June 16, 2013

Iowa to Oregon

I know it has been 6 months since we left Pennsylvania, but packing up for another move to the other side of the country came really fast! Three weeks ago we left Iowa and went to Utah for a week to visit family, then headed out to California to visit my Dad and family for a week, then finally got up here to Medford, OR for another internship that will last all summer. Brandan has one more block of classes, lectures, exams and practicums down and a year of school left to go, I’ve gotten a few projects done I’ve been wanting to do since before college life began several years ago, and Kaiya has learned quite a few new tricks! I’m excited to see how different she will be when we return to Iowa near the end of August! She grows too fast!

Anyone who knows Brandan knows his fascination with disc golf since he started graduate school. He LOVES it so much – he plays every chance he gets, usually once or twice a week if the weather permits, and finally had the chance to enter into a small tournament up in Northern Iowa in April with some friends from DSM. Kaiya and I tagged along for fun and it was a blast hanging out at the park all day while the guys played a couple of games and received some new t-shirts, discs, and prizes for various competitions. I think everyone came home with one prize or another so it was a good experience. I have a feeling he will be entering into several more tournaments in the future, and I might join him!
[the group we went with: Cody, Jordan, Ethan, Brandan & AJ]
[Kaiya hanging out in the BOB]

[Having fun!]

Outside of school and disc golfing, Brandan made his own disc golf basket from scratch. It was very impressive and he and his schoolmates use it daily during their lunch break. He used some old snow tire chains, a camera tripod, wiring and electrical tape, a storage basket, and some foam noodles for padding along the base. Let’s just say, if Brandan is going to do something, he’s going to go all out. I think he spent maybe 6 hrs or so sawing the chain pieces and setting it up but it was well worth it to have a basket for putting practice over lunch! 

When I haven’t been busy with scrapbooking projects or other household activities, I have been taking Kaiya outside. She absolutely loves being outside – she loves feeling the grass (and of course trying to pull it up and eat it), watching the clouds in a bright blue sky, feeling the wind (she use to stop breathing for moments at a time when she’d feel it, it was pretty funny), and people/car watching. I’ve taken her to numerous play groups where she’s perfectly happy just watching all the kids run around and play. I also feel blessed that she’s so easy to entertain herself well with a few little toys. You know, some people gave us expensive store-bought toys for her and she totally prefers the random everyday objects like spoons, granola bar wrappers, Tupperware lids, necklaces, etc, which I’m grateful for since she’s easily distracted by them if we’re away from home and she’s getting bored!

We’ve had a few “firsts” with Kaiya the past several months, which may not be so exciting to experience parents, but they’re WAY exciting to us! She has gone from having milk 6 times a day to having it 4 times and day along with 2 meals of pureed foods. I’ve wanted to start making my own baby food so it doesn’t have all the processed junk and sugar in it but it’s hard to do that when we aren’t living in our own home with our own kitchen stuff back in Iowa. However, we did find some pretty cool organic baby foods that have interesting flavors like “raspberry, oatmeal and quinoa” and “pumpkin, banana and mango,” etc. It will be even more fun when she can start eating solids so we don’t have to carry around little pouches of pureed stuff with us!

Kaiya got sick for the first time ever. At 6 months she began teething a bit and, along with that pain, she got pink eye. Luckily, since I’m nursing her, we were able to get rid of the goopy/pink eyes fairly quickly with some sprays of silver and ‘mommy milk’ as Brandan lovingly calls it (breast milk) in her eyes. Isn’t it amazing what the body can do?? Kaiya got sick while we were in California just over a week ago and as soon as she got better, Brandan and I came down with strep throat and an ear infection. For Brandan and I, we made a daily routine of taking extra vitamins, spraying silver in our throats, breathing in steam, placing a carrot and ginger poultice in our throats for 30 minutes at a time, placing hydrogen peroxide in my ear and using heated onion halves to draw out my ear infection. NO medications, other than a nasal congestant later on, NO help from a doctor… thank goodness for modern medicine for some things, but thank even more goodness for those ancient homeopaths who figured out how natural things affect our bodies when we’re ill! Anyway, so after almost two weeks of one of the three of us being sick, we are almost completely healed and Brandan can finally begin his internship!

I feel a little guilty saying this, but I’m glad that Brandan stayed from from work sick with me for a few days because otherwise he would have missed seeing Kaiya roll over! She is one of those babies who is totally content just hanging out on the floor or in a chair so she’s difficult to motivate movement out of. However, she loves her binky, so with that as her prize, we got her to roll over by herself multiple times in a row just this past Tuesday and it was awesome to watch. It blows my mind how quickly she learns and advances! I should put a plug in that technically, the first time she rolled over was in her swaddler on my Dad’s bed in California, but no one saw it actually happen and she wouldn’t do it again…

Kaiya doesn’t talk yet, but she recently learned how to consistently lip buzz and spit and since we laugh almost every time, she has made it her way of getting attention when no one is paying too much attention to her – it’s pretty cute. She also squeals quite a bit. Several people have mistaken it for her needing something or being in pain or about to cry, and when they look at me to see if I’m going to be a good mommy and take care of her, I just have to shrug my shoulders and let them know she’s playing. Why can’t she just babble really cute like she use to? She still isn’t a very loud baby though, so I don’t mind!

Her strawberry blonde hair has gotten a bit thicker and longer on top so we can actually put it into a tiny little pony tail! I don’t do it often yet since I have to wrap the rubber band around about 10,000 times, but it’s fun to play with.

[Kaiya’s first pony tail!]

I also stuck a little strawberry swimsuit on her so we could play in a mini pool with a few friends and their kids. Sadly, the water was pretty cold so I could only really dip her toes in, but she enjoys bath time quite a bit so when we get farther into the summer we’ll have to try again.  
[Kaiya’s first experience taking a dip in the pool with her friends Isabel, Aaron & Cassidy]


[“squirrel!” haha – oddly, this is a typical face she makes when she’s excited about anything!]
[for some reason, the computer won't let me turn the picture - so sorry she's upside-down] 

At the first BBQ of the summer, on Mother’s Day, Kaiya got bored being on the ground with some toys but Brandan and I wanted to help grill and play around with a soccer ball so, what was the solution? Use a little blanket to tie her into a kiddie camping chair so she could see everyone and thus remain entertained. Way to go Brandan for the creativity! Luckily no one called child services on us for tying up our child!

[Kaiya tied to her kiddie camp chair]

[Kaiya and I were matchy-matchy for Mother’s Day J]

On our way from Iowa to Oregon, we made a dinner stop in Nebraska so we could visit our friends Tyson and Jackie and their 1 ½ year old son Logan. Logan was so cute hugging Kaiya several times in a row several times during dinner – he’s a keeper if they ever date in the future! ;). From there, we moved on to Utah where we stayed with Brandan’s Dad and family and then his Mom and family. We spent a week playing disc golf, having family BBQ’s, playing games, watching and playing soccer, helping out with yard work projects, googling over Kaiya, and having lunch with my grandparents and the Page family. We then traveled out to California where we spent several days at my Dad’s home meeting new family members, visiting the coast, shopping, eating way too many delicious sweets and taking care of pink-eyed Kaiya. After 2 straight weeks of travel and with lowered immune systems from the driving, lack of sleep, eating out and eating sugar, we got to beautiful Medford, OR and relaxed and recuperated illness for the first week of Brandan’s internship (he’ll have to make up several sick days, but it was nice to have family bonding time!).
[Logan and Kaiya in NE – Logan LOVED giving her hugs!]

[Kaiya and Brandan disc golfing in Utah… well, Brandan golfed while Kaiya apparently ate grass…]


[Kaiya and her second cousin Anna at a family BBQ in UT – we didn’t even plan their matching outfits!]

[Kaiya and I at the BBQ – cutest photo of us ever!!! taken by sweet April]


[Hayley & Lyndi, Grandma & Kaiya, Myself & Emerie out to lunch]


[Dad and I]


[Our little family – Kaiya at 6 months at the west coast]