Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Early Christmas

(this really belongs in November; we'll put it there after you've had sufficient time to admire Liam in his hunter hat)
We celebrated Thanksgiving with my sister on the traditional 4th Thursday. We had a nice meal which just happened to coincide with Brooke's nap (at my sister's request - she was thankful that we obliged!).

Then on Saturday night we celebrated Christmas since my sister won't be with us this year.

First we had a lovely Christmas dinner, which included Brooke this time.

Then we had the required holiday posed photos.

Next came the presents.

Liam modeled his new hats.

The kids finished the night with a group bath.

After the little elves were in bed the adults opened a bottle of holiday cheer for themselves. A good night for all (and to all a goodnight!).

Babysitter instructions

I haven't had much time to blog lately. We've been putting so much energy into the house, trying to get a lot of projects done before Mac's family arrives for Christmas. Mac especially has been working hard. In the past month we finished painting the entry hall (we started stripping wall paper the week before Liam was born; his surprise arrival put things a bit off course); we got new Silestone counters for Megan's bath, the family room and laundry room; we got a new laundry room floor; Megan's bath is being tiled this week; and new carpet goes in on Thursday. Since all this has sapped my creative juices, I am stealing a little something from Mac.

Tonight, Mac and I had an early dinner date mostly for the purpose of "test driving" a new babysitter, who is scheduled to watch the kids for a few late night holiday events. When we got home (Mac picked me up at work) these were his handwritten instructions for the babysitter. I thought it nicely sums up where our two kids are at.

1. Is potty training
2. Pees by herself
3. Needs help wiping for poo (I don't think she will go again today)
4. Loves to color, paint, draw, etc.
5. Loves to play Cariboo
6. Loves to play Sorry; She needs help moving the pieces, but she knows most of the rules.

1. Needs a nap around 4:45 - 5:00
2. Will only sleep 30-45 minutes
3. Needs a diaper change when he wakes up
4. Food is on counter, feed him @ around 6:00
5. Bottle in fridge if fussy
6. P.J.'s on changing table
7. Bottle and diaper @ 7:30 for bed;I think we'll be home

Monday, December 3, 2007


The annual holiday party was on Sunday at the Salem Carousel. Last year we had to come up with excuses and plans to keep Megan off of the carousel. This year, she DID NOT want to ride it (insert minor irrational tantrum here). She finally took a ride sitting on my lap on a wagon bench. She said it as fun, but when I asked if she wanted to go again, she hadn;t changed her mind.

Liam seemed to enjoy his first go round, though.

Since Megan also wanted nothing to do with Santa, we didn't stay long after finishing a few cookies.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


As many of you know, those squishy infant Bumbo chairs have been recalled. It seems that quite a few overactive munchkins managed to throw the chair overbackwards and crack their skulls open. But that doesn't mean you can't still put your Bumbo to good use. Our clever household has managed to find a couple of very safe uses for this item.

"Look at me. I am a turtle" (actual quote)

"Give me your palm and I will tell your fortune." (not an actual quote)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


"Little Miss Muffin sat on a tuffin...."

"I need my light on. Somebody turn on la luz."
"Can I have agua in bed?"

(holding a no-longer functional mouse) "I am going to do computering."

Mac: "Megan look at the big luna (moon)" (yes, we are pushing Spanish)
Meg: It's a half-circle.
Mac: That's right!
Megan: Where's the other half?

While Liam was crying: "Is Liam frustrated?"
(my sister sarah spent Thanksgiving with us with her 1 y.o. daughter Brooke. Her husband is serving in Iraq)
Sarah (to Megan): Do you want to help me write a letter to Uncle Bryan.
Megan: Yah...I want to write an 'L'.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Thanksgiving dawned bright and sunny (but COLD!). As Megan woke up I asked her what day it was.
"Thursday" was her reply in a very knowing voice.
Yes, I assured her, but it is also a special holiday. Do you know what holiday it is?
"Halloween!" she stated excitedly.
No, I told her. It was Thanksgiving and it was a special day where I didn't have to go to work and we were going to have a big dinner with Auntie Sarah and Cousin Brooke.

"Is there candy?" she asked hopefully. What a bummer of a holiday compared to Halloween!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Entertainment

Mr. Turkey (2.2 MB .avi)

Giving Thanks, two-year old style

Monday, our dinnertime conversation came around to Thanksgiving. Megan indicated that her preschool curriculum did not include an overview of this event, so I attempted to explain this holiday in terms a two year old would understand: "Megan, Thursday is a special day, where you don't go to preschool and I don't have to go to work. Instead, we stay home and have a special dinner with our family and Auntie Sarah and Cousin Brooke are going to be here, too. And then we say Thank you for all the nice things we have. I am thankful for my nice family, because our family has two great kids and a great Daddy. What nice thing do you have that you want to say thank you for?"

Meg: "My train!"
Me: "And what do we have that is really special to us?" (I thought she might just say Liam)
Meg: "Cariboo!"

Happy Thanksgiving, whatever your blessings may be!

(Side note: I see in the Amazon description of Cariboo that kids get to practice taking turns. As far as I am concerned, the best thing about the game is that Megan is happy taking all of the turns herself and so after setting it up you can pretty much zone out, read a book or watch TV, and she entertains herself for the next ten minutes. I promise I do play the game with her some, but how many times do you think I want to match colors and letters in one day?? Besides Megan has the whole board memorized, so she doesn't even use counting or reading skills anymore to play. So instead of teaching taking turns, think of it as teaching independence.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

First School Pics...

...Make me feel...


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Why ask Why?

About a month ago, "Why?" entered into Megan's vernacular. At the time we noted it as a mildly interesting development at best. But now, we're thinking it is just about the most annoying thing ever, as our nearly every statement is followed by a probing "Why?"

For instance, last night one of Megan's songs sparked an idea in Megan for dessert. The conversation might not have been all that nerve-wrenching if we hadn't had at least a dozen similar conversations earlier in the day.
M: Can I have brownies for dessert?
P: No, Meggie, we don't have any.
M: Why?
P: We didn't buy any at the grocery store.
M: Why?
P: I guess we forgot. (This seemed easier than telling her we don't want her to eat lots of sugar. She seemed to buy it because she didn't respond with a 'why').
M: Can we go to the gross-ry store and buy some?
P: No, honey, it's too late.
M: why?
In my head, I am contemplating shouting,"Because the earth's daily rotation has moved us to a point that is hidden from the sun, which causes it to be dark, and as the hours of darkness tick by, the day becomes late. NOW DON"T FRICKIN' ASK ME WHY AGAIN!" but instead I just say,"Because it is almost bedtime." For a split second I brace myself for another "why?" but Megan thankfully is ready to move on.

Megan is also liberally using, "usually," "belongs," and "nevermind" these days. And by liberally, I mean way too much. The former two Megan uses in a really parental way, which I don't really like, because I am the parent!
"We usually don't stand on chairs." and "We usually don't stand on the bed." Megan informed me, when I just so happened to be standing in said places. "Liam usually likes peas," she told me, as I was trying to get Liam to eat squash. "Shoes don't belong on the desk" she said, as she saw my shoes right at her eye level.

"Nevermind" Megan has decided is a perfect synonym for 'no' and so is still a bit awkward from her.
P: Do you want some more milk?
M: Nevermind.

P: Do you want to kiss Liam goodnight?
M: No. Nevermind.

I guess I should ask her Why?

Sunday, November 11, 2007


After a rousing rendition of "Three blind mice" I decided to take a learning opportunity and explain to Megan about blindness. "Megan, blind means you can't see. These three mice can't see where they are going and so they are blind mice." Time to expand the point into an anotomy lesson. "Megan, what do you use to see with?" (yeah, it wasn't a grammar lesson).

Megan answered without hesitation: "Binoc-lars" (binnoculars).

"And also your eyes." I tell her as we laugh. The lesson is obviously over and she is ready to be silly. "Can you sing two blind mice?" she asks. And so I go through the song again, only this time with one less ocularly-impaired rodent. As I finish Megan gets very serious,"What happened to the other one??"

Friday, November 9, 2007

The boys

Even though people keep saying Liam looks like Mac, I had a hard time seeing it. But not in this photo. I can make out all the similar head features. Fortunately, Liam doesn't have the same dorky expression!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

He Crawls

Sort of. (4.7 MB .avi)

Bad Hair Life

I thought Megan had it bad when she inherited my grows-straight-forward-always-in-your-face hair. But it is nothing compared to Liam, who seems to be destined for a bad hair life. Liam has bilateral cowlicks which spin in opposite directions resulting in an upright mohawk ridge in the center.

Rock on, Dudes!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Megan's Family picture

Inspired by Lisa's great posts of Albert's latest works, I decided to post Megan's masterpiece. I realize this isn't anywhere near as good without a scanner, but you get the idea. For the last two months Megan has actually been drawing, usually "happy babies" and "sad babies" or rainbows. But this one, she informed me, is "Liam, Mommy and Megan." The anatomy could use some help, but she's got great use of scale!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Kids photo op

Megan wanted to sit with Liam on the couch today - a perfect opportunity to get a photo of the kids together. Yeah, right!

I got two more pictures, both of which were at least partly blurry, before Liam threatening to fling himself off the couch and Megan got bored of sitting next to Mr. Squimsalot.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


By the time Halloween rolled around, Mac and I were both suffering from some serious inadequate parent guilt. I had been telling Megan we'd carve pumpkins for three days, but we still hadn't gotten around to it. And Mac forgot to send Megan to school in a costume for the Halloween party the day before.

So by Halloween, we were ready to put forth some serious Halloween-is-going-to-rock effort. In the afternoon, Mac dressed Megan up and took her to a local park Halloween fest, where Megan pretty much shied away from all the activities. When I got home from work, dammit, you better believe we were carving a pumpkin. Megan spent te entire time waiting to get out the paint to make a face. My "Ta-da! it's a Jack-o-lantern!" was met with a completely non-plussed stare and another inquiry about the paint. In the end, I let Megan paint two of the birdhouse gourds from our garden. She did get a bit more enthusiastic over Jack when she learned she got to blow out the candle.

Later we drove to a small neighborhood and hit about ten houses. I was surprised that Megan was more excited about ringing doorbells than getting candy. The activity was a good social exercise for Megan, who did a great job answering questions about her name, costume, age, etc. and with dispensing the niceties such as thank you and happy Halloween (with a few cues). Plus Megan was very impressed by all the new construction houses. At every stop, Megan would comment,"This is a nice house." or "This is a nice plant" or the ultimate compliment,"This is a nice doorbell."

Our parenting guilt was assuaged by our high blood sugar levels at the end of the night!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Last Sunny Weekend?

My Aunt called last Monday afternoon and told us we could use her beach house for the coming weekend. We jumped at the chance, even though we felt guilty about not doing yard work on one of the last sunny weekends of the year. Kris and J.D. joined us for part of the weekend. It was nice to hang with them as we haven't done that for a long time.

Liam is very happy on the beach, but we decided that sand and 8-month-old boys don't mix very well. So we held him or left him in the stroller for most of the time we were on the sand.

Liam has a tendency to fall asleep on everyone...except his parents that is. We must not have the coddling touch.

In other news, Megan discovered that she likes the combination of home made tomato soup AND home made grape juice.

And of course, Megan still loves sand castles and hanging out on the beach. She loves the beach sooo much that she made Pam take her out at 7:10 on Saturday morning. For all of you non-Oregonians out there, the sun isn't even up at 7:10 in the morning this time of year. Pam and Meg were playing in the sand by moonlight! What a trooper Pam is. Kris spent a lot of time making this castle with her. Megan was really proud of it.

All by myself

A few days ago, Mac "lost" Megan after he went to put Liam down for his nap. He kept calling her name, but got no answer. Just as he was starting to get a little worried, Megan came running out of the bathroom. "I did peepee all by myself!" And Megan stood there beaming in the hallway, as proud as she could be...with her jean on backwards.

***I didn't know we had a picture of this, so I'm posting it again.***

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Kate's 3!

Happy 3rd Kate! Thanks for inviting us to the festivities!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


The contractors have been out of our house since the first week of September. The bathroom has been moved in to and is being used. We love it, it just took FOREVER. Only we will notice the slight construction flaws, hopefully. If YOU notice them when you come over, don't tell us please!

They're Back!

About this time of year, our humble abode gets invaded. Not by Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, but by bugs. This first picture is our kitchen nook window, complete with the box elder beetle infestation. Some of these are on the inside, but most are outside the window. Our house is definitely not "bugtight."

Here's a better view, if there is such a thing, of the box elder beetles on our windows.

Not only do we have box elder beetles, but we have some kind of ladybug looking thing that I can't remember the name of. These are smaller than the BEBs, so they are able to get into the house more easily. Lucky us!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Game on!

Sunday morning my mom came up from downstairs, pumping her fists in triumph,"I finally won!" We laughed at her for taking such pride in beating a two year-old, but in reality this is a serious feat.

Mac and I dreamed of the day we could spend the evenings playing games with our children. After only a couple of years, we are already starting down that path. You see, Megan is serious competition in the game of Memory.

I am not exactly sure where Megan got on to this game, but we are now playing it in the double digits each day. Unfortunately for us adults, Megan has a winning record. And let me assure you, we aren't playing nice! Megan seems to have an eidetic memory for the cards. I will admit that I sometimes let Megan draw a third card, because she gets frustrated if she isn't allowed to go after when she knows exactly where the match to her second pick is, but even with this I am starting to be less lenient.

Sadly (and with some embarrassment), I just have to admit her memory is better than ours. I like to think it's because she doesn't have as many things clogging up her brain, but it is more likely that our synapses are showing signs of age and just aren't as plastic as they used to be.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Backwards Progress

My parents came to visit for the weekend, and they were super helpful getting us inspired and then assisiting on some lingering projects around the house. Mostly these were leftovers from the bathroom construction: The downstairs utility closet was full of construction dust and debris and needed some insulation re-installed and our garage had been serving as the construction staging ground (with ensuing mess) rather than a home to our cars. Both areas are now neat and tidy. I am still in the habit of looking for my car in the driveway as I went to leave out the front door this morning instead of going out to the garage.

Liam is also making progress in his development. He is trying his darndest to be on the move, but so far all attempts find him going backwards! He'll lift himself way up onto his arms and even get his legs under him a bit and then give a big heave that sends him in reverse several inches. He keeps getting stuck in corners, under tables and beds, etc. even though we always leave him in the middle of the room facing AWAY from these things. I suspect he'll be on move (forward) soon enough.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Growth and Development

Because Liam was premature, a county home helth nurse came out to check his development at an adjusted age of four months. Liam "failed" the fine motor skills component. We weren't too worried given that Megan was somewhat motor delayed, that he was the offspring of two decidedly ungraceful parents, and that we were a little doubtful that a four month old actually should have any fine motor skills. (The big downfall for Liam was that he didn't reach for toys). In the weeks following his eval, we noted that he did all the things he hadn't performed well on the first time around. Nonetheless, we had the nurse come back this month (it's a free service through the county) to re-check his progress. I am happy to report that Liam's fine motor skills are now up to snuff, although he still seems like a clumsy oaf much of the time and usually can't get a Cheerio to his mouth.

At the visit we were surprised to learn that Liam is 80th percentile for height and only 30th percentile for weight. I though he was such a round tubby kid, I even accused Mac of mixing up the stats!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Other Big news

Besides freeing myself from pumping, we have other big news from this week: Megan started potty training!!! She is doing remarkably well - one accident the first day and one the second. Other than that she has pretty much got it down when it comes to peeing on the potty. Numbers two's were a different story. She didn't have too many accidents but let's just say Megan choose to become "anal retentive." We finally made some big strides this weekend and seem to have conquered the fear of pooing on the potty. She's still in diapers for nap and nighttime, but we still feel this is a major milestone in Megan's development, At this point it seems more exciting than her first steps! Even though, Liam is still years away from this point, it still helps us to realize the end of diapers is in sight!

Our 3 Pumpkins

Auntie Sarah and Brooke came for a visit. When they left, we took pictures of the kids in the pumpkin suits. Here's the best one.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Pumpkin patch

Friday, Megan's preschool took a field trip to EZ Orchards pumpkin patch. All the kids got to choose a pumpkin after taking a hayride out to the field. There was at least 500 pumpkins scattered over a acre so that the kids could run around and find the perfect pumpkin. We walked ten steps into the field, and then let Megan loose: "Ok, Megan, you can choose any pumpkin you want," as we made grand sweeping gestures with our arm to indicate she was free to roam at large. Megan looked down at her feet, put her hand on the nearest pumpkin, and declared,"I want this one." And with that our hunt was over. We picked up the pumpkin and walked the ten steps back to the hay wagon.

Despite Megan's lack of looking, we still think we had the cutest pumpkin there:

Monday, October 8, 2007

Little Pumper

I had the past week off work. I would say that I weaned Liam during this time, except for he never really was breastfeeding. So instead I'll just say," I stopped pumping!!!" OMG - the liberation! Too bad for Megan, though, as she was just starting to get the hang of using the pump.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Out of our gourds

Have you been losing sleep at night wondering what three wheelbarrows full of squash and gourds might look like? I haven't, but that's because I know exactly what it would look like: our front porch!

More September summary

Ok, before we move on, I had a few more things to report from September.

This month both kids were sprouting teeth. Megan got her first 2 year old molar and Liam got his first tooth at the beginning of the month and his second tooth at the end of the month. While there is nothing particularly special about getting your first tooth at six and a half months, if we factor in Liam's prematurity, this is some kind of family record. Everyone has had very delayed teeth in our family. Note Megan's 2 yr. molar coming in 8 months after she turned two! And the story in the family is that my mom didn't have a single tooth on her first birthday - I guess she just gummed her birthday cake!

And on the last day of the month, Megan started potty training!!! Forget walking and first words, this has got to be the biggest milestone! At least it feels this way after changing umpteen million diapers. She is doing great - only two pee accidents, and otherwise she has been perfect. I will admit that we are bribing her heavily with candy, which may cause those late sprouting teeth to fall out early, but it does seem to provide the necessary incentive. Things aren't so great with number twos, though. She doesn't really have accidents, but she just holds it until we put her in a diaper for sleeping.

And then there are always a few funny lines from Megan.

September saw the start of football season and more specifically Monday night football. At half time of the first Monday night game, Megan had a report on what had been going on downstairs: "I learned how to carry a beer," she told me.

Megan is also starting to notice the differences in anatomy between the sexes. As she reports: "Boys have penises, girls have geraniums.'

At the end of the month Megan ran out of the kitchen saying, " I am going to get Rusty (stuffed dog). " She came back carrying Bunny and a Teddy bear. Her explanation: "I changed my channel."

And then there are always those times when you just can't argue with kid logic.
Pam: What do you want for dinner?
Meg: Pancakes!
Pam: Pancakes are for breakfast. What do you want for dinner?
Meg: I want breakfast!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Lessons from a Crazy garden

We (ok, I) went a little crazy with this year's garden, but we have been enjoying great produce. Plus, I have tons of stuff canned so that we can keep enjoying it through the off season. And I have given as much away as I possibly can - I tried to force veggies on strangers taking a stroll past our house!

So mostly I'll consider the garden a success, but that is not to say we didn't learn some valuable lessons.

1. No home garden should have 28 tomato plants. I don't care what level of tomato usage you claim, this is just an insane amount no matter how you look at it. One day I picked over a hundred tomatoes from just half of the plants - and I don't mean cherry tomatoes either! I did know this would happen, but figured we had plenty of space so it didn't matter. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough heavy duty stakes and cages for all of the plants and so when they flopped all over (and on to the other rows) it did start to matter. Next year I am planning on nine: 1 cherry, one yellow pear, one golden jubilee, one slicing and five Romas. Some of those figures seem a little on the lean side to me even now, but I think even with an extra plant here or there I should stay under half of this year's total.

2. 'Golden Jubilee' rocks! Though this is called an 'heirloom' it is a pretty common variety. I thought it was awesome and the golden yellow color was gorgeous.

3. Plant more than one tomatillo (or none at all). Mac thought it would be fun to grow tomatillos. I don't think he cares for green salsa all that much so this impulse purchase was really for entertainment value. Turns out the plants are quite attractive. Also they get quite big, something I did not adequately account for this year. The plant blooms profusely but only has empty sterile paper husks. Sadly, our plant lacks a cross pollinator, something most tomatillos require (so I have learned). But not even a tomatillo article in a gardening magazine mentioned this.

4. don't assume you know what color your veggies are. We had fun teasing Megan with questions like 'what color are tomatoes?' and 'what color is corn?' Around here we hadplenty of tomatoes that were yellow and corn that was red. And we had a rainbow of peppers - gorgeous yellow, purple and green (but sadly, the reds were pretty pathetic).

But the garden got back at me for my games with Megan - you see, about half of our carrots are a yellowish white. So far, everyone I have told this to says something about parsnips. The thought crossed my mind too, but I don't really know anything about parsnips. I do know that I absolutely did NOT buy any seeds labeled as 'parsnips.' I did, however, buy some pretty cheap carrot seeds and I have heard plenty of stories of people getting unexpected plants from their seed packs. The tops of the yellow carrots were indistinguishable from the orange ones. The yellow ones actually tasted better than the orange ones - a bit more mild and without that bitter dirt flavor (can you tell I am not a huge carrot fan?). Does anybody know if this fits for parsnips??

5. There is no such thing as too big a garden. Our garden is four times the size of what we had in Portland (though planted half as efficiently). Despite all of our excess there are things i wish i had more of (or even some of), like more onions and garlic, potatoes, more cutting flowers, possibly some grapes. Plus there is a whole catalog of exotic fruits and berries that I drool over from One Green World in Mollala. I mean, how cool would it be to make wolfberry jam or seaberry pie?? (granted, I have no idea how these things taste).

6. No matter how big your garden, blackberries might not be a good idea. Our raspberries are robust after just two years but they appear to be fairly well behaved. The blackberries, though, are sending out 20 foot canes with tons of side branches. I have to sweep them out of the paths an warn Megan about tripping dangers whenever we get near. And this is only after two full years. We may not be able to tolerate that much longer.

We look forward to more gardening next year!

So long September

When last we left, Mac was absolutely NOT grieving the crash of his computer. He made it about two weeks before having withdrawal seizures (mind you the lap top with internet still worked) and ordering a new one. An so we are now Apple users or ipeople or something like that. Mac assures me that this is going to be so fantastic for photo management, but to me it's just another trick this old dog has to learn.

Now that I've had my first lesson, let me catch you up.

Liam has done a great job learning to eat and consumes impressive quantities of rice cereal and mashed peas these days.

We spent the first week of the month at Umpqua Light house State park with my parents, brother, sister and her daughter Brooke. Umpqua Lighthouse is the only Oregom state park with deluxe yurts that come complete with their own bathroom (including a shower with hot water) and a kitchenette with microwave, plus a propane BBQ! Megan spent much of the time in the sand, unfettered by the wind on the dunes. And Liam spent a lot of time bonding with grandpa.

We also spent a weekend in a camping cabin at the brand new Stub Stewart state park.

And Megan started school! - two mornings a week by herself! Here she is on her first day:

After Mac dropped Megan off at school he called me with a report (teary, but OK once she got engaged in activity). "Oh, by the way," he says to me, "Is Megan supposed to wear something under her navy dress?"

"Yes!" I answer, implying this is totally obvious by my tone.

"Yeah, I thought she looked kind of trashy when I dropped her off." So much for first impressions!

Our bathroom is finally finished, though we still have lots of little things to do before it is actually done, but we are glad to have the contractors all out of our house.

Well, that's about it dudes! On to October!