Jul 10, 2009

Why Does Alaska Feel Like Another Country?

We are so lucky that our friend from high school, Michelle (Thorne) Gadd, lives here in Anchorage. It's been such a blessing having her friendship and help. She has a sewing machine that I've been able to use to make slings and pacifier-holders. She's shown me the cheapest places to shop (Fred Meyer!) and the free places to hang with Lily during the week. I'm so glad she's here!
On Lily's 6 month "birthday" we went to the Anchorage Zoo. The zoo only has animals that are orphaned or injured and aren't able to survive in the wild. There were yaks, polar bears, camels, ox, and more, plus a petting zoo! Lily loved looking at the animals.
We went hiking Flat Top a few days later. It wasn't too hard of a hike, except there was snow on the trail. At one place, I didn't trust my feet to keep me stable, and I was holding Lily. We turned around there. I know that disappointed Mike. I try to do those things with him (and you'll see we do them often) because I know they mean a lot to him.
We've tried going to the Farmer's Markets (and there are F O U R) because we've heard how huge the fruits and veggies get, but I guess this early in the growing season there isn't much of a selection. We'll have to try and find good, local veggies later on. Mike went on an awesome salmon fishing trip in Cooper Landing. We drove him out in the early morning, and he was done in the afternoon. He caught two 10-pound blue back sockeye salmon! He's been eating it 3 or 4 times a week since. I stopped at a neat little quilting store and bought a pattern to make Lily a ring-stacking toy. I'll add a picture when I make it.
The next weekend we went on a wildlife adventure cruise. It was so neat! We went with Jessie Kolesar, another intern at Conoco (she also interned last summer in Farmington as well). We got pics and video of Dall porpoises, otters, puffins, humpback whales and sea lions. So cool! But Lily got SO seasick. It was cold and rainy, so we stayed below deck most of the time.
I didn't expect this much loneliness. I figured we've lived 6 hours away for four years, so I didn't think moving up to Alaska would really be different. I was so wrong. Our internet up here is touch and go so web chatting is sometimes impossible, and I underestimate how often I can just jump in the car for a weekend in Idaho or Utah. I'm really hoping that Mike gets an offer for somewhere in the Lower 48. I've got my fingers crossed for California or New Mexico!

Lily loves bath time and being outside. She really seems to love taking in the beauty of the world. We've been signing to her while we feed her, nurse her, change her dirty diapers and give her baths so she'll be able to communicate with us before she can talk, and it really seems to be working. We'll sign "bath time" and she'll wiggle her arms and kick her legs getting so excited to splash in the sink!
Speaking of signing, Lily has started signing "milk" when she's hungry. I'm trying to reinforce that "milk" and "hungry" are two different concepts, now that I've started Lily back up on her solids. She gets excited if we sign "milk" or "food" to her :) We tried apples right away but they gave her a horrendous diaper rash. She pooed during sacrament meeting, so I picked her up and changed her (total time sitting in the poo: under one minute). She got a blistery bum, all red and peeling. I felt so horrible. I've now learned that apples and carrots can be super acidic and cause problems, so we're avoiding those until she's a year old. That is why I really like making my own baby food - having you picked up a jar of baby food lately? 9 times out of 10 it has apples or carrots in it. I can't take that chance. I also like being able to add spices or seasonings that Mike and I are eating so she learns to love the food I make. We also just learned that mangoes don't sit well with her tummy. I fed her some for breakfast on Sunday and she threw up all over the Hymnal during Sacrament. I didn't realize it was the mangoes that caused it, so I fed her more at lunch. 10 minutes later she projectile vomited all over the floor and her walker. No more mangoes!
I love wearing Lily. I've done so much reading about how well-adjusted kids can turn out when their cries are responded to quickly and I love how quickly I can calm Lily when she's right there on me! My mom and Mike have even gotten into the act! I read a lot of blogs and websites about parenting while I was pregnant with Lily, but I didn't know what type of parent I wanted to be (other than loving and consistent) and I don't think anyone really knows how they will parent until they actually have kids. I've thought about how I'll react to our kids, how I'll discipline and teach and help them. Of course, with a baby there is very little disciplining and teaching, just a lot of helping and loving. So I went about parenting her in the way that felt most natural to me. Only recently did I find a label for my style of parenting: Attachment Parenting. I don't let Lily "cry it out", I respond as quickly and sensitively as I can to her cries, and I'd like to continue parenting her in respectful ways. Hmm, never thought I'd be this "granola" :)

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