos.


And of course...we had to take a belly shot! This was taken around 6 months.

Back in the car we went for our drive to the Grand Canyon. It was a pretty interesting drive but boy, were there some straight, boring roads!! Here's a little bit of what I'm talking about...

I mean seriously, you could have propped your knee up to the steering wheel and taken a nap this road was so straight! Don't worry, Matt stayed awake. Down the straight roads we went until we reached Grand Canyon National Park! Again, our camping plans were foiled but this time by Mother Nature. The temperature was much lower than had been forecast so rather than brave 9 degree nights and 15 degree mornings we, once again, found a hotel. This time it was a bit easier. We had already made a reservation at a hotel just outside the park for our anniversary so we just checked in a day early!
The next morning we were up early, off to hike the rim trail. We had originally planned to hike down a ways into the Canyon, but as with every other 'plan' we had for the trip thus far, it was changed! The Rim Trail was a very nice 8 mile trail along the Rim (duh) of the Canyon. Here are some pictures!

What would a picture of the beautiful Grand Canyon be without my belly in it? This was taken only a day after the previous belly shot- I must have had a big breakfast!

We found another nice wild animal to pose for a picture. Unfortunately, this elk wasn't as cooperative as the tarantula and only offered a nice butt shot.

Happy One Year Anniversary!!!
Notice the beginning of Matt's lovely 'matt-stache'?

Here is a shot from the picnic table where we stopped to have a snack. Not a bad view for a mid-morning snack, right?!

To celebrate our anniversary we made a reservation at the restaurant at the El Tovar Hotel. Since we're still working on the whole 'documenting our lives on film' thing, of course we forgot the camera. Here is a nice picture of the Lodge I found floating in cyberspace.


Our meal was awesome! Matt had chicken cordon bleu- which he is still talking about- and I had an amazing buffalo fillet. Fat and happy, we headed back to the hotel and got ready to leave for Death Valley the next morning.
Once we got to Death Valley our plans to camp finally came to fruition! We found a nice little site in a campground being patrolled by a rather curious but friendly coyote. As it was with many of the elk in the Grand Canyon, the coyote in Death Valley are so used to seeing people that they (for the most part) leave you alone if you don't bother them. Having never seen a coyote in the wild my first reaction was, of course, to run, jump in the car and get the heck out of there! My fears of being eaten alive by a rabid coyote soon faded as Matt told me a little more about them. Now, needless to say, I wasn't about to walk up to it and start cuddling but this coyote was pretty cute! Sorry, no picture... I know, I know, you're very sad but he was much cuter than this guy!

To sum up the night (yes, that's singular!) we spent camping in Death Valley- painful!!!! I knew taking a road trip at 6 months pregnant might pose some challenges and discomforts but WOW was sleeping on the ground- sleeping pad and all- uncomfortable! My hips and back were incredibly unhappy and spent the night screaming in protest to the whole sleeping on the ground thing. At least I had some NPR on our radio and yipping coyotes to listen to as I waited for the sun to rise! Once the sun started to come up, I headed for the hammock Matt set up. Yes, we had a hammock, haha. At least it's a camping hammock!

Our lovely little campsite
Words cannot describe how happy this hammock made me! I really should have moved in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep but my somewhat exaggerated fear of coyotes came creeping back and I decided I'd tough it out in the tent until morning.
Here are a few pictures of the day we spent in Death Valley.

'Scotty's Castle'- a mansion an insurance tycoon from Chicago built in the middle of Death Valley in the early 20th century. Interesting story behind it all but not as interesting as our blog (kidding)... so you'll have to Google it if you want to learn more.


Kind of a belly shot... walking around an old well where you can find old shards of glass from travelers passing through in the early 20th century and before.

Ahhh! Don't fall in the old volcano!

Some very dry ground at 190 feet below sea level.
Anyways, after the painful night of little sleep on the ground we decided that anymore camping would be a bad idea. The down side to that was that each of our next planned (there's that silly word again 'planned') stops were for camping and there weren't any hotels nearby. It also seemed a little silly to keep spending money on hotel rooms when I was just uncomfortable overall, in the car and at night. So, from Death Valley we decided to head home. Talk about a long day of driving! We made it back in one piece and although we cut the trip pretty short we had a great time seeing some of the beautiful sites in the West! We're already planning our next trip with Grayson!