Friday, March 30, 2012

North Fork Fire

What's your natural disaster of choice?  Living up here in the mountains, I always thought of our natural disaster as the blizzard, which I am perfectly happy to deal with.  Being an introvert and a homebody, there's nothing I love better than an excuse to hole up for a day or a week at a time - even if the power is out!  (Which it shouldn't be, cause we have a generator.....)  I forgot about the other disaster we get around here from time to time: wildfire.

I went on a walk with a co-worker after lunch on Monday.  It was hella windy - like blow-your-face-off windy.  Suddenly she stopped and said, "Fire.  I smell smoke."  We looked up at the hills, and sure enough there was a little wisp of smoke up there to the west.  I pointed out that "They were supposed to do some controlled burns last week."  She looked at me like I was kinda dumb and said, "Not *today* [in the wind]."  And I was like, "Well, no, clearly not today."

Little did we know that a controlled burn from the previous week had indeed left a few embers behind.  And the hurricane force winds took those little embers and were quite happy to whip them up into a fiery frenzy.  When I left work at 4:30 to pick Andrew up, the sky was clear, but as we drove toward home, there was a massive smoke plume that had towered up into the sky and drifted east towards the city.  (I heard later that as soon as 5:15, just 45 minutes after I left, the plume was over work and dropping ashes on people walking to their cars.)  We drove closer and closer to it, and I got more and more nervous, until I got to our road.  But even after arriving safely home, the sight from our porch.was completely unsettling.

To make matters somewhat worse, the hurricane force winds had pulled up several panels of our metal roof, and they were flapping around sounding like a demolition derby.  It was because of the roof and not the fire that I called Travis home from work a slight bit on the early side, but in hindsight, I'm glad I did from all angles.

We kept watching the fire as the sun went down.  We could see the glow of the fire on the underside of the plume, and then, flames as it tried to crest the ridge about 5 miles away.  We discussed what we might take with us if we ended up needing to evacuate.  Just then, we saw a bit of crowning - the fire hitting the tops of trees so that they sort of explode - and we said, "Let's pack now!"

We spent the rest of the evening packing up our identification documents, photos and mementos, clothes, and emergency baby supplies and readied the computer equipment to go.  We had a few generous friends who offered us places to stay, even if we needed to call in the middle of the night.  Andrew seemed to feel our stress and stayed up late, and then had a very rough night, not only because of our tension, but also because the roof noise was totally preventing him from sleeping in his room and he was forced into the pack-and-play in a spare room downstairs.  Daddy tried to explain to him that other little boys in the neighborhood had to evacuate their homes; he was comparatively lucky to only need to evacuate his room! Also, we would find out three days later, he was cutting a tooth (his 8th: lower right lateral incisor) - when it rains, it pours!  (First molars are next, heaven help us.)

On Tuesday, the winds had died down, but we got the official reverse-911 call from the county sheriff that we were officially on standby for mandatory evacuation "on short notice."  Indeed, a new map was published, showing the current 4100 acre extent of the fire (assisted by infrared imaging - cool!) along with the evacuation lines, and our neighborhood was just to the north.  Travis and I tried to swing our work hours so that one of us could be home at all times, in case we needed to grab the stuff and go.  To put in perspective how fast this went down, at the time the fire was first reported, right around the time Estelle and I were walking, it was 1 acre.  By 7pm that night it was 3000 acres.  And by the next day, it was 4100 acres, it's fullest extent (so far).  Never underestimate the wind.

As of today, the fire is 70% contained, meaning they have basically cleared a swath around it.  However, the winds are supposed to kick back up this weekend, and if they find an ember and carry it across that line...  Well, let's just say that we have not unpacked yet.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Sweet Boy

Last night, I was laying on the living room floor while Andrew was playing.  He came over and started drumming on my head (of course).  But then he yanked on my hair.  I yelped!

He sat back and looked at me with this really strange, intense look that was a little concern, a little fear... you could see the wheels turning.  Then after several seconds he leaned forward slowly, and very gently and tenderly, gave me one of his open-mouth baby kisses on the mouth. 

Melted my heart!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Miraculous Sleep Update

I am almost afraid to post this.

Two nights ago, Andrew slept from 9:30pm until 7am with no assisted wakeups and only one cry-out (around 6am) after which he put himself back to sleep.  I was SHOCKED, but knew that it could be an isolated event.

Last night, he slept from 8:30pm until after 7am with only one assisted wakeup (1:30am), and *that* only required a minute or two of backrubbing to fix.

Could this actually be... a boy who sleeps at night???

Additionally, he seems to have almost completely night-weaned himself.  This has been going on for a couple weeks.  Where he used to drink the better part of a bottle sometime between 1am and 4am, over the past couple weeks, he slowly decreased that to just wanting to "wet his whistle" at each wakeup...  And now he pushes the bottle away entirely.  I have read so much about difficulties with nightweaning and how a night feeding can stand in the way of full nights of sleep.  I never imagined he would drop the bottle at night completely on his own!  And he did the same thing with the pacifier! 

After horrendous baby sleep for nearly 11 months, it seems like some things are finally going the easy way!

Obviously this could go back again in a heartbeat - two steps forward, one step back and all that.  But we are just coming out of the 45 week regression, and it should be another 6-8 weeks until the next one, so... maybe this will stick for a while???

Just in time for us to rest up before we have to deal with newborn sleep again!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Summit Push

I am pleased (?) to announce that our guy climbed all the way up the stairs this morning... all by himself.  Before the safety officers out there protest, I was right behind him the whole way.  He got tired about 3 steps from the top, but I showed him that he could see things to play with on the floor upstairs and he rallied.  When he got up there, he sat down at the top of the stairs and looked down, then looked up at me with wide eyes, as if to say, "Whoa, that was a long way mom."

And while I'm at it here:

All photo credits to Travis, who is a much better photographer than I.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The First Sign

Oh my gosh!  I think Andrew just signed "all done" - his first sign!!  

He was finishing up his dinner, and then he raised his hands up in the air!  I made the sign back and said "all done?"  And then he proceeded to windshield-wiper his high chair tray, which was previously known Andrew-ese for "all done."  

Incredible!  I am so excited!

(See the sign for "all done" here: