Thursday, December 29, 2011

Superbaby

The following conversation actually happened.



Ryan:  I'm a little concerned because Mac's birthstone (emerald) looks like Kryptonite.

Me: Uhhh...

Ryan: Well, it could have weakening powers on him and render him unable to defend himself.  

Me: Ummm...

Ryan: Maybe we could somehow arrange for the baby to come a few weeks early or even a few weeks late to avoid the entire month of May?

Me: That's not really how things work...

Ryan: Well, you know, maybe we'll get lucky and having a May birthday could mean that he'll build up a strong resistance to Kryptonite.

Me: Yeah.  Fingers crossed.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A New Christmas Tradition - Duck Hunting

As you might remember, we've skipped Christmas the last two years.  Last year we spent the holidays on the slopes in Breckenridge and the year before that we were on a beach in Belize.  I highly recommend both.  But this year, we stayed home - apparently pregnant ladies aren't allowed to ski and I'd rather die than be caught in a swim suit these days.  So home it was.  But this year, we decided to do things a little different.

Anyway, my husband has been training our puppy Sage to be a duck dog.  For the last few months, he's taken her duck hunting or duck training a few times a week.  He takes her out to a friend's farm and she swims, retrieves dummy ducks, responds to the whistle, watches the sky for birds and is basically his side-kick.  She comes home soaking wet, covered in mud and burrs, and so tired she can barely move.  You can tell she loves it because the few times he hasn't take her with him, she sits at the back door and cries like a baby for hours.  It's the saddest thing ever.  But when she's at the farm, she's a working dog and the happiest puppy on the block.

Apparently Sage is a very good little duck dog.  She's still a puppy and has a long way to go, but she's got the instincts.  I'm sure this has something to do with all the time and energy Ryan has devoted to her to get her where she is.  He's so proud of her - you can see it in his eyes every time he looks at her.  I can't wait until he looks at our son the same way.  That's pure love. And because he's so proud of her, he's been wanting to show her off to me so I can be proud of her too.  So bright dark and early on Christmas Eve morning, we packed up the truck and the pup and headed out to the farm so mama could see her baby in action.

Of course we picked the coldest day the entire year, so we were bundled to the max.  
Sage wore her duck dog camo vest too. 
 Doesn't she just look thrilled to get her picture taken?
This will probably be the very last time I can wear my super warm clothes because they barely fit over my ever-growing baby bump.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to get dressed in 3 layers of pants, 3 layers of tops, waders, boots, coat, hat, gloves etc. while you can barely bend over?  Neoprene and Cold Gear aren't that stretchy.  Luckily, with a lot of maneuvering and Ryan's help, I got everything on.  
Once we were dressed, it was time to head out to the blind.  
It was dark and ice cold (barely 6:00 a.m.).
Ryan and Sage forged ahead, while I trudged through the water and ice and mud and questioned my sanity.
It was about this time when I thought maybe that swim suit on the beach wasn't a horrible idea after all.
We made it out to the blind only to discover frozen fields.
Unfortunately, the pumps in the field (that keep the water flowing and from freezing) 
were not turned on the night before, so we had a lot of ice to deal with. 
 
Ducks will only land on open (unfrozen) water, so Ryan had to go out and break ice while Sage and I hung out at the blind and waited for the sun to rise.  
She hung out in her kennel and watched for birds.  
Very serious.
While I goofed off and took a million pictures of her.  
Doesn't she have the cutest little puppy butt you've ever seen?
And despite it being ass-crack early and bitter cold, I will say, 
it was incredibly peaceful and beautiful out there.
There was definitely a stillness to the place that was quite haunting.
And as the sun began to rise and hit the ice/water, it made the whole place glow gold and red.
Once Ryan finished breaking ice, it was time to get serious.
Sage gave me that look that says, "enough mom, it's time to work."
So I had to get out of the way and into the blind (which is basically a hole in the ground 
covered with straw and filled with mud and ice water).  
Who said duck hunting wasn't glamorous?
With all my layers of clothing and my giant belly, it took me about 6 hours to climb down the 3 stairs into the blind.  I was kid brother Randy from "A Christmas Story" - so bundled I looked like a tick ready to explode.
No, I don't shoot.  I was only holding the gun because Ryan said it'd make me look more like a bad-ass in the photo.  What do you think?  

The sun was finally rising, so we hunkered down in the blind and waited.
And waited...
And waited.
According to Ryan, the weather wasn't "ducky" enough for the birds to be moving.  There was no wind and no weather, so they were all staying put.  
We even tried calling them, but just got their voice mail.
There were a couple of ducks flying around, but nothing close enough to shoot.
Sage was great at watching the sky for signs of life.
She was so focused.
It made me such a proud mom to watch her do something she loved so much.
But as much as she might like the ducks, 
I think her favorite part of hunting is just spending time with her daddy.
She loves him so much and just wants to please him.  It's quite adorable.
It's obvious they have a lot of fun together.

And as the sun rose, we realized that there were no ducks coming.
Time to head home.
Ryan helped me out of the blind (with a lot of effort) and we took an opportunity to get a few pictures with the dog of the day.
I told you she's loved.
That's one proud papa.
And my sweet little puppy looks much more bad-ass than I ever could.
And what a grown-up she's become. 
She's no longer that tiny puppy that could fit through the cat door.
But still, she'll always be my baby.
And so that was the end of our hunt.
We headed home, back through the icy waters.
A boy and his dog.
The best of friends.
And thus concludes our adventures in duck hunting.
Although I have a feeling Baby Mac will be back as soon as he's old enough to hold his head up.
And Sage will be fully recharged and ready to do it all again after a 20 minute power nap.


Special thanks to John at Duck's Rest for letting us hunt at the farm.  I promise I really did have a great time and would love to go again (as long as Ryan promises not to shoot anything while I'm there).


* No ducks were harmed in the making of this post.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

(card design by Tiny Prints)

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A December to Remember

So, I know you've all seen those Lexus commercials where people surprise each other with a brand new Lexus with a big red bow on top and thought..."Who does that?"  

Well, apparently we do.  

Introducing Baby Mac's new ride.



Merry Christmas to my wonderful husband!  

I'm pretty sure this wins me the "Wife of the Month" trophy, no?

Ryan, you better remember this in a few weeks...I have a birthday coming up.


(source

And just for full disclosure: no, it was not a surprise.  This was a purchase we've been planning for months.  The topic was fully discussed (to death) before any purchase was made.  How boring and responsible of us.  
Also, they did not let us keep the big red bow...total bummer.

Any of you surprising someone with a fun gift this year?  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sorrento



Alright, enough baby talk.  Let's get back to Italy pictures.  So, after a few days in Rome, we packed up all our stuff and boarded a train to Sorrento.  Trains from Rome to Sorrento run pretty frequently, so we just showed up at the train station, bought a first-class super nice ticket to Naples, then changed trains and headed to Sorrento on a jam-packed, subway-style stinky rickety train.  Night and day, I'm telling you.  

We picked a hotel way outside of town (up in the hills) because we wanted to be able to get the full views of the Bay and the surrounding area.  


We had an ocean view room, which was large and comfortable.

With a view of the Bay of Naples.
(view from our balcony)
Unfortunately, every single day we were there was cloudy, so our views were less than spectacular.
Well, until this guy showed up in his pink outfit.  
That basically made my day.


Wow.

Anyway.  Each morning we took the hotel shuttle, which drove about 80 mph down tiny narrow windy roads, into town.  I nearly had a panic attack every time we got in the damn shuttle thinking about the drive.  Ryan loved it and wanted to sit up front like he was on a roller coaster or something.  He even filmed the drive a few times, just so we could relive the horror whenever we wanted.  Thanks honey.

The first thing we saw when we got into Sorrento were these deep gorges, right in the middle of town, containing ruins of what looked to be an old fortress or castle or something.  
I was so fascinated with them.  How do you get down there?  Who used to live there?  Can I go down there and look around?




And then a block later, we're in the middle of downtown Sorrento.
So, why Sorrento?  Well, we chose Sorrento due to its convenient location.  It's a small town on the Bay of Naples, conveniently located in between Rome/Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast.  We didn't know much about the town, but it was such a perfect spot to stop over for a few days while we checked out Herculaneum/Pompeii and the Island of Capri.  A lot of people told us to skip Sorrento, but I'm actually glad we stayed.  Yes, you only really need about 2 hours to see the entire town, but it was a really cute little town...touristy, but not as bad as the towns on the Amalfi Coast and it had great food.  Seriously, the best lemon gelato I've ever had in my life.  I had it multiple times a day!


The streets and alleyways in Sorrento were just packed with fruit stands, gelaterias, people shopping for lemon souvenirs, restaurants, coffee shops, churches, etc.  Most of the tourists were British and there was no lack of English and Irish pubs.  


But the best part of Sorrento was the bluffs.  
The edge of town, where city meets the sea was spectacular.
The city was built right into the bluffs, which was amazing.


(no, I was not drinking beer while pregnant)





And at the end of the day, there was the seafood! 
 Here's my giant order of the most amazing Seafood Risotto known to man.
Not a bad little place to stay.


Next installment: Pompeii & Herculaneum