Monday, August 27, 2007

The Canadian Rockies

Most people spend an August vacation soaking up the sun on the beach or a cruise. Not us. We spent ours freezing our bums off amidst icy glaciers and frigid lakes. We also didn't do much lying around and relaxing either. Each day involved either a big hike or bike ride, sometimes both. We filled the week full to the brim. Poor Cora was successfully inaugurated to the typical Jenkins method of travel: see and do everything you can possibly manage, and more. She had to find time for little catnaps in her carseat, the backpack, or even the bike seat. But she was amazing. The last couple days at home has been catch up time for us all on sleep.

It would take too long to tell of all the adventures we had, but you can get a glimpse of our week in our photo album (well, more than just a glimpse actually--it's a lot of pictures.)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Birthday Party!

Has it really been a year already? I look back over the extraordinary 365 days that I have been with Cora, and I thank God for such a precious year. I want to savor it more fully, especially as I imagine it will only begin to go faster and faster. After a crazy day of birthday celebrations yesterday, today I am taking some time to contemplate and consider what she means to me, what I have learned this year, and lessons I must carry forward into future years.

Yesterday was a delight. Cora seemed to sense that this was a joyful day, a day not for sleeping, for she napped only an hour in the morning, and even though she was in her crib for 2 hours in the afternoon, never fell asleep despite Daddy and Mommy's alternate rocking, singing, carressing, and soothing. She was not unhappy; there were few tears. She just sang and played in the curtained darkness.

Finally, although fearing she would be exhausted for her big party, we brought her upstairs as the guests began to arrive. 18 people gather together to make the day special for her. David manned the grill, while I made frosty pink lemonade drinks. Cora tasted her first hotdog...surprisingly, she's much more enthusiastic about green peas than hotdogs. We all gathered around to sing a boisterous "happy birthday" and watch her dig into her bunny-shaped carrot cake. She was cautious and dainty, a bit unsure what to do with the large ear placed before her. I don't know whether it was all the people staring at her, a desire not to get her fingers dirty, or simply that my healthy cake made with honey and whole wheat was not very tasty to her, but she did not dive in as expected. She patted it a little and allowed her daddy to feed her bites, but was not eager to forage into it herself.

Presents time was all so new and fascinating. The curly, colorful ribbons were especially thrilling, and reaching into bags to pull out books or shoes was a great game. She received a jack-in-the-box, a wooden puzzle, magnetic building pieces (which Jay and David found absorbing), books, clothes, 3 pairs of Robeez shoes, and some old-fashioned wooden toys.

Gradually the guests filtered out until it was just family: Grammie, Poppie, surrogate Auntie Melissa and Uncle Jay, Mommy and Daddy. We sat around in the living room playing with the new toys. She circled from person to person, from toy to toy. Then to our surprise and delight, she took her first few steps, going from Daddy to the coffee table on which were her pretty shoes. The next half hour was spent in a flurry of excitement trying to get her to do it again for the video camera. Teasing her with toys, shouting encouragement, she gave some effort but took a lot of tumbles. Things began to quiet down, the others began cleaning up, David began playing the piano, only Poppie and I sat with Cora. I stood her up before me and then with great concentration and deliberation, she took 4 good steps into Poppie's arms. What an amazing culmination to a wonderful day. It's strange to think that before long, she will be running!

As David gave her a bottle that night, she drank only 2 oz. before she was fast asleep. She woke up at 7 this morning, only to have a diaper change by Daddy and crawl into bed with Mommy where both slept again until 9 (poor Daddy had to go to Greek class.) We were exhausted from the festivities!

For a visual presentation of the day, make sure you look at our picture site:

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Catching up

The paradox of my blogging attempts is that when I actually have something to write about, I generally have no time to write. The last couple weeks have been a swirl of activity, and so I am merely popping up my head in the midst of it all to catch up a bit.

2 weekends ago was our 5-year anniversary. When we were married in Jamaica, we said we'd try to go back for our 5-year. Perhaps we'll put it off until the 10-year. Instead, we celebrated by taking full advantage of our own spectacular city, which we don't do nearly enough. Plus, the temperatures here are much more to our liking than the steaming islands...we have had clear, brilliantly sunny days but with mild temps. In the morning and evenings, it is actually quite chilly.

We began the celebrating early by getting a friend to babysit Cora on Friday night while we went out kayaking with a few other Regent friends. It was breathtakingly beautiful: a placid cove nestled in the mountains, deep blue water, evergreen lined shores, a shimmering sunset.

On Saturday, July 28th, our actual anniversary, we arose early to a gorgeous day and rode our bikes, pulling Cora along in the bike trailer, to our favorite coffee shop, where we sat outside drinking lattes and eating breakfast.

All good anniversaries should have metaphorical fireworks, I guess, but lucky for us we got the real thing. The Celebration of Light is going on in Vancouver as it does every summer, where countries compete against each other for the most impressive and technologically advanced fireworks display. This summer, Spain, Canada and China compete. So, we packed a picnic and went down to the beach to watch Canada's display over the English Bay. It was choreographed to jazzy music including, appropriately, Nat King Cole's Unforgettable, which we danced to at our wedding. We brought Cora with us, keeping her up way past her bedtime. She had a blast, excited by our late night rendez-vous and enthralled by the fireworks.

On Sunday Shelli arrived to spend the week with us taking care of Cora while I took a short but intensive writing course at Regent taught by Lauren Winner, an author I love. In the midst of the studies, we have been enjoying plenty of eating out, shopping, and walking around, the typical things when parents come to visit!

Tomorrow we plan to celebrate David's birthday by going out to a French restaurant. Then we are preparing for a big birthday bash for Cora on Sunday. When it rains, it pours. I do love the rain.