Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hi everyone,

Sometimes I feel like we're so busy, and everything is work work work and we never get to relax and have fun. But when I look back at our photos from the last month, I realize that is really not true. We've had a lot of fun!

We did a little hike on Mont Ripley (our local ski hill):

We did another hike from our book, the Gratiot Lake Overlook trail, up in Keweenaw County. Another great little hike we never knew existed!

Josh's family came to visit and we had Willow's corrected birthday party (we've already posted a few photos from that weekend, but here are a few more).

A couple of Willow's friends. Not a great photo, but wanted to include them. We got a photo of all the babies, but it's on my mom's camera...

Josh's parents rented a log cabin while they were up. Willow had a great time on the stairs, undder auntie Janna's watchful eye.

And then, as I mentioned in that last (lame) post, last weekend we went to Duluth for my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary. I was a really bad picture-taker the whole weekend though. Again, my mom got some better ones but I haven't gotten those myself yet. Congratulations, Grandma and Grandpa!!

Here's Willow with Grandpa. She was on a mission to "walk" (holding on to your hands) all weekend. Grandpa got her to let go of one hand. She's so close!!

Here's Willow with Great-Grandma Lois (one of them; she has two Great-Grandma Loises :) )

Here we are in the hotel pool. She just loved it. I wish I could post a video of her splashing, but I'm too impatient to wait for a video to upload. I actually was a little cold in the pool, but Willow was tough - she was smiling from the second she was in. And about 3 seconds after we got in she started splashing and didn't really stop the whole time.

Here's Willow with Uncle Ryan. He flew in for a quick 2-day visit.

Here's Willow with Jenny, who I just learned is now officially my future-first-cousin-once-removed-in-law. Congratulations, Matt and Jenny!

While in Duluth, we also got to have a quick visit with our friends Sharon and Andy, who live there. We did a quick hike in Chester Bowl. Willow fell asleep for part of it.

She enjoyed looking over this bridge at the creek below:

So yeah, we've been busy, but it's a good busy. Summer always flies by so fast. You gotta enjoy it!

Willow is changing by leaps and bounds. For a while she only had her top inclisors with no front teeth, and we were calling her "Fang". Then on Thursday, both front teeth popped through in one day, and suddenly they're the same size as the fangs. Two more bottom teeth are poking through too, so she now has 8 teeth. Her hair is still coming, slow but sure:

She learned how to drink through a straw, and we did get her a sippy cup with a straw. She still drinks from a bottle during the day with Linda though. I know you're supposed to stop bottles around a Guess we better get on that.

Speaking of Linda, finally, here is a photo of her. We love Linda! Willow squeals with excitement when Linda arrives in the morning. She's awesome!

Well, that's enough blogging for now. It's 80 degrees and sunny, and I need to get outside!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

We're still here...

Hi everyone,

It's been soooo long since we posted. Sorry. There hasn't been a spare minute to blog. Last weekend, the Jenson's came into town and we had a first birthday party for Willow. It was a lot of fun and the weather was perfect. Then Josh went fishing in Minnesota for a few days, so I was a single parent all week. Thank goodness my mom came and helped out for a little bit after work. I honestly don't know how single parents do it! Then, we met Josh and all of my extended family in Duluth yesterday, to celebrate my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary. It's been really fun, and some people were meeting Willow in person for the first time.

So right now, Willow is napping and I'm hanging out in the hotel room while she sleeps. Everyone else is out and about so I figured I'd do a quick blog post, just so everyone knows we're still alive! I don't have many pictures though; we didn't bring our computer, so I'm using my parents'. They have some pictures from Willow's birthday party on here so I'll post a few of those. I'll do a better post sometime soon. This morning we put Willow in the hotel pool. It was her first swimming experience. She LOVED it. As soon as she got in the water she started smiling, then she started splashing! I think many photos were being snapped (I was in the water with her), so I'll post some of those next time.

Happy anniversary to Grandma and Grandpa Bell, and Happy first corrected birthday to Willow! The "official" day is today; May 22 last year was my due date.

Here are those photos....

Loving her new swing:

Willow grew hair!!

With Auntie Janna

Josh and Aunt Jill

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Hi everyone,

Last weekend we decided to get a start on the "new-decade resolution" that we made after we got "Walking Paths and Protected Areas of the Keweenaw":

This book is cool because there are so many hiking trails in it that I didn't know existed. I grew up here, so I thought I knew of at least a good percentage of the hiking paths around here. Each trail in the book has a little narrative on the trail's history. A lot of the areas in the book have relatively recently been "protected" - bought by the Michigan Nature Association or the Nature Conservancy or some other organization like that. I guess that's why I didn't know about them. I grew up here, yeah, but then I lived away for 9 years, and many of these trails were created/protected in the early 2000s when I wasn't here. So exporing them is exciting!

I just went off on a tangent. So anyway, our resolution was to hike every trail, with Willow, by the end of the decade. We got our start last weekend by going to the Robert Thorson Brown Nature Sanctuary, near Painesdale, only about 5-10 miles south of here. It actually took us forever to find it - the sign the book said to look for was NOT there - but just when we were about to give up, we found the trailhead. Here are some photos from our excursion:

Willow in the bog-like "fen" (vocab word for you), checking out a stick.

This hike, being in a fen, is supposed to have a lot of unique flowers and plant life to look at. It's a little early in the spring though, and not much was out yet. Here's one of the few signs of life we saw. I have a thing about taking photos of mushrooms. Whenever I see one, I feel compelled to take a photo. I should go through all our photos and pull out all the random mushroom shots and put them in a separate folder labeled "shrooms". Haha.

This is on the bank of Lake Perrault.

Willow trying to sneak in a quick bite while mom and dad are occupied with picture-taking. I think this picture is hilarious.

Here she is having a more appropriate snack. Situations like this remind me how thankful I am that Willow learned how to breastfeed. What a pain it would've been to carry along a cooler with bottles of breastmilk on a hike. And then there would've been nowhere to warm up the milk.

After the hike, we went to...the bar, of course! We've discovered that the KBC (Keweenaw Brewing Company, for you non-locals) is a great place to bring Willow on a Sunday afternoon. There's usually very few people there. Last Sunday it was even more dead than usual, probably due to MTU's finals week being last week - everyone was home studying. Don't judge us for bringing our baby to a bar. It's the kind of bar where people bring their kids - honest! Not on, like, a Friday night, but during the day it's not uncommon to see kids there. And it's not like we got trashed. We had one beer each. We couldn't resist taking a photo of Willow bellied up to the bar. ;)

We had such a great time that day we were sort of thinking an outdoor excursion as a family and then the KBC should become our Sunday tradition. We don't go to church, but maybe the great outdoors and good beer is our religion...?

Here are some other random shots from this weekend. I tried to get some shots of Willow's hair. She still doesn't have much. In this one you can see the little tuft on top. As far as the color, it's still sort of hard to tell. It looks to be sort of dark blonde.

Here's the back of her head. It's coming in pretty evenly. None of that old-man-hairline effect that newborns sometimes get.

Although we cloth diaper Willow, we have mostly kept her in disposables at night because she pees through the cloth diapers. I'd been doing some research and decided to try a wool diaper cover. They're supposed to be great for keeping in leaks at night. Here's Willow modeling the one I bought. It has a regular prefold plus a Bum Genius soaker pad inside it. A little bulky! But it still didn't work. I don't know what we're doing wrong. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know. Peeing through is not convenient, not at all...especially since we currently have only one set of sheets - no spares!

I was super excited yesterday to finally get my clothesline up and running. I think I've mentioned before how I actually enjoy laundry. Well, my favorite part is hanging the clothes out on the line. I hadn't done it once yet this spring, though the weather would've allowed it, because at the end of last summer my retractable clothesline broke. The plastic part that the line is stored in just snapped. Yesterday I went and got a new one. I got the same one I had that broke, but I had a new idea to help take some of the strain off the plastic part. We rigged up a carabiner and a rope to the tree that goes right over the line, to help hold the middle part up. It's the same concept as the y-shaped sticks some people put under their clotheslines for support. I hope it works.

I got to do a little yardwork yesterday too, which was long overdue. Willow hung out in her exersaucer and watched.

Oh, I wanted to give the answer to the riddle from two blogs ago: what were my parents doing with the baggie of brown liquid and the duck?

Emily guessed that they were making syrup or beer, but that's not right. When they bought the land their camp is now on, it had a trailer on it. The duck was in the trailer when they bought it. It was filled with a mysterious liquid. On Easter they decided to find out what. A cork was removed and the liquid poured into a baggie, then transferred to a bottle. It turned out to be whiskey. Josh and my dad sampled it.

Here's a video to leave you with. Willow has started saying "kitty". I caught it on video, though it's not a great one, you can hear it. I'm calling kitty her first word other than mama and dada. On Christmas she said poopoo and we thought that was a word, but I think it was just a sound she tried out for awhile. She said it a lot for about a week but hasn't really said it since. She actually says kitty when the cat comes in the room, so I know she understands it as a word and not just jibberish.