Sunday, June 26, 2016

Back in the Palouse with a growing chunkers

I feel like every time I sit down to write a blog, it takes so much energy to get started. We always have so much to say and share, it's overwhelming. This time is no different, but I'm working on keeping my updates shorter to keep them more enjoyable for you. So let's hope I can save us both some time...

Our last night in Juneau, just outside our condo.
We made it back to Pullman, WA after a late (but great) ferry ride from Juneau and an alright drive from Bellingham. Gage did fantastic on the ferry sticking to his normal routine, sleeping well, and staying happy. We tried to keep things as normal for him as possible while making the best out of the trip. John was smart enough to get us a window cabin, which was well worth its money! From the first hours of the trip to the last we saw humpback whales playing, a flamingo (who knew), orcas, and extraordinary scenery everywhere, all from our cabin. We also got to spend a full day in Ketchikan, which was really nice to check out again and get the dogs out for longer than a few minutes. We enjoyed lots of fresh air, Starbucks, and I had an on the spot phone interview for a PE job just as we sat down for lunch at a restaurant. Once we got to Bellingham and started driving, John felt uncomfortable with the load he was carrying on the trailer so we pulled off at a rest stop and hung out until his dad got there. He was planning on meeting us part way anyway, but both boys felt better taking some of the load away from John to make the trip safer. Gage and the dogs enjoyed hanging out at the rest stop and did well while we waited. Once we got going and got some food, everyone did good and settled in. About 3 hours into the trip though, Gage had had it and was over traveling. He had been such a trooper and done so well the last few days through the move out of our condo and trip from Juneau. However 6 hours in his car seat after all of that was a bit too much for a 3 month old. The last few hours we had to stop every 30 or so minutes to comfort and feed him. There was one period of time that even that wasn't enough so we just stopped and let him hang out until he fell asleep and then immediately made a run for it. Fortunately he stayed asleep until we were about 20 minutes away and was ok for the rest of the drive. It was an eventful trip, but we were all very happy to be at our temporary home.

Since being back in Pullman, we have been very busy with Gage and all of our old friends. In a way it's like we never left and just went on a long vacation. Most of our friends are still around and things are pretty much as we left them. I am working at the Eggan summer camp again, even some of the kids are the same. That's been fun, but I forgot how long the days are. Most days I work 8-5:30 which has been long for myself and Gage. Fortunately I've been able to take him to work often, but I usually only take him for half the day since we're a busy camp and it's a lot for him. He and John have been able to join me for swimming, the library, and our trip to see Finding Dory. For the rest of the summer I'll be primarily working half days which will be nice so that I can spend more time with my boys, enjoy summer, and be less tired.
Enjoying swim day with mom

I've received my keys for my new classroom and met my new coworkers. My classroom is nice sized and everyone seems really nice. I'm looking forward to setting up my class and finally starting my teaching career for real. I'm a bit nervous about it all, but mostly excited to meet my students and start school. I gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for self advocacy since subbing in the transitions classroom and want my students to be as involved with their education and IEP's as possible. I'm also planning on implementing regular breathing and physical exercises to help my students with stress and focus. One of my professors is planning on doing research around literacy in my class so I'm excited about that too, because teaching reading has long been a passion for me since I have struggled with it all my life. John is still looking for a job, but has been really helpful around the house, running errands, and taking care of Gage. He's also been getting back into his ham radio stuff, which took a pause after Gage was born. He's decided to start pursuing his master's in engineering and if he hasn't found a good job by August, he's going to go back to school full time. He's always enjoyed engineering and feels like right now is the best time to continue school since Gage is so little and I have a good job lined up.
My new school
For now we are staying with John's parents until we can get more settled. We are trying to get into a condo or house so that we can build up some equity and settle into a nice home. We don't care if the place needs work (we actually kind of prefer it) we just don't want to have to move again for a long time so we're trying to avoid renting unless we can't buy anything. We'll be talking to a realtor soon to help us get an idea of what we need to do. We'd love to find a little fixer upper that needs some cosmetic updates and has a yard for Gage and the dogs.

Speaking of Gage, he is doing SO well! He is getting so big and cute as ever. We just love his big open smile that he gives us all of the time and his little giggle that he has been doing more and more. Today he was getting excited and laughing at the dogs running around and giggled more when Ammo licked his feet. He's starting to get ticklish, which has been fun. He's really starting to bond with the animals and gravitate towards them. He likes to watch them play and reaches for them when they are close to him. Just today he reached for Mili when she was sniffing him and again for TJ when they were both looking out the window. They are all really good with him, the dogs just lick a lot. We only worry too much about it around the face and hands though. John made a cool contraption to go over TJ's box so that Ammo and his parents dogs can't get into it, which is both less gross and healthier for everyone. Gage continues to grow and explore a lot. Last week he was 16.5 lbs and measured at 25 and 3/4 inches. I had just been saying that he looked longer and sure enough he grew an inch and a half since his 3 month check up. Hopefully he'll keep getting taller for his sake, but for now we love his beautiful legs and want him to stay chubby :) He's been working on rolling over for a while now, but last week he officially figured it out all by himself and now we can't stop him. He's confident now and just rolls onto his tummy all of the time. He really wants to move though so he almost immediately gets frustrated after he rolls, because he hasn't figured out crawling yet. He has however managed to scoot forward a few times and will probably be doing the army crawl in no time. Both John and I know that he is going to be a very busy boy and are trying to prepare mentally for that. Gage has always been a very observant and engaged baby so once he can go places, we are all going to be very very busy.

Gage is also improving his manipulative skills really well and having more fun playing. He loves to grab and play with his toys and anything he can get his hands on. Right now EVERYTHING goes into his mouth. He's exploring a lot by touch and taste lol. It's really fun to watch him reach for things, including our faces, now. He's discovered his feet and has been totally engrossed with them and his hands the last few weeks. We call him a little chunky monkey because he's a chunkers and loves to use his feet to grab things like his crinkly books. He's starting to figure out that he has hands like us and will place his against ours and play with our fingers. He still loves to be read to and look at books, but now he is very interested in holding them and is even managing to turn pages occasionally. Story time has become slower because we try and wait till he turns the page :) I've also started reading a book to him called "The Seekers" at bed time and sometimes before naps. He's so sweet and just listens and then eventually dozes off. It's nice to have something besides nursing to start putting him to bed, although he does still want to before he falls asleep. I imagine he will for a long time and I really don't mind.

Caught on mom's shirt
Father's Day was fun at the Klein household 

Gage has also become quite the chatter box the last few weeks. He's been cooing for a while now, but lately he has really discovered his voice and has been letting everyone know. Yesterday on our hike all the strangers around us knew Gage was there. He smiles and talks to just about anyone who talks to him and squeelz (and kicks his left leg like a cowboy) with excitement. He loves to be talked to and we talk to him often. We still have to talk through him to have conversations sometimes, but everything revolves around family, so why not conversations too :) He's pretty cute and entertaining!

John and I do miss the mountains and lush green forest with trails everywhere, but we're enjoying being back in the Palouse area. I love having fresh produce, especially at the farmers market and paying less for better stuff. Everything is less expensive here, which is nice with a baby. We have all enjoyed swimming outdoors and the beautiful sunshine. The other day John and I alternated laps together; one of us swam and the other held Gage and let him play in the water. We'd switch every 1-200 yards. Gage has done great and stays warm enough since the water is warmed up from the sun, not to mention all that insulation. He's been able to join us swimming four times since we got here and John and I have been able to going swimming a few more times than that. We've ran a few times with and without the stroller. John is a stellar runner; I can't keep up with him even when he has the stroller. I ran with the stroller a week ago and it was, for the lack of a better word, hella hard. It is my person goal to get back into running comfortably so I will keep at it, but I won't lie it takes a lot of convincing to get my butt out the door. Running still feels challenging because not only am I out of running shape, I'm not back to normal from a birthing standpoint so running isn't really enjoyable right now. However hiking and walking still feel great so I'm continuing with that and throwing in a run every so often. We haven't gotten back on our bikes yet, but we plan to soon. The temperature this week is supposed to be in the 90's so should be fun. Swimming anyone? The dogs are doing good, getting out every day and bonding with Gage. TJ is happier I think because he's been able to get outside in the evenings. He and Gage have done a lot of cuddling together on the bed.

John caught this golden eagle outside his parent's house

My world!

Gage's first hike up Kamiak

Gage doesn't have to use the car seat with his stroller anymore and he's loving it!

My favorite berries!

 That's it for now. We are having a great time as a family and looking forward to river trips, the 4th of July and possibly a trip to Montana. Until next time,

Love the Klein's