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 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.


Daddy snuggling up to Duncan for some Story Time snuggles.


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


Sunday, October 21, 2007


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


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.