Thursday, July 24, 2008

Construction Update

This week we finally got all the new windows in, but there is still a lot of repairs before the siding goes back up

I have been rather uninspired in the garden this year - our veggie patch is nothing like last year's - but perhaps you can see why when this is what my garden looks like.

The guys doing the project are super hard workers, staying late and coming on the weekends, even on 4th of July, so I think we are still pretty much on schedule, but that still means one more month of all this mess.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Liam has more than just a couple of letters mixed up when it comes to learning to eat!

Too bad kids can't seem to learn to do anything without making a mess in the process!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Three and a half

Today Megan is Three and a half. We celebrated by making brownies and singing "Happy Half Birthday to You!"

Monday, July 21, 2008

Simply Farm Breakfast

Lisa mentioned Simply Breakfast on her site so I had to check it out. Quite frankly, I don't get it, but that's not going to stop me from putting together my own little version. The photo may not be so artsy, but I am still proud of the contents - everything on the plate, (except the ketchup!) is from our garden, harvested within 24 hours of eating. Fresh potatoes, fresh eggs and fresh berries - now that's breakfast!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


For Kris: Kids, cats, cows and country living (and no running!) ... all in one photo!

I tried to take another more posed picture, but Zeus would have none of it, and as you can see, Megan was pretty skeptical.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Making New Friends

Megan's had a couple new developments recently.

Around Memorial Day she mastered the playground art of pumping. And by that I mean she can get on the swing, get herself going and keep going without a single finger of parental assistance. At the time, I didn't realize how huge this was, but now I have come to believe this is a bigger deal than walking, because this means Megan can be completely independent at the park (under parental supervision, of course). This couldn't come at a better time, because we need to focus all of our parental attention on Liam these days, as he seems utterly determined to jump off cliffs and other dangerously high objects. And as he has become an excellent climber, the park offers many such opportunities, requiring constant parental vigilance.

The other reason Megan's pump accomplishment seems big deal to me is that I have always thought of Megan as being "motor retarded" as she crawled late, walked late, fed herself late, etc. But she seems to be ahead of the curve on this one and a few fine motor skills, too (like writing and drawing). Nice to know it all balances out.

Megan is also obsessed with winning, but not in things you would normally want to win, like games. Mostly she has to get someplace first and then she needs to tell you, "I winned!" even if you had no idea you were racing.

And lastly Megan has made a couple of new friends in the last month. Actually, it would be more accurate to say, Megan has made up a couple of new friends in the last month. As Megan told me tonight,"Kate is my real friend, Christina and Melissa are pretend friends, and Christina has a friend named Megan but it is different than me because she is a pretend Megan." Are you keeping up?

Christina first joined Megan on car rides. She sits in a car seat under Megan's car seat. Melissa came along later. She sits in a car seat under Liam's car seat. As Megan says,"Christina has long hair that is straight and blond like mine. And she has a little brother named Liam, but his hair is different from Liam's because it is black. And also her brother is not fussy because he is already three." Christina, by the way, is going to be five on July 23rd, which coincidentally, is Melissa's fifth birthday, too. Melissa's younger sister, named Anabelle, is also three. But Megan doesn't seem to want to hang out with the siblings that are her age; instead she is always hanging out with the big girls.

Perhaps we are a little too isolated out here in the country.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Toddler Hike

My sister and her family came down for the weekend. It's the first time we've seen Bryan since he got back from his year long tour of duty in iraq. We're so glad to have him back!

The kids made it to the end of the board walk at Ankeny pretty well. Even Liam was impressive, but all the kids pooped out fast on the grass road and had to be carried back to the car.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Old - Time Running

A week ago, I decided I was finally ready to do a weekend run with the Willamette Valley Road Runners. I have been wanting to run with this group until I felt like I was 'ready,' which by my standards means I was fairly confident that I could hang with just about anybody on a long run. I showed up Saturday Morning and only five guys were there. They said summer vacations, the Olympic trials and a couple of local races were taking a toll on their turn-out for the day. As we chatted, I was sure they were thinking,"Can this girl really hang with us?'

Hang I did. In fact only one guy and I were left by the time we completed our 14.5 miles. I guess I passed muster, because this guy told me I should come workout with them on Wednesdays. After Wednesday's workout, people were all clamoring on about a 10K in Stayton on the fourth of July and since when does does this race junkie miss an opportunity like that?

So rather than sleep in on my day off, it was off to the races. My friend Debbie came along, too, as did her husband who was running his first ever race!

After milling around a bit and giving Debbie's husband lots of race day advice, we lined up at the start for the OLD TIME 4th of July 10k run. At the starting line I bumped into Joe, a guy I had run intervals with on the track at Relay for Life. The running community seemed so small world right then, which got me excited because I was becoming part of that small world! Joe wanted to know my pace. Around 7 minute miles I told him. "Oh, I do 7:15's, maybe even 7:30's is more like it." he told me, which I later learned was overly modest. But at that point I thought we wouldn't be running together, so we wished each other well as we get ready to start.

They got an authentic old-timer to give us a mini pep talk and do the timing. And then the gun was up: click - the gun didn't go off. A second try and still just a tiny click. And then a frantic click, click, click as the starter desperately tried to get the gun to sound. Finally, the old guy decided he was just going to yell,"Go!" which he did and we all started running. Three seconds after we started running, there was a loud BANG! The gun was working again.

I wasn't wearing a watch for this one. I'd like to tell you it was because I was being very casual about this race, but really it totally slipped my mind when trying to get ready and keep Liam entertained at the same time. Fortunately, a guy at the mile mark was reading splits: 6:52 - Not too far off 7 minute pace.

Right after mile two, I heard shuffling footsteps behind me and then a few seconds later, I hear,"I'm here!" and there was Joe. Joe started coaching me immediately. "This course is harder than you would think. Just relax up this hill and let's not let that couple up ahead get away from us." Despite "relaxing" we actually caught that couple as we crested the hill and went on to the three mile mark - 21:08. We made the turn around and then had the downhill. I cheered for Debbie and her husband when I passed them on their way up and then just cruised down the hill to the four mile point, 27:35. "Whoa, we picked it up." I said to Joe. I was a little surprised because I didn't think the hill was that steep and I also was a little anxious because even 7 minute pace was kind of pushing it for me. Joe was nonchalant. "Yeah, we did, but we'll just go easy on this flat because we have one more good bump coming up. After that, It is all flat or a little downhill to the finish."

The flat didn't seem that easy to me, and the uphill wasn't so fun but I stayed with Joe and our pretty good pace. With about a half mile to go, I either slowed a bit or Joe picked it up, but either way, I couldn't keep up. I finished in 43:03, with Joe just ahead of me. This was about the only time I regretted not having a watch, as I know I could have taken 4 seconds off with the right incentive (like going under 43 minutes!). But even still, it was a minute and a half faster than two weeks ago. And the age group ribbons were actually ribbons this time, not just ribbon shaped paper!

I finished 4th female, not second (4/31; 24/87 OA) - something new and different for me. The place was worse than usual, but who cares? I am just psyched by the 6:53 pace for the 6.25 mile course. I had thought I was stretching it a bit when I told Joe 7 minute pace - I am glad to see I could back up my words. Joe was obviously downplaying his fitness level at the start of the race - to my advantage; I don't know if I would have run as fast without him.

Friday, July 4, 2008

July 4th

We decided even if it was Independence Day, we certainly wouldn't be free of crabby kids if we attempted to take them to a late night fireworks display. So instead of heading out to one of the major pyrotechnic displays in the area, we decided to carry on a now three year old tradition: Blow up a box of Costco fireworks in our own driveway in semi-daylight!

We added a but to the tradition this year: Megan and I made cupcakes and we all sang "Happy Birthday America." Megan sang loudly, but I think she just wanted a cupcake. See how she already has batter on her lip while we are making them?

Liam didn't make it to the firework show, but we did get the neighbors to join in and have a cupcake, too. Megan loved choosing the next firework and the boys loved lighting them up. As an added bonus, us patriots had a very handy port-a-potty for all of our needs (top left corner, above). Pyromaniac boys and a Honey Bucket - nothing says Americana more than that.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Rock On!

Every once in a great while the planets align, both kids are happy, they enjoy each others company and they get caught smiling in the same photo.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Little Humor

After all the talk about the house we need a little humor, so straight from Megan's mouth:

"When Liam doesn't need diapers anymore, is he going to wear princess underwear like me?"
(Watching me get the markers out for her to color): "I don't need black and brown because they aren't beautiful."
Me quizzing Megan after Father's Day, after complaining about some very grainy toast:
Pam: What does Daddy love?
Megan: Golf.
Pam: And what does Mommy love?
Megan: Megan and Liam
Pam: And what about Daddy?
Mac: I think Mommy loves Daddy.
Megan: Yeah, even if you buy nut bread.

And Mamaw (Mac's Mom) makes the quote board, too:

Mac was complaining to his Mom about Liam's poor eating.
Mamaw: That's why he's so skinny.
Mac: But he's got a big pot belly.
Mamaw: So do the kids from Darfur!

Liam (altered to maintain G-rating) vs. the Darfur child
Perhaps Liam needs to be compared to an albino Darfur child for full effect. Actually, I think the African kid is a bit meatier!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Rotten Deal

On Monday June 30th, a work crew came to start a little home improvement project. The dining room window had a broken crank, it didn't seal right and we thought it leaked a little bit, too. So we thought we'd get it replaced do that we'd be all snug for next winter. Turns out the window leaked A LOT bit with some major damage to the structure of the house. This lead to a full inspection of all the windows, a little more dryrot detection, and a snowball effect on the scope of the project.

Final damage: we are replacing almost every window in the house and getting new siding. I spent a few days coping with major depression from all this. Yes, I knew the house was ugly inside and needed major updating, but I had good faith in the bones of the house. And then there was the stress of cost and having almost every room in the house disrupted. And the back landscaping project that I had considered a real possibility for this summer was now totally out the window, so to speak. ;) It doesn't help that standard window sizing and code issues means some of the window configurations are going to have to change a bit, too. It may be change for the better, but I do NOT embrace change easily.

My angst and anger has subsided somewhat in the last week. I like our contractor and the guy working on our house (no matter what his prison record is - yes, I am serious. This project is full of surprises!) We are getting all the trim inside our house done as part of this gig and new exterior paint as well (color suggestions??). And so I feel like when the project is done a lot of the major updating projects we wanted to accomplish will be checked off the list...or at least that is what I am telling myself! it also makes me feel better about neglecting the garden this year, because the guys are tromping it to shreds. I told them the Japanese maple was the only plant I really wanted them to be careful of - seems they have taken me quite literally on that one! But that just means I get to buy more plants (when my piggy bank recovers anyway).