Well, we managed the 16 hour, 2 day car ride fairly smoothly, as Gus decided against looking at the scenery in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota and slept for most of the ride. While Josh or I was driving, the other sat in the back with Gus and used the Boppy® pillow as a headrest in order to catch some zzz's as well. We arrived at Grandma and Grandpa Warps' place in the evening (after a stop to see Aunt Shawn in Minneapolis) and were happy to pull the bikes and Gus' stroller off the top of the car and settle ourselves for a while.
The weather has been cool and somewhat sunny and it has been wonderful to look out from my folks' place and see the lake out front. The day after we arrived, we entrusted Gus' care to Grandma, and managed a bike ride followed up by a swim in Sand Lake. Yesterday we all headed to Duluth and stopped at our favorite pub, the Brewhouse, and picked up some Whitefish to grill for dinner. We also took a walk down along Lake Superior and along the way I was suddenly more aware of other people with strollers and small children. Our visits to old haunts will have a different twist now that we have a third little one to consider.
Thursday evening I was rocking Gus, trying to calm him down for the night, when I received a call like no other from my mom. She was in Wadena with her brother, visiting my grandparents at their home of 46 years when a tornado struck the town. They all thankfully managed to get down to the basement upon hearing sirens, and soon after the twister touched down, carrying off my grandparents' garage and destroying their house completely. My grandma was hit in the head with a cement block that blew out from the basement wall, which led them in search of medical attention (read story here). Much relief to all, she turned out to be okay, and incredibly, no one in the town of 4,000 was killed. My mom said they were scared to head up the basement stairs and open the door after the tornado hit. What they soon found was a completely different scene than what they left moments prior. I have yet to see photos of their house, but apparently the roof was blown off, pieces of other people's homes are lodged into the back side of my grandparents' home, my grandpa's car was turned on its side, the trees on the entire street are gone. The town was hit hard. Along with my grandparents' neighborhood, the school and community center were destroyed along with countless other homes. My grandparents are both 89 years old, and were definitely approaching the point where they were needing to "down-size" into a senior-friendly, one-level home. But it is heart-wrenching to think that the decision was made ever so abruptly for them on Thursday evening. They did not have the chance to take their time in parting with what they have known to be home for 46 years. I look at the photos below thinking about how much time was spent perfecting their garden, flowers, shrubs and trees. How my grandpa had a spotless garage with his tools arranged just so. How the inside of their home had been so comfortable for them for so long. It amazes me to think of the timing, and that both my mom and uncle happened to be visiting their folks during this disaster. We are so thankful that everyone was okay, and more thankful still that my grandparents were not alone when this happened.
* Note: Do not be alarmed, for we only briefly exposed Gus' milky white skin to some rays for this photo op.
It's been in the nineties these past few days, with no reprieve in sight through this week's end. This does not make us, nor Gus too happy, as we're going a little stir crazy staying indoors. Before the thermometer spiked, we took a late morning walk over to the skate park and past fountains where kids were cooling off. The three of us are soon bound for cooler temps and Gus' introduction to Grandpa Warp and all the other Warp relatives up in Minnesota. And how is Gus? Terrific. Though Josh and I are really trying to adjust to the lack of sleep. Last night we decided to take on Gus duty in shifts, so I fed him and promptly headed to the guest room to sleep for a couple of hours. At around 2:30 am, we tag-teamed. Then Josh was back on duty around 6 and I was able to sleep until 9. Whew. We were agreeing that when evening hours approach, we both become a bit anxious, worrying about how Gus is going to perform for the evening. Thankfully neither of us have to report to work in the mornings (for now!), so we can take the mornings slowly.
Well, we are 11 days into this parenting gig and are no where near closer to figuring this little one out, namely in the sleep category. No two days have been the same, nor nights, and while adrenaline and reserves were getting us through the first week, today it has all caught up with us. Gus was awake for most of the day yesterday, which threw us for a loop. While he is awake there is not much multi-tasking to be done, as all focus is aimed at making the babe happy. He decided to call it a night early (at half-time of the Celtics vs. Lakers game that is), but was rearing for a midnight snack, and then was ready to start the day at 4am. He is mighty cute though, so while the grogginess tests our patience, Gus still has our hearts won over.
I don't dare move him as I type this entry one-handed!
One-handed typing We are sure to become masters at this, cuddling Gus in one hand, stretching to hold shift to capitalize a letter with the other.
Moses Basket We received this from our neighbors across the street. At first we didn't think we'd be putting it to use, but this is where Gus seems to like to sleep. At night we put this right in the middle of the bed with us. Above Josh is demonstrating his rocking technique-- not only soothing to Gus, but a good strength conditioning exercise for Josh.
Facial Expressions When Gus is waking he goes through about 20 different little expressions. Our favorite is the opera singer pose. I will post video of this sequence soon.
Crying We are learning to go through the various checks when this occurs. a) Hungry? b) Diaper Change? c) Hot or Cold? d) Burp? e) Wants to play? f) Just plain uncomfortable and peeved?
Diaper Changing After several surprise showers by Gus during diaper changes, we are learning to keep the little guy covered while shifting between dirty and clean diapers. Even still, we had another incident this morning which brought us directly to the tub for a wipe down.
Close Range We are noticing his little eyes busy at work trying to focus on people and objects at close range. Above, Ingrid is demonstrating her stimulation technique.
Tummy Time We were advised that Gus should spend a bit of time every day on his stomach, working his neck muscles and allowing his limbs to "free squirm." It's also fun for us to watch his little legs tuck into the frog pose, as seen above. Chapter II coming soon.
A warning that is probably obvious to you at this point: you are going to see a lot of baby photos and read a lot about a baby in the coming weeks/months. Now that I've gotten that out of the way, this is a momentous day, as Gus has been with us on the outside for a week now. We still look at him in wonderment, not believing he is really ours. I am totally smitten with him, so much so that I could not focus on the movie we were watching this evening; I had to go to where he was sleeping and scoop him up just to stare at him. Speaking of sleep, Gus managed to let us sleep in until 9 this morning, with just a couple wake-up calls for feedings.
Oh Gus. We have had quite a time these past few days just staring at this little being, as well as holding and cuddling with him and letting him sleep on our chests.
My in-laws and my mom are here in town, scurrying about the house cooking and cleaning and taking turns holding and watching over this little one. There have been countless moments where we are huddled around him, amused by an expression or position.
The freezer loaded up with meals that should last us some time
We are eating amazing meals cooked by Angela, Josh's mom. My mom and Richard headed out to our garden plot yesterday and weeded in the high humidity for a few hours. Richard spent this morning hanging a bird feeder outside our dining room window, and my mum went out to purchase more items for Gus.
Josh, Gus and I went to Gus' first doc appointment yesterday, which was quite eventful. Upon arrival we began filling out paperwork and Gus became a little fussy, so I began my first attempt at breastfeeding in public. Then he pooped, and the "virgin" diaper changing set was graced with his mark. I brought him back into my arms, proceeded the feeding, and pee gushed out all over Gus' onesie and my skirt. Round two with the diaper changing set. We were brought into the examining room and Gus let out another delivery of poo. Round three. We began to worry as we only had two remaining diapers, and our back-up onsie was already put into use. Gus was measured and weighed and began to pee again and we were on to #4. It was completely apparent at that point that his little body was doing what it should be, and that he is getting plenty to eat!
Josh resting on the new quilt made for Gus by his great Auntie Dale
Our only challenge at this point is helping little Gus flip his schedule back to sleeping more during the nights. We had a really successful time of it last night, where he slept in 2 hour blocks between feedings. We are hopeful that this will become more the norm.
** I am completely overwhelmed by the number of photos we already have of this little guy. Make sure to check out Josh's blog (titled Gus under Blogs of Interest above) for many more photos to come.
This blog began as a recording of my year living and working in Guadalajara, México. It now reflects my experiences in Kentucky, living in a 130-year-old house first inhabited by Colonel Crump and his wife Mary Norton Underwood.