Wednesday, July 27, 2011

10 years in review

As some of you may know, Rob and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary on July 14th.  I guess that's something, I don't know.  We've never made a big deal about stuff like that.

It just so happened that Rob's friends were planning to get married in Seattle the same weekend as our anniversary, and it just so happened that Rob and I had gone to the Pacific Northwest for our honeymoon 10 years ago.  It also just so happened that we finally sold our Urbana house, and although we have suffered huge losses, there is at least a light at the end of the tunnel now.  I was hesitant to make the trip on account of the expense it would involve, but Rob did not share my concerns and he went ahead and bought plane tickets.  More than that, Rob's friends asked him to play guitar in their wedding ceremony, and he agreed.  We left the day after we closed on our Urbana house (July 12th).

We flew to Seattle and the next morning (July 13th) left for Port Angeles, WA, which was our gateway to Olympic National Park.  We attempted to hike Hurricane Ridge, as we did 10 years ago, but it was a lot more difficult with a 2-year old whose favorite activity is kicking, screaming, and throwing himself on the ground, and who generally refuses to ride in the Ergo carrier anymore.  Oh, and also, there was snow.

Snow at 6000'

Out for a hike

Snow covered trailSnow covered trailMeli & RobTeam Ragfield

Panoramic view

The next day (July 14th) we went to the Hoh Rainforest, which has got to be one of the coolest places on earth.  According to the website, Hoh gets approximately 3,556 mm of rain per year-- just for comparison, the forest where I did my dissertation research gets approximately 1,500 mm.  It's just cool.  Will did about as well as could be expected, which is to say, we had about 5 whole minutes of hiking in the rainforest before he began having a temper tantrum.


More hiking


Ooo, a fern!

Ferns are awesome

After a truncated hike in the rainforest, Will got to rest in the car as we drove to First Beach.  It was freezing cold (and raining), so we only stayed for a few minutes, but enough apparently, for the requisite photo of Melissa running into the ocean.

Will at the Pacific Ocean


Melissa at the Pacific Ocean


There was perhaps some more nap time for Will in the car as we headed back towards the hotel and stopped off at Lake Crescent, which ended up being one of my favorite places (both this time and 10 years ago).

Good morning


Lake Crescent


Lake Crescent


We did a short hike to Marymere Falls, and Will enjoyed this.  He actually hiked most of the way (about 1.5 miles round trip, I think?) on his own.



We ended up finding the same exact tree that I stopped off to hug back in 2001, and Rob recreated the photo.  Will joined me this time.

Tree Hugger 2001

Hugging the tree in 2001


Tree huggers 2011

Hugging the tree in 2011.

The irony of this is, though, that as I looked up through the towering foliage to see it's top, I realized that it was a dead tree.  I don't know if it was 10 years ago or not.  Kind of makes the whole thing feel more bitter than sweet, I guess.

When Will got tired, he rode on Rob's shoulders or I carried him:

Having a good time

Walking the bridge

And he enjoyed seeing the waterfall at the end of the hike.  His face lit up and he said "WOW!" and then "WHOA!"

Marymere Falls

The next day (July 15th) we went to the Elwah River Valley, which was amazing.  Maybe when Will is like 12 years old, we can go back and spend the whole week there, hiking around and camping.

View from Elwha Valley


Will is excited for some more hiking

Elwha Valley

We did a short hike at Elwah, which was more rugged than any other hike we had attempted with Will.  That is to say, we had to cross a stream on a log.

Stream crossing

It would have been less nerve-wracking for me if Will had conceded to ride in his Ergo or be carried, but he insisted on crossing the stream while riding on Rob's shoulders.  This remained his chosen mode of transportation for the duration of the trip.

That afternoon, we took a ferry back to Seattle.  Will slept the whole time and I didn't even throw up.  We went to the wedding rehearsal; Rob rehearsed (recall that he was playing guitar in the wedding) and Will and I ran around in the freezing cold Puget Sound.  That night, Rob's mom flew into Seattle, and Rob went to go pick her up at the airport.

The next morning (Saturday, July 16th) it was raining, so we opted to go to the Seattle Aquarium--an indoor activity.  I couldn't help but morosely recall when Rob and I went there on our honeymoon 10 years ago, and I formally vowed never to have children as I saw a woman trying to get her bratty little child to look at a hermit crab by saying, "LOOK, GABEY, WOUDLN'T THAT CRAB TASTE GOOD?"

Team Ragfield

Fish watching

That night, Will stayed at the hotel with Rob's mom, while Rob and I went to a Seattle Mariner's game with Rob's friends who were getting married.  It was my first baseball game, ever.  I had a $7.50 beer, and that definitely helped me get though it.  And then, apparently, my sister in law's baseball fantasy boyfriend hit 2 homeruns.  Bravo.

$7.50 beer

The next morning (Sunday, July 17th), we went to the Space Needle.  It was probably cool, I guess, but not worth the exorbitant admission fee, particularly when you have a 2 year old with a 5 minute attention span, and you arrive there 5 minutes before his nap time.  But whatever.  It brought back memories from when I watched the entire Frasier series while I nursed Will during the first several months of his life.

Will at the Space Needle



Melissa wanted to make sure to keep her eyes open.

Afterwards, we happened upon the "Bite of Seattle," and Will got to try some Mango lemonade.

Bite of Seattle

Team Ragfield

Will & Meli

Then it was time to head back and get ready for Erin and Wyatt's wedding.  We tried to get Will to take a nap in the hotel room and Rob went into the bathroom to practice his guitar.  Endearing.

The wedding was seriously the most awesome wedding I have ever been to.  And I'm not just saying that because Rob was playing his guitar in it.  It was really a great wedding.

Bride and maid of honor


Power of two

Rob playing Power of Two by the Indigo Girls as the family was being seated.

Just married

Scott County

The day after the wedding (Monday, July 18), we went to Mt. Rainier, which was cool.


We did a couple of small hikes to see some big trees and another waterfall for Will.

You guys are totally looking the wrong way

Then it was time to come home.  Will has been having a tough time readjusting, I don't know if he is still jet-lagged or what.  He's been having some trouble sleeping and then on several mornings he has slept in until 8:30 or even 9:00.  He wants no part at all of daycare.  He still goes on Mondays and Wednesdays (so that in theory, I can work on my article for the Howler Monkey volume.  In practice, I have barely even started it), and he has since moved into the 2-year old room.  He used to love going to daycare, and on Saturdays and Sundays he would stand at the door with his shoes and hat, getting agitated and asking for "Mo" (his teacher).  Now he doesn't want to go at all.  I have to drag him outside kicking and screaming and then he beats on the door saying "Inside!  Inside!"  When we get there, he just cries and cries and says "No no no no!"  And of course he doesn't eat anything the whole day.  It is breaking my heart.  I hope things get better when I'm back at work full time and he is on more of a consistent schedule.

Anyway, I am exhausted at the moment because Will slept in our bed last night and he totally hogged my side, so I was left clinging to the edge.  Plus he intermittently kicked me in the ribs all night long.  Then for some reason I didn't have coffee today and I am kind of feeling like I might pass out soon.  Guess I'd better end this then.  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dear William (23 months)

Dear William,

This month, you and I have been spending a lot of time together!  I am on "summer break" from work, so you and I get to hang out a lot.  You are still going to "play school" on Mondays and Wednesdays, but the rest of the days of the week it is just you and me!  You can be a very demanding boss, but you make up for it by giving me really great kisses or randomly running over to me and knocking me over with the force of your hugs.

You are an expert at naming body parts.  You love to tell me where your ears, eyes, nose, hair, knees, belly, elbows, and teeth, and mouth are.  You have a little doll baby and you like to say, "NOSE" and point to the baby's nose.  Or eyes.  Or whatever.

Did I mention... you still give very good kisses!  The best kisses ever!  I love them!  You like to kiss mommy and daddy, and you like to kiss your toys.  Sometimes you bring a toy over for me to kiss for you.  When you fell and scraped your knee earlier this month, I kissed your boo-boo, and then you puckered up your lips 'cause you wanted a face kiss too.  Cute.

You have become a great imitator.  If I am doing something silly, like walking in a funny way, you find that hilarious and you do the same thing.  If I say a word, you will often repeat it, or at least try to.  Near the end of June, your dad and I were counting out loud and you were repeating the numbers.  Sort of.  Last night I was scolding you for not minding me and I looked at you very sternly with my hand on my hip.  You gave me the exact same look, which was hilarious.

This month your friend E. moved to St. Louis!  You knew him before you were even born because mommy was in yoga class with his mommy.  We are so lucky that E.'s family moved here and that they live so close.  We can walk to his house!  He has such cool toys.  And he is really good about sharing!  He has a car that you can get in and drive.  You did both of these things while we were there playing.  E. pushed you in the car-- that was so nice of him!  Then you ate some of his snacks (without even asking!) and you ran around his house opening and closing doors like you owned the place.  You cried when it was time to leave, but I told you we would play with E. lots more in the days ahead.

We went to PrideFest STL this month.  Unfortunately, you were still napping during the big parade, but we got there later in the afternoon and had time to enjoy ourselves.  You got to see lots of bright colors and hear music.  Everybody there was so happy.  You were happy too.  Some people had their dogs with them and you liked to look at the dogs and say, "DOG. WOOO WOOO."  A lady gave you a firefighter helmet (which was super nice but also I thought kind of odd because isn't that just reinforcing the gender stereotype that little boys want to grow up to be firefighters?  But whatever) and a bracelet, which you wore for a while and then got tired of it so you put it on me.

You are continuing to enjoy going to playgrounds.  We have found a new playground at Lewis Park, and I really like that one a lot because it is smaller and easier for me to keep track of you.  On Tuesday nights sometimes we go to Carondelet Park to watch your dad in a bike race.  Actually, you have no interest in watching him.  You spend most of the whole time trying to walk in the street and screaming at me because I won't let you.  It is kind of awful.  Once I cried.  I don't know why you want to walk in the street so badly.  The other small children there just stand by their mothers and watch the bikes.  It is so frustrating because you won't do that.  The second week we went there, we found a giant playground.  You loved it.  It was super crowded though.  You found a suspension bridge and you ran back and forth across it for like 1/2 an hour.  When it was time to go meet your dad, you screamed at me and kicked me and punched me in the throat all the way.  I'm not sure if we'll be going back.

You ran your first race this month.  It was a quarter mile race, which was part of the big Macklind Mile festival on the 4th of July.  You did really well.  You held onto mommy or daddy's hand and kept a nice and steady pace and ran the whole time.  Most of the kids were bigger than you but you didn't let that bother you.  You just powered through.  There was one little kid who was probably your age or younger, and he was having a really tough time with it.  His parents had to keep picking him up and carrying him, or when they set him down he cried and ran the wrong way.  But you had a big smile on your face and ran in the right direction the whole time.  I was so proud of you.  There were tons of people on the sidelines of the race course all cheering for YOU!  They were ringing cowbells and clapping their hands and saying "You can do it!" and "Great job!"  Your daddy took the iPhone to video you as you crossed the finish line, and mommy held your hand.  We ran cross the finish together and everyone was clapping for you and I was crying I was so happy!  A lady at the finishing line gave you a green ribbon that said PARTICIPANT.  You were great!

Will approaching finish line of Kid's 1/4 mile dash


You threw a huge fit after the race though, one that included throwing yourself down in the middle of a busy street and kicking and screaming.  It was very dangerous.  I have no idea why you were so mad.  You just get that way sometimes.  It was so frustrating.  I thought I would lose my mind.  When we finally got back tot he car and I was putting you in your car seat, you grabbed my iPhone and DELETED the video of you crossing the finish line.  I was so upset I couldn't talk for over an hour.  Your father spent the rest of the day and night trying to recover the deleted video, but he wasn't able to.  That was some sad times.  We shan't speak of it again.

You survived your first bike crash this month.  It was terrifying, but mainly only for me.  The entire family unit was riding from our place to the Missouri Botanical Gardens on a Saturday morning.  You were in the bike trailer hooked to your dad's bike, and I was riding behind you both on Iris 2.  We were on the bike path in Forest Park and there was a lot of congestion, and the next thing I knew, the trailer was on its side.  I said some very horrible words and jumped off my bike while it was still moving and somehow threw it into the grass.  You were totally fine, just a bit shaken up from the excitement.  There was some damage to the trailer that your dad had to spend some time fixing, but eventually we were on our way again.  I maintain that the bike path at Forest Park is the least safe place to ride a bike in St. Louis, honest to God.

You had visits from both of your grandparents this month.  Grandma and Grandpa Scho brought you your own Lucky Red Hat.  You love it, except sometimes you hate it.  Which is the way you feel about most things.  Your Grandma Nan cut your hair for you again!

Other things you have done this month include: enjoying playing with bubbles and going to a neighbor's first birthday party.  You also have started to really enjoy drinking juice, which you call JOOOOOOOSE, and you ask for it when you want it.  If I try to give you milk when you want juice, you are very upset.  And vice versa.  You are definitely making your preferences known, but it is often a very complicated guessing game that relies a lot your mother's intuition.

We finished off your 23rd month with a trip to Indianapolis to visit your friends Mr. E and Miss C.  You also got to see your little friend A.  They are all great!  Poor dear Mr. E wasn't feeling good so he couldn't play too much, but you had such a blast playing with Miss C.  It is hard to believe she is 8 years old now, and it's too bad she lives 2 states away because she would be such a great babysitter.

After we returned from Indianapolis, you went back to play-school and you graduated to the 2-year old room.  I guess in there, you take your own lunch plate over to the sink when you are done with it.  Also, you get to play with markers.  You seem to like it so far.

We are kicking off your 24th month TODAY by flying to Seattle.  Did you know that your mom and pop have been married for TEN WHOLE YEARS?  We spent our honeymoon in the Pacific Northwest, and we decided to celebrate our 10th anniversary by going back there and bringing YOU with us.  I'm sure there will be many stories and pictures to come.

Here are some pictures of you this month:

Lucky red hat

Veggie booty

Bottoms up


Love always,

Your mom