Category Archives: Posted by Lee

The XX

I was going to start this post in usual fashion with some exclamation of how this month has been crazier than every month before it but I realized doing so has become incredibly repetitive. So instead a large gallery of photos with captions to capture the fun of Molly’s 20th month.

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An impromptu trip up to Fort Bragg and the historic Skunk Train. For being roughly 4 hours of pretty slow train riding, she enjoyed herself.

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Halloween happened, which means you take your toddler to a pumpkin patch and of course you rock your sunnies.

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Selfies on the hay ride through Spina Farms pumpkin patch, grumpy cat came begrudgingly.

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You like selfies dad? Let me show you how it’s done!

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A moment of interest while most likely watching a video rendition of “Wheels on the Bus”, which Molly now knows pretty much all the lyrics to including British stanzas I have never heard.

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Playing on Glass Beach in Fort Bragg. Of particular fascination…. mussel shells.

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I get a text from Leah, “Took Molly to the Childrens’ Museum,” followed by, “Started at the bubble station…rookie mistake.” Molly left the museum with a new outfit.

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Halloween! Rocking matching Waldo outfits with Josi. Molly quickly learned the arts of Trick O’ Treating and made out like a bandit with roughly her weight in lollipops.

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Costume check. Cuteness confirmed.

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A tail!?!!?!

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Taking a break from singing “ABCs” to practice new form of pouting.

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Given a huge playground, of course our little one scales the 3 story slide complex designed for much older children.

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Checking out our new suburban digs. We’re moving to a single family palace!

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Sticker love!!!! Put them on things, take them off things, put them back on things!!!! All day long!!!!

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After many warnings about jumping on the couch, we went flying off the couch and earned a new badge.

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Taking Stuart Little out for a drive!

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20 months old and happier than ever!

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World Cup fever has come and gone in our household as Molly became Brazil’s biggest fan (after Josie, and after Ulisses, and after a whole bunch of people in Brazil). She was great luck until Brazil had its epic meltdown during Molly’s nap, a clear sign that she was having a bad dream.

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Much like Molly Ringwald in “Sixteen Candles,”* our Molly at Sixteen Months is experiencing a new found sea of emotions around growing up. We’ve seen her have attachments.

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We’ve seen her get emotional and well up with tears over random things such as “Twinkle Star & Owl” (thanks for finding that out Leah). We’ve seen her showcase her will, usually defiantly.

It’s really amazing to see how much changes in a short month. Between garbled sentences of gibberish there are clear enunciations of HAT, HEAD, TOES, CAT, and BALL. This along with previously mastered HELLO, UP, and APPLE and we’ve got a good communication framework going here, even to the point that we talk about our wishes together.

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There have been epic “Flashdance“** parties.

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There has been some pretty serious coffee talk.

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Even though Molly seems to be entering (e.g. already in) a full-on Mama phase, it’s amazing to watch how fast things change in 4 weeks. I’m expecting a thesis by month 18.

* I fully pat myself on the back for the Molly -> Molly and 16 Candles -> 16 Months reference here. If I’ve learned anything it’s that I can apply the 80s to everything.

** 80s again!

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14 months in the ‘ole ’14

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14 months…. toddler time all the way. The last month has been an epic leap from babyland to mini human (or toddler). Running, jumping, climbing, more climbing, falling, more falling, but never crawling, Molly is in full locomotion. Singing, screaming, chatting, “bow wow wow”, “apples!”, “UP DOWN”, “Elmo!”, Molly is also in full vocab expansion mode. At first I thought she was merely parroting sounds but she absolutely knows that when you point at an apple one should declare “ABBLE!” This also means it’s now time for the adults to watch the potty mouth around the house. Swear jar here we come!

One thing that has been not so epic is that Molly seems to have regressed in sleeping habits. I don’t really feel like we have changed our approach but she now needs to scream at the top of her lungs for 15 – 20 minutes before falling asleep. It seems like we have gone backwards in time to when she was around 4 months and refused to be put down without constant attention. Our hope is that this is merely a matter of some serious teething. Molly now has a near complete set of chompers that are capable of tackling bacon, corn on the cob (probably the cutest thing ever to watch), Dad’s fingers and nose, and large plastic items (kidding… maybe). Now with 12+ teeth we can say that we are more than 50% done with teething which is a reassuring tidbit. Here’s a tip of the wine glass to that tidbit meaning silent nights in all of our futures.

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1 Year Old!

Semi-toddling

And just like that 365 days passed and Molly went from looking upon the world with true innocence to a personality filled near-toddler. Molly’s birthday celebration was a Brazilian blowout, thanks to Manny Ulisses and an authentic menu of treats consisting of:

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  • Esfirra de carne(ground beef cooked in bread)

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  • Empadas (chicken & olives in pastry dough)

Empada

  • Risoles de milho (corn & cheese croquette)

Risoles

  • Brigadeiro (Chocolate bon-bon) & Beijinho (Coconut bon-bon)

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Mannyama

Molly’s favorite friends and family came out to celebrate in style including her Aunt Jodie who was also celebrating a birthday of her own.

Birthday Ladies

Then after much celebrating/cake-eating it was time to take a short interlude to appreciate the local flora.

Official Dandelion Inspection

Presents were opened and in good time since it decided to start raining. All in all it was an epic first birthday party (even though technically it was held two days before Molly’s actual birthday).

So when the next day came around, Leah and I decided to celebrate Molly’s birthday by taking her to the science academy where minds were blown.

Lastly a photo review of the 30ish days between 11 & 12 months!

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¾ Years Old!

November… the start of the Holiday crush, cold weather, and the warning bell that New Year’s is right around the corner. Also, most importantly, November brought Thanksgiving and Hanukkah for Molly’s first (and only*) THANKSGIVUKAH! Molly’s first Thanksgiving or more generally Molly’s first November, found her eating anything and everything that was placed in front of her.

A mountain of garlic with a couple pieces of chicken…. yes please!

Fish tacos…. of course! Delicious!

That piece of paper you just found of the floor…. amazing flavor profile!

A full multi-course Thanksgiving meal…. hey why did everyone else stop eating?

Latkes…. munch munch munch munch munch….

Indian palak paneer…. OMG YUM *burp*!

Anything with eggs…. …. …. if you don’t give me more I will shank you with this soft baby spoon.

All this eating aside, I went out of my way one morning to teach Molly some new phrases. I was fighting with her on the changing table to stay still while I was trying to get her pants back on. In a fit of inspired frustration, I looked her in the eye and said “UH OH, CAN YOU SAY UH OH?” Since then, pretty much all I have heard is “UH OH UH OH UH OH UH OH UH OH UH OH UH OH.” Next time I think I need to work on something more along the lines of “BOOYAH!”

I can’t believe we’re already talking about planning a birthday party.

 

* Technically it was everyone’s first and only Thanksgivukkah since the last one occurred in the late 1800s and the next one will occur sometime 70,000 years from now.

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Eight Months!

8 Months! 8 Months! No really where did the last 8 months go? Parenting definitely puts time into hyper-drive. Molly was born, I blinked, now she is 8 months old!

So what comes with the octo-month? Our little monster is everyone’s favorite party guest. She says hello to everyone, she strikes up a conversation, waves to people across the room, and then starts dancing.

Boogey time! She’s always on the move and is no longer entertained by sitting still with toys. She needs to be cruising, crawling, hopping, or banging on everything. Unless of course you are up for a tickle fight, she loves tickle fights and giggles up a storm.

Teeth! More and more teeth! If Molly would sit still long enough for a goofy smile photo you would see she now has 4 teeth which she is very adapt at using to deconstruct cheerios, bananas, apples, and sometimes human flesh (yes ow).

Speaking! Last month was all “Ma ma ma ma,” well, finally, this month it is “DA DA DA DA DADA!” Booyah, DADA is in the house. My excitement about this also helps me ignore the fact that she will look at nearly anything, point, and declare “DADA!”

Waving! If you wave frantically at our little girl she will in turn wave frantically back. It’s not the most graceful thing in the world (still working on our royal wave) but it certainly is endearing. The accompanying screech also warms the heart.

Molly continues to grow in fantastic ways, her little personality is not so little anymore and it’s just a matter of time before she lets you know about it. No really, blink, the next post you see will probably be written by a 12 year old girl (if you think blogs will be alive in 12 years). That’s how parent time works.

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Dingle Way Day 4: Slea Head to Ballyferriter

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  • Distance: 9.5 Miles
  • Time: 3 Hours 23 Minutes
  • Elevation: 906 Feet

We ended up spending the night before our 4th hiking day in Ballyferriter (Baile an Fheirtéaraigh) due to booking issues in Slea Head (Ceann Sléibhe), so we ended up shuttling backwards to begin our hike back to the B&B we were staying at in Ballyferriter (more on the B&B later). So the fourth day of our hike picked up right where we left off on day 3, we began from our stopping point near Dunmore Head (An Dún Mór) and continued north along the coastal cliffs to the same village of Dunquin (Dún Chaoin). From here the Dingle Way left the roads and brought us up close and personal with the cliffs of Blasket Sound (Bealach an Bhlascaoid) until we reached Clogher Head (Ceann Sratha). We continued north through a large flat area heading towards the Three Sisters (An Triúr Deirféar), three prominent peaks overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Just as we neared the sisters the Dingle Way takes a sharp right bringing us to the beach at Smerwick Harbour (Cuan Ard na Caithne). We walked along the cold windy beach until we reached an access road which took us back to the lovely village of Ballyferriter.

While we were in Ballyferriter we stayed at the An Spéice B&B under the fantastic care of Alice. Hands down, Alice is the best B&B proprietor I have ever encountered. She immediately fell in love with Molly and went out of her way on more than one occasion to make sure  that we had everything we needed. Need a ride into town? No problem, she gave us a ride. When we ran out of diapers and the closest store with “nappies” was all the way back in Dingle? No problem, she went completely out of her way and picked us up diapers and dropped them off at the next B&B. Not only that but she also makes a fantastic breakfast, I recommend the full Irish. Alice optimized the hospitality that we encountered throughout our stay on the Dingle Peninsula and she made our trip fantastic. If you ever find yourself in Western County Kerry, stay with Alice and her family at An Spéice, you won’t regret it.

And now the pictures from Day 4!

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Dingle Way Day 3: Dingle to Slea Head

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  • Distance: 8.7 Miles
  • Time: 3 Hours 15 Minutes
  • Elevation: 1,610 Feet

Our third day of hiking brought us from Dingle (An Daingean) to Slea Head (Ceann Sléibhe). As we headed out of Dingle we walked around Dingle Harbor (Cuan an Daingin) and headed West towards the town of Ventry (Ceann Trá); however, instead of bringing us through the town, the trail meandered around the small hill (188 meters) of An Chathair Aird, bringing us to the beach at Ventry Harbor (Cuan Fionntrá). After all the walking on roads and in fields, the walk along the beach was rather difficult. Firstly, it was incredibly windy, secondly, I forgot how little traction one has in sand, and thirdly, we were trying to eat lunch on the go so my hands were full of sandwich and miscellaneous wrappers. We finally left the beach after roughly 2 miles and meandered through a couple of small villages where we met a very nice local couple on the trail. They immediately took an interest into us (Molly most of all) and hiked with us, chatting about homebirth, Irish hippies, and life in general. They even took us on a shortcut along the “old” Dingle Way. Apparently a farmer had the trail moved from cutting through his fields to the main road, mostly due to the fact that in his fields are several old ruins. The enterprising farmer realized that if the Dingle Way hikers were moving along the road instead of through the hills of his lands, he could charge a small fee to let people in to see the ruins. Thanks to our new friends we got the see the ruins for free, although in a very hushed and hurried manner. At one point we were told, “move quickly and act like nothing is wrong,” and I realized we were on an adventure instead of a hike.

We headed off road again into sheep pastures that cling to the steep banks of Mount Eagle (Sliabh an Iolair). At this point our hiking directions simply stated, “follow the stone wall, more or less, for 5km,” which equated to 3.2 miles of ascending and descending steep inclines while surrounded by staring sheep. As we came to the last (and steepest!) hill we finally saw Dunmore Head (An Dún Mór) sticking out into Blasket Sound (Bealach an Bhlascaoid), letting us know we had reached our destination. Even though the distance wasn’t quite as long as day 2 of our hike, it certainly felt like more of an effort. And what about Molly? Once again she slept for nearly the entire day, unaffected by the wilds of Ireland.

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Dingle Way Day 2: Annascaul to Dingle

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  • Distance: 11.6 Miles
  • Time: 4 Hours 11 Minutes
  • Elevation: 1,642 Feet

Our second day of hiking started from Anascaul (Abhainn an Scáil) heading west towards Minard East (An Mhin Aird Thoir). As we neared the coast, we came to a large bend in the road. Peaking out from behind the blind curve was A CASTLE! RUINS! HISTORY! A CASTLE! (I am very excited about castles FYI). We stood and gawked at Minard Castle for several minutes and tried to capture it on digital film from every angle. From there we headed Northwest leaving the road and cut through several fields towards the hills, in the shadows of Slievanea (Sliabh Mhacha Ré) and Croaghskearda (Cruach Sceirde). Cutting through the fields introduced us to the first of many stile crossings we would encounter throughout the rest of our hike. What is a stile? Basically a step ladder over a stone wall, and while normally I would invite such a Double Dare challenge, climbing these things with a baby strapped to your chest isn’t as easy as it would seem. As we climbed up the hillside towards Garfinny River (Abhainn na Gairfeanai) the weather took a serious turn for the worse. A very familiar sight to anyone who has spent time in the Marin Headlands – heavy thick fog, a harbinger of the impending drizzle and rain that would soon follow. Fortunately, my jacket was large enough to fully encase Molly underneath so she stayed warm and dry while Leah and I fought our way through the cold drizzle. After crossing the river we then descended back down to Dingle (An Daingean), full of warmly painted cottages and sunny skies. After settling in to our B&B and doing some impromptu laundry in the sink, we headed out into town to Murphy’s Pub where delicious lamb stew and Guinness waited for us.

Dingle seemed somewhat busy to us so we assumed it was a larger town and popular vacation area. Little did we know at the time that A: It was a 3-day bank holiday weekend (think something like Memorial Day), and B: there was a very popular Arts & Music festival going on: Félie Na Bealtaine. If we had known we certainly would have tried to experience some of the events, alas ignorance had other plans for us (sleep and blistercare). If you are ever in Dingle in early May, go to the festival! All we would hear from the locals in the coming days is how we missed out.

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Dingle Way Day 1: Camp to Annascaul

Camp to Annascaul

  • Distance: 8.3 Miles
  • Time: 2 Hours 54 Minutes
  • Elevation: 1,585 Feet

Our first day of hiking started off in Camp (An Com) and headed south through the valley at the base of the eastern Slieve Mish Mountains (Sliabh Mis). We had great views of Knockbeg (mountain/hill) to the West and Knockmore (other mountain/hill) to the East. As we came down between the hills we hiked through a small forest along the Emlagh River (Abha an Imligh) towards the Inch Strand (Tra Inse), a small spit sticking out into the Dingle Bay (Bá an Daingin). From there the route headed west along small country roads until we arrived in Anascaul (Abhainn an Scáil).

It was rather blustery but Molly and team survived thanks to the very wise purchase of some new North Face HyVent jackets, which kept everyone involved warm even during the real gusty bits. In addition we discovered that Molly finds the rhythmic motions of hiking while in an Ergo carrier very subduing, and basically slept the entire time only waking up during forced pitstops for diaper changes and feedings. When you are in the middle of nowhere, impromptu bathroom breaks, breast feeding sessions, diaper changes, and lunch breaks are relatively easy to plan.  Plan: Stop, remove pack, setup changing pad, grab food, change diaper, breastfed, eat, urinate, gather garbage, return pack, resume hike. If you tried this same technique anywhere but the wilderness you might get some raised eyebrows. It was a good day to figure all of this stuff out as day 2 would provide us with some extra challenges.

 

* Please note the use of Irish Gaelic place names in parenthesis. The Dingle Pennisula is one of the few Gaeltacht regions of Ireland, where Irish is the primary language over English. This is increasingly rare and these regions become smaller every year as English becomes the lingua franca in the home.

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