Saturday, October 30, 2010

Busy week in snippets

I have to admit that working full-time and doing a majority of the childcare ourselves is tough going sometimes. Rich has reduced his hours slightly, but he's also under a lot of pressure at work and doing graduate studies, so life is extremely busy. This past two weeks we've been interviewing for a new Dean at school and this entails even more meetings - all of them fairly early on in the day. This just put us over the edge in terms of things we had to get done, and so it was a very busy and stressful couple of weeks. On Wednesday, driving home late from work, knowing that Raf was being taken care of by another nanny, I found myself crying because it felt - and feels - so overwhelming sometimes. And when I walked in the door Raf tottered over in my direction and then I realized he was coming over to see the cat who had walked in with me..!! This did not help!

The little Poppet is growing up too fast. Much too fast! And he's much too busy to come and kiss his mama when he has laps to run, cats and dogs to torment, blocs to throw around the room, and so forth. One of the best things about co-sleeping is that I get to hug him all night :)

But even with all the busyness it was a week filled with lovely parts, too.

Week highlights....

On Monday I returned home -late - to find Raf asleep in his highchair. Mid-meal he slowly nodded off (which Jess caught on camera and texted to me). Rich, Jess and I were standing around waiting for him to wake up when, suddenly, he roused and started eating as though nothing had happened. it was very sweet.

On Tuesday we enjoyed magnificent weather. After work I took Raf out for a run in his stroller... just me and him. What a treat to wear shorts and t-shirt on a late October, late afternoon run.

On Wednesday I enjoyed an extra snuggle with Raf after a long, long day at work.

On Thursday, another beautiful, beautiful late afternoon in Maine, and whilst it gets dark so early we managed to fit in a 30 minute family bike ride wearing shorts and t-shirt.

On Friday... well, it was the end of the week and that in and of itself was a very good thing. I did pop to Whole Foods on the way home and I picked up a LOT of Daiya vegan cheese which Raf just loves. I mean... all he says when he's in his high chair is 'chee chee'.

Today we went for a walk this afternoon and Raf enjoyed a really nice 15 minutes running up and down a little grassy slope. He would walk up - falling down many times - and then run down the hill. He was giggling the entire time.

Tomorrow we're hoping to run a local 10k with Raf in the Chariot, and then we're off to some friends for some Halloween fun!

I am trying to ignore the 50 midterms I have to mark, and also the conference paper I need to write by next week.. gah.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Trip to the hairdresser

Last night Raf was wandering around the living room bumping into things, and I realized that we could no longer put off the inevitable first haircut. With his fringe covering his eyes and his locks tumbling down his back, it seemed like the time had come. I was actually feeling a bit guilty that we hadn't done it before. So this morning I googled 'children haircuts' in Portland and came across a place that specializes in kids' cuts. I almost burst into tears when I realized we'd definitely be taking him in for his first cut...

Rich and I were both feeling nervous about the prospect - not just because we'd miss his lovely hair, but because Raf is very shy in public and can get overwhelmed quite easily. But it couldn't have gone better. You just turn up to the place and wait your turn.. since we had a long wait ahead of us we ran some chores and came back a bit earlier so that Raf could get used to the place. While we waited a little boy came in with his mum and another woman. This evidently wasn't his first time and he was not enjoying himself AT ALL. He screamed and screamed and screamed, and they basically had to hold him down (his mum held him) so the stylist could cut his hair. This did not fill us with confidence..

But Raf's turn came and after a nervous start he settled in - with the aid of bubbles - and say there like a good little boy while the stylist cut his hair. She didn't cut too much off, thank goodness, and now he looks like he has a little bob!


The hairdresser (I forgot to ask her name!) was very good with Raf. We put him in the chair initially and he didn't like it one bit, but then the stylist brought out some bubbles and he was transfixed. This was quite a surprise as he burst into tears last time we showed him bubbles!

First snip... mama almost cried!

Pursing those lips... an expression he likes to do a lot.

Daddy helps to distract the big boy.

Almost done...

Look at me! All smart with my shorter 'bob' :)

Raf's first haircut

Showing off his 'do' after his first haircut!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I have a broken ipod... I am lost without it because I listen to audible books during my commute and it is the 'peaceful' time I enjoy on my own. This evening Raf and Rich, who'd gone out to leave me with my grading, returned home with an Ipod Touch. Since our Flip has broken this is perfect as it also allows for some really good videoing. Here's Raf clapping before bedtime! It's currently his favourite thing... clapping followed by kissing as he wanders around the house.

Friday, October 15, 2010

October 14th

October 14th - our 16 year-together anniversary, and our 8 year wedding anniversary. A morning run with the boys and then lunch at a pub.

And also two new baby boys arrived! Our dear friend Ash welcomed her little boy Carter into the world. a sweet, sweet little one who weighed just an ounce more than Raf (7 pounds 4) and the same 19 inches in length.

And little Quinn, the new son of our friend Meghann.

What a wonderful, celebratory day.

Yet we were all still thinking of Otis, the sweet little boy who should be a month old already. So much happiness brings this great sorrow into sharper relief, somehow.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Trip to an animal sanctuary

Weekends are going by much too quickly these days. I'm sitting here wondering how it can already be Sunday evening? Alas, it is, and whilst I have tomorrow off I have so many papers to grade. One of the reasons I have so many to grade is because I didn't do much work this weekend as I'd planned. Of course I am regretting that a bit now, but the weekend was busy and fun.

Yesterday we began our day with a family run. We were all tired and it was breezy and cold out but the run turned into a really fun time, and though after 8 miles Rich and I were frozen stiff (somewhat literally), it was a good way to start the weekend. Jess, our sitter, came over at lunchtime so Rich and I could catch up on some work. We went to a pub(!) to grab some lunch and a quiet table to do some marking, but, in retrospect, going to a pub to grade was probably not my brightest idea. Did i mention already that I have a lot of work still to do?

That afternoon we collected Raf and went to visit little Nico, the new baby, in the hospital where Raf was born. He is adorable, and I have to confess that it made me quite envious.

This morning we took the pups for a long overdue trip to the dog park. it was Raf's first time. We'd been reluctant to take him before now because other dogs might like to jump all over him, but Rich put Raf in the ergo on his back and I stood protectively around him and all was good. Raf got a real kick watching the puppies run around with the other dogs!

As the day warmed up and the sun came out we decided to head out on a family bike ride to a local state sanctuary which takes in animals who have been abused. I think it's a state sanctuary... and it homes mostly horses. These poor animals.. they come in close to death and this place really nurses them back to health. We saw some before and after pictures. it's incredibly sad. But there are also many cats there and a little pig - and Raf got to see many of them. He was especially taken by the kitties. They let us in the room where they sleep and play and he was so gentle and sweet with them.

We picked up a pumpkin at the sanctuary..

We made a lovely apple crumble when we got home from our long ride

Saturday, October 9, 2010

15 months

On Thursday Raf turned 15 months. I have to say that this is one of the best stages we've experienced. He is growing so quickly, and developing skills at such a rate that he masters things one day when the day before he seemed a long way off. I am not the best at deciphering baby talk, but it's also becoming apparent that he is saying words - and quite a few - but we're still a little deficient hearing them. Today he said 'Chee' for cheese (he loves LOVES a new vegan cheese we recently discovered), I think he said 'ca' for cat when Dafty, our kitty, walked towards him, he has said 'ba' for a long while when referring to a ball, and his most clear word is 'Peppa' for Peppa Pig - an English cartoon that we've allowed him to watch on YouTube. And I really need to catch on video him waving and saying 'ba ba' (bye bye).

Perhaps the most sweetest thing is that he now blows kisses.. and, when you say (well, when I say) "come and give mama a hug and kiss" - he toddles over and puts his arms around you.

Raf is also a pretty funny boy, and often he cracks himself up. This morning Sammy had his lead on waiting to be taken outside, and Raf picked it up and pretended to walk him and he was giggling so much. Sammy is the cause of a lot of Raf's laughing... when he's eating in his highchair Sammy can often be found parked right underneath him waiting for the inevitable scraps. Raf's favourite dinner time game is to drop things - not FOR Sammy, but ON Sammy - all the while laughing like a little lunatic.

Raf seems to go through toy phases. This week it's a block and shape set given to him by Aunty Bex and Uncle Habby. It's one of those wooden blocks with holes for matching shapes. Last week Raf could only consistently put in the pink, round piece - and this week he can do almost all of them. Where did our little baby go?

And on baby notes - today we got to meet a new little baby boy, Nico Alexander. Raf came with us to Mercy hospital this afternoon. He takes a few minutes to get adjusted to new environments but once he does he totters around happily and sweetly, playing on his own, but interacting with with all of us as he blows kisses, gives us things he's been playing with, and more.

What a great little boy we have.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Autumn weekend

We enjoyed such a nice weekend, packed with lots of fun and family time. On Friday evening we were invited to a new friend's house for dinner. our hosts have an almost two year old daughter, Rosa, and they're also expecting another baby any day. In fact this weekend they passed their due date, so they were pretty phenomenal hosting us. Raf was so shy when we arrived, hiding behind my legs and putting his head into my shoulder, but he was soon tottering around, watching Rosa - a sweet, funny, outgoing, lovely little girl - as she toddled around. She gave Raf a little hit, swipe and a push - followed by a little hug and kiss, so this could be the start of a beautiful relationship :)

On Saturday we walked the pups on a trail and happened upon some soccer fields where we spent some time watching these tiny little people kicking the football around. Very sweet. An afternoon bike ride ended a gorgeous autumn, sunny day.

Our hosts from Friday - Stacey and Noah (a new colleague at work) invited us to go apple picking on the Sunday morning. Unfortunately Raf was fast asleep for his morning nap so we had to postpone but we decided to head there in the afternoon to do a bit of apple picking on our own. So after an invigorating family run, we headed to Limington for some apple picking. Believe it or not I'd never apple picked before, and now I've done it I can't believe I haven't been before. There was live music, many, many people milling around, beautiful fields and stalls and food.. Here are some of our favourite pictures.