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!

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.