Monday, January 26, 2015

Ryder's First Ski Trip

We have a little snow bunny on our hands!
Ryder spent the weekend with us at White Pass and he had such a great time!
(Okay, he was kind of indifferent about the whole thing, but we had fun!)
We arrived on Friday evening and checked into our tiny studio at White Pass Village Inn. It was quite different than the larger units we used to cram six people and 20 cases of beer into.
We settled in, said hello to our friends, fed Ryder a late dinner, and then tucked in for bed. It was about then that the party started upstairs, complete with full volume, maxed out bass music, shouting, and stomping. This continued until about 4am, at which point I had not slept, and Ryder had awoken and been rocked back to sleep about eight times. Mamma Bear was not happy.
A complaint to the owner resulted in our quick move into a large, upper floor unit.
Jeez, who have I become? A few years ago it would have been us causing noise complaints. Now we're just lame awesomely responsible parents who go to bed at 10pm. I think it's the first time I've ever woken up on a ski trip without a hangover.
We let Ryder touch snow for the first time (he wasn't a fan) and took him on his first snowshoe hike. It was also my first time showshoeing at White Pass as well (I'm usually snowboarding) and I had such a blast! It was a great day to get out of the house and into the mountains. Although we didn't get any fresh snow, walking around the frozen lake in the sunshine and 55 degree weather was breathtaking. 


The last time I wrote about White Pass, we were there in early 2013 watching the Seahawks playoff against the Falcons. It was a heartbreaker. But this year we got to excitedly represent the 12s in our countdown to the Super Bowl!

And of course we also took the opportunity to take Ryder snowboarding for the first time!

Now, before y'all freak out...

{a} Stewart is an incredibly talented snowboarder.

{b} Ryder is safe and sound, strapped firmly to Stew's chest.

{c} We are at the bottom of the bunny hill, in front of the parking lot.

 Teach 'em young, that's our motto!

We also did a little sledding...

All the activities really tuckered our little guy out...

Cuddles with Baby Bear.

The trip was definitely quite a bit different than years past. We had to take turns going to the lodge for beers (no kiddos in the bar) and spending time in the hot pool with friends at night after Ryder's bedtime.

Honestly though, it was a nice change of pace, and despite us all being a little sick, we had an awesome time making new family memories. We have been going to White Pass every year with this group for eight years now, and it was so much fun to incorporate baby Ryder into our adventures.

We've always had the goal of continuing our pre-baby lifestyle with our little boy in tow. I can only hope that he learns to love and appreciate adventure, travel, and the outdoors as much as we do.
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Monday, January 19, 2015

RE PETE! Super Bowl Bound, Round 2

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...
The Seattle Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl, baby!!
And victory tastes just as sweet the second time around.
Sorry we had to rip it out of your hands there at the end, cheese heads, but Pete Carroll has once again led the Hawks to victory... and a chance to remain WORLD CHAMPIONS!
The Hawkwagon Tailgater Association was there until the end, drinking fireball like the game's outcome depended on it... and maybe it did.

The littlest Seahawk stayed home with Nana and Auntie Nancy to watch the game.
He started the day off in his Wilson jersey, but during the first half (when that clearly wasn't working out) I asked that he be changed into his Lynch jersey. And what do you know! It's only weird if it doesn't work...
I can't even explain how intense it was to be at this NFC Championship game.
I went through a whirlwind of emotions. And I admit it... at one point I started to lose faith. About halfway through the fourth quarter I even asked Stew if we could leave the game, because I was so upset and didn't want to cry in front of the Packer fans. Shame on you, Sarah.
Of course leaving was not an option.
And we were there to once again to watch the Hawks clinch the NFC title in one of the most epic comebacks in football history.
The 12s went absolutely nuts.

I knew we could do it.
Unfortunately Stew and I didn't get chosen in the Super Bowl ticket lottery, so we'll be watching the game here at home in the Emerald City.
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Friday, January 16, 2015

The Road to the Super Bowl Goes Through Seattle

Happy Blue Friday, Hawk Fans!
Can you believe that we're here again?
The countdown is on for the NFC Championship Game...
On Sunday, my beloved Seattle Seahawks will face off with the Green Bay Packers to determine who will go to the Super Bowl!
THIS IS IT. Don't get scared now...
Although my blog has been a little less focused on football this year, that doesn't mean that I've been shirking my 12th Man duties out in the real world.
I present the evidence below...

Seahawks vs. Cardinals, November 23 -- WIN
Seahawks vs. 49ers, December 14 -- WIN
Seahawks vs. Rams, December 28 -- WIN
NFC Divisional Round
Seahawks vs. Panthers, January 10 -- WIN

And now it all comes down to the NFC Championship game on Sunday...
The Packers are a worthy opponent, and I'm expecting it to be a super exciting game. A noon kickoff means that we'll be down at the tailgate early, prepping for what I hope will be another win, and then it's off to Arizona for the Big Game.
Stop on by for some fireball, 12s.
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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Book Club: The Sparrow and Children of God

My godfather, Steve, was an incredibly fascinating and brilliant man. He could speak in depth about almost anything  engineering, weather, politics, religion, soccer you name it, he probably had an opinion (along with fact-based evidence as backup). I loved sitting around chatting with him, even though we didn't always agree.

Often, he would later follow up with emails containing his additional thoughts, or recommended reading material for me. Steve always made sure that I used my brain.

For years, our family had a team at the Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society. We'd camp out at Green Lake and take turns walking for 24 hours straight to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Steve never, ever missed this event. One night he and I were sitting around in camp chairs, waiting for our turn to hit the track, and we began discussing my love of post-apocalyptic, speculative science fiction (I admit I'm a little odd). I had recently read and loved Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, which Steve had also enjoyed. He told me about a few other books in this genre he thought I would like, and when I got home I placed an Amazon order immediately.

Suddenly and tragically, cancer ended Steve's life before I could read his recommendations and pick his brain about them. The loss of my godfather broke my heart, but I'm so thankful that he pointed me toward these amazing books!

The Sparrow is the first novel by Mary Doria Russell. It was followed by a sequel, Children of God.

The story begins in 2019, when Earth picks up radio broadcasts of music from a distant alien world. The first expedition to Rakhat, the world that is sending the music, is organized by the Jesuit order, known for its missionary, linguistic and scientific activities. Only one of the crew, Father Emilio Sandoz, a priest, survives to return to Earth, and he is damaged physically and psychologically. The story is told in framed flashback, with chapters alternating between the story of the expedition and the story of Sandoz's interrogation by the Jesuit order's inquest, set up in 2059 to find the truth.

The Sparrow tells the story of Sandoz's journey to Rakhat and his subsequent settlement on the foreign planet, where he and his team learn the language and culture of the two native sentient species. Unfortunately, human intervention in this alien world leads to everything going horribly wrong, and when Sandoz returns to Earth all his friends are dead and gone, his faith shaken.

In Children of God, Sandoz returns to Rakhat against his will, and the planet is in a state of revolutionary war and the establishment of democracy. In the end, some argue that the expeditions have provided proof of the existence of God.

Russell is an amazing storyteller, and I was sucked into The Sparrow almost immediately. She combines mystery and suspense with flawless characterization, and gorgeous descriptions that tantalize the imagination. I was thrilled to be able to continue the saga with Children of God, which held my attention just as much as the first book did. They definitely aren't a light read, and probably aren't for everyone, but for me reading them was an incredible experience. As a former Catholic turned atheist, I enjoyed exploring topics like the existence and function of God, the meaning of life, the use of suffering and healing, and the delicacy and necessity of human relationships.

Steve and I often debated the existence of God and the role of religion in society, and I would give anything to be able to discuss my thoughts on these books with him. As it is, I can at least be grateful that he pointed me in the direction of these fascinating novels.

“There are times... when we are in the midst of life-moments of confrontation with birth or death, or moments of beauty when nature or love is fully revealed, or moments of terrible loneliness ― times when a holy and awesome awareness comes upon us. It may come as deep inner stillness or as a rush of overflowing emotion. It may seem to come from beyond us, without any provocation, or from within us, evoked by music or by a sleeping child. If we open our hearts at such moments, creation reveals itself to us in all it's unity and fullness. And when we return from such a moment of awareness, our hearts long to find some way to capture it in words forever, so that we can remain faithful to it's higher truth... When my people search for a name to give to the truth we feel at those moments, we call it God.” 
― Mary Doria Russell, The Sparrow  
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Monday, January 5, 2015

Dear Ryder... Eight Months

Dear Ryder,

Writing these updates is getting harder and harder, because you are changing so much every day, it's hard to keep track!

You are still very verbal, babbling almost constantly. Your favorite is "dada dada", although I'm still not sure it's specifically directed at Daddy yet (although of course he's convinced it is). We also hear a lot of "mamama," "nanana," and a fair amount of random shrieking at the top of your lungs. That one is probably your favorite. 

You continue to love grabbing for anything within your reach, and you've got a strong little grip! We have to move fast, or else in the blink of an eye we'll turn around and you're eating another iPhone, remote control, or piece of fuzz you found on the carpet. 

You can bear some weight on your legs when held upright, and you'll stand holding onto someone or something for a few seconds before collapsing onto your bottom. You can pass objects from one hand to the other, pick up small objects with your fist, and look for something that you dropped (you still seem to like doing this on purpose). It seems like you're starting to know your name, and will turn in our direction when we call you... about half of the time.

Although you love sitting up and playing, you frequently topple over backward from that position, so we usually surround you with pillows while you're sitting up playing. You still seem to desperately want to crawl, but can't quite get up onto all fours yet. However, with a mixture of rolling, army crawling, and scooting, you manage to maneuver yourself around quite a bit. Unfortunately, you can't seem to manage to get from your back or stomach into a sitting position, which means that when you become stuck in that position, you almost immediately start to wail. At that point we have to come over and sit you back up. And inevitably, few seconds later, you've maneuvered onto your stomach again, which quickly aggravates you, and you start to whine. Lather, rinse, repeat. It's getting super annoying, little one. Let's try to work on that, shall we?

You're still pretty attached to your pacifier, and we never leave home without one. Every night before bed we read a book, and I rock you to sleep. I have a feeling the whole rocking to sleep thing isn't a great habit to get into, but it's working for now. Sleeping through the night, however, is not. You're still waking up three or four times a night, and you won't go back to sleep without being nursed and rocked. Of course this means Mommy is the one to get up with you all night long, which is making life extremely exhausting for me. Please, please don't make me do cry it out, which will be traumatizing for all of us. I'm about at my wits end, though...

You're eating lots of different foods now, including some finger foods like Cheerios and Puffs. At this point most of them end up on the floor (a dog would be in heaven at our house), but it's good practice for you. As for pureed baby foods, sweet potatoes are still your favorite. You're definitely not a fan of spinach and potatoes, but I took a bite of that stuff and I have to say, I don't blame you. We're working on drinking water out of a sippy cup, but most of it's ending up down the front of you at this point... keep practicing!

On December 9, you got your first tooth! I had been excitedly waiting for this day for a long time, so I was thrilled when I finally came home from work one night, ran a finger along your gums, and felt that front, right, bottom tooth in your drooly little mouth. It's twin followed a day later, and you now have two shiny little teeth that you flash at us on the daily. You did try them out on me one day while you were nursing, and it broke my heart to yell at you about it, but that was a lesson that had to be learned... 

You still nurse whenever I'm home, and while I'm working you drink pumped, bottled breast milk. I have to admit, I'm pretty darn pleased with myself that we haven't had to give you formula yet. Let's keep it up for just a few more months, okay? We can do this!

It was my 33rd birthday this month. Don't worry -- I'm not old, I promise! Lots of people are having kids in their 30s these days, I swear... I wasn't up for a big celebration this year, but we had a lovely evening at home together. You and Daddy also surprised me with an incredibly sweet card...

My goodness, your penmanship and letters are coming along nicely!

This was an especially exciting month, because it included your first Christmas!! We spent it at Nana and Papa's house, making memories. Christmas is definitely different -- and so much more special -- now that we can see it again through the eyes of a child. I know you didn't really understand what was going on, but you seemed to love all the bright colors and time with adoring family.

You got a brand new stocking to hang by the chimney with care, and you loved our Christmas tree with it's sparking lights. And you were so brave when we took you to see Santa for the first time... no tears at all!!

Matching Christmas jammies -- an important annual tradition.

Your "big" present this year was this "Bounce, Stride & Ride" elephant, which you absolutely love! Your feet don't quite touch the ground yet, but you love it when Daddy pushes you around on him.

With Great Grandma and Great Grandpa on Christmas morning.

Visiting Great Grandma Sally the day after Christmas.

Everything goes into your mouth... and I mean everything.

Other than that, it's pretty much been life as usual for us...

We watched Daddy play in "Battle of the Badges: Guns vs. Hoses," an annual holiday football fundraiser. The firefighters won... of course.

We also attended the Firefighters Union holiday party, which is where you saw Santa for the first time. You were such a big boy and weren't scared of him in the slightest!

Cailin and Charlie come to visit us quite often, usually on Friday afternoons. The two of you have so much fun together, despite the age difference.

This time Charlie was insistent that you "nap" with her. She just loves mothering you.

Due to dry skin and at the recommendation of your pediatrician, you take a bath once a week on Sunday nights, which you absolutely love! And no more infant bath tub for you -- you've graduated to the "duck bath," which you inherited from cousins Sophia and Aubrey!

Great Auntie Freda sent you this adorable fedora hat.

Watching the Seahawks game and working on your flexibility...

Our house has been completely overtaken by your toys. Mommy is working to keep her anxiety about having a perfect house in check... but it's difficult.

Our next door neighbor, Julia, and her mother-in-law still watch you when Daddy is on shift and I'm at work. You absolutely love it at their house, playing with their three children. But this month Nana was also on Christmas break from school for a couple weeks, so she came up a few times to watch you for the entire day, and you guys had so much fun! Plus, I always got to come home to fresh baked goods... Gotta love that about Nana!

The Seahawks have made the playoffs, so that means football season isn't quite over, my little Seahawk! Hopefully you'll be our good luck charm this month and the Hawks can once again make it to the Super Bowl.

We've got football playoff games, play dates, and ski trips on the calendar this month. Hopefully we can also add sleeping through the night to that list. 

Every day is such an adventure with you in it, and I honestly can't even remember what life was like before you graced us with your presence -- poopy diapers and all.

We love you so much, little boy! 

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