Saturday, August 29, 2009

Good Morning!

Now that Topher is able to pull himself up, this is how we most often find him in the morning:
He loves to explore his crib and push all the buttons on his mobile:
He's such a big boy! We desperately need to baby-proof the house, but we are trying to wait until we are in our new house before we make all that effort.
Good morning, Topher!
On housing news, the buyers for our home had a little hitch with their underwriting company going bankrupt, so they had to resubmit their loan and it has now been conditionally approved as long as they produce some minor documents by the end of tomorrow (should not be any problem at all.) Our new closing date should be this Thursday, Sept. 3rd. Then we close on the new home on Tues, Sept. 8th. It's very hard to believe that in 9 days we could have all our things packed, moved, and into the new house. It's even harder to believe that in 4 days, we'll be signing this house over to someone else and that it will never belong to us again. It will be incredibly strange to drive by this house once it belongs to another family. We're very, very excited about it, though.
--KC

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Poor Man's Walker

In the absence of a "real" walking toy that normally would help a baby learn to walk, Topher got creative last night.

video

He's getting mobile in a hurry. And we're just trying to keep up.

--KC

Monday, August 24, 2009

10 Months

Today Topher is 10 months old. Just for fun, I'd thought we'd take a photo journey back to the beginning. And let me tell you, it feels like this journey has been a LOT longer than 10 months. Seeing Topher's newborn pictures feel like looking at myself a lifetime ago. He has changed in some very dramatic ways. NEWBORN: 1 MONTH: 2 MONTHS: 3 MONTHS: 4 MONTHS:
5 MONTHS:
6 MONTHS:
7 MONTHS:
8 MONTHS:
9 MONTHS:
And today, at 10 MONTHS:
Ah, Topher, we love you more than we can even verbalize. Even though you don't sleep through the night and even though you're incredibly messy and rough sometimes. You are really something special, and we're glad that if we had to endure these last 10 months, it was with you. It was all for you.
Love, mommy and daddy

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Goodbye Truman

Last weekend our ferret took a sudden turn for the worse and we had to say our goodbyes. We've had him for six years, so it was pretty sad. Such a little rascal of a boy. Unlike other ferrets we have met, Truman never even attempted to bite a single person, not once. His favorite past-time was tipping over trashcans and going through the contents that spilled out. Once he stole a Hershey's kiss and became so excited by the shiny treasure he had taken that he couldn't even decide what to do with it (normally ferrets stash their treasures in a corner somewhere). Instead, he just hopped around and did a little dance with the chocolate in his mouth. Our favorite Truman memory was the day we brought him home. Ferret cages cost a small fortune (especially since we were full-time college students) and so we had the ingenious idea to buy a small dog crate at a fraction of the cost. We hung a hammock in there and a little litter box, scattered some toys about and gave him food and water. Then, when his "house" was just perfect, we put him in and welcomed him to his new ferret suite and closed the door, waiting to see what he would do. He walked in, sniffed around, seemed pleased, and then...he walked right out. Through the bars. We had totally underestimated how skinny he was. He was so nonchalant about it, too. He didn't have to squeeze through or expend any effort at all. We felt so stupid. Needless to say, we had to upgrade to a real ferret cage, and he loved the attached tunnels. He also loved his hammocks (he wore one out so we got him another one and he would just go back and forth between the two, he loved them so much) and slept for the majority of his life. But his waking hours were full of mischief, snuggles, tumbling around with the cat, and playing hide-and-seek with the dog. Sometimes he would squeeze under the furnace or behind furniture and the only way to get him out would be to squeak his little hedgehog toy. He always came running to the sound of that toy squeaking, no matter where he was or what he was busy doing. It was his siren song. Truman, you were such a good boy and we miss you very much, stinkies and all. Taking a bath...we LOVE that little face --KC

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wave at Daddy!

Guess who learned how to wave last night? Every morning I sit Topher in the window and I wave his hand at daddy, but last night, we were just sitting there and Topher started waving all by himself. We'd wave at him and he would wave right back. It was sooo adorable. video He also showed signs of pulling himself up yesterday for the first time. He was crawling all over his high chair (which we have to lay flat now because he lifted up one side of it the other day and then let it fall back down on himself. He was fine, but he got a little mark on his head and we realized that he's getting strong!) And if I help him up just a little he can stand (a bit unsteadily) using the coffee table. We can tell he's right on the cusp of some big changes. He'll be walking before we know it. Thank goodness our new house has a lot more carpet than this place because it will hurt a lot less when he falls. Only 2 weeks from today we'll be rid of this house forever! Wave bye-bye, Topher. --KC

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Capturing My Baby

We just have a point-and-shoot camera, but it's 8.2 mega pixels, so it's not too shabby. Even still, it's hard to capture the perfect, real-to-life picture. I capture a lot of blurry pictures of Topher (mostly because he never sits still for a moment) and a lot of unflattering-angle pictures, but every once in a while, I take that perfect picture that captures Topher exactly as I see him now. These are the pictures that are going to make my heart ache once Topher gets big and turns into a little boy, I just know it. When I look down at my little boy, this is exactly what I see. He's always climbing all over my legs, tugging at my shirt, and giving me that beautiful, wide-open stare. We don't know if he's in another growth spurt (I think his entire life has been a growth spurt) but he's back to waking up several times at night to eat. We hope that once we get him into his new house, we can establish a new routine at night that will help him sleep better. We're also going to train Sassy to sleep in his room and watch over him. Maybe her breathing/snoring will be a comforting sound for him. But we're sure all this waking up is just a phase that will pass. For now, we'll just keep chasing down that gorgeous face and trying to capture every detail of it. --KC

Monday, August 10, 2009

WE GOT IT!!!

We negotiated back and forth all morning for that townhome, and we got it! We even stuck to our goal and got it for just under 100k, even though the sellers were already having to write a check just to get out of the place and weren't budging much at all. We are thrilled. Beyond thrilled. I can't really articulate just how stressful this whole process has been. In the past year, we have completed the rebuilding and refinishing of this house, listed this house, sold this house, found and bought a new house, and gave birth to/raised a very energetic boy. We've hit our maximum stress limit a number of times, and yet...look how well everything is turning out. Finding a new house makes me so happy! There is a bigger plan out there that we can't see, I'm sure of it. When I was a teenager, someone in church compared it all to a quilt. As mortals, our view is so limited. When things are going wrong in our lives we look up at the quilt and see a jumble of threads and it all looks like a gigantic mess with no rhyme or reason. But God can see the quilt from above and all those threads are making a beautiful pattern that we can't even comprehend yet. I've always loved that imagery. We go in tonight to sign the papers, turn in our earnest money, and get the ball rolling. Today is a good day. Break out the sparkling cider. :) --KC

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Our New Home?

We might have found it. Yesterday we went on yet another house-hunting trip in Ankeny. Our house's closing date is less than 3 weeks from now, so our search has become a little more frantic and stressful. But the second house we saw had all our requirements: 2-car attached garage (and with only one car, the weights could easily go in there...it was big!), 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, kitchen island, fireplace, the master bedroom has its own bathroom and walk-in closet, you can have up to 2 pets with no weight restriction on the animals (very important because Sassy weighs a good 120 lbs)...it was pretty perfect for us. After seeing one other property that didn't really compare, we went back to the office and put in an offer, and we'll find out tomorrow if it has been accepted or countered. The best part is, with the housing market slump, we're pretty sure we'll get it under 100k, when it sold for 127k just 3 years ago.
Exterior, front
A view down the street...it's easy to get lost in this complex but we don't care
It was built in '05, so everything is in great shape, and the complex is clean and uniform, a far cry from the mismatched houses and yard junk of Cambridge. Also, TJ would be only 3 miles from work, so he can ride his bicycle like he wanted to, and we'd be only 3 miles from Super Walmart, Super Target, and countless other stores, restaurants, libraries, and parks. Best of all, it has more usable living space than our current house has now, and the garage is plenty big enough to store our random things. This particular unit only has ONE shared wall...some interior units have up to 3 shared walls. Here's a couple pics we took:
Kitchen (smallish, but clean and very pretty), open to the living room
Living room (there was a big lamp in front of my camera)
Master bedroom (looks smaller than it is because they have a KING bed in there)
Master bath...I wouldn't have to share my bathtub with Topher's toys anymore!
Master closet, we've never had a walk-in before! :)
Topher's bathroom, bigger than the one all 3 of us share now
Half bath off the kitchen
I guess the reason we're most excited is that we were just looking for a place that was good enough, but this place is so much better than that. It's cozy, yes, and we would no longer have a yard. However, leaving this flood house for something newer and better for less money in a much better city is just unbelievable to us. We'll be able to save money there, and our main goal is to pay off some school loans. We can't believe everything is actually happening. We're actually getting out of this house and we're actually going to find a place that is perfect for our little family. We feel so blessed right now. Here's to hearing good news tomorrow. Clink.
--KC

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Utah: Day 4

Thursday was the final day of our trip, and also happened to be our 4-year anniversary. Four years...actually three years and then we think this last year should count for quite a few (with the flood and baby and all.) I'm happy to say that we're still completely in love and we truly relish any moments we get to spend together. Since it was departure day, there really weren't any activities planned. We packed up in the morning and said our goodbyes and we were going to tourist-shop around Bear Lake until we realized that people were lining up for the Raspberry Days parade. Since there is only one road out, we decided to leave before we got stuck behind some humongous walking raspberries. :) Our plane wasn't scheduled to take off until 7:30pm, so we drove into Salt Lake and used the opportunity to visit Temple Square. It was beautiful, even with some construction going on. We joked that there was a bride every 10 feet, but really that was not an exaggeration...everyone seemed to be getting married that day. We ran into my brother and his family there, so we were able to walk around with them for awhile in the visitor's center. We were very grateful for the chance to see the Salt Lake temple in person together.
Downtown Salt Lake, approaching Temple Square
Family photo in front of the temple
Topher in the visitor's center
Isn't that a magnificent building? It took the pioneers 40 years to complete (1853-1893)
Salt Lake wore our little monkey out
Around 4pm, we decided to make our way the airport, stopping once at the strangest Walmart we've ever seen. It was in downtown Salt Lake, and it had its own parking garage, like an airport would.
Approaching our terminal at the SLC Walmart
After stocking up on diapers, we made our way to the airport in an effort to give Topher as much time as possible to get his wiggles out before the flight. We found a pretty empty boarding gate and just let him crawl around to his heart's desire (which is probably why he came down with a cold the day after we got back, but it's not like we could sterilize the entire floor for him.) For about 3 hours he entertained passersby with his scooting antics. He also found enjoyment in my vitamin water, and in examining his stroller piece by piece. I would say that he has a possible future as an engineer except for the fact that he is so prone to destruction (he'd build something and then just knock it all down again). Maybe he'll be one of those engineers that demolishes old buildings with dynamite.
Sometimes I'm shocked by this little man's cuteness
Anyway, it was finally time to board our plane and we were so nervous. We decided that one way or another, it would all be over in 3 hours time, and we had to get home somehow. So after waiting for most people to board, dosing Topher with some baby Tylenol to help his ears, and saying a slient prayer, we started our descent down the Jetway (in my head it was to the tune of the funeral march, come to think of it.)
Ahhh...here's hoping for a miracle!
When we sat down, I almost wanted to apologize to everyone around us in advance for when the screaming would commence, but I didn't. I would wait until their ears were bleeding first. We were happily surprised that Topher took a bottle right as we were taking off (which helped his ears to normalize) and then relieved when he fell asleep shortly after. He slept on me for the first hour, then the second, and--miracle of miracles--he just kept on sleeping. A few times he would whimper or scrunch up his face like he was about to wake up screaming, but each time he would relax again. And let me tell you, our prayers were answered because Topher did not open his eyes until the pilot came over the speakers saying that we were starting our descent and that we would be on the ground in 15 minutes. We managed to keep him entertained during that time and when we finally did land, Topher had literally not made a single peep through the whole flight. When we stood up, the people around us said they didn't even know that we had a baby, and I felt like I had won the gold metal of parenting (even though I technically didn't do anything at all.) We were so, so, so proud of Topher and we promised him some good toys for his upcoming birthday (yes, I think we're going to be the type of parents who bribe.)
We made it home just fine, and I was still on cloud nine for having the best airplane baby. We're very glad that we went to this reunion. It was a lot of work, but someday we'll be able to tell Topher about his first trip to the Rockies. And every reunion from here on out will just get better and better. A big thanks to Topher's guardian angels for helping him sleep, and to the Berbert clan: we'll see you in 2011 in [location TBD]!
I did it! I survived my first reunion!
--KC

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Utah: Day 3

Wednesday the family activity was hiking Timber Pine Trail. Unfortunately, Topher's all-terrain stroller was too bulky to bring along, so we had to carry him the whole 1.3 miles. It was beautiful scenery, and the air was so clear and dry. TJ and I traded off holding Topher, who was a little fussy, but eventually fell asleep on me. It was a good workout. After the trail, we had more raspberry shakes and walked around "downtown" Bear Lake. It's a typical tourist town, with overpriced gifts and food, and the sun was too intense to stay out for very long.
Beautiful trail up the mountain
family photo on the bent tree
Topher, for most of the hike
He finally fell asleep! Just in time to miss the view...
Scenic Lookout, Bear Lake in the distance
That night the themed dinner was a Hawaiian luau. It was great, we all got Hawaiian name tags and shell necklaces, even Topher. TJ even did a few karaoke songs. It was a pretty low-key day, but it was nice that way.
TJ, singing Summer Nights from Grease
Hawaiian baby
That evening, there was an all-out family ping-pong tournament, with brackets and everything. The championship game was between my two brothers, Jon and Jeff. Jon won the title of Ping Pong King. We slept well again that night, except for Topher's hour of awake time around 3am. We just kept thinking that at the next reunion, he'll be almost 3 years old. That's almost impossible for us to imagine, but we look forward to it anyway.
Day 4 is coming up next, and that's our going-home day. The day we've been dreading and dreading...how will it turn out? Check back soon to find out.
--KC

Monday, August 3, 2009

Utah: Day 2

Tuesday we all woke up a lot happier after finally getting some sleep. For breakfast, we had the traditional Berbert Reunion cereal lineup--we buy about 50 different types of cereal and every morning you can try as many different varieties as you want. It works out well. The activity for the day was going to Bear Lake beach, and we were a little anxious to see how Topher would react to the cool water. Apparently he's toughened up a bit because as soon as I dipped his feet in the water, he just started stomping in the waves and having a grand old time. TJ was brave enough to get all the way in the water, but it was a little too cold for me to dive under. Eventually even Topher got waist high, but he would make a questionable face every time a wave would splash against his chest. Every time we'd try to take him out of the water, though, he would reach back down like he wanted to be back in it, so we knew he was having a great time. Topher thought it was especially funny when TJ would spurt water out like a whale and it was so much fun to hear him laughing so hard at his daddy.
Topher and mommy at Bear Lake's Rendezvous Beach
Topher and daddy...look at that beautiful view
Topher stomping in the waves--he totally loved it!
We took a lunch break (we sampled Bear Lake's famous raspberry shakes, so good) and came back to the water for more fun. TJ and I even got to take out the family's rented jet ski for a run (neither one of us had ever been on one before.) I can't believe how fast 30 mph can feel out on the water...we got up to 40 but that's as fast as we felt we could go without completely losing control. I was screaming at the top of my lungs and then as soon as TJ would slow down, I would tell him to do it again. We even traded places out in the middle of the lake so I could have a turn driving (TJ fell off into the water in the process but I managed to stay on, haha.) I could barely go 2o mph without feeling like the jet ski was going to take a nose dive into the choppy water and catapult us off. It was a lot of fun, and Topher let my aunt Sheila hold him the whole time. Good thing we had spf 50 on Topher, though, because even though it wasn't very hot, the sun is so intense up in the mountains. I missed an area on my back and it burned. Topher didn't even turn pink, so that baby sunscreen really works. :)
Topher catching some rays...such a beach baby! Aunt Sheila holds Topher while we try not to die on the jet ski
After the beach we all just relaxed at the house until it was time to start dinner. It was my family's turn to host dinner (my mom and siblings and all our families) and we had an Italian feast. My brother Jeff even said the prayer in Italian, it was pretty cool (he went on a mission to Rome for 2 years so he's fluent.) We also made a very important move...we traded my cousins Anna and Laura our safari room for their room over in the quiet house, which worked out well because they wanted to be in the fun house anyway. That night, we relished the fact that our room was a dark, silent cave and we all slept like hibernating bears.
Anna (L) and Laura (R) play with Topher
The quiet house--this house was small compared to the other one!
I think this was our favorite day because of the beach. We love watching our little water baby having fun and we can't wait to take him back to a real ocean beach when he gets just a little bit older.
--KC