Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Camping in the Jemez

Last weekend we camped overnight in the Jemez Mountains.... or at least we meant to. One of Quinn's co-workers invited his group to stay at his place. I was planning on being a good sport about sleeping in the tent.  The night before Quinn made sure that one of our air mattresses actually held air. I just got my sciatica under control.  I was all set.

setting up the tent
But when we got there our hosts were showing us around the cabins and pointing out all the beds, particularly the king sized bed in the loft upstairs. Then it started to rain.  It was almost two o'clock and Calvin was starting to run around in his pre-nap grouchy frenzy, and I was chasing him with a murderous glint in my eyes (which is a sign that we both need a nap immediately). Quinn got the tent up but the air mattress wasn't quite filled.  I said, "Don't worry, I'll just take a nap upstairs."

Quinn said OK and I pretty much had to put Calvin in a headlock to get him to fall asleep. He wanted to see the tent, run out in the rain, look at the lake and "sit in the car and listen to Here Comes Science." (by They Might be Giants). Once asleep we were out for almost four hours! Then Quinn came in and fell asleep too.

   It was a sleepy afternoon.  The other families arrived and the rain let up.  But as soon as the guys got the charcoal ready for burgers, it started to downpour again, and we all had to huddle underneath a little tent.

My wheels were spinning.  I'm not usually an anti-outdoorsy person, really I'm not.  But I knew that that air mattress wasn't blown up and all of our warm clothes for sleeping in the tent were soaking wet - because we were wearing them. All we had left were regular pajamas, which would be the perfect thing to wear if we were cozied up in king-sized bed upstairs.

On top of that, all week Quinn's mom has been telling me stories about the terrible things that happen to curious little boys when they go camping - like disappear forever into the woods, or get found after they've been mostly eaten by a bear. I couldn't help looking around the camp site and wondering what Calvin would do if he managed to let himself out of the tent without waking us up first. It's like the first few pages of a horror novel.

You get the picture.  Eventually I was able to convince Quinn to come upstairs and thwart his camping dreams. Oops. Oh well, I'm pregnant. 

Why leave home when these guys are right across the street?

This happens a lot... whole herds of deer like to hang out across the street from our house, and sometimes jump through the backyard. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My first visit to the acupuncturist

This afternoon I let someone stick fifteen needles in my rear-end, put little tufts of Chinese herbal fuzz on the tips and light each one on fire. Now I feel fantastic!  Who knew?

I have had the worst sciatica this pregnancy. When I go to bed, my hips hurt so much that I get stuck, and can't get out of bed.  I hobble like an old lady to the bathroom.  I get an acute nervy zing every time I sit down, and I can barely lift Calvin. 

But after the first visit to the acupuncturist, I don't feel any pain. Hallelujah.

Does this baby make my butt look big?

At the beginning of the year I had kind of a this-or-that resolution.  I wanted to (a) lose twenty pounds or (b) get pregnant. I could have achieved maximum levels of personal smugness by losing twenty pounds and then getting pregnant, but it didn't work out that way (because whenever I decide to get pregnant it happens so fast, as if just thinking the word will result in a child....).

So this time around, even though it's my God-given right and duty to gain weight, I feel super self-conscious about it. Do I look more pregnant that I really am? Am I gaining weight too fast (the answer, according to the skinny bitches at www.babycenter.com, is yes!)? Am I actually carrying twins (I was just explaining to the lady at the dry-cleaner that I am not - I saw only one baby in the ultrasound!)?

I feel a lot better about it all, though, now that I can really feel the baby kicking.  Because I can get a sense of how much space he or she is taking up. The baby, again, according to www.babycenter.com, is 13.5 inches long and a pound and a half! It's grown a lot last month.... but so has my butt.

I'm sure you've heard enough of my whining. Last week I brought my food journal to my midwife, who gave me some useful advice.  She said that every time I sit down to eat, I need to ask myself, "Where's the protein?" The baby's brain is being built, now, out of protein, and I need to supply it. So if I want a piece of cake or a cookie, I can't have it until I've eaten some chicken. And if I eat a muffin, it had better be covered in almond butter.  The baby needs a little protein every 2 hours. So I should think of foods that have a lot of protein, but are still healthy, like hard boiled eggs, cottage cheese and cantaloupe, yogurt and turkey and avocado rolls.

It's a lot like being on a diet, except I eat a heck of a lot more food. Since I started to make a point of doing this, I feel less food obsessed, less munchy. And I've made a point of exercising for 30 minutes every day. Before I was too liberal with what I consider to be be "exercise." Now I'll walk Calvin to preschool, go to the pool and actually do laps, or something.

As long as I know that I'm being as healthy as I can, hopefully I'll be able to keep my self esteem in tact when people talk about the size of the soccer ball under my shirt.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Puye Cliffs

On Sunday we visited the Puye Cliffs, in Santa Clara.
They have one or two hour guided hikes, and if you want to go you have to buy the tickets ($20/person) ahead of time at the Puye Welcome Center, which is part of the Valero gas station on the corner of NM 30 and Santa Clara Canyon Road, on the way to Espanola, NM.

From there it's about a ten minute drive to the trail.

The trail begins at the visitor's center.  This building is the building that the Fred Harvey Company used when they gave tours to people from the East Coast who wanted to see what Indian Life was like in the early 1900's.

The caves we saw in the cliffs were where people stayed in the winter. You can see where they built their fires, because there are little ventilation holes in the walls.  Every winter there is at least three feet of snow at the top of the cliffs, but the sun hit the side of the mountain where the caves are, keeping them snow free.

Our tour guide showed us some little shelves in the cave walls where people stored their pottery full of seeds and food. They plastered over these shelves to protect the stored food from rats, coyotes and other critters.

The trail had pottery shards all over the place, like these. (Don't take them home!) Hikers who see them on the trail like to put them on the rocks on the side, because they feel bad about walking all over ancient works of art. The tour guides, who are all descendants of the original potters, feel differently. First of all, it's not like they can bring these shards to a museum.  They're basically worthless unless you can reconstruct the entire pot. They think that, since everything comes from the earth and everything returns to the earth, it is OK to walk on the shards and let them disintegrate into the dust. That is how their ancestors will be able to rest.

We showed Calvin a piece of pottery, and he said, "It's a rock." Well put, I guess.

Here he is looking at a piece of volcanic tuff.

From the cliffs you can see the dry patch of land where the Cerro Grand Fire burned the Jemez Mountains, and part of Los Alamos. The Santa Clara elders were afraid they would lose their entire  mesa to the fire, and when they came to see the fire they saw that it was so hot that trees were exploding. But, just before it reached the caves the winds changed direction just in time.  They say it was the ancestors protecting the ruins.

Here we go.... Calvin got another chance to show off his ladder climbing skills.

At the top of the ladder was a hand and foot trail that was worn into the rock, and probably also used to collect rain water.

Here's the face we were treated to when we wouldn't let Calvin climb the ladder a second time. What an abused toddler!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Big awesome fountain

This fountain was just a block south of The Bean.  we all felt sorry for the security guards, whose job it was to tell little kids not to run in the water. I mean, who can resist, even after falling on  your butt ten times? 

The Bean

The Bean is a huge reflective blob, a tourist magnet, that our kids loved. 

You know....I wasn't in charge of where we were going, but I want to say how to get there. From Marshall Fields we walked west until we were right next to that new outdoor bandstand - the place President Obama was the night he was elected. 

It was one of those days where you find something fun to do, and they want to keep on doing it for hours nonstop.  So every time we left one activity it was like the world was ending, until we found the next big thing (a "family fun" tent full of hula hoops and blocks).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Amelia in the Glamorama

I'll admit, I can't tell you exactly what a Glamorama is, but this is where we began our urban hike. It's right next to the fancy restaurant in Marshall Fields where we have been instructed to take our kids for Christmas, because they put up an enormous Christmas tree in the middle of the dining room. (It's also right next to the bathroom). 

Bob and Margaret grew up in Chicago and during our visit we saw a few memory rich places, including the house where Papa Mike and Grandma Alice lived and the playground where Bob proposed. (It was right outside our hotel).

First Train Ride in Chicago

I wish we had thought of taking the L into Chicago the night before when we were meeting Crystal, Tom and Kristen.  We drove, were an hour late and got our car towed within five minutes. 

Quinn's parents have some sense when they plan outings, and we all got on the train to explore downtown and have lunch before we all had to go home. Easy peasy.
Calvin, Bob and Quinn (who's sleeping standing up)
Calvin's Self Portrait
Amelia - conked out

Meeting new cousins in Chicago

Last weekend we went to Chicago for Papa Mike's funeral - he died last week. While we were there we got to see a lot of relatives on Quinn's side that we don't get to see very often. Here's a picture of Calvin and his cousin Jayden. As you can see, they hit it off.  Hopefully we'll be able to see them again soon!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Climbing the ladders at Bandelier

 We took Calvin to Bandelier National Monument a few weeks ago and he got really into climbing the ladders.

Afterwards we took him out for ice cream!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Coach Calvin

All the work trying to get Calvin to walk to the park finally paid off... He doesn't just want to walk to the park. He wants to run to the park. 

A few days ago we were all going to walk to the park, and take Calvin in the wagon. Instead of getting in the wagon, he said, "Wanna run," and just took off. We followed along, and he ran all the way to Fireman's Park, about a half mile away. 

We did it again today after dinner. It looks like these family runs might become a tradition. He likes it when we huff and puff like big fat old people, and he pretends to be all out of breath too. On the way home he rides on Quinn's shoulders. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Move your legs...part two.

We went through more no-walking shenanigans on Sunday after church. I swear, he walks fine when I'm not in sight, but when I'm there he has to be picked up. So I tried walking to the car and waiting for him when he was with Quinn. He actually laid down on the sidewalk, refusing to move. Quinn threatened and delivered a spanking. Calvin cried. Then finally he let us lead him by the hand to the car. It took a half hour to walk 200 yards.

Use your legs!!!

We’ve been trying to discipline Calvin to walk by my side rather than have to be carried everywhere.  He’s 2 ½. He should walk.

Over the weekend I was trying to go to the post office, get some coffee and chocolate milk and then the two of us were going to walk to the playground.

When we left Starbucks my hands were full.  I had my iced coffee and his chocolate milk, which was splashing with every step. He still got underneath my feet and reached up so I had to pick him up.

It’s hard to get around him.  I carried him across the road and put him down.  He was just too heavy to juggle with drinks. He was crying and griping and trying to hit me or hit his head on the sidewalk.

I crouched down to his level and said, “I am not going to pick you up. The two of us are going to walk to the playground together. If you’re too tired to walk to the playground, you must be too tired to play.”

He still wanted me to pick him up.  I said that if he made me pick him up we would just go to the car and go home. We wouldn’t go to the playground at all.  It was his choice.

I started walking across the Fuller Lodge lawn.  He didn’t follow me, he just stood there, crying. Grrr.

I sat down and let him sit in my lap and calm down. He drank some chocolate milk. He said he wanted to go to the playground and I said I know. He has to walk.

Then Quinn called wondering if I’d eaten any lunch. He wanted me to come home and eat turkey sandwiches. I figured I wasn’t getting anywhere with Calvin so we might as well go back to the car and have lunch.

Suddenly Calvin decided he wanted to see the ducks. He got out of my lap and ran to the crosswalk.  I carried him across (we’ll work on street crossing later) and he walked down the hill to Ashley Pond. There he sat on the sidewalk to see the ducks.

They were on the other side of the pond.  From where we were we could see some enormous fish. I’ve always seen the minnows on the surface but I had no idea there were such big fish in there.

Eventually he was ready to go and he walked part of the way and wanted to be carried again.  I was getting angry because he’s so heavy and I end up looking like a bitch when he sits down in the middle of the road and I have to drag his dead weight to the other side barking, “Move it!” I can just feel all the eyes on me from the Starbucks window.

Finally I got exasperated and carried him to the car. He was upset when we got home and he realized that we never went to the playground, but we told him that he needs to walk.