Sunday, February 27, 2011

my new home by carl rove

It was a long long drive to get here. Even though Mom cleared out the back seat of her vehicle for me, I insisted on curling up in the front seat for many many hours of driving each day. It was a bit uncomfortable. Luckily, I got to sleep in three hotels, which means that I got to sleep in a real bed!

Well, now were here and I think this is really my new home. I'm kind of nervous about this new place. I'm pacing around and following Mom everywhere. It's going to take a little while to get used to it. I've even gone on a hunger strike. Dad gave me a bagel with cream cheese and some corn just so I would eat something. Maybe I'll keep this hunger strike thing going to see what other delicious food I can get. 

Mom and Dad don't just open the door and let me run around anymore and there is NO SNOW! It's weird having to be on the leash all the time again. There is a dog park for me at this place though and Mom has taken me there to play every day. I haven't met any new puppy friends yet, but Mom bought me a Chuckit and so she's been throwing the tennis ball for me. I love to chase the tennis ball! Yesterday, I was so excited I accidentally peed on the tennis ball so I didn't really want to put it back in my mouth. Yuck. Dad had to throw it in the garbage and get a new one. I will try to remember not to do that again.

Once Mom and Dad get all these boxes unpacked, I'm hoping that they will have some more time to take me and Baby J out exploring. I think there are a bunch of other dog parks for me to explore and I'd like to do some hiking too. For now I guess I'll just lay down by Mom's feet and try to settle down. It doesn't look like she is going to take me out again until she goes to bed. I sure wish I could remember where I put my Kong. Oh well. Mom will probably find it for me later.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

slap happy

Baby J has the greatest laugh. Just like her "talking" it's a pretty loud laugh. We've found that when she's tired she'll laugh like crazy and get a bit slap happy, this is usually shortly followed by a fairly dramatic meltdown complete with screaming and tears, but the laughing part is pretty awesome.

video

sun valley

We made it! I am so relieved to finally be here. A road trip that long is pretty monumental and an event to be documented. However, given how exhausted I was feeling before we left I didn't actually enjoy the trip that much. The best part was discussing the road signs with Mr. Chunglund via the walkie talkie. Signs advertising for hillbilly figurines, 50% off meteorites, every kind of museum you could think of including, among others, the American Quarter Horse Museum and the National Teachers Hall of Fame and Museum, free polished petrified wood, several Cherokee trading posts boasting rattlesnake products, and the largest discount saddle store in the world advertised on the same billboard as a kabuki theater.

The last day of travel was the most scenic. New Mexico was really beautiful and we drove through the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. Driving south out of the mountains into Phoenix was absolutely gorgeous and we talked about how some day we can go camping there with Baby J. We also talked about how in three or four years, Baby J is going to be asking to stop at the Cherokee trading post or to get some free polished petrified wood and we'll likely oblige.

While we didn't get any photos to document Baby J's first cross-country road trip, we managed to arrive safe and sound! Mr. Chunglund and Baby J are out running errands this morning. I stayed home and waited for the utility guy and the cable guy to show up. Tomorrow our stuff is supposed to show up in a moving truck. The sun  is shining and I'm wearing flip flops. It could be worse! We have officially arrived in the Sun Valley!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

where the wind comes chasing down the plain

And ... we're in Oklahoma. After the first day, where the last three hours of the trip took a little over 7 hours and at one point I thought I was going to inadvertently Ferberize Baby J, we decided that getting to Phoenix in three days might have been asking too much of Baby J. Last night we rearranged our itinerary, adding another day of travel, and that is why we are in Oklahoma. Today was supposed to be our long day of travel, but I think we all needed a bit of a break so we only drove about 5.5 hours.

Here's what I've learned so far:
  1. The National Teacher's Hall of Fame and Museum is in Kansas
  2. The National Wrestling Hall of Fame is in Oklahoma
  3. Mr. Chunglund can reach behind him and shove the pacifier back in Baby J's mouth while he's driving, making him the ideal candidate to have the baby in his car on this road trip.
  4. Right before Baby J takes her a.m. nap is the ideal time to hit the road and ensures at least 2 hours of drama free driving
The last item on the list is by far the most useful thing to know. Between the hours of 2:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. we were pulling over about every 10 miles trying to get Baby J to stop crying. It made for slow slow going. By 8:30 p.m. there was literally no where to stop except for some creepy looking truck stops so we finally decided that we were just going to have to suck it up and drive for the next hour to get to Kansas City and let her cry. She eventually settled down after about 40 minutes.

Today, however, went much  more smoothly. Baby J rode with Mr. Chunglund and I got Carl as my car companion. Mr. Chunglund's ability to reach back and put the pacifier back in the baby's mouth was a lifesaver. We managed to get from Kansas City to Oklahoma City in a reasonable amount of time.

Tomorrow's distance goal - New Mexico!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

mighty baby j

With hardwood floors and an overly excited dog, we rarely put Baby J on the floor. So we were amazed at the doctor earlier this week when we learned she could sit on her own for several seconds. The doctor called it tripod sitting and neither Mr. Chunglund nor I had read anything about it yet. Last night I tried to capture it with my crappy, needs to be replaced sooner rather than later, cell phone. Blurry picture, but she sat like that for several seconds with no assistance and was even able to stay upright for a few seconds when she lifted her hands off the floor. We are both amazed at how strong she is at 4 months.

The Mighty Baby J

picture (not quite) perfect

I definitely needed a beer last night so we hit up Buffalo Wild Wings - Baby J in tow. Getting out of the house with the family felt like a breath of fresh air. For a brief moment, I enjoyed my beer and forgot about the disaster that was waiting for us at home.

That beer conjured up a memory of me and Mr. Chunglund shortly after we had reconnected back in 2006. I was desperately trying to finish up a paper for law school and Mr. Chunglund had just found out that he had passed the bar exam. We both took a break that afternoon and sat on the patio at Brit's and had a beer. Well, at least I did. Mr. Chunglund might have been saving his liver for his post-bar celebration.

When I asked Mr. Chunglund if he remembered that moment, not only did he remember he even remembered what I had been wearing. Remembering that moment made me realize what a long way we have come since that warm fall afternoon. That day I don't think I ever would ever have predicted that we would be married and attempting a cross-country move with a 4 month-old. Last night it felt good to step back and see the bigger picture. A picture not cluttered with moving boxes, change of address forms, or packing tape. While it's a much different picture than that of the two of us sitting outside at Brit's, it is a true testament to how far we've come in the last four years. Not quite picture perfect, but we've got ourselves one happy little family.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

simplified

With our new adventure comes an opportunity to purge unnecessary items and overall simplify our lives. I've had a few hoarder moments, but overall I have been able to let go of several things that I had been hanging on to for just the right time. It was causing me to always hope for something else, mostly a larger house so that I could get all the stuff out of storage and use it. It is time to live in the present. We will be living in an 1100 square foot two-bedroom apartment with little to no storage space. I intend to only take what will fit and not spend countless dollars on storage units for an endless period of time in the hope that someday I can use that proverbial sewing machine, when to be honest I don't even know how to sew. I've purged an estimated 1/4 of my shoe collection (yes.people.SHOES.), several bags of clothes, books, movies, CD jewel cases, computers, housewares, furniture, and more. With every item I pack, I ask myself "do we need it?" and if so, "where will it go?" I am trying to focus less on stuff and more on the the things that matter to me - my family and a clean house! Perhaps the simple life is within reach. We'll see when we get there.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

new chapter

We are about to begin a new chapter in our lives. It has been overwhelming wrapping up this chapter and planning for the new one. Coping has never really been my strong suit and I've been feeling pretty much like a crazy woman since I accepted this new job. We are in the process of packing up the house, purging unwanted or unnecessary items, finishing up some minor repairs, and getting the house on the market. We are also trying to fit in last visits with family and friends, including a play date for Carl Rove so he can romp one last time in the snow. The next 7 days are going to be busy and of course I really should just focus on making it through the next 7 days.

But do you even know me? If so, then you obviously know that my mind can't help but start racing to the end where we land in Phoenix. Even though I am certain that this move is what is best for the Chunglund family, I am nervous. Minnesota has been my home for most of my life. It is where I am comfortable - metaphorically of course because who can actually be comfortable when it is like negative one bazillion degrees out and your fingers feel like they are being frostbitten even while driving in your car. I feel like I could move anywhere in Minnesota and being able to figure out the "system" with very little trouble. This probably sounds ridiculous, but moving to an entirely different state gives me anxiety about little things like where do I renew my driver's license, where is the nearest post office, how do I get a new vehicle registration. All things that I assure you I can figure out, but for some reason I obsess about them anyway.

As moving day creeps closer and closer, I'm also am becoming painfully aware that I will miss my family. Moving to Duluth and the birth of Baby J has brought us closer to aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I am sad that Baby J will be moving across the country from her two cousins that are her same age. I am also sad that Baby J and Victoria, my good friend Jenn's little girl, won't be growing up together. I am going to miss family and friends dearly!

But as I've mentioned, this is truly the best move for our little family. There will be more opportunity for Gus, who has a meeting for some potential legal work within the first week of our arrival. A pay increase, which let's be honest, definitely can't hurt. A chance for us to start over. I want to let go of the past and my expectations of what my future was supposed to be like and embrace my new desert lifestyle with my little family. Gus said he would be happy wherever he was as long as he had me and Baby J. My husband and daughter are the two most important people in my life (and of course Carl Rove is the most important puppy in my life), and if we all stick together I will make it out of this life changing transition alive.

Let the adventure begin ...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

4 months for baby j

My darling Baby J is 4 months old today! She weighs a little over 18.5 lbs. She is an awesome little person and watching her take in her surroundings and learn new things fascinates me to no end. She has discovered her toes and will sit and stare at them for several minutes every day. Like everything, she attempts to put her toes in her mouth. Unfortunately, she inherited my flexibility, making it difficult to get her toes to her mouth. Her two favorite toys so far are a crinkly blanket thing that she got from my cousin, Liz, and an O-ball from my auntie Lori. She's finally started taking a pacifier and it's been clipped to her ever since. Her sleeping/feeding schedule is *starting* to calm down and has definitely improved since Day 1. As I write this, I'm watching her nap in her bouncy chair looking like a little angel. I don't think she could be any cuter. 4 months have come and gone and both her Daddy and I are looking forward to watching our little girl continue to play, laugh, grow!

Monday, February 7, 2011

i got it from my momma


Mommy (1978)
Mommy and Baby J (2010)
She is my mini-me. In addition to the obvious physical similarities, Gus says that Baby J and I have the same personality. We are needy and require obscene amounts of attention. We are codependent. We get crabby when tired or hungry. We talk kind of loud. We are sensitive. We don't really like to be laughed at. As Gus says, we only want things when we want them. He recently suggested calling her Nina II. I guess it's karma for me, but sometimes I feel sorry for Gus because he has to deal with both of us. Good thing he already has great experience dealing with a sensitive, needy, co-dependent, girl. Perhaps he should be thanking me? Well Gus, both I and Baby J love you and appreciate your patience and attentiveness.


i love you.

Dear Baby J,
Becoming your mom has been the most challenging experience of my life. Being a mom requires patience. Not only am I not known for my patience, I am famous for my impatience. I love you. You lack a sleeping/feeding schedule making it difficult to go anywhere or do anything. I love you. You hate to be put down. I love you. You require so much attention that I neglect your Dad and often feel neglected by him, as well. I love you. My days are filled with trying to figure out how to get you to sleep/play more independently so that I don't have to sit/lay on the couch/bed with you. I love you. I've always been a little bit selfish. You require me to be less so. I miss being able to have time for myself. I love you. I am frustrated by your lack of sleeping. I love you. I wish you wouldn't wake up at 3:00 a.m. I love you. I never thought my child would be my entire world, but you've managed to make yourself the center of my life and I still haven't fully adjusted to the idea. I love you. You are my little person. My little person that I lug around all.day.long. I love you. You are the most adorable baby I have ever laid my eyes on. I love you. You have turned my world upside down and inside out, have caused me endless amounts of stress/anxiety, many many gallons of tears have been shed over your lack of sleep and overall neediness, and I love you. I love you more than I thought I could ever love someone. You are the best!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

playtime

video
Baby J's newest development ... a couple weeks ago Baby J started playing with some of her toys. It started with this little crinkly blanket and now she's been playing in her activity center pretty regularly. Every new toy is a new item to be shoved in her mouth.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

look who's talking

This video was taken over the holidays, but I wanted to post it so that my parents could watch it. Baby J just loves talking to that other baby in the mirror.

video

Hope Grandma and Grandpa can enjoy this from St. Lucia!