Saturday, September 23, 2006

Living In Fast Forward

I've been feeling lately like life is just zipping by. I can hardly keep track of the date and whole months pass without me quite realizing it. This is not good for paying bills on time or getting birthday cards in the mail before the birthday is over. It leads me to make exclamatory statements of the obvious: Jake is 6 months old already! Fall is here! Haley's 3 1/2! Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas is right around the corner! Etc., etc. My friends just nod and smile and are probably wondering why I seem so surprised by all of this.

But I really do feel surprised - and sometimes alarmed - like I'm somehow missing out on life and not savoring it enough. Summer seemed long enough, but was I really there for all of it? I'm sure it has to do a great deal with sleep deprivation - Jake is still waking several times a night, and I don't do well without a solid 8 hours. We've also been so busy - working on the house, traveling, church obligations, and taking care of 2 children (how do people survive with more???).

So here are some of the highlights from our here-and-gone summer:


The 4th of July in Grand Forks is a quintessential small-town celebration. The day begins with a children's parade - an actual parade of children. Haley was so excited to be in it and ride her spiffed-up big-girl bike. Next year she says we have to be sure we have candy to throw to the on-lookers. I entered the apple-pie contest, but we were too busy having lunch with friends to enter Jake in the cutest-baby contest. Maybe next year... The evening ended with a surprisingly good fireworks display - not accompanied by a symphony or anything, but still better than we expected. Best of all, Haley wasn't terrified of the "sky-toots" this year and we were all able to enjoy the show from a reasonable distance.

This was a hot, dry summer for North Dakota - not so great for the crops, but perfect for swimming in the back yard and going to the Splash Park. We realized very quickly that Haley was just too big for the baby pools and wound up with a family-size inflatable one. It entertained her very well for several weeks until she started trying to convince me to get in with her instead of just dangling my feet in. Uhh, maybe next summer...our back yard isn't that private.

At the splash parks it was the other way around. If your town doesn't have these, they're like sprinklers on steroids - big things that spray, dump, or mist water. Since Haley's still wary of her little Elmo sprinkler, I was surprised that she always wanted to go. But it was a perfect 2 miles away from the house so nearly every hot day we would load up the jogging stroller and head to the park. Once there she would back up to one of the smaller misted sprays, scream, and run back to her towel to lay out like a sun-worshipping teenager. Once or twice we convinced Rob to come along and he managed to talk her into getting really soaked (see below). I get the feeling Jake won't be as timid; he already gets us more wet at bath time than she ever did!


Our summer involved a lot of walking. Haley loved riding her big-girl bike and was able to go pretty far. So one of her favorite things to do was to walk or ride to "school-kids park", the elementary school 5 blocks away. Jake also loved it - nothing calms him like being outside (what are we going to do in January?!?). He would happily swing for hours, getting an occasional push while watching the big kids run around.

Rob taught one night class during the summer session, which left me to do bath and bed by myself. Some days it seemed easier to walk the kids to sleep. We would start out with Jake in the Baby Bjorn, but he felt really heavy after about a mile. If he was sound asleep then I could slip him into the stroller with Haley (see below) and go much faster. My favorite route was 5 miles - the river, peaceful kids, sunset - what could be better?


Look at those blue eyes! Where'd that recessive gene come from anyway? Jake has always preferred being on his tummy, and so has learned to push up into "heads-up" pose. He loves nothing more than to have someone else do the same in front of him and play peek-a-boo. And I love nothing more than to hear him laugh while doing so. We also purchased a jumper for him that hangs from a doorway. He likes being upright but has yet to figure out the jumping part...I'm sure it will be any day. Haley's dying to climb in a show him herself, but that's one baby item we won't let her try out (the bouncy seat, swing, walker, moses basket, and high chair have all been "tested" by her already).


Haley and Jake really are so sweet together. He absolutely adores her and lights up whenever she comes in the room. She still talks in her falsetto to him and loves to try new funny sounds in an effort to get him to laugh. I know this might change when he perfects his crawling and is able to reach her toys, but for now they're best friends.

In August our friend Bill came to visit and Haley had a new best friend. We drove a few hours east to the beautiful city of Duluth, MN on Lake Superior, which was as close as we were going to get to an ocean this year. Here Haley must have peeled herself away from Bill to pose with Jake in front of the famous bridge - the whole span slides up and down to let ships pass through. Jake did not enjoy the car ride out (so neither did any of us), but we were smart enough to leave after bedtime on the way home and it was a much more peaceful drive!


In mid-August we drove a 1/2 hour west of Grand Forks to Turtle River State Park to take Haley on a "hike" for Family Home Evening. I'm not sure what we were expecting the terrain to be like, but it did seem comical that Rob had brought his backpack. But Haley loved it and took her job as map-reader very seriously. (Really, do you need a map when you can squint and see the other side of the state park?) We enjoyed our picnic dinner next to the waterfall and then had the best time watching Rob and Haley trying to catch frogs. She was mesmerized by the one he finally caught and didn't want to let it go. I'm sure it won't be the first time someone tries to break the "no frogs in the house" rule...


Haley and Jake glow with summer tans; a cake I made for a baby shower - my first non-class 2-tiered was scary to drive it over!