Monday, December 31, 2007

10 Great Things About Being Pregnant

10. Getting lots of positive attention. Sure, people do look at the belly with a weird sort of hypnotic gaze, but usually when they look up, they're smiling.

9. Shopping for super cute, tiny clothes. Who can resist those booties?

8. Other people want to give me stuff for the baby, whether it's clothes and toys their child used, to new presents. It's all good.

7. I get to gain weight, and not feel too guilty about it! Of course, there's always post-Christmas eater's remorse (I don't care what I said the other day!)

6. I'm usually so wiped out by the end of the day, I actually sleep pretty well most of the time. That will be a different story once the baby arrives!

5. For those of us who usually don't have 'em...big boobs!

4. Even though the kicking sometimes is a little annoying, it's mostly pretty neat. It's fun to touch my belly where the baby kicks. Seeing the kicks is also pretty cool, although it makes me look like I'm auditioning for the movie "Alien."

3. People tend to be a little more courteous and helpful.

2. Wondering what the baby will look like, if he/she will have a lot of hair, if she/he will be a crier, etc.

1. And, of course, the number one great thing about being pregnant is having a super cute little bundle of joy when the pregnancy is over.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Yum O!

There's a reason hardly anyone bothers with a diet during the holidays. It's because the food is so darn good. Justin was the Chef du jour on Christmas. He decided to grill the turkey on the charcoal grill (with mesquite bricks.) It was moist, it was tender, but it was also smoky. In a word...fabulous! It made for good sandwiches the next day, too. If we hadn't run out of meat already, we were planning to pull the meat and do some turkey BBQ. Mmmmm. Oh well. Maybe next year. One could probably do the traditional sides of mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, but we opted for brown rice and black eyed peas. Mom brought some sweet potatoes, yeast rolls, and these great little individual dressing muffins. Thanks Mom! I wasn't off the hook that day. I made an apple pie from scratch. Not that that was intended. I had planned to use a roll out pie crust from the store, but it was frozen solid, so I opted for a homemade crust. And I made it with butter. Oh yes, the real thing. And of course there's all the chocolate that Santa brought and the cookies that Mom brought. My friend brought over some peanut butter fudge today. Delish! Thanks, Kristi! So, I can safely say I haven't lost any weight lately. Not that I was trying to. Not a great idea when one is pregnant. (That may be a good lead-in to 10 Great Things about Being Pregnant!) But honestly, as I wolfed down that fourth piece of peanut butter fudge today, I could feel the cellulite growing. I might care after the New Year.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Wacky Week


Duncan's Christmas Card Photo

Why you may not get a Christmas card from me this year:

1. I've misplaced my address book. I had it last week, but I haven't seen it since. It's probably hanging out with #2.

2. Two boxes of Christmas cards have gone missing. So, I have roughly 28 cards.

3. You did not include a return address on your Christmas card (Mary Beth.) I sent out 22 cards in response to those who sent me one. Because those were the addresses I had!

4. You didn't send me a card. Not being vindictive here...this just goes back to the no address thing.


Duncan Kissing the Snowman

It's been a crazy week. I've been running around trying to get last minute Christmasy things done (like getting 40+ pictures printed for those dang cards!) On Tuesday Duncan and I attended the Christmas party at his school. It was fun. He looked super cute with his rosy cheeks. After a few hours and the cheeks were still rosy, however, we began to suspect Duncan may have Fifth Disease. So, basically Duncan looked like a porcelain doll for about 24 hours. He's seemed a little itchy, but overall it's a pretty mild virus. Unfortunately, there are potential consequences for the unborn baby. So, I went to have my blood tested. Most pregnant women have already had it, so chances of any problems are pretty small. I'm not too worried. I've felt frenzied all week with the illness and feeling like my pregnant brain could use some sort of reminder program. Sigh. Well, there's always the house cleaning to look forward to this weekend. Ha ha ha ha! If I don't post again before Christmas (and if you don't get a card!)

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Karma?


Duncan Using Me as a Lounge Chair

For some reason my family has decided that I shouldn't have any surprises for Christmas this year. True, I have an Amazon Wish List, so almost everything I get is something I asked for. So, I guess that's not too surprising. But the surprise is opening the package and then finding out what I got. Most folks typically will let a person open the present before they say, "We got you that book you wanted! See!" "Oh gee! Thanks Mom and Dad!"

Because my parents purchased one of my Amazon items from another store, they called to tell me to remove it from my list. I was clever enough to see where the conversation was headed, and was able to interject, "Tell Justin to remove it from the list!" before they had a chance to spoil it. My sister called Friday, and with no warning said, "Oh, I got you that CD off your list, but not from Amazon, so you should probably remove it. You know, so nobody else gets it for you." I said, "Thanks for the surprise!" Heavily laced with sarcasm, of course. You see, when Sherrie and I were little kids, I spoiled her Christmas surprise one year. I was present when one of our parents bought Sherrie a bear, and I spilled the beans. I wasn't a great secret keeper in those days, so I couldn't help myself. So is it plain revenge on Sherrie's part? Did the memory of that bear make her crack her knuckles and cackle with glee at the opportunity to get me back all these years later? Or do I just look like I don't like surprises?

Or was it just karma?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

10 More Annoying Things During Pregnancy

I've now entered the Third Trimester. For some folks this is the time when they feel pretty good. The morning sickness has diminished or gone, the figure is distinctly that of a pregnant woman, and not of an extra large lunch. These are the pros! Some of the same annoyances linger on, like the belly rubbing and forgetfulness, but here are some new ones to add to the list.

10. Pregnancy seems to make other people forgetful, too. "When was the due date again?" is the most commonly repeated question by this lot.

9. There's a little person standing on my bladder!

8. There's a little person practicing her Judo moves on my insides. While this is kinda cool a lot of the time, sometimes it is painful. And I won't even go into trying to go to sleep with the inner Karate Kid!

7. People commenting on my size. "You're getting big!" "You're as big as a house!" And I've heard some people get asked if they're having twins. Agh!

6. Being tired all the time.

5. I know guys always get blamed for looking at a woman's boobs before making eye contact. When I'm preggers, I get the look at the belly, then up up up to, finally, the face. And it's everybody, not just guys.

4. Being nervous about how a new little one will make the older sib feel.

3. That "cute" pregnant waddle is more than likely caused by a painful condition called Sciatica. In other words, it hurts to walk.

2. Heartburn, even on good food like chocolate. Forget pizza and chili, unless I want to load up on Tums.

1. The feeling of dread as the day of labor approaches. For first timers it's scary, because they don't know what to expect. For those who have some labor experience, it's scary, because they do have an idea of what to expect!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Under the Weather

We've had unusually mild weather here lately. I thought Duncan and I would be hitting the park every day to enjoy it. However, we've spent the last few days checking the thermometer, and wiping a runny nose. Yep, Duncan's sick. It's gorgeous outside, and we're stuck indoors. We have ventured out a time or two, and he seems to perk up, but we mostly are watching movies. Lots and lots of movies. Duncan was happy then cranky all day long. He just didn't seem himself. And the fever for the third day in a row was starting to scare me. We went back to the doctor's office again today to find that Duncan's cold had become the beginnings of an ear infection. I didn't used to fear fevers, and I didn't used to fear ear infections. However, when Evan contracted meningitis, the doctors suggested that it could have started as an undiagnosed ear infection. So, if we seem a tad paranoid about ear infections, you'll understand why. Anyway, it's good that we caught Duncan's ear infection right away. We're hoping that it'll be cleared up in a flash. In the meantime I'm re-establishing my relationship with Thomas the Tank Engine. Oh Thomas, how I've missed you! Here's hoping for a better tonight and tomorrow...and no cold for me!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's Beginning to Smell a lot like Christmas

I understand why people use artificial Christmas trees. You don't have to water them, they're probably not allergenic, you don't have to buy one every year (although, they usually have to be replaced eventually.) Inhale. But they lack that one special quality. Fragrance. Sure, you can buy all the scented candles you want, but it's just not the same. Just walking down the aisles looking at the trees last night was enough to put me into an olfactory overload. Inhale. We picked out "our" tree, and brought him home. For me, the tree is always masculine. He's a part of the family, if only for a short time. Once we purchased a live Leyland Cypress, planted him in the ground after Christmas, and named him, "Leyland." We're very creative around here. We usually get cut trees, however. After the holidays are over, we take the tree to the next step in its destiny...to become mulch. This year we have a Frasier Fir. Inhale. He hasn't been decorated, yet, but he still looks pretty wonderful. Something I'd really like to do one day is plant a living Christmas tree in the yard. One that doesn't get more than 10' tall or so, and decorate it. I love those birdseed ornaments. Wouldn't that be fun? Decorate for the holidays and feed the birds all at the same time. Inhale. I hope you're enjoying the scents of the season, too.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

It's the IRS Calling

Well, the darndest thing has occurred. We received a letter from the IRS the other day saying that a Social Security Number that we used as one of our dependents was also used by someone else on their Tax Return for 2006. I called Justin all freaked out. We double checked the number, and yes, it was Evan's SSN. Justin called the phone number on the letter. They told him that "it happens all the time and it's probably an honest mistake." Hopefully, someone just mixed up their numbers. Otherwise, we may have a jerk using our deceased little boy's social. It's pretty annoying. To think that someone may be taking advantage of a grieving family makes me pretty upset. Well, we just have to wait and find out. Sigh...

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Problem with Advent Calendars

Growing up, my mom always made us Advent calendars. These are calendars that help a child (or adult!) count down the days till Christmas, starting on December 1st. There are different kinds of calendars. Some offer tasty treats each day, and some have 24 little ornaments for each day to decorate a little tree. Mom's always involved chocolate. The one I remember most was a Christmas tree made out of Hershey's kisses or those little mini candy bars. She'd glue the candies into a triangular shape onto construction paper in an appropriate Christmas color. Each day we would pluck a candy off and eat it. When Christmas came Mom would give us a special little present as part of the calendar. Nothing too fancy.

These yearly calendars hold a special place in my heart, and I wanted to pass on this tradition to my kids. In 2005 Justin and I purchased Evan a little truck with 25 drawers. In each drawer I placed a Hershey's kiss. On December 1st I presented Evan with his truck. He played with it till the wheels started to come off. He opened drawers. It was a lot of fun. However, I learned that an almost 2 year old really doesn't have a whole lot of self control. He didn't want just one Hershey's kiss. He wanted them all! I tried to explain waiting for one tomorrow, I tried bribing him with the secret stash in the kitchen. But Evan loved the thrill of finding each chocolate, and gobbling it up.

This year my sister and brother in law sent me an Advent calendar. It came on Thursday, which meant I couldn't rip it open until Saturday. Ugh! I somewhat patiently waited until Saturday, and had the first itty bitty chocolate. Too bad there aren't enough in there to share (sneaky grin.) Today there were actually two, so Justin and I had one a piece. Another chocolate fell out of the box, and before you could say "Merry Christmas" Duncan grabbed it, and started stuffing it in his mouth, wrapper and all (just like Evan when he tried his first Hershey's kiss!) I moaned about losing a chocolate, and then unwrapped it for him. I peeked in the box to see which day's chocolate had been lost. Christmas Day! Justin joked that we wouldn't have any chocolate that day (we usually have it in abundance!) It looks like I will have to purchase some supplemental chocolates to get the whole family through Advent!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Doh! update

I just received an email from the Toy Company that shipped the wrong items. Turns out, they just sent the wrong email. My items haven't shipped, yet. Hooray! There's hope for Christms, afterall!

Doh! Doh! Doh!

So, I got online yesterday and began my shopping Christmas blitz. I thought I should shop early to get the particular non-toxic toys I've been looking into. I received an email from an American toy company that I made an order with the other day saying that the items had shipped. "Hooray!" I thought. Then I paged down to the bottom of the message. The two items listed were not the two items I had ordered. Sigh. I emailed them right back. Hopefully I'll get the correct stuff in the mail. Today I got a note from from another American toy company through Amazon saying that that toy would be shipped on the 20th, and would probably take a week. So much for buying early! Well, I've always wanted to do the 12 Days of Christmas. Maybe this will be the year. Sniff sniff.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Don't Forget to Donate Toys this Christmas

I read an article yesterday that said that charities like the Salvation Army, and even the Marine sponsored Toys for Tots are having problems getting toys this year. With the innumerable recalls we've had over the last several months, it seems people don't know what to buy. They don't want to donate something tainted, so they're not donating at all. While it's great to not want to contaminate the kiddies, these charities are dreadfully in need. This article said one Salvation Army location had purchased toys back in the summer, and over half ended up being recalled. My plan is to purchase two of what I get for Duncan. Maybe not everything, because I don't want to end up in the poor house, but a few things. I figure the stuff I'm getting for my own child I've done the research on, and feel comfortable about donating. Finding American made toys right now is getting tougher. Many companies are selling out, because the manufacturers have a lot of new customers due to parents concerned about the lead paint issue. Amazon.com does carry many American toy products as of two days ago. If you don't have any luck online, check out some local shops. Good luck, happy shopping, and donate!!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Memories


Evan Enjoying a Good Book

One year ago today our little boy lost the battle with Bacterial Meningitis and Septicemia. I have shared some of our favorite memories of Evan over the past months. Today on the first anniversary of Evan's death, we'd like to hear some of your favorite memories.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Evan, the Photographer


Evan Reaching for the Digital Camera

I suppose most little kids (and some big ones) are interested in The Camera. Particularly now that we have digital cameras. There's the lure of buttons, flashes and little noises. But with digital cameras (and polaroids), you get to see a picture right away. When Evan was younger he'd ask to see the baby on the back of the camera. He didn't realize he was the baby!


An Artistic View of the Ceiling Fan

Last Fall, we decided to go ahead and let Evan try out The Camera. He mostly walked around talking and pressing buttons, not necessarily looking for a subject. When we looked back at the log of shots, we were pretty impressed. He took pictures of the world around him (our house), the family, and probably by accident, himself.


Mommy

There was also a little video button on The Camera. He pressed that a few times, and the result is a couple of very short Evan films. In one he says, "I can't see you, I can't seeee youuuuu!" He was trying to find me in the viewfinder!




Baby Brother


Let There Be Light! It makes me wonder how he got this shot.


The Obligatory Finger Shot

One year ago today Evan was admitted to the Pediatric ICU with Bacterial Meningitis, and never returned home. Given what happened, these pictures and movies are very special to us. To hear that little voice again....


Self Portrait

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

One Line


Evan with His "Dacuum"


On Saturday Justin and I received a letter in the mail. There will be a memorial service at Scottish Rite in the near future, and they would like a one line statement about Evan.

One line.

To their credit they do say that this would be a statement that "enables them to know a portion of the essence" of Evan. To think that even "a portion of the essence" of a person, even a small child, could be summed up in one line. It is heartwrenching. What to say? There are so many things. They did include a couple examples of statements from previous years. They were lovely. I read them and can tell those parents felt the same way I do. The statements are beautiful run on sentences about children who died too young. I had thought of sending in something similar to what I wrote in my Snakes and Snails post. How Evan was lawnmowers, tools, and playgrounds and pools. Justin said, "Don't you think we ought to include how much we miss him?" I was at a loss. And the kicker was we had to submit the statement by Monday. So, we only had a couple of days to think of something so tender, yet so painful. Being the wordy one, I thought the task would fall on my shoulders, but Justin emailed me with a statement that we both liked. I fixed the spelling errors, and sent it along. Here's what he wrote:

Evan once listed his favorite things as milk, grapes, cheese, lawnmowers...
Our favorite things about Evan were his laughs and
smiles, the full body tackle he thought of as a hug,
his happy demeanor and sense of humor, and the
affection he had for all of us.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Music


Evan Joining in on a Duet


I've been practicing more lately in preparation for a couple of church music programs in December. I feel like I'm finally starting to sound good again. I haven't devoted much time to the flute, because I haven't had any gigs. And, honestly, I can't say that my heart's been in it until now. It's nice to have something to work toward...to have a goal. I've even been doing all the boring long tones and scales in addition to "real music." Evan and Duncan both like my playing. They both try to play the recorder (note to Santa.) Once when I was practicing, I heard some music, and Evan came running in with his musical drum. It plays steel drum versions of a few nursery songs. He beat the drum, and I played flute. It was a lot of fun. Duncan is more of a dancer. He can cut a rug to any kind of music. He likes to show his appreciation for music, too. He claps his hands at the end of a piece/song on the radio. Sometimes after I finish a piece, I can hear his little claps upstairs for me!



Duncan Tolerating Mommy


It's interesting the variety of music that toddlers seem to enjoy. Mine like the usual nursery songs, but also popular music, and even jazz. Evan had specific music that he liked to jump to. He called it "jumping minkits." And the music for extreme jumping was "big jumping minkits." He was very particular about what he wanted to hear. Justin would play a little bit of a song, and ask "Is this big jumping minkits?" Evan would shake his head, until Justin found the right song. When Evan talked about music, he said, "musit." We had recently listened to some Gershwin songs sung by Ella Fitzgerald, when I put in a CD of Renaissance music. I asked Evan if he liked it. He said, "Put on Ella Fitzgerald!" Although, he did seem interested in the Telemann Baroque CD I played for him later. He would often ask "What's this musit?" if he was interested in what was playing. Duncan also seems to like a variety of music. He likes Coldplay, REM, U2. I think he can dance to about anything. There was some country song about a girl loving this guy's tractor, and Duncan was really getting down. And I already mentioned the head banging that was done at the Pumpkin Patch to classic rock.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my musical boys. I can't help but have visions of having a kid in the band. Oh the memories!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Superman Spotted at Local Eatery

Justin and I were dining out tonight, and were graced by the presence of a real live super hero! Superman was sitting at the next table with his mom and little sister. It was very exciting. He busted some cool moves when I Heard it Through the Grapevine by Marvin Gaye played on the stereo. After a meal of chicken fingers and a juice box, Superman and his family made the short trip to the toy store. He had a blast. I hope we see you again someday, Superman!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bedtime

We always tried to follow a routine when getting Evan to bed. After dinner Justin and Evan would go upstairs for bath time and some play time. Then I would bring up the bedtime snack, and we'd read stories and sing songs. A favorite story was the classic Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. To make the story more our own, we would pile Evan's three bears on top of my head. When we got to the part where it's supposed to say, "And there were three little bears sitting on chairs." We substituted, "And there were three little bears sitting on Mommy's head!"


Mommy, Evan and the Three Bears

As Evan got a little older, he used more delaying techniques to put off bedtime. Storytime began to really get abused. It's hard to say no when a little boy says, "One more book!" Evan started to become a little bit of a bossy boots, too. After reciting Goodnight Moon from memory, we would ask him if he'd like to sing a song. At first we sang The Wheels on the Bus every night. It's a great song for a kid who's upset, because you can make it as long or as short as you want. You can use the traditional lyrics, or add your own. At about the same time Evan started to become fascinated with garage doors. He decided that shirts were similar to garage doors. If my shirt was a little up and my belly exposed, Evan would tell me, "You're garage door is open, Mommy." He had to incorporate this new and exciting information into his song. So, his new verse was "the wheels on the garage door go up and down...." We also had the wheels on the Mommy (and I would do a corresponding movement), and the wheels on the Daddy. He'd even ask for the wheels on his Bear Bear. We enjoyed his creativity, but I think Evan was just testing the bedtime limits. And getting an amusing little show to boot.


Evan at Bedtime

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Christmas Wishes


Duncan Checking out the Tree on Christmas 2006


Evan Playing with His Front End Loader on Christmas Day 2005

This time last year I was bubbling over with excitement. I had already sneakily purchased Evan some Thomas track and a play table, and I was planning on getting some engines. I had also picked up a toddler digital camera, because Evan loved to take pictures (more on this later.) I've already mentioned that Evan had a running list of things he was planning to ask Santa for Christmas. And as Santa's elf, my ears were open.

The holidays aren't just about home baked cookies, pies, and church activities. They're also about finding ways to celebrate your very own traditions. When I looked for Evan's first stocking, I was sorely disappointed in the selection available. I decided to make him one myself. Keeping with the tradition, I also made Duncan's...and just barely got it out in time for Santa! Evan's is red felt with a white bear (just like his Bear Bear!) Duncan's is green felt with a gingerbread boy. Last year, I was thinking of purchasing Evan a slightly larger stocking from Pottery Barn Kids for his Big Kid stocking. They have some really cute quilted ones with a train, Santa, a snowman, you name it. I thought Evan might like the train stocking. One day I asked him which stocking he would like for Christmas. He looked at the pages in the catalog, pointed to a picture, and said, "I want the big sock." I looked at the catalog. He was pointing to the picture of a little girl holding a stocking almost as big as she was! I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that he wanted the "sock" that could hold that much more stuff! Smart kid.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

That's what old fashioned little boys are made of. But what about the Modern Little Boy? Snakes are slithery, snails are slimy, and puppy dog tails are wiggly. Sounds just like Duncan, actually. But I think there's more to the Modern Little Boy. Once Justin and Evan were climbing the hill in our backyard, and Evan was listing off some of his favorite things, "Grapes, cheese, lawnmowers...."


Evan with His Beloved "MawMower"

Lawn mowers, in fact, any landscaping equipment should be included in a description of the Modern Little Boy. Evan was enraptured with Pop's leaf blower, and told him, "That's a cool blower!" He admired his Daddy's form when he was "workin' the rake." And Evan could dig and water with the best of them with his own little shovel and watering can.



Duncan Getting some Important Measurements

In my experience the Modern Little Boy is also made of tools. Evan was quite the Tool Guy, and his little brother is showing an interest in tools, as well. Evan and Duncan both do very convincing sound effects for electric tools, they show a knowledge of how hand tools work (especially the hammer--watch out!), and they are mesmerized when any sort of project is going on in our house (when is it not?!)


Duncan on His Slide

And last, but certainly not least, is playtime. I guess that could go under the Puppy Dog Tail category, but let's not ruin it. Whether they're sliding, swinging, running with reckless abandon at the park, or splashing in the pool, the Modern Little Boy loves to play.


Evan, Our Little Fish

Lawnmowers and Tools and Playgrounds and Pools. That's what little modern boys are made of!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Two Peas in a Pod Revisited

Kids, as a rule, are not known for their superior table etiquette. The kitchen or dining room table often becomes a battleground between kids and their parents. "One more carrot, junior, and then you can play." We haven't had a lot of issues with getting our kids to eat. They've both been called "good eaters." Being a good eater, however, does not mean they're not messy. Check out these pictures of our good eaters.



Evan Needs a Little Snack, and Dives in to the Cheerios. You can't always wait for Mommy to get them for you, afterall!




Duncan Enjoying Sitting on Goldfish. Duncan's snacktime usually involves dumping everything out on the floor, playing with it, and then eating it.




Evan Loved Pasta. On this occasion Justin thought it would be better to serve Evan pasta with no shirt, rather than getting his clothes very messy.




Another Pasta Eater! Aha! We actually served pasta when Duncan was wearing red. How fortuitous. That red/orangey color is the devil to get out of clothes. It's a wonder we've gotten it off their little hands and faces!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Sweet Syrupy Goodness or, I Guess We'll be Doing Laundry Tonight

Well, the day hasn't been a total bust, after all. Sherrie's feeling better, although my head is starting to hurt. I got some new maternity clothes (fun!) I should have known that the little boy that's been so sweet all afternoon (sans nap!) would be up to his tricks again. I should have known that when I left Duncan alone for a minute or so AND he was so mysteriously quiet that something was up. I should preface this with the fact that Duncan has mastered not only doorknobs, but also lids. He obviously got the tricky "childproof" lid this morning. But he's pretty consistently opening caps and tops to all kinds of stuff. Mostly kitchen items. Today he discovered the sticky goodness of Karo syrup. I swear I turn around for one minute, and then all of a sudden the kid is covered in syrup. There was syrup all over the floor, and the bottle. He was quite a sticky mess. So, I managed to peel off the pants and socks that were soaked through, and clean up the floor. I wiped Duncan down. He was upset by the stickiness, but once he was clean, he was back at the lazy Susan looking for more. Sigh. Little boys.

Ouch! My Wallet Hurts!

I decided to fill up the gas tank on the way to Grandma and Grandpa's house this morning. I had just over a half tank to fill, and the total was $30! I had gotten somewhat used to the $40 for a full tank...I'm not saying I was happy about it, just accustomed. They say it will hit $4 a gallon before the end of the year. Wah! As if the holiday season wasn't eating a hole in my wallet already. Oh well. At least I don't have to fill up as often as some poor folk. We also had a little family emergency just before we left home. Duncan unscrewed the childproof (is that meant to be a joke?!) cap on the Children's Motrin, and proceeded to measure out a dose or two. There was some spillage. Knowing that there wasn't much in the bottle to start with (and he wasn't covered in the stuff), I had a pretty good idea that he hadn't actually had any. But to be safe, I called Poison Control. We decided the most he could have had was a swallow or two. I should give him a snack and drink, and everything should be ok. Maybe a little tummy ache. So, we shared a snack, and he sacked out in his seat as we made the drive to the Grandparents. He seems to be just fine. Shoo! We were supposed to hang out with Sister, but she's in bed sick. Well, hopefully today won't be a total bust!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Sister Mommy

My sister Sherrie is visiting. I would post a cute picture of her and Duncan, but she won't let me. Wah! She's using the visit as an opportunity to get to know her little nephew a little better. Of course, he is still pretty small, so he can't communicate all of those deep feelings that all toddlers have. He mostly looks at Sherrie like, "Who is this lady? She reminds me of someone....hmmm." Sherrie came to visit at the time I went on bedrest when I was pregnant with Duncan. In fact, I went into the hospital during her visit. So, she not only got to visit me at the hospital, she also got to visit a little more with Evan. He stayed with Grandma and Grandpa while I was in the hospital. They tried to explain to him that Sherrie is Mommy's sister. He didn't call her "Sherrie" or "Auntie". He called her "Sister." And when asked where Sister lives, he would name her state, even though he had know idea where it was. She came back last October. And I explained again how Sister was Mommy's sister. So, then Evan started to call Sherrie "Sister Mommy." I think this may have disconcerted her a bit, not being a parent. We've been calling her Sister this time, too (and Aunt Sherrie.) We'll have to wait until Duncan has more words to find out what he calls her!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Here are some photos of our little "Dread Pirate Duncan."



We had a hard time rounding Duncan up to go trick or treating. He mostly just wanted to play in the yard. Even tempting him with going to see the neighbor's dog didn't work. Somehow we finally coaxed Duncan out of our yard and into a neighbor's.



Duncan approaches the door. He scored lots of great candy, even though he never said "Trick or Treat." The waving bye bye made up for it.




Duncan found a seemingly innocent "rock" at one neighbor's, and pressed the button on top. It made some weird, scary sounds. He looked at it for a bit...then his little face started to fall, and he began to cry. With some hugs and kisses, Duncan moved on to the next house for more treats. He was getting the hang of it now.




Our tired little pirate.




Our pumpkins. Mine is the carved ghostly one, Evan's is Frankenstein, and Duncan's is the Pumpkin Pirate, of course!

Firefighter Evan



Firefighter Evan Getting His Shoes Tied

Last year Evan dressed up as a firefighter for Halloween. Before the big day we found a flashing light and siren to go on his ride to make it like a real firetruck. I told a few other parents about it. Evan was obviously listening, because I heard him talking about it. "Then we'll put the siren and the light on my wagon, like a firetruck...."




Evan in His Firetruck

After taking a late nap, I pulled out the khaki coat and pants, and started to wrap some yellow duct tape around the wrists, ankles, chest, and waist. Evan was eager to help. I whipped out the glue stick, and he applied the glue and we both glued on the iridescent Christmas ribbon on top of the duct tape to give it that "real" firefighter look. I was so proud of Evan for jumping right in and helping. Then we topped off the ensemble with a red firefighter helmet from the yummy Firehouse Subs.

At first Evan wasn't so sure about this trick or treating business. Daddy took him to a couple of houses, and Evan softly knocked on the door. When it was opened, he didn't say trick or treat. He just stood there like, "Ummm...not sure what comes next." He was, however, pleasantly surprised by the handfuls of candy that he got. He turned to Justin and said excitedly, "Let's go see some more ladies!" All of the people handing out candy were mommies and grandmas. I guess all the daddies were out on trick or treat duty.




Evan After a Tough Battle Fighting Fires...and Trick or Treating

After touring the block, Daddy and Evan came home with Evan's treats. And we dug in. Yes, there were just too many candies in there that were choking hazards, so somebody had to eat them!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Duncan's Punkin



Duncan Picking out Pumpkins

I've always liked Halloween. It's not really all the ghouls and goblins, it's mostly the candy. Of course, since we started a family it's also about the annual trek to the Pumpkin Patch. Hundreds and hundreds of pumpkins everywhere. Big ones, little ones, orange ones, white ones. They're really beautiful. It's pure joy to watch a small child...my small child running around admiring all of the pumpkins. Of course, at this particular Pumpkin Patch, they have loads of inflatable bouncy things for the kids, bunny rabbits, and Duncan's favorite, classic rock blaring on the speakers. It's not just a visit to the Pumpkin Patch, it's a Pumpkin Experience. The weather was beautiful, the place was packed, the bouncing was most excellent, and we walked away with a trunk load of gourds. Alright, it was just three. After a pit stop at home, Duncan gladly hopped back in the car with Grandma and Grandpa for a few days visit. That leaves the pumpkin decoration to me. I went to the pumpkin carving block party with the neighbors. I scooped and scooped and scooped the goop. I guess that's the worst part of the Pumpkin Experience. I found a cool ghost pattern for my white pumpkin, and started carving. I used muscles in my hands I didn't even know existed! But I came home with one carved pumpkin. I decided to paint Evan's and Duncan's pumpkins. I'll post final pumpkin pictures on Halloween. Until then, I need to go to the store for some candy. Mwahahahaha!

Top 10 Annoying Things During Pregnancy

This list really should be the top 100, because if you're like me, everything annoys you during pregnancy!

10. People who loved being pregnant. (Who are these people anyway?!)

9. "Helpful" advice from nearly everyone...even strangers.

8. Moodiness (this is probably Justin's #1 annoying thing about pregnancy!)

7. People who say, "Oh, I hope it's a girl (or boy)!" with glee or sometimes even vindictiveness. What they should say is, "I hope it's what you want it to be." Because seriously, it's our baby, not your's.

6. Morning sickness. Especially when it never seems to go away!

5. Not being able to take "the good stuff" for migraines.

4. Being constantly worried about something going wrong.

3. Gaining weight. And the people who tell you, "You're showing!" No kidding. I've got at least one mirror in my house!

2. What was it again...oh yeah, Forgetfulness.

1. People, even perfect strangers, wanting to rub my belly. There ain't no genie in there!! Remember, pregnant women have feelings, too. Ask for permission to touch a person's belly.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Two Peas in a Pod

It's amazing to me how much alike Evan and Duncan are. I think they would have really had a lot of fun together. And may have come to blows (well, maybe shoving) over certain favorite toys! Here are some pictures capturing Duncan and Evan doing similar things. Notice the similarity in toddler tummies! I have so many more pictures showing similar behavior, but blogger is wigging out. Wah! Maybe I'll do a follow up later.

Here they are enjoying a good read with Daddy




Sometimes You Just Feel Trapped!


Sticks and Rocks

A good friend from my younger more musical days has been dealt a tough blow. Her beautiful little boy has been diagnosed with a rare disorder called Progressive idiopathic infantile scoliosis . We've all heard of scoliosis from our teenage years, but this form takes place early in life. Their little guy is only 19 months. My friend is blogging about "The Dude" as they call him, and what they are learning, and how they're doing. She's also got informational links, if you want to learn more. Check out her blog, and hold these folks in your prayers.

Sticks and Rocks

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Story Time



Daddy and Duncan Snuggling on the Sofa


Duncan enjoying Story Time.

Sweet!

Daddy snuggling up to Duncan for some Story Time snuggles.

Nice.

Duncan looking at Daddy like he's a total freak, and carefully scooting away.

Priceless!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Haircuts



Evan Rockin' at the Park with a New Cut

I took Duncan to get his haircut again on Friday. He sat in the little car chair, and was ok for about one minute, then that little lip started to pooch, his face fell, and he sobbed for the duration. He could not be distracted by the movie. He did not care about all the cool stylist's tools, like the hair dryer and razor (although, the razor has potential.) He flailed around and reached for me the whole time. I'm amazed Duncan comes away with as good a cut as he does. The lady that does it is really good. His behavior made me think of how different Evan behaved at the salon. Evan started off with a lot less hair. He didn't really need a cut until about 16 months. Before that, I did trim around his ears a bit. His hair was still pretty fine, so I didn't have to take him very often. The first cut was at a men's salon. The rest were at a kid's place (the same one where I take Duncan.) He always requested to sit in the car. He would pay some attention to the movie. He was also interested in the tools...especially the razor. He had seen his daddy's razor at home, and he knew what it was and could name it. He never cried. There was always something there to capture his attention. The last couple of times we went, he focused on the movie. He had this expression on his face of complete seriousness. It was kind of like he was saying, "I just have to get through this, and I get the balloon." I don't remember ever seeing such a serious face on a toddler. After it was done we'd get a balloon or lollipop, and he'd look like a little man. Poor Duncan. With his thick, fast growing locks, we're going to be back before you know it. Maybe I should get a set of cutters for home!

Friday, October 19, 2007

October Bloom Day - a few days late

"Real" garden bloggers share photos of their blooms on the 15th of each month. I missed bloom day, but I'd like to share what's blooming anyhow.



The Intoxicatingly Beautiful Spider Lily

I got a couple Spider lilies in a plant trade a few years back. Nothing ever happened, so I just figured I had lost them. A couple of weeks ago (so, not technically a bloom day plant, but oh so pretty!), Duncan and I were playing in Evan's room. I looked out the window, and saw something that looked like a red bloom in the backyard. I thought to myself, "What on Earth is that?!" I went to get the binoculars, and was very pleasantly surprised by the lily buds. The first one to come into flower was destroyed by our little Godzilla, but he left the others alone. At least, long enough for me to get this photo!



Dahlia Dark Angel "American Pie"

I just picked a couple of these up at the Home Depot Landscape Supply. They're going out of business, so there are all kinds of plants on sale to put me in the poorhouse. It's only supposed to get to 2-3 ft. The bumblebees have been regular visitors. Love that dark foliage, especially with the pink flowers. I placed these in my front little garden beds. I'm going for a more drought tolerant and decidedly pink theme next year.



Not a great photo of Swamp Sunflower, Solidago "Fireworks," and a Ginger

The Solidago has really put on a show this year. Too bad I can't seem to capture it on film!



Chelone, aka Turtlehead

The little pink flowers resemble little turtle heads. This is a native fall blooming perennial. It's got great dark foliage and those fantastic, but unusual blooms. Love it!



Dahlia "Evan Matthew"

My Dahlias are still blooming away. I've been very pleased with all of the blooms. I have to write a note for myself for next year, though...stake the Dahlias! This one and my Alpen Diamond are lying all over the ground. So, I need to find a pretty trellis for each. I think then they'll really be spectacular.

After this shot my camera battery died. I was trying to get a picture of another native, Jewel Weed. Oh well. The good news is we're getting rain this morning! In fact, that's why I'm up this early. A brief, hard shower woke me up, and I couldn't get back to sleep. I hope Duncan wants a nap later, because I will really need one!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Guy and the Dog

Last fall Evan found a couple of VHS tapes of Wallace and Gromit. These are wonderful short claymation type films. The story lines evoke memories of Alfred Hitchcock films, although with more humor, and clay characters! I think the first movie we watched was "The Wrong Trousers." Evan loved it, and wanted to watch it again and again. Next we watched "A Close Shave." Then I remembered I had these and "A Grand Day Out" on DVD. So, Evan started to request "The Guy and the Dog" (what he called Wallace and Gromit) on a daily basis. The menu would come up on the DVD, and we'd have to decide which movie to watch. When we watched "The Wrong Trousers," I kept insisting that the strange pants that Wallace had invented were called trousers. Evan insisted equally hard that they were "Leggerthings." We'd get in a battle of words, and end up with the giggles. When Evan wanted to request "A Grand Day Out," he cried out "Let's watch the one with the sheen!" "The Sheen" was a robot that Wallace and Gromit encounter on their day out to the moon (in search of cheese, of course!) The Sheen was Evan's word for machine. Evan also noticed what was going on in the background. In one film there are three decorative rockets on Wallace's wall. Evan noticed this and tried to recreate it with his fishies in the bath tub. He lined them up exactly like in the movie. I guess Evan summed it up best when he woke up in the middle of the night, and said to Justin, "Movies are fun." then went right back to sleep.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Disappointed

Last Tuesday I went to my doctor's office, because I thought I might be having symptoms of an infection. Their initial findings were negative, but they would send my lab work to the real lab for official results. I was supposed to hear back in a couple of days. In the meantime they gave me a prescription for antibiotics, and encouraged me to go ahead and start them, "just in case." So, I got the prescription filled, and started the antibiotics. And, of course, the top side effect is an upset stomach. So, I've been feeling like crap since Tuesday. I called the office on Friday to see if the results were in, and they weren't. The nurse will call them and get a FAX and call me back. I waited two hours and called back at 4:15. I didn't want to let the end of the work day sneak up and not have an answer. The nurse "hadn't had time to make the call, but she'll call you before 5." Well, she didn't. So, I got the call about 10 minutes ago. Not from the nurse, but the front desk woman who I'd talked to on Friday. And, of course, the results were negative. So, on the seventh day of a seven day course of antibiotics, I get the news that I didn't need them afterall. I thought I might yell at the nurse if she had called, but I didn't feel like it was the front desk person's fault. So, no yelling. Now what?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Will you take 50 cents for that Dollar?

Well, we survived our very first Yard Sale. My parents said that it was a success. Although, now I kind of understand why they have put off having one of their own for at least a decade. It's amazing how people want to bargain down everything. We had folks bargaining down from $3. So, needless to say, we didn't really get our asking price for much of anything except the 50 cent items. I kept reminding myself and all the wonderful folks that helped out (hubby, my parents) that the object was to get rid of stuff. It's hard to see the curtains I paid $80+ go for $5, though. Will I do it again? Maybe. I guess my expectations will probably be more on the money (or the lack of money!) next time. I'm a little disappointed in the monetary outcome, but we did accomplish what I kept saying was the object...we got rid of stuff. So...I guess it may have been a success afterall.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Look Out Folks, She's Back!

It's finally cooled off enough for me to get outside and start digging in the yard again, and boy does it feel good. The relentless heat and lack of rain this summer (plus having morning sickness, etc., etc.) really did a number on me physically and mentally. Duncan and I would go out to play in the yard, but I never got my hands dirty. Well, Monday evening Justin and I did some planting, and Duncan did some digging. I really have missed the joy of planting things and digging stuff up and moving it around. Gardening has been a sort of therapy since Evan died, and I didn't get any treatments all summer. Of course, considering we are still experiencing one of the worst droughts on record, I have to water in different ways. I can't drag out the hose this time. I have to be more water wise. So, I've been collecting the condensation from the AC and the grey water from the shower warming up. I do all this collecting in buckets and Duncan's pails. Then I lug them around to the various plants in need. Not as easy as using the hose, but at least I'm conserving water, and that's pretty cool. I'm thinking I'll put a couple of rain barrels on my Christmas wish list this year. Hint Hint. I'm also trying to choose more drought tolerant plants. No, I don't have cacti and Agave (although Agaves are really cool!) all over the place. There are lots of flowering perennials out there that can take brutal summers. Also, it doesn't help that some local stores are having drastic price cuts on a lot of plants. Even with all the extra effort this time, the joy is there. I just need to do it every day!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Little Observers


Evan Vacuuming with Mommy Supervising



Evan Checking Out the Baby Swing

From my own experience I have found that toddlers are very observant little people. Parents know all too well how easily toddlers pick up on things. Bad language, for example. I remember Evan and Justin playing a game like bowling and Evan messed up and swore. Justin and I did a mental head slap. You always hear stories about a little one (perhaps a tad older) coming up to a woman and saying, "My mommy says you look terrible in that dress." On those occasions parents wished their kids had a mute button. Honestly, knowing these things can happen should make parents a little more cautious about what they say. Maybe the parents are the ones that need a mute button!

Being able to notice things is not all horror stories and bad words. Have you ever noticed how kids seem to instinctively know how to use the vacuum cleaner? Or how to comb their own hair? It's because they watch everything you do! Evan and Duncan are both good vacuumers, sweepers, and combers. Once language kicks in the observances become conversation. Last year we took a mirror down after Little Boy Bedtime. The next morning Evan came downstairs and said, "Where's the mirror?" or "The mirror's gone." Even before language is understandable, kids make their observances known. Duncan pointed at Justin's cell phone (which was on a shelf--I hadn't even seen it there!), then made the little sound he makes for "Hello?" I loved when Evan pointed to pictures in his books, and made little discoveries about what was happening in the background. He would tell me all about how the dinosaur (pronounced dinoso) had knocked over the bike or the rocking chair. Of course, a favorite attention grabber with Evan was asking "What happened?" "What happened to the rocking chair?" even though we had talked about how the dino knocked it over the previous night. Maybe he was just checking to see if I got it right!

In addition to loving Thomas the Tank Engine, Evan loved construction vehicles. He could name them all. He would test me on these books, too. He'd ask, "What's that?" And I would tell him, even though I knew that he knew already. Sometimes I would spice it up and call a digger a schoolbus, just to get a smile. We were lucky (is that the right word?) enough to have a large construction site down the road all summer and into the fall last year. Coincidentally, this was on the way to a favorite park. Evan was mesmerized. I could hear him in the backseat naming trucks "Front End Loader, Digger, Crane (pronouced cwane.)"

We're looking forward to new discoveries with Duncan.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Christmas is in the Air

Well, not really. It's still in the low to mid 80's around here, but I did purchase my first Christmas present for this year. So, I feel like the Christmas shopping season has begun. I always try to spread the spending over a few months, so I don't end up with an outrageous bill in January. And if I already know what I want to get someone, why not go ahead and get it? The item I purchased was the only one left in stock, according to Amazon, so I decided to make the grab. I mean, who knows when the item will be in stock again?





Evan showing off his Thomas the Tank Engine Tattoo


Thinking about Christmas brings back some fun memories from about this time last year. Evan, like most little boys (and some little girls) his age was obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine. We watched the movies over and over as a family. He knew all of the engines by sight. He had a couple of little engines he played with. In fact, Justin told me that one time Evan was playing with Big Thomas (a larger push and go toy) and a couple of the small engines. Evan pushed the two small engines toward Big Thomas, and said, "Hey Thomas, whatchya doin'?" And Big Thomas says, "Oh, I'm just..." Justin doesn't remember what Evan said, but he was very impressed with Evan's pretending skills. Well, last year every time we went down the Thomas aisle at Target, Evan would stop and play with the display, and talk about all of the engines he wanted. I started to tell him that he'd have to ask Santa for his heart's desire for Christmas. Sneaky mommy that I am, I started looking on Ebay and Craigslist for some engines with tracks and even a play table. I found one locally and purchased it. I was also secretly looking for the Thomas figures that I knew Evan liked. One day I asked Evan, "So, what are you going to ask Santa for for Christmas?" And, to my surprise, he started listing things off, "I'm going to ask for Cranky, Thomas...." I was looking forward to taking Evan to see Santa at the mall to find out if he would actually ask for what he wanted, or get stage fright.