Jun 26, 2011

Kitty Whisperer

Before we had a baby, Luke and I had kitties. We still have them and they are getting to know Porter better everyday. For the first few months they pretty much avoided him, but since he's been so interactive lately they've all started to notice each other. 

Porter is big into textures and cat fur provides quite a stimulating experience. He pets (grabs) them every chance he gets and on the off moment that a tail slips into his little fingers he would be glad to pop it into his mouth (blek, hairball!). I will admit that as a mother I get concerned over the amount of cat fur that ends up in between his fingers. Thankfully he's a patient baby and lets me wash it off. 

Olive and Misty, the girl kitties, don't seem to mind being poked and prodded. I think they sometimes like the extra attention. Big Kitty, however, wants nothing to do with Porter.  This baby represents all the qualities that freak Big Kitty out. Porter yells, grunts, throws things, and grabs kitty parts ruthlessly. Needless to say, Big Kitty gives the baby a wide berth which is probably safer for everyone involved.

Something that I didn't expect to happen when we brought our bundle of joy home from the birth center was my own changed attitude towards our pets. Before baby came these kitties were my babies. They were spoiled, royally. When baby came home I was surprised about how little attention I gave them and, frankly, how much I wanted them out of the house. Luke's love and attention never waned though, and he's the kitties hero. Now that Porter is a little older, I'm getting back to loving them, but it's just not the same. Hopefully Porter will come to love them, learn to be gentle with them, and we can be one big kitty loving family.

Porter and Misty

Kitty meet and greet. Porter wants in on the action.

He thinks he's pretty funny when he chews on his bib.

Jun 18, 2011

The Great Outdoors

Idaho is known for it's wild outdoors, and we decided that this weekend was a great time to introduce Porter to camping. We drove into the mountains for about an hour and had a fantastic time car camping with our friends. The day we arrived was beautiful and perfect for camping. That night was pretty cold, but we made it through by cuddling together under 2 quilts in our awesome new Hobitat 6 tent from REI. On Saturday we were eventually rained out, but not before an awesome camp breakfast of eggs, bacon, potatoes and biscuits, followed by a great hike. 

We knew there was a chance of rain, but didn't expect it to rain nonstop all afternoon. I decided that we would pack everything up in the rain and head home to sleep cozy in our bed tonight. Good thing too, because the forecast had changed since we left civilization and there were thunderstorms arriving in the middle of the night if we had stayed. It would have been nice to stay one more night, but by the looks of it, we'll have many more camping adventures in our future.

Not only is camping a great way to connect with nature, friends and family, but most places in Idaho you can find free camping and the National Forest campgrounds are only $15. An excellent vacation whether for 1 night or 1 week. Lovin' Idaho.

Early morning story around the campfire. Chelsea is a great children's book reader, she does all the voices.

Porter was entranced by Chelsea's story and even Luke had to smile at her silly voices.

The camping crew: Gary, Chelsea, Sarah, Lucy, Becky, Danny, Luke and Porter. Not pictured, me and Shaun. He was busy doing a 50 mile mountain bike ride to meet us later that day.

The puppet master.

View of our tent from up the hill where Luke gathered firewood.

Luke does his best impression of big foot, and he even has really big feet!

Our new tent the REI Hobitat 6. It's huge and fit our king air mattress comfortably with room to spare. It did a great job staying dry in the rain and at 6 feet is tall enough for me to stand up and almost tall enough for Luke too.

It's still spring in the mountains and all the flowers were starting to bloom.

We camped near a stream. It was a huge year for rain in Idaho, so this creek sounded like a raging river from our campsite, but it was no wider than 6-8 feet across and 1-2 feet deep.

Green green green!

Porter loves camping, and he loves Danny too!

Porter wants whatever I have and he wants to put it in his mouth.

The hike started dry.

Chelsea did the whole hike with a napping Lucy strapped to her, excellent workout!

This boy loves to hike!

The crew as it started to rain half way through the hike: Me, Luke, Chelsea, Gary, Becky, Sarah, Danny. Porter and Lucy are strapped their parents.

The hike may have ended rainy, but Porter was comfy with his rain cover on. He was giggling the whole way, and Luke deserves props for ending the wet hike with a smile.

Danny does some tree felling on our hike.

Not related to this post at all, but Porter practices sitting up.

Jun 14, 2011

Time Flies

Porter is 5 months old as of June 10 so I thought it would be nice for everyone to see even MORE pictures of my baby. I can't believe how fast time has flown by. Time moved pretty quickly for me before I had a child, but now it seems to move at lightening speed. My boy is a floppy dough baby no more! He's rolling, moving and trying to sit up on his own already. Luckily, he gets more fun everyday and I get to discover the world again through him.

I feel really lucky to be his mom and couldn't have asked for a better baby. Being a mom can be really hard, and mostly tiring these days. But I have to say that when I wake up next to my baby and he smiles at me, or we go on a laughing tangent, or he lights up when I walk into the room there is no better feeling in the world. I am savoring being the person he turns to for comfort and tenderness. There was no doubt that being a mom would be rewarding, but I wasn't prepared for how wonderful it would make me feel. I'm gushing, I know, so on with the pictures!

One week. I like this picture because Luke looks just how we felt after the first week with our baby.

One month. Luke was able to finally get his smiles on camera.

2nd month. Characterized by scratches from his razor sharp nails and hickeys on anything he could get his mouth on.
3rd month. This is when he started to get really fun as he became aware of his surroundings and finally recognized us as his parents.

4th month. Tummy time finally became fun. He is staring at the cat, just out of frame. He is constantly amused by our 3 kitties.

5th month. He is seriously fun now. He laughs with his whole body, lights up when Luke or I come into a room and talks with reckless abandon (this is my karma coming back at me). I don't know that life gets much better than this!

Jun 11, 2011

A Mother's Musings On Life and Death

Okay, I don't want to get too deep with the title of this post, but they are the best possible words for the job. As you know, I recently had a baby. I also am a doula and have been interested and excited by pregnancy and birth since I was a child. In the birthing community I have heard/said many times that birth and death are never far from each other. This is expressed in many sayings. For instance, "When one door closes, another one opens." I'm sure you've heard similar expressions too.

I believe that these sayings are true, but in the multitude of times that I've heard and spoken of the birth/death relationship, I have always felt it as a very literal experience. This is no doubt because I've been witness to live babies being born. In my own birthing experience I can recall the very moment when I thought to myself, "no one actually dies from contractions." And I meant it. I was talking myself down from a precipice. We are lucky to live in a day and age when death during birth is much more rare than it once was, and hopefully I don't lesson the experience of those who have lost a loved one during their own birthing experience by writing about it.

I have never witnessed the death of a human, however. The closest I've ever really come is through conversations with my mother when she was with her friend, as she passed away after a long battle with cancer. I remember my mom talking about holding her hand and being with her in the same way that I am with birthing women as a doula. My mom was her friend's doula, helping her say goodbye to this life in a loving and  positive way. The very same values that I hope to help birthing families and babies appreciate when they say hello to a new life. For some reason though, I have only witnessed death in this life one step removed.

I was struck by a realization the other day while looking through a friends photos online. Through her simple family photo I saw death for the first time, and my relationship to it. I can only really express it by telling the experience. Growing up I had a friend who was much older than I. She was married with children and I often babysat for them. I vacationed with their family, had parties at their home and we became good friends despite our age difference.

I then went to college and we have remained friends from a distance, as life has taken me far away. We stay in contact through various visits and online communication. A little more than a year ago her husband lost his own battle with cancer. He was a funny, dedicated, loving father and husband and he passed before his kids graduated from high school, albeit far too soon. It was strange when I saw him once, in person, to know that he was dying. He looked good, maybe a little skinny, but the knowledge of his illness made me uncomfortable. And that's hard for me to admit, because I want to be the kind of person who can see past issues like that and show genuine love for my friends and humans in general. For someone who has spoken of death in such a casual way during my doula-ing, I wasn't nearly as comfortable with it as I was with the birth aspect. I digress. In my friends photos she posted one of her husband with their son from many years ago. Seeing this photo, of a person who is very real to me, made him alive again. Having a son of my own and seeing this image of him with his son immediately touched me in a way that can't be expressed in words. All I know is that it unlocked something inside of my soul that I can't pinpoint just yet.

So why am I having this somewhat melancholy discussion on my blog about all things tender, you may ask. Well, there was a poem that I came across in the last few days, too, that I believe sums up how I feel about the whole birth and death conversation, and here it is:

"You are one of the
miracles of creation.
Address yourself
with respect
and wonder."
-We'Moon 2011 

In the same way that I believe that birth and babies are miracles, my own baby is a miracle. Of course I believe that, he's mine. But what about my parent's creation? Well, that's me. What about all my friends babies, they're miracles. And so my friends are miracles in their own rights, so on and so forth. We are all miracles. It's another way of seeing the circle of life, hokey as that may sound, and that's pretty freakin' tender. 

What makes a miracle so special, is the impermanence of the act. The real miracle of birth to me is the very moment that a baby takes their first breath. An extraordinary number of things need to occur for this one breath to happen, and if it doesn't happen then extraordinary measures are taken to help make it happen. This moment is fleeting, and miraculous. As is the last breath that a person takes, it is just as fleeting as the first and it only happens once.

Supervising mom and dad's yard working skills.

Why play in the water when you can suck it off your fingers?

He's working hard to sit on his own, hence the tongue. It must be genetic because Luke and I both do that when we're focusing hard.

He's doing it! Look how excited he is with himself. Yeah, I'm a proud mama.

Jun 8, 2011

Park It!

One of the best parts of living in Boise is the extensive park system. The Boise River runs through downtown and along that is the Boise River Greenbelt. On either side of the greenbelt, for many miles, are acres and acres of parks. The three that we are closest to are Julia Davis Park, Ann Morrison Park and Kathryn Albertson Park. Click each park link for information about the park and story of the woman each one is named after. For an interactive list of all the parks in Boise click here. You can also read about Porter's and my train track hike to another park, the Boise Depot which has a beautiful park and gardens, in the post Abundant Sunshine.

Public parks are a fantastic way of enjoying the outdoors within city limits. We are lucky in Boise that they are so well maintained, offer a variety of activities year round and have mature beautiful trees and landscapes. All of the parks/greenbelt are free and open to the public and each one has its own personality.

I am a firm believer that open space, especially within a city, is important to keep communities alive and in touch with the earth. It is always worth supporting organizations that help maintain these open spaces for use by the public. Our parks not only have open spaces, but a zoo, many museums, Library! access and facilities for huge social gatherings and festivals. While the museums and zoo have entrance fees, most other activities at the parks are almost always free. The activity that brings us to the park on a regular basis, Luke especially, is disc golfing. All you need are the discs. The tees and baskets are already set up for 18 holes.  Spending time in our many parks is a great way to connect with nature, our community, and have a great time as a family without having to spend a dime, and that's always tender!

For our anniversary, yesterday, we went to Kathryn Albertson Park where Luke and I got married. We had a picnic in the same place that we had our ceremony. Then we took Porter for a walk around. Spring is baby gosling time for the Canadian Geese and that meant occasionally having to  part a sea of geese in order to get through. Luckily we made it and weren't pecked to death! 30 geese all in the same area can be intimidating for sure. Porter, however, wasn't fazed a bit. 

I loved getting to share such a special place for Luke and I with our child. It's an activity that I had never considered sharing with our children, but I'm glad we can do it so easily. Telling our stories and sharing special places is what will make our family strong and keeps our shared experiences alive. I sure do love my little family!

The Eyrie Gazebo where we were married.
There were turtles sun bathing on every available rock.

Every available rock.

One of Albertson Park's many ponds.

Another pond in Albertson Park.

I'm always a sucker for flowers in bloom!
We've also been enjoying our feet, friends and spring days here in Idaho.

Porter has officially found his toes, in fact, there are times when his big toe replaces his thumbs entirely. It makes changing diapers and putting on clothes EXTRA fun!

We went to sushi with my friend Chelsea and her family. Spicy tuna roll anyone?

My boys. Tender, no?

Jun 7, 2011


Today is a special day for my husband and I. Three years ago on 6/7/8 we were married in Kathryn Albertson Park, Boise. We were married by my brother and surrounded by friends and family.

That night was filled with fun and dancing. It was the best wedding I've ever been to. My husband I and met on the first day in college at UCSC, Porter College, and started dating a few years later. We've been together for a total of 11 years, each one more wonderful than the last.

I love you Luke. 
There is no one else I'd want to spend all my days with. 
Happy Anniversary!