Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye to 2013

It's December 31st already again, and what a year it has been! We celebrated the holidays in Little Rock, Memphis, and Kentucky, with some exhausting driving/toddler entertaining mixed in.  We really enjoyed the families.

Mom and Dad's cabin at dusk. The horses were fed well with carrots again (speaking of, Hunter does the sign for carrots also for parrots and ferrets).

As materialistic as I try to not be, we appreciate so much the gifts that we and Hunter received this year. He is interested in everything, with Mickey and Minnie topping his list that also includes books, art, and animals.


Check out these ornaments, Mickey!

 And you too, sheep.


We have added Minnie to our plush collection. She wasn't put down for HOURS
 


My husband knows exactly what I want -- to reuse old things to decorate and furnish. He built me a mirror frame, planter box, and bench for the mudroom out of old 2x4s from our Alamogordo porch, and he also built an outdoor porch couch out of pallets from my brother-in-law's company. What a resourceful, creative, perfect present. And all I got him was a pair of Nike pants (well not really, but not nearly as good as his presents to me).




We sure love that Dad


Can't you just see that perfect jump shot form?

All the excitement of the week left us a little exhausted, but we still had introductions between the goat and donkey of the new nativity to do.

The adults may get some enjoyment out of this one too.


We are back home now for New Year's Eve, with exciting things coming in the new year, including 2 year molars which should make their appearance any day now (come on, damn teeth, that's enough). One of us (me) may have a few new pounds gained after all the desserts and this jar of cookie butter from Trader Joe's that I'm currently spooning out. But the days are getting longer and my daffodil shoots are telling me spring is coming soon! 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A little sun, a little warmth, a bit of training

I think this is why people live in the southeast: you get a few days of snow and ice, then a few days of sun and 65 degrees. In December. It is the shortest day of the year, which is exciting since days get longer from here. I may not be getting any tan lines this weekend like I did in Alamogordo on the shortest day, since it is pouring rain, but I can wear shorts running in it! (I swam, in the indoor pool, instead today.) And then we are returning to winter in a few days, but it's Christmas, so expected.

These short days are making it hard to fit in outdoor running. Jeremy goes in the mornings and I usually run on weekends and Wednesdays, with last week's runs totally 17 miles.  I went twice. I need either more lighted streets or fewer cars around or both to make my evening runs more frequent. I have been religiously hitting the trainer though. Every other day of the week I have tried to get on as soon as Hunter goes to sleep for his nap, and have successfully gotten in about 45 minutes each time. Except the other day, when just before I finished up a hard 10 minute interval, he woke up. He is sleeping in the usual spot, our bed on the floor. He can get in and out easily, and I keep the stairs baby gate locked, but only a few times has he woken up and just walked out of the room. Usually he calls for me. I have never let him cry, so as soon as I heard him I sprinted up the stairs. Of course at this point I was a sweaty mess, and he turned up his nose at me, like I smelled or something.

It might possibly be the extra hours on the trainer, but my SI joint is not getting better. I skipped the chiropractor again this week, since I really can't justify $40 for 10 minutes of stim and ART. The Sacro-Wedgy effectiveness is still up in the air. It is not comfortable to lie on, but I have been doing it every night. Swimming is rough on it, as is sitting on the floor with Hunter, which is where I spend a very large proportion of my waking hours. I have no solution to my pain so far, and I don't want to sound like a senior citizen the rest of my life complaining about my back.

It's hard to believe Christmas is almost here! We celebrated Ethan's 4th birthday this week at Jump Zone, which is SOOOO fun for a toddler, and a Mexican feast. I am trying to keep myself from eating my weight in Moose Munch (at least it is hard to do, since light fluffy popcorn is at its core) and the pies that I will make this week. The last minute shopping seems to be complete with today's trip to Target. And side note: is it just me, or is it hard to resist things with JOY written on them this time of year? There are canisters, shirts, towels, place mats, glasses, plates, candles, ornaments, everything! I want them all. Do people with other names have this problem? The Hopes know what I'm saying.

 Uh oh, there's a bulb out! We checked every light, didn't we Dad? You taught me everything I know about exterior illumination.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Winter is here

Nothing says winter like a few beautiful 75 degree days. Knowing Wednesday was the last one like that for a while, I put my running shorts on and did a little 8 miler with some tempo miles thrown in to try to beat the husband's pace for the day. However the sickness that I'd had starting a few days before kept me from the victory this time. I got my first winter cold before the winter cold weather even got here. It's turned out to be the worst cough I've had since Hunter was born. I notice this fact because not only is it frustrating to wake yourself up coughing repeatedly each night, but having to stuff a pillow into your mouth to avoid waking the baby is the icing on the cake. Or maybe the icing is when you have him almost asleep and that horrible jarring cough comes out of nowhere and startles him. Being sick is fun enough before kids. It is so much more so while trying to take care of a toddler. Luckily his nursing provides him lots of good antibodies and he has only gotten a runny nose, so at least I'm not trying to entertain a very sick toddler.

After running Wednesday I didn't stick to my word and rescheduled my chiropractor appointment so that I could go to the massage therapist. She was good, and said I have "a lot going on in there" when she worked on my hips. I decided that while it costs more than my $40 copay at the chiropractor, it lasts so much longer and feels so much better. I might become a (more) regular. She recommended an apparatus called the sacro-wedgie for helping my deep hip muscles relax, so I put it right on my Christmas list.

We knew the cold would be coming along Thursday and the temperature steadily dropped all day. Friday the ice came, which brought Jeremy slowly home from work very early. Unfortunately Hunter and I just watched as Dad and the cousins sledded down our street. He's not much for being cold, and jackets, mittens, and hats aren't his thing. It's like he's not even listening when I explain the theory behind "winter clothing." Toddlers.


I'm fine right here, thank you 


See? I'm so much happier shirtless.

Indoor activities are going to have to be stepped up for a while during this long cold that is forecasted. We have already made a dent in the 400 page Mickey coloring book. I can see a difference in his coloring skills already. I'm totally impressed at his ability to stay inside the lines already. I'm hoping he doesn't get his Daddy's inability to color things the proper color though. Yellow jaundiced eyes on a duck? Come on people. Apparently I've always been the coloring Nazi, according to my poor little sister, who I stood over while she used my set of 64 crayolas (with the built-in sharpener-- that, honestly, who would ever want to use?). She told me this memory and i actually felt sorry for my young self. I'm sure I was made to share my precious pack of crayons with her, and was trying not to get mad when she put the oranges back in the wrong order. And obviously, there is a correct order. It's called the rainbow.
  ...my blue suede shoes


 "Doof" looking sharp with his pants matching his shoes


I did happen to color the red pants, but his black shoe and green glove and face are looking just as good.


And speaking of Mickey, he's one busy guy at our house, with all the excavation by truck...


...and by bucket. Mickey signs to us a lot now, and lends a helping hand even more.

 I'm about to start him working as my sous chef since his play dough cutting skills are rivaling my onion dicing skills. I'm not sure the plastic knife will work as well on an onion as it does on the raspberry scented homemade red dough, however. And he may be too young for the Henckels. 

We have worked on decorating for Christmas, and Hunter has sorted and boxed and dumped and bounced all the plastic ornaments we could find-- over and over. He has helped make some new ornaments as well, including his handprinted one complimenting last year's, and a few clear glass ones with Christmas confetti and shredded tissue paper inside.



 Such a fascinating tradition we have here of hanging strange objects on a tree inside

So inside snuggling our precious ones we will stay for the next week until the weather warms up, getting our exercise (well some of us) on the trainer, doing laps running around the house, racing at the starting sound of "GOGOGO!" and practicing our somersaults and pikes on the bed. Stay warm, friends!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Week

I'm so slow with blogging because one of my three blog readers was in town visiting-- Mom! :) She came last week, along with Megan and Annie! Hunter loved it. Annie would get out of sight and he would start asking where she was. 

This short week has flown by. Wednesday Jeremy was off as usual so I got to do some cooking: Mom's squash casserole, dressing, and sweet potato casserole, and my Nana's pecan pie, all to get ready for Jeremy's mom and aunt to come for Thanksgiving. Jeremy is on call and working mornings Friday and Saturday, so we got to celebrate our first Thanksgiving in our new place. 

Wednesday I started my mission to get rid of my SI joint pain. I went to the chiropractor who twisted me around and then did some ART on my hips. I'm not feeling much different so far but I will actually go back next week. She did not seem to think I was crazy for blaming a torn hip labrum for all my ailments. Of course I am not letting her take X-rays. I just do not put that much trust in them; they would not pick up a labral tear anyway. I do not need any more radiation than I already get, and I can always use the excuse that I do not know for sure that I am not pregnant. Ha. I'm not. 

Thursday morning I picked Jenny up and we headed to the midtown area for a turkey trot. It was more of a group run than a race, and it went winding through the neighborhoods and some trails I would have never known existed. Fun!

Today was all about playing with Hunter's Mammo and Nanny, and tonight will be Christmas decorating. 

The cold has hit us hard here. I am still getting used to the sun not coming out from behind the clouds some days. I swear I can look at the forecasted cold temperature and gain my 5 winter pounds. Then I get sleepy and want to just hibernate until spring. 

But some days are still beautiful, especially when I can go out and run my 6 miles on the Rock Creek trail in shorts. That was today. And then tonight I made Megan's apple pie. Got to build up the winter fat stores. 


Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

20 months

I do not know if it is because this is the month of giving thanks or what, but I have been incredibly thankful to have my sweet toddler lately. I have to start by admitting that the time from when he was about 4 months until 14 months were some of the hardest days of my life. The first thing that changed was our location, which did help a lot on its own. But he has also become such a happy, pleasant little one recently, and I enjoy his company more every day. He has his own inventive ideas and he makes his own hysterical jokes. Of course he still has his own strict agenda, but we do a much better job of communicating with each other, so that cuts down on frustration. He says many words and signs even more. The cutest thing I've ever seen is when he makes his Mickey Mouse do sign language. Everybody in the house needs to be on the same page!

He likes a lot of the same things that I like: gardening, hiking in the woods, finding interesting leaves and rocks, coloring, squishing playdough, chalk artistry. He is still asking to get in the stroller, and we have running races up and down the driveway. If we could only love sleeping to the same degree (one way or the other we need to meet in the middle). But I have a new activity that I'm starting, which is getting on the trainer when he naps. Knocking on wood... he will sleep reliably for the first 40ish minutes of his nap right now, so I'm just praying he does not decide to give it up any time soon! You should have seen my sprint the other day when I heard a noise through the monitor. The trainer is in the playroom downstairs, so I braked, got out of my shoes, ran around the couch, up the stairs, hopped the baby gate, and slid sock-footed around the corner in the living room then down the short hall to the bedroom. And he was still zonked out. Must've been a cat. 


our hobbies include drilling

I realize that he's getting big and doesn't need me there within 5 seconds like he used to, but I also know that he really trusts me to be there since I always have, and I do not want to go messing that up now. It was hard work getting a good secure attachment (especially in those particular 10 months), but I am thankful for it. I know the effects. But I imagine a lot of people would feel sorry for me if I told them that we have never left Hunter with anybody other than my sister, and mom once, and I couldn't dream of leaving him overnight. I am definitely not feeling any wistfulness that he would be perfectly happy without me. That time will come too fast anyway.


At 20 months, he is tall enough to be mistaken for a two year old frequently (and has been for several months now), at almost 3 feet. His blond curls keep growing and getting bushier, and I keep trimming and hoping I don't cut off any babyness. He understands and responds to every question asked of him, even if it's rhetorical. He is forgiving of me when I make mistakes during his games, politely telling me "uh oh" when I get it wrong. A lover of all animals, he kisses them and hugs them, and puts them to sleep. Mostly gently. Except when he needs an excuse to kiss them, and then they might get stepped on and "hurt." 

Sweet, attentive, observant, funny baby Hunter.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Little Annoyances

I have been dealing with some sort of niggling injury since I was in college, it seems. Not to say I am always injured, because rarely does something stop me from training or even running, but I seem to have some type of pain most of the time. I would say it is because I am getting old, except that like I said, something has been going on since college. That darn hill in Shelby Forest -- Ballbuster, or Group Camp Hill, whatever you call it-- it is parallel to Jackson, and we used to run repeats on it weekly in cross country my senior year. That started the hamstring tendonitis, which still bothers me. I've gone through Achilles injuries, one so bad that I took off 6 weeks from running. And after a half marathon 5 years ago, I was sure I had a stress fracture in my femoral neck (but the x-rays were negative), which I have since self-diagnosed as a torn labrum. Lately it is the right side of my body in general. My calf gets tight and my hamstring bothers me some, sleeping on that side with an arm around a toddler makes it hurt more than the left, but the real problem seems to be my SI joint. Chiropractors will "fix" me temporarily, since I always seem to be out of alignment, and I get some relief, but a month or two later, it is back with a vengeance. I do not understand why they cannot give me some rehabilitative exercise to keep it all in alignment (ok, maybe I do -- $), so I try to do some of my own. Hopefully I am making some sort of slow progress strengthening the areas connected to it. In addition, I am doing lots of deep massage on my right quads. Not only is this supposed to help release the SI joint, but my Osgood-Schlatter's is acting up, and my tibial tubercle is quite large and painful. This is not a new issue either, but seems to be most relieved by manual therapy to those knotty quads.

Some days I go limping along for a while at the beginning of my runs, alternately digging a fist into my right glutes and doing weird looking drills for all the neighbors. Sometimes, kind of like when I was pregnant, I get a heaviness on that side, or even a sharp pain. As long as I don't look like a wounded animal in front of the wildlife on the trails.

OH! The wildlife on the trails... I feel somewhat satisfied to report that I had a bobcat sighting on my favorite trail a few days ago, in broad daylight (I don't run the trail in the dark when I can help it). He was only about 15 yards ahead of me, crossing the trail, and I looked up from the rocky footing in time to see him, all but his head, quietly disappear into the brush lining the path. His tail was most definitely bobbed, whew. My heart rate skyrocketed, and I stopped momentarily, then gathered myself and stomped by, not daring to look in the direction he had gone. I thought of getting a picture, but I really could not manage to get it together in those 2 seconds I saw him. So while there is no proof, I have now actually seen a medium sized predatory cat, and not just a track. As far as I know, bobcats are completely harmless to humans, but I seemed to have gotten more nervous about it than I was in New Mexico when I ran right up to a coyote who trotted along side of me for a bit. Now if I could just see one of those cougars who supposedly live out near Roland, just a few miles from Little Rock.

 Running on my trail

Anyway, I need to get rid of some of my annoying little pains, mostly so I can sit on the floor all day without my back yelling at me. And ride my road bike, which is set up quite differently than my tri bike, says my back. Massage seems like more of a luxury than a necessity, but I might break down and use that in place of a chiropractor session. It's cheaper and more enjoyable.

While on the subject of annoyances, I'll just make a quick tangent. Can we all come to an agreement not to use the word "amazing" anymore? Should we agree that if you're not "comfortable in your own skin" that you are never comfortable because you are always in your own skin? Could I just take a "guess" or make an "estimate" and not ever "guesstimate"? I mean, "it is what it is." Isn't it? Or is it sometimes not what it is? NO, it is always what it is, so let's stop saying it and being redundant! And, by the way, that many people do not love fall and pumpkin everything. Whew, it feels good to get that off my chest.

Now for things I do love about fall, these people, and the beautiful fall colors!






Whatever it is, it's obviously a little scary.

We sure love Bunny

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Quick Baby Clip


This sweet baby makes me laugh! Here he is reciting one of our newest books, Moo, Baa, La La La. I was surprised how fast we had it memorized.


video

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween

We practiced being a dragon with the towel (there are so many more pictures of this that I just can't post online -- one video where he admits to an "accident" on the rug :))...

then a real costumed dragon, with pants on even.

But once warm, humid Halloween night came, there was a bit of refusal. And anyone who knows a toddler knows there's not much reasoning going on with them. So cupid it was. Until the sash came off, then it was just a toddler in a red cloth diaper with running shoes on. Eventually I got a superman t-shirt on him.


We did a bit of partying, a small bit of trick-or-treating (who needs all that candy anyway? I do!), and much handing out of candy.

I'm not sure anybody really noticed Hunter and me (dressed as Hunter's current favorite thing: a black cat), due to the hilarity of Buddy. Pictures by random onlookers were snapped! Jeremy couldn't have been more perfect for the costume. Next year we must coordinate the rest of the family.




Thursday, October 31, 2013

Close but no PR

I really wasn't intending to be a sandbagger when I wrote about how little mileage I've done "preparing" for my half marathon. The race pace efforts must have done the trick, even though I was only squeaking out a few miles at a time slightly slower than I ended up averaging for the race. 

Sister Jenny (makes her sound patient and saintly, doesn't it? She is :)) is very familiar with Conway, a city she lived and worked in for many years, so I didn't worry much about directions to the race. I picked her up for the 30ish mile drive a little after 6:30am Saturday. Plenty of time to find the race, park, use porta potties, pick up packets, and warm up. Pulling off the interstate and into town, Jenny may have realized that the Conway she was so familiar with was circa 1999. It has grown and changed, and despite having lots of opportunities to stop and pull out my phone's GPS, I still let her take us in concentric circles around the race site, until finally I pulled over in a closed pharmacy parking lot to use the bushes (hope that wasn't caught on camera!). At least I could check the potty off my prerace list.

With less than 30 minutes until race time, we made it to a parking spot and found the packet pick up, except we weren't on the list anywhere. Seems we weren't the only relay team with this problem. But after a little more stressing, I finally just wrote the race off as a long training run, and calmed down a bit. We jogged to and from the car for a warm up and finalized our plans of how the chip hand off was going to take place. It occurred to me at the last minute that we could possibly be the first team to hand off in the parking lot just off the race course, and it could be obvious that our plan of me not taking off the timing chip and only faking a hand off could be noticeable. Oh well. I figured I really didn't care too much; as I'd said before, I did pay a hefty registration fee, and I can't understand how the race could be full yet open to VIPs at the same time. The rule book never said I couldn't do the whole race.

I decided last minute, literally, that I didn't want to go in the first corral, since it consisted of approximately 15 men and 2 women. It said 7:00 pace and under, which I was hoping to run, but I wanted more people nearby, and I knew more than that small number would run under 1:32. Plus I fit in slightly better with the slower group, since I wasn't dressed like a real runner. I went for the comfort of short sleeves and knicker tights over the apparently more appropriate clothing of some combination of a tank, arm warmers, gloves, shorts, and maybe compression socks. Thankfully, I think I chose my corral well, but that still didn't keep people from going out way too fast, cutting in front of me on downhills, and me ending up running mostly alone for many miles.

The first 6 miles before the relay "handoff" had a few hills at approximately every 2 miles. I tried not to look at the Garmin, especially the instantaneous (or more appropriately, erroneous) pace, and I managed to only look at it once, in the first mile, which was mostly downhill. Then I looked at every mile beep, and no more. It seemed the odd miles were downhill, and evens were uphill. Especially according to my pace, 1-6: 6:51, 7:10, 6:49, 7:07, 6:41, 7:04. There was no even pacing for me. But I'd rather have an even effort, which it appears I did a little better than pacing.

Right after mile 6 was the relay transition. I was getting a little nervous about it and hoped they wouldn't notice my colored bib which signified my relay status, and I could skip the whole thing and holler to Jenny to go on. In retrospect, that probably wouldn't have worked because they may not have released her from the transition! So I ran up the hill toward her, as she stood waiting, having been given specific instructions on how this would all go down. They volunteers were to help us change the ankle strap so we didn't have to bend down, I learned later. Instead, I went plowing through, and gave her a kind of high five/pull by the hand and said, "come on." One guy called after us something like, "you have to change the band!" and I called back something about keeping on going. With all that commotion, I had plenty of adrenaline, and despite the uphill, ran a 6:46.

Soon after the intersection was a Gu station, which I planned to partake in. I grabbed one, pulled the tab off with my teeth and squirted a large glob into my mouth. Then I realized that despite the instructions from the Gu-giver "water next," there was no water in sight. Or within the next mile. I spit most of the blob out but changed my mind and swallowed more since I had already stickied up my mouth anyway.

I knew larger hills were coming at miles 8, maybe 10, and 12, and 8 was my last over-7, which was 7:05. I never ran with anyone for very long, but I tried to keep my eyes ahead. One younger guy passed me around 9 or 10 with quite a bit of speed, but I kept him in sight. I think he was the relay that beat us. Many times I felt like I must be plodding along at around 8:30 pace, but at each mile beep I was surprised to see a sub 7. Miles 9-11 were 6:44, 6:55, 6:54. By this time I figured I should be averaging under 7 mins/mi, but I didn't think of looking at the data field that showed average pace. Of course!

Mile 12 had the last of the hills, and it was a long but gradual one. I squeaked it out in 6:59, and knew the rest was mostly downhill. You could practically see the finish line from the top of the hill, and it looked a long way away, but I ended with the fastest mile of the day for 13: 6:38. If only it hadn't been .09 miles too long according to my garmin, even given my excellent tangent running :), I may have had a small PR, but instead ran 1:30:52. At least I broke the curse of the 1:35s.

I'm pretty sure my name wasn't called out as I crossed the finish line, but I was a little dizzy from the chilly air, so maybe I just didn't hear it. Jenny nor I were anywhere to be found in the results. Jenny's bib number pulls up some man named Charles in the photos. He actually is wearing the same bib number that she did. My pictures are of me (probably unfortunately), but it congratulates Caliene.


As scenic as the course actually was, the pictures are most definitely not doing it justice



After a cool down run a mile and a half to the car, some trick-or-treating grabbing of candy at the food table, and forcing my unconfiscated chip onto a timing guy who really didn't know what to do with it, we headed back down south with renewed motivation to do more "track" workouts. Right Jenny?

Happy Halloween! He's a nice dragon.



Pant less dragon: "But Daddy, I'm marking my territory."

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Littlest Runner

Hunter got some new running shoes recently. He refused to wear them for a few days, just like he refused to wear any clothes at all outside in the 50 degree weather this morning. But we finally convinced him that his running shoes were just like Ma's and Dad's, and they would make him run fast. He tried them out, they fit, and off he ran. The next time we were headed outside, he signed "running" and "shoes." :)

Jenny and I took him and Ethan to my favorite in-town running trail to run, obviously, and pick moss, find rocks and acorns, and throw them in the creek.



video

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Procrastinator

I learned that I'm a pretty good procrastinator in college when I'd have a paper due and leave most of it until the night before, when I would scramble home after a mini track party to type. I always have wanted to be a person who gets things done early so that I can relax and enjoy myself, and not have things hanging over my head. But anyway, I did it again. I kept putting off registering for the half marathon until last week, I guess so I could back out any time. I'm not registering a year in advance for ironmans these days, and I suppose by comparison you can get into other races relatively close to race date. I pulled up the website and saw a huge (month-old) post that said SOLD OUT. Nice one Joy. But the VIP race, for just $250, was open. No thanks. The two person relay was also open. Ok... Let me just think about this one... Yeah that works! I have come up with a plan for Jenny and me which involves her running the second leg and me running the whole thing. Technically, I could possibly be called a partial bandit runner, but I'm paying and racing and I just want to do the full course! Plus this way if I really bomb, there will be no record :) It seems I put off doing a lot of real training too, and lo and behold, it's too late. I know there's a lot of sand bagging and avoidance of training details put out on the internet in blogs and whatnot, and I understand that. Unfortunately I'm not doing that. I had my high mileage weeks break into the low 30s twice. I've been running 3-4 times a week, and usually taking a day or two completely off. It just hasn't fit into the schedule lately since it has been getting dark early. And now it's cold and dark! The trainer will be coming into the playroom for me tonight. The pool donned its bubble this week. I guess it's really fall, sadly. I even broke out the knicker tights for running Sunday when I went out for a few tempo miles. I'm hoping for race day magic since those 3 at 7:00 pace sure seemed too hard to keep up for over an hour and a half. I'm going into this race knowing I really didn't give my best effort in training, but also remembering that I never have trained specifically for a half marathon, so why can't I PR?

Enough about running, let me not procrastinate any more in posting some toddler pictures, and the events of the last few weeks. 

We had a crew of Harwoods come last weekend-- Hunter's Mammo and great aunt Nanny as well as his great grandmother GG and great grandfather LaLa!

We and the local cousins spent a beautiful fall day at a pumpkin patch with pigs and goats, a donkey and a tractor, lots of corn, hay, and pumpkins. 


No hesitation, they all climbed right up to the top


I make funny toddler jokes. I got Ethan to laugh at me.

Em is a good baby chaser.
It's harder to get my own baby to laugh when I'm behind him.
 
While pigs do grunt, as Hunter will demonstrate for us, they also squeal very loudly when picked up! Very loudly.
 



Matching is our game lately. We match colors, animals, similar objects. I can tell him to go pick the crayon that matches the green chair, and he picks it out of 20 colors perfectly. He laughs when he finds 2 horses and holds them up together. He shows mini Mickey the blanket with his face on it. So funny. He even laughs at my attempt at jokes. Like one night he started sitting on a balloon and I said, "Hunter is laying an egg!" And he died laughing and wanted me to keep repeating it. I'm quite the comic, you should know.


He loves to be surrounded by his animals. And check out Tigger's adoring look.


The cousins fostered a 3 week old kitten. Hunter was gentle and kissed her. He's a big kisser lately, to animals (real and not) and people.



Selfie
 


The cuteness!

 Hunter's like, ummmm I thought I was an only child. Actually he really gets excited over these three, whether he looks like it or not.


He loves his little chairs that are just his size. Luckily Ma (that's me) fits in them too.

Here is my giant foot, Ma.


He's just so sweet. I love how he placed his crackers and water right near where he wanted to sit just so on the steps. Love that baby!