Life on Cottage Hill: PAGES

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A rocky start to a Rocky week

One moment please... I am still laughing at my witty corny post title. 

All failed attempts at humor aside, we did have a rocky start to the week. Yesterday when driving to work Dan realized that all of the oil was leaking from the car. He quickly put more in before coming home to see what the problem was. Long story short, when he changed the oil and transmission fluid on Sunday something went wrong and lead to all of the oil running out of the engine Monday morning. I am no car expert but even I know that an engine with no oil can result in very, very bad things. So, this resulted in me working from home since we had only one car to work with and Dan using the morning to fix the car. Luckily, he figured out the problem and had it looked at by a mechanic to make sure. Car crisis averted.

Then the second rocky patch to our week was Jackson. Last night after he came home from Nanna's house he was in a great mood, as usual. This wore off as the evening progressed, resulting in a very grumpy, very clingy baby boy. He would not let me put him down. I started having nightmarish flashbacks to when he was a newborn when he would only sleep when I was holding him 24/7. So, we had a rough night to say the least. I think I got about 2 hours of sleep total. I held him the entire night. 

The poor thing is cutting teeth and it is making him miserable. He has been a teething rock start up to this point, so I can't really complain, but due to no sleep and a baby who just needs his mama I used a personal day and stayed with him at home today. I feel guilty for taking the day off since we'll be leaving for vacation on Thursday (that is where the "Rocky" week comes into play since we're going to Denver... home of the Rocky mountains... get it? Ha- lame, I know!)... but the whole "why must I feel guilty because my baby needs me is a whole different post...

Here is my adorable teething monster from this morning. Miraculously he has been napping on his own for 5 whole minutes as we speak... fingers crossed that he takes a full nap on his own and wakes up happy!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Great Date Day (semi) Flop

Since Jackson came along Dan and I have made it a priority to still have dates. These were easier to manage when I was on maternity leave because I was with Jackson every day so I didn't feel like I was losing too much time with him to go out to dinner with Dan once a month while Nanna soaked up much-needed baby JP time. Then, when I went back to work we made it a goal to still have dates once a month. At the moment we're averaging more like one every 3 months, but at least it's a start. One such date was scheduled for yesterday when we had planned to go canoeing for the afternoon while Jackson played with his honorary Aunt Sara, Uncle Larry and cousins Lex and Peyton. 

So, I dropped JP off as planned and came home to pick up Dan before going to the river, but we decided that since the river was so low from a lack of rain that canoeing would probably end up being more frustrating than exciting. Plan B consisted of us taking the puppies for a hike. They were beyond excited. Honestly. When you ask Sammy if he wants to go "bye bye" he literally starts running in circles and jumping up and down and then bolts to the car before you can possibly change your mind. So, we piled both dogs into the car and off we went.

So, we are driving down the road at approximately 45 miles per hour when all of a sudden Sammy leaps out the window. Really, he jumped out the window of a moving car on a semi-busy road. Dan and I both looked at each other in shock and I started screaming for Sammy while Dan quickly pulled off to the side of the road. I jumped out of the car and proceeded to chase our 15 pound ball of fur down the road screaming his name. He looked back. He saw me running and that made him run even faster, enjoying the game of chase. I continued to sprint after him. Well, after about 10 cars stopped on the road, creating a little traffic jam and a woman actually got out of her car to help me chase the terror of a dog down I finally caught up to him. Where was he you ask? Oh, just wagging his little tail by some man's car, sniffing his tires and loving every minute of attention he was getting. I could have died. No, correction- I almost did die because it has been awhile since I have ran that far and that fast. 

After many waves of apologies to everyone in sight and thanking the woman profusely, I picked up my eldest son and walk back to the car in half shock from embarrassment and half shock from the heart-attack I was having. Okay, moving on, we'll call that Strike 1 for date day.

We finally get to the hiking trail after the drama, get the leashes on both boys and start walking. Sammy is still happy as can be to be on a hike. Bing, not so much. He now smells the scent of many other dogs and isn't a big fan. He is the sweetest, sorry-excuse for a guard dog when at home, but is showing us that this is not the case when in public. So, Dan is constantly having to scold him to get him to act appropriately on the trail. Not relaxing, not relaxing at all. So after a little bit of this I declare that I just want to go home. This is not fun. This is not relaxing. We are getting zero chances to just talk and hang out together. This is not what date day is supposed to be like. Dan agrees. So, we decide to take our trouble maker dogs home and then opt for plan C. We'll call this Strike 2 for date day.

So, we drop Sammy and Bing at home, shower, change clothes and then decide that plan C consists of a very early dinner at one of our favorite wineries. We couldn't possibly go wrong there, right? We order wine and our dinner, are enjoying the atmosphere and then Dan's dinner arrives and the pork tenderloin that he ordered is breaded. Breaded? That is what someone with gluten intolerance would call strike 3 of date day. The menu's description was quite wordy but mentioned nothing of breading, so he had to send it back in lieu of a salad. The same thing the poor guy eats every other day of his life and the same thing he just ate as an appetizer.

After 3 strikes we ended date day. We picked up our little man who had an amazing time getting spoiled for the afternoon and hoped that our next date day would fair far more enjoyable. Oh well, the semi-disappointment of yesterday was made up for today. The weather was perfect. Church was moving, as always. And we spent the remainder of the day at home, enjoying each other. And to top it all of we have only 3 working days in front of us this week before flying to Denver to meet our most beautiful niece Violet O!
When Jackson woke up from his afternoon nap his hair was pointing in every direction.

His Einstein hair do.

He thinks his lack of style is hilarious. 

Outside helping Daddy change the oil in the car.

This is his "the sun is too bright" look

Hanging out with Bing

JP and I relaxing on the dock

My handsome little man who might be more handsome if his hair was less out of control.

Another beautiful Sunday on Cottage Hill!

Friday, September 24, 2010

This little piggy...

After work tonight JP, Dan and I went to the annual Antique Tractor Show to visit with Nanna, Poppy and Uncle Juey along with a few others. Jackson was in complete awe of all the noises and people to look at. I am not one to get too thrilled with looking at tractors or machinery in general, but the engineer in Dan enjoys it and the weather was amazing so I enjoyed being outside and who wouldn't love these adorable baby animals that we saw at the Petting Zoo?
Daddy showing Jackson all the animals

 Oh my, so peaceful

 Poppy petting the horse

 The horse checking us out

 Seriously? Look at that little pony

 Hungry little piggies

 Mama pig and her babies

 More piggies

 I love how this lamb made the strategic call to just jump into the food container. Smart boy.

And now onto the BIG news of the day- Jackson's first tooth finally popped through! It happened while he was at Nanna's house. Nanna emailed me and said "be sure to look at Jackson's gums when you pick him up" and I replied with "did he get a tooth? If he got his first tooth and I wasn't there I'm going to die" -well, he did get his firth tooth and I  didn't die, but I was very excited!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

To Do:

Dan, Jackson and I arrived home a little bit ago from our first Small Group. Small Group is a group of people who meet once a week from our church to do sort of a bible study... Jackson played with his buddy Canaan while Dan and I did the study portion of the evening. Canaan is just 2 months older than Jackson. I think they had fun for awhile, but then it was past both of their bedtimes so their play date ended in some brief tears. Poor little guys were just worn out. In any case, it was a great night with great people!

Now as I wrap up some things around the house I am thinking through my list of "to do's" for this weekend and they include:

1. Clean this house!
2. Laundry
3. Date day with Dan- we are going canoeing on Saturday!
4. Church
5. Grocery shop
6. Lots of walks and outside playtime with Jackson
7. Lots of Jackson time in general
8. Lots of Dan time for that matter
9. Start to get packed for DENVER!
10. Buy some mums and/or fall'ish flowers
11. Make a pot of soup or chili
12. Make more baby food
13. Pick out a Halloween costume for JP
14. Order new photos to hang in the house
15. Remind myself that I always overestimate my to-do-list-capacity
16. At a minimum, do #s 3, 4, 7 & 8... because at the end of the day, weekends are nothing without each other!

PS: I thought it would be fun to peek back to what I was writing about last year at this time and the year before- check it out here (2008) and here (2009)


There are pieces of inspiration around us all day, every day if we choose to look for them and then if we choose to appreciate them. Here are 2 pieces that I came across today:

The first is a photo that I snapped when dropping Jackson off at Nanna's house for the day this morning. I apologize for the poor quality since I took it with my Blackberry, but I hope you can feel the peacefulness that I felt with the sun slowly rising and the full moon still out with the thick fog rolling across the field. So serene and beautiful.

And secondly, this bible verse from my morning devotional- just reading it brings to my mind some very clear, beautiful images-

"Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life." -Psalm 23:6

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I hear babies cry, I watch them grow, they'll learn much more than we'll ever know and I think to myself, what a wonderful world...

Since one of the main reasons I blog so regularly is to capture all of our memories for Jackson (and his future brothers and sisters) to read one day I also find that it is a good opportunity to document future "friendly reminders" to my darling son of how far my love for him goes and how when he reads this many years down the road he should pick up the phone- or better yet drive/fly/run to me- and give me the biggest hug as a little "thank you." I'm just saying... oh, and flowers would be a nice touch too. 

So, to my point of the day- as you know, my love for him goes far and deep. There is nothing I would not do for that chubby little man who is sleeping peacefully as I write this. And this past week as I traveled solo that included (note: I apologize in advance to anyone who gets uncomfortable with 'breastfeeding talk' but then again, get over it..) anyway, this love included pumping in the most awkward places every few hours over the course of my trip to the other side of the world in order to keep my milk supply up. 

These awkward places included many, many restroom stalls- some more pleasant than others in a wide variety of places from airports to restaurants to office buildings to airplanes. Yes, I had nearly 40 hours on you can imagine how many times I had to squeeze into the tiny airplane bathroom and take care of my "mama business." This, of course, resulted in some very judgmental stares on occasion from people wondering why I was in these bathroom stalls for so long and what was that weird noise coming from the room. And then the more welcomed "I feel for you" looks from fellow moms who watched as I cleaned my pump parts and poured that oh-so-precious-milk down the sink when finished. These adventures also included carrying the what-appears-to-be-light-but-turns-out-to-be-quite-heavy-after-awhile pump around with me literally at all times on my trip. No, literally, I can think of only one evening for a total of 3 hours when I was not attached to the pump bag. 

But you know what, I would do it again a thousand times if I needed to. I love you, Jackson Philip! Now go call your mother. And send her flowers. And some chocolate too. 

Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most. -Buddha

The theme of today is "peaceful productivity." The past couple of weeks have been a beautiful mess- which is usually how life is at its best- both amazing and chaotic at the same time. 

I think all of it somewhat caught up with me last night because I was beyond exhausted after work. After Jackson and I grocery shopped I realized had no more energy. Absolutely none. So I decided to work from home today to somewhat recharge while still being productive. I have no meetings today which is rare and I have a lot of work to do, so I am going to do it peacefully from home where I can focus completely, save 2 hours in the car and enjoy crossing things of my to do list as quickly as possible.

While I get back to work, here are a few more peeks into my adventures in Singapore- enjoy!

Mercedes and I - Can you believe that she is 4.5 months pregnant here? Lets hope I look that amazing with my next pregnancy!

A view from the Singapore Flyer- an enormous "ferris wheel" with exceptional views of the city. The skyline in this photo is of the financial district.

LOVED this sign that was posted when boarding the flyer...

The Flyer from afar

Leaving dinner on the last night in Singapore

Laura and Andrea who had lost their minds after a long day of meetings

Another view from the Flyer. If you look on the bottom right you can see the grand stands being set up for the Formula One Grand Prix race that is happening this week. Also notice the floating soccer field on the water. Every piece of Singapore if so thought out and unique.. loved it all!

Another view of the city from atop a hill that we hiked to the top of

The very busy port with ships as far as you could see...

Merce and I with one of the many Merlion statues we came across - the official symbol of Singapore

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Jackson's 1st trip to King's Island

Today was the annual P&G day at King's Island which meant JP's first official visit (although technically he was there last fall when I was pregnant)! We spent the day there along with Aunt Cherie, Uncle Brandon and cousins Josie and Grace. The little man seemed to love it- so much so that he refused to nap while at the park. He was so exhausted by the time we left that he was asleep in his car seat before we were out of the parking lot. 

Here are some photos from today!
Cher & Brandon are somewhere on that ride... loved it!

The Engels!

Grace driving (that's a scary thought!)

LOVES rides too!

Daddy and JP

Brandon, Cherie, Grace (2 years) and Josie (4.5 months)

Strollers, strollers everywhere...

Sweet Josie, riding peacefully along...

Grace entertaining the babies

Mama & Jackson

Like mother, like daughter... :)

One very tired little boy

Grace passed out & Josie... 

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