29 June 2009

More Teeth

Remember our description of the last time Anders' appeared to be teething, and two weeks later the teeth popped through? Well, this time he was a bit more efficient.

Yesterday he was fussy all day and wouldn't nap; he would just lie on the bed and talk to himself, occasionally crying out to make sure that we could hear him. When it came time for bed he was really tired (having not napped all day), but as soon as we would put him down in his bed he would start wailing. Corinne and I both tried to get him to fall asleep, and each time would be the same: he would fall deep asleep on one of our chests, then wake up immediately and scream. After repeating this sequence three times - and administering infant tylenol, of course - we gave up and eventually let him cry until he fell asleep at about 9:30pm.

But it didn't end there. On a normal night he will sleep straight through from about 9pm or so until about 5 or 6am. This night he awoke at 1:30am, then again at 2:00am. At shortly before 3:00am Corinne suggested that we try a "reset": change him, feed him, and put him back down to sleep. Of course, both he and Corinne fell asleep while feeding, so he didn't get back to his bed until 4am. And he woke up an hour later.

And today he has his first upper tooth! Now that he has some on both sides - two on the bottom and one on the top - he has the potential to do some real damage.

- Mike, Corinne, and Anders Rocket

26 June 2009

Resident Coyotes

Our resident coyotes are a mixed blessing. They theoretically help with the rodent (gopher & mouse) control and we sure enjoy seeing them. On the other hand, they are a risk to Max; we know he has been chased at least twice, and we suspect they are the reason that he ended up in a tree. In any case, here are some coyotes photos from this spring.

This was one of the first gorgeous days of spring. The coyote layed in the field for ~45 minutes watching the birds and enjoying the weather.

This year's coyote pup doesn't have enough "street smarts" yet (or whatever the country equivalent is) to know that he shouldn't hang out 20 feet from a human dwelling. Mike noticed him on the other side of the garage and decided to walk out to get a closer look. He walked along one side of the garage while the pup walked along another, both heading for the same corner. When they got about 10 feet from each other, Mike decided that was close enough; he made some quick movements and noise, at which point the pup finally noticed him and ran off into the forest.

A few days later, we realized that we had not one coyote pup but three!

(I need a lens with more zoom!)

- Corinne, Mike, and Anders Rocket

21 June 2009

Father's Day

For Fathers' Day, Anders (with help from Corinne) took me out to breakfast at a local diner in Hood River. Leif joined us as well, and we all enjoyed a nice breakfast out.

I think this was the first time that he sat directly in a high chair at a restaurant (rather than in his carseat). It aged him instantly.

- Mike, Corinne, and Anders Rocket

20 June 2009

8-9 Months Old

Despite our best efforts, Anders just keeps getting older. He turned 9 months in June, but since we missed posting at 8 months, lets start with those milestones first.

8th Month Milestones:

Solid foods. We started with rice cereal, then added avocado, banana and sweet potato in sequence, waiting the recommended 4 days in between each new food to isolate allergies or other adverse reactions.

The beginnings of teeth.

"Loud" noises. Anders has started to experiment with making "loud" yelling-type sounds. They're still not very loud compared with some other kids we've seen. This started shortly after returning from our trip to visit his cousins in NJ. Coincidence?

Jumping. We got a free-standing "jumparoo" from our friends Stef & Serg quite a while ago, but it was only recently when he figured out how to actually jump in it. (This is the same jumparoo that we brought to Taryn and David's wedding.) Now we can't get him to stop! He just wants to jump all of the time, whether he is in the jumparoo or not.

Anders's hair is long and think enough now that the swirl at his cowlick stands up.

Twirling. We don't know where he got this from, but he is obsessed with twirling things, and he always does it the same way. More often than not, his mini-spatula is the object being twirled (which, by the way, makes a great teething tool!) This is a bit easier to see than it is to explain.

9th Month Milestones:

Teeth! 2 bottom teeth have arrived.

Sitting up. Anders hasn't yet expressed much interest in moving around yet, and that's just fine with us. He balances himself well enough to stay sitting in one place for long periods of time, though he hasn't yet figured out how to go from supine to sitting without help.

Anders has taken to giving Mom kisses, which basically consist of his open mouth somewhere on Corinne's face.

His vocalizing skills have expanded quite a bit, as evidenced in his conversations with Zak and Leif.

- Mike, Corinne, and Anders Rocket

18 June 2009

Best Cat Ever

Max's mad killing spree continues... he brought us 3 (three!) gophers today. I'm pretty sure they were from the garden. Yay!

We try to reward him more when he brings in gophers and mice, and it looks like it may actually be working!

I think we need more buckets.

- Corinne, Mike, and Anders Rocket

15 June 2009

1,200 More Trees

We haven't mentioned anything here about our forestry efforts this year, but that doesn't mean that there haven't been any. In fact, we planted 1,200 trees.

1,200 trees? How the heck can you do that with an infant? Answer: very slowly (and with a little help.)

We planted 400 trees last year, and 200 the prior year. The second year actually took longer per tree than the first, since we were a bit more educated about what needed to be done. We also had to do maintenance on the trees from the previous year, making sure that the grasses we scalped didn't return to starve the young trees. With the expectation this year that only one of us would be available to work in the field at a time - while the other stayed in the house with Anders - we were hoping that we would be able to drive down the time-per-person-per-tree.

We ordered our 1200 trees late last year: 900 Ponderosa Pine and 300 Douglas Fir, both native species for the area. I suppose that we could have skipped any plantings this year, but since we're on a plan to plant our 12 acre meadow in the next few years, every year counts. When we ordered the trees we knew it would be more difficult to find the time this year than previously, but it turned out to be even harder than we anticipated.

The trees arrived in late March, but the ground in Trout Lake was still frozen and covered in snow. So as in most years, we left the trees in the conservation district's "tree cooler" (aka refrigerated trailer) for as long as we could. But unfortunately our crazy work schedules started at just about the same time that we could have started planting. We did manage to get the first 200 into the ground in April, primarily by going into the field immediately after work. Anders would almost always fall asleep in the car on the drive home from work, so we would make a quick stop at the house to pick up the tools and change clothes, then drive immediately out to the field with the trees. Both Corinne and I would be able to plant until either Anders woke up or it got dark.

But before we could make too much progress, we had to leave for our spring trips to Seattle and New Jersey. At about the same time, the tree cooler was being taken away so we were forced to find another holding place for our trees. We managed to find room in the commercial refrigerator at work for the remaining 5 bags of seedlings; we hoped that they would survive there until we returned from our trips.

To help speed the planting process along, we hired the brother of a friend to finish scalping the remaining planting sites while we were away. We hoped that once we returned we would be able to get them all into the ground fairly quickly.

When we returned, we did manage to find time to get at least one bag (200) into the ground before an unseasonably warm spell fell upon us. Since we don't irrigate the trees at all, trying to plant them in 90+ degree weather didn't seem like a good idea. So we waited until the weather was more agreeable. It took a few weeks, but finally the weather broke and we were able to finish our planting by the first of June. After a few more weeks of work in the field, we finished maintenance on all of the previous years' plantings. Finally!

Because the trees went in so late this year, we are expecting to have a lower survival rate than we have in our previous efforts. I think next year will probably be a "rebuilding" year: we'll spend our efforts replanting the trees that didn't make it. The goal is to harvest commercially, but since that can't happen for 50 years or so I guess missing a year or two doesn't matter that much.

First year's seedlings, after one year of growth
(photo taken July 2008)

We were so busy just trying to finish the project that we didn't take any photos! Next spring we promise to take lots of photos of all three years of plantings. It's very rewarding to see how much your projects have grown, whether those projects be in tree- or child-form. ;)

- Mike, Corinne, and Anders Rocket

Zak and Anders, Best Friends

When I picked up Anders from daycare tonight, Zak said, "Corinne, guess what I said to Anders today?" "You're my best friend!". Debbie confirmed that yes, earlier that day he had given Anders a hug and said, "You're my best friend!".

By the way, have you noticed that I've graduated from Anders's Mom to Corinne?

- Corinne, Mike, and Anders Rocket

13 June 2009

Max, Extreme Hunter

Apparently, mice are boring.

We've already mentioned that Max has taken his hunting up a notch this year. In the last couple of weeks, Max has brought in all sorts of creatures.

Monday: Pine Squirrel
Wednesday: Another Pine Squirrel
Saturday: Gopher (yay!)
Thursday: Lizard
Saturday: Another Lizard
Of course, Max brings most of the creatures in while Mike is away and I (the squeamish) am on my own.

For squirrel #1, Mike was at an irrigation ditch meeting. I heard Max meowing in an odd way that made me wonder if he was hurt. But when I saw him, I realized that the sound was muffled because his mouth was full of squirrel. Luckily the squirrel was dead so I just had to distract Max and execute my bucket routine. I place the bucket upside down over the victim so that Max can't continue to play with or eat his catch in the house. Distracting Max is key so that I don't get a dead animal thrown in my face. When Mike gets home he takes care of whatever is under the bucket.

What's under the bucket?

I think he's dead

Mike was also away for squirrel #2 and lizard #1. AND the lizard wasn't dead. The lizard looked exactly like the common rubber toy version as Max batted and chased it about. Max finally batted it under the hutch (THUD!) and then he couldn't reach him. I was nursing Anders at the time so I had to wait until I was finished to clean up the remains. I got down on my hands and knees to look for the lizard, but there was NOTHING THERE. All I found was part of the lizard's tail in the middle of the dining room floor; presumably it had fallen off during the struggle. Great, now there is an injured lizard someplace in the house.

Two days later Max brought in lizard #2, and it wasn't dead either. Mike was able to rescue him from Max and return him outdoors before much damage was done. A few hours later, lizard #1 emerged from whereabouts unknown after spending two days somewhere in the house. We returned him outside as well with a frayed tail and some good stories to tell his friends, but otherwise looking fine.

A pocket gopher and his last meal.

I'm sure Anders finds the whole scene entertaining: mom alternates between calmly handling the catch while praising Max for his hunting skills and a whole lot of squealing.

We are very impressed with Max's hunting skills; it seems that he's made significant leaps in his skills. But we'd be fine if Max focused on catching the real pests: gophers and mice.

- Corinne, Mike, and Anders Rocket

10 June 2009

Anders's First Word Is ...

Zak! Well, probably not but at least Zak thinks it was.

Anders has been doing quite a bit of babbling lately and experimenting with different sounds. Debbie tells us that Anders was talking away and Zak thought he heard his name. Zak then excitedly yelled, "Anders said Zak. He said Zak!" Zak then did a little dance and exclaimed, "I'm so proud of you!"

Here's a video of Anders babbling to Uncle Leif.

- Corinne, Mike, and Anders Rocket

05 June 2009

Over 20 Pounds

Time for a Rocket weight update. At just shy of 9 months, Anders has surpassed the 20 pound mark.

As you can see, he's still exhibiting linear growth. We're hoping that will change at some point, but for now that's just fine with us.

- Corinne, Mike, and Anders Rocket

04 June 2009


Rocket finally has some teeth poking through! Two on the bottom.

It turns out to be surprisingly difficult to get a picture of the inside of an 8 month old's mouth.

- Mike, Corinne, and Anders Rocket