Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Visiting the Nielsens!

As promised, here's a write-up of our fabulous weekend away in New Mexico with Erik and Erin and their baby son, Luke! Warning: this is a long post, with lots of pictures -- what can I say, we had so many beautiful things to photograph!

Our first view of New Mexico, from the plane window

So here's our lovely long weekend, broken up into general categories. Starting off with:

Erik and Erin are parents!
It was strange and wonderful to see such dear old friends in such a new stage of their lives... One thing (of many!) that we appreciated about our visit was being able to live with new parents, and a one-month-old baby, for a few days. I thought I knew a lot about childcare and newborns, having seen PEF staff families raise their children here in Princeton, but there's no substitute for actually seeing all of the day-to-day activities of raising a little baby. And we've come away with even more respect for Erin and Erik as they parent their little son!

As an example -- did you know that newborns tend to need to eat about every two hours? I think I knew that beforehand. But did you know that it can take 45 minutes to an hour to actually feed a newborn, counting the time to feed, change the diaper, and burp? And then the baby will go down for a nap -- but did you know that it might take 15 to 20 minutes to get the baby to actually go to sleep? It does for Luke -- poor kid would go into full cry mode when he was tired, and Erik and/or Erin would sit by his bassinet, shushing him and soothing him to entice him to fall asleep. And then after all that, it'll almost be time for him to wake up hungry again...

It's a good thing Luke is as cute as a button. :)

Erik and Erin are homeowners!
Not only do they have a new baby, but they also own a beautiful home in Albuquerque. How terribly grown-up... :) We spent one gorgeous, sunny afternoon just hanging out in their backyard -- Erik was doing a little yardwork, Erin was inside feeding Luke, David was enjoying the sunshine, and I was taking photos like a maniac. Because that's what I do. :)

Erik and Erin are hikers!
OK, so this isn't new at all. What's striking, though, is that this hasn't changed, even though they now have a one-month-old baby.

David and I went into the trip figuring that we'd get to Albuquerque and just hang out at the Nielsens' home the whole time. We didn't want to be a burden on the new parents, and we certainly didn't need or expect to be entertained beyond getting to coo at little Luke.

But Erin and Erik had other plans... :) They took us on two different hiking expeditions in the mountains surrounding Albuquerque -- with Luke in tow! On Saturday, we drove out a couple hours to Tent Rocks National Monument, which has hiking trails through some incredibly striking natural geographic formations. Sure, Erin had to pause to feed Luke in a crevice in the mountains, and we ended up changing his diaper at another point along the trail, but we made it up to the top!

(Um, and by "we," I meant David and Erik. Erin had a good excuse -- I just punked out and couldn't make it the last several yards. I blame the high altitudes and lack of oxygen...)

And then on Sunday afternoon, we went for a hike along the La Luz trail, just northeast of Albuquerque. The trail itself is ten miles long, and leads to the top of the Sandia Mountains. We only went a little way up, but wow, what beautiful vistas we saw!

Luke is ready for his adoring public!
It helps that his parents also have a Canon DSLR -- he's used to having a big camera going off right next to him. :) I was sitting next to his carseat while we were running errands with Erin and Erik, and I couldn't resist taking the following series of baby facial expression pictures...

And seriously, who can resist baby feet? So so so so cute!!

Erin and Erik (and Luke!) -- thank you so much for showing us such a wonderful time! We're so thankful for your friendship, and we praise God for continuing to grow and strengthen our relationship with you despite the miles between us. It was such a blessing to be able to have such a refreshing time with such dear friends -- we can't wait until your East Coast visit this June!!


Rachel said...

Aww...great post and great photos! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the pictures!

AEM said...

Thats more like it! Thanks for posting :-)

RBQ said...

I told you I love blogs as a time-waster...I linked to yours on mine. Hope you don't mind. :)
And you take amazing pictures!