Saturday, August 31, 2013

More cottage scenes

Heyo. Here are a few more shots, around the cottage.
Life-ies on the dock, that's the rule. How do you like my socks and sandals? I wore this sweet outfit every day for two weeks. It was glorious.
We had a lot of rain, and also a lot of sun. Sometimes both at once.
This is the best place.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


I'm having a problem getting the 2500+ photos (!!!!!) from the last three months off my camera. "Not enough space!" cries my dinosaur laptop. So my big plans to super-share all of our adventures are on hold, until I find the time to get over my no-deleting compulsion. No matter. I can tell you about something else instead. Or a few other things, I'm in the mood to ramble.
Tomorrow I am teaching my first *real* yoga class. For realsies. 7:30 am Flow Yoga (by donation) with Elissa! Hey hey. I hope someone comes. Anyone. Someone?
So that is cause for excitement. But I'm also jazzed because I found what I think is some great music to use. It is a tricky thing that, music in a yoga class. It can be so great, and it can also be really shitty. Like that time on 12/12/12 when I took a yoga class at noon and the instructor started the music at 12:12. Way to hype the first song right? But it fell flat. The song just didn't do it for me. There are a lot of teachers who use civilian music (aka music not designed for yoga) in classes, with varying degrees of success. I had quite a moment a few years back doing sun sals to TLC's "Waterfalls" on full blast. I also recently heard Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" in a class which made me smile (thanks, Chelsey!).
Right. But back in the day, back in the pre-baby day when going to yoga class meant taking that nine minute walk up the street to the ultra-hip vision of plywood walls and cork floors, I used to go to a class with a live DJ accompaniment. And I was musing to myself today, as I hung out the laundry in that blazing hot clothes-are-dry-before-you-finish-hanging-them-up sun, I was musing to myself how nice it would be to find that music again. But, OH, that was sooo long ago.
As a side note about the passage of time, today I was in the bike store, joining all the college students (15 years my junior) with their various pedal and wheel and brake problems. I was in there with a flat tire, not on my bike, but on the jogging stroller, which was somehow embarrassing. Anyway, the gentleman repairing the tire asked me if Heiko was my first baby. When I said yes he said "But you are so young!". I looked at him puzzled (never get ID'd these days) and said something like "uh, no". He grinned and said, "yeah, you wish, right?". I must look like a wizened old mom-witch compared to the young moms of Fort Collins. Ah well, good thing I don't care about that kind of stuff anymore.
The point is, so much time has passed since those days. Going to a yoga class is now an exercise in long term planning and tradeoff. Yet, yet! I found that music. That music from that class from that time in my life so long ago. It was actually pretty easy. Thank you, Rakkatak! In their words, "Trax to link breath and movement inspired by sounds from the city and nature." I hope my class tomorrow likes this music as much as I do. I hope that I can pull it off, this yoga teacher thing. I hope I can say the good yoga teacher things and not the bad (point your Ghandi LASER there). I hope no one calls me out for being a young-old-yoga-hating-mom-witch. I hope I hope I hope!
These photos by the way are all the out takes from a yoga-instructor-photo sesh at the cottage. The gangle-mom-witch in action, yes?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Home again, or something

We are back in blazing hot Colorado. I took this photo on the drive from Denver International to our house. I always like the honesty of those first photos in a new place, and here I was pointing my camera at the heavens, in awe of that sky!
When the shuttle dropped us off in front of our house, the driver asked Patrick if he knew where he was going, she said he looked "lost". He was probably just taking in the wild overgrown gaggle of sunflowers out front (the back garden is a whole other story, for another day). In a way we were a bit lost though, standing in front of our house full of our stuff but feeling heavy-hearted to be leaving behind a summer of adventure and connection. A summer which left us with a lot of large looming question marks about the future.
Anyway, we are here, and here we are. Back to work for Patrick. Back to work for this housewife, or something. Back to our old new friends. Back to our own kitchen, which is both lovely and tiring -- really do we need to eat three meals a day? Heiko on the other hand, doesn't go back to anything, he just hurtles forward, racing around the yard.
And, despite the searing hot mid-day sun, the night brings cool air and a whisper of fall. Of new beginnings and changes and the hard work of establishing routines. I have a lot to share still from the summer and also from the future, or so I think. And I'll have more time now that I'm not on vacation? Ha ha. I'll be back soon, I hope. Till then!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Way to bathe

In addition to, you know, learning to walk, Heiko has been busy with all sorts of other activities while here, here being the cottage. He's been observing the rain, throwing things into the lake, dig-digging in the earth, and resisting bathing, just like everyone else. His loving father figured out how to manage this, however, by dragging the warm bath into the light of the setting sun on the dock. What a life.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Three humans two suitcases

Hey. So, this post has been sitting around in draft form for quite a while now, and I'm tired of it so I'm just going to put it out there.
It will not be interesting to many of you, but I feel like it might be worth recording some things about how it was that we travelled pretty light with a baby. We were in Europe for six weeks with two carry-on size wheelie bags, and two small backpacks (the little ones from MEC, I think every Canadian owns one at this point). So, three people, two suitcases, two backpacks. The check-in lady at the Air Canada counter told us it was "unheard of," and I figure she sees a lot of stuff. Given the amount of train/plane travel we did I can't imagine how hectic it would have been if we had brought more stuff. When we started planning our trip, I definitely didn't think this would be possible, but it was. I was kind of obsessive about reading other people's packing lists before we went, so here I go putting more of that kind of crap onto teh internets.
What did we bring? Here is our list.
The basics:
- Clothes for me. I won't bother with the details except to say that I used the travel fashion girl "classic" packing list, with a few tweaks (I'm not really a dress wearing gal, so I took an extra skirt and top). Since our trip started in the arctic, I also packed a few warm things that I was willing to ditch at the end of that part of the trip. In a feverish haze of packing I accidentally added two extra t-shirts, which weren't really essential but also didn't take up that much space.
- One set of running/yoga clothes, plus running shoes
- One travel yoga mat for both of us.
- Patrick's clothes. Sometimes I feel bad because men's clothes are just so much bigger.
- Clothes for Heiko. I roughly followed the minimalist mom's list. But to summarize: two long sleeve onesies, one long sleeve shirt, one short sleeve shirt, one short sleeve onesie, two pairs of pants, two pairs of shorts, two pairs of pajama pants, one pair of baby legs (rarely used), three pairs of socks (two would have done it, one cotton, one wool), one cotton hoodie and one wool blend hoodie. One super awesome k-way! Sun hat, cozy hat (didn't use), two pairs of shoes (turned out to be the wrong shoes, but we remedied that expensively in the Netherlands).The good thing about baby clothes is that they are really small and therefore easy to wash. I was a little worried about a massive barf-fest at any stage along the way, but happily we didn't experience such a thing.
As for other stuff, you know, all that stuff that babies need?
Here are the things that were essential:
- One receiving blanket, makes any bed a nicer place
- Sanitizing wipes (don't like these things on principle but they give me some peace of mind as a mama to epi-pen kid)
- Folding placemat - super helpful in restaurants with tablecloths
- Silicone bib: we used this at least three times a day to cut down on laundry/the crazy mess that is Heiko eating. It was helpful that it didn't need to dry out between uses, unlike any other bib he has ever used
- One sippy cup
- Epi pen, obviously
- Ergo carrier
- Travel stroller, ours is kind of giant as these things go, but it also reclines which is great for on the go napping.
- RAIN COVER for the stroller!!!! We were extremely close to leaving this at home, and I can't even begin to imagine how much it would have cramped our style not to have it. As a couple who met in rainy Vancouver, there are few things I like to do more than go for long walks in the rain with my sweetheart. And Heiko snoozing in his snug and dry stroller now just makes it that much sweeter. We did a lot of rainy walks in the Netherlands, and it turns out that we can fold the stroller up with the rain cover in the basket.
- Reusable snack bags
- Snacks! We traveled with a few packets of almond butter, raisins, rice cakes and a few other odds and ends.
- Toys and books: we brought a few small toys and three books. Of course we picked up more things along the way, plus everything is a toy, like it or not. This was maybe the most counter-intuitive thing to me at first, to be taking so little for Heiko. But he really needs so little, and we made toys and games out of everything.
- Diapers, enough for about 5 days. This actually turned out to be unnecessary, in that we could have taken fewer. But it was nice not to have to stress about getting those things right away.
Some additional stuff we found handy:
- Laundry supplies: soap, universal plug and clothesline
- Two sporks. What a dorky name, but these were essential rudimentary picnic supplies for cheese spreading and tomato cutting (hacking, really).
- A mini quick drying towel, which was useful for cleaning up after said picnics.
- A small canvas tote bag. This was pretty handy as a snack/heiko bag on our travel days. Sometimes I wished for a more structured "diaper bag", but I really believe those things are just organized black holes for too much crap. Plus this bag folded away to nothing when we were done with it.
- Those water bottles that are like plastic bags. Do you know what I'm talking about? They basically take up as much space as there is water in them, which is pretty great.

Things we brought but didn't use:
- Wool sleep sack. Since we were cosleeping it was always pretty warm, and we never used this. It took up a lot of space.
- Baby monitor. This actually would have been really useful, if it had worked on 220V. Unfortunately, not only did it not work, the higher voltage appears to have fried the monitor for good. Bummer.
- iPad aps. Before we left I downloaded a few aps for Heiko, fearing the worst on the long flights. But we never used them. I showed a few of them to him several times, but he wasn't really interested. He just wants to press the 'home' button, which is annoying. So I dropped it pretty quick, especially with the AAP recommendation of no screen time for the under two set. This, however, depends on the child, and I'm sure some people would find these aps extremely useful.

Things that would have been good:
- Some kind of highchair substitute. I think there are fabric thingies where you can essentially make any chair into a highchair by tying the child into the chair. This would have been handy, but possibly too bulky to realistically take.
We found other ways to lighten the load too. Being comfortable cosleeping was probably the most important thing, since it meant that Heiko didn't have much trouble adapting to new sleeping environments, and we didn't need to cart around a bed for him. We also really worked to minimize what we brought for ourselves. We both left our computers at home in favour of the ipad. My camera is compact. I brought only e-books on the iPad, which probably would be great if you really like to read but I'm not a big reader so it was fine. We downloaded maps on our phones.
It helped that we didn't need to look presentable at any time during the trip, so I didn't bother bringing particularly fancy clothes or shoes. It was also useful to get used to the idea of wearing the same clothes over and over again. I'm pretty ready to say farewell to these teal jeans, let me tell you.
Travelling light also meant that we didn't do too much shopping in our various destinations, since we knew our bags were already full. We did, however, pack a folding duffle bag which we deployed for the final return voyage, full of marzipan and stuff. It was nice though not to be thinking about souvineers until the end of the trip, since it would be easy for a lot of the trip to become a consumer quest of sorts if we had started collecting earlier.
The other thing that pro-packer weirdos always talk about is packing cubes. This was the first time I used them, and what can I say? I'm a believer. My clothes fit into one cube, Heiko's in another. Definitely meant that the suitcase was more manageable to rummage through, and I think they help squish everything down.
So that about sums it up. If you have read this far, what is wrong with you? For all you non-parents out there, let this be a warning and an incentive to double-check the birth control: this is the kind of crap your brain gets all filled up with when you have a baby. Eeeh.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Walking, no, running

At long last, my little guy is finally on the go all on his own. After waiting and hoping for this for many months now, I'm delighted and a little terrified. Plus a bit emotional of course! He sure is pleased with himself, shrieking away as he tears around the cottage.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Toronto, touristically

Our time in Toronto draws to a close. I'm so terribly homesick.