Monday, September 30, 2013

Owl Post

I think someone might be trying to send me a message via owl post.  I’d test my theory by leaving a window open at night so as to receive the missive, except that stink bugs and mosquitoes are also trying to leave me a “message,” and can be found at any given time hovering on the other side of my screens.  So the screens will stay down, thank you very much.

But anyway, last fall Sean and I were awakened by the strange trillings of what we later figured out was an Eastern Screech Owl.  We didn’t actually see the owl (it was of course always late at night when we heard it), but for a couple of weeks it would make its sound close by our house.  Then Saturday night I was up nursing Owen at 4 and I heard what I thought was someone whistling on our property.  I listened as the little tune changed and got closer, and then I began to find the whole thing a bit creepy—for why would someone be walking near our house and whistling at 4 in the morning, if not to execute some nefarious plan? 

Sean heard the whistling too, however, and he was able to figure out that it was coming from high up in a tree.  I did some you-tube sleuthing and finally found a recording of the EXACT strange little whistling tune—and it was a great horned owl!

The whole episode pleases me way more than it should.  Two owls!  Hovering nearby our very own house!  I even think I might go search under the tree for pellets!

Plum thinking, what kind of moron whistles
a stupid little tune in the middle of the night?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Owen in September

I haven’t been feeling very loquacious lately, so I let a week or so go by with no blog updates.  Oh the horror.  All is well on the homefront though:  we are enjoying weather that allows for no air conditioning and no heat, I am regularly attacking the cats with “the furminator,” a new comb/brush guaranteed to decrease hairballs by 90%, Dorothy is a delight (she now sleeps downstairs on her own and the choice was hers!), and Owen is maturing in ways that are very entertaining to observe.

He is on the verge of really talking – at the moment he says a lot of words when he’s not thinking about it.  He’ll say “thank you” and “good” and “good boy” if he isn’t paying too much attention to the process.  If we ask him to say something, he’ll get shy and won’t do it.  He will answer when asked what sounds certain animals make, his favorite at the moment being fish and monkeys, dogs and cows.  He also (finally!) is practicing his M sounds and will greet me when I get home at the end of the day with a Mom Mom Mom Mom Mom!  And then he bursts into tears when I go to take out my contacts.

He still mainly crawls and walks sideways while holding onto something like a coffee table, but has several times been holding a toy in each hand and taken a few steps from table to couch, or table to tv console.  Like with the talking, he is liable to perform new skills when he isn’t paying attention to what he is doing.

He started a new music class with Susan this past week, and participates a little more each time.  He shakes an “egg”, hits sticks together, plays the drums, and even sang a bit at the end of the class.  He also at class and at home will do a (hilarious) dance that involves a somewhat lewd grinding of his hips.  His favorite song right now is “Easy, Easy” by King Krule and he will come crawling whenever he hears it begin, and then immediately get into dance position and have at it.  Owen will also dance when Sean does his verbal beat box—and the dance he does to that is different from the dance he does to King Krule.  The boy has rhythm.

Owen’s sleeping is still a grab bag of awakenings.  He tends to still wake up every two hours throughout the night; if I’m lucky, there’s a four-hour stretch in there at some point.  I’m beginning to think of weaning, although to be honest I’d much prefer that Owen initiates it himself.  Babies do that, right?  So far he hasn’t seemed inclined to give up his mom-produced snacks. 

It's hard to get pictures of Owen because he is always on the move, and when you interrupt him on his way from somewhere to somewhere, he gets mad and does this kicking / writhing / whining spasm which always makes me giggle.  Beware the wrath of a toddler!


Friday, September 13, 2013

A Cloud of Lilac Fur

One of the things that has been a struggle while working full-time and taking care of a baby is trying to do daily pet care such as brushing and nail clipping and the like.  I mean to do it, but I run out of time in the evenings.  My cat, Plum, is a British Shorthair and as such has more hair per square inch than any other cat.  His hair is THICK.  I haven't been good about giving him his daily (or weekly if I'm being honest) brushings and thus he walked around like Pigpen, giving off puffs of hair if you looked at him funny.

This past weekend I finally sat down and brushed Plum's lilac fur.  And brushed and brushed and brushed.  Twenty minutes later and the fur was still filling up the brush.  Here he is halfway through the process, with about two-thirds of the fur that I actually collected during the brushing.  As Sean pointed out, if you squint at the picture, it looks like both Plum and Posy are lying there:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dorothy Phelps

Dorothy was very pleased to return to Maine, her birth state.  Even though it had been two years since her last visit, due to the arrival of Owen last summer, Dorothy recognized my parents' house and yard and immediately felt at home there.

On the drive up to Maine, Dorothy rode shotgun and was an absolute angel in the car.  She no longer gets carsick and is very relaxed throughout a car trip.  Here she is looking at me and dozing as I sat next to the tiny tyrant in the backseat:

When I awoke the morning of our first full day there, I heard the sound of tennis ball and running bulldogge out the window, and looked out to see Dorothy and her Dad enjoying my parents' beautiful back yard.  Dorothy spent many moments of each day chasing balls in the yard.  It's a bulldogge pastoral!

And then she would come inside and rest on the porch, enjoying the Maine breezes.

A girl gets tired out from all that running!  Luckily her Aunt Nellie doesn't mind sharing her beds:

Dorothy's big moment this vacation was when she went for a swim in the Pemaquid River!  We had long suspected that she might enjoy the water, but had never had a chance to try it out.  One afternoon we walked down to the river from my parents' house and decided to see what Dorothy would do.  At first she wasn't sure what her Dad was asking of her.  She wanted to get to the tennis ball, but it was out of her reach!  What should she do?!

Sean kept giving her encouragement and calling her forward and all of a sudden she took a step into the deeper water and her legs began to paddle.  And paddle and paddle!  She began to swim in little circles around her father, quite pleased with herself.  She got the ball, and eventually was confident enough to try to attack the splashes that she was making with her very own feet.

Good girl, Dorothy!  She is quite the athlete.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Pemaquid River & Pemaquid Beach

While we were in Maine, my parents offered to babysit Owen so Sean and I could go on the occasional excursion without him.  We went canoeing in the Damariscotta River and it was as lovely as always.  We saw herons, turtles, and fish, and were escorted the whole way by dragonflies who often decided to rest a bit on our boat or on our heads.  Since I have problems steering a canoe, Sean sat in the back and did the steering, and was a natural at it.  Here's a few pictures my father took of us canoeing back to the banks:

That's us way in the distance!  If you listen closely, you can probably hear Sean telling me to "dig deep!":

Owen is not a big fan of the stroller at the moment, which is a bit of a pain--having just become really mobile via crawling and standing, he prefers to move on his own accord, thank you very much.  Who needs wheels?  Not Owen.  We did go on a few very short excursions though--here is a picture of part of New Harbor (I think).  We crossed a little bridge under which the tide was coming in, and Owen stuck his toes into the Atlantic for the first time.  Consensus:  too cold!

I don't get a chance to swim much anymore, so I was determined to do my annual ocean swim, even if it was just for a few minutes.  We weren't able to go the first week, but my mother and I took Owen the second and I was able to dive in and paddle for five minutes, before the freezing cold water and slight antsiness of Owen on the shore caused me to end the swim.

My cousin, Lynne, and her family were visiting Maine from Idaho on their way to bring their daughter, Brooke, to Wellesley for her freshman year.  I hadn't seen them since Brooke was three, so it was fun to have a reunion of sorts in Maine.  They brought Owen a cute Sun Valley t-shirt, which he decided to model for us at the beach.  It went well with his hat and whale swimming trunks!

My mother took a few pictures of me dipping Owen into the water.  The water was very cold for Owen, but he spent a few minutes standing in the sand while the water swirled about, and he was very interested in what was going on down by his toes.  I think he will really like it next year when he can toddle about.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Owen's Maine Vacation

We had a lovely Maine vacation this year at my parents' house in Bristol.  Sean, Owen, Dorothy and I drove up together, and then after one week Sean and Dorothy returned to Pennsylvania while Owen and I stayed on for another week.  I'm not going to lie:  the ride up wasn't easy.  It took about ten hours, which isn't bad, but Owen fussed for a lot of those hours.  But once we were there, the fine weather, good company, beautiful scenery, and delicious food more than made up for the whining traveling hours.

Owen had a good time both inside and out.  Here he is enjoying the lighthouse at Pemaquid Point:

And here is the picture I took before the one above, with Owen exiting stage right:

As is the case with coastal Maine, as we went on many errands, walks or outings there was always the ocean to be seen and boats sailing upon it.  Owen soon learned where to look when we pointed and said "boat!"  Here he is by the water in Damariscotta, looking like a salty dog:

And here he is trying out a swing at the new Bristol Community Playground:

Since Owen is not walking yet, and since he is only one, we did spend a lot of time at home moseying about.  And although walking behind a crawling boy is not always the most scintillating of activities, it was fun for me to spend time with Owen during the day.  He really is quite a happy little fellow.  Here are some of his indoor Maine activities:

He liked to take everything out of the urn by the door, piece by piece, including all the bags that are there for when dogs get walked:

He very much enjoyed both playing Granny's piano, and looking at himself in the side of it:

Here he is enjoying Granny and Grandfather's computer:

And this was one of his favorite activities -- watching the clothes spin in the washer:

It turns out that you can change the settings of a load midway through.  Who knew?!

To come:  Owen at the beach!  And don't forget Dorothy!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Posy and "Posy"

I got a few books for Owen the other day, for when he graduates from board books.  One of them is a book named "Posy" by Linda Newbery and Catherine Rayner, and stars a cat named Posy who looks very similar to my own Posy.

I decided to try to get a few photos of the two:

She wasn't very impressed.  But the moment I picked the book up and put it on the endtable, she decided to use it as a perch:

Perhaps she thought it was a monogrammed bed of the non-plush variety?