Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Liam is introduced to his polar bear suit and is not too sure about it. It is, of course, about the cutest polar bear suit ever. My mother sewed it. This was, I think, pretty easy. I had intended to sew it and had it all cut out. Liam picked out the fur at the fabric store after petting at least 6 white and off-white fleecy, shaggy fabrics. He picked this one. He was so happy with it, he kept petting it in the cart. The pattern was for a hooded sleep sack. So, I just shortened the sleeves and left it open on the bottom, just 4 pieces including the hood. The ears were freelanced, no pattern, and stuffed with Kleenex (which was handy, but which I will replace with some sort of cotton batting). The fabric was a huge pain in the neck to work with and will will be picking up bits of polar bear fur until next Halloween, I'm certain.

The "bearification" process. In this photo Liam is showing that it takes two highly trained engineers at least 15 minutes to put white socks on a 16 month old.
Liam checks himself out in the hall mirror. It took him a few trys to realize that that scary looking white fluffy thing was really him. Also, he is recovering from having his nose and whiskers drawn on, which he didn't like one bit.

Often, polar bears move so quickly they cannot be reliably caught on film. Even digital.

Back from trick or treating. For us, this is the second year that trick or treating has involved visiting all our neighbors and giving them jars of jam (and this year, some jars of peach chutney). Liam is too little for candy; so we see this annual homemade jam handout as sort of an insurance policy for when he is older and undoubtedly gets in trouble. He did acquire a small package of cookies and a glow-light stick.

Grandma explaining to Liam that (1) he can only have 1 cookie; (2) he really does have to go to bed; and (3) with a little dye and an alteration to the sleeves he can be a brown bear next year for Halloween!

Liam seemed to enjoy walking around with mommy and daddy in the dark. He definitely enjoyed meeting all the dogs and cats at the various houses and had some interest in the pack of kids that will, I hope, end up being his pack of kids as he gets older. (Two girls from across the street: dog and bird. Boy and girl next door to them: pumpkin and cat.) He really, really liked the small package of cookies. Many cameras were running and Will took some video so maybe we'll get some better pictures to post over the next few days. And, the best news of all: mommy's day-long headache has finally (with the 3rd dose of Tylenol) started to subside to a dull throbbing. I swear, I cannot and will not get the flu.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Nanny Share

We've been looking for an opportunity to have Liam spend more time with other kids and to create some back-up and additional childcare so we don't have to rely on our parents so much and I think we may have finally found it. There's a family a few miles down the road with a 2 year old who we are going to try a nanny share with. Their nanny seems great, she's in her 30s and has been caring for children for about 9 years. Next week we'll try two mornings, so we can see how it goes before we dive into the whole (not) sleeping thing.

In other news. Yesterday we made an huge trip to Ikea to try to get all the wardrobe stuff for the upstairs bedroom only to find that the online inventory was wrong and what we wanted wasn't in stock after all. (Annoying in the extreme.) We got a bookcase for downstairs instead and, as a present for Liam, this sheep fleece, which he can't get enough of.

Polar bear for Halloween tomorrow. We're all really excited.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Belated Birthday Dinner

We had my mother's belated birthday dinner today. For those keeping track, yes, this is the second full-on family dinner in three days. (See, same placemats as Sunday even, but different napkins.) We're done for a little while after this one. And, anyway, Auntie C did most of the cooking. A word to the wise, the butternut squash gnocchi from Sunset magazine requires more flour than is mentioned in the recipe. But, they do taste good. We bought the cake, one pain-in-the-neck recipe (gnocchi) being the limit for today.

The most exciting part of the day (for me) was starting our birthday tradition, suggested by Amanda Soule in her book The Creative Family. I've really been trying to figure out some things we can do with Liam to mark the seasons and so he will have some traditions to rely on. He is, already, a kid who loves to know what to expect. The first thing we've come up with is for birthdays. Over the next year, everyone in the family will get a birthday crown as a present on their birthday. We've timed it so my mother's crown is the first and Will's mother's will be the last, and Liam's will be somewhere right in the middle. He "helped" choose the wool felt and watched some of the crown come together and was pretty interested in my mother wearing the crown. As he gets older, I hope he'll be able to participate more in making the crowns and, anyway, will enjoy them and enjoy the way they reinforce the birthday as a special day and the birthday-person as a special person. I suspect most everyone else in the family thinks I'm nuts, but I'm really excited about the birthday crowns.

In addition to birthday celebration planning and implementation, today featured: two workers from the heating and cooling company finally here to put in the permanent furnace vent (made necessary by the chimney removal). And a very nice guy from the cable company hooking up the cable television, which took, I kid you not, a full 4 hours. He didn't leave until after 6:00 pm. We tried to get him to eat some dinner (he declined), but we did get him to take some sweet rolls. He said he had a whole other house to work on after us, God help him.

Camera battery just went dead, so I'll try to take some better pictures of the first birthday crown another time. I think it's fantastic, if I do say so myself.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Will's clinic visit today

generally went well, it sounds like (I had to work, so Will's father went with him). Will's PFTs are the same or slightly better than the last visit (1 month ago), which is a surprise given how crummy he has been feeling and because he has been short of breath on exertion. X-ray looked clear and blood work was normal for him (slightly anemic) except for an elevated marker of inflammation. But, it's not that elevated and could mean a lot of things. So they have scheduled him for an echocardiogram; there is some worry about a heart problem arising on its own or as a result of treatment with cardio-toxic chemotherapy medications. In the meantime, start oral and inhaled antibiotics, see if the sputum cultures anything, and hope for the best.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Easter in October

I think we'll start a new tradition. We had a (only slightly) modified version of our typical Easter menu tonight: ham, scalloped potatoes, biscuits with honey, green beans (for Easter we have asparagus), and apple, cranberry, pecan salad. Worked just fine as a late October menu. The only other difference was that we had ice cream sundaes for dessert instead of chocolate Easter bunnies. Liam pretty much ate some of all of it, but he liked the biscuits the best. (He had his without honey.)

Then Will and Will's father (Grandpa DH) gave Liam his bath, and I rocked him to sleep. (45 minutes of rocking tonight, but, as Auntie C pointed out earlier, I did let him have bites of ice cream at 6:15 PM.) He was a dear, sweet snugly baby; just couldn't fall asleep.

Liam's hair smelled like peach to me. Funny, we haven't had peaches in the house for over a month. You know how it goes, one weekend the farmer's market has bins and bins of peaches, and then, all of a sudden, they're GONE and no more until next year. Always seems to happen without any warning. I don't know why Liam would smell like peach to me, unless it's just some sort of memory of what he smelled like in the summer. We don't have any peach-flavored shampoo or anything like that.

Will still feels pretty congested and crummy. He has his doc appointment and testing tomorrow and is hoping to be able to stay out of the hospital and that whatever is going on can be figured out quickly and treated easily.

Photos are: waiting for dinner; still waiting for dinner (but closer!); and the beautiful plant/leaf thing Auntie C imprinted on the butter so it would look "pretty."

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Auntie C is Here!

We love having her visit more than anything. And she'll be here a whole week!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Will has taught Liam a new, helpful thing

how to play with his food. Lovely. Liam thinks it is hilarious. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, as they say.

Epic bedtime tonight; Liam has been trying to go to sleep since about 7:15. So, what is that? About 90 minutes of rocking, patting, picking up and putting down in the bed, etc. Finally asleep. All the baby books say that babies' sleep patterns get really messed up as they are getting ready to make a big new developmental leap. After 4 nights in a row of this, I fully expect him to get up one morning soon and start doing differential equations or something.
PS -- Will has been updating his blog, for those following along at home.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More old photos

When I was looking through things last night to find the picture of Liam feeding himself with the spoon from back in May I saved a few other favorite old photos to share. These are:
  • Baby slingshot jumpy swing. Liam went through a relatively short phase (8-10 weeks, I'd say) around Christmas time when he couldn't get enough of this thing.
  • First valentine to come in the mail (from Grandma KM, thanks!).
  • Day Will came home from the hospital in May (he was in for lung infections/pneumonia and come home to 3 weeks of IV antibiotics).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I got home a little early from work today and we made our way slowly -- one not-feeling-well daddy, two jumpy dogs (Mollie and Emma), Liam and me -- to the park for some vitamin D. Will and Liam have been playing on the swings lately, so we took some pictures of that and one of Liam, engaged in his favorite activity -- throwing things off the porch -- when we got home.

Will is not on his way to the hosptial today after all, and

I've been meaning to post an update on Liam's eating. (So boring; I know.) What Liam lacks in sleeping abilities he more than makes up in eating abilities. He is a good eater. Favorites lately include:
  • Chixpatty tofu thing (he really loves this)
  • Baby ravioli, especially the cheese flavor
  • Goldfish crackers (we have to be careful not to give him these before dinner or he won't eat anything else)
  • Cooked carrots
  • Yogurt (still loves yogurt)
  • Grapes, pears and bananas; fruit generally
  • Cooked chicken, especially if it comes in a cheese sauce (there's a cheese theme here, I guess)
  • He still loves his baby whole grain cereal, made with milk

Things he has tried lately and hasn't liked as much:

  • Cooked tomatoes
  • Chocolate chip cookie (but he loves fig newtons)
  • Sip of hot chocolate sample at Starbucks (but he liked the whipped cream)

Liam also is making progress feeding himself with a spoon. He really enjoys this. The first picture is from May, taken the last time Will was in the hospital. The second two are from this past weekend.

Will decided not to go to the ER today. He talked with some different nurses at his doc's office and they scheduled him for a clinic appointment on Monday. So he'll get his testing done then. Hopefully that will work out okay and whatever is going on isn't moving so fast that these few days will make a big difference in how difficult it is to treat. He still feels like crap.

Will may be on the way to the hospital today

or maybe not. Apparently he talked with the doctor's office yesterday -- to the nurse coordinator who he really doesn't like (well, he doesn't get along well with many of them, but this one really drives him crazy). He described his symptoms which are more extensive than he had shared with me previously (short of breath, etc.). He wants a normal CF/transplant workup (PFTs, sputum sample, blood work, xray). She advised going to the emergency room because Will's regular doc is on vacation and. . .I'm not sure. I guess the hospital is not capable of doing these tests on an outpatient basis unless it's through the regularly scheduled CF clinic? Maybe she thinks he is really, really sick. Maybe he is really, really sick. I can't figure it out. Will says, well, "maybe I'll go and maybe I won't -- I haven't decided yet." So, I guess we wait and see.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I forgot to mention Will's CMV results

which show that he doesn't have CMV disease. This is very good news. But, he is still feeling conjested. Still sleeping or staying in bed until about noon most days; still not rowing. (Well, he rowed on Sunday but said it was very difficult and he didn't enjoy it.) Still tired most of the time and just not feeling well. So, it's worrisome and hard to know what exactly to worry about. Possibilities include:
  • Chronic rejection, although I think we'd expect to see his PFTs go down more and more quickly with that;
  • Something else viral, Epstein Barr virus is the big fear, or it could just be a cold hanging on or a touch of the flu;
  • Bacterial infection, such as pseudamonus, moving down from his sinuses and setting up shop in the lungs;
  • Hang over from all the dust in the house, the nebulizer melting down and going almost a week without HTS;
  • Worsening depression;
  • Change of seasons;
  • Some combination; or,
  • Something we haven't thought of yet.

Whatever it is, it's no fun for him or for me to live with, that's for sure.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Please, Daddy, take Mollie and me for a walk.. .

Will was nice enough to take Mollie and Liam to the park for about a hour this morning during one of our sunny patches. I've been getting my butt kicked by a bid/proposal at work (hence posting at this hour after sending the almost final draft to our co-proposer who happens to be in Seoul this week which is, I've learned, 18 hours ahead of Seattle. (I think the easiest way to figure this is add one day and then subtract 6 hours from whatever time it is right now.) Grandpa DH and GG are very nicely taking Liam for most of tomorrow so I can go in to the office and finish the bid (let's hope!) and catch up all some of the stuff I was supposed to work on Thursday and Friday when I was working on the bid instead.

Daddy's Chair

Will did some clean up around his chair in the living room and so now Liam is, occasionally, allowed to climb up and sit in it. He, of course, loves this more than anything. In the second picture Liam is explaining exactly what sheep say. It's something like "HEhehehehe" which is also what a horse says.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Happy Almost Birthday Grandma KM

My mother has been so helpful to us since Liam was born. We're so sincerely thankful for all the help and we don't say thank you nearly enough. So, thank you! Grandma KM and hope you're having a fantastic birthday in Hawaii. Emma is fine.


No pictures because the battery in my camera is still dead, but I promise I'm going to get up off this couch immediately and put the battery in to charge. Right after I type this. . ..

We're all okay here. Liam seems to be recovering very well from his surgery; still taking the infant Tylenol drops before bed, but that's it, nothing else for a few days now and it hasn't seemed like he needs it. He had a great time at "book babies" (aka, "story hour") at the library with GG and even got up and played with some of the other kids, and he is reported to be active and happy during the days, and he's eating like a little boy and hasn't had a fever, so, I hope we're good.

Will is still feeling not great and is congested. We won't know the CMV results probably until Monday; hopefully it will be good news (i.e., less to no CMV; no EBV). He doesn't feel well enough to row, which sort of causes a little cascade of not feeling well. . .I hope it gets better soon. Emma my parents' dog is staying with us this week and Will took her and Mollie for a walk together this evening which is a big help because it means Emma won't hop hop from one feet to the others tonight when I am trying to work. Instead, she'll sleep like a little puppy on the couch. Good Emma. I have an unplanned and very complicated bid to get done in the next few days at work, that on top of various project wrap up and project start up stuff that all has been more demanding than I expected (isn't it always. . .I used to be MUCH better at juggling all this). Hopefully by the end of the month when Auntie Chris visits things will have slowed down for me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hand Washing

We are big on hand washing around here -- it's a big deal when you want to stay as healthy as possible even though you take immune suppressing medications. So, we've been working with Liam on hand washing for as long as I can remember. Recently he's become old enough to stand on the step-up ladder in the kitchen to wash his hands at the sink. It is one of his favorite things, especially when Will helps him. (Will makes it pretty fun; I'm mostly all "get the hands washed and on to the next thing.") I have to brag a little on the whole hand washing thing. Liam is a great hand washer; we wash his hands before meals, when coming in from outside and on returning home from errands or his days at grandma's and grandpa's and, now, of course, after each of his new adventures with the potty. Liam has been sick with a cold only 2 times. Now, maybe we're just going to be screwed when he goes to preschool and brings home every germ ever invented, but I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, we think he's doing pretty well.

Helping Mommy Sweep

Today's events:

  • Blood test -- Will; please hope that the CMV is on the way out, that the EBV stayed away and that Will feels better soon, he's still congested.
  • Packing for Hawaii -- my parents; let's hope they have a fantastic and relaxing trip.
  • Trip across town to get settled at our house for a week -- Emma, my parents SWD.
  • Potty in the potty (twice!) -- Liam, well, you know, we all went too at different times, but that's less remarkable.
We are so excited about the prospect of Liam being potty trained, even as the prospect of going about it is daunting.

Liam is getting more and more interested in what we do, and for a while now he has been very interested in sweeping. Tonight he really wanted to "help" me sweep up after Mollie. Unfortunately, his helping involves grabbing the broom about 6-8 inches above the, what is the bottom of the broom called? The foot? Anyway, he grabs it and wants to swing the whole thing around and it's dangerous and ineffective from a sweeping standpoint. Will got the idea to shorten the handle on the Swiffer and -- voila! -- a "broom" just Liam's size. He thought it was great.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Getting better

We hope. What could be nicer when you are felling sort of icky from surgery than to have Daddy and penguin work on puzzles and read with you.

First Friend & Updates

When Liam was born our neighbor across the street gave him a yellow fleece blanket that came with this little half blanket/half creature called "first friend." Liam has been interested in it off and on, and we auditioned it as his lovey a while back with no luck. But, for some reason he has really taken to it in the past few days and has been carrying it around the house and snuggling it. Maybe we've found the "lovey" at last. (Although today my parents got him a stuffed yellow duck and he has been carrying that around instead, so maybe not.) Full disclosrue: these pictures are from yesterday, I didn't have time to take any pictures today.

When I was a kid I couldn't spell at all (Still can't really; I suspect from all the transposing I still do of Ps and Bs and other letters, especially when I'm tired, that I had some sort of undiagnosed dyslexic-type syndrome.) and once wrote a note that was meant to say "Noel is a great friend" but instead said "Noel is great fried." I still remember how hard her grandmother laughed at me and how I really couldn't figure out what the problem was, because I had tried to get the letters right even though I knew I wasn't positive how to spell the word. So much for sharing my feelings. "First friend" makes me think of that.

In the updates department: tomato sauce is finally made and canned or frozen, if my food photos weren't so depressingly bad, I'd post a picture. The Halloween lights are up but not plugged in, getting closer at least. Will hasn't been feeling great and has moved on from computer stuff to re-wiring (again) the lights etc. on the motorcycle "for the last time" so it really works and is reliable. (Sunday he was stranded after rowing with a wiring problem that took 2 hours or something to fix.) He is now, right now, out in the garage working on it. Nutty. I'm not sure what all is going on. He did get a new compressor to replace the melted down one (and fixed the melted down one to use for something else, air brushing paint maybe), so he's back to daily hypertonic saline treatments; hopefully those will help him feel some better at least.

Raining here today and meant to rain all week. Tonight Mollie was so covered in mud when I got home from work that all her white parts were gray/brown. I cleaned her off as best I could, but she has already made a dirt pile on the living room floor and, while I was just now upstairs putting Liam back to sleep, has put muddy paw and body prints on the sofa. Sigh.

Edit: I don't know why this is appearing before the post from yesterday. Oh goody, a new thing to learn, how to make this work right. . ..

Sleep in

Liam has been having a fair amount of pain, I think, over the past 16 hours or so from his operation. He was restless and weepy last evening (although he ate a great dinner) and crying in his sleep during the night. I've been trying to get the pain medication (which he hates) into him on a pretty regular schedule to get caught up. So, he had a dose at 6:15AM this morning and silly-ed around for a while, drank a 6 ounces of baby milk (formula), tried to feed his stuffed Elmo some baby milk (a developmental milestone we've been waiting for) and then, surprisingly went back to sleep and sleeps away still. Don't worry grandmas and grandpas, he's fine, just a little tired out by all this.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hospital day, but not for Will. . .

When Liam was about 4 months or so old, maybe 5 months, I can't remember, he was observed to have a communicating hydrocele, which is (this gets pretty male) a communication of fluid from the abdominal cavity into the scrotum through the little tube that the testes descend in. I'm told it's very common. Usually a thing like this would heal itself up and just go away, but some don't, and Liam's didn't. A month or so ago we were dispatched to the pediatric-hospital emergency room for evaluation of a possible hernia. That's the main complication with these things, they can become outright hernias and, depending on the circumstance, those can be pretty dangerous. Liam was judged not to have a hernia at the time and was sent home. But we right away made an appointment with a pediatric urologist to have the thing fixed. (Surgery is recommended if they don't heal themselves by 1 year.)

Today was the big operation day and Liam did great. He was super at home this morning even though he wasn't allowed anything to eat after 3:00 AM. (This is the baby who has two breakfasts before 9:00 most mornings.) He did great in the car, and he was really good at the hospital until the nurses had to take his vital signs, etc.. Even so, after that he quieted down and went to sleep so we had to wake him up for his pre-surgery medication. I sincerely hope this is the only time in my life I have to hand my crying baby to a stranger and watch her carry him away while he reaches out for me over her shoulder and screams and screams. But, it all ended well, Liam is all fixed up, the surgeon said it went great and Liam should recover just fine. As an added bonus, we have discovered that he appears to be more like his Mommy in his (lack of) tolerance for anesthetic than his Daddy. Liam woke right up, but has already thrown up twice. He seems otherwise, really, fine. Tired, but fine. So, a big day: first (and hopefully last) surgery and first real throw up. If only I had kept a baby book, this would be one for the records.

Will took the picture with his cell phone. Liam is sleeping, sleeping, sleeping back in his hospital room after surgery in his baby blanket by Grandma KM. The nurses took the blanket with Liam so he could have it right away in the recovery room. (Note to self: if I ever by some miracle have another baby, turns out those glider rockers are NOT overrated after all.)

We're home now (it's an outpatient thing) and I'm off to watch him sleep upstairs in his room. Still very much our tiny baby.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

We're fine. . .

all fine; just a very hectic few days. I had to be up north 2 days in a row and that's always a mess because I have to leave early and it usually means I'm in the type of meetings that I have to be cleaned up and prepared for, and I get home late. On Monday, Liam and I left the house at 7:00 for a quick stop at my office to rescue the computer, then to Grandpa DH and GGs house to drop Liam off, then into traffic for me. I got to the office at 9:30, left at 4:15, had an incredibly frustrating stop at Costco to pick up a cake for today's meeting, got to Grandpa DH and GG's (late, I hate being late) at about 6:20ish, and home around 6:50ish or 7:00. (With dinner from GG; thanks! We really will forget how to cook around here.)

Liam decided to refuse his first bedtime and played and ran around until 8:20 where after an epic battle and 20 minutes of rocking, he finally went to sleep. He was up at 5:30 this morning and told me (by making the baby-sign for milk) that he was hungry and so had half a bowl of cereal, half a piece of toast, grapes and milk all before 6:00 AM. After that, it was pretty much the same schedule minus the trip to Costco. Meeting today was in the meeting rooms at REI. Man, there is a lot of really neat camping and hiking gear out in the world; a person could spend a lot of money buying that type of stuff. The meeting rooms at REI are really pretty as these sorts of things go, the cake was just fine, and Liam was asleep by 7:30 tonight. Everything is starting to wind down towards a normal schedule day tomorrow. . .thank God.

Will reports that he's still not feeling well, although he did go rowing today. (It sounds like it wasn't much fun, though.) His air compressor thing for his nebulized saline treatment melted down on Sunday, so he's working with the transplant team to try to get a prescription for a new one. And, of course, there's the whole CMV thing looming. . .hopefully when he gets blood drawn next Monday we'll find it's getting better.

PS---And I still haven't finished the tomatoes or got the Halloween lights up. Oh the hazards of starting anything these days. . ..

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Peach Chutney

We're headed towards a mostly handmade Christmas around here I think; this has been a good excuse for me to catch up on canning. I used to can every year reliably, often food I had grown. (I had a large vegetable garden and apple trees at the old house.) But when Will started getting sick a few years ago, I sort of lost track of it. First it was the year of "what's wrong?" Then the year of chemotherapy. Then the year that Liam was a tiny baby (last year). And now, now. So, I'm back to canning. Cherry jam is already done and put away (what a mess that makes!). Today I finished the peach chutney and blanched and cleaned half a box of tomatoes (so just half a box to go and then make and can the sauce). It's awfully nice to look at all those clean, neat jars. Now if I could just improve my photography a little bit, you could see how nice they look too.

Liam had a fine day today; he stayed with Grandma KM and Grandpa DM and practiced his Polar Bear noise. (I'm trying to get caught up at work and have been working Sundays.) Will was active, mowing and doing some picking up in the back yard and is now eating the turkey and stuffing that Grandma KM sent home with me. (Second dinner in a row from Grandma KM; we'll forget how to cook!) So all is well as we head into another week.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Halloween starts early around here.

We're beginning to prepare for Liam's second Halloween. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love the fall, love all the fall holidays, and it sort of starts off the season for me. I thought I had Halloween pretty wired: lights for the porch, pumpkin and scary witch dishtowels for the kitchen, a paper lantern or two inside, and lots of candy. I have nothing on our neighbors though. They've already got the outside of their house totally decorated: lots of lights, some kind of spooky crepe paper stuff, that fake spider web material, and I'm sure there's more, I didn't check it out completely today because I didn't want to go out into the rain. On Sept. 28 they asked me what Liam was going to be for Halloween. I kid you not, Sept 28. And they had their costumes all figured out (robot, I think, and, I can't remember, chicken, maybe; I'll update).

So, I'm trying to catch up. Today I got our Halloween decorations out of the attic. Tomorrow I'll put up the lights. Earlier in the week I ordered the beginning of Liam's costume: Polar Bear, relying heavily on off-white, on-sale LandsEnd baby fleece pants and top. (They're great. Liam lives in these fleece tops.) Now all we have to figure out is hands, feet, and some kind of fuzzy headgear with ears. No problem. We're also teaching him what a Polar Bear says. He thinks my imitation of a Polar Bear is pretty funny but he does try to imitate it. As of this afternoon if you ask him "what does a Polar Bear say?" he gives an approximation of a growl, "grrrrrr RHOR." Except he does it in this tiny, baby voice. Honestly, you'd think a kid who can scream as loud and as often as Liam does could muster up a little bit more of a Polar Bear noise. Luckily we have 3.5 weeks or so to practice.

For those of you who need a quick refresher: here are 2 pictures of last year's costume: Fruit Bat. First, the single most unflattering photo of Mommy ever, I can't believe I'm putting it on the Internet kind of thing: the "batification" process. (When he came in, we had the "de-batification" process. We really crack ourselves up around here.) Second: the completed costume in motion with Grandpa DM. Last year's costume also relied on LandsEnd baby fleece (brown). Really, it's the best stuff. Note wings are electrical taped to the sleeves. Liam is 4 months old in these photos and we'd been in the house 4.5 months; no curtains, no pictures up yet.

Mind of his own. . .

As Liam gets older he is more interested in initiating play of his own making. This morning started with a peek-a-boo game from around the banister; all his idea. (My idea was to sit on the couch and drink coffee for a while.) He is starting to "dance" by hopping (sort of ) from one foot to another, it's really cute. He also makes all his stuffed toys "dance" by jumping them up and down. Tonight he decided that he is old enough to learn to go down the stairs on his feet instead of crawling. He called me over, held my hands or leg to practice and then started practicing on his own holding the wall. It will take a while before he gets this, is my prediction---thank God for the gate at the top of the stairs. (And thanks to Auntie C who installed it for us.)

All this new self awareness also means that he really knows what he wants and doesn't want---and he screams like a stuck animal when he doesn't get what he wants. Screams and screams. It's something---if you listen closely you probably can hear it at your house.

Photos are: peek-a-boo, practicing the stair climbing, and one of getting bundled up for Art Walk last night.

In the good news department: Grandma KM brought us a fantastic dinner of beef stew, just perfect for a rainy day. Thanks!

In the bad news department: Will hasn't been eating much this week (although he says I'm wrong about that; however, today he has yet to finish his bowl of stew, which is the only thing besides tea, some milk and some orange juce he's "eaten" all day); and, he seems to be entering into one of those computer phases that involves staying up until really late nights reinstalling the operating system over and over. Hopefully he'll feel better soon; I'd really like for this CMV concern to turn out to be a big nothing. He won't get his blood retested for another week, so I guess we'll know more then. (In the full disclosure department, as I typed this he started to eat potato chips.)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Art Walk!

The Littlest Birds Sing the Prettiest Songs, by Mimi Williams

Our little town has an Arts Walk two times a year. For the first time in a long time this year it was raining. We went any way. At Arts Walk, I never miss Nikki McClure, who is now mildly famous, and so you've probably heard of her. I was lucky enough to buy one of her large papercuts about 10 years ago, when people with regular jobs could still afford them. See lots more of her beautiful work here. I also never miss Mimi Williams, who makes linoleum block prints that I just love. She finally has a website, here. She is selling copies of the littlest bird print (above) for almost nothing at Art Walk, so I think I'll get one for Liam's room, and I really hope that I'm not violating any copyright by including it here. Liam did okay at Arts Walk -- he was very interested in the string quartet in one of the shops, but really wanted to run around, which was impossible because it seems like all these places are just full of breakable stuff, much of it at his level (or at least damageable by him). His favorite thing besides the music was tasting blackberry pie at the pie shop. (My favorite store in town. I love, love, love that she can make a living selling pie!) Mostly, though, Liam was happy to get home and go to sleep.

Our house, again

I have this notion that I'm going to try to do one small thing that I actually want to do each day. Given the demands of a more than full time job and an infant, this is actually harder than it sounds, even though we have tons of help from our families and so I shouldn't whine about it. Anyway, today, it was sort of a big thing: I finally left work for about 30 minutes in the middle of the day to go to the state archives to get an old assessor's photo of our house. I really, really, really want to get the foundation plants in the front planted this fall, and I was interested in seeing what the people who built it (in 1902) had in mind. Well, the earliest assessors photo is from about 1936, so not as old as I would like, and it is sort of torn up (the archivist was so apologetic for this---as if he could do anything about it!), but how completely neat. Our house looks exactly like this still -- completely, exactly the same. Except, of course, no chimney; and all the plants are gone except for the one little rhododendron down on the corner of the porch that is now so tall and arborized it reaches the upstairs windows.

Also, I loved the archives. Everyone was really nice and helpful. Maybe I should quit my job and become an archivist; except I think they probably make very little money. . .and we have this very old house to fix up. . .. Anyway: Thank you Washington State Archives; this photo has really made my entire week!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Liam was inordinately happy tonight

And, man, when he is happy, he is really happy. Loved the car ride home from GG and Grandpa DH's, loved his dinner, about went crazy for the peach Will gave him for dessert, ran around the house wanting Will and me to chase him and just squealed with glee when he was caught. He is, I think, really getting ready to start to talk. Tonight he spent at least 20 minutes yelling "da, da, da" in a very loud voice and wandering around after Will. Such a sweet baby. He just woke up (only the second wake up since bedtime tonight) and when I was putting him back to sleep I realized his hair still smells like peach. (We do bath him. . ..)

I am so, so very grateful for Edith the wonder house cleaner -- she is amazing. The place is so much more habitable, it's almost as if we still had a chimney!

Our Not a Chimney

I thought people might enjoy some pictures of what I like to think of as our "not a chimney." In a week or so the heating and cooling people will come and put a permanent duct in for the furnace and we can close up the space and be good to go. Now on to future remodeling projects. . .kitchen? Bathroom? Falling down "not a ceiling" anymore in the bedroom closet? The possibilities in a 110 year old house are nearly endless. I do, though, love this house. It is exactly the sort of place I always wanted to live and never ever thought I'd be able to find/afford. Thank God for "as is!"

The picture to the left is looking in from the kitchen. Then there's one looking up (towards the upstairs bathroom) and one looking down (towards the basement, spooky).

According to Grandpa DM it looks from the chimney openings that the house never had a traditional fireplace. The chimney had 3 openings for stove pipes: one each in the dining room, kitchen and Liam's bedroom upstairs. Who knew!