Friday, November 19, 2010

family portrait & miscellany

Oh, the last ten days have been a little nutty.  The Capitol Christmas Tree eclipsed my last post, so here are some homefront details that were neglected:

::  Juniper is walking.  Yep.  And I didn't get to see it, but my man did which was even better. Her first "walk" was five steps to get at an apple my man was eating.  She was so concentrated on the apple, and him on eating it, that I don't think either one of them realized what she was doing at first.  Now, she'll take one to five steps several times throughout the day.  Yesterday, she took five steps towards Osa, sat down, and made the sign for "dog."  (She signs "dog" all the time--when she sees a dog, hears a dog, when I say "dog" or "Osa," when Osa walks past her, when Osa sneezes, when Osa paws at the door....)

Also, J bugs has learned to clap.  Like walking, she just figured it out on her own (we never did set a good example in our house--I guess we hardly ever clap, but she learned anyway).  She even wakes up for some 2:00 am applause.  But mostly, she claps strictly for the half-crazed response she elicits from me.  And I have been taking advantage of it: so when she starts to get fussy on her changing table, I just start wildly clapping and throw on a huge grin and then she starts clapping and laughing and it's all good.

I am continually blown away by how much she understands.  And maybe I shouldn't be so shocked and impressed that my daughter is smarter than my dog, but I am.  I totally am.  My slow, adult brain is still trying to catch up with the fact that my 8 pound newborn is a human being.  Yesterday, I said, Juniper, are you ready for dinner?  And she crawled to her highchair.  Today, I said, Juniper, let's put a diaper on you.  And she crawled to her changing table and grabbed a diaper.  Holy cow.  Are we ready for this?

::  Before my man left, we finally made the family portrait we'd been planning for months.  Months, as in, we bought the art supplies before we even left Montana.  We kept saying we needed to get 'er done while Juniper's hands were still small-ish and, more importantly, while Osa was still alive and kicking.  Behold, the same trip that gave us Juniper's name, also gave us our family portrait:

Besides the newborn footprints and smearing yogurt around her highchair tray, this was Juniper's first official mark-making and she was smitten.  Ah, the look on her face when she saw that blue paint on her hand leave a blue handprint on that canvas (we got video).

::  We also did some then-and-now photo re-makes.

Three weeks old, and a year and three weeks old:
These photos were not easy to replicate, what with a squirming j bug and all.  We kept saying, Juniper, give mama a hug! 

^Ten days old, and one year later.^

I've posted these first two before: 12 days old, 6 months and 12 days old, and finally one year and 12 days old (see how she's all cranky about being on the changing table in that last one?):
The lesson to be learned: babies grow.

Oh, and for the bean counters out there: at J bug's 12-month check up, she weighed 23lbs 2oz (75%) and measured 30 1/3" (80%) and her head circumference has always been even keel at 50%.  

::  In other news, we've had some of this...

Which has led to a lot of this...

Juniper loves watching the fire.  My constant refrain: Juniper, that's a fire.  Fires are HOT.  And she gets all excited and bounces up and down.
Oh, and she's really into pointing.

:: June bug is in the "emptying phase" and this is what she leaves in her wake (and what I get to pick up every night):

:: Bundled for a walk along the road behind our house.  With the cooler weather, Osa is able to not only keep up, but also wander off and look for elk legs (which isn't too difficult since this road seems to be popular for hunters leaving carcasses in the barrow ditch).

:: I really don't have anything to say about this next photo except that I felt the need to include it in this post...
 I have a good story for y'all, but that'll have to wait until next post which, hopefully, will be in a few days.  Have a good weekend!                        

Thursday, November 11, 2010

in the purple overlap

It feels wonderful for Wyoming to extend her reach in a positive way.  This year, we won't be known for the brutal murder of a gay man, or a vice president who doesn't know how to aim a shotgun (at anything other than his friend's face, anyway).  This year, we'll be known for the 87 year-old, 67-foot tall Engelmann spruce that will grace the west front lawn of our Nation's Capitol next month.  This year, Washington D.C. won't seem such a far stretch from the least populated state in the nation.  That's right.  It's the Capitol Christmas Tree and it was cut from our backyard.

My man has a little something to do with this whole tree project, so Juniper and I went into town to see The Tree before it embarks on its cross-country journey.  Well, holy cow.  I guess everyone in town decided to do the same.

It was all very Norman Rockwellian what with everyone bringing their children and gathering in the town square on an unseasonably balmy November afternoon.

It was standing-room-only except where parade horses left some apples.  Yes, even in a western town folks will avoid the big piles.

Juniper was mesmerized by all the people and children and horses and dogs.  Not sure if she even noticed the tree.
When it was time for The Tree to head to the fairgrounds where its branches would be tied down, tamed and contained in a cargo box, a yappity-yipping Iditarod sled-dog team pulled up the rear and Juniper got so excited pointing and saying, Doh, doh doh!

::          ::          ::

:: Just when I was starting to think that I don't get to have adult conversations or adult thoughts anymore and that I am oh-so-out-of-touch, this last week has been chucky-jam full of political conversations with mostly strangers.  My hairdresser, my life insurance salesman, the guy that brings his kid to Juniper's swimming lessons.  My hairdresser: talking about what a great job she thinks Obama is doing despite everyone being all poo-poo about him.  My insurance salesman: pointing out how right now, tax rates for the wealthiest Americans are at historical all-time lows.  The guy in our swim lessons?  Turns out he's a policy advisor for the Tea Party Patriots (apparently different from Sarah Palin's Tea Party Express--see? learn something everyday) and just returned home after a stint in Washington D.C.  

So today--between dunking our kids underwater--I mentioned to the Tea Party Policy Advisor dude about what the Insurance dude said about taxes being at an all-time low and he was all, Yeah, but that's going to change in January.  And then I got to thinking about this Tea Party Policy Advisor dude and what I know about him: he is a pretty chill guy and a great father.  Also, he has three kids, his wife stays home with the kids but also has a nanny for 15 hours a week plus a housekeeper for 15 hours a week plus he owns a home in Jackson Hole (re: average home price ~750K) plus a second home in Arizona where they spend 6 weeks of the year plus they send their school-age children to a private school.  Hmmm.  I think he might be worried about his taxes increasing in January.  Am I sweating bullets for him?  Hell no.  That said, he is still a pretty chill guy and a great father.

:: I heard from my husband tonight--(who I won't see again until December, so yeah, I'm single-mom'in it).  He is currently zig-zagging across Wyoming with The Tree and I am really quite astounded at how popular that 87-year-old spruce is, even when she's all boxed up.  At every stop there is some whoop-la: fireworks and singing and mobs of school children.  The Tree is too long and wide for her driver to make regular turns safely, so she gets a police-escort in every town.  Other than those who are already employed as public servants, the Capitol Christmas Tree is entirely funded by donations and volunteers.  The best part?  The volunteer truck driver (who, bless his heart, is super excited to play such a leading role) is from Georgia and has never driven on snow or ice.  

:: At the end of the month Juniper and I will be joining our better half in Washington D.C. and I have to admit: I feel all warm and fuzzy with this Wyoming-U.S. Capitol connection.  I feel proud.  And I can't help but think about the underlying political colors: Wyoming an unwavering blood-red state, the top seat at the Capitol inhabited by cool blue.  And in the purple overlap there is simply, a tree.  

Oh yeah, and one hell of a sunset.


Friday, November 5, 2010

eleven & a sea creature

Oh, wow.  I've been trying to get this up and posted for a few days(!) now.  But what with me just plain wanting to go to bed early and then, last night, it didn't happen.  Last night: J bug up until midnight, J bug not wanting to lay down to nurse, J bug super tired and super cranky, me super tired and super cranky, my man super tired and super cranky.  I was thinking "ear infection" because that seems to be what all mothers dread and yet Juniper has never had one.  I still don't know.  She finally fell asleep lying next to me.  We'll see what tonight brings.  Oh, goodness we love her but last night was rough.  Plus, her long nails clawing our faces didn't help.    

In the meantime, our week:

:: We quietly celebrated another birthday in our house.
We noted the day, gave her a biscuit and an extra massage and marveled at her resiliency and her will to live (which is, I believe, powered directly by her access to Juniper's highchair region).  Osa is ELEVEN.  Which isn't that old for a dog, but for a dog who's been grossly epileptic for nine years and had congestive heart failure for one year, it's pretty darned impressive.

I rescued Osa from the pound when she was one and for nine years, she was my everything.  My husband was even jealous of her, occasionally posing the question, If we were on a sinking ship and you could only save one of us....  But in the last year a new force has entered our lives and Osa has had to settle for pats on the head instead of massages.  Whenever I think about that, how much love and attention Osa has gone without in the last year, I get a sick feeling in my gut.

But whatever love has been lost, Juniper has more than made up for.  Particularly now that J bug is learning to pet, with an open hand, and not just poke her in the eye.          

:: Halloween.  We had a homemade, hand-me-down skunk costume which was *awesome*, but was made for an 8-month-old, not a one-year-old, and when we put it on Juniper the wrist cuffs were so tight they made her hands turn purple before we even got out the door.  Reason #537 why hand-me-downs rock: we just happened to have an extra Halloween costume hanging in the closet.  Behold, the Octopus:

Sorry.  Make that a PINK Octopus!

June bugs and I went to a Mom & Baby Halloween workout, which was mostly *crazy* with a little bit of sweat thrown in (I was still sore the next day).

And on Sunday, my man and I drug Juniper around the town square where--it seemed--pretty much every kid within a thirty mile radius was trick-or-treating at the local businesses.  We went just to go, not that Juniper can eat candy or anything.  We had a blast admiring the color and costumes for a whole ten minutes before my man was all, I kind of want some candy.  And the next thing we knew, my man was pimping out our daughter for Halloween candy.  

The best Headless Horseman this side of the Snake.  (Who, incidentally, was actually a Headless Horsegirl.)

::  Of course,    
Now I know you can't tell from this picture, but everyday we are blown-away by how smart Juniper is.  Just the other day I was crawling down the hall (we were playing a game of chase, and I was the one running away) when Juniper came up behind me and grabbed my shoe.  I said, Yeah, that's mama's shoe.  Where's Juniper's shoe?  (She was in her socks and I didn't even know where her shoes were.)  Well, Juniper looked me straight in the eye, spun around, crawled in the other room and grabbed her little orange shoe.  

::  In other, unrelated news--I just wanted to show off the apron I made for my mom (many, many thanks to my step-mom).  I will not say for what occasion I made it, and how many months ago that occasion passed, for that would be too embarrassing.  At any rate, I think it turned out pretty great and the colors will be gorgeous on my mom: